The Flying Dutchman is a ghost who has a green glow around him, yellow eyes with black irises, a scraggly beard, a pirate hat with a chunk taken out, a handbag marked "Souls," a droopy nose, a coat, little pigtails, and a ghostly tail. He speaks with a West Country pirate accent.
During all of his appearances, the Flying Dutchman proves to be anything but a "friendly ghost." Though his role in the series is to be the devil of the sea, he constantly varies from a sea demon to a restless soul or even as a psychopompic judge to the dead. The Flying Dutchman has been consistently shown to be gruff, malicious and even downright sadistic, scaring people and stealing their souls out simply for fun, and in his first full appearance in "Scaredy Pants," he attempts to steal the souls of everyone in the Krusty Krab simply because SpongeBob's ridiculous costume as the Flying Dutchman was the ultimate insult to his image. The latter trait shows that he is extremely prideful.
Despite his antisocial behavior and malevolence, the Flying Dutchman is not pure evil without companionship.
He has a number of ghost friends and has the capability to bond with other people in case they have the same interests or objectives. He is also a notorious womanizer, with not even mortal women being free from his teasers. While the Flying Dutchman takes strong delight in scaring people, he does not live exclusively to haunt mortals, having sometimes tormented them only out of boredom, or otherwise because someone provoked him. Although, he is no saint, the Flying Dutchman has a strong sense of justice and has been known to reward people for good deeds done towards him or to punish wicked souls, taking his role as a Psychopomp very seriously, and has been known to keep promises as seen in "Shanghaied," when he grants three wishes to SpongeBob and the gang in exchange for his sock.
Powers and abilities
The Flying Dutchman is shown to be one of the most powerful supernatural beings in the ocean, rivaling King Neptune. Though The Flying Dutchman's skills vary from episode to episode, he has been consistently capable to levitate, and teleport in a cloud of smoke preceded by a storm. In his first appearance, he is shown to be capable of stealing souls and fire-breathing through his nose. He has also shown to be capable of opening dimensional portals to banish his enemies. He has shown to be capable of manipulating matter, even turning SpongeBob and Patrick into ghosts and making objects appear out of thin air, and granting wishes.
However, of all his incarnations, his most "frightening" appearance was in "Ghost Host," where he was able to shape shift into numerous horrific forms and warped reality effortlessly. Ever since he had been stealing souls and devouring them, there is no approximate limit to how much he can empower himself, and this is what caused him to reach into godhood over the years. The only limitation to his powers regards his ghost tail. Despite being a champion in looping for centuries, he has long forgotten how to tie his shoes and it's later shown that he cannot eat without his "dining sock."
His most powerful and dangerous ability, though, was seen in "Ghoul Fools," in which he pulled out one of his eyes and transformed into an atomic bomb, after which he launched himself into the ground. The blast from this attack was so powerful that everyone caught within the blast radius was sent to the Void.
He debuted in the episode "Squidward the Unfriendly Ghost" as a cameo in a magazine. He later debuted physically in the episode "Scaredy Pants," appearing at the Krusty Krab to tell everyone there how offended he is by people dressing up as him for Halloween, and that SpongeBob's costume is the worst of all. Before he is about to steal the souls of everyone present, he first takes off SpongeBob's costume, revealing his brain being exposed as a result of Patrick shaving him. This scares the Flying Dutchman and he flees in terror.
He appeared again in the episode "Arrgh!," where he is awoken by Mr. Krabs, SpongeBob, and Patrick fighting over a treasure chest. The chest is revealed to belong to the Flying Dutchman, and he questions who found his treasure chest. Afraid, Mr. Krabs blames it on SpongeBob and Patrick, and when they nervously confirm it, he takes his treasure and congratulates them and rewards them with one gold coin each. Jealous, Mr. Krabs asks for his reward, but he only receives a tiny plastic treasure chest, which the Flying Dutchman explains is "based on a real treasure chest" as he disappears, laughing maniacally.
In "Your Shoe's Untied," he was summoned by SpongeBob's cries of anguish about not finding someone who actually wears shoes. The Flying Dutchman says that he has held the Fancy Knotting Contest Champion for 3,000 years, and teaches him a thing or two about knots and shows him various knots. However, when SpongeBob asks for a knot for tying shoes, he is stumped when the Flying Dutchman says that he doesn't need to tie his shoes, due to him being a ghost and no longer having feet. He even stated that he hasn't worn shoes for over 5,000 years. But this fact doesn't impede his enjoyment of wearing a sock on his ghostly tail.
He had his first major role in the episode "Shanghaied," forcing SpongeBob, Patrick, and Squidward to be part of his crew forever when they board his ship. Squidward instead is sent through the Fly of Despair as punishment for his constant complaining and annoyance. However, when SpongeBob and Patrick damage his ship and fail to scare the people of Bikini Bottom, he decides to eat them. However, when they steal his dining sock to prevent him from eating them, he catches them and tries to get it back, until Patrick declares that they reached an impasse. To get his sock back, he makes a deal with them that if they give him back his sock, he will give them three wishes, and they accept the deal. Patrick wishes that he wished he would have known that earlier, and SpongeBob wishes for Squidward's return and the Flying Dutchman being a vegetarian so he would not be able to eat them. However, instead of going home, they are turned into fruit and are chased by the Flying Dutchman in his ship, which is now a hippie van with a sail.
In "Born Again Krabs," he appeared in Mr. Krabs' hospital room to condemn him to "Davy Jones' locker." But however, because Mr. Krabs was begging to be freed, the Flying Dutchman gave him another chance, as long as he will always be generous from now on, and Mr. Krabs promises (thinking he is only having a "bad dream"). Mr. Krabs returns to the Krusty Krab less cheap and more generous, but he becomes cheap once again after realizing that he is not in a bad dream and the whole thing is real, the Flying Dutchman returns to take him back to the locker. However, SpongeBob says he is not cheap bets that he would choose him over all the money in the Flying Dutchman's pocket. Mr. Krabs chooses the money and SpongeBob is instead condemned to the locker, but after Mr. Krabs realizes what he just did, he regrets it. Then, the Flying Dutchman brings SpongeBob back because of his constant annoyance, and SpongeBob later annoys him once again on the phone.
He then appeared in the episode "Money Talks" he appears to grant Mr. Krabs' wish of talking to money if he sells his soul, which Mr. Krabs accepts. Later, Mr. Krabs starts to regret his deal with the Flying Dutchman and demands it to be put off, and he appears and refuses to put off the deal. However, before he is about to take Mr. Krabs' soul, he says he already sold it. Then suddenly, a group of monster-like ghosts, including SpongeBob, are lined up and reveal that Mr. Krabs sold his soul to them too.
In "SpongeBob SquarePants vs. The Big One," he accidentally bumps into Mr. Krabs at the middle of the Dutchman's Triangle while on his way home from the grocery store and spills his groceries. To buy more groceries, he tries to get money from Mr. Krabs by stealing his cash register, and a fight starts. Later, the Flying Dutchman gets ahold of the register, but he accidentally releases the tray, which hits him and sends him to Davy Jones' locker, where he is tortured by Davy Jones himself.
In "The Curse of Bikini Bottom," he turns SpongeBob and Patrick into ghosts as punishment for accidentally shaving his beard off while playing with Squidward's lawnmower. Later, not wanting to be ghosts anymore, SpongeBob and Patrick visit the Flying Dutchman plead him to turn them back to normal, and he does, but the curse will not wear off until his beard grows back for his date. Because of this, they decide to replace it. At the end, SpongeBob himself replaces his beard for several months until it grew back. Later, the Flying Dutchman appears to SpongeBob and Patrick and reveals that his girlfriend wants to marry him, but he says he is "not the marrying-type". Then, when a giant monster, who is apparently his date, pops out from the horizon of the background, he runs away in fear.
In "Ghoul Fools," where he finds Lord Poltergeist's haunted house boat and plans to reclaim the treasure chest filled with doubloons Poltergeist stole from him. Poltergeist tried to escape, but the haunted house boat broke down. Then, the Flying Dutchman turned into a bomb that makes a huge void that sucks everyone present (Poltergeist, SpongeBob, Patrick, Squidward, Mr. Krabs, and Sandy) inside.
In "The Legend of Boo-Kini Bottom," he enjoys himself on Halloween until he is halted by SpongeBob's laughter, who used to be scared until Patrick told him that scary equals funny. He tried to scare SpongeBob numerous times, but he still thought it was funny. The Flying Dutchman then stole the souls of SpongeBob's friends and locked them in cages as they call for help. SpongeBob then started to become scared and ran away. Despite being scared, SpongeBob returns to save his friends with the help of Sandy's acorn monster puppet. However, he ends up destroying the puppet, and the Flying Dutchman laughs at him. Plankton mentions the "scary" things SpongeBob has inside his brain, and the Flying Dutchman decides to have a look inside his brain. However, he ends up becoming scared of the things in SpongeBob's brain and flees in fear.
In "Shopping List," Sandy and SpongeBob secretly steal some of his dandruff, one of the "ingredients" of the Krabby Patty. Plankton, however, fails to do so and is caught by the Flying Dutchman.
He is named after the legendary ghost ship, The Flying Dutchman, and seems to resemble the famous pirate Blackbeard (Edward Teach) or the ship's captain and mythological character Davey Jones, although according to the legend of the Flying Dutchman the ship's captain is a man by the name of Willem van Der Decken.
In "Scaredy Pants," where he made his first physical appearance, the Flying Dutchman's eyes were noticeably larger than in his later appearances. His pigtails were also not straight in his proper debut, as they constantly moved around at the time.
He doesn't like it when his beard is shaved off because he fears he would get pimples again.
It's also said his beard grows in 1,000 years, but it grew back in several months. His claim could be an exaggeration, though.
In "The Curse of Bikini Bottom," he looks through his closet for a shirt and finds one that is sentimental because he says, "It was the shirt I was buried in." However, in "Squidward the Unfriendly Ghost," his origin, from the comic book, says he was never buried and his body was used as a window display so technically, it is impossible for the shirt to be the one he was buried in.
However, he may have indeed been buried eventually, and he remains as a ghost due to having been one for so long.
The Flying Dutchman says he hasn't worn shoes for 5,000 years, which means that he could be at least 5,000 years old.
The Flying Dutchman has to have his dining sock on to eat.
In "Shanghaied," it is shown he has a monocle to read.
The Flying Dutchman appears to sometimes get emotional, though this very rarely happens.
The Flying Dutchman was absent in both seasons 9 and 10, except for a picture of him appearing on a board game in "Plankton Gets the Boot." He makes a physical appearance after a 6-year absence in the stop-motion Halloween special "The Legend of Boo-Kini Bottom" in season 11. He would not appear in animated form again until "Shopping List," also in season 11.