This is the page about Idiot Box. If you were looking for the article about the box, then see Idiot box (object).

"Idiot Box" is a SpongeBob SquarePants episode from season three. In this episode, SpongeBob and Patrick play with a box.



This episode starts with SpongeBob and Patrick waiting for the mail. Squidward sees a large box being delivered to SpongeBob and Patrick. They open the box, which contains a giant flat-screen television, and this heavily surprises Squidward. Patrick and SpongeBob throw the television out but keep the box to play in it. Squidward asks why they threw the television out, and SpongeBob explains that "We don't need television, as long as we have our... imagination." Squidward, not wanting any part of this, asks for the television, and they let him have it. Once he takes the TV back inside his house, he realizes that the remote control is missing and he goes back outside for it. He hears SpongeBob and Patrick begin - supposedly - to mountain climb inside the box and, annoyed by their stupidity, he gives the box a hard kick. A sound of an avalanche suddenly erupts from the box, shocking Squidward. Concerned, he taps the box, prompting another avalanche. Squidward hears a critically injured SpongeBob and Patrick saying that their limbs are frozen and that they have to cut them off, and rushes over to the box, opens it, and the noises immediately stop. He questions them about the noises, but they act oblivious and he leaves. Suddenly, the sound of a helicopter is heard and Squidward ducks. Realizing that it is coming from the box, he angrily opens the box and confronts them again. SpongeBob simply tells him that all of it is coming from their imagination. Squidward says that he has plenty of imagination, to which Patrick replies, "Good, now all you need is a box." Squidward gets out a hat box and tries to imitate SpongeBob and Patrick's experiences, but fails. After kicking his box in frustration, he hears the sound of police sirens outside. Thinking that his kicking of the box is the cause, he goes outside with his box to apologize. He is quick to realize that the noises are actually coming from the box SpongeBob and Patrick are playing in. Furious, he kicks the box he was holding, which Patrick retrieves, saying, "Whoopee! Another box!" then continue making noises.

Idiot Box 004

Patrick with realistic eyes

Challenger's Final Flight

Challenger's Final Flight.

The space shuttle segment contained a brief bit of audio from STS-51-L, which was the final Space Shuttle Challenger flight.

Th (I)


Squidward then begins watching TV to get his mind off the box, but all the programs that are on involve boxes. He then hears a space shuttle launch. As he tries to think of how they could possibly manage to make such realistic sound effects, it dawns upon him that they are probably using a tape recorder. Angered, he marches outside and demands the tape recorder from SpongeBob and Patrick. SpongeBob tells him that they do not have a tape recorder, which Squidward does not believe. He decides to join them in the box to see how they are managing to make the sound effects. After being asked where he wants to go, he asks to go to "Robot-Pirate Island." However, he sees nothing but SpongeBob and Patrick closing their eyes and saying stereotypical phrases of robots and pirates. Squidward returns to his house and soon hears the sounds of an epic robot-pirate battle. Having enough, Squidward decides to sneak in the box after SpongeBob and Patrick go to bed to find a device that could make the sound effects. The show cuts to late at night, when a pirate victory celebration is heard.

Idiot Box 180

Squidward pretending to drive.

Once SpongeBob and Patrick abandon the box and go to bed, Squidward sneaks outside and enters the box, looking for something that would make the noise. Squidward finds no such device after a scan of the box. Realizing that the box is, in fact, empty, Squidward wonders if it really was their imagination that caused the sound effects, but he immediately dismisses the notion, thinking that it is ridiculous. He mockingly starts pretending to be a race car driver, but suddenly he begins to hear noises. He imagines himself racing, and feels all the movements of actually driving a race car. However, in reality, these sounds and movements are due to a garbage truck hauling the box away. It is then dumped into the landfill, and Squidward flies out of the box, landing face-first in a pie, then the box falls on him. The next morning, SpongeBob and Patrick realize that their box is gone, and SpongeBob decides to visit Squidward. The episode ends with SpongeBob and Patrick walking to his house (unknown to them, Squidward is not at home).

Shower In A Can!
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 ) Associated production music
 ) Original music
 ) SpongeBob music

  You're Nice - Sage Guyton, Jeremy Wakefield [title card]
  Vergnügungspark - Gerhard Trede [SpongeBob and Patrick hopping]
  Awakening Memories - Paul Fenoulhet ["Squidward, we don't need television."]
  Full of Beans - Robert Schreier [mountain climbing adventure]
  Dramatic Climax - Mike Sunderland ["Hang in there, buddy. The chopper's on the way."]
  Joust - Fredric Bayco ["Attention, climbers! Please hold on!"]
  Death in the City - Jack Beaver [police sirens]
  City Desk - Ronald Hanmer [show about boxes being made]
  Once Upon a Dream - Clive Richardson ["I couldn't afford a present this year..."]
  Parallel Dimension - Gregor F. Narholz [rocket launch]
  Steel Sting - Jeremy Wakefield ["Laugh at me, will they?"]
  Journey to the Magic Island - Gregor F. Narholz ["Welcome aboard, Squidward!"]
  Comic Walk - Sidney Torch ["Why won't this thing turn on?"]
  Steel Licks 3 - Jeremy Wakefield [that night]
  Hawaiian Happiness - Jon Jelmer [SpongeBob and Patrick go home]
  Finders Creepers - Paddy Kingsland [Squidward sneaks into the box]
  Vibe Sting - Nicolas Carr ["Hello, what's this?"]
  Vibe Q Sting - Nicolas Carr ["What the...?"]
  You're Nice - Sage Guyton, Jeremy Wakefield [box taken to dump]
  Tympup A - Sammy Burdson, John Charles Fiddy [ending]



"SpongeBob and Patrick turn an empty box into a fantasy play land using only their "imaginaaations."[sic] Since Squidward lacks any imagination, he resents anyone who does! The ultra-dramatic and over-the-top action movie fantasy scenarios that our boys playact in the box are really funny (we only hear them)."



  • Although this episode premiered in 2002, it was made in 2001 according to the credits.
  • This episode premiered in Canada on June 28, 2002.[1]
  • The title card is an animated television transition. This is mostly seen on vintage televisions when one changes the channel.
  • "Idiot box" is a slang term for TV.
  • Plots of this episode were later used in the first part of the LeapPad Interactive Book and Cartridge SpongeBob SquarePants: Salty Sea Stories, which was released in 2003 by LeapFrog Enterprises, exactly 1 year after this episode aired on television. The music was composed by Jay Cloidt in the Interactive Book and Cartridge.
  • Music from "Count Duckula" and "Danger Mouse" is used in this episode.
  • On September 27, 2017, there was a National EAS alert that appeared about 5 minutes into the episode (2:20 PM EDT).
  • The sombrero Squidward finds in the hat box is later worn in "The Camping Episode."
  • One of the equations, F = ma2, is a reference to Newton's Second Law, (F = ma) and Einstein's Mass-Energy Equivalence formula, (E = mc2).
  • This is a list of things SpongeBob, Patrick, and Squidward thought of in the box:
    • Mountain Climbing
    • Police Chase
    • Space Shuttle Launch
    • Battle of Robot-Pirate Island
    • Race Car Driving
  • During the "space shuttle launch" portion, a brief bit of audio from STS-51-L, on which the Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster occurred, could be heard.
  • SpongeBob's imagination sequence has become an internet meme.
  • When SpongeBob is reading in bed, his pillow is nowhere to be seen.
  • This is the third episode where its title card is animated. The first being "SB-129" and the second being "Prehibernation Week."
  • When Squidward went inside the box, SpongeBob and Patrick were using their imaginations, but they were not making noises. It is probably because Squidward left the box open.
  • In Battle for Bikini Bottom, The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie video game, SpongeBob's Truth or Square, and Battle for Bikini Bottom - Rehydrated, boxes can be used to teleport around the levels which resembles the box from this episode.
  • In Indonesia, instead of saying, "Boxing Championship." the narrator says "Box Boxing Championship," because "box" and "boxing" have different meanings.
  • This episode was reenacted in a live table read during the San Diego Comic-Con in 2015, and was the most voted for episode to be reenacted.[2]
  • This episode is probably set in the early 2000s, since Squidward's large old TV appears to be one that appears during the early 2000s. (Newer large TVs appear more like LCD computer monitors.)
  • Because "Nasty Patty" was banned from the Hebrew dub in Israel due to dark content, this episode was banned too.[citation needed] However, it is still available in English in the night marathon, along with "Nasty Patty."
  • When Squidward ends up in the dump, he lands face first in a pie. This is the second time that Squidward gets hit with a pie. The first was in the episode "Dying for Pie."


  • Squidward tore up the note that SpongeBob had written, but in the next shot, all the pieces of the note were gone.
  • If Patrick is inside Squidward's gift box inside the TV box, then SpongeBob can hear the noises coming from the gift box like Squidward who can hear noises from the TV box.
  • Squidward's mouth did not close after he said, "Where's that remote?"
Idiot Box 184

SpongeBob's missing pineapple house

  • When the garbage truck drove away, SpongeBob's house was missing. Also, an arrow appears on the box.
  • When Squidward says, "Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy," his mouth doesn't move.
I Hope He Is Not Too Down In The Dumps Today

The path to Patrick's rock is missing.

Running gags

  • While Squidward is watching TV, it is all about boxes in respective channels: documentary, educational, soap opera, and sports.
  • SpongeBob saying "Imagination" whilst showing a rainbow with his hands.
  • SpongeBob and Patrick making noises inside the box, but whenever the box is opened, the noises stop.


San Diego Comic Con 2015 SpongeBob SquarePants Full Panel Nick

San Diego Comic Con 2015 SpongeBob SquarePants Full Panel Nick

Full Comic Con Panel


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Awards and nominations for SpongeBob SquarePants (VE)

Golden Reel Awards StatueStraight

Best Sound Editing in Television Animation – Music

Nominees: Stephen Hillenburg, Donna Castricone, Nicholas R. Jennings, Alan Smart, Peter Burns, Doug Lawrence, Derek Drymon, Alex Gordon, Donna Grillo, Jennie Monica, Krandal Crews, Jim Leber, Justin Brinsfield, Tony Ostyn, Nicolas Carr (for "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy"/"Pickles;" 2000)Nicolas Carr (for "Fools in April"/"Neptune's Spatula" in 2001; for "Jellyfish Hunter"/"The Fry Cook Games" in 2002; for "Wet Painters"/"Krusty Krab Training Video" in 2003; for "The Great Snail Race"/"Mid-Life Crustacean" in 2004) • Jimmy Lifton, D.J. Lynch, Jeff Hutchins, Tony Ostyn and Paulette Lifton (for "Mid-Life Crustacean;" 2004)

Best Sound Editing in Television Animation – Sound

Nominees: Nicolas Carr (for "Karate Choppers;" 2000) • Andrea Anderson, Jimmy Lifton, Monette Holderer, D.J. Lynch, Vincent Gutisetti, Jeff Hutchins and Gabriel Rosas (for "Rock Bottom"/"Arrgh!;" 2001)

Best Sound Editing in Television – Animation

Nominees: Timothy J. Borquez, Jeff Hutchins and Daisuke Sawa (for "The Secret Box"/"Band Geeks;" 2002)

Best Sound Editing in Television Animation

Nominees: Jimmy Lifton, Jeff Hutchins, Tony Ostyn and Chris Gresham (for "Nasty Patty"/"Idiot Box;" 2012)

Best Sound Editing in Television: Animated

Nominees: Jimmy Lifton, Nicolas Carr, D.J. Lynch, Jeff Hutchins, Tony Ostyn, Chris Gresham and Paulette Lifton (for "Pranks a Lot"/"SpongeBob Meets the Strangler;" 2005) • Vincent Gutisetti, Jimmy Lifton, Nicolas Carr, Monique Reymond, D.J. Lynch, Mark Howlett, Jeff Hutchins, Aran Tanchum, Mishelle Smith and Paulette Lifton (for "Have You Seen This Snail?;" 2006)Nicolas Carr, Mishelle Fordham, Monette Becktold, Jeff Hutchins, Timothy J. Borquez, Tom Syslo, Jason Stiff, Tony Orozco and Kimberlee Vanek (for "SpongeHenge;" 2008)

Best Sound Editing: Television Animation

Nominees: : Chiho Oyamada Carr, Nicolas Carr, Mishelle Fordham, Daisuke Sawa, Monette Becktold, Jeff Hutchins, Timothy J. Borquez, Tom Syslo, Eric Freeman, Dan Cubert, Lawrence Reyes, Jason Stiff, Tony Orozco and Kimberlee Vanek (for "Suction Cup Symphony;" 2009) • Chino Oyamada Carr, Nicolas Carr, Mishelle Fordham, Monette Becktold, Jeff Hutchins, Timothy J. Borquez, Eric Freeman, Tom Syslo, Keith Dickens, Jason Stiff, Sergio Silva, Tony Orozco and Kimberlee Vanek (for "SpongeBob SquarePants vs. The Big One;" 2010)

Best Sound Editing – Sound Effects, Foley, Dialogue and ADR Animation in Television

Nominees: Devon Bowman, Justin Brinsfield, Nicolas Carr, Andrea Anderson, Mishelle Fordham, Monette Becktold, Jeff Hutchins, Eric Freeman, Tony Orozco and Danny Tchibinda (for "Gary's New Toy;" 2013) • Mishelle Fordham, Monette Becktold, Jeff Hutchins, Timothy J. Borquez, Tom Syslo, Eric Freeman, Bobby Crew, Keith Dickens, Gabriel Rossas and Tony Orozco (for "It's a SpongeBob Christmas!;" 2013)

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