Encyclopedia SpongeBobia
Encyclopedia SpongeBobia
If you were looking for the article about the box, then see idiot box (object).

"Idiot Box" is a SpongeBob SquarePants episode from season 3. In this episode, SpongeBob and Patrick use their imagination to play with an empty box, much to Squidward's curiosity.



The episode starts with Squidward coming outside his house to see a TV getting delivered to SpongeBob and Patrick in a box. He is shocked that they ordered such a large TV, only for them to toss the TV into the trash bin and use the box by itself. He asks the two why they are playing in the box instead of using the TV, and they say that with imagination, they can do anything they want to do. Squidward drags the TV to his house with SpongeBob's permission, while the other two play Mountain Climbing Adventure in the box.

The box.

When Squidward gets annoyed by the two playing loudly with each other, he kicks the box, only to cause what sounds like an avalanche inside. He opens the box to see if the two are alright, only for them to have just been imagining themselves mountain climbing. Squidward goes back to his house and tries to find a box to do what SpongeBob and Patrick are doing, but is unable to find one big enough. After kicking one of his boxes in frustration, he hears police sirens outside and initially assumes they have come to arrest him for kicking the box, but the sounds turn out to just be coming from SpongeBob and Patrick in their box.

Feeling angrier still, Squidward kicks his small box across his yard and SpongeBob and Patrick take it. He watches TV to get his mind off of boxes, only for all the programming to be box-related. He then hears what sounds like a space rocket launching coming from the box and thinks the two are using a tape recorder to make all the noises, so he goes inside to find out. When he finds that they do not have a tape recorder, he goes inside the box and starts observing their activities to see how they play. However, within the box, the only sounds are subtle and come from SpongeBob and Patrick themselves, so Squidward goes back to his house in frustration, only to hear much louder and varied sounds.

At night, when the two get out of the box and go to bed, Squidward decides to go inside the box to find the button he feels sure is making all the sounds, but he does not find it. When he starts pretending to drive a race car, a garbage truck by coincidence is picking up the box and taking it off to the dump; the garbage truck's sounds make Squidward feel like he is actually driving a boat. It does not end well when the box is tossed on its side, sending Squidward into the air and falling into the dump, landing face first into a partially eaten pie. The next morning, SpongeBob and Patrick find out that their box is gone and then go see Squidward, unaware that he is not home, ending the episode from there.

Running gags

  • While Squidward is watching TV, every show is all about boxes in the respective channels: documentary, educational, soap opera (or romance movie), and sports.
  • SpongeBob whimsically saying "Imagination" while forming a small rainbow with his hands.
  • SpongeBob and Patrick making noises inside the box, but whenever the box is opened, the noises stop.





 ) 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 Licks 4 - 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]
  Idea Vibe - Nicolas Carr ["Hello, what's this?"]
  ? Vibes - 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 "imaginations."[sic] Since Squidward lacks much 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 (sounds can only be heard)."
  • "Idiot Box" was ranked #2 during the SpongeBob's Top 100 event in the UK and Ireland from June 4-8, 2012.



  • This is the second episode that involves a box as a main focus and namesake. The first was "The Secret Box."
  • The title card is static. This is mostly seen when a channel is changed or no signal is received by an analog television.
  • "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.
  • 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
  • The "space shuttle launch" scene plays a soundbite from STS-51-L, on which the Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster occurred.
  • When SpongeBob is reading in bed, his pillow is nowhere to be seen.
  • This episode was reenacted in a live table read during the San Diego Comic-Con panel in 2015, and was the most voted for the episode to be reenacted.[2]
  • 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.
  • The scene of SpongeBob making a rainbow and saying, "Imagination!" has become a popular internet meme.
  • In the console versions of Battle for Bikini Bottom (Rehydrated), The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie video game, and SpongeBob's Truth or Square boxes resembling the box from this episode can be used to teleport within levels.
  • In Indonesia, instead of saying, "Boxing Championship," the narrator says "Box Boxing Championship," because "box" and "boxing" have different meanings.
  • Because the Hebrew dub of its sister episode "Nasty Patty" was banned in Israel due to its dark content, the Hebrew dub of this episode was also banned as well.[citation needed] However, both episodes are still available in English in the night marathon.
  • When Squidward ends up in the dump, he lands face first in a pie. This is the second time that Squidward gets hit in the face with a pie. The first was in the episode "Dying for Pie."
  • In the EBS version of the Korean dub, this episode has been permanently paired up with "Doing Time," due to its sister episode being banned.
  • According to the production code (5572-178), this was produced as a season 2 episode.
  • The name of this episode in the French dub is "La Boîte à tout faire," meaning, "The box which does everything," likely a play on the word for handyman, "homme à tout faire."

Cultural references

  • One of the equations on the educational program, seen when Squidward is flipping channels, F = ma2, is a reference to Newton's Second Law, (F = ma) which means Force=mass times acceleration, and Einstein's Mass-Energy Equivalence formula, (E = mc2).


The colors of SpongeBob's "imagination" rainbow are flipped upside-down.

  • When SpongeBob makes a rainbow with his hands, the colors are upside-down.
  • When Squidward says, "Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy!" his voice is out of sync with the animation.
  • Squidward's mouth does not close when he says, "Where's that remote?"

Squidward's wrinkles are missing.

  • When Squidward is planning to get inside of the box, his forehead wrinkles are gone for a couple of seconds.
  • Squidward tears up the note that SpongeBob had written, but in the next shot, all the pieces of the note disappear.

SpongeBob's house is missing.

  • When the garbage truck drives away, SpongeBob's house is missing. Also, an arrow appears on the box that was not visible at any other point before or after in the episode.

The path to Patrick's rock is missing.



San Diego Comic Con 2015 SpongeBob SquarePants Full Panel Nick

Full Comic Con Panel


SpongeBob Uses His Imagination 🌈 Idiot Box Full Scene - SpongeBob


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Awards and nominations for SpongeBob SquarePants VE

Golden Reel Awards StatueStraight.jpg

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;" 2003)

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)