- Realistic Fish Head
- Shellnapping victim (debut)
- Sneaky Hermit (possible debut)
- TV officers
- SpongeBob SquarePants
- Patrick Star
- Eugene H. Krabs
- Sandy Cheeks (mentioned)
- Sheldon J. Plankton (mentioned)
- Mrs. Puff (mentioned)
- Incidental 93
- Incidental 21
- Incidental 150
- Incidental 69
- Incidental 39
- Squidward Tentacles (mentioned)
- Incidental 103
- Whale (mentioned)
- Incidental 27
- Incidental 37A
- Incidental 41
- Incidental 8
- Incidental 42
- Incidental 6
- Sewage fish
- Incidental 7
- Incidental 107
- Incidental 46
- Incidental 45
- Incidental 106
- Incidental 64
- Incidental 47
- Incidental 13
- Incidental 105
- Incidental 92
- Incidental 49
- Incidental 63
- Incidental 20
- Incidental 40
- Incidental 14
- Incidental 108
- Gary the Snail (mentioned)
- Pearl Krabs (mentioned)
- Bodybuilder (debut)
- Incidental 118
- Officer Slugfish
The episode starts at the Krusty Krab, where SpongeBob, Patrick, and Mr. Krabs are watching a classic black-and-white crime movie. Mr. Krabs speaks out against thieves like the one depicted in the movie, but SpongeBob and Patrick remind him of all the stuff he has that is not his: a barrel from Salty Sea Farms, a towel from the Sizzling Spring Sauna, a Bikini Bell phone, Sandy's hedge clippers, Plankton's lawnmower, and Mrs. Puff's hair curlers. Mr. Krabs claims that he "borrowed" all those things, telling them that it is okay to borrow something as long as they give it back before it is missed.
Later that day, SpongeBob and Patrick spot a balloon stand. Since they do not have any money, they decide to follow Mr. Krabs' advice and "borrow" a balloon. They sneak away with it, and as they talk about all the fun things they plan to do with it, it suddenly pops. Realizing that they can no longer return the balloon, they concede to each other that they have stolen it. When they panic and bump into the owner of the balloon stand, they run away before he reveals that it is National Free Balloon Day. They decide to leave Bikini Bottom under the belief that they are wanted criminals, not realizing that they never committed any crime.
That night, they camp in the middle of nowhere and lament that they will never see any of their friends or do any of the fun things they used to do again, causing Patrick and SpongeBob to be sad and miss their old lives. However, they then begin to look at the positives, such as not having to live by society's standards and not having to return anything they borrow, and so convince themselves that their lives as fugitives can be enjoyable. Patrick sadly remarks that they still have nothing to eat, until SpongeBob unveils two chocolate bars, which he hopes they can survive on for the rest of their lives. However, Patrick eats his entire bar in two quick bites, immediately forgets he ate it, and upon trying to take a third bite of it, discovers that it is gone.
Upon seeing SpongeBob's candy bar, Patrick accuses him of stealing it. Although SpongeBob tries to remind Patrick that he already ate his, he refuses to believe him. SpongeBob offers half of his chocolate to him, but Patrick says he does not want it unless SpongeBob admits that he took it. Frustrated at Patrick's behavior, SpongeBob eats the whole thing himself. In his own frustration, Patrick decides to report SpongeBob to the police. SpongeBob aims to tell on Patrick first and they race to the police station.
Once there, they both confess their original "crime" together, and two officers at the station realize that SpongeBob and Patrick are under a serious misunderstanding, and place them in a jail cell. However, the two "criminals" are immediately released, being informed that they "stole" the balloon on National Free Balloon Day, much to the officers' amusement. SpongeBob and Patrick, though shocked to learn of their innocence, vow that they will never borrow anything without permission again and the officers give them lollipops for the trip back home. Once again, Patrick eats his immediately and accuses SpongeBob and the officers of stealing it. They all laugh together until Patrick says he means it, as the episode ends with a shot of Bikini Atoll being seen.
|( ‣ ) Associated production music|
|( • ) Original music|
|( ◦ ) SpongeBob music|
‣ Slick in the City - Kenny Graham [Title card]
‣ Villains and Vampires - Sam Fonteyn [Crustacean Crime Theater]
‣ Dirty Work at the Crossroads - Sam Fonteyn [Crustacean Crime Theater]
‣ The Rake Hornpipe - Robert Alexander White [Mr. Krabs watching TV]
• Seaweed 1 - Steve Belfer [SpongeBob, Patrick in the park]
• Dreamy Harp - Nicolas Carr [Patrick sees balloons]
‣ Dance of the Lights - Buddy Baker [Riding a rainbow]
• Harp! - Nicolas Carr ["Yeah, like Mr. Krabs!"]
‣ Sunny Samoa - George de Fretes, Jan Rap [Saying all the things they are going do with the balloon]
‣ Dramatic Cue (a) - Ronald Hanmer [They scream]
‣ Flight in Panic 1 - Gregor F. Narholz [Putting the balloon back together]
‣ Life or Death - Jack Beaver ["We can't return it!"]
‣ Hit and Run - Ralph Dollimore [SpongeBob and Patrick running away]
‣ Hawaiian Farewell - George Elliott ["Take a last look, Patrick."]
‣ Lonely Violin - Dick Stephen Walter [SpongeBob lists all the things they will not see anymore]
‣ On the Beach - Kapono Beamer [Upside of being a fugitive/"But at least we don't have to shave."]
‣ Hawaiian Link (b) - Richard Myhill [SpongeBob and Patrick hug]
• Harp! - Nicolas Carr [Close up of candy bars]
• Gator - Steve Belfer [Patrick accuses SpongeBob of stealing his candy bar]
‣ House of Horror - W. Merrick Farran [SpongeBob teases Patrick with the candy bar/SpongeBob licks the candy bar]
‣ Catwalk - Kenny Graham ["Or did your criminal mind hypnotize me to steal it?"]
‣ The Hurry Up - Kenny Graham ["Not if I tell on you first!"]
• Sponge Monger - Sage Guyton, Jeremy Wakefield [Running to the police station]
• Steel Licks 7 - Jeremy Wakefield ["We stole a balloon!"]
‣ Dramatic Cue (e) - Ronald Hanmer [SpongeBob and Patrick locked up]
‣ Nostalgic Hawaii - George de Fretes, Jan Rap [Ending]
- This episode is available on the Sea Stories, Complete 2nd Season, Holiday Cruise Collection, Christmas Who?, The Underwater Stories, Bundled Up in Bikini Bottom, First 100 Episodes, Exposed!: The Ultimate Box Set, The Ultimate SpongeBob Box Set, SpongeBob SquarePants Vol. 3, The Complete Second Season, From the Beginning, Part 1, The SpongeBob SquarePants Collection, The SpongeBob SquarePants 8 Season DVD Collection, The First & Second Seasons and The Best 200 Episodes Ever DVDs and on VideoNow.
- This episode is also available on the Sea Stories VHS tape.
- There was a rumor that SpongeBob originally said "No more getting nailed" which was replaced by "No more getting mail!" and Patrick was shown nailing a plank to his head, seemingly a confusion between this episode and My Pretty Seahorse. It was debunked by Vincent Waller on Twitter.
- There is a book based on this episode called Sponge on the Run!
- Mr. Krabs has stolen these items:
- A barrel from Salty Sea Farms
- A towel from the Sizzling Spring Sauna
- A Bikini Bell phone
- Sandy's hedge clippers
- Plankton's lawn mower
- Mrs. Puff's hair curlers
- This scene when Patrick says, "You took my only food. Now I'm gonna starve," has become a popular meme.
- This is the first of four episodes transcribed as a comic into the SpongeBob SquarePants/Tokyopop book Crime and Funishment. The other three were "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy V," "No Free Rides," and "Nasty Patty."
- This is the first episode of the series where SpongeBob goes to jail.
- The episode's production number is, under a certain interpretation, in this episode: the cell number, 1B, which, converted from hexadecimal to decimal, is 27. Whether this intentional is unknown.
- Patrick breaks the fourth wall when he mentions that they are around a fire despite being underwater. The fire is spontaneously extinguished at this realization.
- Animation director Alan Smart was the model for the bodybuilder man; however, his voice was performed by Tom Kenny.
- Mr. Krabs's explanation of borrowing would likely qualify as conversion, the crime of using someone's property without permission.
- In the Croatian dub, the episode's title is "Zločinci," which translates to "Criminals."
- In the Polish dub, the episode's title is "Zbrodnicze życie," which translates to "The Criminal Life."
- Mr. Krabs' "eel in the kelp" line is a pun on the "snake in the grass" metaphor.
- Bodybuilder might be a parody of real-life bodybuilder, as well as actor and politician, Arnold Schwarzenegger, due to sharing his noticeable Austrian accent.
- In one scene, the balloon is brown instead of red.
- When Patrick first looks at the balloons, there is a brown one, but when Patrick looks again, the brown balloon disappears.
- The scene when SpongeBob and Patrick are seen around the fire at nighttime takes place after SpongeBob and Patrick walk further inland from the cliff, with no other cliffs in sight for several shots. However, when SpongeBob attempts to fly, they are standing next to a cliff.
- When Patrick says, "You took my only food! Now I'm gonna starve!" he appears to be lit by the fire. However, the fire had already been extinguished.
- In some scenes, the red line under SpongeBob's mouth disappears.
- When SpongeBob says, "We can loosen our ties" and plays with his tie, it turns pink for less than a second.
- After SpongeBob finishes off his chocolate bar, the chocolate on Patrick's face disappears, then reappears after a few frames.
- For unknown reasons, the audio for this episode and it's sister episode are low-pitched on Paramount+ and Nicktoons airings. This error didn't occur on Nickelodeon, Nick@Nite, and TeenNick airings, Amazon Prime and DVD releases.
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