If you were looking for the article about the VHS tape, then see The Sponge Who Could Fly (VHS).
If you were looking for the article about the book based on the episode, then see SpongeBob Airpants: The Lost Episode.
If you were looking for the article about the album, then see The Sponge Who Could Fly (album).

"The Sponge Who Could Fly" is a SpongeBob SquarePants episode from season three. In this episode, SpongeBob wishes he could fly with the jellyfish.



Act 1

Potty flies into Patchy's bathroom and says that the kids are here to see the lost episode. Patchy is taking a shower and says that he has lost it and tells the kids to forget about SpongeBob. The French narrator introduces a segment called "Remembering SpongeBob," a musical montage of clips from past episodes from the first three seasons.
059 - The Sponge Who Could Fly (0563)

After a long treasure hunt, Patchy finds the tape that holds the episode,  but he thinks all it is is a bunch of cheap walk cycles. He decides to rid all his SpongeBob merchandise and run away. 


"SpongeBob betrayed us!"

However, when he leaves the house, the countdown to the real lost episode starts. He quickly runs back in, puts his SpongeBob stuff back and sits down to watch with Potty. 

The SpongeBob episode segment begins with SpongeBob wishing he could fly with the jellyfish. He makes several
The sponge who could fly
attempts to do so, including a biplane (which malfunctions and destroys Farmer Jenkins' grain silo), bat wings, a garden chair with balloons, and a giant kite pulled by a bicycle. After his failed attempts are witnessed by others, he becomes known as "The Birdman of Bikini Bottom" and is ridiculed. He tells the people that "it is a sad day in Bikini Bottom when a guy is ridiculed for having dreams!" The townspeople tell him that they all once had unfulfilled dreams, then proceeding to form a mob and start chasing him for thinking he is more important than them. SpongeBob runs off a cliff and falls into a truck of mud, then into a truck of feathers, much to his misfortune.

Act 2

Later on, SpongeBob is shown in his house, having given up on his dream. He begins to dry his hair, then he receives an insulting phone call from a "fan" of the "Birdman," namely, "Joe Momma." SpongeBob puts the hair dryer in his pants while he talks, and the dryer inflates his pants, giving him the ability to fly. He goes around helping people, earning their admiration and becoming a superhero of sorts. However, the lazy citizens continue to ask increasingly unnecessary favors of him, leaving him no time to fly with the jellyfish. When he tries to escape to Jellyfish Fields, the people form a mob and chase him, but are unable to catch him. However, Cannonball Jenkins blasts SpongeBob, destroying the pants and sending him plummeting to the ground. The people seem as though they are mourning SpongeBob's death, but they are actually mourning the inflatable pants.

SpongeBob is about to go home, but suddenly, the jellyfish help him fly. They take him home as he sings an intentionally corny song about how all you need to fly is friendship. As he says goodbye to the jellyfish, Patrick greets SpongeBob and offers him a trip to the Pizza House. SpongeBob declines and leaves it up to the jellyfish for flying. Patrick then says "Suit yourself" and flies off like a superhero does. A confused SpongeBob wonders if Patrick just flew, only for him to doubt it because of how silly and impossible that seems, the episode ends as he looks at Patrick out of curiosity.

After the episode, Patchy attempts to play it again but he does not know how to rewind it to the beginning. He and Potty press a lot of buttons on the remote, destroying the tape and making the VCR spit its tape, causing Patchy to get tangled in it. Thus, the lost episode is lost forever. The episode ends with the narrator telling the viewers to get lost.

Remembering SpongeBob

Scenes with SpongeBob are shown, in order of appearance:

  1. "As Seen on TV" (walking into Mr. Krabs' office)
  2. "Bubblestand" (spinning when doing the "technique")
  3. "The Chaperone" (drawing a checkmark on a patty with mustard, turning his long legs at the prom with Pearl)
  4. "Pizza Delivery" (splitting in half and together again)
  5. "As Seen on TV" (shocked, thinking the customers adore him)
  6. "Help Wanted" (lifting Teddy Bear Weight Lifts)
  7. "Valentine's Day" (throwing valentines)
  8. "Tea at the Treedome" (accidentally catches himself when attempting to catch a jellyfish)
  9. "Ripped Pants" (ripping his swim trunks when surfing)
  10. "Karate Choppers" (dodging Sandy's attack by splitting in half)
  11. "Grandma's Kisses" (blowing pipe)
  12. "F.U.N." (ripping fake skin off, revealing real skin)
  13. "Pizza Delivery" (inflated when checking tire pressure)
  14. "Naughty Nautical Neighbors" (whispering into bubble)
  15. "MuscleBob BuffPants" (catching jellyfish with muscular body, in imagination)
  16. "Home Sweet Pineapple" (in bed with Squidward)
  17. "The Chaperone" (drying insides with towel after a shower)
  18. "Boating School" (admitting he is cheating during the test)
  19. "Band Geeks" (singing)
  20. "The Chaperone" (removing eyelashes)
  21. "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy" (sucking a table)
  22. "Nature Pants" (shrinking and turning black on stove)
  23. "Karate Choppers" (spinning arms)
  24. "Reef Blower" (blowing Squidward with reef blower)
  25. "F.U.N." (dancing and sing "The F.U.N. Song")
  26. "The Paper" (talking to Squidward; Squidward closes the door)


The Sponge Who Could Fly promo art

Promotional artwork for the episode


 ) Associated production music
 ) Original music
 ) SpongeBob music

  A Pirate's Life for Me (a) - Ron Goodwin ["Lost Episode" intro]
  'Er Indoors - Johnny Hawksworth [Patchy taking a shower]
  Award Winners A - Otto Sieben [Remembering SpongeBob]
  Spanish Ladies (b) - Robin Jeffrey, Tim Laycock ["I don't believe I lost the lost episode."]
  Tripping Upstairs - Brian Peters [map to the lost episode]
  The Jovial Buccaneers [#32] - John Fox [Patchy following the map]
  The Creature (a) - Gregor F. Narholz [shot of playground]
  Dramatic Cue (g) - Ronald Hanmer [seven trials of Monkey Lagoon]
  Sea Fanfare - John Fox [treasure chest]
  Playbill - Wilfred William Burns ["Come on, Potty, time's a-wastin'!"]
  Ta-Ra A - Sammy Burdson, John Charles Fiddy ["Hooray! Let's watch!"]
  Screen Heroes (a) - Simon David Chamberlain ["The Sponge Who Could Fly" title card]
  Galleon - Sam Fonteyn [opening]
  Police Car - Sam Spence [SpongeBob springs into action]
  If Only I Could Join You - Eban Schletter, Paul Tibbitt, Kent Osborne
  Harp Ding - Nicolas Carr ["I'm gonna follow his advice."]
  Earl's Revenge - Sage Guyton, Jeremy Wakefield [SpongeBob building a plane]
  Steel Licks 8 - Jeremy Wakefield [SpongeBob and Patrick run away]
  Steel Licks 9 - Jeremy Wakefield [Transition to next scene]
  Wild Panic - Gregor F. Narholz [bat costume]
  Ulkereien - Gerhard Trede [lawn chair with balloons]
  The Adventure Begins - Jonathan Neal [SpongeBob tied to a kite]
  Hawaiian Link (a) - Richard Myhill [SpongeBob returning the kite]
  Vibe Sting - Nicolas Carr ["You'll see."]
  Lonely Heart's Club (a) - David Bell, Otto Sieben [everyone ridiculing SpongeBob]
  Grass Skirt Chase - Sage Guyton, Jeremy Wakefield [SpongeBob chased off a cliff]
  Solo Steel 2 - Jeremy Wakefield ["There they go again, Gary."]
  Dramatic Climax - Mike Sunderland [SpongeBob's pants inflating]
  Vibe Q Sting - Nicolas Carr ["Huh?"]
  He's Flying - Eban Schletter, Paul Tibbitt, Kent Osborne
  Bikini Bottom News Theme - Nicolas Carr [news on TV]
  Licence to Thrill - Robert Cornford [lighthouse light goes out]
  Screen Heroes (a) - Simon David Chamberlain [SpongeBob replaces it]
  Sword Fight - Sam Fonteyn ["Let's roll."]
  Steel Licks 6 - Jeremy Wakefield [SpongeBob cleaning Krabs' garage]
  The Silver Blade - Ilona Sekacz ["Finally! Jellyfish Fields, here I come!"]
  You're Nice - Sage Guyton, Jeremy Wakefield [SpongeBob doing favors for everyone]
  Danger Zone - Mike Sunderland [SpongeBob tries to escape]
  Sponge Monger - Sage Guyton, Jeremy Wakefield [everyone chases SpongeBob]
  Lonely Violin - Dick Stephen Walter ["What have we done?"]
  All You Need is Friends - Eban Schletter, Paul Tibbitt, Kent Osborne
  Steel Licks 14 - Jeremy Wakefield ["Did Patrick just...?"]
  'Er Indoors - Johnny Hawksworth [Patchy lost the remote]
  Jarabe Tapatio (a) - Gerhart Frei, Carlos Periguez [mariachi band]




SpongeBob Lost Episode (Commercial Bumper)

The logo seen in SpongeBob SquarePants The Lost Episode Sweepstakes


Another version of the logo, seen at the beginning of the episode

Screen Shot 2014-07-19 at 11.12.34 PM

Fred wearing SpongeBob's outfit.

  • When Fred says, "No, he owes us favors!," he is wearing exactly the same outfit as SpongeBob, minus the red tie. He is also purple, but he otherwise looks the same.
    • This is the second episode where Fred wears the same clothes as SpongeBob (brown trousers, black belt, and a white shirt). The first is "Squilliam Returns."
  • Nancy Suzy Fish wears a magenta dress and headband in this episode, while they are a mustard yellow color in other episodes.
  • Monroe Timmy wears a red and green propeller cap in this episode. He also wears a propeller hat in "Krabby Land," except that it is blue and yellow instead.
    • Monroe Timmy is shorter in this episode than in most episodes.
  • In the Hebrew version of this episode, "Joe Momma" is called "סתם אחד," which means "just one."
  • In the Hebrew version of this episode, the line "And I'll save Patrick from this mime" is translated to "ואציל את פטריק מחנוך רוזן," which means "And I'll save Patrick from Hanoch Rozen." Hanoch Rozen is an Israeli mime.
  • The clown on TV in the Patchy the Pirate segment is the writer Kent Osborne.
  • In the storyboard for this episode, there is a scene where Don's Import Store & Delicatessen is simply called "Shop N Shop" and the owner says that no pirates are allowed.
  • Mrs. Puff's snail is similar to Squidward's snail, Snellie, from "The Great Snail Race." Mrs. Puff clearly states in the song, "I've had her since I was a little girl," while Squidward ordered Snellie.
  • Excluding the Patchy the Pirate segments (including the cheap walk cycles), this episode is only about 16 minutes long.
  • The word "lost" is said 22 times.
  • This episode was used as the basis for the plot of "SpongeBob SquarePants: The Sponge Who Could Fly Live Musical," which toured in Britain in 2009.
  • The storyboard includes a deleted scene with Patchy ripping off a SpongeBob band-aid while he is destroying his SpongeBob stuff, although he is not seen ripping it off in reverse.
  • This episode had 7 million viewers on its premiere night.
  • "As Seen on TV" is the only season 3 episode to have clips used from it in the "Remembering SpongeBob" segment.
  • In the book adaptation of this episode, there is a scene in which SpongeBob is walking back to his house, being laughed at. At one point, a pressman snaps a picture of SpongeBob in feathers. This is probably a deleted scene, as it was never shown in the episode.
Lost Episode credits

"Lost Episode" credits.

  • The credits on the Lost at Sea DVD and the Absorbing Favorites DVD simply calls it "Lost Episode," despite it being called "The Sponge Who Could Fly" everywhere else on the DVD.
  • The scene where the Bikini Bottomites demand SpongeBob's unnecessary help is similar to "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy II."
  • This episode originally could serve as the series finale of SpongeBob, because of the "Remembering SpongeBob" segment showing clips from the past three seasons. However, it is the penultimate episode of season three; the next episode ("SpongeBob Meets the Strangler"/"Pranks a Lot") is. 
  • This episode, as well as fellow special "Ugh," is shown less frequently than all the others except for the holiday episodes.
  • All of Patchy's SpongeBob merchandise in his room is similar to real SpongeBob merchandise, except they show SpongeBob with large black pupils and a bow tie instead of his normal tie. He also wears a black work hat instead of a white one and Patrick has larger pupils.
  • According to the audio commentary found on the Lost at Sea DVD, Don the parking attendant at Nickelodeon Animation Studio is the person who is standing at the front entrance in the beginning of this episode.
  • Sometimes, this episode airs without the Patchy the Pirate segments.
  • On September 23, 2016, around 3:15am, Nicktoons aired the first half of this episode, but aired another episode ("No Weenies Allowed") in place of the second half.
  • In this episode, Larry has black stripes on his back, while in other episodes, he does not. He also has white stripes on his back in "Neptune's Spatula."
  • In the Croatian dub, this episode's title is "Leteći Spužva Bob," which translates to "Flying SpongeBob."
  • This is the second appearance of Inflatable pants. The first is in "Patty Hype."
  • This is the last episode where Stephen Hillenburg voiced Potty before leaving the show. Paul Tibbitt would take over as Potty starting with "Friend or Foe."

Cultural references

The Simpsons opening screen

The Simpsons opening screen

  • The title card is a reference to The Simpsons opening screen.
  • SpongeBob's ideas for his flying machine allude to many other flying machines, such as the plane at Kitty Hawk, the bat suit from Batman, and a lawn chair with balloons.
  • The lawn chair tied to the balloons is based on a true story. Larry Walters, later given the nickname "Lawnchair Larry," was a truck driver who made a makeshift aircraft out of 45 helium balloons and a lawn chair.
  • SpongeBob is colloquially called the "Bird-Man of Bikini Bottom," a nickname also bestowed upon Robert Stroud, the "Birdman of Alcatraz."


  • At the start of this episode, a caption consisting of a line of solid blocks appears on the top of the screen. This also happens at the beginning of the second act.
  • When SpongeBob flies out of his pineapple house, he is about the same size as it.
  • When the announcer on Patchy's TV says, "And now, the real Lost Episode!," the screen displays the words "SpongeBob SquarePants Episode 118 The Real Lost Episode." This is a counting error, as this episode's production code is Episode 59 and it's only the 115th episode segment of the series. In fact, this episode is from season 3, which ended with 60 episodes of the series and 117 episode segments. The actual SpongeBob SquarePants Episode 118 is "Pet or Pests"/"Komputer Overload" and the actual 118th episode segment of the series is "Fear of a Krabby Patty."
  • If one looks closely at the map the Patchy first unrolls it, Don's Import Store & Delicatessen is called "Shop O' Shop."
The Sponge Who Could Fly 178

Patrick's legs arren't supposed to be long

  • Patrick's legs are longer when he rides a bike.
  • On the map, there is a skull that Patchy was not shown passing. Since there is a wipe after the skull, it is possible that he still passed it and they did not have enough time to show it in the episode.
  • When Fred speaks up, he is purple, but when he walks up to the cliff, he is brown.
  • Numerous episodes, including this one, feature planes, so SpongeBob was not the inventor of it, even though he says he is.
  • When SpongeBob is flying on the kite, he passes three fish, including Nancy. He later passes them again, after the kite crashes, even though he already passed them.
  • The SMPTE color bars appear after the walk cycle ends, then it cuts to a farther away shot showing the color bars on Patchy's TV screen. The version of the color bars in the second shot is noticeably different than the one used in the first shot.
  • Assistant director Andrew Harvey is credited twice.
The Sponge Who Could Fly Jellyfish error

Jellyfish error

  • When the jellyfish buzz while they start helping SpongeBob fly without pants, the other jellyfish disappear.
  • When SpongeBob crashes into the ground, his limbs disappear.
The Sponge Who Could Fly 364

There are two nats

  • During the funeral of SpongeBob's inflatable pants, there are two Nats.

Running gags

  • Old Man Jenkins saying, "I knew no good would come from city folk and their flying machines!" after not liking SpongeBob's flying attempts.
  • When Patchy is looking for something, a brick is thrown through the window and knocking him out, and the brick contains the item he is looking for.



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