Creating a list of the twelve best Spongebob Squarepants episodes was almost as tedious and stressful as applying to college. With so many excellent episodes to choose from, it’s not only difficult to select just twelve but also to put them in some hierarchical order.
So after choosing my personal favorites and taking note of those which are the most popular/memorable, I’ve compiled a list that will provide you with two hours worth of Spongebob episodes that exhibit witty jokes and exemplary writing.
12. Mermaidman and Barnacleboy V
After Mermaidman keeps treating him like a kid, Barnacleboy decides to join E.V.I.L with Man Ray and the Dirty Bubble. To help defeat them, Spongebob and his friends join Mermaidman to form the International Justice League of Super Acquaintances. With witty jokes, fast pacing, and some eyebrow-raising Squidward moments, this is considered to be the best Mermaidman and Barnacleboy episode.
11. The Graveyard Shift
A simple yet classic episode in which Squidward and Spongebob are forced to work the night shift at the Krusty Krab. For his own amusement, Squidward spooks Spongebob with the made-up ghost story of the “Hash Slinging Slasher”…but after a series of coincidences, they both realize the story might NOT be made up after all. Arguably, one of the best moments in the episode is the ending…which features a cameo from none other than Nosferatu himself, the vampire from the famous 1922 silent horror movie.
10. The Camping Episode
This is another one of those episodes that needs no explanation. When Spongebob and Patrick go camping (ten feet from their houses), Squidward somehow gets involved and all hell breaks loose. Featuring classic jokes and the unforgettable “Campfire Song Song,” this episode is a gem.
9. Chocolate with Nuts
Spongebob and Patrick decide to become entrepreneurs by selling chocolate, and hilarity/danger/scandal beyond anyone’s comprehension ensues. You either love or hate this famous episode…but no one can deny that the scene with the two old ladies is probably the funniest scene in the entire series. That’s really all I need to say.
8. Rock Bottom
There really are no words for how unanimously loved this episode is. When Spongebob and Patrick get on the wrong bus, they suddenly find themselves in a pit of “advanced darkness” where a motley crew of scary-looking fish only speak in tongues. With jokes including the strange amusement park of Glove World, Spongebob trying desperately to get on a bus, and creepy creatures communicating in fart sounds, this episode is definitely one of the best in the entire series.
7. Club Spongebob
What a fantastic episode. Squidward ends up getting hopelessly lost in Kelp Forest with Spongbob and Patrick. As if that weren’t funny enough, it turns out that Spongebob and Patrick have deified their toy conch shell, which keeps denying Squidward food. Not only is this episode hysterical, it’s also a great commentary on groupthink, Stockholm syndrome, and societal worship.
6. Krusty Krab Training Video
Acclaimed as one of the most popular episodes in the series, “Krusty Krab Training Video” has all your favorite Spongebob gags in addition to looking like a totally weird instructional video from the 1980’s. With the help of an omnipotent narrator, Spongebob walks us through all the aspects of working at the Krusty Krab, with all of its perks and foibles.
5. Rock-a-Bye Bivalve
When Spongebob and Patrick find a helpless baby scallop, they decide to raise it together as a family. What soon follows is not only a funny sequence of events but also a very harsh criticism of current domestic issues. You heard correctly, folks. “Rock-a-Bye Bivalve” is probably the most controversial episode in the entire Spongebob Squarepants series. I’ll be the first to say that Spongebob episodes are pure escapism and humorous nonsense the majority of the time. But out of the very few episodes that actually have a moral or lesson, this one is the best and most daring. Read my full critique of it HERE
4. Tea at the Treedome
In this classic episode, we meet Sandy for the first time and wonder, “Why in the name of God is a squirrel living under water?” But alas, that question is never answered, because the pressing matter at hand is whether or not Spongebob is going to survive tea and cookies in her airtight treedome. The episode is truly genius considering the stakes are so high for the characters…not to mention the situation itself is bizarrely terrifying. And we can’t help but laugh out loud at Patrick’s futile attempts to console Spongebob from outside the dome. Classic.
3. Pizza Delivery
Yep, this is the one. Do I even need to say anything? No, but I will anyway. Spongebob and Squidward trek through no man’s land to delivery the first ever Krusty Krab pizza…and it is EPIC. Aside from some great gags, we also see one of Squidward’s first redeeming moments.
2. Dying for Pie
Definitely one of the best episodes in the entire series (and one of my personal favorites), which would explain why it was aired so much back in the day. When Squidward accidentally gives Spongebob a pie that turns out to be a bomb, Mr. Krabs guilts him into spending the rest of the day with Spongebob, considering he could explode at any moment. What follows is a brilliant episode with clever writing and wonderful jokes.
1. Band Geeks
Considered by many to be the greatest Spongebob Squarepants episode ever (and my personal favorite), “Band Geeks” is practically flawless for a number of reasons. The script is great, and it’s loaded with high stakes, a mix of both clever and absurd jokes, several memorable quotes, an inspiring moral, and an unforgettable musical sequence at the end. From Plankton trying to play the harmonica to the baton twirlers accidentally blowing up a blimp, all the gags are just as funny now as they were when the episode first aired.