|“||Well, I like to kick people's butts.||„|
|~ Flats' first lines.|
Flats the Flounder (simply known as Flats) is the main antagonist of the season 3 SpongeBob SquarePants episode "The Bully". He is a brutish bully who has a hobby of injuring others and attempts to kill Spongebob Squarepants several times.
He was voiced by Thomas F. Wilson.
Flats is first seen as Mrs. Puff's new student. He takes a seat next to Spongebob, but when the latter introduces himself, Flats threatens to kick his butt. Spongebob initially takes it as a joke, but Flats rips his chest hair off and his chest spells "I MEAN IT", Spongebob immediately realizes Flats means it.
Mrs. Puff then asks for a volunteer to draw a basic four way intersection and chooses Flats, who then draws various diagrams of him beating Spongebob up. Although it terrifies Spongebob, Mrs. Puff is instead impressed by his "creativity". Class ends and Spongebob makes a hasty retreat into a bathroom stall, but is found by Flats seconds later. Spongebob attempts to strike a conversation, but the bully simply states that he will kick Spongebob's butt "twice as hard" and leaves.
Spongebob picks up a nearby phone and discovers his friend Patrick on the line. He asks for Patrick's help but soon realizes that Flats is in fact inside Patrick's house and they are old community college friends. Patrick then hangs up, but not before claiming that Flats has to leave, since he is going to kick somebody's butt. In a state of panic, Spongebob confides in Mrs. Puff about Flats' intentions. Appalled, she agrees to speak with Flats. During recess, Mrs. Puff tells Spongebob that she spoke to Flats, and he said that he is from a place where kicking someone's butt means to befriend and hang out with them. As a clearly oblivious Mrs. Puff continues explaining, Spongebob notices Flats Flats making a sand replica of Spongebob before kicking it down.
Spongebob runs out of school campus and bumps into Flats' father and informs him of Flats' behavior. However, Flats sees this and chastises his own father for talking to strangers. The two then leave, with Flats' father afraid that his own son will kick his butt. Spongebob flees into the city and hides in a trash can, but Flats confronts him inside of garbage truck and chases him through the city. While running, a banana peel falls out of Spongebob's trash can and Flats drives over it, causing his truck to flip over and crash, critically injuring Flats.
He wakes up in the hospital some time later, and is informed that Spongebob perfomred five hours of CPR to safe his life, even though the doctors assured him he would be fine after a few minutes. Moved, Flats claims he will remember this kindness while kicking Spongebob's butt, causing Spongebob to flee to his home, but Flats arrives and kicks his door down seconds later. Spongebob puts a blindfold on and prepares for the worst. Flats punches him in the chest, but Spongebob does not feel it. He removes his blindfold and realizes that his sponge-like body is absorbing the blows.
Spongebob then goes about his daily routine as usual, all the while Flats punching him. Spongebob wakes up the next day, pours a bowl of cereal, and goes to school, still being punched by an exhausted Flats. Shortly after Spongebob takes his seat, Flats passes out from exhaustion, and Spongebob's classmates cheer for him. Spongebob stops their cheering, holds his fist, and claims that Flats is the true victim, for he went down a violent road to nowhere. Mrs. Puff the enters the class, and after seeing Flats' unconscious body and Spongebob's enclosed fist, she becomes enraged that Spongebob "beat up a new student" and threatens to kick his butt.
- Despite being enrolled in boating school, he was seen perfectly able to drive a dump truck (though he still crashed when he was unable to avoid the banana peel). However, it is possible that he lacked from a driving license and was driving illegally.
- Before "The Bully" was made, Flats first appears as a cameo in the season 1 episode "Sandy's Rocket" as one of SpongeBob's "alien hunting" victims. He also had the same role as the episode in the Sandy's Rocket book. He appears in another season 1 episode "Texas" where he attended at Sandy Cheek's Texas party.
- He is seen in the "Sandy's Rocket" segment of the book called Gone Nutty, where he had the same role he has in the episode.
- In the ending credits of The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, Flats makes a brief cameo appearance along with other Bikini Bottomites.
- In the season 11 episode "Squid Noir", he is one of the customers seen in the Krusty Krab, covering his ears due to Squidward's poor clarinet playing. In another season 11 episode "Don't Feed the Clowns", he is a customer of the bakery who got knocked out by getting hit with a pie thrown by little clown.
- In the season 12 episode "SpongeBob's Big Birthday Blowout", he is seen attending SpongeBob's birthday party along with other Bikini Bottomites.
- Flats is a flounder, which is a species of flatfish, who have both eyes on one half of their body.
- It's never really explained why he wants to kick SpongeBob's butt, though fans speculate it's for revenge for SpongeBob trapping him in Sandy's Rocket.
- Coincidentally, Thomas F. Wilson is known for playing another bully named Biff Tannen in the Back to the Future film series.
- Underneath his chest hair, Flats has a tattoo that reads "I mean it," to show that he is being serious.
- Despite returning in season 11, he does not have any lines in either of his appearances in the said season.
- On a side note, he does not have any lines in either of his season 1 appearances.
- In the biggest twist of irony, despite being the driving theme of the entire episode, Flats never actually kicks SpongeBob in the butt and decides to punch him instead.