|“||Why can't you just graduate out of my life?||„|
|~ Mrs. Puff|
Poppy Puff, better known as Mrs. Puff, is a character the cartoon show SpongeBob SquarePants, and the paranoid boating school teacher of the titular character.
Very rarely is Mrs. Puff positive; occasionally, she acts as an antagonist/anti-villainess. On average, her general characterization has become more negative over the series' run, growing increasingly hateful and afraid towards SpongeBob on occasions, even developing somewhat of a phobia. This is most likely due to years of having put up with SpongeBob's failures and the trouble he has caused. However, Puff has never outright told SpongeBob that she dislikes him nor that he will never get his driver's license; while still largely SpongeBob's, it can be argued that her suffering is partially her fault as a result of this.
While most see Puff's criminal record as largely SpongeBob's fault, it should be noted that she had this record before even moving to Bikini Bottom. Some of Mrs. Puff's statements in "No Free Rides" indicate that she has been forced to move and change her name as a result of her criminality at least once.
Unfortunately, the show's flanderization in post first movie seasons (Season 4-Season 9) saw her portrayal reached a controversial point, notably in "Demolition Doofus" where she displayed murderous breakdown in her attempt to kill SpongeBob for his incompetence and role in her inability to inflate. Although it appeared that Mrs. Puff was about to commit a genuine act of Moral Event Horizon and cemented her status as a villainess in process, the aforementioned portrayal was in truth, ridiculously irrational on the same vein with Squidward in both "Good Neighbors" and "The Little Yellow Book" as well as Mr. Krabs in "One Coarse Meal" taking into accounts of how she made efforts in her own part in ensuring her student's success. This of course, arguably became one of reasons of the late Stephen Hillenburg revised the show starting from second half of the end of Season 9 and the second movie of the franchise.
She is voiced by Mary Jo Catlett.
Pre-First Movie Seasons
|“||I've got to end this thing before it begins.||„|
|~ Mrs. Puff realizing her mistake about passing SpongeBob.|
Some small, early examples of Puff's antagonism can be seen in the season one episode "Scaredy Pants". In the said episode, Puff makes fun of SpongeBob for his fearful behavior during the Halloween by calling him "ScaredyPants" just like the others after startling him with her car's horn. As with those who made fun of the sponge, Puff gets a taste of her own medicine where she is terrified by SpongeBob's own terrifying form resulted from Patrick shaved upper half of his body to the point of him skinless and has eyes, brain, and mouth exposed in disturbing way just to further convince his cheap Flying Dutchman disguise. Although the episode "Sleepy Time" features Mrs. Puff in an antagonistic role where she tears SpongeBob's driving licence into pieces, this technically doesn't count since said "Mrs. Puff" was part of SpongeBob's own dream.
In "No Free Rides", in addition of aforementioned unspecified criminal record which forced her to move and change her identity at least once, Mrs. Puff finds herself resorted to steal SpongeBob's new car after passed him from her class just to get rid of him for good. She fears that SpongeBob will destroy the town because of this mistake. Later, she sneaks into SpongeBob's boatmobile and drives off with it, unaware that her student is sleeping in it. The two get into a fight and SpongeBob eventually discovers who the thief is. The boat crashes into a police car and Mrs. Puff ends up in jail.
|“||I'm going to kick your butt!||„|
|~ Mrs. Puff, upon assuming SpongeBob beat up Flatts.|
- Failing to notice his students (except SpongeBob)'s sudden change of behavior as soon as Flats enter where they unexpectedly wears paper masks over their face upon introducing the titular bully and later, abruptly moving their desks away from the middle of the room to elude him.
- Easily lied by Flats off-screen and failed to fully understand the flatfish's character, assuming that Flats just wants to be his friend instead of sensing that he is a legitimate threat to SpongeBob's well-being.
- Immediately believed SpongeBob to have beaten Flats just because the latter passed-out before the former and proceeds to "kick SpongeBob's butt" at the end of the episode despite clear evidences of Flats exhausted himself from futile attempts to hurt SpongeBob for hours.
Post-First Movie Seasons
|“||"Why are you still ALIVE!?"||„|
|~ Mrs. Puff's infamous quote from "Demolition Doofus".|
Post-first movie seasons show Puff involved in other small antagonistic acts which, due to the show's flanderization, increasingly negative and harmful that she would normally. In "Nautical Novice," Mrs. Puff is on a bus when she sees SpongeBob trying to catch up to her. She tells the bus driver to keep driving rather than stop for SpongeBob, despite the danger SpongeBob is in (he is running in the middle of the road). In "Boating Buddies," a temporarily-handicapped Squidward cannot pick up his pencil because of his bandages, rendering him unable to complete Mrs. Puff's test. Rather than supply Squidward an alternative assignment or more time, Mrs. Puff instantly fails him at the end of class, forcing Squidward to endure another week of sitting next to SpongeBob. While this gullibility is somewhat reminiscent to the one she displayed in "The Bully", this one took it to more extreme levels.Some later episodes of the series show that Mrs. Puff has become increasingly violent, and she occasionally resorts to violence as a first. In "SpongeBob LongPants," Mrs. Puff hears that another driving instructor has passed SpongeBob. She panics, saying that it is the "end of the world," then starts to lock her doors, bar her windows, and collect rations. She is last seen holding a large harpoon and wearing a war helmet. "Demolition Doofus" sees the worst turn in Mrs. Puff's flanderized role, as well as the most controversial and ridiculously out of character one. After one of SpongeBob's failed attempts at driving, Puff's inflation sac is ruptured and she is told she can no longer inflate, resulting in her hatred of SpongeBob to skyrocket. While at the hospital, she sees injured demolition derby drivers and enters SpongeBob in the annual demolition derby, hoping he will die in a desperate attempt to rid her life of SpongeBob. However, SpongeBob survives (due to his reckless driving) and becomes a star, much to Mrs. Puff's displeasure. She then snaps and crosses the Moral Event Horizon by driving a large monster truck and attempting to murder SpongeBob herself. Puff finally regains both her sanity and puffing ability after crashing into her boating school.
As the show's flanderization progressively deteriorated qualities in characters and storyline in it, not even Mrs. Puff's portrayal that escape this degradation: In stark contrast of "Doing Time" where Mrs. Puff tries to beg the police to not arrest SpongeBob and stating that he is "just a student driver" and thus does not deserve to be arrested, "Oral Report" has her evilly laughs and tells SpongeBob while saying, "Finally! The long arm of the law's caught up with you! I guess I won't be seeing you in my driver's education class for the next 5 to 10 years!" when the police confront SpongeBob. Not only this (coupled with "Demolition Doofus" shows how contrasted her portrayals in between Pre-First Movie Seasons and Post-First Movie Seasons, but also among degradation of shows itself after departure of original crews of the show's creators, which culminated with Stephen Hillenburg's return to revise the series.
- Ever since the beginning of the series, Mrs. Puff has had her own criminal record, which explains her frequent arrests. Some offenses include ditching jury duty or littering, but the majority are for SpongeBob's reckless driving and being blamed for it. It has been implied by an officer that driving teachers in Bikini Bottom are held responsible for some of their students' crimes.