SpongeBob and Patrick are strolling through Bikini Bottom and see Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy in the Invisible Boat Mobile, without gas. SpongeBob and Patrick push the boat over several hills.
Barnacle Boy invites them into their warehouse full of memorabilia from their T.V. show. Barnacle Boy shows them a time machine which they have never used, and warn them to not use it.
But Patrick mistakes it for a vending machine, and all of them are transported to 1954 when Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy are young. They see Man Ray tormenting old Bikini Bottom. Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy are unsuccessful at foiling Man Ray due to Patrick eating the tartar sauce they were originally going to trap him in.
SpongeBob and Patrick escape old Bikini Bottom, leaving their Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy behind. When SpongeBob and Patrick return to Bikini Bottom, it is no longer called Bikini Bottom, but Man Rayopolis. They go to the Krusty Krab which now has no name.
The superheroes from their time are now dead and buried inside of the restaurant. While the past superheroes now work there. Mermaid Man is the fry cook, SpongeBob's position, and Barnacle Boy is the cashier, Squidward's position. They go back to stop Patrick from eating the tartar sauce, but the heroes who were sent by accident believe they are impostors. The Mermaid Men fight which creates the perfect distraction for Man Ray. The young Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy attempt to foil Man Ray with the tartar sauce, but the two Patricks end up eating it. Another warehouse appears.
SpongeBob and Patrick from a different time period emerge from the warehouse screaming "Patrick, don't eat the tartar sauce!" Another warehouse appears above of Man Ray and out fall SpongeBob and Patrick. Yet another one appears with SpongeBob saying to Patrick "I told you we had to go back further!"
Another one pops to Man Ray's left with Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy leaping out of it exclaiming, "Up, up and away!" They both fall headfirst into the ground. Another one appears above of the previous warehouse with the superheroes. SpongeBob and Patrick appear and throw a batch of tartar sauce over the fallen superheroes from the previous warehouse.
Another one appears next to the pair of warehouses. Man Ray flies out of it, destroys it, says, "I took care of your blasted time machine!" and leaves. All of the warehouses appearing in random locations confuses Man Ray. Man Ray sits down on a log and thinks about what is happening, but gets arrested by the superheroes. Then all of a sudden many warehouses appear all over the planet, all of them containing multiple copies of SpongeBob and Patrick.
( ‣ ) Associated production music
( • ) Original music
( ◦ ) SpongeBob music
•Happy Sponge Chase Vibes - Nicolas Carr [title card] •Kalua Jubilee - Sage Guyton, Jeremy Wakefield [opening] •Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy Theme - Michael Bolger, Nicolas Carr, Pat Irwin [SpongeBob sees Mermaid Man, Barnacle Boy] ‣Thrift Shop - Kapono Beamer [SpongeBob and Patrick pushing the Invisible Boatmobile] ‣West Point - David Farnon [locker of memories] ‣Alien Spacecraft A - Gregor F. Narholz ["This is our time machine."] ‣ ? [Patrick mistakes it for a vending machine] ‣ ? [they go back in time] ‣Moon Walk - John Fox ["Where are we?"] •Stumbling Tumbleweeds - Nicolas Carr, Sage Guyton, Jeremy Wakefield ["Everything looks so old-fashioned."] ‣Cartoon Sting 7 - Gerhard Narholz [storm clouds] •Evil Empire - Ron Wasserman [Man Ray zaps the windmill] •Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy Theme - Michael Bolger, Nicolas Carr, Pat Irwin [young Mermaid Man, Barnacle Boy introduced] •Steel Sting - Jeremy Wakefield [Patrick ate all the tartar sauce] •Vibe Sting - Nicolas Carr ["Curious."] •Horror House of Wax Retro 2 - Ron Wasserman ["This is creeping me out!"] •Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy Theme - Michael Bolger, Nicolas Carr, Pat Irwin ["Mermaid Man, Barnacle Boy are always here to help the elderly."] ‣ ? [SpongeBob and Patrick going forward in time] •Lap Steel - Nicolas Carr ["That's more like it!"] ‣Martial Crisis - Jack Shaindlin [Man-Ray-opolis] ‣Search Party 1 - Harry Bluestone, Emil Cadkin [Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy work at the Krusty Krab] •Drowsy Reef - Jeremy Wakefield, Sage Guyton ["I lost the desire, the physique to fight long ago."] •Dirgey - Steve Marston ["I am so sorry for your loss of... yourself."] ‣ ? ["Tartar sauce?!"] ‣Accusation - Gerhard Trede ["The topping that destroyed life as we knew it!"] ‣Dramatic Impact 6 - Ivor Slaney [Patrick ate all the tartar sauce] • ? - Jeremy Wakefield [Patrick burps] ‣Danger Sign - Harry Bluestone, Emil Cadkin ["I knew I recognized you from somewhere!"] ‣Steel Licks (a) - Jeremy Wakefield [Mermaid Man's collar comes off] ‣Variety Link (d) - Dick Stephen Walter ["Ta-da! You're free!"] ‣Adventurers - Larry Hochman ["Can we coax you out of retirement to save the known universe?"] ‣Star Premiere - Sammy Burdson, John Charles Fiddy ["Let the lighthouse of justice shine on Ray Man!"] ‣ ? [they go back in time] ‣Creatures in the Closet - Cris Velasco [Man Ray zaps the windmill] ‣Crime Squad - John Cameron ["Not so fast, Man Ray."] •Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy Theme - Michael Bolger, Nicolas Carr, Pat Irwin ["Keep your tongue out of our tartar sauce!"] •Vibe Q Sting - Nicolas Carr ["What do you make of this, Barnacle Boy?"] ‣Red Alert - Harry Bluestone, Emil Cadkin ["You old coots provided me the perfect distraction!"] •Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy Theme - Michael Bolger, Nicolas Carr, Pat Irwin [empty tartar sauce bucket] • ? - Jeremy Wakefield ["Wow, I've never eaten that much tartar sauce."] ‣Warlord - Wolfgang Kafer [Man Ray laughs evilly] ‣Battle March Link (a) - Keith Mansfield ["Patrick, don't eat the tartar sauce!"] •Slide Whistle Song - Nicolas Carr, Sage Guyton, Jeremy Wakefield [several time machines appear] •Lap Steel - Nicolas Carr [Man Ray confused] •Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy Theme - Michael Bolger, Nicolas Carr, Pat Irwin [Man Ray arrested] •Twelfth Street Rag - Sage Guyton, Jeremy Wakefield [ending]
In this episode, Barnacle Boy refers to the Invisible Boat Mobile as "The Invisiboat."
"Back to the Past" aired in the UK on April 2, 2010.
The original past when Man Ray is brought to justice via tarter sauce can be referenced to "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy III" where Man Ray is shown to be entombed in frozen tarter sauce.
This episode could possibly explain why Man Ray has turned good in Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy III, but is evil in most other episodes after it. As they altered the future, so Man Ray was never frozen in Tartar sauce to later be awakened, and turned good. Instead he went straight to jail. Thus he remained evil.
Running Gag: Whenever there was tartar sauce, Patrick would eat it up.
When tons of objects fall down on Mermaid Man, Man Ray's head is visible and can be seen falling down on Mermaid Man's head.
SpongeBob says "jaywalking" in this episode. The term "jaywalking" and Ernest Borgnine's birth had happened in the same year.
Man-Rayopolis is a play on George Orwell's 1984. The poster featuring Man Ray's eyes watching SpongeBob and Patrick with the words, "He's watching you," is a reference to 1984's famous phrase, "Big Brother is watching you."
Young Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy were played by Adam West and Burt Ward, who played Batman and Robin in the 1966-68 live-action Batman TV series.
Another reference to Back to the Future is that SpongeBob and Patrick time-traveled to 1954, while Marty McFly traveled to 1955.
When SpongeBob said "Man Ray's Power Glove!," it's a reference to Mattel's Power Glove.
When SpongeBob and Patrick went back to the present and found that Man Ray was taking over due to Patrick altering history, it's similar to when in Back To The Future II, Biff's 2015 counterpart altered history by giving his 1955 counterpart the Sports Almanac and then the 1955 Biff became corrupt
When SpongeBob and Patrick are traveling back to the present, the clocks are moving backwards instead of forwards.
Near the end, SpongeBob's skin color is a lot darker than normal.