The clock is ticking and SpongeBob knows it's time for Gary's bath, but as usual, the snail doesn't want to take it. SpongeBob, wary of the battle he's in for, tries various tricks to get Gary into the tub.
First, he throws a ball to the bathroom and tells Gary to fetch. However, it is a Boomerang Pet Ball, so it comes right back. Next, he straps a bomb to his own chest and tells Gary that it will explode if he doesn't take a bath. Gary doesn't move and, unfortunately, the bomb wasn't fake.
SpongeBob's next strategy is sending subliminal messages into Gary's brain, but the disturbing imagery doesn't help. He then tries calling a French restaurant, but he cannot understand the receiver's accent.
Next, SpongeBob plays leapfrog with Gary and throws him toward the bathtub, but misses and breaks Gary's shell. He tries to play leapfrog once more with the bandaged Gary, but receives a hard knock on the head with a cane. He then tries to bribe Gary saying he'll give a dollar to the next person who takes a bath, but out of nowhere, Mr. Krabs shows up in a mobile bathtub and snatches the dollar. A dance routine and a fake treasure hunt leading into the bathtub also fail, as do his attempts to physically force Gary in.
Getting frustrated, SpongeBob decides that if he can't bring Gary to the water, he'll simply have to bring the water to Gary. SpongeBob loads himself up with water and tries to spray it at Gary, who swiftly dodges every shot. He corners the latter in a tree and climbs up, unloading his ammo.
At first, SpongeBob fears the force of his water jet tore off Gary's skin, but realizes he only sprayed a gramophone playing a record of meowing. The real Gary steals SpongeBob's ladder, leaving him stuck on top of the tree. Then, SpongeBob notices Gary sneaking toward a mud puddle. He gives him a three-second count to get away from said mud puddle. However, SpongeBob accidentally falls in the mud himself, forcing him to take the bath under Gary's supervision instead.
Running Gag: SpongeBob trying to get Gary to take a bath.
This episode runs for 6 minutes and 31 seconds. It was the third episode running less than eleven minutes. The reason that this episode is that short is due to the length of its paired episode, "Shanghaied."
This episode was released on Sea Stories DVD and VHS before it aired on TV.
Despite the episode airing on Nickelodeon during the third season, this episode is part of the second season and every other Season 2 episode aired in 2000, 2001, and 2002.
On the May 14th, 2016 airing, a special preview for the CGI-animated feature The Angry Birds Movie was shown immediately following this episode at 10 a.m. EST and the sister episode "Shanghaied" is absent in this airing. Instead, it was paired up with the Season 9 episode "Squid Plus One."
In the German version of this episode, the episode is called "Die Wanne ist Voll," which means "The Tub is Full." This is a reference to a German song from the 1970s.
In the Spanish version this episode is called "Gary toma un baño," which translates to the episode's actual title, but in lowercase letters.
In the Polish dub, the episode's title is "Kąpiel Gacusia" ("Gary's Bath").
This episode (along with its paired episode, "Shanghaied") was banned in the United Kingdom and Australia due to the "don't drop the soap" gag involved in the script, which was regarded to as inappropriate for a children's cartoon. Also, while SpongeBob is "assaulting Gary's mind with subliminal messages," a picture of a strange, crossed-eyed girl with freckles and pigtails appears suddenly with a giggle that was deemed too frightening for younger viewers. After seven years of not airing, both episodes finally returned to Nickelodeon in Europe and Australia in September2008 for a single airing. After complaints from parents, the episodes were removed once again and have not aired since in both countries, despite being on the second region release of The Complete Second Season DVD. However, the episode (along with "Shanghaied") re-aired in Australia in November2010, and the episode returned to TV on February 27, 2011 in the UK.
One of the most controversial parts of the episode is where SpongeBob straps a bomb to himself to get Gary to bath, which is a parody of suicide bombers.
This episode was almost banned in the US because of the creepy subliminal message girl. Today, reruns of this episode air with the subliminal message girl uncut.
Despite this, however, the subliminal message girl became a popular internet meme.
The fact the Gary hates taking baths is based on how domestic cats don't like to get wet and Gary is an underwater parody of a cat. However, some weird cats do like water and Gary the snail already lives underwater.
When SpongeBob calls the French restaurant he tells them he has a snail who won't take a bath (because they serve escargot, which is snail, in a French restaurant) to scare Gary so he will take a bath but SpongeBob can't understand their accent and says it was like it was in a different language (which it was). It made it clear that SpongeBob cannot speak French.
This is the first episode in which Gary breaks his shell.
After being hit on the wall, Gary does not necessary need a cane because he doesn't need to walk. However, the cane could have been meant for self-defense.
This is the second time a record player was used to replace a character. The first was in "Pressure."
This is the second episode where SpongeBob addresses Gary as "Gary the Snail." The first was "Dumped."
List of ideas that SpongeBob tries to get Gary to take a bath:
Throwing a ball to the bathtub. However, it's a "boomerang pet ball," so it comes right back, and so does the box it came in.
Strapping a bomb to his chest and telling Gary that it will explode if he doesn't take a bath, the bomb explodes because Gary doesn't take a bath and SpongeBob doesn't deactivate the bomb.
Sending subliminal messages to Gary. A disturbing picture of a girl comes up, prompting him to apologize.
Calling a French restaurant (Because France has a popular dish called Escargot, made from snails). He can't understand a thing the person on the other end is saying.
Playing leapfrog with Gary. He tries to launch Gary into the tub, but misses and makes Gary's shell break.
SpongeBob tries to play leapfrog again, but Gary refuses and hits SpongeBob with a cane.
He bribes Gary with a dollar, telling him that the next "fellow" to take a bath in his house will receive it; Mr. Krabs arrives out of nowhere in a bathtub and takes it.
Fakes a treasure hunt and paints the bathtub to look like a treasure chest.
This episode aired in Germany on October 2, 2002, before it aired in the USA.
This episode release-wise is the last episode of Season 2.
When SpongeBob called the French restaurant, it had a purpose: One French dish was escargot, or cooked snail. However, escargot was land snail, not sea snail.
SpongeBob had painted the tub to make look like a treasure, in the next shot it was back to normal.
When SpongeBob hands Gary soap and a rubber duck, after he says "I don't know what a snail would want with a brooch!," in the next shot they were both gone.
Instead of SpongeBob's puns, the closed-captions say the correct thing instead of the pun. Example: "'Water' you waiting for, Gary?" becomes "What are you waiting for, Gary?"
After Gary takes away the ladder that SpongeBob used to climb the tree, a faraway view of the tree was shown, and the ladder is seen falling to the ground. However, in the next faraway view of the tree where SpongeBob falls out of the tree and into the mud puddle, the ladder was no longer there.
The tree in this episode was never seen in any other episodes, even though the place it should be was shown in other episodes.
The Sky description for the episode is "Gary takes a bath, well... what did you expect?" As stated above, Gary doesn't actually take a bath in the episode.