The Snail Clock is ticking and SpongeBob knows it's time for Gary's bath, but he doesn't want to take a bath. SpongeBob tries to put Gary in the bathtub, but he refuses, so SpongeBob tries various tricks to get him in.
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 chest and tells Gary that it will explode if he doesn't take a bath. Gary doesn't move and as a result, the bomb explodes. His next attempt is sending subliminal messages, but it just disturbs Gary when a creepy image of a girl comes up and Gary still doesn't go. He then tries calling a French restaurant, but he says that he doesn't understand the receiver's accent, and that it is likely they are speaking a different language (which they are). Next, he plays leapfrog but he throws Gary into the bathtub and misses, breaking Gary's shell. He tries to play leapfrog again while Gary is now shown injured with a cane, but Gary knocks him on the head with it. He then tries to bribe Gary saying he'll give a dollar for the next person takes a bath, but out of nowhere, Mr. Krabs shows up in a bathtub and takes the dollar. He tries dancing and a fake treasure hunt with a fake map and the bathtub being painted to be the treasure chest, but they fail too.
Getting frustrated, SpongeBob decides to bring the water to Gary if he can't bring him to the water. SpongeBob loads himself up with water and tries to shoot it at Gary, who swiftly dodges every shot. He corners Gary in a tree which he climbs up, but when SpongeBob shoots water at him, he thinks he bathed Gary too hard and removed his skin. It is shown that it is just a gramophone that looks like Gary that was originally played meows. The real Gary steals SpongeBob's ladder which now leaves SpongeBob stuck on top of the tree. Then, SpongeBob notices Gary sneaked towards a mud puddle. SpongeBob gives Gary a 3 second count to get away from the mud puddle. However, SpongeBob accidentally falls in the mud puddle which forces him to take the bath instead.
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 later 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 1970's.
In the Spanish version this episode is called "Gary toma un baño," which is translated to Gary takes a bath.
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.
It was also banned possibly for SpongeBob strapping a bomb to his chest.
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, re-runs of this episode airs with the subliminal message girl uncut. 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.
This is one of the few episodes in the entire series to only have three or less characters. Another example is "Rise and Shine."
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 episode aired in Germany on October 2, 2002, before it aired in the USA.
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.