This is the page about Imitation Krabs. If you were looking for the article about the robot, then see Robot Krabs.

"Imitation Krabs" is a SpongeBob SquarePants episode from season two. In this episode, Plankton disguises himself as a robot version of Mr. Krabs.



Plankton, in his newest bid for the Krabby Patty secret formula, enters the Krusty Krab as a robotic salesman. He presents SpongeBob with an offer for one million dollars if he reveals the formula. SpongeBob explains, in no uncertain terms, that the formula is the property of Mr. Krabs and may not be divulged. Enraged, Plankton bursts out of the robot and threatens SpongeBob with violence, only to be caught by Mr. Krabs and shot out from a straw
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back to the Chum Bucket. Mr. Krabs stresses the importance of the formula’s safety to SpongeBob, who takes it upon himself to be more vigilant. However, SpongeBob attacks a customer mentioning the formula in passing, thinking him to be Plankton in another disguise. To prevent further customer trauma, Mr. Krabs clarifies that the formula will be safe as long as SpongeBob only discusses it with him.

Little do they know that Plankton’s newest robotic disguise has been made in the image of Mr. Krabs. He first encounters Squidward, tasked by the real Mr. Krabs to take inventory of the storage room. Plankton, as Imitation Krabs, fails to fool Squidward, but the offer of a day off buys Squidward's silence. SpongeBob enters as Squidward skips out and notices Imitation Krabs, who he believes is Mr. Krabs; the oddities of the robotic suit only slightly faze SpongeBob. When Mr. Krabs starts calling, however, Imitation Krabs distracts SpongeBob and hides. To keep Mr. Krabs out of the way, Plankton takes out a penny and sends it rolling into Mr. Krabs’ office. The enticing coin lures Mr. Krabs out of the restaurant, leaving Plankton's plan unimpeded.

Imitation Krabs finds SpongeBob cleaning the kitchen and begins asking him about the formula. SpongeBob is surprised that his boss hasn’t initiated the secret handshake, so Imitation Krabs allows SpongeBob to lead them in it. The ritual, encompassing many increasingly ridiculous feats and lasting for six and a half hours, leaves Plankton worn out from controlling Imitation Krabs. SpongeBob still won’t discuss the formula, bringing Plankton to the boiling point until SpongeBob explains that it simply must not be discussed out loud. He pulls out a bottle containing the coveted recipe in written form, which Imitation Krabs approaches eagerly.

Imitation krabs


Suddenly, the rolling penny enters the kitchen, followed by the real Mr. Krabs. He gets into an argument with Imitation Krabs, each of them trying to convince SpongeBob that he is the genuine article. Unable to handle this paradox, SpongeBob threatens the both of them with a vat of tartar sauce until he gets some answers. He decides the most suitable way to weed out the impostor is to present the two with a quiz about the Krusty Krab. The first two questions are generic ones that anyone who's been to the Krusty Krab can answer and Imitation Krabs answers them both. The third question is one that is so complicated that even the real Mr. Krabs can't answer. SpongeBob, believing the real Krabs to be the impostor, promptly blasts him with the tartar sauce and rolls him out the door in a fry basket.

SpongeBob presents Imitation Krabs with the formula, and Plankton laughs in triumph. However, SpongeBob finds the penny that Mr. Krabs was chasing and unwittingly drops it into Imitation Krabs' coin operated self-destruct mechanism. Plankton briefly ponders the intelligence of such a design choice before making a frantic dash back to the Chum Bucket, but arrives too late and the robot blows the restaurant sky-high. As the secret formula bottle rolls back toward SpongeBob, he realizes his grave error. SpongeBob then saves Mr. Krabs from a live-action human hand wielding a fork and carts him back to the Krusty Krab. SpongeBob apologizes to Mr. Krabs, who forgives him but says that the penny is coming out of his paycheck. As they laugh together, SpongeBob asks, "Really?"



 ) Associated production music
 ) Original music
 ) SpongeBob music
  The Twin Sisters - Chelmsford Folk Band [title card]

  Wondrous Pastures - John Fox [opening]
  Night Butcher - Richard A. Harvey [Plankton inside a robot]
  Top Gameshow [#25.02] - David Arnold, Paul Hart [one million dollars]
  Quiz Logo 1 - Dave Hewson [SpongeBob about to answer the question]
  Monster Bug (a) - Gregor F. Narholz ["Plankton!"/"Krabs!"]
  Facing the Challenge [#14.02] - Gregor F. Narholz ["I will not let you down!"]
  Hawaiian Link (a) - Richard Myhill ["Could you let me down?"]
  West Side Rumble - Sam Spence [code twelve]
  The Tip Top Polka/The Cliff Polka - Chelmsford Folk Band [the most important rule]
  Captain Lenoe's - Michael Arthur, Colin Cater, Mick Graves, The Folk Players, Sarah Graves, Simon Ritchie ["Huh?"]
  Footsteps of Horror - W. Merrick Farran [robot Mr. Krabs]
  Harp Ding - Nicolas Carr ["Well, whatever you say, Mr. Krabs!"]
  Enter the Villain - Chris Payne, Paul Rogers ["Oh, sweet domination, this is it!"]
  Duel in the Dust - Sam Spence [robot turns into a toaster]
  Dissonance - Dick Stephen Walter ["Day... OOOFFFFFF?!?!?!?!"]
  Action Cut (a) - Gregor F. Narholz ["Hey, Mr. Krabs, just taking out that garbage."]
  Frankenstein's Niece (d) - Gregor F. Narholz [garbage vaporized]
  Vibe Link (a) - Richard Myhill ["I don't know, Mr. Krabs... I don't know."]
  Monster [#51.01] - Wolfgang Kafer [ordinary penny]
  Vibe Q Sting - Nicolas Carr ["That sound..."]
  Black Stockings - David Lindup [Krabs chases the penny]
  Shock (d) - Dave Hewson ["Nothing stands between me and that secret formula now!"]
  Heavy Footsteps (a) - Paddy Kingsland [SpongeBob scrubbing floor]
  The Rake Hornpipe - Robert Alexander White [secret handshake]
  Shock (g) - Dave Hewson ["But we did everything you said!"]
  House of Horror - W. Merrick Farran ["This is it, Plankton."]
  Shock Horror (a) - Dick Stephen Walter [Krabs breaches the kitchen's door]
  Games Played in the Dark - Richard A. Harvey ["How could you do this, SpongeBob?"]
  War of Nerves - John Scott [tartar sauce]
  Cold Sweat - John Scott [SpongeBob asking questions]
  Point of Departure (k) - Gregor F. Narholz ["Wait, SpongeBob!"]
  Death Trap - Gregor F. Narholz [robotic laughter]
  Hawaiian Link (b) - Richard Myhill ["Help!"]
  The Rake Hornpipe - Robert Alexander White [ending]



  • As of September 17, 2017, The Internet Movie Database (IMDB) gives this episode a rating of 9.3/10 based on 418 ratings by users.[1] users give this episode a rating of 9.1/10 based on 182 votes.[2]
  • "Imitation Krabs" was ranked #77 during the Best Day Ever event on November 9–10, 2006.


  • 6 1/2 Hours Later

  • This is the last episode (alongside "Dying For Pie") to premiere in 2000.
  • The episode title was a play on imitation crab, fake crab meat, which is used in salads and California rolls.
  • Bikini Bottom National Anthem is heard again in "Little Yellow Book."
  • Irony: Plankton could've just used his robot suit to get a Krabby Patty instead of asking SpongeBob what the formula was.
    • Another Irony: He could've used the million dollar trick on Mr. Krabs instead of SpongeBob.
  • Mr. Krabs says that he does not know the meaning of "taking the day off." On "Bubble Buddy," SpongeBob had the day off. Mr. Krabs even insists on letting SpongeBob be excused from work until he can think straight again in "Pickles." In "Suds," "SquidBob TentaclePants," "Not Normal," and "Stuck in the Wringer," he lets SpongeBob (and Squidward in "SquidBob TentaclePants") take the day off. He gives employees the day off if they are not working well. Also, the Krusty Krab is closed in certain episodes.
  • Running gags:
    • Every time Plankton's Robot Krabs says a lie, its engine backfires, and smoke can be seen from the exhaust pipe.
    • Plankton says "Ouch" throughout.
  • The captions aren't in all caps, but when SpongeBob yells "Quiet!" to Robot Krabs and Mr. Krabs when they are bickering, the word "Quiet!" is in all caps.
    • This is probably because he was yelling.
  • The prices of the Krabby Patty as mentioned in the question below are the same prices used at McDonald's: $2.99 for burger, 99¢ on Wednesday.
  • When Robot Krabs says "gasp," it's different in Mexican Nickelodeon in Spanish he says "adivina?" which means "guess" in English.
  • In this episode, the National Bikini Bottom Anthem is revealed.
  • There is a book mostly based on this episode called Good Enough to Eat!
  • This is the second time in the series that the face on a coin actually moves. The first time was in "Squid's Day Off," when the dime winks at Mr. Krabs. The penny gasps as Mr. Krabs returns and sees SpongeBob giving the secret recipe to Plankton in Robot Krabs.
  • Mr. Krabs is again accused of being a robot imposter in "Krab Borg."
  • The two following episodes have the robot from this episode reused:
    • "New Leaf": It was seen in a pile of Plankton's old experiments.
    • "Spy Buddies": When Mr. Krabs and Plankton change positions, the latter uses it to control again.
  • Mr. Krabs later gets eaten in the ending to "Wishing You Well."
  • Although "tartar sauce" is commonly used as a minced oath in the series, this is the first episode to actually show it.
  • The closed-captions were extensively modified for when SpongeBob told about the disclaimer for the Krabby Patty secret formula.
  • Plankton's 1,000,000 dollars were used as the background on "The Cent of Money" title card.
  • When the ten-second countdown for self-destruct sequence activates, Robot Krabs actually explodes after ten seconds.
  • In Indonesia, the narrator says, "2 1/2 Hours Later."
    • In Hebrew, the timecard saying "6 1/2 hours later" is written in words instead of numbers, and moreover, the word "half" is misspelled "חציא" instead of "חצי," similar to writing "halfe" instead of "half."
  • Considering SpongeBob asked questions that Mr. Krabs was unable to answer, it's possible he knows more about the Krusty Krab (and probably the rules) than his employer. However, since Mr. Krabs was the one who created the Krusty Krab, it's also possible he was under pressure and forgot the rules.
    • It should be noted that Mr. Krabs didn't necessarily answer the first two questions incorrectly, but rather Plankton simply answered them faster than he did.
  • Among the things in Mr. Krabs' storage room was chum sauce.
  • At one point in the episode, in the background, Harold "Bill" Reginald is seen holding the top bun of his Krabby Patty in one hand, holding the rest of the patty in the other, and licking the patty, for some strange reason.
  • The head of Plankton's first robot is later seen in the console version of the video game Creature From the Krusty Krab during the minigame of the Supersized Patty level.
  • SpongeBob mentions the episode title by saying "So Long, Imitation Krabs Buh Bye!"
  • This episode takes place after "F.U.N." because Plankton knows what a Jellyfish is.
  • Plankton once again shouts, "I went to college!" He first used this quote in "Plankton!"
  • It seems strange that Plankton builds a coin-operated self-destruct on his robot, then places it on the outside, rather than the inside, of the cockpit.
  • In the Polish dub, the episode's title is "Fałszywy pan Krab" translating to "Fake Mr. Krabs."
    • In the Croatian dub, the episode name is "Lažni Gospodin Klještić" translating to "Fake Mr. Krabs."
  • This episode confirms that Mr. Krabs patented the Krabby Patty secret formula at some point, with SpongeBob explicitly stating that duplication of the formula is punishable by law. With that in mind, even if Plankton did somehow manage to steal the formula, Mr. Krabs could just sue him for copyright infringement, rendering the theft pointless.
  • This episode takes place before "The Curse of Bikini Bottom" even though there is no reference to Robot Krabs in that episode. This is because that the part of that episode after the "Several Months Later" time card took place 3 months (or longer than that) after "Scaredy Pants."
  • This is the second time that Patrick Star does not appear in both segments.
  • Plankton's line "Ravioli ravioli, give me the formu-oli"has become a popular Internet meme.

Cultural references

  • Robot Krabs' transformation into a toaster is a reference to Transformers.
  • Plankton yelling "WHAAAAAAAAAT?!" and his robot suit's eyes bursting into flame is a reference to Disney's Hercules, where Hades does the same thing.


  • When Plankton jumps on SpongeBob's nose, it's longer. It could be because Plankton needed to have room to stand on.
  • When Mr. Krabs said "I don't know the meaning of them horrible words." the white part on his shirt is transparent.
  • When Plankton goes into The Krusty Krab as the salesman robot, for the few seconds the door is open, the Krusty Krab is dark.
  • When SpongeBob asks the question: "If we're discussing the secret formula on the third Wednesday in January, and it's not raining outside after we gargle with vanilla pudding, what do we do?" the word "vanilla" is excluded from the captions.
  • At the end, when SpongeBob is pushing Mr. Krabs from Hans, the sign "Special" is duplicated for a couple of seconds.
    • Also, the secret formula is missing from SpongeBob's hand, then later it appears again.
  • When Mr. Krabs enters the door a second time, Spongebob's jellyfishing net is missing.
  • When Squidward is doing the inspection, there is a bag said "Kelp Meal," but in a later scene, the bag said "Keep Meal."
  • A closed caption mistake When Mr. Krabs said "Day… off?!". When he shouted the word "Off?!" the caption just said "(bellowing)."
  • When SpongeBob inserted the coin into Robot Krabs' self-destruct slot, the robot went straight to the Chum Bucket and explodes. Then, the secret formula Bottle rolls from the burned restaurant to SpongeBob at the Krusty Krab. In reality, this would've been impossible to happen, because if a building explodes so badly that it barely leaves anything unharmed, the bottle should've been destroyed as well.
  • When SpongeBob is about to take out the garbage, Plankton uses the robot's heat vision to disintegrate it. Later on, the garbage is still seen in the corner.
  • When Plankton throws the penny to Mr. Krabs' office, the door was open. The door is then closed when SpongeBob is knocking.
  • The things Plankton said when we see him in the cockpit of robot Mr. Krabs (when he's sort of audibly narrating his thoughts) should have spoken by robot Mr. Krabs as well.
  • At the beginning, SpongeBob's nose is slightly larger than usual.
  • In the scene after SpongeBob tells Mr. Krabs that he was going to ask a question, the clipper on SpongeBob's nose disappears.
  • At the part where Mr. Krabs tells SpongeBob that if he regards the secret formula, the secret would be safe, The floor coloring is blue rather than green.
  • When Mr. Krabs accuses Imitation Krabs of being a robot, Imitation Krabs has Mr. Krabs's white shirt, which he does not have throughout the rest of the episode.
  • When SpongeBob says "If that was Plankton... uh oh!" The secret formula gets slanted in his hand when he says "Uh oh!"


Ravioli ravioli, give me the formuoli

Ravioli ravioli, give me the formuoli


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