If you were looking for the article about the comic book, then see Mermaid Man & Barnacle Boy.

"Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy" is a SpongeBob SquarePants episode from season one. In this episode, SpongeBob and Patrick learn that their heroes are retired.


Barnacle Boy and SpongeBob

Barnacle Boy tells SpongeBob he won't come out of retirement.


While pestering Squidward and calling him Reflecto, SpongeBob and Patrick find out that their heroes, Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy, are in fact living in the Shady Shoals underwater

Lunch line at Shady Shoals

retirement home, and they then attempt to bring Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy out of retirement, much to the annoyance of the geriatric Bikini Bottom superheroes who only want their TV to get fixed. Patrick and SpongeBob are constantly thrown out of the retirement home by the working caretaker. SpongeBob and Patrick go through all kinds of hilarious antics, including painting the Boatmobile to faking a purse robbery, to reunite their superhero pals and eventually succeed, thereby creating Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy's new show: The New Adventures of Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy.

The phone gets broken, and when Mermaid Man hangs up the phone, a comic book bubble appears and dramatizes the words "HANG UP!" When Mermaid Man sits down, the bubble appears again and says "SIT!!" Will our heroes ever get their phone fixed? Tune in next week and find out. And when SpongeBob winks, the bubble appears again, saying "WINK!" right before the episode ends.




 ) Associated production music
 ) Original music
 ) SpongeBob music
  The Lineman - Sam Spence [title card]

  Arizona Fanfare - Jack Shaindlin [opening]
  The Adventure Begins - Jonathan Neal [SpongeBob and Patrick dressed as Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy]
  Enter the Villain - Chris Payne, Paul Rogers ["Reflecto, up to no good!"]
  Super Hero - Tony Hymas ["Donuts!"]
  Call to Destiny (a) - Ron Goodwin ["Creatures of the deep, assemble!"]
  Police Car - Sam Spence [a jellyfish appears]
  Death Trap - Gregor F. Narholz ["Reflecto has found our secret lab!"]
  Super Hero - Tony Hymas ["Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy reunite!"]
  Hawaiian Link (b) - Richard Myhill [rest home exterior]
  Seaweed - Steve Belfer [Mermaid Man, Barnacle Boy watching TV]
  War Agitato - Jack Shaindlin [Mermaid Man panics/Mermaid Man panics again]
  Hymn of Achievement [#7.03] - Gregor F. Narholz [SpongeBob's speech about old people]
  Queen's Aloha Oe B - Kapono Beamer, Queen Lili'uokalani [lunch]
  You're Nice - Sage Guyton, Jeremy Wakefield ["Do you remember when the food supply in Atlantis was running low?"]
  Wedding Procession - Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Leslie Pearson [SpongeBob kicked out]
  Hawaiian Link (a) - Richard Myhill [later...]
  Sweet Annabelle - Sam Fonteyn [SpongeBob dressed as a lady]
  Blackbeard - Sam Fonteyn [Patrick dressed as a burglar]
  Blood in the Gutter - Laurie Johnson [Mermaid Man sleeping with eyes open]
  SpongeBob Closing Theme - Steve Belfer, Nicolas Carr [painting the Invisible Boatmobile]
  War Agitato - Jack Shaindlin ["Evil!"]
  Arizona Fanfare - Jack Shaindlin [fanfare]
  The Lineman - Sam Spence [water balls/"Sea creatures, attack!"]
  Moloka'i Nui A - Kapono Beamer ["I feel five years younger."]
  Arizona Fanfare - Jack Shaindlin [SpongeBob and Patrick watching the new show]
  Caped Crusader - David Farnon [Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy playing checkers]
  Police Car - Sam Spence [sting at end]



  • As of September 9, 2018, The Internet Movie Database (IMDB) gives this episode a rating of 8.6/10 based on 569 ratings by users.[1] users give this episode a rating of 8.7/10 based on 219 votes.[2]
  • "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy" was ranked #37 during the Best Day Ever event on November 9–10, 2006.



  • This episode marks the first appearance of Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy.
    • Mermaid Man's first line in the series was "Uh, are they here to fix the T.V.?" while Barnacle Boy's was "Hey, who are those guys?"
    • In addition, both of their first lines were questions.
  • Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy have five fingers as youngsters, though as elders, they have four. This could be a technical fault since four fingered gloves were easier to draw.
  • When SpongeBob and Patrick are first asking the man at the front desk to see Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy, an article on the inside of his newspaper reads, "School Drop Out Rate Soars." This has double meaning because "school" is also the name of a group of fish.
  • The old captain is played by the man who guards the gates at Nickelodeon Animation Studio in Burbank, California. He is also the inspiration for the character "Old Kid" from Invader Zim.
  • When Mermaid Man picks up the phone during the game of checkers, the phone's ringtone is the same sound effect used for number 11 of the thirteen bad words in "Sailor Mouth."
  • Running Gags: Mermaid Man screaming "EVILLL!," SpongeBob and Barnacle Boy saying "There's evil afoot!," and the winking old man.
  • This is the only episode in which the Mermalair is called the Sea Cave.
  • This is the first episode of the Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy series.
  • This is the first episode to use music from the NFL, "The Lineman," which was used in most of the Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy episodes.
  • Before SpongeBob and Patrick are watching TV, when Mermaid Man talks with Barnacle Boy, there were two Old Man Jenkins, Green and Blue.
  • This marks the first appearances of Mermaid Man, Old Men Jenkins, Dennis, Mary, Mrs. Shell, Lonnie, Sylvester, Richard, Mable, Other Residents and Shady Shoals Rest Home.
  • This episode contains the first mention of Man Ray, although, Man Ray wasn't seen until "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy III."
  • During a tribute to Ernest Borgnine, this episode was paired with "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy II."
  • The sequels to this episode used the same title card art until "Mermaid Man & Barnacle Boy VI: The Motion Picture."
  • This episode premiered on Stephen Hillenburg's 38th birthday.
  • Atlantis is first mentioned in this episode before making its first actual appearance in the episode "Neptune's Spatula."
  • In the episode "Jellyfish Jam," Squidward said that SpongeBob is the only guy he knows who can have fun with a jellyfish, but in this episode he relaxes with a jellyfish. This may mean that this episode takes place after "Jellyfish Jam."

Cultural references

  • The ironic thing about this is that in most comic books, the dramatization of simple words usually comes in on action fighting scenes, but in this SpongeBob episode, it exaggerates the word dramatization as a reference to the 1960's Batman TV series.
  • Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy are parodies of both Aquaman and Aqualad and Batman and Robin.
  • The Adventures of Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy is a parody of the Batman TV show from the 1960's as well as that of Filmation's Aquaman animated series.
  • The Aqua Phone is a parody of the Bat Phone from Batman. It is also a possible parody of the Hotline Phone from the Powerpuff Girls.
  • The Invisible Boatmobile is a parody of both Wonder Woman's Invisible Jet and the Batmobile.
  • Reflecto may be a parody of Electro.
  • The Sea Cave may be a reference to the Batcave.
  • When SpongeBob and Patrick are performing the "Burglar" attempt, the way SpongeBob says help, (Hay-ulp!) is a direct reference to The Perils of Penelope Pitstop, in which the main character Penelope Pitstop's catchphrase is that exact line.


  • When Patrick takes the doughnut from the box, it is orange, but when they "unite," it is replaced with the chocolate one which was left in the box. After that scene, it changes to the normal doughnut again.
  • When Mermaid Man hears SpongeBob say, "There's evil afoot!" and goes crazy and hugs a coral and says, "Barnacle Boy! Come quick! I've got the evil!" the captions read, "Barnacle Boy! Don't forget there's evil!" In the same scene, when Mermaid Man sprays himself with a water fountain and shouts, "Death ray!" the captions read, "Disgrace!"
  • After Patrick takes SpongeBob's purse and peers out from behind the building, the purse is seen floating beside him.
  • Barnacle Boy puts the wrong ring on Mermaid Man's hand.
  • After Mermaid Man says the oath, both his and Barnacle Boy's rings disappear.
  • Mermaid Man illegally moves one of his checkers into a red space before the screen switches to "King Me!"
    • Many illegal moves had to have been present before the show begins as you can see multiple pieces on red squares.  Either the undersea version of Checkers has vastly different rules, Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy are too senile to remember how to play, or this is an error.
    • Also, on Mermaid Man's last move, he moves 3 spaces forward and 1 to his left.  This results in an impossible jump (which captures no pieces) or an illegal move.
  • When Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy say "Dog paddle, away!" and start dog paddling, you can clearly see Mermaid Man's socks are missing. Afterwards, they return.
  • When Mermaid Man says "Up, up and away" while rocking, Barnacle Boy appears to be saying it too, but with no voice.
    • Also, the animation appears wrong.
  • In this episode, Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy are revealed to have come out of retirement but in later episodes they seem to be still staying in Shady Shoals, such as in "Night Light," "Mermaid Man & Barnacle Boy VI: The Motion Picture" and "Shuffleboarding."
  • When Mermaid Man says "To the broccoli!" His right bra strap turns orange for a split second.
  • After Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy say "Dog Paddle away!" Mermaid Man is not wearing tights.
  • When Mable comes outside after Mermaid Man says, "sea creatures assemble," the bottom of her cane flashes white for 2 different frames.
  • In the GBA video SpongeBob SquarePants Volume 2 episode menu, the episode is mistakenly named "Mermaidman."


Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy (VE)
Awards and nominations for SpongeBob SquarePants (VE)

Golden Reel Awards StatueStraight

Best Sound Editing in Television Animation – Music

Nominees: Stephen Hillenburg, Donna Castricone, Nicholas R. Jennings, Alan Smart, Peter Burns, Doug Lawrence, Derek Drymon, Alex Gordon, Donna Grillo, Jennie Monica, Krandal Crews, Jim Leber, Justin Brinsfield, Tony Ostyn, Nicolas Carr (for "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy"/"Pickles;" 2000)Nicolas Carr (for "Fools in April"/"Neptune's Spatula" in 2001; for "Jellyfish Hunter"/"The Fry Cook Games" in 2002; for "Wet Painters"/"Krusty Krab Training Video" in 2003; for "The Great Snail Race"/"Mid-Life Crustacean" in 2004) • Jimmy Lifton, D.J. Lynch, Jeff Hutchins, Tony Ostyn and Paulette Lifton (for "Mid-Life Crustacean;" 2004)

Best Sound Editing in Television Animation – Sound

Nominees: Nicolas Carr (for "Karate Choppers;" 2000) • Andrea Anderson, Jimmy Lifton, Monette Holderer, D.J. Lynch, Vincent Gutisetti, Jeff Hutchins and Gabriel Rosas (for "Rock Bottom"/"Arrgh!;" 2001)

Best Sound Editing in Television – Animation

Nominees: Timothy J. Borquez, Jeff Hutchins and Daisuke Sawa (for "The Secret Box"/"Band Geeks;" 2002)

Best Sound Editing in Television Animation

Nominees: Jimmy Lifton, Jeff Hutchins, Tony Ostyn and Chris Gresham (for "Nasty Patty"/"Idiot Box;" 2012)

Best Sound Editing in Television: Animated

Nominees: Jimmy Lifton, Nicolas Carr, D.J. Lynch, Jeff Hutchins, Tony Ostyn, Chris Gresham and Paulette Lifton (for "Pranks a Lot"/"SpongeBob Meets the Strangler;" 2005) • Vincent Gutisetti, Jimmy Lifton, Nicolas Carr, Monique Reymond, D.J. Lynch, Mark Howlett, Jeff Hutchins, Aran Tanchum, Mishelle Smith and Paulette Lifton (for "Have You Seen This Snail?;" 2006)Nicolas Carr, Mishelle Fordham, Monette Becktold, Jeff Hutchins, Timothy J. Borquez, Tom Syslo, Jason Stiff, Tony Orozco and Kimberlee Vanek (for "SpongeHenge;" 2008)

Best Sound Editing: Television Animation

Nominees: : Chiho Oyamada Carr, Nicolas Carr, Mishelle Fordham, Daisuke Sawa, Monette Becktold, Jeff Hutchins, Timothy J. Borquez, Tom Syslo, Eric Freeman, Dan Cubert, Lawrence Reyes, Jason Stiff, Tony Orozco and Kimberlee Vanek (for "Suction Cup Symphony;" 2009) • Chino Oyamada Carr, Nicolas Carr, Mishelle Fordham, Monette Becktold, Jeff Hutchins, Timothy J. Borquez, Eric Freeman, Tom Syslo, Keith Dickens, Jason Stiff, Sergio Silva, Tony Orozco and Kimberlee Vanek (for "SpongeBob SquarePants vs. The Big One;" 2010)

Best Sound Editing – Sound Effects, Foley, Dialogue and ADR Animation in Television

Nominees: Devon Bowman, Justin Brinsfield, Nicolas Carr, Andrea Anderson, Mishelle Fordham, Monette Becktold, Jeff Hutchins, Eric Freeman, Tony Orozco and Danny Tchibinda (for "Gary's New Toy;" 2013) • Mishelle Fordham, Monette Becktold, Jeff Hutchins, Timothy J. Borquez, Tom Syslo, Eric Freeman, Bobby Crew, Keith Dickens, Gabriel Rossas and Tony Orozco (for "It's a SpongeBob Christmas!;" 2013)