SpongeBob SquarePants

Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy IV

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Episode Information
Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy IV
Season №: 3
Episode №: 45a
Airdate: January 21, 2002
Sister episode(s): "Doing Time"
Guest(s): Ernest Borgnine as Mermaid Man
Tim Conway as Barnacle Boy
Writer(s): Jay Lender
Sam Henderson
Merriwether Williams
Storyboard Artist(s): Caleb Meurer
Storyboard: Jay Lender
Sam Henderson
Animation: Sean Dempsey
Creative: Derek Drymon
See all credits for this episode.
Previous: "Idiot Box"
Next: "Doing Time"
List of episodes

"Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy IV" is a SpongeBob SquarePants episode from season three. In this episode, SpongeBob plays with Mermaid Man's secret utility belt.




And who are you calling big nose!

Mermaid Man & Barnacle Boy are entering the Krusty Krab, most likely for lunch, and upon realizing this, SpongeBob goes into an excited frenzy, bursting through a steel wall in order to get their autograph. The heroes run away from him, accidentally leaving Mermaid Man's utility belt inside. SpongeBob finds it, and tries to give it back, but they drive away in the Invisible Boat Mobile before he can do so. SpongeBob decides to wear the belt and play with it, thinking that he could hold on to it until after work. He discovers the "Small Ray," and starts shrinking the items in the kitchen. However, Squidward enters the room after getting disrupted by SpongeBob using the belt to shrink everything in the kitchen and sees SpongeBob serving tiny Krabby Patties to cockroaches and asks SpongeBob why is everything in the kitchen so tiny. Squidward discovers that SpongeBob has Mermaid Man's belt. Assuming that SpongeBob has stolen the belt, he plans to do the right thing and call Mermaid Man in order to get revenge, and tell on him. SpongeBob realizes that if Squidward tells on him, Mermaid Man will find out and he will be kicked out of his fan club for sure. In order to stop Squidward, SpongeBob shrinks him, and promises to find a way to return him to normal after Squidward demands SpongeBob to return him to normal size. He tries to use the different buttons to make Squidward big, but none of them work. Not wanting Mermaid Man to find out due to how he might react, he leaves to find someone that can help him. 
Mermaid man and barnacle boy iv

SpongeBob goes to Patrick for help, and Patrick mistakes Squidward for a "Squidward Action Figure" and starts playing with him, even after realizing that it is the real Squidward. Patrick then suggests to turn the "M" upside down, setting the belt to W for "Wumbo." SpongeBob questions the validity of this, but after Patrick responds by stating the many uses of "Wumbo," SpongeBob is convinced and tests it out, but then he accidentally shrinks Patrick. Seconds later, citizens start coming and greeting to SpongeBob, making him shrink them so that they can't tell Mermaid Man. Eventually, SpongeBob has shrunken everyone (including his mother) in Bikini Bottom, and stuffs them into a jar. He then realizes that he has shrunken Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy as well, and he apologizes and Mermaid Man goes into a long story to show he understands until he denizens of Bikini Bottom shout "JUST TELL HIM HOW TO UNSHRINK US!" Mermaid Man asks him if he has tried setting it to Wumbo which is enough to make everyone realize that he does not know how to unshrink them either. The people except for Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy form a mob and get out of the jar. They go inside of SpongeBob's body and beat him up. This continues for a while until eventually everyone says that everything is too big. This gives SpongeBob the idea to shrink Bikini Bottom itself, which satisfies the people, who see no discernible difference from their previous lives in living in a miniature Bikini Bottom. Finally, SpongeBob shrinks himself, and the tiny city begins celebrating. The closing scene shows Plankton getting off a bus, returning to Bikini Bottom from a vacation. He is surprised to see that he is now taller than Bikini Bottom.



 ) Associated production music
 ) Original music
 ) SpongeBob music

  The Lineman - Sam Spence [title card]
  Hawaiian Link (b) - Richard Myhill [opening]
  Caped Crusader - David Farnon [Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy enter the Krusty Krab]
  Tympup A - Sammy Burdson, John Charles Fiddy ["Will this cover it?"]
  Steel Licks (a) - Jeremy Wakefield [Barnacle Boy pays]
  Steel Licks (Original Version) - Jeremy Wakefield ["I'm shaking."]
  On Fire - Gregor F. Narholz ["Must get autograph!"]
  The Lineman - Sam Spence [Mermaid Man forgot his belt]
  Friendly Aliens (b) - Ron Goodwin ["The emblem of submersible justice."]
  Comic Walk (Sidney Torch Version) - Sidney Torch ["I could just hold onto it until after work."]
  The Tip Top Polka/The Cliff Polka - Chelmsford Folk Band ["Here's your shake, sir."]
  Tomfoolery - David Snell [SpongeBob shrunk everything]
  Dramatic Climax (Mike Sunderland) - Mike Sunderland [Squidward demands to be returned to normal size]
  Twelfth Street Rag - Sage Guyton, Jeremy Wakefield [SpongeBob zapping Squidward]
  Lovely Scenery C - Mladen Franko ["No! I can't let you do that!"]
  Springtime for Lovers - Len Stevens ["He'll find love one day."]
  Steel Licks (d) - Jeremy Wakefield [W for Wumbo]
  Dramatic Impact 3 - Ivor Slaney [Patrick's shrunk]
  Tympup A - Sammy Burdson, John Charles Fiddy [Patrick's shrunk]
  Dramatic Impact 2 - Ivor Slaney ["No! He can never find out!"]
  Steel Licks (Original Version) - Jeremy Wakefield [Patrick, Squidward in a jar]
  Where Danger Lurks - Ronald Hanmer [SpongeBob shrinking everyone]
  Hawaiian Blues - The Hawaiian Serenaders ["SpongeBob, you need to admit your mistake."]
  The Lineman - Sam Spence [everyone attacks SpongeBob]
  Harp Ding - "I've got it!"
  Honolulu March (Version 2) - George de Fretes [ending]


  • "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy IV" was ranked #90 during the Best Day Ever event on November 9–10, 2006.
  • As of August 11, 2015, The Internet Movie Database (IMDB) gives this episode a rating of 8.6/10 based on 170 ratings by users. users give this episode a 8.7/10 based on 153 votes.[1]



  • In some airings, the scene where SpongeBob attempts to turn Squidward back to normal size by testing the various buttons on the belt is edited. The scene where Squidward is cut in half with scissors is edited out on occasion, as well as he is choking and gurgling off-screen. Also on certain airings during the scene where SpongeBob zaps people in Bikini Bottom when they say Hi to him the flashing is cut out to possibly prevent seizures.
    • In Indonesia, it's usually completely skipped, either due to ads or possibly controversial.
  • This is the first episode, where Mermaid Man's belt is purple with a blue M instead of a yellow M.
  • This is the second episode where SpongeBob is wearing a belt covering his shirt and tie through most of the episode. The first was "Hall Monitor."
  • This is the first time Mermaid Man's belt is seen in purple but it's appear yellow again in "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy V" and it is not seen in the color purple again until "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy VI: The Motion Picture" which would mark the last time of his belt staying purple.
  • This episode has SpongeBob's CGI cell-shaded appearance when SpongeBob breaks the steel wall.
  • The Invisible Boatmobile is a pink 1959 Cadillac.
  • This marks the only time where Mrs. SquarePants is seen without Mr. SquarePants.
  • This is often regarded as the worst of the original Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy episodes due to its weak plot, disturbing content, it being rated TV-Y7, and how easily SpongeBob can get scared.
  • This episode reveals that there is a phone in the kitchen of the Krusty Krab.
  • This episode also reveals that Mermaid Man has been fighting crime since 1937.
  • During a tribute to Ernest Borgnine, this episode was skipped for some reason.
  • When SpongeBob is reaching for the pen, he said "Keyah!" Keyah is the Tae Kwon Doe word when they're about to perform something.
  • Patrick explaining Wumbo had became a popular Internet meme.
  • In Indonesia, instead of saying "He, she, me, wumbo," Patrick says "She is a girl."
    • As well, instead of saying "What did you? For cryin' out. What did y'all do to me?," Sandy says "What did you do until it makes you cry? What did you do to me?"

Cultural references

  • SpongeBob shrinking everybody in Bikini Bottom is a reference to Wayne shrinking the kids and himself including his brother Gordon, his wife Diane, and his sister, Patti from Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, and Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves.
  • One of the people who get shrunken say "What's up, Sponge?" This is a reference to Bugs Bunny's famous quote, "Eh, what's up, Doc?"


  • Barnacle Boy's nose is bigger than Squidward's.
  • When SpongeBob shrinks himself, Mermaid Man's belt is changed into his normal pants.
  • When SpongeBob first shrinks Squidward & Patrick, they are comparable in size to action figures (roughly 6-8 inches). When he shrinks the rest of the townspeople, they are about the size of jellybeans. When he shrinks the whole town and then himself, Plankton is taller than the tallest building, and taller than SpongeBob was before he shrunk, despite he should in realistic proportions, be the same size as everyone else.
  • When SpongeBob shrinks Patrick, he has the emblem on the belt set to "Wumbo," but afterwards, it is turned right side-up again.
  • After Mermaid Man used the invisible boat alarm, and said "There she is," he was just holding his pants, but when he got to the boat, he was wearing clips on his pants, which he wasn't seen putting on.
  • Part of the invisible boat where Barnacle Boy lands painfully is a gearstick, but then he sits on the seat without moving sideways.
  • SpongeBob can't get the citizens of Bikini Bottom back to normal, but in "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy" SpongeBob mentioned a ray gun that made things grow six times their normal size. SpongeBob was so scared, he forgot about it.
  • In some shots of when the townspeople are beating up SpongeBob's inside, SpongeBob has bones. However, SpongeBob is an invertebrate.
  • When everyone popped out of SpongeBob, Sandy's head was missing.
  • When SpongeBob shrunk Sandy, Squidward & Patrick's eyes were black.
  • The aforementioned clips holding up Mermaid Man's pants changed colors between shots.
  • SpongeBob has difficulty closing the jar with everyone trying to fit in it, but when Mermaid Man mentions setting the belt to wumbo and everyone yells "What?!," it appears that they don't quite fill up the jar, and he has plenty more room. This also happens when he cries "You don't understand!"
  • When SpongeBob gave the Krabby Patty to the bug, the holes on the spatula disappear.


Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy (VE)
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