In the Krusty Krab kitchen, SpongeBob daydreams of living with the jellyfish in Jellyfish Fields and is oblivious to the grill being on. Mr. Krabs comes in and yells at SpongeBob since the grill is on fire. SpongeBob then runs behind Mr. Krabs in fear. SpongeBob asks Mr. Krabs what should they do with the fire. In response Mr. Krabs hands SpongeBob a fire extinguisher which SpongeBob foolishly throws it on the grill, accidentally starting a fire on the grill even larger than before. SpongeBob tries to blow on the fire to put off the fire until a fireman comes into the kitchen with a hose and sprays SpongeBob with the water. Thus his absorbent body, it fills up with the water and enlarges. His body then falls backwards, which puts out the fire. Mr. Krabs then told SpongeBob to come to his office and asks SpongeBob, why he was not concentrating, in which SpongeBob explains that he wishes to live in the wild with the Jellyfish. Mr. Krabs, responding to SpongeBob's wish says that SpongeBob wouldn't last even one day in the wild and the life that he has currently is his natural habitat. But SpongeBob thinks that he could do it, so he leaves the Krusty Krab chucking his hat on the ground to show that he is really going to do it. SpongeBob then gives away his stuff to his friends. He gives Patrick, mayonnaise, old phone books, and his special jellyfishing net, "Ol' Reliable." After he gave everything away, He even took off everything that he is wearing, except his shoes to fit with the Jellyfish. Sandy, and Squidward Tentacles, didn't emotionally responded to SpongeBob leaving but in contrast Patrick did.
SpongeBob is glad to be "home" and he tries to fit in with the other jellyfish, but just cannot really get the hang of it. Meanwhile, Patrick and Sandy have a set-up picnic to try to trick SpongeBob into coming back. They eat Krabby Patties, as an attempt to bribe SpongeBob, but he resists. Sandy also got Patrick to say out loud a line from a paper to make SpongeBob come home. But he refused. Patrick then goes on and says that they miss him very much in order to persuade SpongeBob into coming home. He even says Squidward misses him (which in contrast, he is actually throwing himself a party at home). SpongeBob says that he's happy in Jellyfish Fields making Sandy drag Patrick back home. Later, SpongeBob comes in wiggling his arms and legs like the jellyfish thinking that he is getting the hang of it. But then, a crazed and heartbroken Patrick then tries to catch him with Ol' Reliable while jellyfishing, but fails when SpongeBob jumps into the jellyfish hive, where he takes to eat the jelly inside which he likes. Upon the swarm's return, SpongeBob greets them in a friendly manner, but is then repeatedly stung and chased into a cave by them. Disheartened, but not giving up yet, SpongeBob tries to sleep in a cave, using a fern as a blanket, but ultimately feels itchy only to find that he is getting covered by poisonous sea urchins, making him run around itching like crazy.
Finally deciding that the wild is not as good as he thought, SpongeBob returns to Bikini Bottom sadly whilst buzzing and, after seeing Sandy's Treedome and the Krusty Krab, he realizes his mistake; he had a great life and friends and gave it all up. Upon his return to the pineapple, he is greeted with a massive "Welcome Home" party, the others apparently have been expecting him. All is forgiven, SpongeBob puts his clothes back on as a favor to Squidward, and Mr. Krabs gives SpongeBob back his hat. Everyone then group-hugs. However, the poison sea urchin bacteria spreads and everyone except SpongeBob becomes itchy. SpongeBob then says that "It's great to be home!" and then the episode ends.
A scene showing SpongeBob being nearly naked, though his bottom was covered, was deleted due to nudity references.
The idea for the episode may have been based on the true story of American adventurer Christopher McCandless, who in 1990 abandoned his family and material possessions to pursue a natural, solitary life deep within the Alaskan wilderness.
When SpongeBob says "Ah, my Jellyfish brothers are returning," he was looking at the screen, meaning he could have been talking to the viewers, thus breaking the fourth wall.
This is the first time the 11 minutes is referenced. After SpongeBob leaves, Sandy says she will give him a week to come back, but Squidward says he will give him eleven minutes. This is a reference to approximately how long an average episode of this cartoon is. It could also be said that Squidward broke the fourth wall.
Squidward makes another reference to 11 minutes in the episode "Club SpongeBob" with the line "Why must every eleven minutes of my life be filled with misery?"
This also happens in "Missing Identity," when "Betty" says SpongeBob managed to kill 11 minutes.
In the episode "Planet of the Jellyfish," there was a title card that said "Eleven Minutes Later" which also breaks the fourth wall in a way.
This is the first time SpongeBob makes a bad decision, and Sandy and Patrick attempt to stop him, but he proceeds, later realizing his friends was right.
The second is in "I Had an Accident," when SpongeBob gets injured and decides never to leave his house again, worried he'll get hurt again. Patrick and Sandy try to get him out, but he doesn't move until a live-action gorilla comes and attacks SpongeBob, who comes out and saves the day.
In the episode "Squid's Visit," Squidward said that he has never went to SpongeBob's house, but at the end of this episode, Squidward, Patrick, Sandy and Mr. Krabs visit SpongeBob at his house. It is most likely that this episode took place after "Squid's Visit."
In the Polish dub, the episode's title is "Naturalista" translating to "Naturalist."
In the Croatian dub, the episode name is "Povratak Prirodi" translating to "Back to the Nature."
This is the second episode in which this occurs, the first being "Sandy's Rocket."
This episode takes place after "Jellyfish Jam" because the jellyfish party returns in this episode.
In the episode "Big Pink Loser," Patrick says that he never got an award before that episode occurred, but in this episode, he makes a trophy out of a jar. It is most likely that this episode takes place after "Big Pink Loser."
When the fire extinguisher hits the grill, the patties are shifted significantly to the left, with one floating in mid-air in front of the cabinet. This is corrected in the next scene (right before the grill bursts into flames).
The fire extinguisher disappears after the fire is put out.
The Jellyfish hive appears to be smaller on the outside and bigger on the inside.
The side view of the Krusty Krab when SpongeBob was walking to it was wrong, it was a long length version of the restaurant with the (KK) logo at the end of it, and the restaurant should have been shorter.
When SpongeBob went to his house, he appears in the back of his house instead of the front door of his house.
Sandy should not have felt the sea urchins because she is wearing her underwater suit.
Sandy's head is smaller than it usually is.
In the Latin American version of this episode, Patrick still calls Sandy, "Sandy," despite the fact that Sandy is called "Arenita" (meaning "little sand") in the Latin American version. It possibly was a mistake from the Latin American voice actor.
When the giant snail meows, the original captions said "Wow!"