SpongeBob and Patrick are playing at the beach, where all the other beachgoers are tanning. Craig Mammalton, the tannest man on TV, then shows up and announces to a crowd that he is having the hottest party of the summer. Everyone is invited except for SpongeBob and Patrick, who are not tan. Craig says that they cannot come if they do not get to the tan minimum and mocks them for having smooth skin. Patrick converts his house into a tanning machine, able to give them the minimum tan in just 15 seconds. Patrick goes first and gets a perfect tan. But during SpongeBob's turn, Patrick forgets to watch over SpongeBob and leaves him in for 2 hours while he goes off with a group of girls. SpongeBob ends up with a white "Sun Bleached" tan that makes him look ugly. SpongeBob suggests asking Squidward for help, who ridicules him. SpongeBob feels sad because he will not be able to go to the party, but Patrick offers to help him anyway he can.
Patrick first gives him a "makeover" by covering him in mud, placing kelp jerky over his teeth, and putting hair on SpongeBob's head that was ripped from his own armpits. While walking through town, a woman mistakes SpongeBob for a monster and attacks him to protect her baby. While having an ice cream break, Patrick gets an idea while eating his caramel sundae. He covers SpongeBob in the caramel giving him a "tan." They are let into the party, where portable tanning lamps shine on the dancing partygoers, causing SpongeBob's caramel to harden and crack, revealing his bleached skin. The partygoers start to complain and make fun of him until Craig reveals sun bleached is the ultimate tan and calls SpongeBob a hero, thus making the partygoers praise SpongeBob. The tanning lamps are cranked to maximum "Sun Bleach" level and everyone is dried up to dust. SpongeBob asks Patrick if too much sun is bad for them, to which he replies, "Whatever. I just go with the flow."
This is one of few episodes where there is a pun at the end, another one is "Idiot Box."
This episode is paired with "A Life in a Day." Coincidentally, both episodes have a summer setting and take place at Goo Lagoon.
Squidward perhaps overheard SpongeBob and Patrick talking about the party since he was not invited.
Squidward was not tan, but teased SpongeBob about being overly tan.
When the tanners are screaming at Craig's party, the screams used are mainly not used for people partying, but mainly for people literally screaming and running away from something for other movies/shows.