Out in Jellyfish Fields, SpongeBob is happily jellyfishing. Suddenly, he spots a young female squirrel in a diving suit wrestling with a giant clam. He takes out his field guidebook, and identifies her as a "land squirrel." Believing her to be in trouble, SpongeBob goes to wrestle the clam himself. The squirrel manages to escape the clam, but SpongeBob ends up inside it. The squirrel then rescues SpongeBob and kicks the clam out of sight. SpongeBob introduces himself, and the squirrel says that her name is Sandy.
SpongeBob inquires about the helmet she wears, and Sandy tells him that it's her air helmet. SpongeBob says that he loves air, and the pleasantly surprised Sandy invites him to her Treedome for tea and cookies. After bidding Sandy farewell, SpongeBob quickly runs over to his best friend, Patrick Star, and asks him to explain air. Patrick tells him that 'putting on airs' is fancy talk, and that holding his pinky finger high above him will make SpongeBob fancy as well.
When SpongeBob arrives at Sandy's Treedome the next day, he goes into the entryway with a bouquet of flowers and his pinky aloft. While waiting to be let in, he notices too late that the water inside has been drained. He panics and tries to tell Sandy of the lack of water before taking in the full scope of the air-filled dome. Sandy, sans air helmet, remarks that this environment is quite natural for her, and asks if he has any problem with it. SpongeBob bucks up and lets her lead the way inside, though he struggles to breathe.
Sandy gives him a tour of her Treedome, showing him that among other things, she has an oak tree and a birdbath. During her explanation, SpongeBob quickly sneaks over to the birdbath and soaks up its water, much to the bathing bird's displeasure. Patrick knocks on the dome and holds up his pinky to remind SpongeBob of what to do, though SpongeBob has physical difficulty following through.
Sitting at a picnic table under the tree, SpongeBob gives Sandy the flowers. Sandy is very pleased, but has trouble prying them from SpongeBob's dry and brittle fingers. She asks SpongeBob if he needs anything, and he weakly replies, "Water would be nice," though Sandy takes this to mean a vase for the flowers and heads off. SpongeBob seizes his chance to flee, but can't pry open the door. Remembering Sandy's kind words and Patrick's advice, SpongeBob hoists his pinky high and disavows his need of water.
SpongeBob arrives back at the table, just in time to see Sandy place the flowers in a vase filled with ice water. Sandy asks SpongeBob to tell her about himself, remarking that being a "sea critter" must be fascinating. However, SpongeBob fails to say anything until the oven dings and Sandy goes to get the refreshments.
SpongeBob, locked in a mental battle for control, stares at the vase of water, the ice cubes floating within it, and the condensation forming on the vase's surface. Finally, he succumbs to his primal urge and guzzles the water down, runs for the door and declares that he is a quitter. Patrick, thinking SpongeBob is being shy around Sandy, quickly enters the dome and tries to convince him to stay. However, Patrick soon sees for himself the effects of a water-less environment. The two struggle to escape the dome but are unsuccessful.
When Sandy comes back, she shrieks as she finds both Patrick and SpongeBob dried up on the grass. She helps them by giving them water-filled helmets and mentions that if they needed water, they should have just asked. Sandy offers a toast to her new friends, but SpongeBob and Patrick are unable to drink the tea from their glasses. Sandy remedies this by placing the tea bags directly into the helmets, allowing SpongeBob and Patrick to drink the tea-filled water with their pinky fingers held high.
Irony: Sandy tells SpongeBob that if he wanted water, he should've asked, even though SpongeBob did tell Sandy he wanted water. Of course, it is possible that Sandy was distracted by the vase at the time to pay attention to what SpongeBob asked for.
Sandy and Patrick were never properly introduced in this episode onscreen.
A storyboard image appears on the chapter 1 title page of The SpongeBob SquarePants Experience: A Deep Dive into the World of Bikini Bottom.
In the Croatian dub, this episode is called "Čaj na svježem zraku" which translates to "Tea at the fresh air."
In the French Dub, this episode is called "Asphyxies en chaîne" which translates to "Suffocated by string."
In the Greek Dub, this episode is called "Τσάι Στο Θόλο του Δέντρου" which translates to "Tea At the tree's Canopy."
In Indonesia, instead of saying "I need it!," SpongeBob says "I need water!"
Sandy reveals that SpongeBob is the first sea creature to enter her treedome.
When SpongeBob puts his binoculars away, his teeth turn yellow for one frame.
When Patrick is telling SpongeBob how to be fancy, he lifts his right-hand pinky finger up. From the front view, the pinky is shown on the left side. From the back view, it is shown on the left side instead of the right and looks like SpongeBob is holding up one of his middle fingers instead of his pinky.
The red light on Sandy's front door where the water gets drained isn't there when SpongeBob and Patrick first walk up to the treedome.
When SpongeBob tries to sneak away to Sandy's birdbath, his sunken-in eyes return to normal until after Sandy leaves.
The ice cubes in the vase shouldn't be floating and sinking up and down.
When Patrick tries to open the door to get out, and SpongeBob jumps on his back his eyes are small dots, but when he falls underneath Patrick, his eyes are back to their original color.
In the scene where Sandy finds SpongeBob and Patrick dried up, if one goes frame by frame, she lifts up the plate to drop it before a shocked expression is seen on her face.
When Sandy finds SpongeBob and Patrick dried up, they have no clothes on.
When Sandy is pouring water in Patrick and SpongeBob's water helmets, while Sandy is pouring water in Patrick's helmet, SpongeBob looks relieved but he didn't get any water yet, so he should be struggling to breathe like he was before in the episode. However, he may simply have been relieved because he knew he was about to get water, except that he technically should still have been struggling to breathe.