One day at the Krusty Krab, Squidward noticed that SpongeBob was not filling orders, so he goes to investigate with Mr. Krabs. He discovers that SpongeBob has something Mr. Krabs describes as the "1,000 yard stare" and they both discover a Calendar in his hat that has the Date of that day circled and that a food critic was coming for a visit.
Mr. Krabs and SpongeBob are both in shock as Gene Scallop (Food critic) walks in the doors. As he is having his first glimpse of the restaurant, Squidward rudely asked if he was coming in or out, and drove him away with other rude comments. Mr. Krabs stops him & serves him a Krabby Patty but he takes a bite and leaves the restaurant in a hurry. Mr. Krabs loses hope.
SpongeBob, Mr. Krabs, and Squidward watched as the critic gave his review on the Krusty Krab, only to soil it. He says that the Krusty Krab "smelt like the rear-end of a goat. Baaaaa! Phhhpt!" as the customers hear the review they begin to leave in displeasure, but Gene says that the Krusty Krab is a big success because of the Krabby Patty and SpongeBob was no square when it came to cooking, ending with a good review. The customers come back pleased and prepared to eat.
The next day, SpongeBob goes to work and sees that there is a new sign at the Krusty Krab, reading The Krusty Sponge, he also sees a long line, and Squidward in a SpongeBob costume as the resturant's mascot. A boy named Tyler asks Squidward in his SpongeBob costume for his autograph and Squidward accidentally slaps him which disappoints Mr. Krabs. SpongeBob finds out that his new job is to run a train outside the Krusty Krab, which Mr. Krabs was charging people to ride. When he is out of energy from driving he stops pedaling but his passengers unfortunately do not care in the slightest at how obviously exhausted he is and demand on threat of riot that he keep pedaling. He manages to slip away and discovers Mr. Krabs had gotten all kinds of new products, customized to be like SpongeBob.
He also discovers that the new Spongy Patties (actually tainted meat), Krabby Patties that look like SpongeBob, were making people sick by turning them yellow with spots like SpongeBob and giving them terrible stomach pains. Mr. Krabs comes out and thinks he is invaded by zombies but SpongeBob explains they are actually his customers who ate the Spongy Patties. Mr. Krabs is ordered to court by one of the customers who is actually an FBI agent. Mr. Krabs is shocked and realizes what he has done. In court, Mr. Krabs feels guilty and decides to accept the charges and turn himself in. Just as Mr. Krabs is about to go to prison, he makes a deal with the Judge, who was a huge SpongeBob fan. The deal is that Squidward has to drive the Judge around on the SpongeBob Train for the rest of the day, and Mr. Krabs does not go to prison. SpongeBob happily works back in his old job and the Krusty Krab is changed back to normal.
The fame and popularity that SpongeBob has in this episode is a shout-out to the amazing amount of popularity that he actually has in the real world.
This is also a shout-out to what Nickelodeon is doing with SpongeBob nowadays (marathons, merchandising, theme park attractions, live appearances, and more).
The sign next to Squidward (when wearing a SpongeBob costume) says "As Seen on TV," a reference to the episode of the same name.
The calendar in SpongeBob's hat had a lion on it, which is the Zodiac sign Leo, which indicates it was probably between July and August 23.
The SpongeBob costume that Squidward wears is based on the actual SpongeBob costume since he is unable to use his actual arms like the real costume and the costume's arms are like sticks.
The judge's last name is "Whopper," a parody of the hamburger sold by Burger King, which makes sense as Burger King often sets out SpongeBob toys when there's a big SpongeBob event and often promotes SpongeBob in any way. "Whopper" is also a fishing term for a very large fish, especially one that got away.
The Judge's name may also be a reference to Judge Joseph A. Wapner, a retired former American judge & former TV judge in the courtroom reality show "The People's Court." The show's theme plays during the episode after the cut to the courtroom.
In the courtroom scene, Gene Scallop said: "We, the jury, find the defendant, Eugene H. Krabs, guilty of all charges." The captions, said: "We, the jury, find the defendant, Eugene A. Krabs, guilty of all charges.
The changes Mr. Krabs made were:
New Krusty Sponge sign
Krusty Sponge Fun Train
Krusty Sponge napkins
Tangy Spongey Sauce
Mild Bobby Sauce
SpongeBob drinking straws
SpongeBob ice cubes
In Bahasa Malaysia version, the prison's word is replaced with river.
Some fish from "Krabs vs. Plankton" are seen in the court. That might be because the producers might had reused the court backgrounds.
One could question how legal it would be for Mr. Krabs to bribe the judge with Squidward's services, yet Mr. Krabs is not shown to be in trouble with the law.
The combination of spots and yellow skin is a reference to chicken pox & yellow fever which both show symptoms on a person's skin.
When it's revealed that SpongeBob is petrified because he's worried about an important food critic's visit, Squidward said, "Only a complete moron would worry about what some critic has to say." In others, Squidward himself worried about what other critics had to say.
People thought they were zombies before in the episode "Once Bitten."
Back in "Born Again Krabs," Mr. Krabs gets food poisoning himself by eating an old, rotten Patty.
The director's cut of this states that Gene Scallop could be alternately named as Gene Shallot, since shallots are also sea creatures.
The scene where the Spongy Patties are infecting customers and turning them SpongeBob-like zombies is a parody of The Sizzler series, where Sizzler's burgers affect customers and make them unable to eat for 8 days.
The Krusty Sponge's monument of a giant SpongeBob holding a giant Krabby Patty is a spoof of the 'Big Boy's Restaurants.
The 1,000 yard stare is a real condition in which a person stares in deep space after a horrific event.