The episode starts with the narrator talking about a horrible tragedy, and showing an over-water hurricane, and then showing footage of the 1940 collapse of Tacoma Narrows Bridge (Galloping Gertie), with a guy running from the bridge before it's collapse. After that, it goes to a rainy day at SpongeBob's pineapple where inside is SpongeBob with the calendar on January 10. The narrator said that the tragedy happened three days ago; it then flips the calendar back to January 7. SpongeBob is seen doing chores, including laundry, with his pants and Gary's shell. Then, Patrick calls SpongeBob to show that he can make funny sounds with his tongue for a very long time; SpongeBob asks Patrick if it can wait, but Patrick refuses, so he continues on.
Meanwhile, Gary gets his shell out of the laundry. By the time SpongeBob gets to the laundry machine, his pants had shrunk. He goes to the store to buy new ones, but Patty Rechid declares that there will not be any square pants for months. He then looks through the pants, he tries many pairs but is not interested, he then finds a pair of round pants with the same design as his normal pants
While walking with his round pants, SpongeBob bumps into Patrick, but Patrick does not recognize him. He bumps into Sandy, who pretends that she does not know SpongeBob saying that they must call him SpongeBob FancyPants. Then, SpongeBob passes Squidward's house, and Squidward pretends not to recognize SpongeBob in order to get him to leave him alone. Being gullible, SpongeBob really thinks that Patrick, Sandy, and Squidward do not know him, so he starts making himself over, naming himself, SpongeBob RoundPants.
SpongeBob gets his job at the Krusty Krab again, and looks to Squidward for pointers. Squidward gives SpongeBob his bad routine of being a Krusty Krab employee (including not throwing the trash in the dumpster, being rude to the customers, nasally laughing like Squidward, burning Krabby Patties, taking too long in the bathroom, and even sleeping on the job). Mr. Krabs realizes what is going on, and he does not joke around when he sees SpongeBob. SpongeBob then tells Mr. Krabs that he cannot be SpongeBob SquarePants again, as he has round pants. Mr. Krabs then suggests that he just remove them if that was the case. Then, SpongeBob takes off his pants, but Sandy calls him "SpongeBob UnderPants," and the episode ends with SpongeBob looking at his underwear and screaming with embarrassment.
In Southeast Asia, in the UK, Turkey and Poland, this title card only says: "To SquarePants or Not to" because the original title is considered too long.
During the live-action intro in this episode, footage of the 1940 Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapse is used, which was also used in "Two Thumbs Down" as part of the segment when SpongeBob breaks his thumbs.
In this episode, the French Narrator says "SpongeBob SquarePants CHANGED his pants!" like it was a surprise, but SpongeBob has changed his pants a lot of times when he woke up. He is even shown in this episode pulling multiple pairs of pants out of his washing machine.
The jeans that SpongeBob took out from the sale had holes in them, indicating it was already used.
The round pants SpongeBob wears in this episode are quite similar in appearance to his pants in "The Sponge Who Could Fly" after being inflated, though they are much smaller and obviously not inflated.
It is unknown why Patrick thought SpongeBob was a stranger throughout the episode, but it is possibly due to his low level of intelligence.
Sandy pretended to not recognize SpongeBob because she was possibly teasing him as she kept calling him with different last names ("SpongeBob FancyPants" and "SpongeBob UnderPants").
Squidward tried to get SpongeBob to go away, so he pretended not to recognize him.
When SpongeBob was saying what goes on a squirrel's head is similar to "Squirrel Jokes."
When SpongeBob talked about what goes on inside a squirrel's head, an image of a chattering squirrel is shown and SpongeBob cringes afterwards. This scene has become a fad on YouTube, with random scenes replacing the squirrel image.
When Squidward pretends he doesn't know SpongeBob, SpongeBob pulls out some photos to jog Squidward's memory but it is unknown how those pictures were inside those pants if they were new and the original ones shrunk.
The picture shown by SpongeBob when he forgot where the last picture took place actually took place in the episode "Choir Boys" when Squidward was singing in the shower at the very beginning of the episode. However, we did not see SpongeBob in front of the shower in "Choir Boys" for some odd reason.
When SpongeBob takes out the first pair of pants when he was in the store, but when Mr. Krabs walks out of his office, look at the guy in front of the order line and look at the pants. It's the same pants as the first pair SpongeBob took out in the store.
When this episode premiered on July 17, 2009 the calendar says that it happened on January 7. This must mean that this episode took place in January 7, 2009 instead of July.
This is the first time Squidward is seen reading the House Fancy magazine.
This is the second appearance of SpongeBob's laundry room, the first was in "Dumped." Although, it looks different in this episode than it did in that episode.
In the Croatian dub, the episode name is "Skockani ili Ne" translating to "SquarePants or Not."
In the Greek dub, the episode name, "Τετραγωνοπαντελονής ή Όχι", can be translated to the same one in the Croatian dub.
The title is a parody of the famous Shakespeare quote "To Be or Not to Be?"
This episode was inspired by the Twilight Zone episodes.
The plot of the episode is similar to the episode Murray's Shirt from the first season of The Wiggles when Murray had changed into a new shirt and didn't get recognized by his friends just like SpongeBob did when he got changed into his round pants.
Patty Rechid says that it will take months for SpongeBob to get new square pants, however 3 days later (at the beginning of the episode's narration), he is wearing square pants again.
The first time Sandy pretends not to recognize SpongeBob, he just shrugs and says "Course it was just Sandy, and Neptune knows what goes on inside a squirrel's head." The second time she pretends not to recognize him however, SpongeBob doesn't take the situation lightly.
After SpongeBob says, "I'll have to start all over again!," he just fills out an application and got the job. In the pilot episode, "Help Wanted," however, he did not ask for an application. He has to complete a challenge first.
When Mr. Krabs says "I'm used to Squidward sleeping on the job, but I expect more from you, Mr. SquarePants." the yellow flag behind Mr. Krabs' eyes turns white for a split-second.
When SpongeBob is talking to Mr. Krabs and says "They're round." his eyes turn green for a split-second.