The episode starts out with SpongeBob watching TV, supposedly "looking for the sports channel." Patrick comes bursting through the door with his hands inside a pair of shoes. When SpongeBob asks to see them on his feet, Patrick confesses that he does not know how to tie his laces. SpongeBob says that he will teach Patrick, untying his own shoes to demonstrate. However, SpongeBob's attempts to tie them again end in failure. After convincing Patrick to come back later, SpongeBob faces the realization that he can't remember how to tie his shoes, as they have remained tied ever since his life began. When a good night's sleep fails to jog his memory, he decides to set the problem aside for the time being and get a move on to work. Moving, however, presents a problem as SpongeBob trips over his untied laces every step of the way to the Krusty Krab.
SpongeBob finally arrives, only to find Patrick already there eating a Krabby Patty. Not wanting to look foolish in front of Patrick, he pounds his feet through the floorboards so that Patrick can't see them. Patrick only suspects SpongeBob of dieting, so SpongeBob takes care to keep his shoes hidden as he trudges to the kitchen. Even through his exhaustion, SpongeBob realizes he still has to cook, and that doing so standing in one spot will be simple enough. However, bringing the order to Squidward across the room presents a daunting challenge. He tries shuffling over, millimeters at a time, but gets practically nowhere. With one gingerly step forward, he trips and catapults the Krabby Patty into Squidward's mouth. This mishap repeats several times until Squidward is engorged with Krabby Patties.
Mr. Krabs, occupied with a crossword in the bathroom, hears disgruntled customers leaving to eat at the Chum Bucket. He bursts out in his underwear and demands to know why his customers have left. Squidward replies with some difficulty that SpongeBob is to blame, and Mr. Krabs calls for SpongeBob to present himself. Feeling ashamed, SpongeBob tells Mr. Krabs that he can't remember how to tie his shoes and asks him for help. Mr. Krabs solemnly informs him that he, in fact, does not wear shoes.
In desperation, SpongeBob starts asking anyone he can find if they know how to tie a knot. Failing to find someone who actually wears shoes, SpongeBob's cries of anguish summon The Flying Dutchman. As it so happens, the Dutchman has held the title of Fancy Knotting Contest Champion for 3,000 years and is confident he can teach SpongeBob a thing or two about knots. He demonstrates various knots of increasing complexity, but is stumped when SpongeBob asks for a knot for tying shoes. The Dutchman admits that he doesn't need to tie his shoes as, being a ghost, he no longer has feet. This fact doesn't impede his enjoyment of wearing a sock on his ghostly tail.
SpongeBob drags himself home thinking that his shoes will forever remain untied, but Gary, surprisingly, ties his shoes for him. Gary also reveals that he himself wears a pair. Amazed, SpongeBob asks Gary where he learned to tie them. Gary reveals a record player underneath his shell and puts on a record of the song "Loop De Loop," which finally teaches SpongeBob how to tie his shoes perfectly.
In this episode, SpongeBob is watching an anemone dancing on TV. He gets scared as soon as Gary comes in and changes it to the Sports Channel. This scene is cut in some countries because viewers might think SpongeBob is watching something embarrassing or inappropriate.
The football teams that are playing on the sports channel are the Tampa Bay Bandits and the Houston Gamblers from the USFL.
In most other episodes that involve the Krusty Krab, the grill that SpongeBob cooks on is right by the order window.
Both the sea anemone and the sports channel that appear on SpongeBob's TV are also on Patchy the Pirate's TV when he is trying to find the rewind button in "The Sponge Who Could Fly."
This was the first episode to use the new, smaller captions, which would be used until "The Thing."
This episode was released on June 30, 2000, in "The American Cartoons," but it was not with the sister episode, "Squid's Day Off."
It is revealed that Gary can roar like a lion. He later does this again in "Frozen Face-Off" to frighten off vicious worms.
It is also revealed that Gary wears shoes.
In Indonesia, the scene where SpongeBob asks everyone in Krusty Krab out of despair about how to wear his shoe often cut to his house during its airing. This was done to time constraints due to its airing also paired with ads.
Squidward had eaten his first Krabby Patty in "Just One Bite," but he also eats Krabby Patties in this episode which means this episode took place after "Just One Bite."
The beginning scene when SpongeBob watches TV and Gary comes is shown during the preview of The Complete 2nd Season DVD.
In the Polish dub, the episode's title is "Rozwiązany but" meaning "The Untied Shoe."
SpongeBob or Patrick could've asked Sandy Cheeks, Pearl Krabs, or Mrs. Puff to remind them how to tie their shoes, although they are never been shown with laces, but they might've known from always wearing shoes.
SpongeBob is able to tie his shoes in "Rock Bottom," but he can't in this episode. This may be because this took place before that episode or he simply forgot.
The shoelace snakes hallucination is notable for scaring younger viewers due to the hideous-looking faces of the snakes.
Additionally, the snakes look a bit like Arbok from the Pokémon game series.
The Monkey's Fist knot is an actual knot used both as decoration and to hold a weight at the end of a rope, making the rope easier to toss. Using anything heavier than a rubber ball as a weight, however, presents a danger of injuring someone who fails to catch it.
In the first half of the episode, Patrick has 3s for eyebrows, while in the second half, they are Zs. This may be due to the transition from Season 1 to Season 2, when character designs were being refined for digital animation.
After SpongeBob flips to the sports channel, the wide shot is shown again and the TV has no plug-in cord.
Patrick never closes the door at SpongeBob's House, making his exit crashing the door off its hinges inconsistent.
It's SpongeBob who cooks the Patties, yet Patrick is somehow eating one already cooked when SpongeBob arrives.
Right when SpongeBob enters the Krusty Krab kitchen, his yellow skin goes darker for the rest of the episode.
During the part when Squidward is burping and says "It's SpongeBob's fault," The Krusty Krab menu (A.K.A. Galley Grub) is missing.
When Old Man Jenkins says "What's the hold up?" to Squidward, he talks in a young man's voice.
On the crossword puzzle, Mr. Krabs writes the word "money" horizontally to also complete the word "money" vertically, yet he should have naturally already filled in the Y of the vertical "money."
When the customers are starting to leave The Krusty Krab, Harold Bill, the blue fish next to Old Man Jenkins, wears a pair of pants that is similar to SpongeBob's. However, when the customers are leaving, Harold's pants disappear. Remarkably, he is the one who is most upset by the sight of Mr. Krabs' underwear.
Even though all of the customers have presumably left the Krusty Krab upon seeing Mr. Krabs sans pants, some of the customers reappear when SpongeBob asks them how to tie his shoes.
When SpongeBob talks to the Sea Urchins, there are six, but he only says "you" five times.
When SpongeBob arrives at his home, the lights are off. After Gary ties his shoes, they are suddenly on.
Several audio goofs occur in this episode.
When Mr. Krabs says "Haha, that's all?" after SpongeBob tells him he forgot to tie his shoes, his mouth doesn't sync with the words completely.
When Tom says "Uh, fins" after SpongeBob asks him if he can show him how to tie his shoes, his mouth doesn't move.
When SpongeBob asks the Brown Eel how to tie his shoes, after the Eel's face pans back into the shot, her mouth does not move.
When Gary shows SpongeBob how to tie his shoes, SpongeBob says "Hopping Clams," but his mouth hangs open.