"Once, there was an ugly barnacle. He was so ugly that everyone died. The end..."
— The first and last lines, and ArcWords for the story as a whole
"The Ugly Barnacle" is a classic Short Story in the Pacific Literary Canon, the authorship of which is generally attributed to one Peter F. Patrick (then using the pen name 'Patrick Star'). According to legend, 'Star' improvised "The Ugly Barnacle" in an attempt to cheer up a friend who believed himself to be suffering from a case of The Ugly or The French Disease as it was then knownnote He in fact simply had a bad case of halitosis after eating a home-made "sundae" of sorts, though halitosis truly was a key indicator of the actual affliction . Unfortunately, the tale failed to console him in any manner whatsoever.Despite the fact that Barnacle failed to accomplish its initial and indeed primary goal, it eventually found its way to the intellectual community of the Département Bikini des Basses Terres. There many came to hail the story for its harsh realism, innovative use of minimalism, and detailed characterization. Slowly but surely, the story came to spread from its cradle within the nurturing environment of the Bikini des Basses Terres (where it was subject to some refinement, the story as most know it in fact being the Third Edition) to grace the entire world with its compelling narrative and execution.An animated film adaptation of the tale, also titled The Ugly Barnacle, was produced in 2000. Unusually, the movie is both a Film Of The Book and a Biopic, as it focuses on both the legendary story and the events surrounding its creation. The film managed to avoid many problems commonly faced by page-to-screen adaptations, a fact which many critics attributed to P.F. Patrick's extensive personal engagement with the film-making process, and the script-writing and casting+design in particular. Experience this work of art here, albeit dubbed over in English,and now in Castilian. Unfortunately the original French is not available, as the Département Bikini des Basses Terres Ministère de la Défaite claims exclusive French-language broadcast rights and has a very well-funded anti-piracy sub-office.
Ambiguous Situation: A number of tantalizing details are left out. We aren't told, for instance, how or why everyone dies, nor whether or not that includes the barnacle itself. Similarly, the barnacle's relationships with the rest of the cast are quite vague.
All Just a Dream: Sort of. In the end, it turns out to to be a story Patrick was telling to SpongeBob himself.
The Aloner: If the barnacle didn't die in the end, he probably became one of these.
And Man Grew Proud: One interpretation of the barnacle, of how it became ugly enough to kill everyone and of how, and why, we still tell its harrowing tale.
Crapsack World and/or Crapsaccharine World: In the Barnacleverse, the existence of a single unattractive crustacean is enough to trigger the Apocalypse. Despite this, Patrick narrates the tale like a bedtime story, and originally told it as an attempt to cheer upSpongebob.
Eyeless Face: Real Life Barnacles do not have eyes, or even any kind of identifiable facial features, so the reader can assume that the same applies to The Ugly Barnacle, and may be part of what makes it ugly enough to kill everyone.
Grey and Gray Morality: We're never told whether the Barnacle was good or evil, nor are we told the allegiance of Everybody. This means that depending on how you look at it, it could be a great victory, a great tragedy, or neither that Everybody died.
Mind Screw: After the ending, we're left with a great big pile of unanswered questions. Just how did the Barnacle's ugliness kill everyone? Did the Barnacle himself die? Literally nothing is ever explained.
Starfish Aliens: Perhaps the reason why the barnacle was so ugly was that it was from a different planet? Everyone can be quick to assume that anything not like them is ugly. Also the storyteller is a starfish.
Sword of Damocles: The threat of the barnacle is enough to stop anyone from doing anything. Ever.
Thirteen Is Unlucky: The actual story, discounting the "The End" tag, is exactly thirteen words long, and you can't get much unluckier than having everyone die.
Truth in Television: In Real Life, Barnacles arequite ugly◊. Not enough to kill everyone, but their repulsive anatomy note They have prehensile penises and lack of any identifiable features, including eyes or even a face, were obviously a fitting inspiration for something as exceedingly hideous as The Ugly Barnacle.
Twist Ending: Be honest: Were you expecting the barnacle to kill everyone?