Follow TV Tropes


Recap / SpongeBob SquarePants S 3 E 14 "The Great Snail Race" / "Mid-Life Crustacean"

Go To
On your mark, get set, slither!
SpongeBob: Looks like we're going to start our training now, ladies! (laughs) I call you a lady to humiliate and demean you. It's a motivational tool we coaches use.
[cut to Sandy walking down the street]
Sandy: Hmm... I don't know why, but I think I'll kick SpongeBob's butt tomorrow.

United States airdate: January 24, 2003

Canada airdate: June 27, 2003

When Squidward buys a pedigreed racing snail named Snelly and enters her in a snail race, SpongeBob decides to enter Gary in the race as well, not realizing that the training he puts Gary through is too much for him.

"The Great Snail Race" provides examples of...

  • Accidental Misnaming: "It's Tennisballs! I mean Tentacles!"
  • Adapted Out: In book adaptations of this episode, Sandy's scenes were removed.
  • An Aesop:
    • Don't push yourself or others, especially into things that you or they don't feel comfortable doing.
    • The best way to get others into trying their best is encouraging them rather than berating them.
  • Brick Joke: When Spongebob admits he called Gary a lady "to humiliate and demean you", it cuts to Sandy having an urge to kick Spongebob's butt. At the end of the episode, Sandy comes out of nowhere, gives Spongebob a Literal Ass-Kicking, and shouts "That's for yesterday, SquarePants!"
  • Advertisement:
  • Companion Cube: Patrick's "snail" Rocky.
    Squidward: Patrick, that's a rock.
    Patrick: Yeah, thanks, I know. He's got nerves of steel.
  • Dark Horse Victory: With Gary out of the race and Snelly forfeiting to be by his side, the real winner of the race is... Patrick's rock Rocky, which somehow got to the finish line.
  • Description Cut: When peering through SpongeBob's windows, Squidward asks what Patrick is standing on. It then cuts to the outside of the pineapple and reveals that Patrick is standing on Squidward's shoulders.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: SpongeBob as Gary's racing coach.
  • Everybody Laughs Ending: Initially played straight, then Sandy interrupts to literally kick Spongebob's butt.
  • Graceful Loser: SpongeBob, since he was more concerned with Gary's injuries than winning. Squidward also takes his loss surprisingly well.
  • Advertisement:
  • Heroic RRoD: Gary (literally) breaks down mid race.
  • Jerkass Ball: SpongeBob for pushing Gary hard into winning and using inhumane methods to torture the poor snail making him skip sleep and do physically exhausting tasks all day and night. Ironically he wears out Gary in training so much Gary has no energy left when the race starts.
  • Kick the Dog: After Gary crashes, Squidward starts laughing his head off.
  • Laser-Guided Karma
    • Patrick, the only sportsmanlike competitor of the three (and one shown to take very kind care of his "snail", Rocky) inexplicably wins the race.
    • Spongebob's casual sexism when calling Gary a lady as a put down ends with Sandy giving him a swift kick in the ass the next day. As for his mistreatment of Gary, he loses the race after Spongebob's training proves to be too much for him and is ultimately disqualified after Spongebob runs onto the track after Gary spins out.
    • Squidward not winning the Snail Race also counts, due to his Smug Snake attitude towards Spongebob.
  • Malicious Misnaming: SpongeBob calls Gary girl names, explaining that it's a motivational tactic.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: SpongeBob, after his mistreatment leads Gary to have a Heroic RRoD.
  • My Significance Sense Is Tingling: After SpongeBob's Malicious Misnaming, Sandy, who is apparently miles away, suddenly feels like kicking his butt tomorrow. (See Brick Joke for the result.)
  • Nice Guy: Patrick, for once, is depicted as the nice one of the bunch. In stark contrast to SpongeBob (who acts like a Drill Sergeant Nasty towards Gary and doesn't realize it until it's too late) and Squidward (who's smug and obnoxious about his snail winning), Patrick is perfectly fine with Rocky not going the minute the race starts, even telling him that he can go when he feels like it, and decides to give the trophy to Squidward because he knew how much winning meant to him (a gesture Squidward is genuinely touched by).
  • Pet the Dog: Patrick engraves the trophy he won in Squidward's name (something he's utterly grateful for)
    • Squidward is also shown to be visibly shocked along with Patrick after witnessing Sandy kicking Spongebob in the butt.
  • Reality Ensues: The Training from Hell that Spongebob put Gary through (without letting the Snail rest) only results in Gary having no energy to perform well in the Snail Race.
  • Running Gag: Squidward's last name keeps getting misspelled.
  • Shout-Out: Patrick's "snail" is an underdog named Rocky. You half expect the rock to start shouting "Adrien!" when he wins.
  • Skewed Priorities: SpongeBob is hit by this bigtime. Special mention also goes to Squidward who bought Snelly strictly to show off in a race.
  • Slow and Steady Wins the Race: Parodied. While Spongebob and Squidward bring normal snail pets, Patrick brings a rock. It predictably doesn't move while the other snails race forward, but Gary (Spongebob's snail) went berserk and runs out of the race line and injures himself in the end, while Squidward's snail (who's close to winning) runs to Gary instead to help him. While everyone (including the spectators) is distracted with the 2 snails, it then cuts to Patrick's rock somehow crossing the finish line.
  • Take That!: The crowd going nuts for Gary's breakdown is a jab at NASCAR fans who turn up just to watch the wrecks.
  • Tears of Joy: Patrick, after his..."snail" wins the race.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Patrick gives his trophy to Squidward after "winning" the race. He probably didn't deserve it, but it's certainly one of Squidward's more positive outcomes, one for which he is grateful.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Neither Snelly nor Rocky are mentioned again after this episode.
Art thou feeling it now, Mr. Krabs?
United States airdate: January 24, 2003

Canada airdate: June 27, 2003

Mr. Krabs is starting to show his age, so he decides to hang out with some hip young people to feel young again. Unfortunately, he picks SpongeBob and Patrick.

"Mid Life Crustacean" provides examples of...

  • Bittersweet Ending: Mr. Krabs is grounded by his mother for joining the panty raid while Spongebob and Patrick receive no punishment for it. On the upside, Spongebob does apologize to Mr. Krabs who now definitely feels younger, as his bedroom is still adorned with his bed and toys from his childhood.
  • Brick Joke: The fish scout.
    • "Style!"
      • "Not lame!"
  • Dinner Deformation: When Krabs has to take his morning pill, which is twice as wide as his whole head.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: The panty raid. That is all.
  • Gross-Up Close-Up: On Krabs's sleep crust-covered eyes as he wakes up in the beginning of the episode and his multiple, flabby, hairy chins when he goes to look in the mirror.
  • Helping Granny Cross the Street: A boy scout walks Mr. Krabs by the hand, with him resenting the implication that he's old.
  • Idiot Houdini: SpongeBob and Patrick bail when Mama Krabs turns up, leaving Mr. Krabs to take all the heat for going through her lingerie. This is especially bad since they've apparently raided her house many times already, while Mr. Krabs was unaware of who's house it was. Although SpongeBob does apologize to Mr. Krabs for getting grounded that night.
  • Incredibly Lame Fun: SpongeBob and Patrick's "night of debauchery" includes such activities as going to a laundromat and watching washing machines, picking up trash at the highway, sitting in a kiddie pool, playing a Dungeons & Dragons-like game, and going to a Suck E. Cheese's.
  • Its Pronounced Tro PAY: Krabs tries to pronounce "coral" as "corrahl" to make it sound cooler.
  • No Indoor Voice: Spongebob and Patrick, who scream in excitement about their big night out when they're mere feet away from one another... with Squidward right between them!
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Mr. Krabs doesn't obsess over money once in the entire episode.
  • Overly Long Gag
    • Spongebob, Patrick and Mr. Krabs shouting "Are you/I'm ready to party!" to one another.
    • "Are you feeling it now, Mr. Krabs?"
  • Panty Thieves: SpongeBob and Patrick take Mr. Krabs on a "panty raid". Unfortunately, the house they raid belongs to Krabs' mother.
  • Rage Breaking Point: "I'M FEELIN' LIKE A TOTAL BARNACLE HEAD!!!"
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Mr. Krabs gives a damning one to SpongeBob and Patrick when they waste his time on every uncool activity in the book, and calls the two of them lame right to their appalled faces.
  • Right on Queue: Mr. Krabs sees a long line of senior citizens leading to the cemetery. After running away screaming "I ain't old!", we see that the line is actually for an ice-cream cart next to the cemetery.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Mr. Krabs finally becomes fed up with the duo's Incredibly Lame Fun and tells them off before deciding he's done for the night. That is until Patrick brings up the panty raid.
  • Totally Radical: Pearl explains to Krabs that kids don't say "cool" anymore, they say "coral" instead. She becomes appalled when her father adopts it and calls her friends to say that "Coral is definitely out."
  • Wham Line: "Eugene!?" "MOTHER!?"
  • You Are Grounded: Krabs is sent to his room by his mother for going through her underwear drawer.
  • You Didn't Ask: "Why didn't you tell me this was my mother's house?!"


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: