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Recap / Sponge Bob Square Pants S 4 E 3 Have You Seen This Snail

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Airdate: November 11, 2005

When SpongeBob forgets to feed Gary after becoming obsessed with his new paddleball, Gary runs away and is adopted by a kindly old lady. Once SpongeBob realizes that Gary's gone, he and Patrick search Bikini Bottom high-and-low in order to make amends.

Have You Seen This Snail? contains examples of:

  • An Aesop:
    • Take care of your family (including your pets) first before having free time to yourself.
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    • Don't get so obsessed with something that you neglect to care for yourself and your family.
    • Even if your usually loving parents are busy with something, they still love you.
  • Chronic Pet Killer: Granny has had many snails before Gary, their busted shells gathered in an empty room in her house.
  • Clapper Gag: Granny turns off her lights at one point in this way.
  • Death by Gluttony: One interpretation of Granny's closet full of busted snail shells is that she accidentally overfed her pets until it killed them.
  • Eleventy Zillion: The "Dirty Bubble Challenge" is to hit the paddleball 29,998,559,671,349 times in a row.
  • Fattening the Victim: One interpretation of Granny's closet full of busted snail shells is that Granny fattens up her pet snails before eating them and Gary is just her latest victim.
  • Foreshadowing: At one point, Gary is looking around Granny's living room and a photo of her surrounded by multiple snails can be seen. Noticeably, those snails are all nowhere to be seen in the present day...
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  • He Knows Too Much: Upon seeing that Gary discovered her closet of empty snail shells, Granny turns hostile and threatens to do to him what she did to her other snails.
  • Missed Him by That Much: SpongeBob and Gary keep missing each other, usually because SpongeBob is preoccupied with putting up posters. Perhaps the most frustrating time is at the craft store where Patrick notices there is a sale on scented pine cones and goes inside to get some. He sees Gary and Granny are there and asks where the pine cones are, but she tells him she bought the last of the pine cones. Patrick then leaves, oblivious to the fact that he found Gary (despite casually greeting the snail) and not mentioning it to SpongeBob.
    Patrick: Hey, Gary.
  • Mistaken for Cheating: A random female fish spies the accidental "Lisa, Will You Marry Me?" message and for some reason, thinks her boyfriend/husband was responsible for it and slaps him.
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  • Mood Whiplash: The heartbreaking "Gary, Come Home" musical number ends with Patrick screwing up the skywriting, changing the message to "Lisa, Will You Marry Me?".
    Female Fish: Who is this Lisa person?!
    Male Fish: Huh?
    (the Female Fish slaps him)
  • My God, What Have I Done?: SpongeBob realizes that he messed up big time after he reads Gary's "Dear John" Letter.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: A YTV promo has an edited clip from the episode where Squidward is screaming as SpongeBob is digging in his bathtub. In the episode proper, Squidward only screams when SpongeBob and Patrick barge into his bathroom.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Focusing so much on the "Dirty Bubble Challenge" causes SpongeBob to forget feeding Gary, who runs away.
  • No Sympathy: Mr. Krabs is completely unaware of SpongeBob's plight about losing Gary, neglecting his depressed looking, is more focused on the tears SpongeBob is dripping on the Krabby Patties, and completely uninterested in SpongeBob explaining his problem.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: It's never made clear whether Granny overfeeds her snails with the intent of eating them, or if she overfeeds them until it ultimately kills them. Both possibilities are equally harrowing.
  • Not Now, We're Too Busy Crying over You: SpongeBob's initial feedback once Gary rejoins him.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: SpongeBob normally takes his job at the Krusty Krab very seriously, but because he's so depressed over losing Gary, he shows up fifteen minutes late and leaves in the middle of the shift.
  • Overly Long Scream: SpongeBob and Patrick barge into Squidward's house while he is taking a bath, making him scream continuously.
  • Parental Neglect: Spongebob forgets to take care of Gary because he's been obsessed with his new paddleball.
  • Shout-Out: The old lady (via one interpretation) is only feeding Gary so he can get overstuffed just so he can be eaten himself...does this sound very much like the witch from Hansel and Gretel?
    • The painting of the old lady surrounded by numerous snails (which are nowhere to be seen in the house on the course of the whole episode) and a scene where Gary discovers a room filled with broken snail shells are a clear shout-out to "Bluebeard" fairy tale.
  • Special Guest: Amy Poehler as Granny.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Patrick's idiotic tendencies reach new heights in this episode. In order of instances: he instantly forgets that he was talking to SpongeBob, neglects the bag of snail food outside SpongeBob's door, focuses more on a crooked painting than SpongeBob in a Troubled Fetal Position, eats the can of snail treats SpongeBob was going to use to attract Gary, rips out Squidward's bathroom sink, is oblivious to Gary's presence in a crafts store, causes the plane he and SpongeBob are in to go out of control, and finally, just when it looks like he finally remembers seeing Gary in the crafts store...he's actually remembering chunks of basal wood at the store.
  • Tropey, Come Home: SpongeBob goes all out in his attempts to find Gary. By the episode's end, practically all of Bikini Bottom is covered with SpongeBob's apology posters.
  • Unable to Cry: Near the end of the episode, Patrick tries to get SpongeBob to let it out some more, after days of failed searches, but he laments that he can't cry anymore and that he's out of tears. It's subverted a second later when Patrick finds some balsa wood laying around, prompting SpongeBob to turn on the Ocular Gushers again because Gary really loved balsa wood.
  • Waking Non Sequitur: When SpongeBob wakes up Patrick by throwing art supplies at his feet.
    Patrick: Aah, it's the Apocalypse! Office products are falling from the sky!
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: Assuming that it would take only a single second to hit a paddleball once, it would take around 951,248 years to hit a paddleballl 29,998,559,671,349 times in a row. Patrick must have serious paddleball skills to beat the Dirty Bubble's Challenge.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: The Granny is one of the darkest antagonists in an otherwise light-hearted comedy. Depending on your interpretation, she either fattens her snails up until they die or she straight up eats them.
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