Encyclopedia SpongeBobia
Encyclopedia SpongeBobia
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If you were looking for the article about the Japanese DVD, then see Back to the Past (DVD).

"Back to the Past" is a SpongeBob SquarePants episode from season 7. In this episode, SpongeBob and Patrick accidentally change past events with Mermaid Man's time machine.



The time travel machine.

In the beginning of the episode, SpongeBob and Patrick are strolling through Bikini Bottom and see Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy in the invisible boatmobile, without gas. SpongeBob and Patrick push the boat over several hills. Barnacle Boy invites them into their warehouse full of memorabilia from their T.V. show so long as they don't touch anything. Barnacle Boy shows them a time machine that they have never used and warns them not to use it because they could mess up the timeline.

Almost immediately Patrick mistakes it for a vending machine, and all of them are transported to 1954 when Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy were young. The heroes scold Patrick for his actions and travel the area, due to his stupidity. They see Man Ray tormenting old Bikini Bottom. Past Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy are unsuccessful at foiling Man Ray due to Patrick eating the tartar sauce they were originally going to trap him in.

SpongeBob and Patrick escape old Bikini Bottom, leaving their Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy behind. When SpongeBob and Patrick return to Bikini Bottom, it is no longer called Bikini Bottom, but Man Rayopolis. They go to the Krusty Krab which is now called "The Designated Area Where You Are Permitted by Man Ray, Your Ruler, to Obtain Sandwiches Using Man Ray Dollars."

Back to the Past 148.png

The superheroes from their time are now dead and buried inside the restaurant while the past superheroes now work there. Mermaid Man is the fry cook, SpongeBob's position, and Barnacle Boy is the cashier, Squidward's position realizing that they created an alternate timeline by preventing Man Ray's defeat. They go back to stop Patrick from eating the tartar sauce, but the heroes who were sent by accident believe they are impostors. The Mermaid Men fight which creates the perfect distraction for Man Ray. The young Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy attempt to foil Man Ray with the tartar sauce, but the two Patricks end up eating it. Another warehouse appears.

SpongeBob and Patrick from a different time period emerge from the warehouse screaming "Patrick, don't eat the tartar sauce!" Another warehouse appears above of Man Ray and outfall SpongeBob and Patrick. Yet another one appears with SpongeBob saying to Patrick "I told you we had to go back further!"

Another one pops to Man Ray's left with Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy leaping out of it exclaiming, "Up, up and away!" They both fall headfirst into the ground. Another one appears above the previous warehouse with the superheroes. SpongeBob and Patrick appear and throw a batch of tartar sauce over the fallen superheroes from the previous warehouse.

Another one appears next to the pair of warehouses. Man Ray flies out of it, destroys it, says, "I took care of your blasted time machine!" and leaves. All of the warehouses appearing in random locations confuses Man Ray. Man Ray sits down on a log and thinks about what is happening, but gets arrested by the superheroes. Then all of a sudden, many warehouses appear all over the planet, all of them containing multiple copies of SpongeBob and Patrick, as the episode ends.

Running gags

  • Whenever there is tartar sauce, Patrick eats it up.




 ) Production music
 ) Original music
 ) SpongeBob music

  Happy Sponge Chase Vibes - Nicolas Carr [Title card]
  Kalua Jubalee - Sage Guyton, Jeremy Wakefield [Opening]
  Mermaidman and Barnacle Boy Action Theme - Michael Bolger, Nicolas Carr, Pat Irwin [SpongeBob sees Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy]
  Chief Taravana - Kapono Beamer [SpongeBob and Patrick pushing the Invisible Boatmobile]
  Proud to Be a Fish - Nicolas Carr, Barry Anthony [Locker of memories]
  Alien Spacecraft A - Gregor F. Narholz [Barnacle Boy shows SpongeBob and Patrick the time machine]
  Entrapped - Nicolas Carr [Patrick mistakes it for a vending machine]
  Crescendo Fin 10 A - Marcin Pospieszalski [Time machine disappears from the Mermalair]
  Cres. Trm + Hit 11 C Min - Marcin Pospieszalski [They go back in time]
  Cres. Trm + Hit 11 D#Min - Marcin Pospieszalski [They go back in time]
  Cres. Trm + Hit 11 F#Min - Marcin Pospieszalski [They go back in time]
  Cres. Trm + Hit 11 A Min - Marcin Pospieszalski [They go back in time]
  Moon Walk - John Fox ["Where are we?"]
  Stumbling Tumbleweeds - Nicolas Carr, Sage Guyton, Jeremy Wakefield ["Everything looks so old-fashioned."]
  Down in Davey Jones Locker - Nicolas Carr [Storm clouds]
  Evil Empire - Ron Wasserman [Man Ray zaps the windmill]
  Mermaidman and Barnacle Boy Action Theme - Michael Bolger, Nicolas Carr, Pat Irwin [Young Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy introduced]
  Steel Sting - Jeremy Wakefield [Patrick ate all the tartar sauce]
  New Vibe Hits 2007 - Nicolas Carr ["Curious."]
  Horror House Of Wax Retro 2 - Nicolas Carr, Ron Wasserman ["This is creeping me out!"]
  Mermaidman and Barnacle Boy Action Theme - Michael Bolger, Nicolas Carr, Pat Irwin ["Don't worry, Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy are always here to help the elderly."]
  Cres. Trm + Hit 11 A Min - Marcin Pospieszalski [SpongeBob and Patrick going forward in time]
  Lap Steel - Nicolas Carr ["That's more like it!"]
  Martial Crisis - Jack Shaindlin [Man Rayopolis]
  Search Party 1 [#48] - Harry Bluestone, Emil Cadkin [Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy work at the Krusty Krab]
  Drowsy Reef - Sage Guyton, Jeremy Wakefield ["I lost the desire and the physique to fight long ago, kid."]
  Shanty Dirge - Nicolas Carr, Steve Marston ["I am so sorry for your loss of... yourself."]
  ? ["Tartar sauce?!"]
  Accusation - Gerhard Trede ["The topping that destroyed life as we knew it!"]
  Dramatic Impact (6) - Ivor Slaney [Patrick ate all the tartar sauce]
  Steel Licks 25 - Jeremy Wakefield [Patrick burps]
  Danger Sign - Harry Bluestone, Emil Cadkin ["I knew I recognized you from somewhere!"/"I’m not teaming up with you to do jack diddly squat!"]
  Steel Licks 8 - Jeremy Wakefield [Mermaid Man's collar comes off]
  Variety Link (d) - Dick Stephen Walter ["Ta-da! You're free!"]
  Adventurers - Larry Hochman ["Can we coax you and Barnacle Boy out of retirement to save the known universe?"]
  Star Premiere - Sammy Burdson, John Charles Fiddy ["Let the lighthouse of justice shine on Ray Man!"]
  Cres. Trm + Hit 11 A Min - Marcin Pospieszalski [They go back in time]
  Cres. Trm + Hit 11 F#Min - Marcin Pospieszalski [They go back in time]
  Creatures in the Closet - Cris Velasco [Man Ray zaps the windmill]
  Crime Squad - John Cameron ["Not so fast, Man Ray."]
  Mermaidman and Barnacle Boy Action Theme - Michael Bolger, Nicolas Carr, Pat Irwin ["Keep your tongue out of our tartar sauce!"]
  Vibe Q Sting - Nicolas Carr ["What do you make of this, Barnacle Boy?"]
  Red Alert [#8] - Harry Bluestone, Emil Cadkin ["You old coots provided me the perfect distraction!"]
  Mermaidman and Barnacle Boy Action Theme - Michael Bolger, Nicolas Carr, Pat Irwin [Empty tartar sauce bucket again]
  Steel Licks 19 - Jeremy Wakefield ["Wow, I've never eaten that much tartar sauce."]
  Warlord - Wolfgang Kafer [Man Ray laughs evilly]
  Battle March Link (a) - Keith Mansfield ["Patrick, don't eat the tartar sauce!"]
  Slide Whistle Stooges - Nicolas Carr, Sage Guyton, Jeremy Wakefield [Several time machines appear]
  Lap Steel - Nicolas Carr [Man Ray confused]
  Mermaidman and Barnacle Boy Action Theme - Michael Bolger, Nicolas Carr, Pat Irwin [Man Ray arrested]
  12th Street Rag with Bass - Nicolas Carr, Sage Guyton, Jeremy Wakefield [Ending]




  • The title card of this episode is similar to those of "Nasty Patty" and "Patty Caper."
  • This episode marks the only time Adam West voiced young Mermaid Man, before his death in 2017, and the only time Burt Ward voices young Barnacle Boy to date.
  • In this episode, Barnacle Boy refers to the Invisible Boatmobile as "The Invisiboat."
  • The original past when Man Ray is brought to justice via tartar sauce is a reference to "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy III," where Man Ray is shown to be entombed in frozen tartar sauce.
    • It could possibly explain why Man Ray turns good in "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy III," but is evil in most other episodes after it. As they altered the future, Man Ray was never frozen in tartar sauce to later be awakened and turned good. Instead, he went straight to jail. Thus, he remained evil.
  • Just like "Shanghaied," "Feral Friends," "Squirrel Jelly," "Swamp Mates," "Handemonium," and "Krusty Koncessionaires," this is a 14-minute episode. However, it's not a SpongeBob special, either.
  • When tons of objects fall down on Mermaid Man, Man Ray's head is visible and can be seen falling down on Mermaid Man's.
  • This episode's credits can be seen near the end of its sister episode on the TV screen.
  • In New Zealand, this episode was advertised as "Out of Time."[citation needed]
  • SpongeBob mentions the episode title when he says: "Back to the past, gents!"
  • This is the third episode to have time traveling. The first is "SB-129," and the second is "Dunces and Dragons."
  • SpongeBob says "jaywalking" in this episode. The term "jaywalking" was first cited in the dictionary in the same year as Ernest Borgnine's birth.
  • This episode heavily uses the butterfly effect during the time-traveling scenes.
  • This is the only episode to feature Squilliam without Squidward and overall his last appearance in general, not counting his cameo in "Code Yellow" in season 10 (as that was just his head appearing as a nose and not the character himself). Though SpongeBob is about to mention Squidward until he realizes the cashier is Barnacle Boy.
  • Coincidentally, this episode's sister episode is also a Mermaid Man & Barnacle Boy-themed episode.
  • This was the last usage of "Happy Sponge Chase Vibes" until "The Krusty Bucket." It is also currently its last use as title card music.
  • This episode supposedly premiered on Annoy Squidward Day (if the date of the holiday is correct).
  • During the Mermaid Man-a-Thon, it was paired up with "Mermaid Man & Barnacle Boy VI: The Motion Picture."
  • This is the 100th episode to use the track "Lap Steel."
  • This was one of the two season 7 episodes to use "Chief Taravana." The other was "Buried in Time."
  • This is the fourth Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy episode to not play "The Lineman." The first three were "Night Light," "The Card" and "Ditchin'" respectively.

Cultural references

  • The title of this episode is a reference to the film Back to the Future.
    • Another reference to Back to the Future is that SpongeBob and Patrick time travel to 1954, while Marty McFly traveled to 1955.


  • When SpongeBob and Patrick are traveling back to the present, the clocks are moving backward instead of forwards.

    The clocks are going backwards.

  • Near the end, SpongeBob's body color is a lot darker than normal.
  • Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy drive an Invisible Boatmobile, but the gas tank was shown when Barnacle Boy reminded Mermaid Man they were out. It should be an invisible gas tank.
  • On the December 7, 2019 airing of the episode in Nick CEE, the entire episode is skipped to SpongeBob and Patrick traveling to Man Rayopolis.[citation needed]
  • In the European Spanish dub, Squilliam is called Squidward (Calamardo) and also has the latter's voice actor.



Nickelodeon Split Screen Credits (February 15, 2010)