- French Narrator
- Sea urchins
- Nancy Suzy Fish
- Harold Bill Reginald Scott
- Eugene H. Krabs
- SpongeBob SquarePants
- Sheldon J. Plankton
- Robot game show host (debut)
- Peterson Nat Tucker
- Head-enhanced fish
- Everyone at the "head enhancement clinic" (mentioned)
- Squidward Tentacles
- Robot Krabs (debut)
- Jellyfish (mentioned)
- Clay (cameo)
- Penny (debut)
- Karen Plankton (voice only)
SynopsisPlankton, in his newest bid for the Krabby Patty secret formula, enters the Krusty Krab as a robotic salesman. He presents SpongeBob with an offer for one million dollars if he reveals the formula. SpongeBob explains, in no uncertain terms, that the formula is the property of Mr. Krabs and may not be divulged. Enraged, Plankton bursts out of the robot and threatens SpongeBob with violence, only to be caught by Mr. Krabs and shot out from a straw back to the Chum Bucket. Mr. Krabs stresses the importance of the formula's safety to SpongeBob, who takes it upon himself to be more vigilant. However, SpongeBob attacks a customer mentioning the formula in passing, thinking him to be Plankton in another disguise. To prevent further customer trauma, Mr. Krabs clarifies that the formula will be safe as long as SpongeBob only discusses it with him.
Little do they know that Plankton's newest robotic disguise has been made in the image of Mr. Krabs. He first encounters Squidward, tasked by the real Mr. Krabs to take inventory of the storage room. Plankton, as Imitation Krabs, fails to fool Squidward, but the offer of a day off buys Squidward's silence. SpongeBob enters as Squidward skips out and notices Imitation Krabs, who he believes is Mr. Krabs; the oddities of the robotic suit only slightly faze SpongeBob. When Mr. Krabs starts calling, however, Imitation Krabs distracts SpongeBob and turns into a toaster. To keep Mr. Krabs out of the way, Plankton takes out a penny and sends it rolling into Mr. Krabs' office. The enticing coin lures Mr. Krabs out of the restaurant, leaving Plankton's plan unimpeded.
Imitation Krabs finds SpongeBob scrubbing the floors in the kitchen and asks him about the formula. Surprised, SpongeBob says they haven't initiated the secret handshake yet, so Imitation Krabs allows SpongeBob to lead them through it. The "handshake" consists of standing on one foot, balancing a glass of chocolate milk on their heads, and singing the Bikini Bottom national anthem. What follows is a ritual that goes on for six and a half hours and consists of many bizarre and ridiculous feats (including being shot out of a cannon through a ring of fire and eating a plate of spaghetti upon landing), leaving Plankton worn out from controlling Imitation Krabs. After all this, SpongeBob still won't discuss the formula, causing Plankton to explode in anger at all of the things that he did were seemingly for nothing. However, SpongeBob explains that it simply must not be discussed out loud and holds up a bottle containing the formula in written form.
As Imitation Krabs eagerly reaches for the bottle, the rolling penny from earlier enters the kitchen, followed by the real Mr. Krabs. He gets into an argument with Imitation Krabs, and the two try to convince SpongeBob that they are the genuine article. Unable to handle the situation calmly, SpongeBob threatens the both of them with a vat of tartar sauce until he gets some answers, deciding that the best way to weed out the impostor is to present the two with a quiz about the Krusty Krab. The first two questions are generic ones that anyone who's been to the restaurant could answer ("What time does the Krusty Krab open?" and "How much does a Krabby Patty cost?") and Imitation Krabs answers both correctly. The third and final question is one so complicated ("If we were discussing the secret formula on the third Wednesday in January and it's not raining outside, after we've gargled with vanilla pudding, what do we do?") that not even the real Krabs can answer it. SpongeBob promptly blasts him with the tartar sauce and rolls him out the door in a fry basket, convinced he is the impostor.
Believing Imitation Krabs to be the real Mr. Krabs, SpongeBob presents him with the formula. As Plankton laughs in triumph, SpongeBob notices the penny that Mr. Krabs was chasing and unwittingly drops it into Imitation Krabs' coin-operated self-destruct mechanism. With only ten seconds until detonation, Plankton briefly ponders the intelligence of such a design choice before making a frantic dash back to the Chum Bucket. Unfortunately, he arrives too late and the robot explodes, obliterating his restaurant and causing the metal fist to crush Plankton. As the formula bottle rolls back to SpongeBob, he realizes his grave error.
Suddenly, Mr. Krabs is heard screaming for help, and he is shown still in the fry basket fending off a live-action hand wielding a fork. SpongeBob rushes over and carts Mr. Krabs back to the Krusty Krab, apologizing for believing him to be the impostor. Mr. Krabs forgives him but says the penny will be coming out of his paycheck. As they laugh together, SpongeBob asks "Really?".
|( ‣ ) Associated production music|
|( • ) Original music|
|( ◦ ) SpongeBob music|
‣ Wondrous Pastures - John Fox [opening]
‣ Night Butcher - Richard A. Harvey [Plankton inside a robot/Robot enters the Krusty Krab]
‣ Top Gameshow [#25.02] - David Arnold, Paul Hart [one million dollars]
‣ Quiz Logo 1 - Dave Hewson [SpongeBob about to answer the question]
‣ Monster Bug (a) - Gregor F. Narholz ["Plankton!"/"Krabs!"]
‣ Facing the Challenge [#14.02] - Gregor F. Narholz ["I will not let you down!"]
‣ Hawaiian Link (a) - Richard Myhill ["Could you let me down?"]
‣ West Side Rumble - Sam Spence [code twelve]
‣ The Tip Top Polka/The Cliff Polka - Chelmsford Folk Band [the most important rule]
‣ Captain Lenoe's - Michael Arthur, Colin Cater, Mick Graves, The Folk Players, Sarah Graves, Simon Ritchie ["Huh?"]
‣ Footsteps of Horror - W. Merrick Farran [robot Mr. Krabs]
‣ Harp Ding - Nicolas Carr ["Well, whatever you say, Mr. Krabs!"]
‣ Enter the Villain - Chris Payne, Paul Rogers ["Oh, sweet domination, this is it!"]
‣ Duel in the Dust - Sam Spence [robot turns into a toaster]
‣ Dissonance - Dick Stephen Walter ["Day... OOOFFFFFF?!?!?!?!"]
‣ Action Cut (a) - Gregor F. Narholz ["Hey, Mr. Krabs, just taking out that garbage."]
‣ Frankenstein's Niece D - Gregor F. Narholz [garbage vaporized]
‣ Vibe Link (a) - Richard Myhill ["I don't know, Mr. Krabs... I don't know."]
‣ Monster [#51.01] - Wolfgang Kafer [ordinary penny]
‣ Vibe Q Sting - Nicolas Carr ["That sound..."]
‣ Black Stockings - David Lindup [Krabs chases the penny]
‣ Shock (d) - Dave Hewson ["Nothing stands between me and that secret formula now!"]
‣ Heavy Footsteps (a) - Paddy Kingsland [SpongeBob scrubbing floor]
‣ The Rake Hornpipe - Robert Alexander White [secret handshake]
‣ Shock (g) - Dave Hewson ["But we did everything you said!"]
‣ House of Horror - W. Merrick Farran ["This is it, Plankton."]
‣ Shock Horror (a) - Dick Stephen Walter [Krabs breaches the kitchen's door]
‣ Games Played in the Dark - Richard A. Harvey ["How could you do this, SpongeBob?"]
‣ War of Nerves - John Scott [tartar sauce]
‣ Cold Sweat - John Scott [SpongeBob asking questions]
‣ Point of Departure K - Gregor F. Narholz ["Wait, SpongeBob!"]
‣ Death Trap - Gregor F. Narholz [robotic laughter]
‣ Hawaiian Link (b) - Richard Myhill ["Help!"]
‣ The Rake Hornpipe - Robert Alexander White [ending]
- "Imitation Krabs" was ranked #77 during the Best Day Ever event on November 9–10, 2006.
- This, along with "Dying for Pie," are the last episodes to premiere in 2000.
- This episode premiered in Canada on March 30, 2001.
- The episode's title is a play on imitation crab, fake crab meat, which is used in salads and California rolls.
- This is the first episode where the Krabby Patty secret formula appears as a sheet of paper in a bottle. It is depicted this way in most of its subsequent appearances.
- The episodes "Someone's in the Kitchen with Sandy," "Gramma's Secret Recipe," and "Shellback Shenanigans" have similar plots to this episode, as those episodes also have Plankton disguising as a character to get the secret formula.
- The Bikini Bottom National Anthem is heard again in "Little Yellow Book."
- This episode is referenced in "Krabs vs. Plankton" when Squidward says he hasn't had a day off for three years.
- Because that episode takes place right before "Chocolate with Nuts," which is December 2002, this episode possibly takes place in 1999.
- Mr. Krabs says that he does not know the meaning of "taking the day off." On "Bubble Buddy," SpongeBob had the day off. Mr. Krabs even insists on letting SpongeBob be excused from work until he can think straight again in "Pickles." In "Suds," "SquidBob TentaclePants," "Not Normal," and "Stuck in the Wringer," he lets SpongeBob take the day off. He gives employees the day off if they are not working well. The Krusty Krab is closed in certain episodes. There are also some episodes where the Krusty Krab is open yet SpongeBob or Squidward aren't there.
- From Mr. Krabs' rage, it could imply that he knows what "taking the day off" means but he simply chooses not to know what it means.
- Also, SpongeBob is forced to have a day off in "Bummer Vacation," meaning this takes place before that episode.
- The captions aren't in all caps, but when SpongeBob yells "Quiet!" to Robot Krabs and Mr. Krabs when they are bickering, the word "Quiet!" is in all caps. This does not happen on the DVD version.
- The prices of the Krabby Patty as mentioned in the question below are the same prices used at McDonald's: $2.99 for burger, 99¢ on Wednesday.
- When Robot Krabs says "gasp," it's different in Mexican Nickelodeon in Spanish he says "adivina?" which means "guess" in English.
- In this episode, the National Bikini Bottom Anthem is revealed.
- There is a book based on this episode called Good Enough to Eat!
- This is the second time in the series that the face on a coin actually moves. The first time was in "Squid's Day Off," when the dime winks at Mr. Krabs. The penny gasps as Mr. Krabs returns and sees SpongeBob giving the secret recipe to Plankton in Robot Krabs.
- The two following episodes have Robot Krabs from this episode reused:
- Although "tartar sauce" is commonly used as a minced oath in the series, this is the first episode to actually show it.
- The closed-captions were extensively modified for when SpongeBob told about the disclaimer for the Krabby Patty secret formula.
- Plankton's 1,000,000 dollars were used as the background on "The Cent of Money" title card.
- When the 10-second countdown for self-destruct sequence activates, Robot Krabs actually explodes after ten seconds.
- In Indonesia, the narrator says "2 1/2 Hours Later."
- In Hebrew, the time card saying "6 1/2 hours later" is written in words instead of numbers, and moreover, the word "half" is misspelled "חציא" instead of "חצי," similar to writing "halfe" instead of "half."
- Among the things in Mr. Krabs' storage room is chum sauce.
- At one point in the episode, in the background, Harold Bill Reginald Scott is seen holding the top bun of his Krabby Patty in one hand, holding the rest of the patty in the other, and licking the patty, for some reason.
- The head of Plankton's first robot is later seen in the console version of the video game Creature From the Krusty Krab during the minigame of the Supersized Patty level.
- SpongeBob mentions the episode title by saying "So long, Imitation Krabs!"
- In the Polish dub, the episode's title is "Fałszywy pan Krab," which translates to "Fake Mr. Krabs."
- In the Croatian dub, the episode name is "Lažni Gospodin Klještić," which translates to "Fake Mr. Krabs."
- This episode confirms that Mr. Krabs patented the Krabby Patty secret formula at some point, with SpongeBob explicitly stating that duplication of the formula is punishable by law.
- Plankton's line "Ravioli ravioli, give me the formu-oli" has become a popular Internet meme.
- Plankton mentions Robot Krabs in SpongeBob's Atlantis SquarePantis.
- The exterior shot of the Krusty Krab at the end of the episode would later be reused in "Can You Spare a Dime?."
- "6½ Hours Later..."
- When Mr. Krabs says "I don't know the meaning of them horrible words," the white part on his shirt is transparent.
- When Plankton goes into the Krusty Krab as the salesman robot, for the few seconds the door is open, the Krusty Krab is dark.
- When SpongeBob says "If we're discussing the secret formula on the third Wednesday in January, and it's not raining outside after we gargle with vanilla pudding, what do we do?," the word "vanilla" is excluded from the captions.
- At the end, when SpongeBob is pushing Mr. Krabs from Hans, the sign "Special" is duplicated for a couple of seconds.
- When Mr. Krabs enters the door a second time, SpongeBob's jellyfishing net is missing.
- When Squidward is doing the inspection, there is a bag that says "Kelp Meal," but in a later scene, the bag says "Keep Meal."
- When Mr. Krabs says "Day... off?!," when he shouts the word "Off?!," the captions just say "(bellowing)."
- When SpongeBob is about to take out the garbage, Plankton uses the robot's heat vision to disintegrate it. Later on, the garbage is still seen in the corner.
- When Plankton throws the penny to Mr. Krabs' office, the door is open. The door is then closed when SpongeBob is knocking.
- The things Plankton said when he is seen in the cockpit of robot Mr. Krabs should have spoken by robot Mr. Krabs as well.
- At the beginning, SpongeBob's nose is slightly larger than usual.
- In the scene after SpongeBob tells Mr. Krabs that he was going to ask a question, the clipper on SpongeBob's nose disappears.
- At the part where Mr. Krabs tells SpongeBob that if he regards the secret formula, the secret would be safe, the floor coloring is blue rather than green.
- When Mr. Krabs accuses Imitation Krabs of being a robot, Imitation Krabs has Mr. Krabs' white shirt, which he does not have throughout the rest of the episode.
- When SpongeBob says "If that was Plankton... uh oh!," the secret formula gets slanted in his hand when he says "Uh oh!"
- Every time Plankton's Robot Krabs says a lie, its engine backfires, and smoke can be seen from the exhaust pipe.
- Plankton says "Ouch" throughout.
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