Encyclopedia SpongeBobia
Encyclopedia SpongeBobia
If you were looking for the article about the robot, then see Robot Krabs.
If you were looking for the article about the DVD, then see Imitation Krabs (DVD).

"Imitation Krabs" is a SpongeBob SquarePants episode from season 2. In this episode, Plankton disguises himself as a robot version of Mr. Krabs in an attempt to steal the Krabby Patty secret formula.



Imitation Krabs 005.png

As the episode begins with Plankton in his newest bid for the Krabby Patty secret formula entering 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 (in response to his wise-guy remark about "why do today what you can put off until tomorrow?"). Plankton, as Robot Krabs, fails to fool Squidward, but the offer of a day off buys Squidward's silence. SpongeBob enters as Squidward skips out and notices Robot Krabs, who he believes is Mr. Krabs; the oddities of the robotic suit only slightly faze SpongeBob. When Mr. Krabs starts calling, however, Robot Krabs distracts SpongeBob and turns into a toaster. To keep Mr. Krabs out of the way after his repeated appearances, 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.

Robot Krabs finds SpongeBob scrubbing the floors in the kitchen and asks him about the formula. Surprised, SpongeBob says they have not initiated the secret handshake yet, so Robot 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, leaving Plankton worn out from controlling Robot Krabs. After all this, SpongeBob still will not 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 Robot 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 Robot 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 has been to the restaurant could answer and Robot Krabs answers both correctly. The third and final question is one so complicated that not even the real Mr. 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.

Imitation Krabs 205.png

Believing Robot 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 Robot 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 (a simple "ouch" shows he is only injured). 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 Hans 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 ends the episode by saying that the penny will be coming out of his paycheck.

Running gags

  • 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.



Model Sheets


 ) Production music
 ) Original music
 ) SpongeBob music

  The Twin Sisters - Chelmsford Folk Band [Title card]
  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 [#33] - 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! - 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... Off?!"]
  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]
  Tension Tremolo - Nicolas Carr [Overlays Monster [#51.01]]
  ? Vibes - 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 - William 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 [#27.02] - 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 from November 9–10, 2006.
  • "Imitation Krabs" was ranked #77 during the SpongeBob's Top 100 event in the UK and Ireland from June 4-8, 2012.



  • This episode was originally going to be titled "Two Krabs Are Better Than One," according to some production art. The reason why it was changed is unknown, but it was most likely because of the title being too long.
  • The episode's title is a play on the words "imitation crab," which is fake crab meat 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.
    • This is also the first episode where Plankton tries to steal the Krabby Patty secret formula instead of just trying to steal a normal Krabby Patty and trying to figure out the recipe himself.
  • SpongeBob's six-and-a-half hour handshake routine consists of the following:
    • Sing the national anthem of Bikini Bottom, while standing on one leg, and balancing a glass of chocolate milk on the head.
    • Eat a-hundred-and-five black licorice jellybeans through a straw.
    • Be launched out of a cannon into a chair, sitting down.
    • Eat a plate of spaghetti and meatballs, then sing a weird rhyme consisting of ravioli and the Great Barrier reef.
    • Other unseen actions.
  • This episode re-uses the footage of a rotating, live-action burger from "Plankton!" However, this time, the burger is not shown being made.
  • When Robot Krabs says "gasp," it is different in Mexican. In Spanish, he says "¿adivina?", which means "guess" in English.[citation needed]
  • In this episode, the Bikini Bottom National Anthem is revealed.
  • This episode reveals that the Krusty Krab has a storage room.
  • There is a book based on this episode named Good Enough to Eat!
  • This episode marks 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.
  • This episode marks the first usage of the tracks "Monster Bug," "Frankenstein's Niece, " and Part 1 of "House of Horror."
  • This is the last episode to use a Vibe Link track.
  • Although "tartar sauce" is commonly used as a minced oath in the series, this is the first episode to actually show it.
  • When the 10-second countdown for self-destruct sequence activates, Robot Krabs actually explodes after ten seconds.
  • In Indonesia, Mr. Krabs says to SpongeBob "Don't you let me down"[3] and the narrator says "2 1/2 Hours Later."[citation needed]
    • 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."[citation needed]
  • Among the things in Mr. Krabs' storage room is chum sauce.
  • 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 mini-game 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."
  • 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 mentions Robot Krabs in SpongeBob's Atlantis SquarePantis.
  • Mr. Krabs says that he does not know the meaning of "taking the day off." However, there are multiple episodes where Mr. Krabs is shown to allow his employees to take the day off. In "Bubble Buddy," for example, SpongeBob had the day off. Mr. Krabs even insists on letting SpongeBob be excused from work until he can think straight again in "Pickles," and is shown to give employees the day off if they are not working well. In "Suds," "SquidBob TentaclePants," "Not Normal," and "Stuck in the Wringer," he lets SpongeBob take the day off. The Krusty Krab is closed in certain episodes, and there are also some episodes where the Krusty Krab is open yet SpongeBob or Squidward are not there. However, these contradictions could be explained if Krabs was simply speaking metaphorically or, judging from his rage, he does know what it means, but chooses not to.
  • Squidward, at one time, asks "Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow?" This is a malapropism, as the phrase actually goes "never put off until tomorrow what you can do today."
  • This episode was paired different episodes in different airings.


  • At the beginning of the episode, SpongeBob's spatula is missing the holes.
  • Some of Robot Krabs' lines are undubbed in the Hebrew dub.
Imitation Krabs 074.png
  • When Squidward thinks the Robot Krabs is the real Mr. Krabs, the part of Squidward's head that connects his eyes to his mouth is layered over his left eye.
  • 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.
  • At the end, when SpongeBob is pushing Mr. Krabs from Hans, the basket underlay is duplicated for a few frames.

White square error.

  • After SpongeBob pushes the basket into the Krusty Krab, one square on the basket is white when it should be red.

Duplicate error.

  • 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 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.
  • 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 Robot Krabs of being a robot, Robot 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!"
  • In the beginning, the road to the Chum Bucket is missing.



Robot Mr. Krabs Tries to Steal SECRET FORMULA From @SpongeBob SquarePants Official! - Toymation


Plankton Tricks SpongeBob with a Robot Mr. Krabs! 🤖🍔 Full Scene - SpongeBob


Wikipedia logo.jpg This page uses content from Wikipedia (originalauthors). Both Encyclopedia SpongeBobia and Wikipedia are licensed under the CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported license.