- SpongeBob SquarePants
- Jellyfish (debut)
- Lavender jellyfish (debut)
- Sandy Cheeks (debut)
- Giant clam (debut)
- Patrick Star
- Birdy (debut)
The episode begins with SpongeBob jellyfishing, only to stumble upon a land squirrel fighting a clam. He attempts to save her, but she saves herself just before the clam eats SpongeBob. After the squirrel saves SpongeBob, the two greet each other and start bonding. Afterwards, Sandy tells SpongeBob to come over to her treedome for milk and cookies, and gives him a map of where her treedome is.
SpongeBob goes to Patrick to tell him about what he went through. When Patrick hears from SpongeBob that Sandy was talking about the air, he thinks that it is fancy talk, and that he needs to be fancy by putting his pinky out. The next day, SpongeBob arrives to Sandy's home, but when he goes inside, he realizes the treedome is entirely filled with air. SpongeBob starts having trouble breathing, but won't admit this to Sandy.
As Sandy is showing her house, SpongeBob attempts to use a birdbath to absorb water, only for the bird to get angry. Patrick reminds him to put his pinky out, and SpongeBob also brings flowers for Sandy. SpongeBob asks Sandy for water when she asks if he needs anything, but misinterprets this as needing a vase with water inside for the flowers. When Sandy leaves, SpongeBob desperately wants to get out of the treedome, but before he gets out, he gets enough optimism to continue staying the treedome despite the lack of water.
Sandy comes back with the water vase for the flowers, and starts talking to SpongeBob again. When the oven inside her treedome goes on, Sandy leaves again. SpongeBob starts wondering if he needs the water in the vase, repeatedly telling himself he doesn't need it, but eventually decides that he does need it. SpongeBob drinks all the water and tries to go outside again, only for Patrick to come inside and prevent him from doing so. He says that everything will be fine, but as he walks stays inside the treedome, he starts choking due to the lack of water.
The two attempt to get out, and when Sandy comes to them with some tea and cookies, the two have dried up. Sandy brings water helmets for them so they can survive in the treedome. The episode ends with the three happily drinking some tea.
|( ‣ ) Associated production music|
|( • ) Original music|
|( ◦ ) SpongeBob music|
‣ Moloka'i Nui A - Kapono Beamer [Title Card]
• SpongeBob Closing Theme - Steve Belfer, Nicolas Carr [The opening.]
‣ On Fire - Gregor F. Narholz [Sandy fights a giant clam.]
‣ Death Trap [#27.02] - Gregor F. Narholz [The clam attacks Sandy.]
‣ Charge - ? ["Hold on, little squirrel."]
‣ The Adventure Begins - Jonathan Neal ["You have fought well, giant clam."/SpongeBob continues trying to open the clam.]
‣ Wild Panic [#39] - Gregor F. Narholz ["Your shell is mine!"]
‣ Return of the Surfin' Headhunters - The Mel-Tones ["Hold on there, little square dude."]
‣ Moloka'i Nui A - Kapono Beamer [Sandy introduces herself to SpongeBob.]
‣ Heroes Win [#34] - Gregor F. Narholz ["Oh, yeah? Watch this!"]
• 12th Street Rag Revisited - Nicolas Carr, Sage Guyton, Jeremy Wakefield [Sandy invites SpongeBob over to her treedome for tea and cookies.]
‣ Cocktail Lounge - Dick Stephen Walter ["That's just fancy talk."]
‣ Armed Attack 1 - Mladen Franko [SpongeBob bangs on Sandy's door.]
‣ Merlins Hill - Jennifer Jones [Harp music is heard.]
‣ Aloha - Dick Stephen Walter ["Course there's no water."]
‣ Hawaiian Cocktail - Richard Myhill [Sandy gives SpongeBob a tour.]
‣ Hippo's in my Bath - Richard Myhill ["Pinky, pinky!"]
‣ Dead March 2 - Frederic Chopin, Alfred Kluten ["I brought you some flowers."]
‣ Encirclement - Jean Clero ["I gotta get out of here!"]
‣ Merlins Hill - Jennifer Jones ["I like you, SpongeBob."]
‣ Encirclement - Jean Clero [SpongeBob struggles to open the door.]
‣ Cocktail Lounge - Dick Stephen Walter ["When in doubt, pinky out."]
‣ Tribute to the King - Gregor F. Narholz ["I don't need water! Water's for quitters!"]
‣ Action Cut A - Gregor F. Narholz ["I don't need it... I don't need it..."]
‣ Kung Fu Saturdays - The Mel-Tones ["I need it!"]
‣ Dramatic Cue (h) - Ronald Hanmer [Sandy sees that SpongeBob and Patrick are dried up.]
• You're Nice - Sage Guyton, Jeremy Wakefield [The ending.]
- This episode is available on the Tales from the Deep, Complete 1st Season, The 1st Season: Volume 1, Tea at the Treedome, Sportingly Sandy, 10 Happiest Moments, First 100 Episodes, SpongeBob SquarePants, iSponge Offer Pack, SpongeBob SquarePants Vol. 1, The Complete First Season, From the Beginning, Pt.1, The First & Second Seasons, Movies & TV Collection, and The Best 200 Episodes Ever DVDs.
- This episode is available on the Deep Sea Sillies and Tales from the Deep VHS tapes.
- "Tea at the Treedome" was ranked #97 during the Best Day Ever event on November 9–10, 2006.
- In "Superstuffed Nicktoons Weekend", which shows the "Top 100 Greatest Moments in Nicktoon History", it was ranked #46 in the countdown.
- This episode is number 17 on The Tom Kenny Collection on iTunes and Amazon.com. His description says:
- "This one introduced Sandy (Carolyn Lawrence). Nick Jennings' painting of crusty, dried out SpongeBob is classic. Also, Patrick's exhorting SpongeBob to keep his "pinky up," oblivious to the fact that SpongeBob is freaking out."
- An original title card with a different background and font colors can be found on the SuperSponge asset discs. It is the only title card on the discs that does not match its final version. It was never used in the episode or shown on TV.
- The old title card had a version excluding "Tea at" that was used in The SpongeBob Musical: Live on Stage!.
- On the original airing, the Tales from the Deep DVD and the Deep Sea Sillies VHS releases of this episode, Edgar Larrazábal was credited as the animation director instead of Tom Yasumi. This also happens in early reruns.
- This is also Yasumi's first episode credited as an animation director.
- This was the first segment produced for season 1 (production code #101), after the pilot, which was produced before a season was ordered.
- This episode marks the debut of Sandy Cheeks.
- This is the first episode to use original music.
- The scene that shows SpongeBob completely dehydrated from lack of water and tempting not to take the water from the flower vase and eventually saying "I need it!" has become a popular internet meme.
- This is the first episode where SpongeBob and Patrick are shown to dehydrate without water and turn into a live-action sponge and sea star.
- Likewise, this is the first episode to feature live-action.
- The water helmets have two openings in this episode.
- Irony: Sandy tells SpongeBob that if he wanted water, he should have asked, even though SpongeBob did tell Sandy he wanted water.
- This is the first episode to use an under angle (the shot of the drain in the Treedome entrance).
- This is one of the few episodes to have the second door in Sandy's treedome be used.
- In most of the rest of the series, it is just the door that is on the outside of the dome that is used, even though both doors still exist.
- An image of SpongeBob starting to dry out is shown on the protective case of The SpongeBob SquarePants Experience: A Deep Dive into the World of Bikini Bottom.
- A storyboard image also appears on the chapter 1 title page of the book.
- This is the first episode that Doug Lawrence worked on.
- The title of this episode is different in other dubs of the show.
- In the Croatian dub, this episode is called "Čaj na svježem zraku," which translates to "Tea on the fresh air."
- In the French dub, this episode is called "Asphyxies en chaîne," which translates to "Suffocated by string."
- In the Greek dub, this episode is called "Τσάι Στο Θόλο του Δέντρου," which translates to "Tea At the tree's Canopy."
- In the Brazilian Portuguese dub, this episode is called "Chá em terra firme," which translates to "Tea on dry land."
- In Indonesia, instead of saying, "I need it!," SpongeBob says "I need water!"
- This is the first episode to use the tracks "You're Nice," "12th Street Rag Revisited," "Moloka'i Nui (a)," and "Hawaiian Cocktail," and play the "SpongeBob Closing Theme" outside of the ending credits.
- In this episode, SpongeBob and Sandy meet as adults; however, in the Kamp Koral: SpongeBob's Under Years spinoff, they meet as children.
- When SpongeBob puts his binoculars away, his teeth turn yellow for one frame.
- When Sandy and SpongeBob meet, Sandy's tail is missing.
- Sandy's tail is missing throughout the first season when she is in her water protection suit, but every season onward has her tail shown even with her suit on.
- When Patrick tells SpongeBob how to be fancy, he lifts his right-hand pinky finger up. From the front view, the pinky is shown on the left side. From the back view, it is shown on the left side instead of the right and looks like SpongeBob is holding up one of his middle fingers instead of his pinky.
- The red light on Sandy's front door where the water gets drained is not there when SpongeBob and Patrick first walk up to the treedome.
- When SpongeBob tries to sneak away to Sandy's birdbath, his sunken-in eyes return to normal until after Sandy leaves.
- The ice cubes in the vase should not be floating and sinking up and down.
- When Patrick tries to open the door to get out, and SpongeBob jumps on his back, his eyes are small dots, but when he falls underneath Patrick, his eyes are back to their original color.
- In the scene where Sandy finds SpongeBob and Patrick dehydrated, if one goes frame by frame, she lifts up the plate to drop it before a shocked expression is seen on her face.
- SpongeBob and Patrick dehydrate at the same time, even though Patrick was only there for about a minute.
- Patrick constantly telling SpongeBob to hold up his pinky finger, all just to be fancy.