- French Narrator
- People near Nickelodeon Animation Studio (debut)
- Don Newhouse (cameo)
- Crowds of people
- Potty the Parrot
- Patchy the Pirate
- SpongeBob SquarePants
- Incidental 7
- Pearl Krabs (cameo in "Remembering SpongeBob" montage)
- Sandy Cheeks (cameo in "Remembering SpongeBob" montage)
- Squidward Tentacles
- Mrs. Puff
- Orange Shady Shoals Rest Home resident
- Mrs. Johnson (debut)
- Don (mentioned)
- Monkey (cameo on map)
- King Neptune (mentioned)
- Children at playground (debut)
- Adults around the playground
- Man inside the treasure chest (debut)
- Pickled garlic mascots (debut)
- Patrick Star
- Gary the Snail
- Animals on Patchy's map
- Grandpa SquarePants (debut)
- Old Man Jenkins (debut)
- Farmer Jenkins
- Sailor Jenkins
- Cannonball Jenkins
- Incidental 86 (storyboard version only)
- Fred (purple, brown)
- Incidental 37B
- Incidental 39
- Incidental 6.
- Monroe Timmy Tommy Billy
- Incidental 14
- Peterson Nat Tucker
- Parents with three babies (debut)
- Incidental 93
- Incidental 48
- Incidental 94 (tan)
- Billy Walker
- Incidental 105
- Incidental 42
- Annette (debut)
- Incidental 107
- Incidental 106
- Incidental 150
- Tyler Billy Timmy
- Eugene H. Krabs
- Mime (debut)
- Sheldon J. Plankton
- Realistic Fish Head
- Incidental 92 (name revealed)
- Shrimp (mentioned)
- Larry the Lobster
- Ted the fish
- Incidental 16
- Incidental 46
- Incidental 5
- Scallops and clams
- Human clown
- Human meteorologist (debut)
- Cowboys on horses
- Dancing anemone (cameo)
- Human football players (cameo)
- Mariachi band (debut)
Potty flies into Patchy's bathroom and says that the kids are here to see the lost episode. Patchy is taking a shower and says that he has lost it and tells the kids to forget about SpongeBob. The French narrator introduces a segment called "Remembering SpongeBob," a musical montage of clips from past episodes from the first three seasons.
After a long treasure hunt, Patchy finds the tape that holds the episode, but he thinks all it is is a bunch of cheap walk cycles. He decides to rid all his SpongeBob merchandise and run away from home. However, when he leaves the house, the countdown to the real lost episode starts. He quickly runs back in, puts his SpongeBob stuff back, and sits down to watch with Potty.
The SpongeBob episode segment begins at Jellyfish Fields with SpongeBob wishing he could fly with the jellyfish. He makes several attempts to do so, including a biplane, bat wings, a garden chair with balloons, and a giant kite pulled by a bicycle. After his failed attempts are witnessed by others, he becomes known as "The Birdman of Bikini Bottom" and is ridiculed. He tells the people that he is sad to be ridiculed for trying to live up to his dreams. The townspeople tell him that they all once had unfulfilled dreams, then proceeding to form a mob and start chasing him for thinking he is more important than them. SpongeBob runs off a cliff and falls into a truck of mud, then into a truck of feathers, much to his misfortune.
Later on, SpongeBob is shown in his house, having given up on his dream. He begins to dry his hair, then he receives an insulting phone call from a "fan" of the "Birdman," namely, "Joe Momma." SpongeBob puts the hairdryer in his pants while he talks, and the dryer inflates his pants, giving him the ability to fly. He goes around helping people, earning their admiration and becoming a superhero of sorts. However, the lazy citizens continue to ask increasingly unnecessary favors of him, leaving him no time to fly with the jellyfish. When he tries to escape to Jellyfish Fields, the people form a mob and chase him, but are unable to catch him. However, Cannonball Jenkins blasts SpongeBob, destroying the pants and sending him plummeting to the ground. The people seem as though they are mourning SpongeBob's death, but they are really mourning the inflatable pants.
SpongeBob is about to go home, but suddenly, the jellyfish help him fly. They take him home as he sings an intentionally corny song about how all one needs to fly is friendship. As he says goodbye to the jellyfish, Patrick greets SpongeBob and offers him a trip to the Pizza House. SpongeBob declines and leaves it up to the jellyfish for flying. Patrick then flies off as a superhero does. A confused SpongeBob wonders if Patrick just flew, only for him to doubt it because of how silly and impossible that seems. The episode ends as he looks at Patrick out of curiosity.
After the episode, Patchy attempts to play it again but he does not know how to rewind it to the beginning. He and Potty press a lot of buttons on the remote, destroying the tape and making the VCR spit its tape, causing Patchy to get tangled in it. Thus, the lost episode is lost forever and the narrator ends the episode telling the viewers to get lost.
Scenes with SpongeBob are shown, in order of appearance:
- "As Seen on TV" (walking into Mr. Krabs' office)
- "Bubblestand" (spinning when doing the bubble-blowing technique)
- "The Chaperone" (drawing a check mark on a patty with mustard, turning his long legs at the prom with Pearl)
- "Pizza Delivery" (splitting in half and together again)
- "As Seen on TV" (shocked, thinking the customers adore him)
- "Help Wanted" (lifting his stuffed animal barbell
- "Valentine's Day" (throwing valentine cards around)
- "Tea at the Treedome" (accidentally catches himself when attempting to catch a jellyfish)
- "Ripped Pants" (ripping his swim trunks when surfing)
- "Karate Choppers" (dodging Sandy's attack by splitting in half)
- "Grandma's Kisses" (blowing a pipe)
- "F.U.N." (ripping fake skin off, revealing real skin)
- "Pizza Delivery" (inflated when checking tire pressure)
- "Naughty Nautical Neighbors" (whispering into bubble)
- "MuscleBob BuffPants" (catching jellyfish with his muscular body, in imagination)
- "Home Sweet Pineapple" (in bed with Squidward)
- "The Chaperone" (drying his insides with a towel after a shower)
- "Boating School" (admitting he is cheating during the test)
- "Band Geeks" (singing)
- "The Chaperone" (removing eyelashes)
- "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy" (sucking a table)
- "Nature Pants" (shrinking and turning black on the stove)
- "Karate Choppers" (spinning arms)
- "Reef Blower" (blowing Squidward with reef blower)
- "F.U.N." (dancing and sing "The F.U.N. Song")
- "The Paper" (talking to Squidward; Squidward closes the door)
|( ‣ ) Associated production music|
|( • ) Original music|
|( ◦ ) SpongeBob music|
‣ 'Er Indoors - Johnny Hawksworth [Patchy taking a shower]
‣ Award Winners A - Otto Sieben [Remembering SpongeBob]
‣ Spanish Ladies (b) - Robin Jeffrey, Tim Laycock ["I don't believe I lost the lost episode."]
‣ Tripping Upstairs - Brian Peters [map to the lost episode]
‣ The Jovial Buccaneers [#32] - John Fox [Patchy following the map]
‣ The Creature (a) - Gregor F. Narholz [shot of the playground]
‣ Dramatic Cue (g) - Ronald Hanmer [seven trials of Monkey Lagoon]
‣ Sea Fanfare - John Fox [treasure chest]
‣ Playbill - Wilfred William Burns ["Come on, Potty, time's a-wastin'!"]
◦ Bubble Beat Box - Theo Mondle [Plays during the walk cycle.]
‣ Lovely Scenery C - Mladen Franko ["SpongeBob betrayed us!"]
‣ Of Love and Destiny - Leighton Lucas [Patchy disposes of all his SpongeBob belongings/plays in reverse as Patchy reverses.]
‣ Ta-Ra A - Sammy Burdson, John Charles Fiddy ["Hooray! Let's watch!"]
‣ Screen Heroes (a) - Simon David Chamberlain ["The Sponge Who Could Fly" title card]
‣ Galleon - Sam Fonteyn [opening]
‣ Police Car - Sam Spence [SpongeBob springs into action]
◦ If Only I Could Join You - Eban Schletter, Paul Tibbitt, Kent Osborne
‣ Harp Ding - Nicolas Carr ["I'm gonna follow his advice."]
• Earl's Revenge - Sage Guyton, Jeremy Wakefield [SpongeBob building a plane]
• Steel Licks 8 - Jeremy Wakefield [SpongeBob and Patrick run away]
• Steel Licks 9 - Jeremy Wakefield [Transition to next scene]
‣ Wild Panic - Gregor F. Narholz [bat costume]
‣ Ulkereien - Gerhard Trede [lawn chair with balloons]
‣ The Adventure Begins - Jonathan Neal [SpongeBob tied to a kite]
‣ Hawaiian Link (a) - Richard Myhill [SpongeBob returning the kite]
• Vibe Sting - Nicolas Carr ["You'll see."]
‣ Lonely Heart's Club A - David Bell, Otto Sieben [everyone ridiculing SpongeBob]
• Grass Skirt Chase - Sage Guyton, Jeremy Wakefield [SpongeBob chased off a cliff]
• Solo Steel 2 - Jeremy Wakefield ["There they go again, Gary."]
‣ Dramatic Climax - Mike Sunderland [SpongeBob's pants inflating]
• Vibe Q Sting - Nicolas Carr ["Huh?"]
◦ He's Flying - Eban Schletter, Paul Tibbitt, Kent Osborne
‣ Bikini Bottom News Theme - Nicolas Carr [news on TV]
‣ Licence to Thrill - Robert Cornford [lighthouse light goes out]
‣ Screen Heroes (a) - Simon David Chamberlain [SpongeBob replaces it]
‣ Sword Fight - Sam Fonteyn ["Let's roll."]
• Steel Licks 6 - Jeremy Wakefield [SpongeBob cleaning Krabs' garage]
‣ The Silver Blade - Ilona Sekacz ["Finally! Jellyfish Fields, here I come!"]
• You're Nice - Sage Guyton, Jeremy Wakefield [SpongeBob doing favors for everyone]
‣ Danger Zone - Mike Sunderland [SpongeBob tries to escape]
• Sponge Monger - Sage Guyton, Jeremy Wakefield [everyone chases SpongeBob]
‣ Lonely Violin - Dick Stephen Walter ["What have we done?"]
◦ All You Need is Friends - Eban Schletter, Paul Tibbitt, Kent Osborne
• Steel Licks 14 - Jeremy Wakefield ["Did Patrick just...?"]
‣ 'Er Indoors - Johnny Hawksworth [Patchy lost the remote]
‣ Jarabe Tapatio (a) - Gerhart Frei, Carlos Periguez [mariachi band]
- This episode is available on the Lost at Sea, Absorbing Favorites, Complete 3rd Season, First 100 Episodes, SpongeBob SquarePants Vol. 5, Complete Third Season, Orange Collection, From the Beginning, Pt.2, The Third & Fourth Seasons, and The Best 200 Episodes Ever DVDs.
- This episode is also available on the Lost at Sea and The Sponge Who Could Fly VHS tapes.
- This episode was released on the VHS of the same name and the Lost at Sea DVD on March 4, 2003, 17 days before it aired on American television.
- This is the third and last half-hour special of season 3. The first is "Party Pooper Pants" and the second is "Ugh."
- This episode is often dubbed as "The Lost Episode."
- This is the first time that the Nickelodeon Animation Studio appears within the SpongeBob SquarePants series.
- Lou is shown in his younger version in this episode when he was older in "Party Pooper Pants," which predates this episode.
- The scene when Patchy yells, "SpongeBob betrayed us!" and destroys all his SpongeBob merchandise has become a popular internet meme.
- In the marathon leading up to the original airing of this episode, celebrities including Whoopi Goldberg, Coolio, Randy Jackson, Jennifer Love Hewitt, and more guest-starred with Patchy.
- When Patchy flips to the sports channel, John Elway can be seen.
- SpongeBob does the following things to help the Bikini Bottomites:
- Saves Mrs. Puff's snail from a tree
- Helped Mr. Krabs reclaim his dime
- Saves Patrick from a mime
- Saves Plankton from kelp
- Relights the lighthouse
- Cleans out Mr. Krabs' garage
- Scratches Patrick's tummy
- Helps Larry pick a tie
- Cleans Squidward's bath
- Balances Mrs. Puff's checkbook
- Helps Plankton spread the sign of evil
- Untangles a hat fish's phone cords
- Does the purple cap fish's geometry
- Talks to Nancy's plants
- Rubs Dennis' scalp
- Other unseen tasks
- To date, this episode marks the last usage of the APM track "Dramatic Climax."
- When Fred says, "No, he owes us favors!," he is wearing exactly the same outfit as SpongeBob, minus the red tie. He is also purple, but he otherwise looks the same.
- This is the second episode where Fred wears the same clothes as SpongeBob. The first is "Squilliam Returns."
- Nancy Suzy Fish wears a magenta dress and headband in this episode, while they are a mustard yellow color in other episodes.
- Monroe Timmy wears a red and green propeller cap in this episode. He also wears a propeller hat in "Krabby Land," except that it is blue and yellow instead.
- Monroe Timmy is shorter in this episode than in most episodes.
- In the Hebrew version of this episode, "Joe Momma" is called "סתם אחד," which means "just one."
- SpongeBob's underwear looks a little bit different in this episode.
- The clown on TV in the Patchy the Pirate segment is the writer Kent Osborne.
- In the storyboard for this episode, there is a scene where Don's Import Store & Delicatessen is simply called "Shop N Shop" and the owner says that no pirates are allowed.
- Mrs. Puff's snail is similar to Squidward's snail, Snellie, from "The Great Snail Race."
- Excluding the Patchy the Pirate segments, this episode is only about 16 minutes long.
- This episode was used as the basis for the plot of SpongeBob SquarePants: The Sponge Who Could Fly Live Musical, which toured in Britain in 2009.
- The storyboard includes a deleted scene with Patchy ripping off a SpongeBob band-aid while he is destroying his SpongeBob stuff, although he is not seen ripping it off in reverse.
- "As Seen on TV" is the only season 3 episode to have clips used from it in the "Remembering SpongeBob" segment.
- In the book adaptation of this episode, there is a scene in which SpongeBob is walking back to his house, being laughed at. At one point, a pressman snaps a picture of SpongeBob in feathers.
- The credits on the Lost at Sea DVD and the Absorbing Favorites DVD simply call it "Lost Episode," despite it being called "The Sponge Who Could Fly" everywhere else on the DVD.
- All of Patchy's SpongeBob merchandise in his room is similar to real SpongeBob merchandise, except they show SpongeBob with large black pupils and a bow tie instead of his normal tie. He also wears a black work hat instead of a white one and Patrick has larger pupils.
- According to the audio commentary found on the Lost at Sea DVD, Don, the former parking attendant at Nickelodeon Animation Studio is the person who is standing at the front entrance at the beginning of this episode.
- In this episode, Larry has black stripes on his back, while in other episodes, he does not. He also has white stripes on his back in "Neptune's Spatula."
- In the Croatian dub, this episode's title is "Leteći Spužva Bob," which translates to "Flying SpongeBob."
- This is the last episode where Stephen Hillenburg voiced Potty before leaving the show. Paul Tibbitt would take over as Potty starting with "Friend or Foe."
- In the UK, this episode is titled "Lost Episode/The Sponge Who Could Fly" in the TV guide episode synopsis.
- The title is a pun on The Boy Who Could Fly.
- The title card is similar to The Simpsons opening screen.
- SpongeBob's ideas for his flying machine allude to many other flying machines, such as the plane at Kitty Hawk, the bat suit from Batman, and a lawn chair with balloons.
- The lawn chair tied to the balloons is based on a true story. Larry Walters, later given the nickname "Lawnchair Larry," was a truck driver who made a makeshift aircraft out of 45 helium balloons and a lawn chair.
- SpongeBob is colloquially called the "Bird-Man of Bikini Bottom," a nickname also bestowed upon Robert Stroud, the "Birdman of Alcatraz."
- When the little SpongeBobs run around in a circle, one of them disappears for a frame.
- When the announcer on Patchy's TV says, "And now, the real Lost Episode!," the screen displays the words "SpongeBob SquarePants Episode 118 The Real Lost Episode." This is a counting error, as this episode's production code is Episode 59 and it is only the 115th episode segment of the series. In fact, this episode is from season 3, which ended with 60 episodes of the series and 117 episode segments. The actual SpongeBob SquarePants Episode 118 is "Pet or Pests"/"Komputer Overload" and the actual 118th episode segment of the series is "Fear of a Krabby Patty."
- If one looks closely at the map the Patchy first unroll it, Don's Import Store & Delicatessen is called "Shop O' Shop".
- Patrick's legs are longer than usual when he rides a bike.
- When Fred speaks up, he is purple, but when he walks up to the cliff, he is brown.
- When SpongeBob is flying on the kite, he passes three fish, including Nancy. He later passes them again, after the kite crashes, even though he already passed them.
- The SMPTE color bars appear after the walk cycle ends, then it cuts to a farther away shot showing the color bars on Patchy's TV screen. The version of the color bars in the second shot is noticeably different than the one used in the first shot.
- Assistant director Andrew Harvey is credited twice.
- When the jellyfish buzz while they start helping SpongeBob fly without pants, the other jellyfish disappear.
- When SpongeBob crashes into the ground, his limbs disappear.
- During the funeral of SpongeBob's inflatable pants, there are two Nats.
- Old Man Jenkins saying, "I knew no good would come from city folk and their flying machines!" after not liking SpongeBob's flying attempts.
- When Patchy is looking for something, a brick is thrown through the window and hits him, knocking him out; the brick contains the item he is looking for.
- When someone mentions their grandfather, Grandpa SquarePants appears in their thought cloud.