SpongeBob arrives home with a large bag of Snailfood for Gary, but then finds a letter that the mailfish came with a package for him. The package turns out to be a Mermaidman and Barnacleboy paddle-ball set, which contains the Dirty Bubble challenge newsletter. SpongeBob accepts the challenge and while he tries to hit the paddleball 29,998,559,671,349 times in a row, he forgets to feed Gary. Gary gets very hungry and he then decides to run away. SpongeBob is in bad condition when Patrick finds him taking the challenge, and when Gary is discovered missing, SpongeBob and Patrick set off to find him. Meanwhile, after a close encounter with alley snails, Gary is found by a Grandma fish who thinks he is her old snail, "Miss Tuftsy". Gary is happy at first until he figures out that he is being overfed, and he gets very plump and slows down. SpongeBob, on the other hand, is very sad that Gary is gone, and Patrick tries to help but he isn't doing a very good job. Gary then sees a stack of flyers from SpongeBob, and he forgives SpongeBob. The episodes ends with Gary going home with SpongeBob.
This episode was pronounced as the highest rated television program in 2005 among kids 2-11. Out of all the SpongeBob SquarePants episodes, the special had the most ratings ever with kids 6-11. Tom Shales called this episode "deeply hilarious" and in some scenes, "silly." He noted the "amusing extravagances." 
- This is notably the first SpongeBob SquarePants episode to feature a full half-hour story without any framing device featuring Patchy the Pirate (aside from his cameo right before the short intro sequence).
- On the package SpongeBob receives, the manufacturer reads Nickelodeon Inc. under the picture of the paddle-ball.
- When they are in the plane, SpongeBob says "Pat, no!", but the close-captions say "Aah, no!"
- Gary has a clock inside his shell that tells what time he eats.
- A clip from this episode (when SpongeBob tells Mr. Krabs that he was up all night looking for Gary) is seen in the 2007 Alvin and the Chipmunks movie.
- When Gary escapes the old woman's house, just before he hits the plate that she is holding out that has cookies on it, the wall behind her is the wall, but when the cookies hit the door, similar to weapons, the door is where the wall should have been.
- Animator directors aren't credited in this episode.
- Grandma seems to be a parody of the witch from Hansel and Gretel, since she constantly overfeeds Gary, which it is constantly referenced that the grandma would eat him.
- Grandma is also a parody of Bluebeard, since she keeps the shells of the snails she has eaten in a closet, which gives away her secret to Gary. Bluebeard kept to corpses of his murdered wives in a closet, which gives away his secret to his new wife.
- When Gary and Grandma are driving in the car, Grandma says "Set phasers to fun!' Which is a parody of the Star Trek saying Set phasers to stun!.
- Clips of SpongeBob and Mr. Krabs from this episode shown in the 2007 film Alvin and the Chipmunks. There is a goof because that clip shown was the middle of that episode, but it was 6:30 p.m.
Home video releases
- SpongeBob SquarePants: Where's Gary?
- SpongeBob SquarePants: Where's Gary?
- Nick Picks 4
- SpongeBob SquarePants: Season 4, Volume 1
- SpongeBob SquarePants: The First 100 Episodes
- SpongeBob SquarePants: The Complete Fourth Season
- ↑ TVGuide
- ↑ Template:Cite press release
- ↑ Shales, Tom (November 11, 2005). "SpongeBob Squeezes Tears Of Laughter Out of Snail Tale" (in English). Washington Post. pp. 1. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/10/AR2005111002129.html. Retrieved on July 15, 2007.
- ↑ Nader, Michael (July 11, 2005). "'SpongeBob' special moves at a snail's pace" (in English). St. Petersburg Times. pp. 1. http://www.sptimes.com/2005/11/07/Xpress/_SpongeBob__special_m.shtml. Retrieved on July 15, 2007.
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