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Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy are an elderly superhero duo featured in SpongeBob SquarePants. They are the stars of a TV show that is watched by the series' protagonist. They both live at the Shady Shoals retirement home, having retired from their superhero business when they first appear, but SpongeBob and Patrick manage to convince them to return to being superheroes.
Mermaid Man forgets many things at times and he enjoys sleeping, watching TV and playing Bingo. He was voiced by the late Ernest Borgnine, though Joe Whyte and Joe Alaskey voiced him in the video games. His real name is Ernest "Ernie" Borgnine and he is 72 years old.
In the episode "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy V", Barnacle Boy, making a temporary switch to the evil side, changes his name to Barnacle Man. This was not a permanent change; in "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy VI: The Motion Picture", he is Barnacle Boy again. According to SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom, he has a son, a daughter-in-law, and four grandchildren. Barnacle Boy is 68 years old, and his real name was revealed to be Thomas "Tim" Conway, after his voice actor, the late Tim Conway.
The Mermalair is the secret hideout of Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy. The only episodes that the Mermalair appeared in were Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy III and Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy V. However, in the video game, SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom, the Mermalair can be seen in much more detail.
To enter the Mermalair, a secret switch must be pressed inside Shady Shoals rest home, and it will activate a secret door under the couch. A hole leads down to the lobby of the Mermalair. In SpongeBob SquarePants comics, it's accessible by charging full speed at a wall in the home.
At the end of the hole at the entrance, the lobby of the Mermalair is the first room. I contains various obstacles to get to the main chamber.
Mermalair Main Chamber
The Mermalair Main Chamber is found after the lobby, in which doorway leads to it. Inside, the Security Computer is present, in which it controls the security system. In addition, funnel machines and the tower of power control the power within the Mermalair. Finally, a leisure area, including a Television set, is where Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy rest.
The Mermalair has a large security system in which Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy use to keep the villains in the villain chamber locked up. In order to shut the whole system down, four buttons must be pressed, along with the main shut-down button, at the main computer.
The Mermalair is broken up into sections:
- Mermalair Lobby - Entrance Area
- Mermalair Main Chamber - Security Computer, Funnel Machines, Tower of Power, and a leisure area for Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy.
- Mermalair Security Tunnel - Tunnel leading to the Rolling Ball Room
- Rolling Ball Room
- Villain Containment Area - Where villains are locked up.
- Wall of Superhero Super Gadgetry as seen in Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy III
- Cosmic Ray
- Death grenade
- Orb of Confusion
- Warning: Prolonged exposure to the Orb of Confusion will give its victim confusion.
- Death grenade
- Tickle Belt (as seen in Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy episode 17)
- Prawn's cell
- Tubes where the I.J.L.S.A costumes are stored.
- I.J.L.S.A. Table
- Man Ray was frozen in a tube of frozen tartar sauce as seen in Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy III
The Invisible Boatmobile is Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy's vehicle, located in the Mermalair. The boat is a regular-sized boatmobile with many superhero features to it, such as the origami button, which can fold the boat into a visible origami shape. In one episode, SpongeBob claims to know lots about the boat, like knowing where the windshield wipers are, incorrectly pressing the aforementioned button. It is said for the boatmobile to have a more powerful engine than others to enable the heroes to get to the situation where their help is needed faster. In addition to the engine, the boatmobile has manual transmission.
Allies of Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy include the I.J.L.S.A. (International Justice League of Super Acquaintances) is a team of superheroes, which are allies of Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy. It is only mentioned in the episode Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy V. Members of the I.J.L.S.A. (a subsidiary of Viacom) include, besides Mermaid Man:
- The Quickster - Has the ability to run really quick. SpongeBob temporarily held the position. He is parody of the Flash.
- Captain Magma - Has a volcano on the top of his head from which he can shoot lava. Squidward temporarily held the position. A parody of the Human Torch.
- The Elastic Waistband - Able to bend his body into fantastic shapes and forms. Patrick temporarily held the position. This hero is a parody of Plastic Man from the JLA or Mr. Fantastic from the Fantastic Four
- Miss Appear - Ablity to become invisible. Sandy temporarily held the position. A parody of Invisible Woman, part of the Fantastic Four.
Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy have many enemies.
- Man Ray - First meantioned in Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy when SpongeBob tries to get them out of retirement, Man Ray is possibly the all time greatest arch nemesis of Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy. His first appearance is in Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy III, when he is released from a Tartar Sauce Prison by SpongeBob and Patrick. He has enchanced strength, agility, intelligence and has many weapons. He is shown not to have a head, which is made up of his mask. John-Rihys Davies voices him.
- Atomic Flounder - A retired villain who can blast hot radioactive beams from his mouth. He was in "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy II". Capable of third degree burns from his beams, speaks with a Kennedy-esque New England accent.
- Dirty Bubble - A giant dirt bubble who is one of Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy's arch enemies and SpongeBob's favorite villain. He enjoys making his enemies eat dirt. Dirty Bubble first appears in Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy II, where he tries to capture the heroes, who attempt to ditch SpongeBob. He has successfully captured the two, before SpongeBob pops him with a pencil. Later, in Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy V, Dirty Bubble is brought back by Man Ray. In the episode, Man Ray has teamed up with him to form an organization called EVIL (Every Villain Is Lemons). When Barnacle Boy tires of Mermaid Man treating him like a little kid, he joins the two, and commits crimes. In the end, Barnacle Boy returns to the good side, and the two villains are arrested. Apparently, he is a champion at paddleball, as seen in Have You Seen This Snail?.
- Jumbo Shrimp - Seen in "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy II". He once referred to (perhaps mistakenly, or in reference to a different villain) as "The Killer Shrimp" by the Dirty Bubble.
- Kelp Thing - Seen in "Mermaid Man & Barnacle Boy VI: The Motion Picture". "I've got to do what I do." He parks his villain car in no parking zones, but Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy tow it away.
- Sneaky Hermit - A super hermit crab who plans to rule the world by means of sneakiness. He steals buildings in a sneaky fashion. His weakness is pepper. Seen in Lights, Camera, PANTS!. In the New Adventures of Mermaidman and Barnacleboy episode in that game, he called Man Ray, Moron Ray and the Dirty Bubble, the Dopey Bubble.
- Snorelonn - Only mentioned in Nickelodeon Magazine, in the special SpongeBob issue. Apparently his evil plan is to wake everyone up with loud snoring noises. SpongeBob and Patrick were playing Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy and said that Squidward was Snorelonn. Snorelonn also plans to eat them and suck out their brains with a turkey baster.
- Man Ray - Man Ray was first mentioned in Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy by SpongeBob when he's trying to get Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy to come out of retirement. He later appears in person in Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy III, where SpongeBob and Patrick released him from tar-tar sause. When he discovers that he has a tickle belt, Man Ray tricks the duo to teach him kindness. After the class, Man Ray grabs two devices from Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy to take over Bikini Bottom. When he discovers that he has become good, he quits villainy. It is also revealed that Man Ray doesn't really have a head. His head is made up of his mask/shoulder pads combo and is headless underneath that. Later, in Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy V, he becomes evil again, and brings back the Dirty Bubble and they team up with Barnacle Boy (who became evil) to form an organization called EVIL (Every Villain Is Lemons). At the end, Barnacle Boy becomes good again, and, Man Ray is taken to jail with Dirty Bubble. John Rhys-Davies voices Man Ray.
- Prawn - Prawn turned Mermaid Man's socks pink. SpongeBob had once defeated him. in SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom.
- Reflecto - Squidward was mistaken for Reflecto when SpongeBob and Patrick were playing Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy.
- Sinster Slug - Seen in "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy II".
- Dr. Octofish - Barnacle Boy used his paddleball of fury to break this villain's concentration. Mentioned in "Lights, Camera, Pants!" Possibly the villain at the beginning of Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy. "Doctor Octofish" is a possible parody of Doctor Octopus from Spider-Man.
- E.V.I.L. - An organization of supervillains. It stands for "Every Villain Is Lemons". It was only temporary, in which Man Ray, the Dirty Bubble, and Barnacle Man (Barnacle Boy betrayed Mermaid Man because he didn't like to be treated as a little kid) were the members. The commited such crimes as ringing doorbells and running, as well as spying on teenagers at Make-Out Reef. The I.J.L.S.A. stopped E.V.I.L., in which Barnacle "Man" rejoined the side of justice, and Man Ray and the Dirty Bubble were arrested.