Have You Seen This Snail?

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"Have You Seen This Snail?"
SpongeBob SquarePants episode
Where's Gary-Promo art.jpg
Promotional artwork for the episode depicting SpongeBob putting up posters and signs
Episode no. Season 4
Episode 3 (63)
Directed by Aaron Springer (storyboard)
Written by Aaron Springer
Paul Tibbitt
Produced by Paul Tibbitt (supervising)
Featured music "Gary, Come Home"
"Where's Gary"
Original air date November 11, 2005 (2005-11-11)[1]
Guest actors
Episode chronology
← Previous
"Krabs vs. Plankton"
Next →
"Skill Crane"
SpongeBob SquarePants (season 4)
List of SpongeBob SquarePants episodes

"Have You Seen This Snail?", also known as "Where's Gary?", is the third episode of the fourth season and the 63rd overall episode of the American animated television series SpongeBob SquarePants. It was written by Aaron Springer and Paul Tibbitt. Springer also functioned as storyboard director. The episode originally aired on Nickelodeon in the United States on November 11, 2005. Actress and comedienne Amy Poehler guest starred in the episode as the voice of Grandma. Musician Stew performed the featured song "Gary, Come Home".

The series follows the adventures and endeavors of the title character and his various friends in the underwater city of Bikini Bottom. In this episode, Gary, SpongeBob's meowing sea snail, runs away from home after feeling neglected by SpongeBob and is adopted by a new owner. After realizing the error of his ways, SpongeBob sets out with his best friend Patrick to search for his adored pet and bring him back to his rightful home.

The episode garnered a viewership of eight million, achieving the highest number of cable television viewers aged six to eleven years old for 2005. "Have You Seen This Snail?" received positive reviews from television critics upon release.

Plot summary[edit]

SpongeBob receives a paddle ball set in the mail and decides to play it. He is totally consumed by the challenge and forgets Gary for ten days. Gary feels neglected and runs away from home. SpongeBob is shaken from his infatuation with the arrival of Patrick, and cannot find Gary. SpongeBob finds a note saying that Gary has left in search of a new owner. Meanwhile, Gary has wandered into a new city, encountering a gang of snails. A kind old lady discovers Gary and mistakes him for one of her own pets, Miss Tuftsy. Gary is showered with love and food while SpongeBob goes to work, sad that Gary is still missing. Mr. Krabs encourages SpongeBob to work, but he misinterprets him, and he takes the day off to look for Gary. He and Patrick puts up posters and signs everywhere in the hope of finding Gary.[2]

Gary, at the old lady's house, has been fed a lot. The old lady puts out fresh sheets of flyers given to her by Patrick. Upon reading them, Gary realizes that SpongeBob truly loves him and wants him back. He tries to leave, but instead of doing that, he ends up going to the closet, filled with empty snail shells. When the old lady tries to feed him again, Gary finds that the old lady most likely has sinister motives—she is possibly trying to fatten and then eat him. He makes his escape, but the old lady chases him out onto the streets. Gary quickly finds one of the gangster snails he saw before, which the old lady now mistakes for Miss Tuftsy, and takes home instead. Back home, SpongeBob gives up on his search for Gary, and tries to forget about him by taking a walk, but his memories keep coming to mind and upsetting him. He is constantly reminded as the streets are filled with posters and signs for Gary. SpongeBob then hears a meow. At first he thinks he is imagining Gary is there, but then he turns around to find Gary is actually at his side, and he is overjoyed to see his beloved pet again.[2]

Production[edit]

"Have You Seen This Snail?" is a half-hour special episode written by Paul Tibbitt, with Aaron Springer serving as writer and storyboard director.[3] The episode originally aired on Nickelodeon in the United States on November 11, 2005.[1][4] Prior its premiere, Nickelodeon released a preview clip and bonus coverage of the episode on Nickelodeon's broadband online platform TurboNick, available on Nick.com.[4][5] Nickelodeon also launched the "Trail of the Snail" flash game.[4][5]

Actress and comedienne Amy Poehler, shown here in 2012, guest starred in the episode as the voice of Grandma.

In a press release on November 1, 2005, Nickelodeon officially announced the episode and promoted it as the "Where's Gary" special.[4][5] According to the network, "It's a sad day in Bikini Bottom when SpongeBob learns that his beloved pet snail Gary is missing and that he may be at fault in the mollusk's disappearance."[4] Marjorie Cohn, Executive Vice President of Development and Original Programming for Nickelodeon, said "Kids love their pets and there's certainly some relatability here in the relationship between SpongeBob and Gary -- skewed though it may be[...] It's fun to see Gary express a whole range of emotions using only his signature 'meow.'"[4]

In addition to the regular cast, American comedienne and Saturday Night Live actress Amy Poehler guest starred in the episode as the voice of Grandma, a sweet old woman who adopted Gary after running away.[4][5] "Have You Seen This Snail?" featured an original piece of music written for the episode by the American musician Stew, entitled "Gary, Come Home".[6][7]

Nickelodeon supported the episode with a month long off-air marketing campaign including print, outdoor and consumer product partner support.[4][5] Nickelodeon also launched an on-air sweepstakes called "Where's Gary".[4][5] Every night for five days leading to the episode's premiere, Patchy the Pirate (a character portrayed as the president of the SpongeBob SquarePants Fan Club played by Tom Kenny), and other celebrity guests searched in various locations for Gary.[4][5] By visiting Nick.com, the viewers could receive a "Trail of The Snail" tracking card to enter Patchy's search locations in order to win the sweepstakes.[4][5] The prize was a trip to the Nickelodeon Animation Studios to meet the production team of the show and to sit in on a voice recording session with the series cast.[4][5]

On November 15, 2005, "Have You Seen This Snail?" was released on the DVD compilation called Where's Gary. In addition, the compilation features six other episodes: "The Lost Mattress", "Skill Crane", "Krabs vs. Plankton", "The Great Snail Race", and "Good Neighbor".[4][8][9] "Have You Seen This Snail?" was also included series' season four DVD compilation.[2][10] It was also included on SpongeBob SquarePants: The First 100 Episodes DVD, alongside all the episodes of seasons one through five.[11][12][13] The DVD was released on September 22, 2009.[14]

Reception[edit]

Silly? Yes. Outrageous? Of course. Unforgivably and inexcusably ridiculous? Well, no. The ridiculousness is quite forgivable and is its own excuse. While the supporting players contribute substantially to the episodes -- Sandy Cheeks the squirrel, misanthropic Squidward and penny-pinching Mr. Krabs, custodian of the priceless recipe for Krabby Patties -- it's SpongeBob who is the show's goofy, glowing source of comic energy.

Tom Shales in his review for The Washington Post.[15]

"Have You Seen This Snail?" was viewed by eight million people.[16] It was the highest-rated program on all TV with children aged two-eleven for the year of 2005 behind the Super Bowl and the Super Bowl kick-off, and the highest-rated program on all of cable with children aged two to eleven and children aged six to eleven in 2005.[17][18]

"Have You Seen This Snail?" received mostly positive reviews from television critics. Tom Shales of The Washington Post called the episode deeply hilarious and described the plot as a "bittersweet riot". He drew attention to how the story is similar to the plot of "Dumped", an earlier episode in which Gary deserted SpongeBob.[15] David Johnson of the DVD Verdict positively reacted to the DVD release of the episode and said "I'm not sure what to say, here. Mr. Squarepants is so ridiculously popular, this disc will most definitely sell itself."[19] Aida Ekberg of Yahoo! Voices ranked Amy Poehler on her "Top 10 SpongeBob SquarePants Guest Stars" list and said "I'm surprised more comedians haven't been guest stars on SpongeBob. Amy Poehler does a great job with her creepy grandma voice, playing pure evil masked behind plate after plate of chocolate chip cookies."[20] Paul Mavis of DVD Talk loved the scene "[...]When Gary realizes he has to escape from her crushing love (which equals constant overeating) or die like the other snail shells he finds[...]" He said "it's both funny and rather touching."[10]

A television critic writing for the St. Petersburg Times was not so positive about the episode however, criticizing how SpongeBob's disappointed and sad character for "Have You Seen This Snail?" is quite different to the character's normal bright personality.[21] Blogger and Blogcritics founder Eric Olsen said "the episode itself is rather wan and slack, notably lacking in the air of giddy zaniness that millions of men, women and, um, children so happily cleave to."[22]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Gates, Anita (November 11, 2005). "WHAT'S ON TONIGHT". The New York Times. Retrieved August 9, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c SpongeBob SquarePants: Season Four, Volume 1. DVD. Paramount Home Entertainment, 2006.
  3. ^ SpongeBob SquarePants: Season 4, Vol. 1 ("Have You Seen This Snail?" credits) (DVD). United States: Paramount Home Entertainment/Nickelodeon. September 12, 2006. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "SpongeBob is Shell-Shocked When His Beloved Pet Gary Runs Away From Home, Leaving No Snail Trail Behind". PR Newswire. November 1, 2005. Retrieved May 4, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i Olsen, Eric (November 3, 2005). "“Where’s Gary?” – New SpongeBob Special". Blogcritics. Retrieved August 9, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Stew and the Negro Problem". Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Retrieved August 9, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Stew and the Negro Problem Come to Williams College!". Africana Studies. Williams College. Retrieved August 9, 2013. 
  8. ^ SpongeBob SquarePants: Where's Gary?. DVD. Paramount Home Entertainment, 2005.
  9. ^ "SpongeBob SquarePants - Where's Gary?". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Retrieved August 9, 2013. 
  10. ^ a b Mavis, Paul (September 11, 2006). "SpongeBob SquarePants - Season 4, Vol. 1". DVD Talk. Retrieved August 9, 2013. 
  11. ^ SpongeBob SquarePants: The First 100 Episodes. DVD. Paramount Home Entertainment, 2009.
  12. ^ Lacey, Gord (September 29, 2009). "SpongeBob SquarePants - The First 100 Episodes (Seasons 1-5) Review". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Retrieved August 2, 2013. 
  13. ^ SpongeBob SquarePants: The First 100 Episodes. DVD. Paramount Home Entertainment, 2009.
  14. ^ "SpongeBob SquarePants - The First 100 Episodes (Seasons 1-5)". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Retrieved August 2, 2013. 
  15. ^ a b Shales, Tom (November 11, 2005). "SpongeBob Squeezes Tears Of Laughter Out of Snail Tale". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 15, 2005. 
  16. ^ de Moraes, Lisa (November 16, 2005). "CBS Cruises, but SpongeBob Sops Up Viewers". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 15, 2005. 
  17. ^ "SpongeBob SquarePants 'Where's Gary' Scores Colossal Ratings". PR Newswire. November 14, 2005. Retrieved November 15, 2005. 
  18. ^ Aurther, Kate (November 16, 2005). "Arts, Briefly; Cowboys and Snail Score". The New York Times. Retrieved August 9, 2013. 
  19. ^ Johnson, David. "Spongebob Squarepants: Where's Gary?". DVD Verdict. Retrieved August 9, 2013. 
  20. ^ Ekberg, Aida (July 17, 2009). "Top 10 'SpongeBob SquarePants' Guest Stars". Yahoo! Voices. Yahoo!. Retrieved August 9, 2013. 
  21. ^ Michael, Nader (November 7, 2005). "'SpongeBob' special moves at a snail's pace". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved November 15, 2005. 
  22. ^ Olsen, Eric (November 17, 2005). "SpongeBob SquarePants "Where's Gary" - Promotional Triumph". Blogcritics. Retrieved May 4, 2013. 

External links[edit]