SpongeBob SquarePants

Culture Shock

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Episode Information
Culture Shock
Season №: 1
Episode №: 10a
Airdate: September 18, 1999
Sister episode(s): "F.U.N."
Guest(s): Sirena Irwin as Margaret SquarePants
Writer(s): Paul Tibbitt
Mark O'Hare
Doug Lawrence
Storyboard Artist(s): Mark O'Hare
Storyboard: Paul Tibbitt
Animation: Edgar Larrazábal
Creative: Derek Drymon
See all credits for this episode.
Previous: "Opposite Day"
Next: "F.U.N."
List of episodes

"Culture Shock" is a SpongeBob SquarePants episode from season one. In this episode, Squidward hosts a talent show at the Krusty Krab.



Culture Shock Audiences
It's another day at the Krusty Krab, with Mr. Krabs manning a free salad bar, SpongeBob preoccupied with cleaning rogue dust particles off a table, and Squidward daydreaming about dancing. Mr. Krabs is getting irritated at the lack of customers, when one decides to comes in. Ecstatic at finally getting a customer, Mr. Krabs orders SpongeBob to cater to the fish's every whim. Unfortunately for them the fish was only looking to get change for a dollar, and is driven away by SpongeBob's excess enthusiasm, though not before leaving a penny behind for SpongeBob. However, Mr. Krabs catches wind of the penny and gets the drop on it first (literally).

As Mr. Krabs stores the penny away into his vault, he gives his two employees the bad news: Profits are way down this month, and they need a gimmick to bring in customers. Asking for ideas results in apathy from Squidward and increasingly absurd ideas from SpongeBob (including a free pair of socks with each purchase, "Double Patty Midnight Madness", and giving a free drink to the customer who comes in with a mouthful of clams). After Mr. Krabs points out that he was thinking along the lines of "live entertainment", Squidward hits a brainstorm: the first Krusty Krab Talent Show, with him as the host!

He nearly blurts out his intent to make himself into a star, but quickly corrects his faux-pas by claiming it would "bring culture to this cultural wasteland we call Bikini Bottom", and that it would bring in much needed revenue. Squidward draws in Mr. Krabs further by claiming that his whale daughter Pearl could become a star through this. SpongeBob is excited at the chance to show off his talents, and runs off to call his folks, while Mr. Krabs gives Squidward the go-ahead on the show. As the Krusty Krab gets set up for the upcoming show, SpongeBob asks Squidward when he's going to go on the show, even demonstrating his act (blowing a hippopotamus shaped bubble, then tap dancing along with it). Unfortunately the act does not impress Squidward, who claims it isn't "cultured" enough. SpongeBob runs off, vowing to come up with the most cultural act ever.

It's now night-time, and the Krusty Krab is packed; even Patrick has come along with SpongeBob's parents, who Mr. Krabs introduces himself to ("Hello! I'm Mr Krabs, and I like money!"). In the backstage, Squidward makes it very clear to everyone else that this is HIS chance to reach stardom, but is interrupted by SpongeBob's newest act: inflating himself with water and showing off his sponge traits. Squidward once again shoots him down, not wanting SpongeBob to ruin his chances at stardom. SpongeBob tearfully begs Squidward to let him on the show, claiming he'll do anything, with the squid relegating him to clean up duty after the show is done. SpongeBob, not realizing this, takes his new "act" with great enthusiasm.

Squidward goes on-stage to introduce the audience to the first Krusty Krab Talent Show, in the process making a joke about how no one else would give the Krabby Patty a home. This greatly amuses Patrick to the point that he randomly interrupts the next parts of Squidward's speech. Not able to get in a word edgewise, Squidward eventually just says Pearl's name and leaves the stage. Pearl is unveiled with a set of cheerleader pom-poms, and Mr. Krabs is ecstatic to see his daughter in the spotlight. Her act is a cheer-leading routine about the Krusty Krab, but her size and weight throws the audience up into the air with each jump, resulting in everyone eventually lying about in various states of pain. As she leaves the stage, SpongeBob drops in to badger Squidward about his "act", with the latter trying to ignore him.

The next act is poetry by SpongeBob's pet snail Gary. However due to speaking in meows, only Sandy Cheeks is able to understand how good his poetry is. Squidward is getting antsy at this point, both from how much time Gary is taking with his act and from SpongeBob bothering him again. The third act is by Mr. Krabs' business rival Plankton as "The Amazing Plankton!!!", with him intending to make a Krabby Patty disappear before the audience's eyes. However, it's just another ploy to steal the Krabby Patty formula, one that Mr. Krabs stops and ends with Plankton blowing himself up.

The crowd by this point is getting fed up with the terrible acts, and Mr. Krabs storms backstage, angry at the lack of good responses. Squidward temporarily placates him by claiming he saved the best act for last; it's finally his time to shine! After some buildup with spotlights, Squidward comes in his dancing gear, to looks of confusion from the audience. Squidward starts out dancing to orchestral music, before the music suddenly changes into trance; Squidward's dancing also becomes incredibly bizarre. Unfortunately for him, his time in the spotlight comes to an abrupt end as two audience members pelt him with tomatoes from the free salad bar. Mr. Krabs, realizing he's losing money to this deal, quickly slaps on a one dollar sign to the front of the free salad bar to cash in on the audience's rage. Squidward tells the audience they have no appreciation for his talent, only to be coldly rebuffed. Furious, he storms backstage, where a waiting SpongeBob asks whether he can go on now. Squidward tells him the show is over, much to the sponge's confusion.

SpongeBob gets to work cleaning the stage, only to receive an unexpected surprise: the audience likes his act! Squidward thinks the audience has changed their mind about him, and charges onstage as SpongeBob leaves...only to be met with silence. He storms off again, and SpongeBob continues cleaning to great applause. Squidward charges in and is once again met by silence. However, he begins to realize that SpongeBob seems to be tied to the audience's sudden change in behavior, and tries several times to get the audience to cheer for him by doing SpongeBob's act, only to be rejected. Squidward is forced to conclude that it's SpongeBob the audience is cheering for and watches from the sidelines. Squidward gets praised for his show, as well as making SpongeBob a star. Mr. Krabs, lying in a wheelbarrow full of money, says he'll need another one for next week's show; Squidward can only sigh and watch with envy as SpongeBob gets a standing ovation for his cleaning. It looks like Squidward did save the best for last; it just wasn't his act.




 ) Associated production music
 ) Original music
 ) SpongeBob music

  Sunny Samoa - Jan Rap [title card]
  K-55 - The Woodies* [opening]
  Captain Lenoe's - Michael Arthur, Colin Cater, Mick Graves, The Folk Players, Sarah Graves, Simon Ritchie ["A customer! Welcome to the Krusty Krab!"]
  The Tip Top Polka/The Cliff Polka - Chelmsford Folk Band [he just wanted change]
  Captain Lenoe's - Michael Arthur, Colin Cater, Mick Graves, The Folk Players, Sarah Graves, Simon Ritchie [Krabs puts the penny in his safe]
  Vibe Link (b) - Richard Myhill ["A free pair of socks with every purchase!"]
  Shock (t) - Dave Hewson ["Or maybe double-patty midnight madness!"]
  Tonight's Prizes - Dick Stephen Walter [Squidward suggests a talent show]
  A Hat, a Cane - Ronnie Hazlehurst [SpongeBob's tap dancing act]
  Gator - Steve Belfer ["Okay, I get it."]
  Theatreland - Dick Stephen Walter [red carpet]
  The Circus Comes to Town! - Dick Stephen Walter ["The amazing Mister Absorbency!"]
  Fates - Gregor F. Narholz [SpongeBob begs to be in the show]
  Whisper from the Past - Gregor F. Narholz ["So this is what it feels like."]
  Driving Jazz (f) - David Arnold, Paul Hart [Squidward comes on stage]
  Drum Roll to Cymbal (b) - Martyn David, Alan Bell, Roger Stephen Dexter [rimshot]
  Action and Glamour 8 - Milan Pilar [Pearl on stage]
  Hawaiian Happiness - Jon Jelmer [after Pearl's act]
  Walking Bass - Richard Myhill [Gary's poetry]
  Exotique A - Paul Lenart, Bill Novick [Plankton's magic act]
  Dramatic Cue (d) - Ronald Hanmer ["Shia-kazing!"]
  Timpani Roll - Sammy Burdson ["And now, ladies and gentlemen..."]
  Jazz Fanfare - Tony Tape [Squidward Live]
  Head Over Heels (a) - Andrew Jackman [first part of Squidward's act]
  In House Jazz B - Laszlo Bencker [second part of Squidward's act]
  Theatreland - Dick Stephen Walter [ending]

*on the Season 1 DVD, this is replaced with "Aspiración" by The Langhorns



  • As of October 29, 2013, The Internet Movie Database (IMDB) gives this episode a rating of 8/10 based on 119 ratings by users.tt0769428 users give this episode a 8.9/10 based on 211 votes.[1]
  • "Culture Shock" was ranked #48 during the Best Day Ever event on November 9–10, 2006.


  • This is the first time tables with table cloth in the Krusty Krab appear. The second time in "Squirrel Jokes," third time in "Squilliam Returns," fourth time in "Pranks a Lot," and the fifth time was in "Enemy In-Law."
  • This is the first time a stage is in the Krusty Krab. The second time is in "Squirrel Jokes," the third time was in "Whale of a Birthday," and the fourth was in "The Play's The Thing."
  • The German version of this title card is the same as "Sandy's Rocket."
  • This is the first time the main characters all appear in the same episode.
  • While Gary is reading poetry Squidward says "Come on Ginsberg" as an allusion to the beat poet Allen Ginsberg.
  • The title card background will later be reused in "SpongeBob SquarePants vs. The Big One" and "A Pal for Gary."
  • Here are all the contestants from the Talent Show and the talent they performed:
  • Mr. Cleanser and Dr. Clean are both parodies of NUK Baby Bottle Cleanser (aka Doctor Cleanser) and Mr. Clean.
  • MY LEG: Pearl finishes her cheerleading just as the people crashed everywhere.
  • Squidward's dance can be classified in two parts. The first part has Squidward dancing to classical music with arm-wheeling movements in a swimsuit. The second has Squidward dancing to a freestyle/synthesized didgeridoo pattern with Squidward doing a type of Wave dance with foot-sliding included as well as spluttering, in a swimsuit.
  • Squidward is seen doing the same dance again during the closing credits of The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water.
  • This episode premiered on Dan Povenmire's 36th birthday.
  • A image from Squidward's dance and an image of Harold and Margaret SquarePants wearing their dress clothes are featured on the protective case of The SpongeBob SquarePants Experience: A Deep Dive into the World of Bikini Bottom.


  • In the scene where SpongeBob's parents come in, Patrick is standing next to Mr. Krabs and in the next scene, he isn't.
  • When Squidward introduces his act, the clock above the doors is not there.
  • During the talent show, the curtains change colors: red, green, and purple.
  • At one point when the audience is applauding, Sandy whistles with her hand through her helmet. This error also happens in "Pranks a Lot."
  • At the beginning of the talent show Squidward says, "...Squidward's First Annual Talent Show." However, at the end of the episode, Mr. Krabs says, "...Next week's show."
  • Before Squidward begins dancing on stage it shows him without a black outline, then when he does begin dancing he is shown with a black outline.
  • For a split second, when SpongeBob shows "Dr. Clean," his chin goes in front of the bottle.
  • When the background came down for Squidward's act, Squidward's outline wasn't drawn, but it was drawn in the next scene.
  • When SpongeBob runs up while Mr. Krabs says, "SpongeBob, cater to his every whim...", SpongeBob footsteps are heard even though he slides into frame as opposed to running in.


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