Deep down in the ocean, the audience is introduced to a small little hick town known as Bikini Bottom, a narrator with a French accent muses on the wonders of undersea life. The narrator introduces the audience to one of his favorite creatures in the sea, SpongeBob SquarePants. Inside the pineapple where he lives, the yellow and porous SpongeBob sleeps soundly in his bed with three mattresses and a diving board attached. On the floor nearby sleeps SpongeBob’s pet snail, Gary. Next to SpongeBob is a foghorn alarm clock, which soon loudly goes off and awakens him.
SpongeBob climbs the diving board and tells Gary that today is "the big day," Gary giving a simple "Meow" in reply. SpongeBob jumps off the diving board and lands neatly into an outfit consisting of square pants, a white shirt, and red tie. To prepare for the day, he goes to a barbell with two stuffed animals attached and struggles to lift it, barely managing to get one rep before dropping it with a squeak. He then proclaims, "I’m ready!" and runs outside, heading past an Easter Island head with windows and a door, as well as a brown rock with a bamboo weather vane. The rock opens up to reveal a pink starfish, Patrick Star, stuck underneath it, cheering SpongeBob on before peeling off.
Arriving outside the restaurant known as the Krusty Krab, SpongeBob psyches himself up to answer the call of the Help Wanted sign in the window and ask for a job as a fry cook. However, his fears get the better of him and he turns to leave, only to find Patrick in his way. The latter convinces the former that he's truly ready for the job, giving SpongeBob the confidence to make his way over.
Squidward Tentacles, a Krusty Krab employee busy cleaning graffiti off the windows, sees SpongeBob approach and voices his displeasure, wondering why he's coming so early. He then notices the sign and shrieks in horror, dashing inside toward his boss and owner of the restaurant, Eugene H. Krabs. Before Squidward can warn him, SpongeBob enters and confidently states his intention of joining the Krusty Krew. He starts to approach Mr. Krabs and Squidward, but trips and bounces around the restaurant before landing square on his back in front of them.
Mr. Krabs expresses his concern that SpongeBob is not ready for the job, but the latter asks him to reconsider and have Squidward vouch for him. He takes Mr. Krabs aside and flatly tells him "No." Giving Squidward a wink, Mr. Krabs approaches SpongeBob and says that he can apply once he’s completed a simple test: purchasing a non-existent "Hydro-dynamic Spatula." SpongeBob eagerly heads out in his new employee’s hat to find one, leaving Krabs and Squidward to laugh together about the fool’s errand.
As SpongeBob runs to the Barg'N-Mart, a convoy of buses arrives at the Krusty Krab. Mr. Krabs literally smells trouble approaching, and soon after, a hoard of anchovies swarms in and clamors for food. Squidward calls for their attention, asking them to behave themselves and make a single-file line. His request is rejected, and the anchovies grow more ravenous and unruly. Squidward and Mr. Krabs climb into the cash register row boat as the anchovies form a rolling ocean, but their boat breaks and they climb a pole to the ceiling. Facing the end, Mr. Krabs and Squidward say their goodbyes and sob.
From the sky arrives SpongeBob, however, wielding his new flight-capable Hydro-dynamic Spatula. Leaving the flabbergasted workers behind, SpongeBob flies into the kitchen and starts whipping up a batch of Krabby Patties. The anchovies are satiated one by one down to the last, leaving behind a fat sack of cash. Mr. Krabs jumps with joy and proudly presents SpongeBob with his own nametag. Squidward tries to protest, but Mr. Krabs is too busy cheering and carting away the money to notice. Patrick then arrives and orders a Krabby Patty, but SpongeBob engages the spatula once more and sends Patrick flying out of the restaurant with a flurry of burgers. Squidward haughtily asks Mr. Krabs to come back and see his new employee at work.
Size Comparison Chart
The Original SpongeBob cast as shown in Steve Hillenburg’s pitch bible.
Original Storyboard of Patrick Convincing "SpongeBoy" To go to Get the Job In the Krusty Krab
Hillenburg's original idea for the pitch was that the writers would write a storyboard for a possible episode and pitch it to Nickelodeon. One of the original ideas was to write an episode with SpongeBob and Squidward on a road trip, inspired by the 1989 film "Powwow Highway". Eventually, the idea developed while they were working on it but Hillenburg gave up on the storyboard idea for the initial pitch. The crew resurrected the road trip idea during the first season and used a lot of the ideas for the episode "Pizza Delivery."
Originally the character was to be named SpongeBoy and the show was to be called SpongeBoy Ahoy!. However, the Nickelodeon legal department discovered that the name SpongeBoy was already in use for a mop product. This was discovered after voice acting for the original seven-minute pilot was recorded in 1997. Upon finding this out, Hillenburg decided that the character's given name still had to contain "Sponge" so viewers would not mistake the character for a "Cheese Man." Hillenburg decided to use the name "SpongeBob." He chose "SquarePants" as a family name as it referred to the character's square shape and it had a "nice ring to it. SpongeBob would be later called SpongeBoy in one part of Squeaky Boots"
In an interview with Cyma Zarghami, she told "their [Nickelodeon executives'] immediate reaction was to see it again, both because they liked it and it was unlike anything they had ever seen before." Hillenburg said the character construction in the episode was loose. But the character development was already "pretty strong." Cavna rewatched the episode in 2009 and said "so much of the style and polish are already in place."
Stephen Hillenburg and Derek Drymon were having dinner and came up with the idea for "Help Wanted" based on an experience Hillenburg had in the Boy Scouts. Hillenburg and writer Tim Hill worked it into an outline. In 1997 while pitching the cartoon to Nickelodeon executives, Stephen Hillenburg donned a Hawaiian shirt, brought along an "underwater terrarium with models of the characters," and Hawaiian music to set the theme. The setup was described by Nick executive Eric Coleman as "pretty amazing." When given money and 2 weeks to write the pilot episode ("Help Wanted"), Hillenburg, Derek Drymon, and Nick Jennings returned with – described by Nickelodeon official Albie Hecht – "a performance [I] wish [I] had on tape." Although described as stressful by executive producer Derek Drymon, the pitch went "very well"; Kevin Kay and Hecht had to step outside because they were "exhausted from laughing," making the cartoonists worried. With help from Tim Hill and art director Nick Jennings, Hillenburg finished the pitch and sold SpongeBob SquarePants to Nickelodeon. Drymon said, "the network approved it—so we were ready to go."
The pilot episode was made and recorded in 1997, so it has many differences to the rest of the series. However, the original version of the episode had many other minor differences corrected later. For example, this is the only episode where SpongeBob's bed is on the right (excluding "Pickles" and "Employee of the Month"), and his blanket is solid blue, as opposed to purple with flowers.
Differences invoices are another example. SpongeBob's voice is slightly lower and Patrick's voice is deeper.
Designs and colors for characters are also different.
SpongeBob has fewer holes than in newer episodes. He also looks a little bit fatter.
Mr. Krabs' eyelids are bright pink as opposed to red.
Patrick's pants are in a slightly different color, not to mention he looks slightly chubbier.
Squidward's complexion is paler, his laugh is different, the comedic "splat" sound is different, and his nose does not puff in and out when he laughs.
Gary's eye pupils are red dots and his irises are smaller, he lacks eyelashes, and he has a higher, somewhat squeakier tone of voice in the "meow" that sounds a little closer to a realistic cat's meow – although Tom Kenny claims to use a new "meow" for each episode (where Gary is shown meowing).
The animation used for the bubble transitions are much choppier.
Squidward appears to have rows of bamboo poles behind his house.
There is only one window in the front of SpongeBob's house. Some other early episodes, such as "Boating School," also show SpongeBob's house with only one window.
There was an intro which was scrapped for unknown reasons.
The changes were made when the series officially aired.
After SpongeBob gets his home, which can be seen during a flashback in "Truth or Square"
Help Wanted is not featured on The Complete First Season DVD, due to copyright issues with the song "Livin' in the Sunlight, Lovin' in the Moonlight" by Tiny Tim, which is played during the episode. However, on the German release of that DVD, the episode "Help Wanted" is actually included.
The beginning of the episode where SpongeBob says "Today's the big day, Gary" can be seen on a TV in the 2002 comedy Orange Country.
SpongeBob's bed is on the right side when usually it is on the left side. This also happens in "Pickles."
SpongeBob is shown to have a pet scallop that he keeps in a birdcage. The scallop makes occasional appearances throughout the series.
Starting in 2015, during the airings of this episode, the intro repeatedly goes faster and changes back to its normal speed.
This episode was finished in 1997, but didn't air until May 1, 1999, because the cast wanted to change various things.
The original pilot version of "Help Wanted" has some differences, including the early intro being played a bit later in the episode (after SpongeBob gets ready and goes to the Krusty Krab) and at the ending, instead of United Plankton Pictures, Inc. being displayed, it instead shows a picture of SpongeBob with the text "created by Steven Hillenburg."
In Indonesia, the scene where Mr. Krabs and Squidward are nearly killed by angry anchovies before SpongeBob comes to save them, is sometimes shown and sometimes skipped. This is likely due to time constraints due to being aired along with ads, which commonly lasts for 5 minutes. This often occurs in other episodes as well that also aired in Indonesia.
The scenes were SpongeBob serves up Krabby Patties to the angry anchovies and "Livin' in the Sunlight, Lovin' in the Moonlight" song is playing was cut in Italy for unknown reasons (possibly because of copyright).
In the Croatian dub, this episode is called "Tražimo Kuhara," translating to "We are Looking for the Fry Cook."
Another difference with production and the sorts is that the Nickelodeon Animation Studios logo at the end has a small copyright notice with 1997 as the production date. The television airing has a more detailed and prolonged copyright notice with a production of 1998.
This implies the television airing (and most official airing) was made in 1998, and not 1997 or 1999.
Stephen Hillenburg in the "Written By" section of the opening credits was misspelled as "Stephen Hilleburg."
Squidward cleans up the graffiti that says "loser" as a picture of him which has an arrow on it, but in the next scene, the arrow is missing. It is not likely that Squidward cleaned it up since he was looking at SpongeBob at the time.
The last time SpongeBob says "I'm ready!" his collar turns red.
When SpongeBob walks inside the Krusty Krab and says, "I've been waiting my entire life to join the Krusty Krab crew!" the Krusty Krab's lights were off. But when SpongeBob says, "And now I'm ready!" the lights were on. This error later happens again in "Your Shoe's Untied."
In the Krusty Krab, all doors to the left of the cash register aren't there. When Mr. Krabs goes to his office, he goes to the right.
When Mr. Krabs jumps every time he says "Hip, hip!" his white undershirt disappears for less than a second.
When SpongeBob arrived with the Hydro-Spatula, Squidward's skin changes from blue to white.
When SpongeBob bounces, he has no pants or shoes.
When Patrick says "Who's ready," his eyelids are pink instead of purple.
SpongeBob does not have a hole in the upper left corner of his head.
Squidward has bamboo sticks in his backyard, this does not appear in any other episode.
There are scenes where Mr.Krabs' blinks his eyes, his eye stalks are brighter more than his body.
During the scene where SpongeBob was jumping proudly, the color of SpongeBob's collar becomes red instead of white.
The original captions spell "Krabby patty" as "Crabby patty."
When Mr. Krabs says "Climb Mr. Squidward! Climb!" Squidward's top layer of teeth are purple.
Patrick says "Who's a big yellow cube with holes?" but SpongeBob is not shaped like a cube; he is shaped like a rectangular prism.