The episode opens with a coral scene. A Narrator with a French accent talks about the sea while the coral pans out to reveal an underwater city with a life preserver sign that reads, "Bikini Bottom." The French Narrator introduces the town. The scene then shows a brown rock with a bamboo wind vane on top, a Easter Island Head with windows instead of eyes and a door instead of a mouth, and a pineapple with windows, a door, and a metal chimney sticking out. The scene pans into the pineapple. The French Narrator introduces SpongeBob SquarePants. He then confirms that fact that SpongeBob lives in a pineapple.
The scene shows the clock part of SpongeBob's alarm clock. The alarm goes off. It is the sound of a foghorn. The scene then shows a wide-shot of SpongeBob's bedroom. He is sleeping in his bed. To the left of his bed there is a diving board. To the right of him there is a caged Scallop. Below the cage, there is a snail on some newspaper, next to a bowl. The bowl reads, "Gary". Gary wakes up. A few moments later, SpongeBob wakes up while his blanket is blown away. SpongeBob is revealed to be wearing only his underwear, socks, and shoes. SpongeBob turns off the alarm clock. He then starts to climbs the ladder of the diving board. He stops and then tells Gary that "today is the big day." Gary meows like a cat while SpongeBob finishes climbing the ladder. He then starts to jump on the diving board. As he is doing this, he says, "Look at me, I'm naked!". As he says, "I'm naked!", he jumps out of his underwear and into a white shirt, red tie, and brown shorts with a black belt, which all is placed on a wire between two poles. SpongeBob runs to his exercise room. In front of him is a barbell with stuffed animals, instead of weights, on the end. SpongeBob tells Gary that SpongeBob has to be in top physical condition. Gary meows. SpongeBob then struggles to lift the barbell. He eventually does it and walks two steps before letting go of the barbell.
The scene shows the outside of SpongeBob's pineapple. Inside, SpongeBob says, "I'm ready!" He runs out of his house at a controlled pace, saying the same thing repetitively. He runs past the Easter Island Head and the rock. When SpongeBob passes the rock, it lifts, revealing a starfish wearing green shorts with purple flowers on them, on the bottom of the rock. It also reveals a hole under the house with a TV, a chair, and a lamp. The starfish tells SpongeBob, "Go, SpongeBob!" He then falls off his rock.
Using a bubble transition, SpongeBob is shown several feet in front of building that looks similar to an old New England lobster trap. Next to the building, there is a sign that reads, "The Krusty Krab". SpongeBob introduces the building as a restaurant. He also points out that it is the home of a food called, "The Krabby Patty". He points out the "Help Wanted" sign in the window. SpongeBob says that, for years, he has been dreaming of that moment. He says, "I'm gonna go in there, march straight to the manager, look 'im straight in the eye, lay it on the line and... I can't do this!" He starts to turn back, but he is stopped by the starfish. SpongeBob exclaims, "Patrick!" Patrick asks SpongeBob were he is going. SpongeBob starts to explain where he going, but is cut off by Patrick, who tells SpongeBob that he is only going into The Krusty Krab to get the job. SpongeBob tells Patrick that he is not good enough. Patrick then brings SpongeBob spirits up by reminding SpongeBob of things like his first words being, "May I take your order?", him making a spatula out of toothpicks in wood shop, and his shape. He then asks SpongeBob, "Who's ready?". SpongeBob answers, "I'm ready." The two repeat this dialogue twice more until SpongeBob's spirits are high enough to run to the Krusty Krab. SpongeBob repeats, "I'm ready!" while doing so.
Meanwhile, outside the Krusty Krab, a six-legged octopus, who is wearing only a brown, short-sleeved shirt and a Krusty Krab hat, appears cleaning graffiti of his head with the word, "Loser" above it with an arrow pointing to the image, which is on one of the doors. He hears SpongeBob and turns his head. He says, "Oh no, SpongeBob. What could he possibly want?" He looks at the Help Wanted sign and runs inside leaving the cleaning supplies outside. He yells for Mr. Krabs.
Inside the Krusty Krab, Squidward runs to Mr. Krabs, a red crab, who is sniffing money in the cashier's boat. Squidward quickly tries to explain the situation, but is cut off by SpongeBob opening the doors. SpongeBob asks, "Permission to come aboard, captain?!" He explains that he has been training to join the "Krusty Krew". He then states that he is now ready. SpongeBob starts to walk in, but he trips on a nail and bounces around for a while until he lands in front of Squidward and Mr. Krabs, who are now both standing up. SpongeBob then asks when he starts. Mr. Krabs says that SpongeBob doesn't seem to even have his sea legs. SpongeBob says that he can prove that he is fry cook material and that Mr. Krabs should ask Squidward, who is the octopus. Squidward and Mr. Krabs quickly walk to the back of the dining area and Squidward says, "No." The two quickly walk back. Mr. Krabs says that he will give SpongeBob a test. He asks for a Hydro-dynamic Spatula with port-and-starboard attachments and turbo drive. SpongeBob writes this down. Mr. Krabs gives SpongeBob a Krusty Krab hat and SpongeBob runs into town. Mr. Krabs and Squidward start laughing about SpongeBob's mission. Right after SpongeBob leaves, fives buses show up. Mr. Krabs stops laughing when he hears hatched doors. He then sniffs and dramatically explains that there are anchovies there. A large number of anchovies enter the Krusty Krab and Squidward and Mr. Krabs enter the cashier boat. Squidward asks the crowd to settle down and enter a neat single-file line. The crowd starts attacking the boat.
Meanwhile, with SpongeBob, he enters a store called, "The Barg'N-Mart", while singing their jingle.
Back at the Krusty Krab, the building hops around with the force of the anchovies. Inside, the boat is being pushed by a wave of anchovies. Squidward says that a single-file line is all he asked. Mr. Krabs tells "Mr. Squidward" to "batten down the hatches". The boat gets torn apart. Mr. Krabs tells Squidward that they are "taking on water". The boat is then gone. Mr. Krabs tells Squidward that Mr. Krabs wants his mommy.
Back with SpongeBob, he has a shopping cart and is going down an aisle, looking for the spatula.
Back in the Krusty Krab, the wave of anchovies pushes Mr. Krabs and Squidward onto a weight-barring pole in the dining room. The two clime the pole until they are no longer in the wave's path. The anchovy wave attacks the pole. Mr. Krabs says that it is the end. The two say their good-byes and start crying. SpongeBob is heard asking, "Permission to come aboard, captain?!" He enters on the spatula. He tells the two, who are speechless, that he got the exact spatula that Mr. Krabs ordered and that the Barg'N-Mart only had one in stock. He then enters the kitchen asking, "Who's hungry?!"
While Livin' in the Sunlight, Lovin' in the Moonlight plays, SpongeBob makes each of the Krabby Patties, which is a burger, for the anchovies. He feeds the anchovies as he makes the Krabby Patties. The song ends when the last patty is made and the last anchovy leaves. The buses leave and SpongeBob blows on his spatula. With a giant bag of money, Mr. Krabs says that what SpongeBob did was the finest "fast-foodsmanship" he has ever seen. He gives SpongeBob an employee name tag and gives three cheers for SpongeBob while Squidward tries to protest. Mr. Krabs then says that he is going to count his money in his office and wheels the bag of money, which is in a wheelbarrow, to his office. Patrick arrives and Squidward asks what Patrick wants. He says, "one Krabby Patty". SpongeBob flies into the kitchen and makes a bunch of patties, which causes Patrick to fly out of the restaurant. Squidward then yells for Mr. Krabs.
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 an episode called "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."
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 in voices are another example. SpongeBob's voice is slightly lower and Patrick's 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.
The changes were made when the series officially aired.
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 scene were SpongeBob serves up Krabby Patties to the angry anchovies was cut in Italy for unknown reasons.
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 County.
SpongeBob states that he has been training his whole life to join the Krusty Krew. The training part is supported in the episode, "Friend or Foe."
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 being displayed, it instead shows a picture of SpongeBob with the text "created by Steven Hillenburg."
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 Squidward 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 eye lids are pink instead of purple.
SpongeBob does not have a hole on the upper left corner of his head.
Squidward has bamboo sticks in his backyard, this does not appear in any other episode.
When SpongeBob is shaped like the number four, his holes disappear.
There are scenes where Mr.Krabs' blinks his eyes, his eye stalks are brighter more than his body.
In Croatian dub, the episode name is "Tražimo Kuhara" or "We are Looking for the Fry Cook."