SpongeBob SquarePants

Help Wanted

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Episode Information
Help Wanted
Season №: 1
Episode №: 1a
Airdate: May 1, 1999 (USA)

March 4, 2000 (Canada)

Sister episode(s): "Reef Blower"
"Tea at the Treedome"
Guest(s): Tiny Tim as musical performer of Livin' in the Sunlight, Lovin' in the Moonlight
Writer(s): Stephen Hillenburg
Derek Drymon
Tim Hill
Storyboard Artist(s): Derek Drymon
Storyboard: Stephen Hillenburg
Animation: Alan Smart
See all credits for this episode.
Next: "Reef Blower"
List of episodes

"Help Wanted" is a SpongeBob SquarePants episode from season one. In this episode, SpongeBob gets a job at the Krusty Krab.



A narrator with a French accent introduces SpongeBob SquarePants, a sponge who lives in a pineapple under the sea. The scene moves closer to SpongeBob's pineapple. SpongeBob's foghorn alarm clock rings, waking him up in the morning. He tells his pet, Gary the Snail, that he must be in good shape because this particular day is important. He jumps off his diving board and then lands in his pants. He goes to his exercise room and lifts a barbell, which is actually two stuffed animals on a metal bar. Afterwards, SpongeBob declares that he is ready. He runs outside and down the street to The Krusty Krab, repeatedly saying, "I'm ready" while his neighbor and best friend, Patrick Star, cheers him on.

SpongeBob sees the "Help Wanted" sign on the Krusty Krab window. He then declares that he is ready to obtain the job, which he has dreamed of for years; however, he loses his confidence when he nears the Krusty Krab. Patrick confronts him and quickly convinces him to go for the job, and SpongeBob does so, thereby declaring he is ready three more times. Squidward Tentacles, the head cashier, is cleaning the window, where his head is drawn and "loser" is written above it. Squidward sees that SpongeBob wants the job, and so he runs into the Krusty Krab in an attempt to warn the owner Eugene H. Krabs that SpongeBob does not qualify for the job. However, SpongeBob walks into the Krusty Krab and asks for the job before Squidward can say anything. To get rid of him, Mr. Krabs tells SpongeBob that he can join the Krusty Crew if he passes a "test"—which is to obtain a "hydrodynamic spatula with port and starboard attachments and a turbo-drive" (essentially sending SpongeBob on a wild goose chase) and to not come back until he gets one. SpongeBob then leaves trying to find one with Squidward and Mr. Krabs laughing and believing that SpongeBob will not find the spatula and will never come back.

As soon as SpongeBob leaves, 5 buses drop off a large crowd of hungry anchovies. They barge into the Krusty Krab, demanding Krabby Patties. Trying to keep things in order, Squidward complains about their behavior, and then requests that there be a neat, single-file line in front of the cash register. The anchovies furiously protest, forming a riot of angry anchovies that resembles a stormy sea. This forces Squidward and Mr. Krabs to climb up the mast. Thinking that it is the end for them, they say their goodbyes. Suddenly, SpongeBob arrives, flying with his "hydrodynamic spatula with port and starboard attachments and a turbo-drive" (according to SpongeBob, the Barg’N-Mart only had one in stock). Squidward and Mr. Krabs are flabbergasted at the fact that SpongeBob actually passed the "test." SpongeBob flies into the kitchen and, as fast as he can, SpongeBob makes the patties and satisfies the needs of the angry anchovies.


When the last anchovy gets his Krabby Patty, Mr. Krabs is delighted. He immediately hires SpongeBob, by welcoming him to the Krusty Crew and giving him a nametag. Then, Mr. Krabs calls for three cheers for SpongeBob (to which Squidward unenthusiastically replies "Hooray" all three times). Even though Squidward is upset, Mr. Krabs does not listen to him because he wants to go and count the "booty" he had just made in his office.

At the end, Patrick walks in and asks for a Krabby Patty. SpongeBob then flies into the kitchen and makes a huge stream of Krabby Patties, which hit Patrick and send him flying out of the restaurant. Squidward, in a sarcastic and sing-song tone, tells Mr. Krabs to come see his new employee.




"Help Wanted" was written by series creator Stephen Hillenburg, Derek Drymon and Tim Hill, and was directed by Alan Smart.[1] Hillenburg also functioned as storyboard director, and Drymon worked as storyboard artist.[1][2] He began developing SpongeBob SquarePants into a television series in late 1996 upon the series cancellation of Rocko's Modern Life in 1996.[3][4]

Hillenburg's original idea for the pitch was that the writers would write a storyboard for a possible episode and pitch it to Nickelodeon.[5] 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".[5] Eventually, the idea developed while they were working on it but Hillenburg gave up on the storyboard idea for the initial pitch.[5] The crew resurrected the road trip idea during the first season and used a lot of the ideas for an episode called "Pizza Delivery."[5]

SB pg 50

Original storyboard drawn 1997 and was titled "SpongeBoy Ahoy!"

Originally the character was to be named SpongeBoy and the show was to be called SpongeBoy Ahoy!.[6][7] However, the Nickelodeon legal department discovered that the name SpongeBoy was already in use for a mop product.[6][8] This was discovered after voice acting for the original seven-minute pilot was recorded in 1997.[6] 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."[9]

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."[10] Hillenburg said the character construction in the episode was loose. But the character development was already "pretty strong."[11] Cavna rewatched the episode in 2009 and said "so much of the style and polish are already in place."[12][12]

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.[5] Hillenburg and writer Tim Hill worked it into an outline.[5] 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."[13] 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."[14] 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.[14] With help from Tim Hill and art director Nick Jennings, Hillenburg finished the pitch and sold SpongeBob SquarePants to Nickelodeon.[5] Drymon said "the network approved it—so we were ready to go."[5]

SpongeBob SquarePants aired this as the first episode along with "Reef Blower/Tea at the Treedome" on May 1, 1999, following the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards.[15][16][17] The series later made its "official" debut on July 17, 1999 with the second episode "Bubblestand / Ripped Pants." This episode was reaired on July 24 along with "Reef Blower /Tea at the Treedome" to consider it official.[15][16][17]


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).

And other things:

  • 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 also show SpongeBob's house with only one window.

The changes were made when the series officially aired.


"Livin' in the Sunlight, Lovin' in the Moonlight" was used in this episode, but because of copyright issues, the pilot episode was not on the The Complete 1st Season. However, this episode appears on a few later DVDs. The episode appeared as the episode also features SpongeBob singing a Barg'N-Mart jingle.

 ) Associated production music
 ) Original music
 ) SpongeBob music

  Hawaiian Train - Victor Cavini [title card]
  Aloha Oe - Hans Haider, Queen Lili'uokalani [opening]
  Honolulu March (Version 1) - Hans Haider ["Today's the big day, Gary."]
  The Land is Ours - Gregor F. Narholz [ SpongeBob lifting weights]
  Grand Orchestral Fanfare - Gregor F. Narholz [SpongeBob lifting weights]
  Honolulu March (Version 1) - Hans Haider ["I'm ready, I'm ready, I'm ready..."]
  Next Door Neighbour - Rick Cassman, Vyv's Hope-Scott ["The Krusty Krab, home of the Krabby Patty."]
  The Land is Ours - Gregor F. Narholz [Patrick Star encourages SpongeBob]
  Grand Orchestral Fanfare - Gregor F. Narholz ["Who's a big yellow cube with holes?"]
  Honolulu March (Version 1) - Hans Haider [SpongeBob runs to the Krusty Krab]
  Oyster Girls - Robert Alexander White ["Permission to come aboard, captain!"]
  The Rake Hornpipe - Robert Alexander White [Eugene H. Krabs gives SpongeBob a test]
  Bartmania (a) - Guy Moon ["That sounded like hatch doors."]
  Menace from the Deep - Robert Cornford ["That smell... a kind of smelly smell."]
  Bartmania (a) - Guy Moon [anchovies rush in]
  Death Trap - Gregor F. Narholz ["Batten down the hatches, Mr. Squidward!"]
  Bossa Cubana - Gerhard Narholz [SpongeBob shopping]
  Battle at Sea - Johnny Pearson ["Climb, Mr. Squidward! Climb!"]
  Reach for the Stars - Richard A. Harvey [SpongeBob returns]
  The Main Event - Gregor F. Narholz [hydrodynamic spatula revealed]
  Livin' in the Sunlight, Lovin' in the Moonlight - Tiny Tim [Montage of SpongeBob making Krabby Patties/ending]


Help Wanted, along with "Reef Blower" and "Tea at the Treedome," premiered on Nickelodeon on May 1, 1999, alongside the 1999 Kids' Choice Awards. Later, seven other episodes premiered the same day as the awards show: "Krusty Towers (2005)," "Sentimental Sponge (2012)," "Planet of the Jellyfish (2013)," "Kenny the Cat(2014)," "Yeti Krabs (2015)," "Mall Girl Pearl (2016),"and "Two Thumbs Down (2016).

This episode was released on the following DVDs: (due to copyright issues, it was not released on the The Complete 1st Season box set.)


  • As of August 4, 2015, The Internet Movie Database (IMDB) gives this episode a rating of 8.6/10 based on 499 ratings by users.[18] users give this episode a 8.7/10 based on 448 votes.[19]
  • This episode ranks #1 on Tom Kenny's Top 20 collection on iTunes.
  • In fan-voted SpongeBob SquarePants marathons, "Help Wanted" was ranked #24 during the Best Day Ever event on November 9–10, 2006 and #6 during The Ultimate SpongeBob SpongeBash event on July 17–19, 2009.
  • This episode is available on the:


  • This is the first time in which the episode title is mentioned within the episode.
  • SpongeBob had a pet scallop that he kept in a birdcage. This scallop can also be seen in "Missing Identity" and "Pineapple Fever."
  • If one listens closely, the Honolulu March soundtrack is repeated twice.
  • This is one of the 7 episodes in which the 1986-2002 Paramount logo is plastered with the 2002-2011 Paramount logo. The others are "Squeaky Boots," "F.U.N.," "Squidward the Unfriendly Ghost," "Employee of the Month," "Karate Choppers," and "Rock Bottom."
  • This is SpongeBob's first appearance in the series.
  • Right before Squidward tells the anchovies to get in a "neat single-file line," one of them says, "Speak up!”
  • It is revealed that SpongeBob's first words were, "May I take your order?”
  • It is revealed that SpongeBob built a spatula out of toothpicks in wood shop. This also implies that SpongeBob and Patrick went to school together.
  • Normally, when SpongeBob walks, his shoes make a squeaky sound. However, in this episode, it cannot be heard.
  • On September 7, 2013, there was a Live script reading with the voices at Universal Studios Hollywood for this episode. The live reading can be viewed here:
  • This is the first time a song is on the show (Livin' in the Sunlight, Lovin' in the Moonlight), as well as the first time a character in the show sings a song (Barg'N-Mart Jingle). However, it is not the first full "long" song sung by a character, that is The F.U.N. Song in "F.U.N."
  • SpongeBob's bed is on the right side when usually it is on the left side. This also happens in "Pickles."
  • There is an old SpongeBob online game based on this episode titled "Anchovy Feeding Frenzy."
  • 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.


  • Stephen Hillenburg in the "Written By" section of the title card 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.


  1. ^ a b SpongeBob SquarePants: 10 Happiest Moments. DVD. Paramount Home Entertainment, 2010.
  2. ^ Mavis, Paul (September 16, 2010). SpongeBob SquarePants: 10 Happiest Moments. DVD Talk. Retrieved on September 20, 2013.
  3. ^ Hillenburg, Stephen (2003). The Origin of SpongeBob SquarePants. SpongeBob SquarePants: The Complete First Season (DVD). Paramount Home Entertainment. 
  4. ^ Banks, p. 9
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Drymon, Derek. "The Oral History of SpongeBob SquarePants", Hogan's Alley #17, Bull Moose Publishing Corporation. Retrieved on September 21, 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c Farhat, Basima (Interviewer) (December 5, 2006) (mp3). Tom Kenny: Voice of SpongeBob SquarePants - Interview (Radio production). The People Speak Radio. Retrieved November 8, 2008. 
  7. ^ Pittenger, Kenny. "The Oral History of SpongeBob SquarePants", Hogan's Alley #17, Bull Moose Publishing Corporation. Retrieved on September 21, 2012. 
  8. ^ Banks 2004, p. 31
  9. ^ Neuwirth 2003, p. 51
  10. ^ Bauder, David (July 13, 2009). SpongeBob Turns 10 Valued At $8 Billion. Huffington Post. Retrieved on May 22, 2013.
  11. ^ Cavna, Michael (July 14, 2009). The Top Five 'SpongeBob' Episodes: We Pick 'Em. The Washington Post. Retrieved on May 28, 2013.
  12. ^ a b Cavna, Michael (July 14, 2009). The Interview: 'SpongeBob' Creator Stephen Hillenburg. The Washington Post. Retrieved on May 28, 2013.
  13. ^ Coleman, Eric (2003). The Origin of SpongeBob SquarePants. SpongeBob SquarePants: The Complete First Season (DVD). Paramount Home Entertainment. 
  14. ^ a b Hecht, Albie (2003). The Origin of SpongeBob SquarePants. SpongeBob SquarePants: The Complete First Season (DVD). Paramount Home Entertainment. 
  15. ^ a b SpongeBob Coming Soon. Zap 2 It (1999-05-31). Retrieved on 2008-04-27.
  16. ^ a b Gates, Anita. "Television / Radio; The Tide Pool as Talent Pool (It Had to Happen)", The New York Times, 1999-07-11. Retrieved on 2008-04-26. 
  17. ^ a b Banks, p. 8
  18. ^ IMDB rating
  19. ^ TV rating
  20. ^ User blog:120d/The Series and Movie Date Proof

External links

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