Karen Plankton is a recurring character and the secondary antagonist in the SpongeBob SquarePants television series. She is Plankton's W.I.F.E, (Wired Integratred Female Electroencephlagraph). She is the main computer system of Plankton's lab, and is often the source of his plots (although Plankton doesn't listen and always takes all the credit).
Karen usually manifests on the large-screen computer in Plankton's lab, but sometimes acts through a portable wheeled computer. She was first shown in the episode "Plankton!," although in her first appearance, she was simply Plankton's talking computer and would not be established as his wife until later on. In "Friend or Foe," it was discovered that Karen was a Security System before Plankton had married her.
Karen is a Mark II Surplus UNIVAC with 256 GB (Gigabytes) of RAM, and it has been mentioned that she was a security system before marrying Plankton. In "Goo Goo Gas," when Plankton sprays her with the gas, Karen is turned into a calculator. In "All That Glitters," a monitor that looks exactly like Karen in her portable form is seen in the hospital and in "Shellback Shenanigans," Plankton mistakes it for Karen. In "Single Cell Anniversary," it appears that she has an "Emergency Mother-In-Law Program" – or E.M.I.L.P. for short.
Karen's personality varies from episode to episode, but generally she seems nice, but on some occasions she is considered evil. So far, her most evil appearance is "Plankton's Good Eye" because she encourages Plankton to be evil and hates his good side. In "Single Cell Anniversary," Plankton tells SpongeBob that one of the things that Plankton and Karen like to do is "take long walks on the beach, and ... talk about ... Our dreams of concurring all of Bikini Bottom and become supreme overlords of all creation and to trample our enemies beneath our feet."
So far, no children of Karen and Plankton are known.
She and Plankton have lived in the Chum Bucket throughout the entire series.
Built or Born?
One of the biggest disputed facts in SpongeBob is whether Karen was built or born. Plankton has said or implied on multiple occasions that she was built. But in "The Algae's Always Greener," he stated "Your parents must have been like, part computer or something." Implying she has parents. This was the beginning of the different "origins" for Karen.
Other evidence supporting that she was born is the fact that her parents were actually created. E.M.I.L.P, Karen's mother made an appearance in "Single Cell Anniversary." Fredrick, Karen's father was created by a fan and has only been seen in a Nickelodeon Magazine.
On the other hand, as stated above, Plankton has said or implied that he built Karen. One of episodes that most supports this is "Karen 2.0," where Plankton replaces her with an updated version.
"To get to the SpongeBob, you must show compassion and understanding and then he'll give you what you want"
"Befriend the SpongeBob"
Relationship with Plankton
Over the series, their relationship has changed.
Originally, Karen was presented in "Plankton!" as Plankton's Computer. In fact, Plankton does not even mentions her as his "computer". She is just part of his analyzer.
"F.U.N." was her first appearance with a personality. This is also a defining episode for their relationship. In this episode, she tells Plankton that he befriend SpongeBob to get the Krabby Patty formula. After he hangs out with SpongeBob, Plankton strays from the mission and Karen needs to remind him of his objective. In this episode, Her name was still not given or referred to as his wife.
It was not until two appearances later, "The Algae's Always Greener" that her name was used. It was also the first episode, in which Plankton refers to Karen as his "computer wife".
In "F.U.N.", "Welcome to the Chum Bucket", and "The Algae's Always Greener", she gives Plankton ideas. This is another defining thing in their relationship. When she appears, she often is the one who comes up with the idea.
"Plankton's Army" is the first episode that reveals that the two might not have the best relationship. It was revealed when she finds out that Plankton's first name is "Sheldon", which she previously did not know, even though she has been with Plankton since he was in Elementary School as revealed in "Friend or Foe".
The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie reveals that Plan Z is his second greatest thing to happen to him. The first being Karen agreeing to marry Plankton. Karen then, possibly jokingly, remarks that she never agreed to marry Plankton.
Numerous episodes feature Karen supporting Plankton's evil ways. The first being "F.U.N.". Another being, "Krabs vs. Plankton". This episode reveals that she is genuinely caring of what Plankton does asking if he even has a plan to get the formula. His response being that he is going to wing it.
"Enemy in-law" is the first episode to reveal Karen's jealous side and the first to reveal that Plankton does not always consider her his wife. For the former, she is shown to get jealous when Plankton falls in love with Mama Krabs. The latter coming from two instances in the episode. First, Karen nags Plankton about how he is a failure. Second, after Karen gets jealous, he points out that she is his "Wired Integrated Female Electroencephalograph" or "W.I.F.E." for short.
Much like her first appearance, she is used in "Best Frenemies" to analyze the contents of the Kelp Shake to see why it is so popular. However, to the surprise of Mr. Krabs and Plankton, it is mostly Kelp. However, Karen tries to warn the two that there is another ingredient (which is never revealed). However, it is too late as Plankton and Mr. Krabs because they don't head her warning and they drink the shake. Later, they grown green fur.
As mentioned above, "Friend or Foe" reveals that Plankton and Karen have been together since Plankton was in elementary school. It is revealed when Karen enters the Krusty Krab, telling SpongeBob and the customers that she has what really happened as a response to both Plankton and Mr. Krabs versions of how their friendship ended. Karen states that Plankton was installed as the Dump's security camera. Plankton then embarrassingly adds that it was their third date. Given the timeline of the part of the episode, this means that the fact at the beginning of this paragraph is true.
"Krabs à la Mode" is another episode in which Karen gives Plankton an idea. This time being that Plankton grab the formula while the Krusty Krab is frozen. This episode also contains Plankton being sarcastic towards Karen and her asking herself why she encourages him. This episode is arguably the turning point of their relationship as in most episodes after this one, their relationship is more of that of an old married couple. While it could be debated that "Enemy In-law" is the real turning point, it is more about Karen being jealous instead of pure disdain like this episode is.
In "Bucket Sweet Bucket", Karen complains that the conditions of the Chum Bucket are not the best. Originally, Plankton was planning to fix the place up himself, but he manages to get SpongeBob, Patrick, and Squidward to do it. However, they mess things up and eventually, the Krusty Krab replaces the Chum Bucket. Mr. Krabs, returning from a vacation, finds his restaurant where the Chum Bucket is and moves it to where the Krusty Krab is supposed to be. This leaves Plankton without a home or a restaurant, effectively making his housing conditions worse than in the beginning of the episode.
Plankton devises a plan to get the formula by turning the Krusty Krew into babies, so that he can easily steal the formula. After a few failures, he tests his formula on Karen, who does not volunteer to do so. She turns into a calculator as writes "0.7734, which upside down on a calculator spells, "hELLO". Earlier in the episode, Karen tells Plankton that what he needs the formula in a spray. However, Plankton gets confused and comes up with the idea himself. This concept would be used in numerous later episodes.
While "Enemy In-law" was an instance in which Karen was jealous of a girl that Plankton fell in love with. "Mermaid Man vs. SpongeBob" was a reverse of this situation. Plankton thinks that Karen is cheating on him with Mr. Krabs because he sees her in the Krusty Krab talking to Mr. Krab. However, it is revealed that she was just getting toys from the Krusty Krab's kiddie meal. This is the first episode that Plankton cares about Karen. While, Friend or Foe shows this and the SpongeBob SquarePants Movie does too, it is a much smaller instance than this episode.
Numerous episodes show that Karen might be smarter than her husband. One such instance is "Banned in Bikini Bottom", where Plankton thinks that the Krusty Krab has changed its name to "Closed" and Karen tells Plankton that Miss Gristlepuss shut the place down.
In "Krabby Road", after Plankton escapes from prison, Karen kicks him out because he was a "jail bird".
In "Spongicus", Plankton replaces the Chum Bucket with the Chum Coliseum. Plankton boasts about his latest plan, but Karen is not convinced that it will work.
In "Plankton's Regular", Karen secretly pays Nat to eat at the Chum Bucket after she gets fed up with Plankton's complaining. He finally finds out when Nat returns the money she gave him because of how bad the food is and how many times he has had to get his stomach pumped.
"Komputer Overload" is arguably one of the worst episodes in regards to Plankton and Karen's relationship. Karen gets fed up with Plankton and leaves him. She argues that Plankton is dependent on her (which he is) and he claims that he does not need her to get the formula. He then builds three robots to replace her. He causes destruction around town with the robots. He is about to get the formula, when the plug unplugs and the robots turn off. Karen returns to get her keyboard and Plankton admits that she is right and they go home. This episode also reveals that they had a wedding, when Plankton shows Karen a wedding photo.
In "Chum Bucket Supreme", Plankton asks her what napkins they should use. This means that he genuinely cares about her opinion. She disregards this care. Later, Karen tells Plankton to advertise.
As a counter to "Komputer Overload", "Single Cell Anniversary" is one of the best episodes in regards to Plankton and Karen's relationship. It is their anniversary and Karen obtains a copy of the Krabby Patty formula as a gift to Plankton, but she will only give him it once he gives her a gift. At first, Plankton just wants to give her something so that he can get the formula, but he eventually gives her a gift from the heart. He is having trouble figuring out what to get Karen. SpongeBob hears this and helps Plankton. He first gets Plankton to say the word, "love", which Plankton does not seem to know how to say. He then takes Plankton into his library and asks Plankton what the two like to do together. Plankton responds with, "take long walks on the beach, and ... talk about ... Our dreams of concurring all of Bikini Bottom and become supreme overlords of all creation and to trample our enemies beneath our feet." This reveals that they both enjoy evil. SpongeBob tells Plankton to tell him about Karen. Plankton gives a description of Karen, even adding a few things that he likes about her like that he likes how she processes data. SpongeBob asks if Karen has any interests. Plankton says that she beeps a lot. SpongeBob then asks if she ever "dings." Plankton says that she does. SpongeBob correctly concludes that Karen is a music lover. He adds that Plankton's gift is a song. Plankton says that he cannot sing. SpongeBob teaches him how. Soon, with the help of SpongeBob and Patrick, he sings a love song to Karen. She likes it and she starts downloading the formula. However, she starts to "cry" and destroys her console, which makes her turn off. She reboots, but instead of having Karen, she loads up E.M.I.L.P., her mother. She has a different take on Plankton. She does not like Plankton. This episode could be considered something of a turning point of their relationship because after this episode when they are nice to each other, it is significant.
In "Truth or Square", Plankton complains that he is a failure, but Karen encourages to get the formula with the logic that the Krusty Krew will be busy with their anniversary party.
"Chum Caverns" is another example of Plankton taking credit for a plan that Karen made up. Karen suggests that they dig under the Krusty Krab. Plankton uses a drill that has Karen built in and they start digging. However, they reach a boulder in the way. Plankton wants to go under the rock. However, Karen is about to tell Plankton something, but he interrupts her and ignores her and digs under the rock. However, they end up crashing in a cavern. Unlike, most instances in which Plankton ignores Karen, this instance turns out to be a good thing because the cavern is beautiful and Plankton uses it to attract customers.
In "Someone's in the Kitchen with Sandy", Karen criticizes Plankton's plan to use Sandy's pelt to get the formula.
In "The Inside Job", Plankton has a plan to get into Mr. Krabs' ear and get into his brain to figure out the formula. Karen shoots Plankton at what they thought was Mr. Krabs' ear, but it turned out to be a cardboard cut out. Plankton ends up landing in on of SpongeBob's holes. He then criticizes Karen's aim, even though there was no way of either of then knowing that it was a cardboard cut out and that SpongeBob would get in the way.
In "One Coarse Meal", Karen does not believe Plankton after he is repeatedly attacked by Mr. Krabs disguised as Pearl, which Plankton is afraid of.
In "Perfect Chemistry", Karen criticizes Plankton's plan to make himself gaseous and steal the formula that way. Later, Plankton calls Karen a "doohickey".
In "Frozen Face-Off", Plankton creates a fake contest for the Bikini Bottomites to race in on the frozen tundra. He then sends a robot clone and Karen to race while he steals the formula in Bikini Bottom. He unintentionally leads Karen to freeze, only to be rescued by SpongeBob and his friends.
In "Walking the Plankton", as a plan to get the formula, Plankton gets tickets to a cruise for Karen and Plankton's "second honeymoon". Karen then points out that they never had a first honeymoon. Throughout the rest of the episode, Karen gets increasingly angry and Plankton for not spending time with her. She eventually destroys the cruise ship for that reason.
In arguably Karen's most evil role, "Plankton's Good Eye", Plankton hates having one eye due to having bad depth perception, so he tries to gain another eye. However, after numerous attempts, he finds out that he needs someone else's DNA to get another eye. He chooses SpongeBob. After getting one of SpongeBob's tears, he gains a second eye. However, the new eye is good and takes over his personality and he starts doing good deeds. Both Karen and Plankton do not like that he is starting to be good, so Karen helps get rid of the second eye.
If "Komputer Overload" is not the worst episode for their relationship, "Karen 2.0" one is. Plankton builds a new wife to replace Karen because she is getting old. Plankton kicks Karen out and she starts working at the Krusty Krab. Eventually, Karen 2, Karen's replacement, and Karen fight over Plankton. In the end, Karen 2 rolls over Plankton and Karen gets mad and beats up Karen 2, destroying her. However, Karen also falls dead and much like the end of "Komputer Overload", where their relationship is fixed at the end, Plankton saves Karen by taking the battery from Karen 2 and replaces it with Karen's old battery. She wakes up and thinks that Karen 2 was all part of a dream and Plankton plays along. They go back to the Chum Bucket.
"Jailbreak!" shows a much different Karen than the one shown in "Krabby Road". Plankton is in Prison and Karen visits him in prison providing a cake that he requested. He asks why their is no file like he requested and Karen wonders why he would want a file in a cake, not realizing it is so that he can escape. This episode is another turning point as starting in this episode, Karen is nicer towards Plankton.
In "In Came from Bikini Bottom", Karen warns Plankton that the ship he uses to get super goo was not built for going to the depths that Plankton wants it to go. Plankton ignores her.
In "Plankton's Pet", Karen suggest that Plankton get a hobby. Plankton is not sure what to do. Karen suggests that he get a pet. Plankton does so. He gets Spot the Amoeba, who acts as something of a dog to Plankton.
In "The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water", she sarcastically remarks that Plankton is her hero when he and SpongeBob save her from the Chum Bucket when they need her for their Time Machine. Later in the film, there is a scene with Karen and Plankton before SpongeBob and Plankton start the Time Machine. The reason for this scene is that this could have been their last moments together because she risks her life to start the machine. In the scene, the couple say their good-byes. Karen says that he loves Plankton. Plankton is about to say it too, but at the last minute turns her on in a moment that might be considered insensitive, but might, in reality, be Plankton not wanting to admit that he loves her in front of SpongeBob. It is known that this was not her last scene due to the fact that that movie is a not a sequel to the first movie.
Overall, their relationship has had its ups and downs, but they seem to have love each other very much and have just been married so long that they have started fighting.
Relationship with SpongeBob
Karen's relationship with SpongeBob is mostly a enemy relationship due to the fact that she is almost always on the side of evil.
In "Plankton", Karen works for Plankton as part of his analyzer, giving no real relationship between them.
"F.U.N." is the first episode to reveal that she only thinks of SpongeBob as a pawn to getting the formula. In this episode, she tells Plankton to befriend "the SpongeBob" to get the formula.
"The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie" is the first time she has shown to think that SpongeBob is an actual threat to Plankton's plans as she points out that he and Patrick are on their way to stop Plankton.
In "Friend or Foe", she is willing to reveal to SpongeBob and the customers of the Krusty Krab what really happened With Mr. Krabs and Plankton. This means that she either somewhat trusts SpongeBob or that she wants the truth more than her husband's story.
While it is not truly established, she seems willing to have SpongeBob renovate the Chum Bucket in "Bucket Sweet Bucket".
In "Plankton's Regular", SpongeBob gags and throws Karen into the backroom. He then disguises himself as her to get Nat to eat a Krabby Patty. He even uses her sarcastic attitude to try to sell the disguise.
In "The Inside Job", she most likely does not like SpongeBob because he ruined Plankton's plan.
"Perfect Chemistry" is the first time that SpongeBob and Karen work together. While it is not completely established that this is the case it is implied. Karen does not seem to detest working with SpongeBob in this episode.
"Frozen Face-Off" is the second time that they have worked together. Although, unlike "Perfect Chemistry", they don't really work together to get something done, they just work together to get themselves out of a bad situation. SpongeBob and his friends save her from being frozen to death.
"Plankton's Good Eye" shows Karen's pure hatred of SpongeBob when she help Plankton remove Plankton's new eye which was given to him by the DNA of SpongeBob and caused Plankton to act nice. This episode reveals that she hates people who are nice.
"Karen 2.0" is the third time that they work together, unlike the first two times, this time she actually has a job with him. She is hired by Mr. Krabs after she is replaced by Karen 2. SpongeBob and Mr. Krabs seem genuinely concerned about Karen.
"The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water" is the fourth time that they work together. Much like the first time, it is for a common goal. In this movie, after SpongeBob and Plankton save Karen, she helps the two, who are outlaws because they are being blamed for stealing the formula and the citizens think that SpongeBob has betrayed Mr. Krabs and is working with Plankton. Karen helps them work their time machine which could have killed Karen, but in fact does not.
Relationship with Mr. Krabs
Much like Karen and SpongeBob's relationship, Karen and Mr. Krabs' relationship is generally a negative one.
In every episode except "Best Frenemies", "Mermaid Man vs. SpongeBob", "Frozen Face-Off", and "Karen 2.0", the two have been against each other.
In "Best Frenemies", Plankton works with Mr. Krabs to stop Kelpshake, a drink shop that is taking their customers. Karen really only works with Mr. Krabs when she is willing to reveal what the Kelp Shakes are made of.
In "Mermaid Man vs. SpongeBob", she asks Mr. Krabs for two Kiddie Meal toys to give to Plankton.
In "Frozen Face-Off", they work together to survive after both almost freeze to death, only to be saved by SpongeBob and his friends.
In "Karen 2.0", Plankton builds a replacement Karen and he kicks her out. Mr. Krabs and SpongeBob find her on the curb and take her into the Krusty Krab. When she boots up, she tells the two about her worries. unexpectedly, Mr. Krabs sympathies with her and gives her a job. When Karen 2, her replacement, and Plankton show up to steal the formula. Karen and Karen 2 start fighting and Mr. Krabs takes the opportunity to have customers place bets on who will win.
Relationship with Sandy
Unlike her other relationships, her relationship with Sandy is a purely positive one.
They have only interacted twice: "Perfect Chemistry" and "Frozen Face-Off".
In "Perfect Chemistry," the two meet and Sandy compliments Karen.
In "Frozen Face-Off," Sandy and friends save Karen from being frozen. Later, Sandy uses Karen's body to save Squidward, who has been frozen in a block of ice.
In some episodes, Karen is appears with an extension cord when mobile, but in others she is appears to be wireless.
Plankton once referred to Karen as an electroencephalograph, when an electroencephalograph is a test for diagnosing epilepsy.
The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie is the first appearance of Karen as a mobile device. She was not seen like this again, for quite sometime after the movie came out.
When Baby Gas was used on her, she became a calculator, but Mr. Krabs once said (referring to his cash register), "No! I got it when it was just a little calculator!". This could mean that the cash register that Mr. Krabs has could turn into a big computer like Karen for some unknown reasons.