"The Algae's Always Greener" is a SpongeBob SquarePants episode from season three. In this episode, Mr. Krabs and Plankton switch lives.
After failing to steal the Krabby Patty secret formula once again, Plankton decides that he is tired of eating holographic meatloaf. Believing Mr. Krabs to be much better off, he longs to switch lives with him. Karen points out the machine he conveniently has to do just that and suggests he uses it. Plankton takes her advice and later finds himself waking up in Mr. Krabs' office. Now wearing Mr. Krabs' outfit, Plankton looks at a name plate reading "Mr. Plankton" and realizes that he has successfully entered a universe where he is, in fact, successful. His first act is to have SpongeBob, now his employee, present him with two Krabby Patties for "bun inspection."
As Plankton drools over the Krabby Patties and celebrates his newfound power and wealth, SpongeBob suddenly pops back in for his weekly performance review. Plankton tells him that he's fine the way he is, but SpongeBob persists and demands that something be found wrong with him. Plankton dismissively remarks that SpongeBob used a little too much sauce
, but rather than placating him, this critique sends SpongeBob spiraling into despair (despite the fact that he wanted to be criticized). Plankton resorts to promoting SpongeBob to "co-cashier," much to the disdain of the former's other new employee, Squidward. He enters Plankton's office to complain and winds up as SpongeBob's fry-cooking replacement.
Before Plankton can get back to his Krabby Patties, his new daughter, Pearl, arrives, asking for an advance on her allowance. He gives her a dollar, which she finds unacceptably paltry. As she sobs, a customer comes to complain about Squidward's horrific attempt at cooking while SpongeBob dissolves over a slightly mistaken order. Plankton begs for all the complaining to stop, which does in the face of a siren going off.
The siren, as SpongeBob and the others explain, is a warning for an imminent threat to the Krabby Patty formula, a threat that turns out to be Mr. Krabs. Having taken over Plankton's life, he is now simply known as "Krabs," out to steal the formula, and, like Plankton used to be, completely naked. SpongeBob fights Krabs off with a clothes-shooting cannon and finally manages to clap him in an underwired bra. Krabs relinquishes his stolen patty to a baffled Plankton as everyone at the Krusty Krab gives a shrill "victory screech."
Krabs vows to Plankton that he will manage to steal a Krabby Patty, even if he has to return day after day after day to do it. Plankton shrieks, unable to stand this new life and its problems any longer, and presses a button to send himself home. Plankton is transported directly in front of his holographic meatloaf, which he has a newfound appetite for and scoops up eating it eagerly.
‣ Hawaiian Islands
|( ‣ ) Associated production music|
|( • ) Original music|
|( ◦ ) SpongeBob music|
- Harold Geller, Desmond Champ [title card]
‣ Like Strange - Kenny Graham [Plankton in ketchup bottle]
‣ High Speed Action - Laurie Johnson [alarm goes off]
‣ The Dreadnought Tea Clipper (b) - Tim Laycock, Robert Alexander White ["So, it was just another failed Krabby Patty theft attempt..."]
‣ High Speed Action - Laurie Johnson ["Curse you, Mr. Krabs!"]
‣ Wooden Bear - Gil Flat, Tony Tape, Florian Voelxen [holographic meatloaf]
‣ The Creature (b) - Gregor F. Narholz [life switcher]
‣ The Creature (a) - Gregor F. Narholz [Plankton screaming/Plankton continues screaming]
‣ Lonely Stranger - Laurie Johnson [Plankton in Krabs' office]
‣ Harp Ding - Nicolas Carr ["Two deluxe Krabby Patties!"]
‣ Tripping Upstairs - Brian Peters [SpongeBob brings patties to customer/"I made them in the off chance that you'd decide to instigate some bun inspection today, Mr. Plankton, sir!"]
‣ Romance in Paris - Ib Glindemann ["All mine! It's finally all mine!"]
‣ Vibe Sting - Nicolas Carr ["SpongeBob?"]
‣ Bashful Eyes - Kapono Beamer [performance review]
‣ Romance in Paris - Ib Glindemann [Plankton kisses the patty]
‣ Torn Apart - Mike Sunderland ["There's got to be something I need to improve on!"]
‣ Hawaiian Cocktail - Richard Myhill [SpongeBob's upset]
‣ Glissando (a) - Skaila Kanga, Richard Myhill ["A promotion?!"]
‣ The Rake Hornpipe - Robert Alexander White [SpongeBob standing next to Squidward]
‣ Dramatic Cue (d) - Ronald Hanmer ["Co-cashier?!"]
‣ Cocktail Lounge - Dick Stephen Walter ["So, have you two known each other long?"]
‣ Hawaiian Link (a) - Richard Myhill [Squidward in the kitchen]
‣ Rococo Rondo - Tedeusz Rozycki [Pearl appears]
‣ Tympup A - Sammy Burdson, John Charles Fiddy ["One dollar? You hate me!"]
‣ Dramatic Cue (b) - Ronald Hanmer [Pearl crying]
‣ Dramatic Cue (a) - Ronald Hanmer [shot of rotten Krabby Patty]
‣ Fates [#61.03] - Gregor F. Narholz ["I tried, Mr. Plankton. I really did."]
‣ The Creature (a) - Gregor F. Narholz ["No, sir... he's back."]
‣ Sword Fight - Sam Fonteyn [Krabs revealed]
‣ Finger of Suspicion 2 - Harry Bluestone, Emil Cadkin [Krabs saying he'll be back/"And the next day, and the next day, and the next day, and the next day..."]
‣ Cocktail Lounge - Dick Stephen Walter [ending]
- As of September 10, 2018, The Internet Movie Database (IMDB) gives this episode a rating of 8.9/10 based on 379 ratings by users. TV.com users give this episode a rating of 8.9/10 based on 147 votes.
- Although this episode aired on March 22, 2002, it was made in 2001 according to the credits.
- Paul Tibbitt has stated this is his favorite episode.
- Along with season 4, season 3 was back on Prime on Amazon Instant Video on July 1, 2017.
- When Mr. Plankton's eye turns into a Krabby Patty, it is the same Krabby Patty from the "Krusty Krab Training Video."
- The is the second time a season starts in production order way later than other episodes in the season.
- To date, this is the only episode of the series where the main universe SpongeBob SquarePants does not appear. However, his alternate-universe counterpart does.
- If not counting this counterpart, this would be the first and only episode of the series where SpongeBob does not appear.
- As of this episode, every character on the show has been absent for at least one episode.
- The Dutch title of this episode is "Hoe het is om meneer Krabs te zijn" meaning "How is it to be, Mr. Krabs?"
- SpongeBob says "Soiled it!" 21 times and Mr. Krabs says "And the next day" 16 times.
- Plankton is suddenly seen wearing Mr. Krabs clothes, because he has experienced the success of the life-switch. The same way is with the nude Arch-enemy Krabs, because Plankton never wears clothes.
- The face that SpongeBob makes when Plankton says he uses too much sauce has become a popular YouTube meme for its bizarre nature.
- The "Oh my goodness! SQUIDWARD!" quote, the victory screech, and SpongeBob's quote when he exclaims "SOILED IT!" have also become internet memes.
- SpongeBob will later make an Asian face in "Rock-a-Bye Bivalve."
- The holographic meatloaf quotes also became memes.
- This is not the only episode to show an alternate-universe. Alternate-Universe SpongeBob has appeared in mirrors in five other episodes, including "Something Smells," "Squid's Day Off," "Wet Painters," "Chimps Ahoy," and "Ghost Host." An Alternate-Universe Squidward and Patrick have also appeared in episodes.
- This episode's title card is similar to the title cards for the episodes "The Thing" and "Hide and Then What Happens?"
- This is another instance in which Squidward's Krabby Patty cooking skills are shown to be subpar, a previous instance was in "Hooky."
- This episode's plot is somewhat similar to the "Spy Buddies" plot, as Mr. Krabs and Plankton swap places for the day.
- This episode marks the first time Plankton hides inside something on Old Man Jenkins' tray. He does this again in "Krabs à la Mode," where he hides inside Old Man Jenkins' drink.
- This episode premiered two years after "Texas" and "Walking Small" premiered.
- This episode reveals that "Plankton" is Plankton's last name, not his actual name.
- This is one of the few episodes where Plankton actually succeeds in one of his evil plans, though he quickly decides to abandon it once he realizes that living Mr. Krabs' life would be too difficult for him.
- In the Croatian dub, the episode name is "Kod Drugoga je Uvijek Bolje" or "It's always better at the other one."
- When Plankton says "Reunited, and it's going to feel so good!," it's a reference to the Peaches And Herb song "Reunited." It can also be a reference to "it feels so good to reunite," a quote from Creed's 2001 hit "My Sacrifice," which was released several months before this episode aired.
- When Mr. Plankton says "What, did I say the secret word or something?," it is a reference to Pee-Wee's Playhouse.
- The title "The Algae's Always Greener" is a pun of the saying "the grass is always greener," which refers to the way we tend to look at other people's lives and other things that we don't have in general.
- When Plankton says "Rolling stones gather no algae.," it is a parody of the saying "Rolling pebbles gather no moss."
- When SpongeBob is shooting Krabs with the clothes cannon, he references a rule common in the restaurant business: "no shirt, no shoes, no service."
- When SpongeBob says "Knick-knack, the Patty's back!," it is most likely a reference to "knick-knack paddywhack" in the song "This Old Man."
- The "Clams" magazine in Mr. Plankton's office is a parody on "Times" magazine.
- When Plankton is sitting at his kitchen table and he has a can of soda on the table, between frames, the can shifts to the edge of the table right before he picks it up.
- When Plankton says, "I thought I told you to go away, cretin!". Closed captions misspelled the insult as "Cretan". Plus, it was capitalized.
- When Plankton says, "I'm in the Krusty Krab," Tom walks by the window. When Plankton says, "The Krusty Krab is mine!," Tom walks by the window again.
- When Plankton is kicked out, the pathway to the Krusty Krab is gone and the pathway to the Chum Bucket is shorter than usual.
- When Krabs is leaving the Krusty Krab, some of the frames of his walk contain the legs of Mr. Krabs' pants.
- When SpongeBob gives Plankton the phone, his belt lock is red instead of yellow.
- When SpongeBob is doing the "victory screech", both the cannon and cashier's spot are missing.
- However, it is most likely SpongeBob had the cannon hidden and didn't take the cashier place back up.
- When Plankton walks over to turn find the off button his eye turns white for a second.
- When Plankton says "I hope you like gray!", Squidward has 2 legs instead of 4.