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Recap / SpongeBob SquarePants S 1 E 1 "Help Wanted" / "Reef Blower" / "Tea at the Treedome"

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https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/help_wanted_072.png
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Help Wanted

United States airdate: May 1, 1999

Canada airdate: March 4, 2000

SpongeBob SquarePants has set off to fulfill his life's dream: A job at the Krusty Krab. He gets nervous, but with the motivation of his best friend Patrick, he goes in. But their cashier is his bitter neighbor Squidward, who tells the manager Mr. Krabs not to let him in. So Krabs sends SpongeBob out to retrieve a special spatula for him. Just as he leaves though, a cluster of buses full of anchovies arrive, attacking the Krusty Krab for their food. Luckily, SpongeBob comes in at the right time to save the day. Spatula in hand, he is capable of serving all of the customers with ease, and succeeds in getting the job.

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Help Wanted contains examples of:

  • Accidental Truth: Squidward and Mr. Krabs send SpongeBob out on a Snipe Hunt for a hydrodynamic spatula to shoo him away. Turns out that said spatula was real, and the Barg-n-Mart only had one in stock.
  • An Aesop: Don’t put yourself down if you think you’re not good enough for something. Just do whatever you can to achieve your dreams.
  • Big Damn Heroes: SpongeBob shows up in time with the hydrodynamic spatula and saves the day.
  • Department of Redundancy Department:
    • First, SpongeBob arriving at the Krusty Krab.
      Spongebob: There it is. The finest eating establishment ever established for eating.
    • And then, Mr. Krabs on the smell of anchovies.
      Mr. Krabs: That smell. That smelly smell. That smelly smell that smells...smelly.
  • Determinator: SpongeBob. Despite being unaware that Squidward and Mr. shooed him away with a Snipe Hunt, he stops at nothing to find the hydrodynamic spatula, and once found, he uses such to please the anchovies.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Rampant, since this is the pilot episode.
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    • The character designs are more restrained and less cartoonishly exaggerated than they would become, such as the corners of SpongeBob's pants being rounded at the opposite end instead of being completely cubic.
    • SpongeBob's voice is deeper, Patrick's is more calm and Squidward's is more nasally.
    • Gary only exists for the gag that he's a snail who meows like a cat. He wouldn't develop a personality until much later. His meow also sounds harsher than the one in the series.
    • The opening credits have a different water filter than in every other episode of the series.
    • The opening narration sounds closer to its original purpose as an Affectionate Parody of Jacques Cousteau documentaries.
    • SpongeBob has a pet clam in a birdcage. It (or she, as revealed in a bonus feature on the Season 1 DVD) was only ever seen again for a while in the background of "Gary Takes A Bath", but has been making infrequent appearances in several other episodes.
    • The hydrodynamic spatula does not show up again in later episodes, as instead SpongeBob uses a more conventional spatula.
    • The unaired 1997 print features a completely different theme song and opening credits.
  • Exact Words: Subverted. Mr. Krabs tells Spongebob that he won't get hired until he gets a hydro-dynamic spatula. This was just to shoo Spongebob away. When Spongebob does get the spatula and saves Squidward and Mr. Krabs, Krabs sticks to his word and hires Spongebob on the spot.
  • Going Commando: At the beginning of the episode, SpongeBob launches himself from his diving board and his underpants float off of him as he exclaims “Look at me,I’m NAKED!”, just as he lands into his familiar square pants.
  • I Want My Mommy!: Mr. Krabs says it when he's getting attacked by anchovies:
    Mr. Krabs: I want my mommy, Mr. Squidward!
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Shortly after sending SpongeBob off on a "Snipe Hunt" and laughing at his naivete, Mr. Krabs and Squidward are beseeched by a horde of famished anchovies.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Squidward, when he realizes SpongeBob wants to work at the Krusty Krab.
    • This dialogue:
      Mr. Krabs: Anchovies.
      Squidward: What?
      Mr. Krabs: ANCHOVIES!
  • Opening Narration: "Ah, the sea. So fascinating, so wonderful. Here, we see Bikini Bottom, teeming with life, home to one of my favorite creatures, SpongeBob SquarePants. Yes, of course he lives in a pineapple, you silly."
  • Pilot: The very first and infamous episode of Spongebob.
  • Real After All: The hydrodynamic spatula turns out to exist, and the Barg'N-Mart only had one in stock. Squidward and Mr. Krabs were completely flabbergasted at this.
  • Smoking Barrel Blowout: A variation. After SpongeBob serves a Krabby Patty to the last anchovy, he blows the steam coming off his spatula.
  • Snipe Hunt: Krabs sends SpongeBob to find a "hydrodynamic spatula with port and starboard attachments and turbo drive" to send him away. Eventually, he does find one ("Can you believe they only had one in stock?") and uses it to save the day.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Even after SpongeBob saves his life, Squidward tries to dissuade Mr. Krabs from hiring him.
  • Unknown Rival: SpongeBob is unaware that Squidward and Mr. Krabs really wanted no piece of him and he was actually sent on a Snipe Hunt. However, the seemingly nonexistent hydrodynamic spatula actually exists.
  • Whole Plot Reference: The episode and SpongeBob's hypercompetence therein are largely based on a scene in the Jerry Lewis film The Bellboy, in which Stanley's boss gives him a job setting up chairs in a huge ballroom to keep him out of trouble, only to come back a minute later and see every single chair set up perfectly. Just swap out "setting up chairs" with "finding a hydrodynamic spatula" and "doing it abnormally fast" with "actually finding one."
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Patrick’s talk with SpongeBob when he doubts getting the job.

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/reef_blower_033.png

Reef Blower

United States airdate: May 1, 1999

Canada airdate: March 4, 2000

Another day, SpongeBob uses his reef blower to clean his lawn after Squidward kicks a clam onto it. In the end, SpongeBob drains the entire ocean.

Reef Blower contains examples of:

  • Bottle Episode: Only two characters (SpongeBob and Squidward) appear, and most of it takes place in one setting (their front lawns). It's here mainly because "Help Wanted" doesn't fill up the standard eleven minutes on its own.
  • No-Dialogue Episode: Aside from one brief caption reading "You!". The reason for this is because the studio's audio equipment wasn't working properly, so they had to improvise for the time being.

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/tea_at_the_treedome_54.jpg
I don't need it. I don't need it.

Tea at the Treedome

United States airdate: May 1, 1999

Canada airdate: March 4, 2000

The episode then goes to SpongeBob meeting a "land squirrel" name Sandy Cheeks, who maneuvers underwater with a special suit. She invites him to her underwater dome, where he slowly starts to die of dehydration. Rather than say anything about it, he decides that he doesn't need water. This doesn't end well. Sandy makes SpongeBob and Patrick water bowls that they can wear on their heads to stay alive in the waterless environment.

Tea at the Treedome contains examples of:

  • An Aesop: If you need something, just ask.
  • Arc Symbol: Raised pinky finger.
  • Blatant Lies: Spongebob repeatedly tells himself that he doesn’t need water while he’s gasping for liquid. The audience knows that it’s a lie.
  • Clam Trap: Spongebob first sees Sandy fighting off a giant clam, which eventually swallows her. He tries to pry it open (and is surprised he's actually doing it), but in the end the clam is no match for Sandy.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: "If y'all needed water, you shoulda asked!"
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • This is the first appearance of a jellyfish in the show, and it has some clear differences from later jellyfish such as looking somewhat transparent and lacking the spots typically seen on jellyfish.
    • In this episode, the treedome is stated to be made of plastic. In later appearances, it's made of glass.
  • Fingore: When Sandy takes the flowers from SpongeBob, part of his finger breaks off.
  • Fourth-Wall Portrait: SpongeBob and Patrick are turned into a real sea star and sponge when they run out of water.
  • Literal-Minded: Inverted; Spongebob says Sandy wears air around her head, which Patrick interprets as "putting on airs" (i.e., acting pretentious)note .
  • Minimalist Cast: Only SpongeBob, Patrick and Sandy appear in this episode.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Sandy shows off her strength to SpongeBob by breaking a large rock with one hand. SpongeBob shows off to her by making a dynamic pose...and then making an armpit fart.
  • Now You Tell Me: Apparently, Patrick didn't notice there wasn't any water in Sandy's treedome until he went into it himself.
  • Off-Model: There is something "off" about SpongeBob's appearance during the first few minutes.
  • Oh, Crap!: Patrick gets a massive one once he starts to dehydrate inside the treedome:
    Patrick: WHAT KIND OF PLACE IS THIS?!? There's no water in here!
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: "You have fought well, giant clam. Prepare to be vanquished!"
  • Rescue Reversal: Spongebob tries to save Sandy from the giant clam, but when he gets eaten by it, Sandy is the one who has to rescue him.
  • Second Episode Introduction: For Sandy.
  • Shaped Like Itself: Sandy describes the air in her treedome as the "most airiest air in the whole sea."
  • Smash Cut: When Sandy discovers that SpongeBob and Patrick have nearly dried up, there is a jarring cut to a live-action sponge and starfish.
  • Survival Mantra: SpongeBob referring to water, "I don't need it! I don't need it! I definitely don't need it" It becomes a Madness Mantra when he sees a vase of it in front of him before finally howling "I NEED IT!!!".
  • Too Dumb to Live: Patrick doesn't realize SpongeBob is dying inside the treedome until he goes in there himself and almost dies as a result.
  • The Un-Reveal: We never find out how or why Sandy is living at the bottom of the oceannote , because SpongeBob runs off to get some water from the bird bath just as she starts to explain.
  • Wins by Doing Absolutely Nothing: Subverted. SpongeBob "defeats" the giant clam simply because Sandy was plenty capable of getting out of it herself. And immediately afterwards, she has to save him.

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