Follow TV Tropes


Recap / SpongeBob SquarePants S 3 E 1 "The Algae's Always Greener" / "SpongeGuard on Duty"

Go To
The Algae's Always Greener

United States airdate: March 22, 2002

Canada airdate: June 21, 2002

Plankton learns that the algae’s always greener when he switches lives with Mr. Krabs.

The episode starts with Plankton using a decoy ketchup bottle to launch himself onto a Krabby Patty Old Man Jenkins purchased, but Old Man Jenkins’s aim launches him like a bullet into Mr. Krabs’ room. Mr. K freaks out when he think somebody is trying to shoot him but calms down when it turns out to just be Plankton and flicks him away. When Plankton gets home he gets fed up with his boring life eating “holographic meatloaf” for dinner and wishes to switch lives with him just to know what it’s like. Karen then suggests he use his "Switch-Lives-Just-To-Know-What-It's-Like-O-Mogrifier" which he uses it switch lives with Krabs, obviously. After being launched into a red tunnel Plankton wakes up at Krabs’ desk at the Krusty Krab dressed in his clothes. Plankton uses his authority to do a “bun inspection” and revel in his fame and fortune. That is until SpongeBob comes in for a weekly performance review. When pressed for an answer, Plankton says SpongeBob uses too much sauce. When SpongeBob starts whimpering at his criticism, Plankton is forced to promote SpongeBob to co-cashier and move Squidward to grill duty when he complains. Things don’t go much better when his daughter Pearl cries about not getting a bigger allowance, a customer complaining about Squidward’s “cooking”, and SpongeBob crying about how he “soiled the Krusty Krab’s good name” after he gave a customer a bigger drink by accident. When a siren starts blaring the customers and crew take cover much to Plankton’s confusion. The threat turns out to be none other than Krabs, Plankton’s business rival, trying to steal a Krabby Patty. SpongeBob stops the threat by shooting clothes at the naked nemesis, finally pinning a bra onto him. The customers and crew give a “victory screech” as Krabs promises to come back the next and the next day and so forth. Plankton can’t handle it and returns to his old life, a lot happier than before.


"The Algae's Always Greener" features examples of:

  • Abnormal Ammo: The Krusty Krab has a cannon that shoots clothes in case Krabs shows up.
  • An Aesop: As the title indicated, the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: After describing how much Krabs is hated, Spongebob stated that it's not even the worst part about him, prompting Plankton to shout this line:
    Plankton: GOOD GRIEF, HE'S NAKED!
  • The Bad Guy Wins: For a while anyway. Plankton travels to an alternate universe where he's the manager of the Krusty Krab and briefly enjoys it, until the point he just can't tolerate all the madness surrounding Mr. Krabs' life.
  • Battlecry: VICTORY SCREECH.
    • "No shirt! No shoes! NO SERVICE!!!"
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: The episode's title is not a play on the saying "The Grass is always Greener (on the other side of the hill)" for nothing.
  • Broken Record:
    • "Even if I have to come back tomorrow! And the next day! And the next day. And the next day. And the next day. And the next day. And the next day. And the next day. And the next day. And the next day."note 
  • Can't Take Criticism: SpongeBob really wanted some criticism on his work, but turns into a whimpering wreck when he gets it.
  • Crazy-Prepared: SpongeBob has a pair of freshly made Krabby Patties just in case for bun inspections.
  • Curse Cut Short: When Plankton says he wants to begin writing his memoirs, he tells everyone to "stay the-", only for Pearl to interrupt him by coming in.
  • A Day in the Limelight: For Plankton.
  • The Dreaded: In this reality, Krabs has this reputation based on the remarks of the attendees.
    Customer: Some say he crawled out of the from the lowest trench in the ocean.
    Pearl: He's the saltiest of all the sea dogs.
    Spongebob: He's the most hated creature in Bikini Bottom.
    Alternate!Mr. Krabs: (crashes through a door) And he's finally got a Krabby Patty! (laughs maniacally)
  • Graceful Loser: Alternate Universe Krabs gives up the patty pretty easily after SpongeBob hits him with a bra.
  • Gross-Up Close-Up: The Krabby Patty that Squidward made.
    Customer: Well, "Mr. Funny Man", is this how you get your sick kicks?!
    Plankton: What? It's just an ordinary Krabby— OH MY GOODNESS. SQUIDWARD!!!
  • Irony: Plankton is moved to tears when Spongebob explains Krab's plan to steal the formula so he can ruin the Krusty Krab.
  • Left the Background Music On: When Krabs calls Plankton to keep going with his "...and the next day." gag, the background music is playing over the telephone.
  • Lethal Chef: Squidward, as usual.
  • Naked People Are Funny: As per the image. Alternate!Krabs, like "real" Plankton, is naked. Unlike Plankton, however, everyone finds naked Krabs highly disturbing.
  • Nightmare Face: SpongeBob after taking Plankton's criticism. It looks more bizarre rather than outright frightening, however.
  • Oh, Crap!: Squidward, when he finds out that SpongeBob has been promoted to co-cashier.
  • Out of Focus: The "real" SpongeBob never actually appears in this episode (we only see him in the Alternate Universe.)
  • Overly Long Scream: Plankton as he hurtles through a dimensional portal. He pauses to take a sip of soda before resuming the scream.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: What Plankton found his new life in the alternate universe to be. Turns out being a wealthy owner of a prosperous restaurant with great publicity is not worth all the trouble to maintain it. Especially when you have to put up with employees like SpongeBob and Squidward, a daughter like Pearl and annoying customers.
  • Restaurant-Owning Episode: For Plankton, as in a restaurant that actually attracts customers.
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder: When an irate customer asks Plankton if he thinks this (his poorly-made patty) is funny, Plankton replies "In a cosmic sort of way, I suppose."
  • Right Behind Me: When SpongeBob tells Plankton that the patties he wants to 'inspect' are for the customer, Plankton begins making threats on the customer's life, until SpongeBob points behind him and Plankton sees how big said customer is.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: After Alternate!Krabs promises to return to the Krusty Krab everyday to harass Plankton on a daily basis, Plankton screams, rips off his clothes, complains that being a rich and successful restaurateur isn't worth all this trouble, and eagerly returns to his home universe.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Having enough of the insanity surrounding his archnemesis' life, Plankton lets out a scream and rips off his suit in half, followed by him calmly saying "Goodbye everyone, I'll remember you all in therapy!" before he returns to his home dimension.
"Just imagine, if I were a lifeguard."
SpongeGuard on Duty

United States airdate: March 22, 2002

Canada airdate: June 21, 2002

SpongeBob learns that being a lifeguard is about “guarding lives”, not “being popular”.

It’s a sunny day at Goo Lagoon and Patrick and SpongeBob are baking in the sun. When Larry the Lobster comes by, SpongeBob fantasizes about how cool it would be to be a lifeguard, but Patrick disagrees. SpongeBob thinks he’s as cool as Larry and teases fate by saying that he will be struck by "a flying ice cream truck" if he’s not. He only survives by screaming “and live” at the last second, letting him get out from under the truck without a scratch, save for the vanilla ice cream on his nose. Larry thinks it’s sunscreen and asks SpongeBob to help out a fellow lifeguard. SpongeBob enjoys a montage of the popularity but runs into trouble when a fish is drowning. Larry rushes out to save him and SpongeBob learns there’s more to lifeguarding than having fun. He freaks out when he imagines the lagoon has turned into a graveyard. He tries to call an emergency but gets caught in his bluff. When the people return to their swim, SpongeBob watches in horror as fish splash each other, water ski on top of each other, play with a ball inside of a killer whale's mouth, and throwing Scooter headfirst into a rock. SpongeBob gets everyone out with free ice cream and keeps them there with by tying them up with police tape. Things go south when Patrick charges through the tape to get his share of free ice cream and suffers a cramp in his butt when he runs on the surface of the lagoon. He begins to drown and it’s up to his best friend to save him…without swimming. SpongeBob tries to save him by throwing a life preserver that doesn’t reach, drinking the lagoon which traps Patrick inside him, and rowing out to him with a “borrowed” boatmobile which Patrick destroys in a panic. The dopey duo struggle until Larry “rescues” them from the shallows. SpongeBob has to admit he’s not a lifeguard and train with Patrick on how to swim as Larry watches on. They both get butt cramps and Patrick complain he still didn’t get his ice cream as the episode ends.

"SpongeGuard on Duty" features examples of:

  • An Aesop: Don't pretend to be someone you're not. Especially if it's being a figure of authority.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Patrick whines he can't swim, he has butt cramps and he wants ice cream! Earlier, SpongeBob first warns about sharks, then sea monsters, then “Uhh... somebody went?”
  • Bad Liar: SpongeBob isn't very good at thinking on his feet when it comes to lies.
  • Beach Episode: Well, considering the entire episode takes place on a beach...
  • Big Eater: Patrick, as usual. All he does in this episode is look for sugary snacks (the Snack Bar and then ice cream).
  • Bottle Episode: The entire episode is set at Goo Lagoon.
  • Call-Back: Like in the past Beach Episode, Larry and SpongeBob engage in a friendly weight lifting competition with Spongebob using mundane objects as weights.
  • Crying Wolf: The Sponge who cried sharks, followed by The Sponge who cried Sea Monster and then The Sponge who cried somebody went.
  • Cue the Flying Pigs:
    SpongeBob: I'm every bit as cool as Larry. And if I'm not, then may I be struck by... [interrupted by sound of thunder] ... a flying ice-cream truck. [Shadow of Impending Doom and Bomb Whistle, accompanied by ice-cream truck chimes] AND LIVE! [Ice-cream truck stops short of crushing SpongeBob, then lands on top of him, then drives away.]
    Larry: Please do not land flying ice-cream trucks on the bathers!
  • Dirty Coward: Burdened with responsibilities as a lifeguard, SpongeBob ties up all the beach-goers with police line tape to ensure no one even goes into the water. He even outright ignores Patrick's obviously loud pleas for help on purpose.
  • Eating Solves Everything: One of the solutions Spongebob attempts in keeping Patrick from drowning is drinking all the water from a straw. Unfortunately, he sucked up Patrick too.
  • Fantastic Racism: SpongeBob winds up insulting sharks and sea monsters when he tries to think of an "emergency".
    Sea Monster: You know, we sea monsters have made great strides in the fields of science and literature.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Patrick rants against lifeguards showing off their "gross, misshaped bodies", as his belly sticks out. The guy sitting next to him asks him to "put that thing away".
  • Idiot Ball: Patrick reads "Do Not Cross" with "Ice Cream", forcing SpongeBob to "rescue" him.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: After SpongeBob confesses that he isn't a real life guard, along with making a fool of himself while trying to save his friend, Larry has him alongside Patrick practice swimming in a kiddie pool.
  • Loophole Abuse: In order to get everyone out of the water, SpongeBob tricks the beach attendees into eating free ice cream and immediately enforces the 'One Hour' rule before they can swim again.
  • Medium-Shift Gag: When SpongeBob imagines what being a lifeguard would be like, it cuts to live-action of someone in a SpongeBob costume on a lifeguard tower.
    • During the lifeguard montage, SpongeBob creates an impressive sand castle that's based on a realistic castle.
  • Stop Drowning and Stand Up: The water SpongeBob and Patrick were "drowning" in was only ankle deep.
  • Tempting Fate: SpongeBob claims to be as cool as Larry, and then states that if he isn't, he'll be struck by a flying ice cream truck. Guess what immediately falls out of the sky?
  • The Snack Is More Interesting: Patrick still wants ice cream while he's drowning.
  • Toilet Paper Trail: When Patrick comes out of the bathroom, he has toilet paper sticking out of his pants.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: