|Airdate:||May 1, 1999|
|Next Episode:||Reef Blower|
"Help Wanted" is the opening and debut episode of Season 1.
A narrator with a French accent introduces SpongeBob SquarePants, a sponge who lives in a pineapple in the city of Bikini Bottom. 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 of his diving board and lands in his pants. He goes to his exercise room and lifts a bar-weight (which is actually two stuffed animals). Afterwards, SpongeBob exclaims 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 been dreaming of for years; however, he loses his confidence. Patrick convinces him to apply for the job, and so SpongeBob does, thereby declaring he is ready three more times. Squidward Tentacles, the head cashier, is cleaning the window (above his head the word 'loser' is written on the glass pane). Squidward sees that SpongeBob wants the job, and so he tells restaurant-owner Eugene H. Krabs that SpongeBob does not qualify for the job. SpongeBob walks into the Krusty Krab and asks for the job. 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'. As soon as SpongeBob leaves, six buses drop off a large crowd of hungry anchovies. They barge into the Krusty Krab, demanding Krabby Patties. Attempting to keep things in order, Squidward complains about their behavior, and then requests that there be a single-file line in front of the cash register. But the anchovies vehemently protest, forming a riot of angry anchovies set to resemble 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 good-byes. Suddenly, SpongeBob arrives, flying by 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). Mr. Krabs is flabbergasted at the fact that SpongeBob actually passed the "test". SpongeBob flies into the kitchen and as fast as he can, satisfies the needs of the angry anchovies. SpongeBob made a Krabby Patty before he was hired and it is assumed that he did not know the Krabby Patty secret formula. When the last anchovy gets their Krabby Patty, Mr. Krabs is delighted. He hires SpongeBob, by welcoming him to the Krusty Crew and giving him a name tag. Then, Mr. Krabs calls for three cheers for SpongeBob. Even though Squidward is upset, Mr. Krabs does not listen to him because he wants to go and count the wheelbarrow of money he just made in his office. At the end, Patrick walks in and asks for a Krabby Patty. SpongeBob races into the kitchen and makes a huge stream of Krabby Patties, which then hits Patrick and sends him flying out of the restaurant. Worried, Squidward calls Mr. Krabs to come see his new employee.
This episode is the first, 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. Differences in voices are another example. SpongeBob's voice is slightly lower and Patrick's is deeper. Designs and colors are also different. For example, SpongeBob has fewer holes than in newer episodes, Mr. Krabs' eyelids are bright pink opposed to red, Squidward's complexion is more pale, 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 and irises are smaller with a lower tone of voice in the "meow" (although Tom Kenny claims to use a new "meow" for each episode where Gary is shown meowing). Squidward also appears to have rows of sticks behind his house. Differences in SpongeBob's house are also present in this episode, but not in others, such as there is only one window in the front. SpongeBob's alarm clock has a different ship horn sound than his alarm clock in later episodes. The changes were made when the series officially aired.
- Stephen Hillenburg in the "Written By" section of the title card was incorrectly spelled as "Stephen Hilleburg".
- Tiny Tim's "Living in the Sunlight, Loving in the Moonlight" is featured in the episode.
- During "Living in the Sunlight, Loving in the Moonlight", Tiny Tim sings "Just take it from me, I'm just free as any daughter", but the captions sang, "Just take from me, I'm just free as any brother".
- These were the first appearances of SpongeBob, Gary, Patrick, Squidward, and Mr. Krabs.
- SpongeBob had a pet scallop that he kept in a birdcage.
- The animation was not as high quality unlike the following episodes, as the rapid movements made by SpongeBob. When he was bouncing off the walls, roof, and floor of the Krusty Krab it just showed a yellow square. When the anchovies were jumping up and down they were just blue and brown (mostly blue) finger-shaped ovals.
- Initially, the debut episode was not included on the SpongeBob season 1 DVD set presumably because of music licensing issues involving the aforementioned song. However, the episode has since been made available on the DVD release of the third season as a bonus feature,and on the 10 Happiest Moments DVD as a bonus episode.
- Squidward, Mr. Krabs, Patrick, and SpongeBob all have a different tone in skin color than in most episodes.
- Mr. Krabs' eyelids are pink in this episode. In every other episode, they are red.
- The song that is playing during the episode title card is shown is the same as used in The Paper.
- Spat's first appearance. He will appear in the episode, Pickles.
- When SpongeBob was cooking the Krabby Patties, that was not possible because Mr. Krabs didn't give him the formula.
- In this episode, Gary's eye pupils are red dots, but in further episodes they are black dots in red dots.
- This is the first appearance of the anchovies.
- This is the first time someone named the episode (SpongeBob: With a Help Wanted sign in the window!)
- This is the first episode to use traditanal cel animation
- This is the first episode of the show. (1a)