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Help Wanted

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"Help Wanted"
Help Wanted main image.png
SpongeBob is ready to work at the Krusty Krab for the first time.
Season number: 1
Episode number: 1
Production code: 1a
First airing: May 1, 1999
Sister episode(s): "Reef Blower"
"Tea at the Treedome"
Writer(s): Stephen Hillenburg
Derek Drymon
Tim Hill
Storyboard: Stephen Hillenburg (writer)
Derek Drymon (artist)
Animator(s): Alan Smart
Title card
Help Wanted title card.png

“Today's the big day, Gary!”

"Help Wanted" is the first segment of the very first episode of SpongeBob SquarePants. It is a part of season 1. The episode is about SpongeBob being hired as the fry cook of the Krusty Krab.


Note: All characters listed made their debut in the episode.


  • Barg'N-Mart, performed by SpongeBob SquarePants
  • Barg'N-Mart Reprise, performed by SpongeBob SquarePants
  • Livin' the Sunlight, Lovin' the Moonlight, performed by Tiny Tim


Help Wanted opens with a wide shot of Bikini Bottom, as we pan to SpongeBob's house. The French Narrator introduces us to SpongeBob SquarePants and the city of Bikini Bottom. We cut to SpongeBob's bedroom, where SpongeBob's alarm blares to wake him up.

SpongeBob turns off the alarm, and tells Gary the Snail excitedly that today's the big day, leaping into a pair of his trademark square pants as he runs off to his gym, telling Gary that he wants to be at his peak physical condition for today's events. He then struggles at lifting weights, before setting them down.

He runs out of his pineapple house to the Krusty Krab, passing by his best friend Patrick Star, who cheers him on. Patrick then falls off his rock. We then see SpongeBob near the Krusty Krab, Bikini Bottom's prime eating establishment. SpongeBob admires the restaurant and tells of his goal to work there, before quickly losing confidence.

SpongeBob attempts to run off before being suddenly stopped by Patrick. He gives SpongeBob a confidence boost, by reminding SpongeBob of his passionate love for fry cooking. SpongeBob is then given the strength he needs. He runs up to the Krusty Krab.

Squidward Tentacles is seen cleaning up the window, and notices SpongeBob approaching fast. Noticing the help wanted sign, he rushes to tell Eugene H. Krabs about SpongeBob, but SpongeBob enters the restaurant, tripping and falling.

After bouncing around the restaurant and coming to a dead stop, he asks Mr. Krabs for a job. Mr. Krabs and Squidward decide to give SpongeBob a test, which involves SpongeBob obtaining a hydrodynamic spatula with port and starboard attachments, as well as a turbo drive. SpongeBob accepts this task. Mr. Krabs and Squidward laugh as they relish in the fact SpongeBob is gone.

Anchovies in busloads proceed to pull up to the Krusty Krab, which Mr. Krabs detects near instantly, describing it as a smelly smell that smells smelly. The anchovies quickly overrun the Krusty Krab, with Squidward trying to maintain order, but failing miserably.

SpongeBob arrives at the Barg'N-Mart as chaos unfolds at the Krusty Krab. Mr. Krabs panics and asks for his mom as SpongeBob looks for the spatula. As Mr. Krabs and Squidward obtain higher ground, they accept their doomed fate, before SpongeBob returns with the requested spatula.

Squidward and Mr. Krabs are in utter disbelief as SpongeBob shows off the spatula, flying into the kitchen as “Living in the Sunlight” plays in the background. SpongeBob then prepares a bunch of Krabby Patties to the tune of the song. The anchovies are fed as SpongeBob keeps up the pace.

Eventually, SpongeBob feeds the last anchovy as they all leave the Krusty Krab. Mr. Krabs is impressed with SpongeBob's talent as he is hired on the spot. Mr. Krabs retreats to his office with an impressive amount of cash. Patrick enters and orders a Krabby Patty, which causes SpongeBob to create a torrent of Krabby Patties. “Living in the Sunlight” starts back up as Squidward calls for Mr. Krabs, ending the episode.


  • Patrick: Whose first words were, "May I take your order?"
  • SpongeBob: Mine were.
  • Patrick: Who made a spatula out of toothpicks in wood shop?
  • SpongeBob: I did.
  • Patrick: Who's a... Uhh... Who's... Who's a big yellow cube with holes?
  • SpongeBob: I am!
  • Patrick: Who's ready?
  • SpongeBob: I'm ready!
  • Patrick: Who's ready?
  • SpongeBob: I'm ready!
  • Patrick: Who's ready?!
  • SpongeBob: I'm ready!!
  • Mr. Krabs: (as the anchovies swarm the Krusty Krab) Batten down the hatches, Mr. Squidward! We're taking on water, Mr. Squidward! I want my mommy, Mr. Squidward!
  • Patrick: Good morning, Krusty Krew!
  • Squidward: What would you like, Patrick?
  • Patrick: One Krabby Patty, please.

(SpongeBob zooms in the kitchen, making hundreds of patties)

  • Patrick: Aahhhh!
  • Squidward: Mr. Krabs! Mr. Krabs! Mr. Krabs!! Come see your new employee!

Differences from later episodes

As the first and pilot episode, "Help Wanted" has many differences to the rest of the series. The original version had several minor differences that were later corrected.

  • It is the only episode where SpongeBob's bed is on the right side of his room.
  • SpongeBob's voice is slightly lower and Patrick's is deeper.
  • Mr. Krabs' eyelids are bright pink instead of just red.
  • Squidward wears a regular orange shirt instead of brown-orange, his complexion is more pale and his laugh is different.
  • The "splat" sound effect is different.
  • Gary's eye pupils and irises are smaller.
  • Squidward has rows of sticks behind his house.
  • SpongeBob's alarm clock has a different ship horn sound than in in later episodes
  • There is only one window in front of SpongeBob's house.
  • SpongeBob had a pet scallop in a cage in his bedroom.


  • Stephen Hillenburg was misspelled "Stephen Hilleburg" in the opening credits.
  • SpongeBob says "I'm ready" at the Krusty Krab three times. The last time he says it, his collar turns red.
  • Initially, this episode was not included on the SpongeBob season 1 DVD set, presumably because of the Tiny Tim song. The episode has since been available on the season 3 box set as a bonus feature.
  • The episode was completed in 1997, and was released on an employees only VHS called The Best of Nicktoons 1998 VHS which the original pilot's intro.
  • The episode (alongside Reef Blower and Tea at the Treedome) premiered right after the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards at 9:30/8:30pm central.
    • This is the third time a new NickToon premiered after the Kids Choice Awards. The first being The Angry Beavers on April 19, 1997, and CatDog on April 4, 1998
      • The slot originally went to a full fledge series based on KaBLaM! short, Sniz and Fondue. But plans changed after the show's creator, Mike R. Brandon, left the studio due to being overworked with other projects. SpongeBob took its place.[1]
      • The episode premiered with 6.9 million viewers, 3.6 million kids ages 2-11, and 3.3 million teens and adults.[2]
      • The original airing of the episode was re-discovered and uploaded to internet archive by lovforlogos. Officially announced by CDCB on twitter on October 30, 2020.[3]
  • The animation is lower quality than later episodes.
    • In the scene where SpongeBob rapidly bounces off the walls, ceiling, and floor of the Krusty Krab, only a yellow square is shown.
    • When the Anchovies jumped up and down, they were only shown as blue and brown oval-like shapes.
    • There's an animation mistake when SpongeBob says his final "I'm Ready!" His inner shirt is red instead of the usual white.


  1. Sniz & Fondue - Wikipedia
  2. Nick Debuts First-Run Show on Saturdays | Multichannel News (
  3. CDCB on Twitter: "The full series premiere of SpongeBob has finally been found. @loveforlogos is the man!"