Encyclopedia SpongeBobia
Encyclopedia SpongeBobia

"Culture Shock" is a SpongeBob SquarePants episode from season 1. In this episode, Squidward organizes and hosts a talent show at the Krusty Krab, but refuses to let SpongeBob be part of it.



The Krusty Krab talent show.

The episode opens on another day at the Krusty Krab, with Mr. Krabs manning a free salad bar, SpongeBob preoccupied with cleaning rogue dust particles off a table, and Squidward daydreaming about dancing. Mr. Krabs is getting irritated at the lack of customers when one decides to come in. Ecstatic at finally getting a customer, Mr. Krabs orders SpongeBob to cater to the fish's every whim. Unfortunately for them, the fish was only looking to get change for a dollar and is driven away by SpongeBob's excessive enthusiasm, though not before leaving a penny behind for SpongeBob. However, Mr. Krabs notices the penny and literally gets the drop on it first.

As Mr. Krabs stores the penny away in his vault, he gives his two employees the bad news: Profits are way down this month, and they need a gimmick to bring in customers. His request for ideas yields a response of apathy from Squidward and increasingly absurd ideas from SpongeBob. After Mr. Krabs points out that he was thinking along the lines of "live entertainment," Squidward hits a brainstorm: the first Krusty Krab talent show, which he would host.

He nearly blurts out his intent to make himself into a star, but quickly corrects his faux-pas by claiming it would "bring culture to this cultural wasteland we call Bikini Bottom," and that it would bring in much-needed revenue. Squidward draws in Mr. Krabs further by claiming that Pearl could become a star through this. SpongeBob is excited at the chance to show off his talents and runs off to call his parents, while Mr. Krabs gives Squidward approval to organize the show. As preparations are undertaken at the Krusty Krab for the upcoming show, SpongeBob asks Squidward when he is going to go on the show, even demonstrating his act, which consists of blowing a hippopotamus-shaped bubble, then tap dancing along with it. Unfortunately, the talent does not impress Squidward, who claims it is not "cultured" enough. SpongeBob runs off, vowing to come up with the most "cultural" performance ever.

Later that evening, the Krusty Krab is packed; among the audience are Patrick and SpongeBob's parents, the latter of whom Mr. Krabs personally introduces himself and nonchalantly admits his miserhood. Backstage, Squidward makes it very clear to everyone else that this is his own chance to reach stardom, but is interrupted by SpongeBob's newest act: inflating himself with water and showing off his spongy characteristics. Squidward once again shoots him down, not wanting SpongeBob to ruin his chances at stardom. SpongeBob tearfully begs Squidward to let him on the show, claiming he will do anything, with the cephalopod assigning him to clean up after the show is done. SpongeBob, not realizing that Squidward has assigned him custodial duties, endeavors on his new "act" with great enthusiasm.

Squidward goes on stage to introduce the audience to the first Krusty Krab Talent Show, in the process making a joke about how no one else would give the Krabby Patty a home. This greatly amuses Patrick to the point where he randomly interrupts the next parts of Squidward's speech with loud guffawing. Not able to get in a word edgewise, Squidward eventually just introduces Pearl by her name alone and leaves the stage. Pearl is unveiled with a set of cheerleader pom-poms, and Mr. Krabs is ecstatic to see his daughter in the spotlight. Her act is a cheerleading routine about the Krusty Krab, but her size and weight launch the entire audience up into the air with each jump, resulting in everyone eventually lying about in various states of pain. As she leaves the stage, SpongeBob drops into badger Squidward about his next "act," asking which direction he should mop the floor, with the latter trying to ignore him.

The next act is poetry by SpongeBob's pet snail, Gary. While the pet "speaks" in meows, at least Sandy Cheeks can understand how good his poetry is. Squidward is increasingly anxious at this point, both from how much time Gary is taking with his act and from SpongeBob bothering him again. The third act is by Mr. Krabs' business rival Plankton as "The Amazing Plankton," with him intending to make a Krabby Patty "disappear" before the audience's eyes. However, it is just another ploy to steal the Krabby Patty formula, one that Mr. Krabs puts a stop to. Plankton, vowing revenge, attempts to vanish into thin air with a magic spell, but only blows himself up and leaves the restaurant in shame as the crowd boos him.

The crowd by this point is getting fed up with the terrible acts, and Mr. Krabs storms backstage, angry at the lack of good responses. Squidward temporarily placates him by claiming he "saved the best for last." After some buildup with spotlights, Squidward appears with his dancing gear, wearing a blue swimsuit, to looks of confusion from the audience.

Squidward dancing.

Squidward starts out dancing to orchestral music before the music suddenly changes into a trance-like techno beat; Squidward's dancing also becomes incredibly bizarre. Unfortunately for him, his time in the spotlight comes to an abrupt end as the audience members, completely disgusted by his talent, or lack thereof, pelt him with tomatoes from the free salad bar. Mr. Krabs, hoping to cash in on the audience's rage, quickly slaps a one-dollar price tag on the front of the free salad bar, which one audience member admits is "worth every penny" because they all hate Squidward's act more than all of the other acts put together. Squidward berates the audience for having no appreciation for his talent, only to be coldly rebuffed as the crowd says "No Talent." Furious, he storms backstage, where a waiting SpongeBob asks whether he can go on now. Squidward permits him to do so, as the show is over, much to the sponge's confusion.

SpongeBob gets to work cleaning the stage, only to receive an unexpected surprise: the audience not only interprets the cleaning as an act but appreciates it. Squidward thinks the audience has changed their mind about him and charges in as SpongeBob leaves, only to be met with silence. He storms off again, and SpongeBob continues cleaning to great applause. Squidward charges in and is once again met by silence. However, he begins to realize that SpongeBob seems to be tied to the audience's sudden change in behavior, and tries several times to get the audience to cheer for him by doing SpongeBob's act, only to be rejected and have another tomato thrown at him. Squidward is forced to conclude that it is SpongeBob the audience is cheering for and watches from the sidelines. Squidward gets praised by Mr. Krabs for organizing the event, and SpongeBob's parents for making their son a star. Mr. Krabs, lying in a wheelbarrow full of money, says he will need another one for next week's show; Squidward can only sigh and watch with sad envy as SpongeBob gets a standing ovation for his cleaning, ending the episode.

Running gags

  • SpongeBob constantly asking Squidward if he can be in the talent show or, upon being given janitorial duties, asking Squidward how he should go about cleaning.
  • Squidward rejecting SpongeBob's acts.
  • Squidward's interpretive dance.
  • Squidward getting hit by tomatoes.
  • The audience cheering when SpongeBob is on the stage and stops cheering when Squidward is on the stage.




 ) Production music
 ) Original music
 ) SpongeBob music

  Sunny Samoa - George de Fretes, Jan Rap [title card]
  K-55 - The Woodies [opening]
  Captain Lenoe's - Michael Arthur, Colin Cater, Mick Graves, The Folk Players, Sarah Graves, Simon Ritchie ["A customer! Welcome to the Krusty Krab!"]
  The Tip Top Polka/The Cliff Polka - Chelmsford Folk Band [The customer wants just the change.]
  Captain Lenoe's - Michael Arthur, Colin Cater, Mick Graves, The Folk Players, Sarah Graves, Simon Ritchie [Krabs puts the penny in his safe]
  Vibe Link (b) - Richard Myhill ["A free pair of socks with every purchase!"]
  Horror Build (g) - Dave Hewson ["Or maybe double-patty midnight madness!"]
  Tonight's Prizes - Dick Stephen Walter [Squidward suggests a talent show]
  EMU Hi-Hat - Nicolas Carr [SpongeBob blows a hippo-shaped bubble]
  A Hat, a Cane - Ronnie Hazlehurst [SpongeBob's tap dancing act]
  Seaweed 1 - Steve Belfer ["Okay, I get it."]
  Theatreland - Dick Stephen Walter [red carpet]
  The Circus Comes to Town! - Dick Stephen Walter ["The amazing Mister Absorbency!"]
  Fates [#62] - Gregor F. Narholz [SpongeBob begs to be in the show]
  Whisper from the Past [#64.02] - Gregor F. Narholz ["So this is what it feels like."]
  Driving Jazz [#9.06] - David Arnold, Paul Hart [Squidward comes on stage]
  Drum Roll to Cymbal [#46] - Martyn David, Alan Bell, Roger Stephen Dexter [rimshot]
  Action and Glamour 8 - Milan Pilar [Pearl on stage]
  Hawaiian Happiness - Jon Jelmer [after Pearl's act]
  Walking Bass - Richard Myhill [Gary's poetry]
  Nick's Bongos - Nicolas Carr [Overlays "Walking Bass"]
  Exotique A - Paul Lenart, Bill Novick [Plankton's magic act]
  Dramatic Cue (D) - Ronald Hanmer ["You may win this time. Shia-kazing!"]
  Timpani Roll - Sammy Burdson ["And now, ladies and gentlemen..."]
  Jazz Fanfare [#28.02] - Tony Tape [Squidward Live]
  Jazz Fanfare [#28] - Tony Tape [Squidward Live]
  Head Over Heels (a) - Andrew Jackman [first part of Squidward's act]
  In House Jazz B - Laszlo Bencker [second part of Squidward's act "What The?"]
  Theatreland - Dick Stephen Walter [ending]

*On The Complete 1st Season and The First 100 Episodes DVDs, "K-55" is replaced with "Aspiración" by The Langhorns while on the Amazon Prime Video version has the "K-55" music.



  • "Culture Shock" was ranked #48 during the Best Day Ever event from November 9–10, 2006.



  • In the French, Greek, Hebrew, and Russian dubs, Plankton says "Abracadabra!" or some cognate expression instead of "She-hah-kazing!"
  • In the French dub, the title card uses a background taken from the theme song when SpongeBob is being split and reassembled.
  • The German dub of this episode's title card uses the same background as the one for "Sandy's Rocket."[citation needed]
  • When Mr. Krabs is introducing himself to Margaret SquarePants and Harold SquarePants, Patrick is wearing the same suit and hat he wore in “Home Sweet Pineapple.”
  • These are all the known performers in the talent show and their talent:
    • 1. Pearl performs cheerleading for the Krusty Krab.
    • 2. Gary meows poetry.
    • 3. Plankton does a "magic trick" (but is really trying to steal a Krabby Patty).
    • 4. Squidward dances bizarrely to techno music.
    • 5. SpongeBob mops.
    • (A few background characters are seen when Squidward gathers the performers, but they are never seen performing.)
  • "My leg!:" Pearl finishes her cheerleading just as the people crash everywhere.
  • This is the first appearance of Incidental 30A.
  • There are two online games based on this episode, named Dancin' Tentacles and BoogieBob DancePants, respectively.
    • There is also a book based on this episode named Talent Show.
  • This is the first of four episodes transcribed as a comic into the SpongeBob SquarePants/Tokyopop book Krusty Krab Adventures. The other three were "The Algae's Always Greener," "Pizza Delivery," and "Pickles."
  • An image from Squidward's dance and an image of Harold and Margaret SquarePants wearing their dress clothes are featured in the protective case of The SpongeBob SquarePants Experience: A Deep Dive into the World of Bikini Bottom.
  • SpongeBob calls Francis "monsieur," which is a form of address while speaking to a French man, even though neither character is French, and the Krusty Krab does not serve French cuisine.
  • This is the first episode to only take place at the Krusty Krab.
  • The "Well, this stinks" quote said by Plankton is recycled from the episode "Plankton!"
  • It is revealed that Sandy understands Gary.
  • Plankton's "She-hah-kazing!" line was reused in a trailer for the game Lights, Camera, Pants!
  • This is the first episode where Plankton appears without Karen.
    • This is also the first time Plankton appears without the Chum Bucket.
  • On the November 10, 2006 airing, this episode was paired with "Sandy, SpongeBob, and the Worm."[2]

Cultural references

  • While Gary reads poetry, Squidward says, "Come on, Ginsberg" as an allusion to the beat poet Allen Ginsberg.
    • In the Polish dub, Squidward calls Gary "Tuwim," alluding to Polish Poet Julian Tuwim.[citation needed]
  • Dr. Clean is a parody of Mr. Clean.
  • The lettering and music style when Squidward begins his act is a parody of the NBC long-running show "Saturday Night Live."


  • In the scene in which SpongeBob's parents walk in, Patrick is seen standing next to Mr. Krabs, but in the next scene, he is not.

The clock is missing.

  • The clock on top of the doors disappears before the talent show. It reappears later on during Gary's poetry.
  • During the talent show, the curtains change colors: red, green, and purple.

Squidward's undrawn outline

  • For a split second, when SpongeBob shows Dr. Clean, his chin goes in front of the bottle.
  • When the background comes down for Squidward's act, his outline is not drawn, but it is drawn in the next scene.
  • Sandy is nowhere to be found the few times that the entire audience is shown, only during Gary's poetry.
  • When SpongeBob runs up while Mr. Krabs says, "SpongeBob, cater to his every whim...," SpongeBob's footsteps are heard even though he slides into the frame as opposed to running in.

Mr. Krabs' hand goes through Squidward's neck.

  • When Mr. Krabs put his arm around Squidward's neck and says to him that he will have another wheelbarrow for the next week's show, Mr. Krabs' arm is seen going through Squidward's neck.



Squidward Hosts a Talent Show! 🐙 "Culture Shock" 5 Minute Episode SpongeBob


Squidward’s Talent Show IRL! 🎤🎭 - “Culture Shock” 5 Minute Episode - SpongeBob


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