"Culture Shock" is a SpongeBob SquarePants episode from Season 1. In this episode, Squidward hosts a talent show at the Krusty Krab.



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 catches wind of the penny and literally gets the drop on it first.

As Mr. Krabs stores the penny away into 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. Asking for ideas results in 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, with him as the 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 folks, while Mr. Krabs gives Squidward the go-ahead on the show. As the Krusty Krab gets set up for the upcoming show, SpongeBob asks Squidward when he's 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 isn't "cultured" enough. SpongeBob runs off, vowing to come up with the most cultural performance ever.

It's now nighttime, and the Krusty Krab is packed; even Patrick has come along with SpongeBob's parents, who Mr. Krabs introduces himself to the audience. In the backstage, Squidward makes it very clear to everyone else that this is his chance to reach stardom, but is interrupted by SpongeBob's newest act: inflating himself with water and showing off his sponge traits. 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'll do anything, with the squid relegating him to clean up duty after the show is done. SpongeBob, not realizing this, takes 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 that 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 throws the 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 in to badger Squidward about his next "act," titled "The Amazing Mister Absorbency", with the latter trying to ignore him.

The next act is poetry by SpongeBob's pet snail, Gary. However, due to speaking in meows, only Sandy Cheeks is able to understand how good his poetry is. Squidward is getting antsy 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's 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 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 act for last; it's finally his time to shine! After some buildup with spotlights, Squidward comes in 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 pricetag on the front of the free salad bar, which one audience admits is "worth every penny". 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 gives him permission 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 likes his act! Squidward thinks the audience has changed their mind about him and charges 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's SpongeBob the audience is cheering for and watches from the sidelines. Squidward gets praised for his show, as well as making SpongeBob a star. Mr. Krabs, lying in a wheelbarrow full of money, says he'll 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. It looks like Squidward did save the best for last after all; but it just wasn't his act, then the episode ends shortly after.

Running gags

  • SpongeBob constantly asking Squidward if he can be in the talent show.
  • Squidward rejecting SpongeBob's acts.
  • Squidward's interpretive dance
  • Squidward getting hit by tomatoes.
  • The audience cheering when SpongeBob is on the stage and stop cheering when Squidward is on the stage.




 ) Associated 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, Hebrew and Russian dubs, Plankton says, "Abracadabra!" instead of "She-hah-kazing!"


  • In the French dub, the title card uses a different background.
  • The German dub of this episode's title card uses the same background as the one for "Sandy's Rocket."
  • Here are all the contestants from the talent show and the talent they performed:
    • 1. Pearl does 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 weirdly to techno music .
    • 5. SpongeBob mops.
  • "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.
    • 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.
  • This is the first episode to only take place in 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.

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 Julian Tuwim.
  • Dr. Clean is a parody of Mr. Clean.


  • 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.
  • 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 isn't drawn, but it is drawn in the next scene.
  • 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 to 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.
  • When Plankton says "She-hah-kazing!," the captions say "Shee-ah-kazing!."



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


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