- French Narrator (debut)
- Sea urchins (debut)
- SpongeBob SquarePants (debut)
- Gary the Snail (debut)
- Shelley (debut)
- Patrick Star (debut)
- Squidward Tentacles (debut)
- Eugene H. Krabs (debut)
- Bus Driver (debut)
- Anchovies (debut)
- Betsy Krabs (indirectly mentioned)
Deep down in the ocean, the audience is introduced to a small little town known as Bikini Bottom; a narrator with a French accent muses on the wonders of undersea life. The narrator introduces the audience to one of his favorite creatures in the sea, SpongeBob SquarePants. Inside the pineapple where he lives, the yellow and porous SpongeBob sleeps soundly in his bed with three mattresses and a diving board attached. On the floor nearby is SpongeBob’s pet snail, Gary, who is also sleeping. Next to SpongeBob is a foghorn alarm clock, which soon loudly goes off and awakens him.
SpongeBob climbs the diving board, and tells Gary that today is "the big day," along with Gary giving a simple "meow" in reply. SpongeBob jumps off of the diving board, and lands neatly into an outfit consisting of square pants, a white shirt, and a red tie. To prepare for the day, he goes to a barbell with two stuffed animals attached, and struggles to lift it, barely managing to get one rep before dropping it with a squeak. He then proclaims, "I'm ready!" and runs outside, heading past an Easter Island head with windows and a door, as well as a brown rock with a bamboo weather vane. The rock opens up to reveal a pink starfish, Patrick Star, sticking underneath it, cheering SpongeBob on before peeling off.
Arriving outside the restaurant known as the Krusty Krab, SpongeBob psyches himself up to answer the call of the Help Wanted sign in the window and ask for a job as a fry cook. However, his fears get the better of him and he turns to leave, only to find Patrick in his way. The latter convinces the former that he is truly ready for the job, giving SpongeBob the confidence to make his way over.
Squidward Tentacles, a Krusty Krab employee busy cleaning graffiti off the windows, sees SpongeBob approach, and voices his displeasure, wondering why he is coming so early. He then notices the sign, and shrieks in horror, dashing inside toward his boss and owner of the restaurant, Eugene H. Krabs. Before Squidward can warn him, SpongeBob enters, and confidently states his intention of joining the Krusty Crew. He starts to approach Mr. Krabs and Squidward, but trips and bounces around the restaurant before landing square on his back in front of them.
Mr. Krabs expresses his concern that SpongeBob is not ready for the job, but the latter asks him to reconsider, and have Squidward vouch for him; he takes Mr. Krabs aside and flatly refuses. Giving Squidward a wink, Mr. Krabs approaches SpongeBob, and says that he can apply once he is completed a simple test: purchasing a seemingly non-existent "hydro-dynamic spatula." SpongeBob eagerly heads out in his new employee hat to find one, leaving Krabs and Squidward to laugh together about his errand.
As SpongeBob runs to the Barg'N-Mart, a convoy of buses arrives at the Krusty Krab. Mr. Krabs literally smells trouble approaching, and soon after, a hoard of anchovies swarms in, and clamors for food. Squidward calls for their attention, asking them to behave themselves, and make a neat single-file line. His request is rejected, and the anchovies grow more ravenous and unruly. Squidward and Mr. Krabs climb into the cash register rowboat as the anchovies form a rolling ocean, but their boat breaks, and they climb a pole to the ceiling. Facing the end, Mr. Krabs and Squidward say their goodbyes and sob.From the sky, however, arrives SpongeBob, wielding his new flight-capable Hydro-dynamic Spatula. Leaving the flabbergasted workers behind, SpongeBob flies into the kitchen, and starts whipping up a batch of Krabby Patties. The anchovies are satiated one by one down to the last, leaving behind a huge fat sack of cash. Mr. Krabs jumps with joy and proudly presents SpongeBob with his own nametag. Squidward tries to protest, but Mr. Krabs is too busy cheering, and carting away the money to notice.
Patrick then arrives, and orders a single Krabby Patty, but SpongeBob engages the spatula once more, and sends Patrick flying out of the restaurant with a flurry of Krabby Patties. Squidward haughtily asks Mr. Krabs to come back, and see his new employee at work.
"Help Wanted" was written by series creator Stephen Hillenburg, along with Derek Drymon and Tim Hill, and was directed by Alan Smart. Hillenburg also functioned as storyboard director, and Drymon worked as storyboard artist. He began developing SpongeBob SquarePants into a television series in late 1996 upon the series cancellation of Rocko's Modern Life earlier the same year.
Hillenburg's original idea for the pitch was that the writers would write a storyboard for a possible episode and pitch it to Nickelodeon. One of the original ideas was to write an episode with SpongeBob and Squidward on a road trip, inspired by the 1989 film Powwow Highway. Eventually, the idea developed while they were working on it but Hillenburg gave up on the storyboard idea for the initial pitch. The crew resurrected the road trip idea during the first season and used a lot of the ideas for the episode "Pizza Delivery."
Originally the character was to be named "SpongeBoy" and the show was to be called SpongeBoy Ahoy! However, the Nickelodeon legal department discovered that the name "SpongeBoy" was already in use for a mop product. This was discovered after voice acting for the original seven-minute pilot was recorded in 1997. Upon finding this out, Hillenburg decided that the character's given name still had to contain "Sponge" so viewers would not mistake the character for a "Cheese Man." (This was later depicted in episodes like "Band Geeks" and "What Ever Happened to SpongeBob?"). Hillenburg decided to use the name "SpongeBob." He chose "SquarePants" as a family name as it referred to the character's square shape and it had a "nice ring to it." Despite that, SpongeBob would be called SpongeBoy in a few episodes such as "Squeaky Boots" and "It's a SpongeBob Christmas!"
In an interview with Cyma Zarghami, she told "their [Nickelodeon executives'] immediate reaction was to see it again, both because they liked it and it was unlike anything they had ever seen before." Hillenburg said the character construction in the episode was loose. But the character development was already "pretty strong." Cavna rewatched the episode in 2009 and said "so much of the style and polish are already in place."
Stephen Hillenburg and Derek Drymon were having dinner and came up with the idea for "Help Wanted" based on an experience Hillenburg had in the Boy Scouts. Hillenburg and writer Tim Hill worked it into an outline. In 1997 while pitching the cartoon to Nickelodeon executives, Stephen Hillenburg donned a Hawaiian shirt, brought along an "underwater terrarium with models of the characters," and Hawaiian music to set the theme. The setup was described by Nick executive Eric Coleman as "pretty amazing." When given money and 2 weeks to write the pilot episode ("Help Wanted"), Hillenburg, Derek Drymon, and Nick Jennings returned with – described by Nickelodeon official Albie Hecht – "a performance [I] wish [I] had on tape." Although described as stressful by executive producer Derek Drymon, the pitch went "very well"; Kevin Kay and Hecht had to step outside because they were "exhausted from laughing," making the cartoonists worried. With help from Tim Hill and art director Nick Jennings, Hillenburg finished the pitch and sold SpongeBob SquarePants to Nickelodeon. Drymon said, "the network approved it—so we were ready to go."
SpongeBob SquarePants aired this as the first episode along with "Reef Blower/Tea at the Treedome" on May 1, 1999, following the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards.The series later made its "official" debut on July 17, 1999 with the second episode, "Bubblestand / Ripped Pants." This episode was reaired on July 24 along with "Reef Blower /Tea at the Treedome" to consider it official.
The pilot episode was made and recorded in 1997, 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 (excluding "Pickles," "Employee of the Month," and "Best Day Ever"), and his blanket is solid blue, as opposed to purple with flowers.
Differences in voices are another example. SpongeBob's voice is slightly lower, and Patrick's voice is deeper.
Designs and colors for characters are also different.
- SpongeBob has fewer holes than he does in newer episodes. He also looks a little bit fatter. His shoes are also a bit bigger.
- Mr. Krabs' eyelids are bright pink as opposed to red.
- Patrick's pants are in a slightly different color, not to mention he looks slightly chubbier.
- Squidward's complexion is paler, 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 are red dots and his irises are smaller, and he has a higher, somewhat squeakier tone of voice in the "meow" that sounds a little closer to a realistic cat's meow – although Tom Kenny claims to use a new "meow" for each episode (when Gary is shown meowing).
- The animation used for the bubble transitions are much choppier.
- Squidward appears to have rows of bamboo poles behind his house.
- There is only one window in the front of SpongeBob's house. Some other early episodes, such as "Boating School," also show SpongeBob's house with only one window.
- There was an intro which was scrapped for unknown reasons.
The changes were made when the series officially aired.
|( ‣ ) Associated production music|
|( • ) Original music|
|( ◦ ) SpongeBob music|
‣ Aloha Oe - Hans Haider, Queen Lili'uokalani [The opening]
‣ Honolulu March - Hans Haider ["Today's the big day, Gary."]
‣ The Land is Ours - Gregor F. Narholz [SpongeBob lifts hid teddy bear weights.]
‣ Grand Orchestral Fanfare - Gregor F. Narholz [SpongeBob lift his teddy bear weights.]
‣ Honolulu March - Hans Haider ["I'm ready, I'm ready, I'm ready..."]
‣ Next Door Neighbour - Rick Cassman, Vyvyan Hope-Scott ["The Krusty Krab, home of the Krabby Patty."]
‣ The Land is Ours - Gregor F. Narholz [Patrick encourages SpongeBob.]
‣ Grand Orchestral Fanfare - Gregor F. Narholz ["Who's a big yellow cube with holes?"]
‣ Honolulu March - Hans Haider [SpongeBob runs to the Krusty Krab.]
‣ Oyster Girls - Robert Alexander White ["Permission to come aboard, captain!"]
‣ The Rake Hornpipe - Robert Alexander White [Mr. Krabs gives SpongeBob a test.]
‣ Bartmania A - Guy Moon ["That sounded like hatch doors."]
‣ Menace from the Deep - Robert Cornford ["That smell... a kind of smelly smell."]
‣ Bartmania A - Guy Moon [Anchovies rush into the Krusty Krab/Anchovies pick up the boat/"All hands on deck! Get your anchors out of your pants!"]
‣ Death Trap - Gregor F. Narholz ["Batten down the hatches, Mr. Squidward!"]
‣ Bossa Cubana - Gerhard Narholz [SpongeBob shops for a hydro-dynamic spatula at Barg-'N-Mart.]
‣ Battle at Sea - Johnny Pearson ["Climb, Mr. Squidward! Climb!"]
‣ Reach for the Stars - Richard A. Harvey [SpongeBob returns.]
‣ The Main Event - Gregor F. Narholz [The hydro-dynamic spatula is revealed.]
‣ Living in the Sunlight, Loving in the Moonlight - Tiny Tim [Montage of SpongeBob making Krabby Patties/Ending.]
- "Help Wanted," along with "Reef Blower" and "Tea at the Treedome," premiered on Nickelodeon on May 1, 1999, alongside the 1999 Kids' Choice Awards. Later, six other episodes premiered the same day as the awards show: "Krusty Towers (2006)," "Sentimental Sponge (2011)," "Planet of the Jellyfish (2012)," "Kenny the Cat (2014)," "Mall Girl Pearl (2016)," "Two Thumbs Down (2016)," and "SpongeBob's Place (2017)."
- This episode was released on the following DVDs: (due to copyright issues with Livin' in the Sunlight, Lovin' in the Moonlight, it was not released on The Complete 1st Season box set and The First And Second Seasons box set).
- As of September 28, 2018, The Internet Movie Database (IMDB) gives this episode a rating of 8.8/10 based on 894 ratings by users. TV.com users give this episode a rating of 8.7/10 based on 457 votes.
- This episode ranks #1 on Tom Kenny's Top 20 collection on iTunes.
- In fan-voted SpongeBob SquarePants marathons, "Help Wanted" was ranked #24 during the Best Day Ever event on November 9–10, 2006 and #6 during The Ultimate SpongeBob SpongeBash event on July 17–19, 2009.
- This is the only season 1 episode not featured on the Complete First Season DVD and The First And Second Seasons DVD, due to copyright issues with the song "Livin' in the Sunlight, Lovin' in the Moonlight" by Tiny Tim, which is played during the episode. However, on the German release of the DVD, the episode is actually included.
- This is the only season 1 episode produced in 1997.
- The beginning of the episode, in which SpongeBob says, "Today's the big day, Gary," can be seen on a TV in the 2002 comedy film Orange County.
- SpongeBob's bed is on the right side of his room, whereas later episodes show it on the left side.
- SpongeBob is shown to have a pet scallop that he keeps in a birdcage. The scallop makes occasional appearances throughout the series.
- The French narrator is the first to speak in the series.
- It is revealed that SpongeBob's first words were "May I take your order?"
- It is also revealed that SpongeBob built a spatula out of toothpicks in the wood shop.
- SpongeBob states that he has been training his whole life to join the Krusty Crew. This is supported in the episode "Friend or Foe."
- Normally, when SpongeBob walks, his shoes make a squeaky sound. However, in this episode, the squeak is not heard.
- Right before Squidward tells the anchovies to get in a "neat single-file line," one of them says "Speak up!” if one were to listen closely.
- This is one of the seven episodes in which the 1986-2002 Paramount logo is plastered with the 2002-2011 Paramount logo. The others are "Squeaky Boots," "F.U.N.," "Squidward the Unfriendly Ghost," "Employee of the Month," "Karate Choppers," and "Rock Bottom."
- There is an old SpongeBob online game based on this episode called Anchovy Feeding Frenzy.
- On September 7, 2013, there was a live script reading with the voice actors at Universal Studios Hollywood for this episode.
- Starting in 2015, during reruns of this episode, the intro repeatedly goes faster and changes back to its normal speed.
- This episode was finished in 1997, but did not air until May 1, 1999, because the cast wanted to change various things.
- The original pilot version of this episode has some differences, including the early intro being played a bit later in the episode - specifically after SpongeBob gets ready and goes to the Krusty Krab - and at the ending, instead of the United Plankton Pictures, Inc. logo being displayed, it instead shows a picture of SpongeBob with the text "created by Steven Hillenburg."
- In the Croatian dub, this episode is called "Tražimo Kuhara," which translates to "We are Looking for the Fry Cook."
- In the Azerbaijani voiceover, this episode is called "İşçi tələb olunur," which translates to "Workers Are Required."
- Another difference with production and the sorts is that the Nickelodeon Animation Studios logo at the end has a small copyright notice with 1997 as the production date. The television airing has a more detailed and prolonged copyright notice with a production of 1998.
- In a video on the official Nickelodeon YouTube channel, called "Firsts From the First Episode: SpongeBob SquarePants Edition," the song "Livin' in the Sunlight, Lovin' in the Moonlight" is replaced with Twelfth Street Rag.
- SpongeBob mentions the episode title when he says "There it is. The finest eating establishment ever established for eating: The Krusty Krab, home of the Krabby Patty. With a Help Wanted sign in the window."
- Stephen Hillenburg's name in the "Written By" section of the opening credits is misspelled as "Stephen Hilleburg."
- The last time SpongeBob says "I'm ready!" his collar turns red.
- When SpongeBob walks inside the Krusty Krab and says, "I've been waiting my entire life to join the Krusty Krab crew!," the Krusty Krab's lights are off, but when he says "And now I'm ready!," the lights are on.
- In the Krusty Krab, all doors to the left of the cash register are not there. When Mr. Krabs goes to his office, he goes to the right.
- When Mr. Krabs jumps every time he says "Hip, hip!" his white undershirt disappears for less than a second.
- When SpongeBob arrives with the hydro-dynamic spatula, Squidward's skin changes from blue to white.
- When SpongeBob bounces, he is not seen wearing his pants or shoes.
- When Patrick says "Who's ready?," his eyelids are pink instead of purple.
- SpongeBob does not have a hole in the upper left corner of his head.
- There are scenes where Mr. Krabs blinks his eyes, and his eye stalks are brighter more than his body.
- During the scene where SpongeBob jumps proudly, the color of his collar is red instead of white. The same is true in the final shot of SpongeBob using his spatula to hit several Krabby Patties out to the anchovies.
- The original captions spell "Krabby Patty" as "Crabby Patty."
- When Mr. Krabs says "Climb Mr. Squidward! Climb!," Squidward's top layer of teeth are purple.
- When Squidward says "Mr. Krabs!," the anchor illustration on his hat disappears for a split second.
- In the scene where the buses pull up to the Krusty Krab, there are four buses, but in the next scene when they park, there are five of them.
- When Mr. Krabs and Squidward hit the pole, a frame of what looks like the alternate or inverted background for the credits appear.
- ^ a b SpongeBob SquarePants: 10 Happiest Moments. DVD. Paramount Home Entertainment, 2010.
- ^ Mavis, Paul (September 16, 2010). SpongeBob SquarePants: 10 Happiest Moments. DVD Talk. Retrieved on September 20, 2013.
- ^ Hillenburg, Stephen (2003). The Origin of SpongeBob SquarePants. SpongeBob SquarePants: The Complete First Season (DVD). Paramount Home Entertainment.
- ^ Banks, p. 9
- ^ a b c d e f g h Drymon, Derek. "The Oral History of SpongeBob SquarePants", Hogan's Alley #17, Bull Moose Publishing Corporation. Retrieved on September 21, 2012.
- ^ a b c Farhat, Basima (Interviewer) (December 5, 2006) (mp3). Tom Kenny: Voice of SpongeBob SquarePants - Interview (Radio production). The People Speak Radio. http://www.thepeoplespeakradio.net/archives/mp3/tps-2006-12-05-kenny.mp3. Retrieved November 8, 2008.
- ^ Pittenger, Kenny. "The Oral History of SpongeBob SquarePants", Hogan's Alley #17, Bull Moose Publishing Corporation. Retrieved on September 21, 2012.
- ^ Banks 2004, p. 31
- ^ Neuwirth 2003, p. 51
- ^ Bauder, David (July 13, 2009). SpongeBob Turns 10 Valued At $8 Billion. Huffington Post. Retrieved on May 22, 2013.
- ^ Cavna, Michael (July 14, 2009). The Top Five 'SpongeBob' Episodes: We Pick 'Em. The Washington Post. Retrieved on May 28, 2013.
- ^ a b Cavna, Michael (July 14, 2009). The Interview: 'SpongeBob' Creator Stephen Hillenburg. The Washington Post. Retrieved on May 28, 2013.
- ^ Coleman, Eric (2003). The Origin of SpongeBob SquarePants. SpongeBob SquarePants: The Complete First Season (DVD). Paramount Home Entertainment.
- ^ a b Hecht, Albie (2003). The Origin of SpongeBob SquarePants. SpongeBob SquarePants: The Complete First Season (DVD). Paramount Home Entertainment.
- ^ a b SpongeBob Coming Soon. Zap 2 It (1999-05-31). Retrieved on 2008-04-27.
- ^ a b Gates, Anita. "Television / Radio; The Tide Pool as Talent Pool (It Had to Happen)", The New York Times, 1999-07-11. Retrieved on 2008-04-26.
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