- French Narrator (debut)
- SpongeBob SquarePants (debut)
- Gary the Snail (debut)
- Patrick Star (debut)
- Squidward Tentacles (debut)
- Eugene H. Krabs (debut)
- Bus Driver (debut)
- Anchovies (debut)
A narrator with a French accent introduces SpongeBob SquarePants, a sponge who lives in a pineapple under the sea. SpongeBob's foghorn alarm clock rings (honk! takes a quite long time), 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 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 declares 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 dreamed of for years; however, he loses his confidence when he nears the Krusty Krab. Patrick confronts him and quickly convinces him to go for the job, and so SpongeBob does so, thereby declaring he is ready three more times. Squidward Tentacles, the head cashier, is cleaning the window (his head is drawn and "loser" is written above it). Squidward sees that SpongeBob wants the job, and so he tries to tell the restaurant-owner Eugene H. Krabs that SpongeBob does not qualify for the job. SpongeBob walks into the Krusty Krab and asks for the job before Squidward can say anything, however. To get rid of him, Mr. Krabs tells SpongeBob that he can join the 'Krusty Krew' if he passes a "test"–which is to obtain a "Hydrodynamic Spatula with Port and Starboard Attachments and a Turbo-Drive" (essentially sending SpongeBob on a wild goose chase) believing that there is no such thing and that SpongeBob will never come back trying to find it. He was very curious about it.
As soon as SpongeBob leaves, five 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, then requests that there be a neat, single-file line in front of the cash register. The anchovies angerly 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 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 and Squidward are 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.
When the last anchovy gets his Krabby Patty, Mr. Krabs is delighted. He immediately hires SpongeBob, by welcoming him to the Krusty Krew and giving him a nametag. 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 "booty" 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 hit Patrick and send him flying out of the restaurant, causing him to make his traditional scream of protest and pain. Squidward, in a sarcastic and singsong tone, tells Mr. Krabs to come see his new employee.
While pitching the cartoon to Nickelodeon executives, 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 two weeks to write the pilot episode (“Help Wanted”), Derek Drymon, Stephen Hillenberg, 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.
SpongeBob SquarePants aired its first episode, "Help Wanted / 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."
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 and Employee of the Month), 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 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, Patrick’s pants are in a slightly different color, 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, he lacks eyelashes, and he has 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 bamboo poles 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. Also, SpongeBob and Patrick are a little bit fatter. Also, 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.
Living in the Sunlight, Loving in the Moonlight was used in this episode but due to copyright issue, the pilot episode was not on the 1st Season home video. The episode appeared as bonus feature on The Complete 3rd Season. The episode was also released on 10 Happiest Moments and The First 100 Episodes. The episode also features SpongeBob singing a Barg'N Mart jingle.
- Associated production music
The following is a list of music tracks used in the episode.
‣ Hawaiian Train - ?
- Victor Cavini (title card) ‣ Aloha Oe - ?
- Hans Haider, Queen Lili'uokalani (opening) ‣ Honolulu March - ?
- Hans Haider ("Today's the big day, Gary.") ‣ The Land is Ours - ?
- Gregor F. Narholz; Grand Orchestral Fanfare - Gregor F. Narholz (SpongeBob lifting weights) ‣ Honolulu March - ?
- Hans Haider ("I'm ready, I'm ready, I'm ready...") ‣ Next Door Neighbour - ?
- Rick Cassman, Vyv Hope-Scott ("The Krusty Krab, home of the Krabby Patty.") ‣ The Land is Ours - ?
- Gregor F. Narholz (Patrick gives SpongeBob a pep talk) ‣ Grand Orchestral Fanfare - ?
- Gregor F. Narholz ("Who's a big yellow cube with holes?") ‣ Honolulu March - ?
- Hans Haider (SpongeBob runs to Krusty Krab) ‣ Oyster Girls - ?
- Robert Alexander White ("Permission to come aboard, captain!") ‣ The Rake Hornpipe - ?
- Robert Alexander White (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 in) ‣ Death Trap - ?
- Gregor F. Narholz ("Batten down the hatches, Mr. Squidward!") ‣ Bossa Cubana - ?
- Gerhard Narholz (SpongeBob shopping) ‣ Battle at Sea - ?
- Johnny Pearson ("Climb, Mr. Squidward, climb!") ‣ Reach for the Stars - ?
- Richard A. Harvey (SpongeBob returns) ‣ The Main Event - ?
- Gregor F. Narholz (hydrodynamic spatula revealed) ‣ Living in the Sunlight, Loving in the Moonlight - ?
- Tiny Tim (montage of SpongeBob making Krabby Patties)
As of November 15, 2012, The Internet Movie Database (IMDB) gives this episode a rating of 8.5/10 based on 209 ratings by users.tt0707293 TV.com users give this episode a rating of 8.6/10 based on 420 votes.http://www.tv.com/SpongeBob-SquarePants/help-wanted---reef-blowers---tea-at-the-treedome/episode/53077/summary.html?tag=ep_list;title;0 This episode ranks #1 on Tom Kenny's list of Top 20 SpongeBob episodes on iTunes.
- SpongeBob had a pet scallop that he kept in a birdcage. This can also be seen in Missing Identity, and Pineapple Fever.
- This is one of the six episodes in which the 1986 Paramount logo is plastered with the 2002 Paramount logo. The others are "Squeaky Boots", "F.U.N.", "Squidward the Unfriendly Ghost", "Employee of the Month" and "Rock Bottom".
- Gary's eye pupils are red dots, but in further episodes, they are black dots in red dots.
- Right before Squidward tells the anchovies to get in a "neat single-file line" one of them says "speak up!".
- It is revealed that SpongeBob's first words were, "May I take your order?"
- It is revealed that SpongeBob built a spatula out of toothpicks in wood shop. This also implies that SpongeBob and Patrick went to school together.
- When Mr. Krabs jumps every time he says "Hip, hip!" his white undershirt disappears for less than a second.
- When Patrick convinces SpongeBob to go back and ask for a job, if one looks closely, one can see brush strokes.
- Normally when SpongeBob walks, his shoes make a squeaky sound. However in this episode it cannot be heard.
- Cultural references
- In the 2002 movie Orange County, Jack Black's character Lance is seen watching and laughing at this episode.
- Stephen Hillenburg in the "Written By" section of the title card was incorrectly spelled as "Stephen Hilleburg".
- Squidward cleans up the graffiti which has an arrow on it, but, in the next scene, the arrow is missing. It's not likely that Squidward cleaned it up since he was looking at SpongeBob at the timing.
- The last time SpongeBob says "I'm Ready!", his collar turns red.
- 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.
- ^ 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.
- ^ a b Banks, p. 8
- Help Wanted at the Internet Movie Database
- Help Wanted at TV.com
- Watch Help Wanted online
- Help Wanted promo (July 1999)
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