Encyclopedia SpongeBobia


Encyclopedia SpongeBobia
Encyclopedia SpongeBobia
This is the page about the season 1 episode. For other uses, see Plankton (disambiguation).

"Plankton!" is a SpongeBob SquarePants episode from season 1. In this episode, SpongeBob is introduced to Mr. Krabs' business rival, Plankton.



The episode opens at the Krusty Krab. Squidward sends SpongeBob an order for a Krabby Patty, which through a sleight-of-hand trick SpongeBob performs seems to come out through Squidward's nose. After SpongeBob cooks the patty, however, it begins to move across the floor seemingly on its own and makes its way towards the front door. Mr. Krabs stops the patty in its tracks and reveals that the patty was being stolen by none other than Krabs' diminutive nemesis, Plankton. Krabs places his foe on a plate and flings him back to the Chum Bucket across the street while Plankton exclaims that he will return. Mr. Krabs explains to SpongeBob that Plankton is his arch-competitor, and has been trying and failing to steal the Krabby Patty secret formula for an untold amount of years.

Plankton! 140

SpongeBob having his body controlled by Plankton.

Later that night, after the Krusty Krab closes, SpongeBob says goodbye to Mr. Krabs and leaves. On his way home, Plankton stops SpongeBob and tries to convince him that he and the fry cook are somehow friends (or should be since they are both invertebrates), and that as such SpongeBob should come to Plankton's birthday, which he claims is the following day. Plankton gives SpongeBob a golden spatula and says that, "friends give each other gifts." SpongeBob then guesses that Plankton would like a booster seat. Plankton sounds happy with this proposition, but declines. Plankton tells SpongeBob that, for his birthday, he wants SpongeBob to give him a Krabby Patty. SpongeBob loudly and angrily refuses, citing that Plankton just wants to make friends with him in order to gain access to the Krabby Patty. He also feels sure that Plankton's birthday was not going to even be the following day, and runs back home, refusing to give Plankton a Krabby Patty whether they become friends or not. Plankton, however, refuses to give up and proclaims that SpongeBob will "hand-deliver it to [him] personally."

Plankton! 194

Plankton gets stuck in Karen's screen.

Later that night, as SpongeBob is sleeping, Plankton maliciously enters his head through a pore and makes his way to SpongeBob's brain. He attaches a mind control device to the brain and hijacks SpongeBob's mind and body, forcing him to walk out of his house and through Squidward's house, where he insults the cephalopod. At this point, SpongeBob realizes that Plankton has hijacked his body and tries to tell him to let him go, but Plankton refuses, laughs sadistically, and makes SpongeBob exit the house, leaving Squidward feeling nauseous by what he just saw. After Plankton forces SpongeBob to pass through Patrick's house and tosses him aside, he then forces the sponge into and out of the Krusty Krab where he steals a Krabby Patty. He brings it to an analyzer inside the Chum Bucket, which is designed to figure out the ingredients of whatever is dropped into it. As Plankton cruelly gloats over his victory and begins to force SpongeBob to drop the Krabby Patty, SpongeBob sadly laments his failure to protect it, lovingly describing the Krabby Patty's ingredients and succulence. A hungry Plankton leaps out of SpongeBob's head and onto the Krabby Patty, but bounces off of it and falls into the analyzer, thus trapping himself inside his own computer screen. With his mind and body now freed from Plankton's control, SpongeBob happily walks home with the Krabby Patty in hand, ignoring Plankton's angry demands for him to bring it back, his last plea being, "I'll settle for some fries!" ending the episode shortly after.




In the audio commentary, Doug Lawrence reveals he won the voice of Plankton in an auditioning contest held at the beginning of production.

Creation of Plankton and Karen[]

Plankton was first created by Stephen Hillenburg as a potential villain for the show and was included in his series bible in 1996. However, he later feared that Plankton's stories would get repetitive and predictable. During the production of season 1, Hillenburg demoted Plankton from a main character to a minor one; he insisted that Plankton would work better as a one-time guest star.[1] However, Doug Lawrence loved the character. He used his writing and acting skills to prove that Plankton could work as a major antagonist. If Lawrence did not have a dual role as both the voice and writer for Plankton, his character would never have become a major villain.[2]


Interview with Mr. Lawrence about Plankton's origins

Doug Lawrence summarized Plankton's origins in 2015, saying that he "was only supposed to be in one or two episodes, but I was a writer on the show and I really liked this character."[1] Following his first voice recording as Plankton, Lawrence wrote some of his own ideas for the character and passed them to Hillenburg.[1] From then on, Plankton began to appear more often.

Karen was first introduced as Plankton's "waterproof computer system" who would be a part of all of his inventions. Karen was named after Karen Hillenburg, the wife of the show's creator, Stephen Hillenburg.[3] She was created by Stephen Hillenburg in 1998, shortly after he married his wife, Karen Hillenburg. Stephen called his wife "the funniest person he knows"[4] and her sense of humor inspired the cartoon Karen's personality. Doug Lawrence helped Stephen Hillenburg develop Karen's character and give her a personality. Her voice is provided by Jill Talley, who is the wife of SpongeBob's voice actor, Tom Kenny. In this episode, she has no discernible personality and essentially operates as a text-to-speech program. In addition, Karen's name is never said out loud in this episode.

Doug Lawrence decided that Plankton and Karen should be an inseparable duo, with Karen as the brains of the operation, always supplying Plankton with evil plans. Lawrence said: "I want more Karen on the show ... The married life of an evil genius is the funniest thing to me, so in that regard [Karen] definitely enhances Plankton’s stories making him more than just your typical bad guy."[5]

The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie 844

Plankton and Karen promoted to the "Main Cast" section.

Doug Lawrence says that Plankton and Karen finally became main characters after the third season. The credits of the 2004 movie were the first time that the SpongeBob franchise ever billed a "Main Cast" in its credits. Both Plankton and Karen were both officially promoted to main characters in the film's credits. Since then, their stories have been one of the show's most popular and important elements. Plankton and Karen have also appeared in numerous tie-in books, comics, and video games.


 ) Production music
 ) Original music
 ) SpongeBob music

  Chill Out - The Surfdusters [Title card]
  Titi De Paris - Daniel Jean Jeannin [Opening]
  Heavenly Voices (A) - David Farnon [Shot of Krabby Patty]
  Death Trap [#27.02] - Gregor F. Narholz ["That Krabby Patty is haunted!"]
  Phantom Train - The Surfdusters [Plankton revealed]
  The Tip Top Polka/The Cliff Polka - Chelmsford Folk Band [Plankton thrown back to Chum Bucket]
  Holiday Dream - Max Mahlmann [That night...]
  Haunted Surf - The Surfdusters ["Psst... young man."]
  Background Blues - Otto Sieben ["I just want to talk."]
  Black Stockings - David Lindup [Plankton drooling]
  Drama Link (D) - Hubert Clifford [SpongeBob gasps]
  Verve - Jack Shaindlin [Dramatic music on Plankton's record]
  Hawaiian Link (B) - Richard Myhill [SpongeBob in bed]
  Haunted Surf - The Surfdusters [Plankton disguised as a flower]
  The Alphabet Song (A) - Peter Gosling [wrong side of record]
  Verve - Jack Shaindlin [Dramatic music again]
  House Of Horror [#10.2] - W. Merrick Farran [Plankton gets in SpongeBob's head]
  House Of Horror [#10.3] - W. Merrick Farran [Plankton presses the total control button]
  Phantom Train - The Surfdusters [SpongeBob wakes up]
  Monks (C) - Dave Hewson [Plankton talking through SpongeBob]
  Shock (R) - Dave Hewson ["Something must be wrong with my brain!"]
  Shock (U) - Dave Hewson ["Plankton! What kind of friend are you?"]
  Phantom Train - The Surfdusters [Squidward faints]
  The Nightmare Begins (A) - John Devereaux [Plankton's lab]
  Verve - Jack Shaindlin [Dramatic music on record]
  Enter the Villain - Chris Payne, Paul Rogers [Plankton's analyzer]
  Panic Stricken - Chris Payne, Paul Rogers ["This little piggy brought home a Krabby Patty."]
  Heavenly Voices (A) - David Farnon [SpongeBob's last words]
  Maui Beach - Hans Haider [SpongeBob describing the Krabby Patty]
  Grass Skirts Blowing (Hilo March) - Jan Rap, The Hawaiian Serenaders [Ending]





  • According to the audio commentary, this episode was originally going to be titled "Deep Cover."
  • Plankton is noticeably much smaller in this episode than in following episodes; he is revealed at the beginning as nearly microscopic and difficult to spot without the magnifying glass that Mr. Krabs used. It is likely he was meant to resemble a more realistic size of a micro-organism, but was enlarged in later episodes to express emotions easier and be easier to animate.
  • When SpongeBob and Mr. Krabs laugh together towards the beginning, SpongeBob's laugh is different than it is in other episodes.
  • Plankton has a record player which he uses to dramatize his evil schemes. The record is "Verve" by Jack Shaindlin, and its B-side is "The Alphabet Song" sung by Peter Gosling.[6]
  • When SpongeBob goes to sleep, his mattress has flower prints on it. However, in all other episodes, his mattress is plain white.
Labrador Retriever Alex credits
  • As Plankton says, "This is my lab," a real-life Labrador Retriever is shown. This also appears on the second SpongeBob SquarePants level in the console version of the video game Nicktoons Unite!
  • In Plankton's laboratory, Karen is on the right wall from the doors, rather than the usual location straight ahead of the doors.
    • However, Karen is in her normal position when SpongeBob leaves the lab at the end.
  • Several of Plankton's strategies and tactics are used in later episodes, such as his ability to hide in small places, sneak into someone's body, and use two levers to control a machine.
  • Plankton's screaming and his line, "I just want to talk," would later appear in the online game Reef Rumble.
    • Plankton's screaming was also heard in the online game Merry Mayhem!
  • In the audio commentary for the episode, Bill Fagerbakke comments that by the time the commentary was recorded, no episode had Patrick's name followed by an exclamation point. Years later, two such were produced for season 9, which are "Patrick-Man!" and "Patrick! The Game."
Season 1 Disc 1 Audio Commentary

Audio Commentary Menu.

Jellyfishing and Plankton! credits
  • This the first episode for a few things:
    • This episode marks the debut of Plankton, the Chum Bucket, and Karen in the series. Despite this, Karen's name is never mentioned or said out loud in this episode. However, the closing credits reveal her name.
    • This is the first appearance of SpongeBob's kitchen and Squidward's bedroom. Starting with this episode, the top of SpongeBob's head is now green like his sides, instead of yellow for the rest of the series, until "Lost in Bikini Bottom."
    • This is the first episode where the German dub version has the exact same title card as the English version.
      • This is because the word, "Plankton," in English is the same as in German, and so is the name of the character himself.
    • This is the first time Plankton goes inside of SpongeBob's brain. The second is in "The Inside Job" and the third is in The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water.
  • This is one of the few season 1 episodes where the Krabby Patty buns' sesame seeds are colored white. In most season 1 and early season 2 episodes, they are colored black.
  • This is the last episode of the series where letter A in crew members' names were filled in during the opening credits. All episodes starting with "Naughty Nautical Neighbors" have the letter A unfilled.
  • This episode was paired up with different episodes in different marathons:
  • There is a LEGO set called "Build-A-Bob (3826)" which is based on this episode.
  • There is an online game based on this episode called Invasion of the Patty Snatchers.
  • A clip from this episode was used in a 2010 Chia Pet commercial that was promoting SpongeBob SquarePants along with other licensed Chia Pets based on popular cartoon characters.[10]

SpongeBob clip in The Big Bang Theory.

  • In The Big Bang Theory episode "The Long Distance Dissonance," Sheldon Cooper is seen watching this episode on his phone, specifically during the scene where SpongeBob breaks through a wall in Squidward's house while being controlled by Plankton.
    • Coincidentally, Sheldon would later be revealed as Plankton's first name in "Plankton's Army."
  • On Amazon Prime Video, this is one of the only episodes along with sister episode that is marked "viewing restrictions apply" if parental controls are turned on.

Dub facts[]

  • In the Latin American and European Spanish dubs, the episode's name and the titular character is named "Plancton" which is only used in the first and second seasons, and the only episode to use the name in the title. By season 3, his name was changed to his original English name.

Cultural references[]


Plankton! 020

Squidward's incorrectly colored eyelids.

  • When Plankton first rushes off with that Krabby Patty, Squidward's eyelids are colored light turquoise instead of teal.
Screenshot 2024-03-29 075041

Mr. Krabs' mouth closed error.

  • When Mr. Krabs first appears in this episode, his first lines are "Avast ye patty pirate! This is no ghost. This is... Plankton!" When he says, "This is no ghost," his mouth is visible, but his mouth remains closed.
Plankton! 044

Krusty Krab missing error.

  • At night when SpongeBob is walking home, he moves his head to his left to right and the Krusty Krab across the Chum Bucket is missing.
    • Also, SpongeBob passes by the Chum Bucket as he walks, even though the Chum Bucket is right across the Krusty Krab.
  • When SpongeBob drops the golden spatula it is right next to him. When he walks away from Plankton, it is gone.
  • The words "Total Control" disappear and reappear on the controller Plankton uses.
Plankton! 111

Black tie.

  • When SpongeBob first walks toward his pants, his tie is red. When SpongeBob's pants are pulled across his face, his tie is black. Right after his pants are back in their normal spot on the hanger, his tie is red again.
Plankton! 117

Squidward's bedroom mistakenly being on the first floor.

  • When SpongeBob walks into Squidward's bedroom, it is on the first floor. However, in all other episodes, it is on the second floor.
Spongebob Screaming Error

SpongeBob screaming with his mouth closed.

  • When being forced into the Chum Bucket lab and screaming, SpongeBob's mouth does not move at all.
Plankton! 159

The first half of SpongeBob's head disappears.

  • When SpongeBob jumps in the Chum Bucket, the first half of his head disappears for a split second.
Plankton! 195

SpongeBob's visible eyelashes mistake.

  • Right after SpongeBob says, "Well, patty, I guess we can go home now," he blinks, but his eyelashes are still seen when his eyes are half-closed for a split second.
  • In the closing credits for this episode, Carolyn Lawrence is credited as "singer" for "The Alphabet Song" when it was actually sung by Peter Gosling.



SpongeBob SquarePants - "Plankton!" Premiere Promo (July 31, 1999)



Happy National Cartoonist Day (Keep It Here TV Spot, May 6, 2022)

Storyboard clip of this episode


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