Encyclopedia SpongeBobia
Encyclopedia SpongeBobia
This is the page about the first season of the main series. For other uses, see Season 1 (disambiguation).

The first season of the American animated television series SpongeBob SquarePants, created by former marine biologist and animator Stephen Hillenburg, aired from May 1, 1999 to March 3, 2001, and consisted of 20 episodes. The series chronicles the exploits and adventures of the title character and his various friends in the fictional underwater city of Bikini Bottom. The show features the voices of Tom Kenny as SpongeBob SquarePants and Gary, Bill Fagerbakke as Patrick, Rodger Bumpass as Squidward, Clancy Brown as Mr. Krabs, Mr. Lawrence as Plankton, Jill Talley as Karen, Carolyn Lawrence as Sandy, Mary Jo Catlett as Mrs. Puff, and Lori Alan as Pearl.

Hillenburg initially conceived the show in 1984 and began to work on it shortly after the cancellation of Rocko's Modern Life in 1996.[1] To voice the character of SpongeBob, Hillenburg turned to Kenny, who had worked with him on Rocko's Modern Life. The show was originally to be called "SpongeBoy Ahoy!," but the name "SpongeBoy" was already in use for a mop product.[2] Upon finding it out, 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."[3]

After the pilot ("Help Wanted") was produced, Hillenburg was unsure if the show would be approved for a full season. In an interview, he said how he was perfectly fine with the accomplishment of just making one episode.[4] When the show was greenlit for a full series, Nickelodeon only ordered six episodes (twelve 11-minute segments) for the season.[4][5] Both Hillenburg and the network had low expectations for the show; Hillenburg thought the crew would only "make twelve shows and get canceled."[4] The season was extended for fourteen additional segments—starting with segment #113, "The Chaperone"—after positive reactions from the studio.

Several compilation DVDs that contained episodes from the first season were released. The SpongeBob SquarePants: The Complete 1st Season DVD was released in Region 1 on October 28, 2003, Region 2 on November 7, 2005, and Region 4 on November 30, 2006. The DVD was re-released as The Complete First Season on November 13, 2012. The pilot episode "Help Wanted" was not included on the DVD due to copyright issues with Tiny Tim's song "Livin' in the Sunlight, Lovin' in the Moonlight," but was later released as a bonus feature on various series DVDs, including that of the third season. The season received positive reviews from media critics upon release.

List of episodes

Title card # Title U.S. airdate U.S. viewers
Help Wanted.jpeg
1a "Help Wanted" May 1, 1999
SpongeBob applies for a job at the Krusty Krab, but Squidward and Mr. Krabs secretly try to get rid of him.
Reef Blower title card.jpg
1b "Reef Blower" May 1, 1999
Chaos ensues when SpongeBob attempts to move a shell off of his lawn with a reef blower.
Tea at the Treedome title card.png
1c "Tea at the Treedome" May 1, 1999
SpongeBob meets Sandy Cheeks and convinces her that he can be fine without water, but is instantly proven wrong.
Bubblestand title card.jpg
2a "Bubblestand" July 17, 1999
1.9[9] (kids 2-11)
SpongeBob starts a bubblestand.
Ripped Pants title card.jpg
2b "Ripped Pants" July 17, 1999
1.9[10] (kids 2-11)
SpongeBob rips his pants, causing everyone to laugh.
Jellyfishing title card.jpg
3a "Jellyfishing" July 31, 1999
SpongeBob and Patrick take Squidward jellyfishing.
Plankton! title card.jpg
3b "Plankton!" July 31, 1999
SpongeBob meets business-rival Plankton, who controls his mind in attempt to obtain the Krabby Patty secret formula.
Naughty Nautical Neighbors title card.jpg
4a "Naughty Nautical Neighbors" August 7, 1999
Squidward destroys SpongeBob and Patrick's friendship.
Boating School title card.jpg
4b "Boating School" August 7, 1999
Patrick attempts to help SpongeBob pass his driving exam.
Pizza Delivery title card.png
5a "Pizza Delivery" August 14, 1999
SpongeBob and Squidward deliver a pizza.
Home Sweet Pineapple title card.jpg
5b "Home Sweet Pineapple" August 14, 1999
SpongeBob's pineapple is consumed by nematodes, leaving him homeless.
Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy title card.jpg
6a "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy" August 21, 1999
SpongeBob and Patrick learn that their heroes are retired.
Pickles title card.jpg
6b "Pickles" August 21, 1999
SpongeBob loses his confidence after forgetting to put the pickles on a Krabby Patty.
Hall Monitor title card.jpg
7a "Hall Monitor" August 28, 1999
SpongeBob becomes hall monitor in Mrs. Puff's Boating School, resulting in chaos.
Jellyfish Jam title card.jpg
7b "Jellyfish Jam" August 28, 1999
SpongeBob brings home a jellyfish, creating chaos.
Sandy's Rocket title card.jpg
8a "Sandy's Rocket" September 17, 1999
After SpongeBob and Patrick sneak onto Sandy's rocket ship, they mistake Bikini Bottom for an extraterrestrial disguise.
Squeaky Boots title card.png
8b "Squeaky Boots" September 17, 1999
SpongeBob buys boots from Mr. Krabs, which causes an annoying squeaky sound.
Nature Pants title card.png
9a "Nature Pants" September 11, 1999
SpongeBob gives up a modern life to live with the jellyfish.
Opposite Day title card.png
9b "Opposite Day" September 11, 1999
Squidward tells SpongeBob and Patrick that it is Opposite Day.
Culture Shock title card.jpg
10a "Culture Shock" September 18, 1999
Squidward hosts a talent show at the Krusty Krab.
F.U.N. title card.jpg
10b "F.U.N." September 18, 1999
SpongeBob befriends Plankton because he thinks he is lonely.
MuscleBob BuffPants title card.png
11a "MuscleBob BuffPants" October 2, 1999
SpongeBob orders fake arms with inflatable muscles to impress Sandy.
Squidward the Unfriendly Ghost title card.png
11b "Squidward the Unfriendly Ghost" October 2, 1999
Squidward pretends to be a ghost after SpongeBob and Patrick think he is dead.
The Chaperone title card.png
12a "The Chaperone" March 8, 2000
SpongeBob takes Pearl to her prom.
Employee of the Month title card.jpg
12b "Employee of the Month" March 8, 2000
SpongeBob and Squidward compete for the Employee of the Month award.
Scaredy Pants title card.png
13a "Scaredy Pants" October 28, 1999
SpongeBob is tired of being cowardly on Halloween, so he dresses like a ghost with help from Patrick, and pretends to be the Flying Dutchman.
I Was a Teenage Gary title card.jpg
13b "I Was a Teenage Gary" October 28, 1999
SpongeBob leaves Gary in the care of Squidward and when he gets back, he transforms into a snail after accidentally being injected with snail plasma.
SB-129 title card.png
14a "SB-129" December 31, 1999
Squidward accidentally freezes himself for 2,000 years and experiences complications while using a time machine.
Karate Choppers title card.jpg
14b "Karate Choppers" December 31, 1999
SpongeBob and Sandy become obsessed with karate, which causes some problems.
Sleepy Time title card.png
15a "Sleepy Time" January 17, 2000
SpongeBob visits the dreams of others.
Suds title card.png
15b "Suds" January 17, 2000
SpongeBob catches a sickness known as the "suds" after leaving his refrigerator open.
Valentine's Day title card.png
16a "Valentine's Day" February 14, 2000
SpongeBob and Sandy try to give Patrick a Valentine's Day gift.
The Paper title card.png
16b "The Paper" February 14, 2000
SpongeBob plays with a bubble gum wrapper, and Squidward wants it after seeing how much fun it is.
Arrgh! title card.png
17a "Arrgh!" March 15, 2000
After being inspired by a board game, Mr. Krabs takes SpongeBob and Patrick to go on a treasure hunt.
Rock Bottom title card.png
17b "Rock Bottom" March 15, 2000
SpongeBob gets stuck in Rock Bottom after taking the wrong bus home.
Texas title card.png
18a "Texas" March 22, 2000
Sandy feels homesick and wants to return to Texas.
Walking Small title card.png
18b "Walking Small" March 22, 2000
Plankton tricks SpongeBob into becoming assertive so he can build his Mega Bucket on Goo Lagoon.
Fools in April title card.png
19a "Fools in April" April 1, 2000
Squidward is fed up over SpongeBob's amusement to April Fools day, and decides to play a nasty prank on him.
Neptune's Spatula title card.png
19b "Neptune's Spatula" April 1, 2000
King Neptune discovers someone has finally pulled the golden spatula from the grease, but does not believe it is SpongeBob.
Hooky title card.png
20a "Hooky" February 23, 2001
Fishermen visit Bikini Atoll, and SpongeBob must choose between a warning from Mr. Krabs not to go near the hooks, or a convincing from Patrick to ride them like it's a carnival.
Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy II title card.png
20b "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy II" March 3, 2001
SpongeBob wins a conch shell in a contest to summon his heroes.


Nickelodeon press release, summarizing the first four episodes in production order.

  • In 1999, Nickelodeon released a press statement summarizing the first four episodes. At the time, these episodes were planned to be released in production order: "Help Wanted," "Tea at the Treedome," "Squeaky Boots," and "Jellyfishing." Sometime in April 1999, Nickelodeon decided to air the episodes in a different order instead, called the "packaging order." This order does not relate to production or airing order, and it most notably moved "Squeaky Boots" (the third produced segment overall) to episode 8b, much later than it was produced.
  • This is the only season to use traditional cel-animation instead of digital-ink-and-paint animation. The show would not implement the technology until season 2.
  • This is one of two seasons only to not have any double-length episodes, with the other being season 10.
  • "Hooky" and "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy II" were the only episodes from this season to premiere in 2001.


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