- Boys Who Cry (debut)
- Pearl Krabs
- Teen 12 (named Judy)
- Teen 11
- Teen 4 (named Billy Fishkin)
- Incidental CM12
- Frizzy-haired glasses anchovy
- Teen 7
- Teen 10
- Teen 9
- Teen 8
- Teen 5
- Incidental 174 (debut)
- Bowled black haired fish
- Incidental 42
- Incidental 41
- Incidental 48
- Incidental 37B
- Billy Fishkins
- Eugene H. Krabs
- King Neptune (mentioned)
- Naval officer (in a picture)
- Incidental 105
- Incidental 107
- Incidental 8
- Incidental 158
- Incidental 103
- Incidental 60
- Incidental 102
- Incidental 152
- Incidental 150
- Incidental 153
- Incidental 151
- Incidental 14
- Incidental 27
- SpongeBob SquarePants
- Dog fish
- Squidward Tentacles
- Incidental 36
- Incidental 13
- Incidental 46
- Marcy (mentioned)
- Angela (mentioned)
- Brad (mentioned)
- Cashier (debut)
- Incidental 87
- Sea pony (debut)
- Daydream Sea pony
- Mrs. Poecilia (debut)
- Checkout woman (debut)
Pearl has had fifteen horrible birthday parties due to her father's cheapness, and her sixteenth birthday is just one day away. Mr. Krabs is forced to give her the best birthday ever or else Pearl's high school reputation will collapse and he will have to "support Pearl for the rest of her life." While Mr. Krabs works on the party, SpongeBob is assigned the task of figuring out what Pearl would like for a birthday present. Mr. Krabs gives him his credit card, so that if something Pearl wants should be bought, it can be bought with the credit card. So SpongeBob trails Pearl and her friends through the Bikini Bottom Mall and takes note of everything she desires. However, he uses Mr. Krabs' credit card to buy everything Pearl admires.
Once Pearl arrives at her birthday party with her friends, everyone is horrified to find that her dad broke his promise and his miserly ways have won out again. The popcorn is stale, the drinks are dishwater, Pearl's ice sculpture is made out of four-hundred pounds of raw Krabby Patties, the cake is made out of cardboard and frosting, and even Squidward sings a song called "Four-Ply" instead of the group Boys Who Cry, which disgusts everyone. Pearl is also extremely hurt that her father could not even stop being cheap for her. Mr. Krabs feels bad and tells Pearl that he will try to make it up to her, somehow.
Just then, a delivery truck arrives with all of the gifts that SpongeBob bought for her, including a Boys Who Cry concert. SpongeBob hands Mr. Krabs the bill, which is excessively large. Before he can do anything about it, Pearl thanks her father for making it up to her, although SpongeBob is still in hot water with his boss.
|( ‣ ) Associated production music|
|( • ) Original music|
|( ◦ ) SpongeBob music|
• Happy Sponge Chase Vibes - Nicolas Carr [Title card]
◦ It's All About You - Tom King, Andy Paley [plays on the radio]
• What's This - Nicolas Carr [Pearl wakes up.]
‣ The Achterhoek Dances - Jan Rap ["Morning, Daddy!"/"Very special! Very, very special, indeed!"/"I'm going to be 16!"]
• Lap Steel - Nicolas Carr [Hawaiian sting]
‣ Surfer Baby (d) - Jerry Burnham [Pearl at high school]
‣ Jenny's Music Box - Peter Dennis [flashback to earlier birthday party]
‣ Hawaiian Cocktail - Richard Myhill [Pearl crying]
• Steel Sting - Jeremy Wakefield ["Bubble wrap!"]
• Steel Licks 6 - Jeremy Wakefield [Pearl's list of things she wants at the party]
‣ The Tip Top Polka/The Cliff Polka - Chelmsford Folk Band [Mr. Krabs assigns SpongeBob to buy Pearl's gift]
• Vibe Q Sting - Nicolas Carr ["I can buy stuff with this piece of plastic?"]
• Credit Card Heaven - Nicolas Carr [choir]
‣ The Tip Top Polka/The Cliff Polka - Chelmsford Folk Band ["Remember, nothing's too good for me little Pearl."]
• Spongeburglar - Nicolas Carr ["Do some detective work."]
‣ Poppin' Around - Bruce Campbell [Pearl at the mall]
• Harp Ding - Nicolas Carr ["The greatest thing I've ever seen in the whole world!"]
‣ Poppin' Around - Bruce Campbell [Pearl at the mall]
‣ The Dreadnought Tea Clipper (b) - Tim Laycock, Robert Alexander White ["I've had that since the day she was born."]
‣ Holiday Magic - Malcom Lockyer, Bert Weedon [sea pony]
• Steel Licks 10 - Jeremy Wakefield [Pearl riding pony]
‣ Lovely Scenery (c) - Mladen Franko [pony crushed]
‣ Holiday Magic - Malcom Lockyer, Bert Weedon [SpongeBob disguised as dog fish]
‣ The King's Codpiece - Paddy Kingsland [Krabby Patty sculpture of Pearl]
‣ Keel Row - Brian Peters ["Well, we've got the decor covered."]
‣ Four & Three - Harold Geller [SpongeBob getting Pearl's gifts]
• Steel Licks 8 - Jeremy Wakefield ["I'm back, Mr. Krabs!"]
• Nude Sting - Nicolas Carr ["It's a boy?!"]
‣ The Achterhoek Dances - Jan Rap [stale popcorn]
◦ 4-Ply - Vincent Waller, Andy Paley [Squidward sings this]
• Steel Licks 1 - Jeremy Wakefield [Pearl crying]
• Cream Pie - Sage Guyton, Jeremy Wakefield [delivery truck arrives]
◦ It's All About You - Tom King, Andy Paley [ending]
- This episode is available on the Whale of a Birthday, Season 4 Volume 2, Complete Fourth Season, Triple Pack 1, Big Hits: Volume 1, SpongeBob StarPants, Really Big Box Set, The SpongeBob Birthday Box, The Ultimate SpongeBob Box Set, The SpongeBob SquarePants Collection, 2-Season TV Pack, Double DVD Fun, The SpongeBob SquarePants 8 Season DVD Collection, Favorite Episodes, The Super Celebrations, Two for one with Nickelodeon! volume 2, Rockin' Bikini Bottom, Tales of a Teenage Whale, Best of SpongeBob, From the Beginning, Pt.2, SpongeBob SquarePants Vol. 6, The Third & Fourth Seasons, The Best 200 Episodes Ever, and First 100 Episodes DVDs.
- "Whale of a Birthday" was ranked #60 during the Best Day Ever event from November 9–10, 2006.
- "Whale of a Birthday" was ranked #51 during the SpongeBob's Top 100 event in the UK and Ireland from June 4-8, 2012.
- The title card background was previously used in "Wormy" during the song "That's What Friends Do," albeit more pink.
- In "Mid-Life Crustacean," Pearl states that the term "coral" is outdated. However, it is used in this episode.
- This episode reveals that Pearl is now 16 years old and had been 15 in previous episodes.
- This and "Karate Island" premiered in Germany on the same day as Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! premiered.
- This episode marks the first appearance of Bikini Bottom High School.
- This is the second episode to have hearts on the title card. The first is "Valentine's Day."
- In the Croatian dub, the episode's title is "Koraljkin Rođendan," which translates to "Pearl's Birthday."
- This is the first episode to use the track "Nude Sting."
- The title is a pun on the phrase "a whale of a time".
- The credit card company "Master-Carp" is a spoof of the real-life credit card company MasterCard.
- The group Boys Who Cry is based on the song "Boys Don't Cry" by The Cure.
- At the beginning of the episode, when Pearl wakes up, her lipstick is stuck to the upper lip of her mouth. After one scene, it returns to its normal position.
- When Pearl smashes her bedroom floor, the mat does not fall through the floor, as it is indestructible.
- Also, the mat disappears.
- Furthermore, when Pearl says "Morning, daddy," the wooden pieces are gone.
- At the beginning of the episode, Pearl mentions that her birthday is "the next day," but it seems to be the same day throughout the rest of the episode.
- When Pearl runs out of her school, right directly across from her school is the Krusty Krab. In most episodes, right directly across from the Krusty Krab is the Chum Bucket.
- When Pearl runs into the citizens in the Krusty Krab crying, the tables are plain beige instead of their normal designs.
- After Pearl says "Now promise me, you won’t be cheap," the color of her eyelid is gray instead of purple.
- When Pearl gives a long list to Mr. Krabs, the bubble wrap is gone after he rolls up the list.
- When Mr. Krabs says "I wanted to give her nothing...," the bottom reflection on his right claw disappears for a couple of frames.
- Pearl puts on the glitter gloss lipstick on her lips. After several scenes, however, when one certain scene is either the flashback of Pearl riding the sea pony or when Judy tells Pearl to come here about something coral, the lipstick is gone.
- When Pearl and her friends are at the mall and she looks at the sea pony, the first shot shows the dog fish tank right next to it, with a clear separation of the two tanks. A few seconds later, the sea pony shares a tank with the dog fish.
- When Pearl and her friends meet Billy Fishkins, when facing in front, her lipstick disappears by one frame.
- When Judy and her friends laugh after looking at the banner that reads "It's a boy," Pearl's skin is dark gray instead of a normal gray.
- When Pearl is angry, looking at Mr. Krabs, saying "...and frosting," she is holding a fork with cardboard and frosting. However, when Pearl looks at Judy, the fork is gone.
- While Boys Who Cry sing, Pearl's friends have copies of themselves: Three of her friends with the blue hair and two yellow-haired.
- When Squidward says the last word, "Huh!," while performing "4-Ply," he throws a tissue on the right side of himself. However, after a couple of scenes, the tissue is gone.
- Near the end, when Boys Who Cry sing, the red fish sings the line "You get your very own spotlight tonight" while the blue and green fish do the "oohs." The fish were mouthing the line.