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010a - Culture Shock

It's another day at the Krusty Krab, with Mr. Krabs manning a free salad bar, SpongeBob preoccupied with cleaning rogue dust particles off a table, and Squidward daydreaming about dancing. Mr. Krabs is getting irritated at the lack of customers, when one decides to comes in. Ecstatic at finally getting a customer, Mr. Krabs orders SpongeBob to cater to the fish's every whim. Unfortunately for them the fish was only looking to get change for a dollar, and is driven away by SpongeBob's excess enthusiasm, though not before leaving a penny behind for SpongeBob. However, Mr. Krabs catches wind of the penny and gets the drop on it first (literally).

As Mr. Krabs stores the penny away into his vault, he gives his two employees the bad news: Profits are way down this month, and they need a gimmick to bring in customers. Asking for ideas results in apathy from Squidward and increasingly absurd ideas from SpongeBob (including a free pair of socks with each purchase, "Double Patty Midnight Madness", and giving a free drink to the customer who comes in with a mouthful of clams). After Mr. Krabs points out that he was thinking along the lines of "live entertainment", Squidward hits a brainstorm: the first Krusty Krab Talent Show, with him as the host!

He nearly blurts out his intent to make himself into a star, but quickly corrects his faux-pas by claiming it would "bring culture to this cultural wasteland we call Bikini Bottom", and that it would bring in much needed revenue. Squidward draws in Mr. Krabs further by claiming that his whale daughter Pearl could become a star through this. SpongeBob is excited at the chance to show off his talents, and runs off to call his folks, while Mr. Krabs gives Squidward the go-ahead on the show. As the Krusty Krab gets set up for the upcoming show, SpongeBob asks Squidward when he's going to go on the show, even demonstrating his act (blowing a hippopotamus shaped bubble, then tap dancing along with it). Unfortunately the act does not impress Squidward, who claims it isn't "cultured" enough. SpongeBob runs off, vowing to come up with the most cultural act ever.

It's now night-time, and the Krusty Krab is packed; even Patrick has come along with SpongeBob's parents, who Mr. Krabs introduces himself to ("Hello! I'm Mr Krabs, and I like money!"). In the backstage, Squidward makes it very clear to everyone else that this is HIS chance to reach stardom, but is interrupted by SpongeBob's newest act: inflating himself with water and showing off his sponge traits. Squidward once again shoots him down, not wanting SpongeBob to ruin his chances at stardom. SpongeBob tearfully begs Squidward to let him on the show, claiming he'll do anything, with the squid relegating him to clean up duty after the show is done. SpongeBob, not realizing this, takes his new "act" with great enthusiasm.

Squidward goes on-stage to introduce the audience to the first Krusty Krab Talent Show, in the process making a joke about how no one else would give the Krabby Patty a home. This greatly amuses Patrick to the point that he randomly interrupts the next parts of Squidward's speech. Not able to get in a word edgewise, Squidward eventually just says Pearl's name and leaves the stage. Pearl is unveiled with a set of cheerleader pom-poms, and Mr. Krabs is ecstatic to see his daughter in the spotlight. Her act is a cheer-leading routine about the Krusty Krab, but her size and weight throws the audience up into the air with each jump, resulting in everyone eventually lying about in various states of pain. As she leaves the stage, SpongeBob drops in to badger Squidward about his "act", with the latter trying to ignore him.

The next act is poetry by SpongeBob's pet snail Gary. However due to speaking in meows, only Sandy Cheeks is able to understand how good his poetry is. Squidward is getting antsy at this point, both from how much time Gary is taking with his act and from SpongeBob bothering him again. The third act is by Mr. Krabs' business rival Plankton as "The Amazing Plankton!!!", with him intending to make a Krabby Patty disappear before the audience's eyes. However, it's just another ploy to steal the Krabby Patty formula, one that Mr. Krabs stops and ends with Plankton blowing himself up.

The crowd by this point is getting fed up with the terrible acts, and Mr. Krabs storms backstage, angry at the lack of good responses. Squidward temporarily placates him by claiming he saved the best act for last; it's finally his time to shine! After some buildup with spotlights, Squidward comes in his dancing gear, to looks of confusion from the audience. Squidward starts out dancing to orchestral music, before the music suddenly changes into trance; Squidward's dancing also becomes incredibly bizarre. Unfortunately for him, his time in the spotlight comes to an abrupt end as two audience members pelt him with tomatoes from the free salad bar. Mr. Krabs, realizing he's losing money to this deal, quickly slaps on a one dollar sign to the front of the free salad bar to cash in on the audience's rage. Squidward tells the audience they have no appreciation for his talent, only to be coldly rebuffed. Furious, he storms backstage, where a waiting SpongeBob asks whether he can go on now. Squidward tells him the show is over, much to the sponge's confusion.

SpongeBob gets to work cleaning the stage, only to receive an unexpected surprise: the audience likes his act! Squidward thinks the audience has changed their mind about him, and charges onstage as SpongeBob leaves...only to be met with silence. He storms off again, and SpongeBob continues cleaning to great applause. Squidward charges in and is once again met by silence. However, he begins to realize that SpongeBob seems to be tied to the audience's sudden change in behavior, and tries several times to get the audience to cheer for him by doing SpongeBob's act, only to be rejected. Squidward is forced to conclude that it's SpongeBob the audience is cheering for and watches from the sidelines. Squidward gets praised for his show, as well as making SpongeBob a star. Mr. Krabs, lying in a wheelbarrow full of money, says he'll need another one for next week's show; Squidward can only sigh and watch with envy as SpongeBob gets a standing ovation for his cleaning. It looks like Squidward did save the best for last; it just wasn't his act.

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