There’s not a whole lot of Mr. Krabs in season 1, oddly enough. There’s not even that many episodes at the Krusty Krab in season 1, compared to the overabundance of them in later seasons. Funny.
So, here’s an episode where Mr. Krabs’ greed is very much on display, probably moreso than in previous episodes, but it’s actually done very well. The way it’s done is funny, never annoying. I mean, I guess your mileage may vary, and I have noticed that I tend to be a bit more forgiving than others, but for me at least, it’s done well here.
It all begins when Mr. Krabs joins SpongeBob and Patrick in playing a board game. The object of the game is to be the first to reach the Flying Dutchman’s hidden treasure at the center of the map. Mr. Krabs becomes very invested in the game, and keeps SpongeBob and Patrick playing it late into the night. Even when SpongeBob finally goes home, Mr. Krabs shows up wanting to play some more, which leads to:
Ha! Honestly, I just think it’s hilarious when SpongeBob gets angry.
Anyway, Mr. Krabs takes the hint. He apologizes for getting so obsessed with the game and leaves SpongeBob to go to bed.
The following morning, however, he returns with a ship, and claims that he, SpongeBob and Patrick are going to find the Flying Dutchman’s treasure for real. The rest of the episode is just their misadventures while they look for the treasure. SpongeBob and Patrick prove to be pretty bad pirates, as one would expect, and Mr. Krabs is a pretty selfish and manipulative captain, as one would probably also expect. Their shenanigans are funny, though. They actually make a good trio in this episode.
Eventually SpongeBob and Patrick find out that Mr. Krabs’ treasure map is really just the game board taped to a piece of paper. However, the game turns out to be really be based on a real treasure map, as they end up finding the treasure anyway. An argument ensues over how the treasure should be split. Mr. Krabs wants all of it for himself, and SpongeBob and Patrick want to share it equally. The Flying Dutchman appears and puts a stop to the fighting. He awards SpongeBob and Patrick with gold doubloons for finding the treasure, and he awards Mr. Krabs with a small replica of the treasure made of plastic.
There’s not much to this episode in terms of story or character, but it is a really funny episode. There’s something almost cute about how obsessed Mr. Krabs becomes with the game, and even though that obsession manifests in some less cute traits later on, I still get a laugh out of just how far he takes it. Like, he literally just taped the game board to a piece of paper and called it a treasure map.
There’s a pretty satisfying resolution to the episode, too. Mr. Krabs gets comeuppance for his greed and SpongeBob and Patrick get something for their trouble. Everyone gets what they deserve.
This episode used to creep me out a little when I was a kid, though not to a point where I didn’t like watching it. Being in an area I’m not familiar with and not being able to find my way home was a pretty big fear of mine when I was a kid, so SpongeBob’s predicament resonated with me.
There’s some really interesting things about this episode, one of them being that most of it doesn’t take place in Bikini Bottom at all. After getting on the wrong bus, SpongeBob and Patrick end up in a place called Rock Bottom, a city at the bottom of a deep pit. Patrick manages to catch a bus and go home pretty early on, leaving SpongeBob completely alone in this weird place.
The story itself isn’t one of the interesting things about the episode. It’s mostly just SpongeBob trying to catch a bus, which apparently don’t stop for more than a few seconds even when there is clearly someone trying to get on them. He keeps missing them, of course, and that’s the gag that the majority of the episode is based on.
The really great thing about this episode is the setting. Rock Bottom is such a weird place and it’s actually really funny and fascinating. It doesn’t seem to be a malicious place, but everything and everyone in it looks so strange and alien and so different from what we’re used to in Bikini Bottom. From an outsider’s perspective, it’s as though Rock Bottom is purposefully trying to be confusing and frustrating. That’s kind of more entertaining than if it was a legitimately threatening place.
Eventually one of the Rock Bottom citizens helps SpongeBob get back home, which is a nice way to end things. As strange as they were and as intimidating as some of them looked, the Rock Bottom citizens were never really trying to hurt SpongeBob. They seemed to be more interested in trolling him than actually hurting him, but in the end at least one of them was willing to help him out.
The repetitive gags in this episode get stale for me, but I like this episode mainly for its setting. I kind of wish we could see Rock Bottom again, it’s an interesting place, though maybe it would lose some of its charm if we saw too much of it. Maybe it’s best that this is all we got.