Did you know that Mr. Krabs and Plankton get together to play cards once a week? Because according to this episode, they do! That’s actually pretty cute. The episode makes their card games sound shady, what with Mr. Krabs only playing because he knows Plankton is a terrible card player, and Plankton apparently throwing games on purpose to build Krabs’ confidence so he’ll eventually slip up. But still, I like the idea that despite how much they deny it, Plankton and Krabs do still enjoy each other’s company on some level. That’s what’s cute about it. What’s not so cute is that Mr. Krabs bets SpongeBob’s contract to Plankton and loses it. So SpongeBob has to go and work for Plankton.
Of course Plankton just wants SpongeBob to make krabby patties for him, but SpongeBob is so terrified and Plankton’s kitchen is so strange and unfamiliar that he isn’t able to. Plankton threatens to take SpongeBob’s brain and put it in a robot chef if SpongeBob doesn’t comply, but the threats don’t exactly help SpongeBob feel more relaxed. The computer screen in Plankton’s lab that won’t be given a name until season 3 suggests that Plankton win SpongeBob over by being nice to him, and that SpongeBob will give Plankton what he wants then.
Plankton does everything he can to make SpongeBob feel more comfortable. To start with, he turns the Chum Bucket kitchen into an exact replica of the Krusty Krab kitchen. I like how when Plankton reveals the new kitchen, the Krusty Krab theme plays but it has a slight echo effect. I just think that’s a cool detail.
After an unspecified amount of time, during which SpongeBob’s demands have becoming increasingly more ridiculous, Plankton casually asks SpongeBob to make some krabby patties. SpongeBob says he doesn’t feel like it. Plankton gets angry, SpongeBob back sasses him hilariously, and Plankton decides his brain is going in the robot chef after all.
Something I like about this episode is that it never really makes it clear whether SpongeBob was legitimately being a brat or if he was on to Plankton’s scheme the entire time and was just playing him. I like to think it’s the latter, partially because that’s funnier to me and partially because I like to imagine that SpongeBob has at least some control over his situation. Though either way it raises the question of why SpongeBob would act this way if he knew it meant having his brain taken out but let’s just disregard that.
Anyway, here’s the problem with the robot chef. One would expect that if the robot has SpongeBob’s brain, it would also have SpongeBob’s personality, right? Plankton doesn’t anticipate that, I guess. So when he asks his new robot chef to make him a krabby patty, the robot chef replies that he doesn’t feel like. Plankton decides that this whole bet was a bad idea and it wasn’t worth it, so he lets SpongeBob return to the Krusty Krab.
There’s really not that many Plankton episodes in season 2. Actually, there’s only this one and Imitation Krabs. As far as Plankton episodes go, I don’t think Welcome to the Chum Bucket is anything great, but since this season doesn’t offer much Plankton anyway, I’ll take what I can get. It’s still decent enough, it’s funny and cute and I do enjoy watching it.
A funny thing that I think goes unnoticed a lot is how when Plankton brings up the robot chef when he’s alone with Karen, she says “You know that never works.” This implies that not only has Plankton taken people’s brains to put in robots before, it’s also never been successful. He knows from experience that it wouldn’t have worked and he tried it anyway. And he calls himself a genius, bless him.
The episode begins with a live action shot of an artist at sea who drops the one pencil he brought with him in the ocean. The pencil is of course found by
Aaaw, look how big the pencil is compared to them! They’re so tiny!!
Anyway, the pencil is apparently magical? I don’t know why, and the episode never explains it. I guess we’re just rolling with the assumption the in the SpongeBob universe, pencils that come from land are magic. When they draw something with the pencil, it comes to life. They draw SpongeBob and plan to use “DoodleBob” to prank Squidward. Except DoodleBob turns out to be very violent and beats Squidward up on sight.
SpongeBob and Patrick are horrified and try to erase DoodleBob immediately, only to have DoodleBob steal the pencil from them. They eventually manage to get the pencil back from him and erase him, but not entirely. His arm wasn’t erased, and that arm sneaks into SpongeBob’s house that night to steal the pencil and draw itself a body again.
DoodleBob then tries to erase SpongeBob but after some struggle, SpongeBob discovers that getting paper on DoodleBob causes him to stick to it and become a regular, not-alive drawing. SpongeBob shuts DoodleBob in a book and the ordeal is over, and the next day he and Patrick send the pencil back to the surface.
I actually disliked this episode for a long time. Not because of anything wrong with the episode, really, but because I saw it so many when I was younger that I got sick of it and never wanted to see it again. So I usually skip it, and watching it for this review was the first time I’ve watched it in years and actually? I forgot that there was a reason I watched it so many times when I was younger. It’s a really fun episode.
However, there’s also a reason why the episode got so tiresome to me, in a way that other episodes that I also watched repeatedly didn’t. A lot of the humor in this episode relies on being random and unexpected, which can only work for so long. Like that joke where Patrick gets hit by the bowling ball and SpongeBob asks if he’s okay and Patrick shouts “FINLAND!” in response. That was hilarious at first, because it was so random and absurd, but it gets less funny when you’re expecting it. The humor regained some charm for me when I watched it again recently, because it had been so long that I’d forgotten a lot of it, but I don’t see myself watching this episode too often in the future.