the ''shut your mouth you mediocre clarinet player'' line is the best part of the episode, it's so funnyNow this is how you do a character introduction! I mean, every character introduction in SpongeBob at this point has been excellent, but man does "Plankton!" do it with style. Also, before I get started, appreciation post for the title card music (Chill Out) and the track that plays when Plankton first talks to SpongeBob (Haunted Surf). While I do like the surf rock vibe SpongeBob had going on in season 1 (Culture Shock, anyone?), I disagree that the show should've fully kept the vibe. I do love these tracks though. Anyway...
This episode introduces us to the villain we all know and love, Plankton! Rewatching season 1 is so fun because we get to see the origins of all of these iconic parts of SpongeBob. I mean, imagine this show without these Plankton plots. It's just something so integral to the show that it's unimaginable, at least for me. And Plankton plots aren't even my favorite part of the show!
"Plankton!" is a hilarious and atmospheric episode. Atmospheric because it largely takes place at night, giving us some new insights into the environment of Bikini Bottom. And then hilarious because, well, it's just really funny. Every joke in this episode lands and lands hard, and there's something inherently hilarious in Plankton's character design. Being such a grandiose-speaking guy who's smaller than everyone else in the show is just funny. Like many of these season 1 episodes, "Plankton!" has lots of iconic moments, from "I went to college" to "This is my lab, and this is my laboratory". And don't get me started on "shut your mouth you mediocre clarinet player", that scene never fails to get me rolling. The voice acting is just so good! (Sometimes I feel the VAs are underrated, or like there's a lack of acknowledgement of their superior performance. Like we say their voices are perfect, which is true, but we don't talk about the sheer talent these people have in their inflections, screams, emoting, etc.)
One thing about season 1 that I like is the simplicity of some of these episode titles. I mean, just think of the 5 of the last 7 episodes. "Reef Blower", "Bubblestand", "Ripped Pants", "Jellyfishing", and now "Plankton!". Literally they just describe the main part of the plot of the episode. It's so simple yet so good. I mean, I will always adore a punny and clever title, but these are just as good too.
This episode introduces Plankton so well, I think, because it shows us everything we need to know about his character. He's a megalomaniac, he's compensating, he wants the Krabby Patty Secret Formula, he's both menacing and silly, he's an evil genius, and he's dramatic. Very, very impressive for an 11-minute episode. "Plankton!" earns its spot in my Amazing tier because it is funny, doesn't drag, and does an excellent job at introducing our first real villain of the show.
Episode Tier: Amazing
Episode Score: 9/10