The 30th of November is arriving, and according to the SpongeBob Wiki, it’s Plankton’s birthday. This gave me a legitimate reason to fully analyse Plankton and his role in the show. And ode to the guy, or some sorts.
July 1999. It was the time when a certain small, green, cute looking supervillain burst onto the scene. And after 11 minutes, we were all expecting big things from the little scallywag. In his brilliant debut episode, Plankton was shown as a rambunctious, clever, mentally devastating villain with a very cute and kinky appearance but a demanding big voice. We were all expecting him to be the villain that would enhance the show. With his all-round character. I was expecting massive things for him as well.
14 years after his initial debut, he left me stumped and wonder what could have been. Plankton’s first season was simply one of his best season. Although in retrospective, he was out-performed by a certain Squidward Tentacles, he was probably the second best. He had three major roles in Plankton!, Walking Small and F.U.N. and thoroughly excelled at all. Creating new dimensions and formulas for the show. His second season came and he appeared as major character in Imitation Krabs, The Fry Cook Games and Welcome to The Chum Bucket. A stagnant development of screen time, but still capable of bringing the goods (as shown in Imitation Krabs). Season 3 opens the production line with a Plankton episode. The first time Plankton got the start of a season running, and showing that the writers might give him more chances. They didn’t. He got major roles in The Algae’s Always Greener and Plankton’s Army only. A decrease of screen time shows it’s evident that Hillenburg’s crew haven’t got full trust of Plankton’s potential. With an average of only 2,7 major roles per season.
However, before he left, Hillenburg changed Plankton’s fate from being a second tier character, into a full starter. In the movie, Plankton was the main villain. Pulling strings and driving the movie to perfection. Creating conflicts and making the film a lot more dynamic. Performing brilliantly with his classic character being shown throughout. The movie was perhaps Plankton’s biggest ever role to date. But it may also tarnished his future role for the show. How? Well it starts when Hillenburg left the show to be run by new people.
Season 4 arrived and Plankton was given the license to start it. With an episode about him trying to steal the Krabby Patty formula. And then putting more major roles in Fear of a Krabby Patty, Enemy in Law, Best Frenemies, Krabs vs. Plankton and New Leaf. He did well in all, except in the horrid episode, New Leaf. In season 5, he was again presented the license to start a season with Friend or Foe. And then showcasing his talents in the arguably episode of the season, Krabs A La Mode. He majorly appeared in more episodes such as Goo Goo Gas, Bucket Sweet Bucket, 20.000 Patties Under The Sea, Spy Buddies, Mermaid Man vs. SpongeBob, Atlantis SquarePantis and Banned in Bikini Bottom. 8 major roles in a season. An astounding number. However, he did play in 3 bad episodes. In season 6, he was let go of the responsibility to start a season but appeared in major roles in episodes such as Chum Bucket Supreme, Komputer Overload, Chum Caverns, Single Cell Anniversary, Krabby Road, Plankton’s Regular, Truth or Square and Spongicus. 9 major roles in a season. Appearing in 2 bad episodes and some really good episodes. Plankton was the standout character in season 6. And it seems like he has touch his prime with an average of 7,3 major roles per season. And even though a lot of fans have grown tired of him at this point, the writers didn’t stop showing him.
And they really didn’t. Plankton scored major roles in Someone’s in The Kitchen With Sandy, The Inside Job, Greasy Buffoons, SpongeBob’s Last Stand, One Coarse Meal, Gramma’s Secret Recipe, Buried In Time, Shelback Shenanigans and Perfect Chemistry. 9 more major roles. However, the quality of his episodes are rapidly decreasing. Managing to star in 4 terrible episodes. And the fact that he gets used so much startled fans. At this point some of SB’s diehard fans are sick of his face starring and appearing in many many MANY major roles. In season 8 he got major roles in The Other Patty, Frozen Face-Off, Sweet and Sour Squid, Plankton’s Good Eye, Walking The Plankton, Fiasco!, Free Samples, For Here or To Go, Karen 2.0, SEAVTUiG, Chum Fricassee, Move it or Lose it and It’s a SpongeBob Christmas!. 13 MAJOR ROLES! That’s how much he gets overused. A lot of fans are still sick of his face but most forgave him since the episodes in season 8 are rather great. He only gets 6 major roles in season 9 but the stats don’t lie.
Average of Plankton’s major roles in a season
Pre-Movie : 2,7 major roles/season
Post-Movie : 8,3 major roles/season
The sad point is that there’s a stretch of time where most fans gets sick of him for appearing to much. I’ve seen a couple of topics and SBM saying “Which character would you like to see more/less” and the more frequent answer seems to be Sandy/Plankton. I’ve seen some of my SpongeBob loving friends in high school that thinks he’s overused.
To me, Plankton has been a walking paradox. He’s arguably the best character in the show but a lot of fans gets sick of his sight because he’s overused. He can make an episode look good but some fans are frustated by his incredible lack of flexibility in terms of plots. He was supposed to be one of the saviours of the show during the stretch of bad seasons but was one of the reasons why the show continues the rate of acid (seasons 5-7). We know the quality of Plankton. He can make the best episodes in the worst seasons. I’m sure the writers knew that very fact, so they decided to use him as major for lots and lots and LOTS of episode. His lack of flexibility is also an issue for the show. He was made to be Krabs’ main villain so when he appears, I believe 65-70 % of the tim he was used in another corporate cockfight episode with Mr. Krabs. This type of plot is so overused, especially in seasons 5 through 8. I remember the days of 2008-2010 when people were sick of the sight of Plankton. Complaining that both he and Krabs should stop appearing so much. And I can understand as much as I love the Plankton’s robust character perfectly fitted in a small physique. I guess the recent quality increase of the show makes Plankton a bit less strangled. But I will never forget the stretch of time when people were so bored of him, they hated him.
Plankton’s story is a lesson to be learned that moderation is important. You don’t want to eat your favourite food all the time. You don’t want to play your favourite game every time. There’s always space and time where you need to try something new. Making your live fresh and refreshing the perfect things in live.
So, what do you think of Plankton? Isn’t he just the cutest villain ever? Or is he a bad influence to the show?