I love Spongebob Squarepants, as childish as it sounds, it actually contains some adult themes and decent moral lessons in some episodes. Like Ren and Stimpy, Rugrats and other Nickelodeon shows, there are bad episodes, but we will not focus on them. The episode I am writing about today is called Squid on Strike, which is the first segment of season 2, episode 11.
In this episode, Mr. Krabs began to take drastic measures to deduct Spongebob and Squidward’s wages after a decline in profit. Squidward was not pleased and decided to go on strike, along with Spongebob, to protest the unfair treatment. The oblivious Spongebob could not understand why they were striking and went along anyway, but to Squidward’s dismay, Spongebob made Krusty Krab more profitable by doing the following:
- Misspelling “Krusty Krab unfair” as “Krusty Krab funfair”.
- Replaced him own fry cook position with another young worker (which deeply upsetted Spongebob).
Squidward’s own speech to rally the crowd backfired too, which made the Bikini Bottom citizens hungry so they went in to buy more krabby patties. He was also fined for littering too
Mr.s Krabs seeing this success, came out to taunt Squidward but Spongebob stood up for him and took Squidward’s speech to his heart. Squidward realising he may be stuck protesting with Spongebob forever, decided to beg Mr. Krabs for his job back. It turned out that Mr. Krabs wanted Squidward and Spongebob back too. They negotiated and reached an agreement while heading to Krusty Krabs. Meanwhile, Spongebob was so convinced by Squidward that he destroyed Krusty Krabs overnight. Seeing the wreckage, Mr. Krabs asked Squidward and Spongebob to work for him forever to repay the damages Spongebob caused. The two were seen working in skeletal form “one eternity later”.
This is one of my favourite episodes (my absolute favourite is Rock Bottom), mainly because of the anti-communist messages. Now, I am not saying Mr. Krabs was not to be blamed, he did tried too hard to unfairly deduct Spongebob and Squidward’s wages (including for breathing and existing), this lead to the strike to take place. One thing squidward did not realise was that he did have barganing power but he didn’t know how to use it. Instead he took the socialist way of organizing a union (even though it’s just him and Spongebob, that’s the entire workforce of Krusty Krabs) without realising Spongebob did not actually want to join him. Another key plot element was that Spongebob was replaced by another younger fish, this is what free market does, there is always competition and if you don’t compete, others will. Squidward’s communist messages failed to point out the abuse of Mr. Krabs, instead they actually made people like Krusty Krabs more for their good product. The strike also faced problem because it was on a private property, technically they don’t have a right to obstruct Krusty Krabs’ business, this was solved by Squidward being fined for littering on the ground, showing the recognition of property rights in a vague sense.
Squidward and Mr. Krabs did reach an agreement in the end, that’s how bargaining should have been. Both parties recognizing their strengths and negotiation takes place to work in both of their favours. Mindless destruction of the “mean of production” actually doesn’t benefit anyone if the workers would still be out of jobs and now, also facing the criminal resposibility of such vandalism.
We can all learn a thing or two about the lessons Spongebob wants to teach us, thank you writers!