One Coarse Meal (SpongeBob SquarePants)

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One Coarse Meal
Onebadmeal.png
An episode that not only took torturing a character to extreme levels, but also became so infamous. So notorious, that it almost became the death knell for the reputation of an otherwise great franchise as well as both writers (Casey Alexander and Zeus Cervas).
Series: SpongeBob SquarePants
Part of Season: 7
Episode Number: Season: 11a
Overall: 137a
Air Date: March 25, 2010
Writer: Casey Alexander
Zeus Cervas
Doug Lawrence
Director: Vincent Waller
Previous episode: Summer Job
Next episode: Gary in Love

"That’s it, I’m done. The 4:15 bus should be along anytime now…"

Plankton deciding to end it all by getting run over by a bus.

One Coarse Meal is the first segment of the eleventh episode of the seventh season of SpongeBob SquarePants.

It is now clear that the episode is still airing to this day.

Summary

Mr. Krabs discovers that Plankton is afraid of whales and disguises himself as his daughter Pearl to scare Plankton to take advantage of it.

Plot

As the episode opens, Mr. Krabs is sleeping in his money bath, when he smells something burning. SpongeBob then tells Mr. Krabs that it smells like Plankton with his new explosives. Plankton then blows up the Krusty Krab, while his machine captures SpongeBob and Mr. Krabs. Plankton tickles Mr. Krabs with a feather. SpongeBob accidentally reveals the location of the Krabby Patty secret formula. Then, Pearl comes to the kitchen. Plankton runs back to the Chum Bucket in panic, as it turns out he's terrified of whales. Afterward, Mr. Krabs asks Pearl if he could use one of her dresses.

Plankton tells Karen about his fear of whales and finding Pearl in the lab, along with how they ate his family members in the past. She tells him there are no whales in the Chum Bucket. Later, seemingly Pearl terrorizes Plankton. He flees inside the Chum Bucket, where Pearl quickly reappears, claiming she wants to eat Plankton. This goes on for two whole weeks--Plankton becomes severely traumatized and eventually has a nightmare about a demonic Pearl eating him and his kinfolk. Unknown to Plankton, it turns out that "Pearl" was Mr. Krabs in disguise the entire time.

The next day, Plankton appears on the road, laying on it to try to get run over by a bus. SpongeBob becomes concerned about this and confronts Mr. Krabs in his office and tries to ask him to stop harassing Plankton, but he refuses to listen. Mr. Krabs reminds SpongeBob that he revealed the location of the formula which is a violation of the Krusty Krab Rule Book. Since Mr. Krabs won't listen to reason, SpongeBob then tells Plankton about Mr. Krabs' worst fear. Plankton suddenly stops his attempt to get run over and is surprised but becomes angry when SpongeBob tells him that it has been Mr. Krabs disguised as Pearl who's been scaring him the entire time. SpongeBob leaves while Plankton is left with a plan to get revenge on his rival.

Plankton decides to get revenge on Mr. Krabs by tormenting him with a mime which turns out to be Mr. Krabs' fear. Later, SpongeBob scares Plankton away with holographic whales to keep him from getting the formula. SpongeBob then releases Mr. Krabs, and the episode closes as mime continues to bother him.

Why It Is INDEED Coarse

  1. To get the elephant out of the room, it's not only a very harsh Plankton torture episode, but it's the absolute worst torture episode of any character in this entire show, although "Are You Happy Now?" comes close. Even the Squidward Torture episodes weren't this horrible.
    • Also, this episode is basically SpongeBob SquarePants' answer to The Simpsons episode "The Boys of Bummer", which is another episode with a similar premise.
  2. The writers of this episode feel like they hate Plankton as Mr. Krabs uses Plankton's fear of whales to scare him, leaving him in depression, and paranoia. Even when SpongeBob points out the consequences of his deeds, Mr. Krabs just laughs and points out how much of a mess Plankton is now.
  3. Aside from disturbing, the animation here is very bland and doesn't feel fluid at all, not to mention having a lot of washed-out colors.
  4. It's unclear on everything, and people can't seem to agree on what actually happened in the episode.
  5. What doesn't help is when you consider that Mr. Krabs and Plankton were friends before, as established in "Friend or Foe". This episode shows no signs of continuity towards said episode and it comes off as sad to contradict such past events.
  6. The opening scene, while decently action-packed, actually makes the rest of the episode worse because it further unjustified Mr. Krabs' treatment to Plankton. Plankton does attempted robbery, which not only has been done many times on the show before, but is also something that Mr. Krabs does, too.
  7. Many of the characters aside from SpongeBob and Plankton are unlikable and some of them are at their absolute worst:
    • Mr. Krabs is, without a doubt, at his absolute worst in this episode, as he needlessly and purposely torments Plankton to the point where he considers suicide, even if it means keeping the secret formula from him.
      • Plus, he seems to be portrayed as a protagonist, even though he acts like a diabolical, arrogant sociopath who torments his rival to the point of considering suicide and shows no remorse for his actions. Not helping is that he never gets any real comeuppance for his actions whatsoever; however, he almost did when Plankton tried to torment him with a mime, but it goes back to Mr. Krabs winning anyway.
      • His infamous line after learning that Plankton's going to end himself: "Really? He's a mess! (Laughs)" which shows how heartless, rude, and cruel he is.
      • He even erases a drawing of Plankton in this episode, implying that he wants to kill him.
    • Karen is also unlikable and wasn't any better. Instead of encouraging Plankton to steal the Krabby Patty Secret Formula and/or trying to help him get off his fear of whales, she criticizes him because he has a fear of whales and even ignores him when he pleads for help.
    • Pearl, furthermore, is unlikable as well. She's portrayed as avaricious and only helps her father and SpongeBob after she receives money.
      • There's one scene where she says, "I prefer salad over plankton anyway.", which implies that she's eaten plankton before.
  8. This episode expects you to root for Mr. Krabs since he gets a chance to actually win against Plankton for the last minute, but because of Krabs' cruel and villainous nature, this episode makes you want to root against"' him instead.
  9. Perhaps the most infamous scene in the episode is when Plankton reveals his intentions to take his own life, which is rather sensitive and goes well into adult territory.
  10. This episode failed miserably to do horror-comedy correctly, as prior and later episodes, including "Squidward in Clarinetland", "Fear of A Krabby Patty", "Don't Look Now", "Nasty Patty", "Graveyard Shift", and "The Ghost of Plankton" have done this right. This along with "A Pal for Gary" tried to take this concept correctly, except they went too far. What failed experiments of episodes they are, it would be considered laughable.
  11. As Mr. Krabs seems to be portrayed as a protagonist (as already mentioned in WIIIC #7.1.1) and Plankton as an antagonist, the episode implies that you are in the right by harassing and driving other people you despise into committing suicide, which is morally wrong as it can make you look like a criminal.
    • Driving someone to suicide can be considered murder as there have been some cases in real life where people have been arrested for being the perpetrator of another person's suicide.
  12. The nightmare scene adds to the whole atrocity of this episode.
  13. It also directly contradicts "The Algae's Always Greener", in which Plankton and Pearl directly interact. Yes, one may say that SpongeBob SquarePants has always had continuity errors, but several episodes, especially those that do contradict prior episodes, aren't really meant to be watched in chronological order, not to mention the series' official timeline is also unclear.
  14. The title card, for some reason, plays light-hearted music, which is a very bad contrast to the episode's scary tone.
    • On that topic, the title card, while still good, is somewhat creepy. It is because it has black bars around it, which is used in a lot of horror movies.
  15. SpongeBob, while not as bad as Mr. Krabs in this episode, is no better as he helps Plankton give Mr. Krabs revenge, only for him to suddenly betray Plankton and help Mr. Krabs instead for no reason.
  16. Despite all of the torment Plankton is put through, the writers still portray Plankton as the villain of the episode just because he is designated to be a villain by the show's standards.
  17. Hypocrisy: This episode tries too hard to make Plankton unlikable, as one part has him trying to take revenge on Mr. Krabs by tormenting him with his own worst fears and it portrays that moment as bad, which is very hypocritical of both the show and the episode because it is not Plankton that is being the villain, but it is Mr. Krabs.
    • And considering that Plankton wants to end his life due to Mr. Krabs overusing Pearl's identity, it makes it even harder to believe that it's Plankton the villain of this episode, this episode is also likely the reason why Mr. Krabs nowadays is hated by a lot of peoples, along with his flanderization in the seasons 6 to 8.
  18. This episode could encourage children to become bullies by tormenting other people and it shows them that taking advantage of the fears of others is a good thing, and that is a serious red flag.
    • There could possibly be some kids watching this episode who are either terrified by or reenact Plankton's suicidal actions by any type of ways to do so. For example, a 7-year-old boy from England reenacted Jeffy hanging himself in the SML short episode “Jeffy’s Tantrum”.
  19. It is revealed that Mr. Krabs doesn't even pay SpongeBob with real money, which is hard to believe since "Squeaky Boots" showcases Mr. Krabs paying half his money to SpongeBob almost at the end of the episode. Here in "One Coarse Meal", this episode acts like nothing from "Squeaky Boots" has even happened.
  20. Abysmal ending: After Plankton finally learns "Pearl" was Mr. Krabs in disguise the entire time and gets his revenge on him at last with a mime he can torment him with, SpongeBob scares him away with holographic whales so he can lose.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. Just like a regular SpongeBob SquarePants episode, the first few minutes of the episode were okay until Mr. Krabs finds out about Plankton's fear of whales.
  2. Plankton is the only likable character and it's easy to feel sorry for him. Not to mention that he's still in-character in this episode, and he was able to plot some well-deserved revenge against Mr. Krabs.
    • Pearl is at least a tolerable character in this episode because she did not participate in her father torturing Plankton.
    • SpongeBob is somewhat tolerable throughout the episode; however, the same can't be said in the ending, unfortunately.
      • At least he stopped Plankton from getting crushed by the bus.
      • He called out Mr. Krabs for torturing Plankton.
  3. The writers of the episode might have done some research. Whales do eat plankton, but sperm whales don't, and Pearl is a sperm whale.
  4. As is to be expected in a SpongeBob episode, the voice acting is still great along with the animation.
  5. At least Plankton puts behind his suicidal intentions, even if his revenge attempt failed anyway.
  6. Surprisingly, this is one of Plankton's most well-developed roles yet, making for a more interesting plot than your typical "Plankton tries to steal the Krabby Patty secret formula" episode.
  7. The "Wacky Bucks" scene is the only good joke in the episode.
  8. Even though Plankton's revenge attempt was ruined thanks to SpongeBob (as discussed in the latter of RQ#5), at least seeing Plankton using a mime to scare Mr. Krabs was very satisfying.
    • On that note, Krabs' fear of mimes (Metamfiezomaiophobia) can be funny.
  9. However, while this episode is bad itself, it at least didn't take the character torture episode concept the same way Danganronpa did.
  10. Plankton's cousins return, and it's great to see them since "Plankton's Army" after nine years.
  11. The title card, while somewhat creepy, is still creative.

Reception

"One Coarse Meal" was universally panned by fans and critics and is widely considered to be one of the worst episodes of SpongeBob SquarePants. It received a 3.5/10 on IMDb making it the second lowest-rated episode of SpongeBob. PhantomStrider ranked it the number #1 worst episode of the series. WatchMojo ranked it Number #1 on their Worst SpongeBob list. [citation needed]

Similar in case to the Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends episode “Everyone Knows It’s Bendy”, much of the cast and crew confessed to hating this episode as well, most notably Clancy Brown, who is Mr. Krabs' voice actor, as he felt uncomfortable when he was recording his lines for the character in the episode. There were rumors that even Stephen Hillenburg hated this episode as well. Evidence of that is unconfirmed as of 2021, even before and after his death in 2018.

PIEGUYRULZ considered this episode to be his final 3rd least favorite episode of Season 7. Although, he doesn't think this one is bad enough to appear on his bottom 5 or even the Bottom 10 (all of his bottom 4 episodes of Season 6 (Boating Buddies, The Splinter, Truth or Square, & Choir Boys) more, Atlantis SquarePantis, SpongeHenge, Back to the Past, That Sinking Feeling, Are You Happy Now?, & SpongeBob, You're Fired being examples of episodes he hates more) of the entire series, & he thought there're still some of the episodes are less entertaining to watch than this, for instance, Boating Buddies.

Gallery

Trivia

  • Ironically, this episode was paired with the famous episode, "Gary in Love".
  • This episode was originally going to be titled "Plankton Got Served" during production.
  • Mr. Krabs' voice actor, Clancy Brown himself stated he dislikes this episode.
  • This episode was so bad that even late series' creator Stephen Hillenburg himself had openly expressed his negative feelings towards this episode.
  • This episode was ranked #99 during the SpongeBob's Top 100 event in the UK & Ireland.
  • This episode was so bad that some fans and viewers stopped watching the show altogether after this episode.
  • It was so controversial that Nickelodeon almost never airs this, possibly even less than SpongeBob, You're Fired.
  • Intrancity says it's one of his favorite episodes, because of its compelling story & characters. If you look at his scorecard, he put this episode at Number 9 for best SpongeBob episodes. He further explains why he likes this episode in more detail.
  • Mr. Lawrence, the voice actor of Plankton, was one of the writers who wrote this episode.

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