Business is slow at the Krusty Krab. After a customer arrives to get change for a dollar, with unfortunate results, Mr Krabs calls SpongeBob and Squidward into his office, and tells him that profits are down and that they need a gimmick to bring in customers. Squidward suggests that the Krusty Krab hold a talent show, intending to showcase his talent, and Mr. Krabs agrees.
SpongeBob is eager to participate in the show after practicing a tap-dancing routine with Hippopotamus bubble, but for some unknown reason, possibly because he hates him, Squidward tells him that he has no talent and refuses to let him go on. When the night of the show arrives, it is a major success, attracting a full house of customers. Acts include Pearl, who performs a cheerleading routine, and whose massive weight causes the floor to shake whenever she jumps, Plankton who performs a magic trick which is actually an attempt to steal a Krabby Patty, and Gary, who recites a poem that, to the viewer, consists entirely of indiscernible meowing, among others. Backstage, SpongeBob begs Squidward to be in the show, and Squidward gives him the duty of mopping up after the show, which he accepts enthusiastically.
The grand finale of the show is Squidward's act, which the audience hates. They begin throwing tomatoes from the free salad bar at him, and Mr. Krabs, seeing opportunity in this, puts a price on the salad bar ($1.00 for each tomato), which the customers willingly pay as they continue to pelt Squidward with tomatoes. Eventually, Squidward furiously leaves the stage, and tells SpongeBob that the show is over. SpongeBob goes onstage and begins mopping up the mess, which the audience enjoys and starts cheering. Squidward, thinking they are cheering for him, goes back onstage, but is ignored. He soon realizes that the audience is cheering for SpongeBob, and tries to mimic him, but they invariably cheer for SpongeBob and ignore Squidward. He eventually gives up, goes backstage, and watches sadly as SpongeBob is showered with applause. Mr. Krabs approaches Squidward in a wheelbarrow of money from the salad bar, and tells him that he will need another wheelbarrow for next week's show. The audience then throws flowers at Spongebob as the episode ends
- When Squidward orders the performers to gather around, Plankton is seen, although it would've been a great time to steal the Krabby Patty formula.
- This is the first time What Zit Tooya appears as a cameo. He reappeared as an actual character in "Good Ol' Whatshisname", then made another cameo in "Toy Store of Doom".
- While Gary is reading poetry Squidward says "Come on Ginsberg" as an allusion to the beat poet Allen Ginsberg
- This is the first time where the "MY LEG!" gag sounds completely different than the usual ones.
- When Squidward introduces his act, the clock above the doors is not there.
- This was one of Pearl's only appearances where she does not cry.
- In the scene where SpongeBob's parents come in, Patrick is standing next to Mr. Krabs and in the next scene, he isn't.
- After being driven off the stage by the patrons, Squidward later hears them cheering (for SpongeBob). Even though the patrons made it clear that they hated his act, Squidward actually thinks they want an encore.
- The balloons and confetti that fall from the ceiling are blue, pink, and purple.
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