One of the biggest running gags in SpongeBob SquarePants is that of Plankton looking to steal the Krabby Patty secret formula, which has been his biggest mission in life for years, and though he has come very close to achieving it (in the series, at least), he’s always bound to fail – and it’s because his plans are not exactly the best. SpongeBob SquarePants was created by marine science educator and animator Stephen Hillenburg in the early 1990s and made its official debut on Nickelodeon in 1999. Since then, the series has become one of the longest-running American animated series and the most successful Nicktoon, one that has also expanded to other media, most notably video games and film.
SpongeBob SquarePants follows the daily adventures of the title character – a sea sponge with the looks of a kitchen sponge – and his best friends Patrick Star, Sandy Cheeks, his neighbor Squidward Tentacles, and his greedy boss Mr. Krabs in the underwater city of Bikini Bottom. Of course, not even the always cheerful SpongeBob was going to be safe from trouble and enemies, and a recurrent antagonist is Plankton, who as the name says, is a planktonic copepod. Plankton’s eternal rival is Mr. Krabs, his former friend and now his biggest competitor in the restaurant business, so much that Plankton’s sole mission appears to be to steal the Krabby Patty’s secret formula.
Plankton finally achieved this in The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, but in the series, it’s a totally different story, with him and his computer/wife Karen often coming up with all types of plans to get a hold of the formula, and their attempts go all the way back to their first appearance in season 1.
Plankton owns his own fast-food restaurant called Chum Bucket, which happens to be right across the street from the Krusty Krab, but unlike its competitor, the Chum Bucket’s food is not good at all, as it’s all made from, well, chum. This is why Plankton has been trying so desperately to steal the Krabby Patty’s secret formula, as this would attract customers to his restaurant (and possibly leave Mr. Krabs bankrupt). Plankton has attempted pretty much everything on his quest to obtain the formula – from robots to literally entering SpongeBob’s mind – and his plans mostly rely on technology. Here’s every way he has tried to steal it:
Entering SpongeBob’s mind. Pretending to be a magician for The Krusty Krab Talent Show. Pretending to be SpongeBob’s, Squidward’s, and Mr. Krab’s friend (in different episodes, of course).Robots: posing as a robotic Mr. Krabs, creating a robot SpongeBob with his brain. Dressing up as a robot man, a cockroach (and turning into one, too), a dollar bill, a pepper shaker, Sandy (after stealing her pelt), his grandma, a stack of dollar bills, a door-to-door Snail Product Salesman, and a Sweetie Patrol Girl. Hiding in a ketchup bottle, a bun, Gary’s shell, a stomach, a tourist’s camera. Switching lives with Mr. Krabs through the Transmogrifier. Planting robotic legs in a Krabby Patty. Changing his topic card to “discuss the secret ingredients to the Krabby Patty formula”.Asking nicely. Gathering his relatives. Posing as a psychiatrist after driving SpongeBob insane. Dating Mr. Krabs’ mom. Freezing the Krusty Krab. Making SpongeBob, Patrick, and Squidward work for him. Turning Mr. Krabs into a baby. Hiring SpongeBob’s cousin, Stanley, and using him to steal the formula. Creating a band, as SpongeBob has a song with the ingredients of the Krabby Patty. Absorbing SpongeBob’s knowledge. Going after the time capsule that contains a copy of it. Pretending to be Sandy’s lab partner so she would make a teleporter. Creating a sled race to distract the whole town. Giving everyone Jerktonium fruitcakes so he was the only nice person in town and Santa would get him the formula. Teaming up with Man Ray. Having his cellmates break into the Krusty Krab. Creating the Majestic Sizzlemaster spatula. Using the giant purple goo bubble from the Goo Lagoon.Cloning SpongeBob.Creating fake fortune cookies. Making Mr. Krabs as dumb as Patrick. Creating an analyzer. Posing as Patrick’s conscience. Stealing SpongeBob’s keys to the Krusty Krab. Turning into a ghost.
As mentioned above, Plankton has never successfully stolen the formula in the series, though he has had it in his power a couple of times (and yet never got to read it), in the first film, he did manage to steal it and take advantage of it. The winner’s plan consisted in stealing King Neptune’s crown and blaming Mr. Krabs for it, prompting King Neptune to freeze Krabs. This allowed Plankton to steal the formula and sell many Krabby Patties. As Stephen Hillenburg considered the first film to be the end of the series, with all subsequent stories serving as prequels, it makes sense that Plankton finally stole the Krabby Patty secret formula, even if just for a while. Perhaps his biggest obstacle is SpongeBob himself, as he’s usually the one “ruining” his evil plans, but without them, SpongeBob SquarePants wouldn’t have one of its most entertaining gags.
Read more: screenrant.com