Beware: Spoilers may follow.
The second episode of SpongeBob was a rather unique one as it was the first and only episode without any dialogue whatsoever. This was not in attempt to experiment with something different but rather due to the fact that the studio’s audio equipment was broken. It is a rather short episode barely clocking in at three minutes and it was merely meant to fill in the time the pilot episode, Help Wanted had left. Yet it did a lot more than what was intentioned.
The story is that Squidward attempts to relax outside on a sunny day. He finds a pink shell on his lawn and deeming it unsightly, nonchalantly kicks it onto SpongeBob’s lawn. In attempt to keep his lawn clear as well, SpongeBob goes through shenanigans trying to get rid of it with his reef blower.
The episode brilliantly establishes the relationship between Squidward and SpongeBob merely through their expressions that would subsequently carry into other episodes that we know and love. Squidward is man of peace and quiet. He simply wants to make the most of a situation whether good or bad but finds it interrupted by SpongeBob. SpongeBob on the other hand, is more optimistic and friendly but is blissfully unaware of the problems he is causing.
The SpongeBob episodes have been well known for their humor through clever dialogue. Wherever you look on the Internet at SpongeBob scenes the comedy is more spoken and much less shown. In fact visual humor in SpongeBob, particularly in newer episodes, are just what make them serious downgrades from the early episodes. Here however, the humor is very much visual and enjoyable. The ways SpongeBob tries to fix a mess started by Squidward mounts higher just keep mounting higher and higher until it goes into high gear by SpongeBob sucking out the entire ocean. And in a hilarious sense what goes around comes around as not only is Squidward still have the pink shell on his lawn by the end of it all but his whole house is covered in sand. It ends with Squidward just with an expression of defeat, which pretty much sums up what he deals with when it comes to SpongeBob’s antics.
Reef Blower is a simple and short but effective story that established the dynamic between Squidward and SpongeBob. It took advantage of not having any dialogue and made the most of a visual story piece. Even if it is rather short, it works as had it gone for 11 minutes of SpongeBob blowing sand everywhere it would have quickly gotten tedious.