One of the main settings in SpongeBob SquarePants is The Chum Bucket, Plankton’s restaurant that always fails, and here’s why it will never succeed.
Although the characters in SpongeBob SquarePants have visited a variety of places within Bikini Bottom, there are a couple that serve as main settings, among those The Chum Bucket, which no matter what keeps failing, and a fan theory has an idea of why. Nickelodeon has brought many memorable and popular TV shows, but none has been as successful as SpongeBob Squarepants. Created by Stephen Hillenburg, SpongeBob SquarePants debuted on Nickelodeon in 1999 and has been unstoppable ever since, even branching out to other media like video games, film, and with a couple of spinoff shows as well.
SpongeBob SquarePants takes the audience to the bottom of the ocean, to the underwater city of Bikini Bottom, where SpongeBob and company live. The series follows SpongeBob through many adventures, and he’s often accompanied by his best friends Patrick Star and Sandy Cheeks, his neighbor and coworker Squidward Tentacles, and his greedy boss Mr. Krabs. Although SpongeBob is a kind soul and he considers everyone a friend, the show has to have an antagonist, and that’s Plankton, owner of The Chum Bucket and eternal enemy of Mr. Krabs. The running gag with Plankton and his restaurant is that it will never be successful, especially like Mr. Krabs’ The Krusty Krab, though exactly why it always fails is unclear.
The Chum Bucket is located right across the street from the Krusty Krab and it’s not only Plankton’s restaurant but also his and his computer wife Karen’s home, meaning all his inventions and more can also be found there. The Chum Bucket has failed to attract customers due to the very poor quality of its food, which is why Plankton is always trying to steal the Krabby Patty secret formula. The Chum Bucket wouldn’t be it without its constant failures, but a fan has an idea of why Plankton’s restaurant always fails, and it’s all because of the food it serves.
The theory, posted on Reddit (via CBR), explains that the reason why The Chum Bucket always fails is because of the food, as it’s the only place in Bikini Bottom that serves meat, as confirmed by Hillenburg. The author explains that Plankton is trying to sell buckets of meat to a town of “bottom-feeders, such as lobsters, mollusks, catfish, and bass”, and there are very few carnivores in Bikini Bottom, such as sharks, who appear sporadically. The author also addresses the question of the original Krabby Patty recipe (which started the never-ending conflict between Mr. Krabs and Plankton) using “a pinch of chum”, which they explain is the amount of chum that bottom feeders would find in nature, so it shouldn’t mess with their diet. However, there are a couple of characters who have eaten the Chum Bucket’s food without terrible consequences, as are Squidward, who is actually an octopus and his species are carnivorous, and Patrick Star, as sea stars are “scavengers in nature” and omnivorous.
Plankton, then, is serving the wrong food to his Bikini Bottom audience/target, so in order for The Chum Bucket to be successful, he would have to either change his whole menu to a vegetarian one, like the Krusty Krab, or change his location to a place where residents are mostly carnivorous. This is just another example of Stephen Hillenburg’s attention to detail, as he was not only an animator but a marine science educator as well, and he used all that knowledge when developing SpongeBob SquarePants.
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