"Well, here it iz, once again: Bikini Bottom." narrated a happy sounding nasally French voice, "And what a beautiful day, too. Why, I bet right now Spongebob iz…moping on Squidward's front stoop?!"

Spongebob sighed, head in his hands. He was indeed seated on his neighbor's stoop, looking quite depressed. Above his head, a porthole squeaked open and Squidward's grumpy head poked out.

"Spongebob, why don't you use your own stoop to feel sorry for yourself?" he groused, "Loiter on your own property..!"

Spongebob looked up sadly.

"I would, Squidward, but I don't have a stoop." he said apologetically. A quick close-up of the sponge's pineapple showed this to be true. The front entryway twinkled with its bareness.

"So make one!" steamed Squidward, "Just get off my lawn!" He slammed the window shut; meanwhile Spongebob tapped his chin in though.

"Make my own, huh?" he pondered, and then perked. "That's a great idea Squidward! Thanks!" He waved to the empty window and rushed over to his house. He sized it up before running off, returning almost instantly with a giant car jack. He placed it under his house and lifted it a few cranks. Then he ran off again and returned with a bucket. Finally, he set the bucket upside down in front of his door and stood back, proudly admiring his work.

His features then melted back into a mopey expression and he seated himself on the bucket, sighing.

Patrick came up on Spongebob's right.

"Hello, Spongebob," greeted Patrick slowly, "I could not help but notice you are looking slightly lachrymose. What is the matter?"

"Lachry-wha?" asked Spongebob blankly.

"Oh, I dunno, I made it up." shrugged the seastar, "I thought it made me sound fancy."


"But what's wrong Spongebob? You seem sad." Patrick paused, and then added, "That is a word, right?"

Spongebob nodded. "Yes Patrick." he sighed, "And I am. Allow me to draw you up a flashback of this morning…" He waggled his fingers and the scene rippled into a shot of Spongebob at the Barg-N-Mart.

"Go-in' to the sto-ore! Go-in' to the sto-ore!" sang Flashback Spongebob, "Gon-na buy some pro-duce! Buy it at the sto-ore!"

He mamboed and leapt about the store. Once he'd filled his basket, he checked off the last item on his list and beamed widely.

"Only one thing left to do!" he smiled, stepping to the back of a long line, "Wait to check out! Oh yeah, wai-ting i-in li-ine! Wai-ting i-in li-ine! Wai-ting to buy pro-duce! Wai-ting at the sto-ore!"

The guy in front of him (a blue fish) shot him a sour squint, but Spongebob didn't notice. Instead, he gasped dramatically, clutching his cheeks, as he spied a glasses rack.

"That reminds me," fretted the sponge, "I need new jellyfishing glasses!" Frantically, he pulled out his list and scrawled 'Jellyfishing Glasses' in between the last two boxes.

"Whew!" he sighed, wiping his brow. OCD now sated, he strode over to the glasses rack while putting his list away.

Now giggling, he tried on several pairs of glasses. A pink pair with green lenses, an orange pair with pineapple shaped frames, a thickly framed round pair with googley eyes; at last he found the pair he was looking for. One that looked just like his old pair. He smiled at himself in the provided mirror.

"Lookin' gooood, handsome!" he winked at the reflection, and then clutched his gut, laughing.

"Hey dweeb!" a voice cut him off. Spongebob looked. It was the blue guy Spongebob had been behind. "That's some fashion sense ya got there!" commented the guy, "Is nerd in this season?"

Spongebob looked down at himself, then over to the guy again, unsure of his intentions.

"Dweeb! And that's an insult!" called the guy, who then turned, smiling smugly, away from the sponge, whose arms had contorted. His glasses were now askew in front of inflated eyeballs.

"Insult..?" peeped Spongebob.

There was a pause, and then Spongebob said, "Aaaand end flashback..!" He clapped his hands and the scene reverted back to Spongebob and Patrick in a poof of scenery dust.

"Wow," Patrick gaped, "heavy."

Spongebob grasped the folds of his friend's stomach. "Tell me the truth Pat." he pleaded, "Is dweeb really an insult? Am I…unfashionable?"

"Umm, yes." Patrick said dumbly.

"I..am?" gasped Spongebob.

"Well suuure." shrugged Patrick. Now on a roll, he pointed to each flaw as he listed it. "You've got these doofy girly eyelashes and those weird little freckles that go horribly with that dumb tie. And brown pants…blech! Not to mention your dorky little high socks.."

Spongebob folded his arms crossly.

"Well, you're not exactly Mr. Fashionable yourself!" he humphed, "Just look at those bright surfing shorts..you don't even surf! And walking around with no shirt. What are you, an old bum?"

Patrick furrowed his brow.

"Uh! I am not old!" he huffed, and crossed his own arms.

Spongebob covered his mouth with both hands. "You're right..! I'm sorry Patrick." he apologized, "Let's just admit that we're both hideous eyesores. Ok buddy?"

"Well…ok." Patrick agreed, "But how do you fix that? I don't wanna be a dweeb. Not if it's bad.."

"Hmm.." Spongebob pondered, and then his face literally illuminated with the 'ping' of an idea. "You know what we need Patrick?"

"Mackerel-pan Kitchen Spray?" guessed Patrick enthusiastically, pulling out a can of the stuff.

"Noooo." Spongebob shook his head. "We need advice! Advice from someone reeeally fashionable, to help sort us out."

"Oh.." Patrick replied, "Well that works too." He tossed the can of kitchen spray behind him.

"Now," continued Spongebob, holding a finger under his chin, "who's the most fashionable person we know..?"


... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...

"Squiiidwaaaarrrd!" called Spongebob while pounding on his neighbor's door, and then called again in a higher pitch, "Squid-war-rrrrrrd!"

Patrick inhaled very deeply.


"Good one!" Spongebob complimented.

"Aheehee! Thanks."

Inside the house, Squidward stood in front of an easel, calmly stuffing pillows into his ears. Once he'd crammed them in far enough to be completely deaf, he picked up his palette and brush.

"Ahhh," he sighed contentedly, "I should've tried this years ago."

Back outside, Spongebob was pounding a giant bass marching drum while Patrick crashed a giant pair of cymbals together. Both were running with their instruments.

Spongebob stopped in the walkway and threw his instrument away.

"Huh. Guess he's not home." he concluded.

Patrick stopped beside Spongebob, throwing his own instrument. "So now what?" he asked.

"Well," answered Spongebob, "let's try the second most fashionable person we know."

"Which would beee…" prompted Patrick, twirling his wrist.

"Pearl, of course! She's always reading fashion magazines and talking about trends and stuff. She's perfect!"

"Oh yeah..!" recalled Patrick, "Ok let's go!"

The two started running off up the road, but halted when they heard the sound of a small marching band. They turned to see the band coming up the other end of the road, being led by a brown-green fish in a purple suit. In his fins was a giant check.

The band stopped in Squidward's walkway, but continued playing, and began to throw confetti. The fish with the check rapped on the door, to which no answer came.

"He's not home!" Spongebob called helpfully.

"What?" replied the guy, "Then who are we supposed to give the sweepstakes money to?"

Spongebob shrugged not-so-helpfully. The group muttered and walked away.

Inside, Squidward hummed to himself as he painted. He paused and fluffed the pillows sticking out of his ears.

"Yup," he smiled, "I definitely should've tried this earlier."

... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...

Spongebob and Patrick knocked on the door of Mr. Krabs' anchor house. The door opened and a smiling Mr. Krabs appeared.

"Hello boys!" he greeted, "What can I do fer ye?"

"Hi Mr. Krabs!" Spongebob returned, "Is Pearl home?"

"What? Why?" questioned the crab, instantly suspicious.

"We're gonna be fashionable!" cheered Patrick, throwing his arms up.

"..A' course ya are.." Mr. Krabs said flatly, and scuttled out of the way. "Upstairs and to the left."

Giving thanks, Spongebob led Patrick up the stairs. They found Pearl's room and stuck their heads in.

The whale was in the middle of the floor, surrounded by teen magazines. She didn't notice their approach.

"Hi Pearl." greeted Spongebob.

"Dyaaah!" jumped Pearl. She landed with a 'thud' that lifted the entire contents of her floor, guests included, momentarily. "Oh, hi Spongebob, hi Patrick..what are you guys doing here?"

Completely unphased, Spongebob replied, "We want you to help us become Mr. Fashionables! You know: hip, new, stylin'..apparantly our clothes don't quite fit the bill."

Mr. Krabs burst into the room.

"Bill?!" he cried, "Did somebody say 'bill'? Where is it??" He looked around frantically.

Pearl folded her arms in annoyance.

"There is no bill Daddy.." she groaned, "It was just a figure of speech!"

"Oh.." Mr. Krabs said shortly, "Right." He chuckled. He started shuffling out the door, but then turned and added, "Oh, by the way Pearly, yer new issue of Sealife is here."

"Thanks Daddy, I'll get it later." Pearl dismissed with a shooing motion. Mr. Krabs left.

"So, you two want fashion advice, huh?" she asked the others. They nodded eagerly. "Well, you've come to the right place. I do have quite a knack for that sort of thing.."

She giggled, and then pushed Spongebob and Patrick gently to the center of the room. Standing back, she held up her fins director style and closed an eye.

"Hmm.." she considered, then smiled and clapped, "Oh, I have just the thing! Don't move!" She flew to her closet in a flash of bubbles. She tossed several items out of it before emerging, beaming proudly, with a wad of clothing.

"Here, put these on!" she told Patrick and Spongebob as she threw the clothes at them.

Spongebob lifted the clothes from his head, draped them gracefully over his arm, and walked out, whistling, for the bathroom.

"Well, aren't you going?" Pearl asked a still immobile Patrick.

"How can I go if I can't move?" Patrick returned from under his own clothing wad. Pearl face-palmed.

"You can move, you dummy!" she flapped, "I only meant don't move for that second!"

"Oh, I thought we were playing Simon Says."

"Just go change..!" Pearl steamed, and shoved him out the door.

-one outfit later-

"Voila, I've done it again!" bounced Pearl excitedly, "What d'you guys think?"

Spongebob and Patrick looked down at their pink cheerleading outfits, identical to Pearl's own.

"I don't think I'm wearing anything." Patrick stated.

"You're wearing pink Patrick.." Pearl responded flatly, "Like you. Duh.."

"Gee Pearl, d'ya think this'll work?" asked Spongebob, twirling and checking out his back, "I mean, I know cheerleaders are always in style, but usually when I wear girl's clothes, people just laugh at me more."

"…You're right." Pearl blinked, and then shrugged, "Well sorry, but I can't help ya there. Not my area of expertise."

"Oh. Well that's ok I guess." Spongebob told her, "We'll just have to try again tomorrow." He and Patrick walked to the door.

"Bye Pearl!" Spongebob beamed, "Thanks anyway. Oh, and..can we keep the outfits?" he added hopefully.

"Knock yourself out." Pearl said.

Patrick punched himself in the face.

... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...

Pearl wandered downstairs to pick up her new Sealife magazine. She got it off of the kitchen table and looked at the front cover. Immediately her eyes bugged.

"Oh, my gosh.." she said, stunned.

... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...

Bright and early, Spongebob burst confidently out his front door.

"Alright world!" he announced, "Today's the day I become one of the most fashionable people Bikini Bottom has ever seen! And the day I buy a new vacuum cleaner, no thanks to Gary.."

He started off down the road.

"Why do snails have to be so darn afraid of those things anyway?" he mused to himself as he walked, "I mean sure their eyestalks can get stuck in 'em, but that doesn't mean they have to disassemble your cleaner while you sleep and then throw away the most important piece..!" He found himself entering town, and spotted a familiar seastar bending over with his tongue on a pole. Spongebob headed over.

"Hi Patrick!" he greeted. He paused curiously, and then asked, "What're you doing?"

Patrick took his tongue off the pole and answered, "I'm tryin' to see if you can really get your tongue stuck to one of these."

"Patrick that only works in the wintertime." informed Spongebob.

"Oh..well then I'm out of stuff to do today."

"Wanna come with me to buy a vacuum cleaner?" Spongebob offered, "And then maybe we can work on our fashion problem together."

"Yeah, that sounds great!" whooped the seastar, and the two rushed off to the nearest appliance store.

Inside, they 'checked' vacuum after vacuum by sucking various parts of their bodies with them. At last, they found the right one and made their way to the cash register. As they were being checked out, Spongebob noticed that the buck-toothed cashier's outfit was similar to his own. The fish had round, thick- rimmed glasses, a white business shirt and brown pants. He even wore a tie.

Spongebob waited until he and Patrick were outside the shop before asking, "Did you see that guy, Pat? He looked almost just like me! Except he wasn't a sponge.."

"You mean like that guy over there?" pointed Patrick, "Or that lady over there? Or that kid next to her?"

Spongebob looked in the directions Patrick indicated, his expression becoming more and more unsettled. Those people did indeed resemble him.

"Patrick?" he questioned quietly, "Is it Dress Like Spongebob Day and I just don't know it?"

"No, that's not 'til January." answered Patrick, suddenly wearing Spongebob-like clothes as well.

"I thought so." Spongebob nodded, "In that case..AAAAAAAHH!"

He caught sight of Patrick's new outfit.

"Oh no, not you too Patrick!" he shouted, and ran away screaming with his arms up, "AAAA, you people are stifling my originality!!"

He raced through the streets, passing more look-alikes. He ignored the compliments they tossed his way and hunted for solitude. A small rock had other plans, however.

Spongebob tripped over the rock and fell flat, coming face to face with a nerdily adorned Plankton.

"Hiya Spongebob!" waved the miniscule being. Spongebob gasped.

"Even you Plankton?" he asked unbelievingly, "What is going on here?!"

"Haven't you read the latest issue of Sealife?" asked Plankton, adjusting his single lens jellyfishing glasses. Spongebob sat up and shook his head. Plankton hopped onto his shoulder and pulled out the magazine.

"Here, have a look-see." he told the sponge.

Spongebob again gasped when he saw the cover. It showed some extremely nerdy fish posing with an inhaler. Spongebob flipped through the pages, which showed nothing but more geeks, nerds and dweebs.

"Y'see, Spongebob?" said Plankton, "Nerd is in! Aheheh, and for once you're with the trends..!" He elbowed Spongebob's cheek.

"I'm..trendy?" questioned Spongebob, "As in..fashionable?"

"Um..yes." Plankton confirmed.

Spongebob's face saddened.

"This..is being fashionable?" he sniffed, "This is the price one must pay? Millions of look-alikes ripping off your sense of style and stomping your uniqueness into nothing? I always thought it was about being admired for your original tastes in fashion, not being exploited for them..!"

"Yeah, well, that's the media for ya." shrugged Plankton, "If you have one original thing about ya, sooner or later those leeches'll be all over it, sucking and sucking until they can't suck anymore! And then the worst part: once your original thing is 'out', sure, you can go back to it, but then everyone thinks you're just living in the past, or trying to rejuvenate what's dead..just look at disco!!"

-flash of guy in classic disco suit and pose with overlaying scream-

Plankton perked up. "That's why I love the media! They're so diabolically evil!" he smiled.

Spongebob looked at Plankton unsurely.

"..Was that supposed to help?" he questioned at last.

"Eh, no, not really." replied the protozoan, and hopped off of Spongebob's shoulder. "Well, I'd better get going. My Mystics & Magic group is meeting soon! Oh, and uh, you can keep the magazine." He walked off.

An insistent honking now reached Spongebob's ears. He turned to see several boats crowded on either side of him.

"Maybe I'd better get out of the road.." he noted.

... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...

Spongebob slumped toward home, dragging his arms behind him.

"I can't believe how unhappy popularity has made me." he sniffed, turning onto his street. "I..I can't take it! I want to be an individual again!" He fell to his knees and broke down, sobbing loudly at the end of Squidward's walkway.

Instantly, Squidward kicked his door open, arms busy massaging his ears.

"Spongebob, will you shut up?!" he yelled over the sobs, "Some of us are suffering from pillow induced ear trauma!"

Spongebob looked up and gasped, tears vanishing.

"Squidward!" he said, surprised, then rushed over, leaving a bubble cloud. He looked Squidward up and down closely to make sure he wasn't seeing things. "You're not wearing clothes like mine!"

"Of course I'm not!" the octopus said stiffly, "Why on Earth would I be? You couldn't pay me to wear your clothes!"

"I'm glad." Spongebob smiled, and hugged Squidward, causing Squidward's eyes to bug in confusion.

A pink lady fish walked up the road and halted in the middle of it, spotting Squidward.

"Hey look!" she shouted ecstatically, "A tan shirt! It's so original!"

A crowd gathered instantly and awed collectively at the sight.

"I'm gonna buy a hundred!" shouted a random guy, and the crowd dispersed to go purchase clothing.

"Do I even wanna know?" Squidward sighed in irritation as he unlatched Spongebob from his midsection.

"Probably not." beamed the sponge.

"I thought so." droned Squidward, and he reentered his house, slamming the door behind him.

Spongebob sighed in content, and stepped off the stoop, basking in his newly restored one-of-a-kind sponginess.

"Oh look, Spongebob has ended up happy after all." a nasally voice commented, "And what do you suppose the moral of his quest for fashion is? I have no idea. I just narrate."