Tina is one school-day away from being promoted to the highest rank of hall monitor at Wagstaff Elementary: Hall Manatee (more on this rank below, don’t worry). To secure the accomplishment, she must transport troublemaker extraordinaire Zeke to the principal’s office because he’s going to be suspended for trying to steal the school mascot suit — he purportedly needs it to cheer up his grandma, who is not doing well. At the restaurant, Linda starts a drawing wall featuring doodled napkins from customers, regulars, and passersby. When Bob’s first few attempts to make it on the wall go south, he enrolls in a last-minute art class to battle his self-confidence issues and ensure a spot on the drawing wall of fame.
Linda wasted no time, coming right out of the gate with the idea for the drawing wall after finding a grease-stained napkin with a fisherman on it. The family members gave Linda feedback about her artsy idea, but not before Tina’s hall-monitor senses began tingling. [+1 point for Linda being an entrepreneur; +1 for Tina acknowledging that safety always comes first, even in the midst of a fun new idea.]
Tina: It is a good idea, Mom, but you know what isn’t? Putting your coffee cup so close to the edge of the counter. That’s a piping-hot cup of ouch.
When Tina gets to school, secretary and resident school-office crazy Ms. Selbo confirms a rumor that Tina is, in fact, in for a treat today.
Ms. Selbo: There’s a rumor going around that you’re up for a big promotion.
Tina: Oh, don’t listen to rumors, Ms. Selbo.
Ms. Selbo: Then what will I do? Just answer the phone when it rings, Tina, come on. Here’s your vest, good luck, Manatina.
[Welcome to Wagstaff, and +1 to Ms. Selbo for MANATINA! More of this weirdly wonderful woman, please.]
Everybody’s favorite asthmatic Regular-Sized Rudy dropped by this episode because: (1) He is a neophyte hall monitor; and (2) Tina is his idol (get in line, Rudy). He signed Tina in for hall-monitor duty early to show how badly he wants her to be his Yoda. The sentiments were nice, but Tina called Rudy out for breaking the rules (also, the video below briefly explains the hall-monitor ranking system):
Rudy: Oh, yeah, the rules … I guess I played it pretty fast and loose.
Tina: Yeah, let’s save fast and loose for when you shake your caboose. Rules are made to be followed.
Rudy: Right, sorry, see, that’s why you’re going to be a Hall Manatee and I’m stuck at Hall Minnow. Well, I’m also a Hall Minnow because I’m bad at networking.
Tina didn’t have to wait long for an opportunity to show Rudy the ropes. After these two scenes, it was clear Tina and Rudy were going head to head for MVP. [+2 to Tina for the caboose line, as well as for putting that runty delinquent in his place; +2 to Rudy for immaculate manners and attention to detail.]
Tina: Oh slow you didn’t.
Rudy: Whoa, he used language.
Gene and Louise got busted for using their butts as transportation, something that the Manatina was not going to let fly.
Louise: Geez, Tina, what are you Narky Nark and the Narky Bunch?
Rudy: Wow, that was cold-blooded. I guess when you’re a hall monitor, you have to leave your feelings in your locker.
Tina: I lose the combination.
[+1 to Louise for the most love-hate-able reference in this episode; +1 to Tina for dedication in the workplace and for being a light for others.]
Zeke began as the biggest pain in the ass in this episode (for trying to steal the school mascot and then giving Tina trouble as a fugitive), but he quickly turned into this contest’s Cinderella story with a slew of witty puns and bold moves. As mentioned above, Tina was charged with escorting Zeke to the principal’s office — the reason being Mr. Frond dropped his cell phone in a toilet, which is the best worst reason for this story line to be alive [+2 to Zeke for the language-arts skills].
Zeke: Ha, Mr. Frond’s got a smell phone!
Rudy: I want to help! I’ve never transported a perp.
Tina: Yeah, we’re good, Rudy.
Rudy: Oh, oh, wow.
Zeke: Tina’s giving Rudy some Tudy!
It was not long before Zeke outwitted Tina (it doesn’t feel right to write that, but hey, what happened, happened; Zeke is a slippery snake). [+1 to Zeke for being slick.]
Tina: Anybody in here? I’m coming in on 90 percent official hall-monitor business and 10 percent curiosity. Zeke? Answer me, Zeke. I know you’re in there, I can see your shoes. Huh, where’d your legs go?
One of the most heartbreaking threads in this episode featured Rudy realizing Tina was not who he thought she was. Not only did she struggle with her task, she also lied about it to Rudy’s face. Something I’m assuming he thought a true Manatina would never do.
Tina: Zeke, come out. Everyone’s wrestling out here. I’m being wrestled.
Rudy: Oh, hey, Tina. Sorry to interrupt. Everything okay with Zeke?
Tina: Everything’s fine, what a weird thing to bring up.
Rudy: C’mon, it’s Regular-Sized Rudy, you can talk regular to me.
Rudy also had a bunch of bodily noises that were essentially the unsung heroes of this episode, and semi-made up for the fact that he was being a massive stick in the mud (more so than usual) the whole episode:
Tina enlisted her siblings to help find Zeke. Louise had the brilliant idea of forcing some intel out of Jimmy Jr. [+1 to Louise for being a baby genius; +1 to Tina for making an ethical decision, even in the crosshairs of love.]
Louise: Where is he?
Jimmy: Where is who?
Louise: Your buddy Zeke. He’s hiding somewhere in school.
Jimmy: I don’t know anything about it.
Louise: Oh, no, tell me something. You’re a dancer. How important is it for a dancer to have TOES?
Jimmy: Uh, that didn’t hurt, Louise.
Louise: Why not?! That was my whole body!
Jimmy: I’m wearing thick socks.
Louise: Okay, take your socks off.
Tina: Where’s Zeke, Jimmy Jr.?
Jimmy: I told your sister, Tina, I don’t know.
Tina: That’s not good enough.
Jimmy: Uh, Tina, this tray is gross.
Tina: Too bad you chose chowder day to lie to me.
Bob’s self-esteem took a huge blow in the early portion of this episode when his face- and burger-drawings did not make Linda’s wall of fame cut.
Bob: I drew something I knew I could never mess up. A burger!
Linda: Yeah! It’s good.
Bob: Oh my God, you’re so bad at pretending you like it.
Linda: What are you talking about? It’s so good, I want to eat it. Um-num-num-num-num. Look, I just ate it. Okay, let’s put it up. We’ll put it up.
Bob: No, Lin, I don’t want a sympathy hang. Do you like it or not?
Linda: Mike the mailman! Get in here. Talk to us, please!
[+1 and -1 to Linda for being mean to Bob. Marriage is about compromise, c’mon.]
The Belcher kids found Zeke practicing his wrestling moves (and, for some reason, not trying to go visit his grandma like he said he needed to?) in a labyrinth of desks. It was a surreal scene, but Gene finally had a moment in an episode that was, for the most part, unfortunately Gene-less [+1 to him]:
Gene: Look! It’s a box of chalk nubs! Nub party!
Bob took the drawing matters into his own hands because he wasn’t about to be showed up by Mort, Teddy, and Mike the mailman. No way. Not now, not ever [+1 to Bob for staying strong; +2 to Bob’s teachers for keeping it real.]
Bob: Hi, so I need a quick drawing lesson.
Edith: Oh, you must mean the emergency drawing package?
Bob: Yes, do you have that?
Edith: No! because there’s no such thing. Takes years of training to be an artist.
(You have to wonder if Harold and Regular-Sized Rudy are related, or if they’re both just really good at making weird sounds with their voices and bodies.)
After capturing the culprit, Tina and Zeke had a brief heart-to-heart [+1 to Tina for explaining the intricacies of criminal justice.]
Zeke: Why do you want to be a hall monitor? It’s just telling on kids.
Tina: It’s not telling on kids, it’s helping on kids.
Zeke: Well, you aren’t helping on me.
Tina: It’s your own fault. You committed a series of Mr. Wieners. That’s what I call misdemeanors.
The pair also bumped into a teacher smoking while they were taking an illicit route to the principal’s office. Here’s where Zeke really started to turn things around [+10 for mounting a comeback in savage fashion]:
Zeke: What are you doing, Ms. L? Smoking? Cool!
Ms. L: Smoking is not cool, Zeke!
Zeke: Yes, it is. Especially when teachers do it. That’s cool. It’s like you’re teaching me to smoke. I love this stuff.
Ms. L: Stop saying that, Zeke.
Zeke: We’re like best friends, man.
Ms. L: No, we’re not. No.
Zeke: We’re bonding over cigarettes. That’s pretty cool.
Ms. L: We are not bonding over cigarettes.
Zeke: Sure we are. Hey, hey, let me get one of those. I’ve been dying to try one of them. C’mon, throw one of those in my mouth. I’ll try to see if I can catch it!
Bob’s art lesson was a little more revealing than he expected [+1 to Harold, you dirty dog]:
Bob: What’s happening?
Edith: Life drawing. If you can draw a nude figure, you can draw anything.
Regular-Sized Rudy told Mr. Frond that Tina lost Zeke, and Frond lays down the law. [Honestly -10,000 points to Rudy for tattling on Tina because this was tough to watch. What the hell, guy? First of all, you don’t do that to your idol. Second of all, you don’t do that to Tina.] Tina went rogue not long after, and told Zeke to take the school mascot suit and cheer up his grandma, who was about to head to surgery [+1 to Tina for being a hero and a martyr].
Tina: Take it and go.
Zeke: Damn, Tina! Now I got a story to tell on our wedding day. You think that’s not gonna happen, but I’ll get ya, girl. I’m gonna get ya.
Tina: Don’t say anything, just go.
When Zeke said this, I half-expected the world to end and/or some higher power to unleash a series of plagues on the world. Then neither of those things happened, I thought about the idea of a Zeke-Tina pairing, and my heart grew three sizes. [+5 points to Zeke for so many things right here.]
Bob’s nude drawing of Edith made the cut, and his honor was, at long last, restored.
Tina: Saggy and sophisticated.
[+1 to Tina; +5 more to Zeke for making his mascot-dancing debut, as well as his grandma’s day. Aw!]
I didn’t know if there was ever going to be an episode where this would be the result, but: Zeke! In the beginning, it looked like this was going to be a face-off between Tina and Regular-Sized Rudy, but after the cigarette scene, the indirect marriage proposal, and the mascot dance, there was absolutely no question. Viva le Zeke.
Bob’s Bonus Sliders:
- Is Jimmy Jr. going to be the best man at Tina and Zeke’s wedding? (More important: Will there be a Rugrats All Grown Up–type spinoff of Bob’s Burgers so we can see this happen?)
- The hiding room with all the desks is a lawsuit waiting to happen.
- When Mike the mailman nonchalantly drew the 3-D cube, we witnessed the birth of a new kind of hero.
- Are Zeke’s shoes still in the bathroom?
- The teacher/coach whom Zeke tried to steal the mascot from had one of the best elementary-school-teacher voices. Spot. On. Also, nice shatterproof sports glasses.
- Still trying to figure out what the Wagstaff mascot actually is, to be honest.