It’s a time of exciting change and fierce competition: Wagstaff Middle School is having its student-body president elections. Jimmy Jr. is running a campaign so he can be the leader of the school and, more important, reign over selecting the best songs for school dances. His biggest threat is Millie (Louise’s nemesis, voiced by Molly Shannon), running to gain power over Louise (it doesn’t make sense, but it does). Back at the restaurant, Bob falls in love with his newly purchased $300, hand-forged Japanese kitchen knife, but Teddy and his prized hammer don’t want to be left out. What starts as manly bonding turns into a competition all its own.
The Highlight Reel
Jimmy Jr. starts out the episode looking like he has the election in the bag. His initial opponent is Henry Haber, a chess mastermind with a weasel haircut and a monotonous voice. While Haber might actually have some productive plans for the school, nobody cares because J-Ju is a dance mastermind: Why do one slow song and one fast song when you can do ten and ten?
[+1 point to Jimmy Jr. for trying to be the Steve Jobs of school dances.]
Millie comes out of nowhere to give her best friend Louise a new, painful handshake and to creep out everybody else:
Louise: We’re not best friends, Millie.
Millie: Right. I’m your nemesis. We love each other, but we’ve got some history.
Louise: You’re not my nemesis!
Millie: We are! We’re nemesisis … is. We’re rivals who are also totally obsessed with each other. Fremesises.
Tina: Oh, like Batman and Catwoman.
Gene: And like socks and sandals.
[+1 to Millie for giving the middle finger to plurals and dictionaries everywhere; +1 to Tina for the snap comparison; +1 to Gene for realizing the complex relationship between comfortable and gauche footwear.]
Perhaps seeing an opportunity, Haber plants a seed in Millie’s head: Student-body president equals power.
Millie winning is Louise’s nightmare, literally:
Louise: Tina, wake up, wake up!
Tina: Oh, what a coincidence. You watch me when I sleep, too?
Louise: No, I wanna join the Jimmy Jr. campaign.
Tina: Welcome aboard. I’ll show you how to use the puffy paints tomorrow.
[+1 to Tina for being a creepy or curious or both guardian; +1 to Louise for taking charge.]
While the campaign trail is heating up, Linda lets Bob buy his extremely expensive, hand-crafted knife. We learn a couple of things soon thereafter: 1) Bob is great at cutting vegetables in very thin slices; and 2) Teddy is obsessed with a hammer. So much so he has put up a clip on YouTube of him using the tool, set to a Natalie Merchant video. This story line was kind of stupid, but Teddy, with his simple appreciation of the internet, bird houses, and YouTube comments, made it worth it. At least for the first half of the episode, the real action was taking place at school:
Louise: On to campaign strategy, we’ve got to up our game.
Tina: I can make another poster, maybe dot the i in Jimmy with a check mark. It’s a little wild but it just might work.
Louise: That’s a great, that’s actually a really good — no, no posters. Print is dead. We’ve got TVs in the classroom. We need a commercial. The only thing standing between us and a Millie-ocracy is Jimmy Jr.’s dumb, pretty face.
[+1 to Tina for being really close to thinking outside the box; -1 to Louise for sounding like every old media detractor in the mid 2000s.]
Going with Louise’s strategy, Team J-Ju thinks it’s a good idea to run a series of political ads. The first was a music video, kind of, with these amazing lyrics:
I’m Jimmy Jr. Pesto, you know I am the besto, I’m cooler than the resto.
He wrote the hot-guy manifesto?
We wish we were Jimmy Jr. Pesto.
Key change! I’m Jimmy Jr. Pesto, you know me from the vesto, and I’m on a questo.
To be the presidento?
You wish you were Jimmy Jr. Pesto. Let’s do this!
[+100 to Gene for most likely doing the music and lyrics; +1 to Jimmy for really committing, especially with the jumping shriek at the end.]
Somehow, the ever timid Regular Sized Rudy musters up the courage to find his voice in this episode, becoming a tastemaker of sorts, critiquing every political ad run by team J-Ju and essentially, subliminally maybe, convincing others in the classroom to steer clear of Jimmy’s vote. (The character development here is huge. Who knows what this will mean for Regular Sized Rudy’s next episode?) Of course, the ads only damage Jimmy Jr.’s reputation because the song-and-dance one is perceived as “barf” and the others are negative and mean.
Back in the kitchen, Teddy wants Bob and him to bond over their respective obsessions, but Bob can’t see anything except for the beauty of his Japanese knife. To quash the uneasiness between the two pals, Linda makes up a knife Olympics to figure out if Teddy’s hammer really is as amazing as he claims:
Linda: Here is how it works. The knife and the hammer will perform a series of parallel tasks designed to determine the biggest tool.
Bob: Better tool.
[+1 to Linda for being a little petty, but mostly supportive and awesome; also, +1 for her awesome games, which include nailing wood to the countertop, nailing tomatoes, poking holes in the counter, and hammering the knife or slicing the hammer.]
Jimmy drops out because he never truly stood a chance and all he wants are the songs, which Millie will give him. Louise takes matters into her own hands and starts her own campaign. During debates, Louise tries to expose Millie for just being obsessed with her and not wanting to actually be a solid student-body leader. But in case you were wondering what Millie’s official platform is, it’s this: BESTIES — Buddying Up Everyone with Someone To Improve the Experience of School (arranged in first-name alphabetical order so Louise and Millie are paired).
[+1 to Millie.]
Also, this kid is the new Regular Sized Rudy:
[+1 to him for existing and also for probably making great use of what has to be a waterproof G-Shock.]
Louise receives a mysterious note, presumably about Millie and her BESTIES idea, that says: Follow the braid, check the files, what you find will make you smile.
Tina: Maybe someone who wears braids? Snoop Dogg. Follow Snoop Dogg.
Gene: I already do. Mostly retweets and recipes.
[+1 to Tina for now truly thinking outside the box, but maybe a little bit too far; +1 to Gene for having a Twitter.]
Teddy ends up wrecking the knife because unfortunately Bob’s knife is a kitchen knife and not a katana.
[+1 to Teddy for proselytizing Bob, though I’m unsure what Bob will actually do if he buys Teddy’s hammer.]
At the end of the episode Louise uses the clue to discover Abby’s first name is actually Mabel, which foils Millie’s BESTIES plan. An outed, distraught Millie goes full-on superstar freak-out.
[+10 to Molly Shannon.]
Henry wins the election, which means Wagstaff is full of sociopaths because he planned every single plot twist and turn from the very beginning like the true chess wizard he is.
Louise: We were pawns.
Gene: I believe you mean prawns.
Louise: You can’t be that smart!
Henry: Chess, I can.
Tina: Wow, brains and brawn … is what I would say if you had the brawn part.
[+105 to Henry for winning; +1 to Tina for being kind of complimentary and completely honest.]
Teddy sings Natalie Merchant’s “Wonder” in the end credits; it’s the best, and it’s very inspiring, so here’s the original version:
I guess Louise for making sure Millie didn’t win, but that was really Henry. So maybe Henry. But he wasn’t in this episode enough. Nobody had a truly standout performance, which feels like a first to me and kind of bums me out. If we change this week’s award to MFP (most fascinating person), though, then it’ll go to Teddy for obvious reasons. Same if we make it an MVVA (most valuable voice actor) and give it to Shannon — she did her best young, psychotic version of Mary Katherine Gallagher. I am still floored about the subtle change in Regular Sized Rudy’s character. I think he needs another episode ASAP to give this new voice a true test run.
Bob’s Bonus Sliders
- Teddy on YouTube would be great. What else would be on that channel? Would we have vlog updates like this?
- TWO MORE EARS! TWO MORE EARS!
- Theory: I find it hard to believe that anybody could actually outwit Louise. Maybe she was one step ahead of Henry and sabotaged herself because she didn’t want to be president.
- It would be great if the Bob’s team put up a full web extra of Teddy making a birdhouse and singing Natalie Merchant. (Wishful thinking, I know.)
- I am incredibly depressed about Bob’s knife and Mr. Frond’s Zen garden. Will need a pick-me-up next Sunday. Please let Bob have something nice.