The Big Deal: Cheerleading competition
Winston Egbert wants to join the Boosters. He knows it’s full of snobby Unicorns, but he’s actually a pretty good gymnast and he just wants to do it, you know? Grace Oliver and Amy Sutton are all for it, but the rest of the squad aren’t having it. Winston starts a petition, and Janet snarkily tells him she’ll let him try out if he gets a hundred signatures. Most of the girls are worried about two things. First, their image. Of course. And second, their very first championship competition is coming up and they’re sure Winston will ruin their chances.
Winston actually manages to get over a hundred people to sign his petition, but Janet and the rest of the Unicorns tear it up at Casey’s Place after school. Liz, Amy, Todd, and Ken show up and get all pissed off when they realize what all that paper on the floor is. They go to the mall’s food court to get away from those bitches. Todd gets all irritated and jealous when Liz keeps talking about how unfair all of this is to Winston.
Winston is pretty calm about the Unicorns’ reaction to the petition. That’s because he’s already made a copy and given it to Ms. Langberg. Langberg tells the Boosters they have to let Winston try out. And can I just ask where the fuck this woman is the rest of the time? Why are the kids running this show? Anyway, the girls get together at the Wakefields’ house to watch cheerleading videos and come up with some impossible stuff for Winston to do. Liz and Amy, along with Grace Oliver (she’s on the squad but she likes Winston) head over to Winston’s house to warn him. When they leave, Liz sees Todd riding his bike and calls to him, but he rides on by because he’s still being a jealous little punk.
Most of the school comes to watch Winston’s audition, The Boosters try their hardest to embarrass Winston, but he just keeps doing everything he’s told, including back handsprings and no-handed cartwheels. When they try to get him to do the “he’s our man” cheer, he shocks them all and changes it to “Grace, Grace, give her a hand.” At the end of the tryout, he has Grace stand on his shoulders and do a flip down to the floor. The crowd goes wild, and Winston is a now a cheerleader.
Most of the school is either congratulatory or they just don’t care, but then there’s the Neanderthal fringe. Charlie Cashman tries to give Winston some shit in the cafeteria, but Winston turns the joke around by telling Charlie he’ll make a place for him on the squad. Charlie doesn’t take kindly to that, so he finds Winston after school and punches him in the face. Then Winston gets to go to Booster practice, where the girls – minus Grace and Amy – do everything they can to make his life miserable, including putting peanut butter in his shoes and super glue on the bleachers where he’s sitting so he rips his pants when he stands up. Winston takes it all in stride.
By the next day’s practice, the girls have pretty much resigned themselves to having Winston on the squad. However, Todd is still being a dick about Liz defending Winston. Liz comes up with a plan that involves Amy asking Todd to help her with a science project. It’s all Liz’s idea, but when she sees them in library one day she gets all pissy and jealous. Things all work out when she goes to Amy’s after school one day when she knows Todd will be there. She yells at him while he insists that he and Amy are just friends, and then tells him the whole thing was a setup. They make up. It’s lovely.
Grace draws a cartoon of Winston in a skirt and has Liz print it in the paper to welcome Winston to the squad. She and Liz both think Winston will get a kick out of it, but he quits the squad instead. When Liz asks him why, he tells her he has a huge crush on Grace and it seems like she thinks he’s a big joke. Liz tells him she thinks Grace likes him, too. Winston tries to rejoin the squad, but Janet tells him to get lost.
The day of the competition arrives. The other schools’ squads all have boys on them. The Boosters…well, the Boosters suck it up all over the gym floor. After the first round, they all stand around feeling sorry for themselves and, of course, they realize they were much better with Winston on their squad. Just then Winston arrives to wish them luck, and they ask him to come back to the squad. He goes to the locker room to change, and that’s when Charlie Cashman comes out of nowhere with three of his friends, cracking his knuckles and making snide remarks. He’s about to start throwing punches when the rest of the Boosters shows up. The girls threaten to spread so much gossip about Charlie and his friends that no girl will ever want to date them again. The boys back off.
Because of the disastrous first round, the Boosters don’t win first place, but they take second! And Grace and Winston are holding hands by the end of the day, so that’s great. Todd and Liz are back to being obnoxious together, so all is right with the world.
Could it be that he was actually jealous of her friendship with Winston? She pushed the thought out of her mind. Todd, jealous? Impossible.
Oh, Liz. Just run away. Run away now. There are so many years of horrible Todd jealousy ahead of you.
The Cover: It’s Winston’s first cover! We’ve never seen what he looks like before. He’s not so bad, right? What’s everyone’s problem with Winston?