This is a ‘theme’ episode in so far as both the main plot and the subplot deal with the same topic: friendship. Gordo gives up skipping ahead to High School for the sake of friendship (and in Lizzie’s case perhaps something more). Matt (and Lanny) give up getting on the cheerleading squad for the sake of friendship.
Gordo is willing to forsake a fast track to college to be with his friends. That kind of decision takes an awful lot of self-assurance. It is a very mature decision, which goes to show just how much Gordo really has become an ‘adult’. As recently as “Gordo’s Bar Mitzvah” Gordo made clear how his parents told him what to do, he was unused to making important decisions on his own. Yet in this episode he does just that.
This episode also serves to further a long-standing plot thread. That being a possible romance between Lizzie and Gordo. This episode focuses on Lizzie’s changing feelings towards Gordo. Lizzie misses Gordo desperately. More so than Miranda even. Not only that, but Lizzie, the original “good natured girl”, can’t bring herself to be happy about Gordo’s advancement. Even when Miranda points out that friends should always be happy for friends, even after this moral has been pointed out to her, even *then* Lizzie isn’t happy for Gordo.
And a very telling moment is when Animated Lizzie remarks aloud wondering just *why* she missed Gordo so much. The look Lizzie has on her face at that revealing questions is puzzlement.
As for the subplot, Matt & Lanny prove that friendship is thicker than pom poms. Rather than have only one of them make the team they both refuse the position.
And one can’t overlook Sam’s attempts at ‘manly’ bonding with Matt until finally endorsing Matt’s cheerleading. Funny stuff.
Overall, this is a solid episode. We get advancement on the Lizzie/Gordo romance thread, we get comedic pratfalls, and we get a gymnastic routine. Not to mention true displays of friendship. Not bad.