I would have to say that both of these episodes show interesting character twists in addition to being just genuine fun. It’s interesting to see Jimmy and Cindy’s relationship further transform, while still clinging to their combative ways to hide it. Libby seems to be the only one catching on to these changes. Her perceptive nature and wise beyond her years persona actually catch Cindy stumbling over her words and revealing a definite affinity for Jimmy. Cindy, of course, quickly attributes her slip-up as purely accidental, but Libby has no interest in pursuing it further, at least for now.
Foul Bull reveals much with the characters including Ms. Fowl, who was once a horse riding steer roping cowgirl before tragic events (i.e. being thrown from her horse) lead her to safer and more stable life of teaching. We catch up to the crew on a class field trip to a rodeo. All is normal as we suspect. Jimmy is using the idol time on the bus to work on yet another invention while Cindy sits nearby taking every opportunity to vex him. One wonders of course, does Cindy go out of her way to always be the voice of derision in his head, or does she secretly hope he’ll put down the gadgets and pay more attention to her? We get some insight into this later in the episode.
Enter rodeo girl Sally, who is completely adorable in every way. Sally’s sparkling eyes, warm smile, and acrobatic horse routine are more than Jimmy, Sheen, and Carl can resist. The lads are all love struck and begin swooning for Sally. Their sophomoric behavior is both slightly embarrassing and infuriating to Cindy who immediately makes catty comments attempting to reduce Sally’s luster. Even Libby joins in with her domestic boots remark.
The boys do what boys normally do in these situations, act like complete idiots as they all go to extreme efforts to impress Sally. Jimmy’s attempts are, of course, the most elaborate with his robotic bull complete with internal electro magnet to hold his stainless steel underwear while riding. Sally is initially impressed with the antics and starts to warm up to the guys, but Cindy manages to expose them for the frauds they really are and short-circuits any potential romantic interest on Sally’s part.
Here we see Cindy working to ensure that no other girl becomes the apple of Jimmy’s eye. While the Jimmy/Cindy romantic antics in the Love Potion episode ended badly for both, it seemed that Cindy was anything but put-off by Jimmy’s swooning. Even if he was completely at the mercy of the pheromone he unwittingly inhaled. Basically Cindy is playing her cards well. She’s keeping Jimmy sufficiently corralled while remaining at arms length at the same time. It’s a plaintiff skill that mostly girls have ability to manage at this age, and Cindy is no exception here. She’s keeping him in check until the endocrine system kicks in, which will eventually plant Jimmy’s romantic switch firmly in the ‘ON’ position. This is not an isolated example either. Cindy’s attempts to sabotage his chances with Betty Quinlin are well noted further down the episode chain.
In the “Science Fair Affair” Cindy manages to exclude Jimmy from the one activity he truly loves, the Science Competition, an arena where Jimmy has an upper hand regardless of category or level of detail. The hilarious mock hearing basically relegates Jimmy to “less than spectator” status for the competition.
This gives Cindy what she always wanted; with Jimmy gone she’s left to win the contest, but remorse starts to set in especially since Jimmy had made some hasty repairs on her Sweat Sock Transmorgifier device before judging. She honestly feels genuine regret, and not because she didn’t really beat Jimmy at his own game either. Jimmy’s willingness to help, when he could’ve just as easily sat back a watched her invention fail, actually hits home for her. Jimmy’s kind selfless actions in helping Cindy almost border on altruism. Perhaps it’s a reach, but he certainly had nothing to gain from fixing Cindy’s invention other than maybe quelling his fix-it addiction. It’s now obvious to Cindy that underneath all the crazy experiments and scientific banter, there exists a genuinely nice guy. Something she probably knew all along but seeing it come to the surface was unexpected for her.
Cindy too shows to be mindful and resourceful even if it benefits Jimmy. Her leadership in stopping Jimmy’s “I can’t believe it’s not oil” machine before it consumed her school principle reveal her to be quick thinking and confident. Cindy’s heroics go barely noticed by all the participants save for Jimmy, who attempts to consol her with the fact that the efforts of scientists often go unrecognized. Not exactly something a girl pining for recognition wants to hear. Cindy stuffs Jimmy’s head into one of her newly made pink sweaters as if to say, “Gee, that makes it all better!…NOT!”