I do look out for number one... so you might think looking out for number one is all I ever do.
This arc picks up immediately from the previous one
, as Penny, wearing a babydoll nightie, wakes up to find Stan in her bed, albeit fully clothed. As she hits him with a pillow, he explains woozily that he'd passed out under
the bed during her party the previous night, but later found that uncomfortable. Thinking he was using drugs in her home, Penny gets even angrier, but Stan maintains that either Cyndi, or someone acting on her behalf, drugged his soda in order to make him embarass himself, because she's running against him for class president.
Penny doesn't see this as any concern of hers, given that Stan too had run a "sleazy" campaign the previous year. Stan says that's not his concern regarding Cyndi, citing her encouragement of Michelle's eating disorder. Rather, he's concerned about her possibly sabotaging Jack's and Katy-Ann's relationship, and wants Penny's help preventing that. Stan tells her about Cyndi's attempt, in Out Front
, to entice Jack out for drinks and discuss his sexual frustration. note
Noting how important Katy-Ann is to Jack, Stan is afraid his friend would never forgive himself if he blew it by cheating on her.
At that moment, Lynda, who's been eavesdropping with Rob on their conversation, calls Penny's name, setting off a mad scramble to hide Stan in her closet full of plush toys. Penny feigns sleepiness to her mother, who responds that she and Rob are merely going out for breakfast. As they leave the house, the parents discuss what they overheard. In contrast to their attitudes in the previous arc, Lynda is skeptical of Stan's story, whereas Rob believes him, because Penny believes him, despite clearly not liking him. Therefore, Rob argues, Stan deserves the chance to leave on his own as if undiscovered. He adds that, given the maturity Penny's shown just now, it's time they started trusting her again, and suggests they help her do something about Cyndi.
While her parents are out, Penny and Stan, having established trust, discuss how they
can put a stop to Cyndi's games. Stan says he'll be in touch...and then kisses her on the lips. He immediately apologizes to her, saying he did that out of habit upon leaving a girl's bedroom. Penny, recovering herself, says they should just both pretend it never happened; Stan agrees and heads out. Nevertheless, both are clearly shaken and aroused.
- Accidental Kiss
- Adults Are Useless: Averted. In contrast to the grown-up cast's near-complete obliviousness during "The Popsicle War," here Rob and Lynda both become aware of Cyndi's dangerous games and resolve to do something about them.
- All Elections Are Serious Business: Stan, unlike Penny, thinks so, viewing them as a means to get into the right college. Cyndi, for her part, apparently views them as at least serious enough business to warrant drugging her opponent.
- Bedmate Reveal: Subverted. Penny wakes to find Stan in her bed. However, despite the previous chapter's Cliffhanger it's clear to the reader, from the fact that Stan's fully dressed, that they didn't have sex.
- Closet Shuffle: Penny does this to Stan. Unfortunately for him, the closet in question is full of plush animals which bury him.
- Gondor Calls for Aid: Stan, though not especially fond of Penny, nor she of him, enlists her help in stopping Cyndi from (he assumes) breaking up Jack and Katy-Ann.
- Good Parents: Rob and Lynda, for not bursting in on Penny and Stan, and punishing Penny, before they know the facts.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Stan suspects Cyndi of jealousy over Jack; in fact, she's jealous over Sara.
- It Doesn't Mean Anything: Penny tells herself this after the kiss.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Despite his self-centered, smart-alecky, often caustic nature, Stan genuinely cares about his best friend, and still feels remorse over his contribution to Michelle's eating disorder.
- Lonely at the Top: In a rare moment of vulnerability, Stan (who is popular at school) tells Penny that Jack and Brandi are his only close friends, since Rich left. Note the parallel with Penny at the start of the comic when, despite her alpha girl status, her only close friends were Sara and Michelle.
- Malicious Misnaming / The Nicknamer: Stan indulges several times here in his habit of calling Penny by the names of blonde celebrities. (Averted once when, discussing his genuine and deep concern about Jack, he calls her by her proper name.) Penny generally ignores these, except for calling him "Ralph Lauren" here.
- Slapstick: When Penny orders Stan to hide in her closet, he picks the wrong one and is buried in plush animals.
- Slipping a Mickey: Someone (a Flashback silhouette suggests it was Tharqa) drugs Stan's soda. Stan suspects it was on Cyndi's behalf, in order to sabotage his election campaign.
- That Didn't Happen: After Stan apologizes for the Accidental Kiss, Penny suggests they both forget it happened.
- You Called Me X, It Must Be Serious: Stan calls Penny by her proper name as he reveals his concern about Jack.