Spring Fling is the 52nd episode of the series and the 25th episode of the second season. It aired on Teletoon on April 20, 2006 in Canada, and on Cartoon Network on August 27, 2009 in the United States.
Nikki wants people to help save the coral reefs, but they are all focused on the upcoming school dance, so with Caitlin's help she agrees to run for Spring Queen against Tricia so that she can give a speech about the coral reefs to a captive audience. Meanwhile, Wyatt has a date to the dance who gives out surprisingly good psychological readings of the group, and Jonesy begins dating Tricia.
Nikki is busy giving a speech about the importance of coral reefs, but when she finishes talking, she finds that the only crowd she's been able to attract consists of her friends and a couple of hippies. Annoyed, she takes a seat, but soon her attention is distracted by a loud cheer. The cheer is coming from a rally that Tricia is holding to support her candidacy for Spring Queen at the upcoming dance. This annoys Nikki, and her annoyance is only increased when her friends refuse to talk about anything besides the dance–Jen is planning the dance, the afterparty is at Jonesy's house, Wyatt has a date, and Jude is getting to rent a tux.
Caitlin is the only member of the group that is unhappy, and her reason for sorrow is simple: she just got her bangs cut, so her hair looks horrible. Of course, even this is related to the dance, which annoys Nikki, so Wyatt suggests that Nikki run for Spring Queen in order to draw attention to her cause. Nikki initially greets this suggestion with revulsion, but when Caitlin points out that this is probably the only way she'll get anybody to listen to her, Nikki reluctantly agrees to try and become Spring Queen.
Upon hearing this, Caitlin immediately gets to work as Nikki's campaign manager and popularity coach. The first thing she does is teach Nikki to be more personable, by making eye contact and saying hey to every person she meets. After this, she moves on to training Nikki to be less abrasive and sarcastic, but is unsuccessful at this until Jude skates up with the results of the latest popularity poll: Tricia is beating Nikki 8:1 among girls and 9:1 among guys.
Caitlin doubles down, putting Nikki in a dress and high heels with a fancier hairdo. She then suggests that they come up with giveaways, and settle on Nikki promising to do other people's homework for every ten votes that come in. Nikki resists this idea at first, but when she hears that Tricia's father has promised a new basketball court to the school if Tricia wins, Nikki gives in. Unfortunately for her, Tricia is keeping an eye on Nikki's campaign, and when she hears Caitlin mention giveaways she leans on Jonesy to tell her what they are by suggesting that Nikki has already announced them. When Jonesy reveals what they are, Tricia enlists the help of Darth and one of his friends, and gets them to promise to do homework for other students if Tricia wins.
This drives Nikki up a wall with rage, as she realizes that she has no way to beat Tricia. However, after a chat in Grind Me with Wyatt's date Brianna, and after finding out that Jonesy was the one who told Tricia their plans, she changes her mind about winning. When she walks onstage for the Spring Queen speeches, she has taken her hair down and removed her fancy clothes in order to go back to her usual look. There, she tells the gathered teenagers the truth: she just wants to get their attention and to tell them about the importance of the coral reefs. She doesn't actually care about being Spring Queen, and Tricia's accusation that she's unstylish and doesn't care about representing the school is completely true. She finishes off her speech by declaring that if anybody else in the crowd is interested in the coral reefs, the school has an Environmental Club–and that she'll do homework for a week for people who vote for her.
When the votes are tallied, Nikki ends up winning on the strength of her honesty and on the harshness of Tricia's speech against her. When this happens, a recently-dumped Jonesy offers himself for the first dance. Nikki accepts, and Jonesy is crowned Spring King–much to the delight of his friends.
Sub-Plot One: Brianna the Shrink
Wyatt is extremely happy about the upcoming dance for one very important reason: he has a date. His date is named Brianna, and she wants to follow in the footsteps of her two psychologist parents and become a therapist as well. When he introduces her to his friends, they are glad to meet her, except for Jen, who is distracted. When Jen laments that she is too busy, Brianna suggests that Jen might have issues with giving up control. This upsets Jen, and in a fit of pique she hires Jonesy as her assistant to show that she doesn't have control issues.
This ends poorly, as Jonesy forgets to book the dance hall and the dance has to be held in the food court. However, Wyatt becomes interested in being evaluated by Brianna, who refuses due to him being her boyfriend. Despite this, when Caitlin asks for an evaluation, Brianna does so and pegs Caitlin as obsessed with what other people think and being too eager to be liked, while she describes Nikki as having the opposite problem–because Nikki cares what people think, she uses sarcasm and abrasiveness as defense mechanisms so that she doesn't get too close to people. Finally, she suggests that Jonesy uses his macho attitude to disguise the fact that he's actually very uncomfortable around women–an accusation that an inattentive Jonesy agrees with.
Sub-Plot Two: Jonesy Dates Tricia
When Tricia finds out that Nikki is her main competition for Spring Queen, she decides to take care of her opponent. The first step in her plan is to get a mole, and she chooses Jonesy as her target. When she finds him eating a burger alone, she hits on him, and soon she is able to get him to say yes to going out with her by pointing out that he can spin it as distracting her from the campaign.
With Jonesy as her boyfriend, Tricia begins worming information out of him and uses her in to find out what Nikki's giveaways are by pretending that Nikki has already made the announcement. This allows Tricia to steal the giveaway idea as her own, and then when Jonesy breaks up with her suggests that Jonesy do her a favor by getting Nikki to drop out of the race. When Jonesy hears this, he realizes that he's been used, but is too late at Jen takes a picture of him and Tricia together in order to show the friends Jonesy's duplicity.
Tricia keeps Jonesy on her staff, however, and Jonesy is assigned the task of writing Tricia's speech. Jonesy uses this as an opportunity to take his revenge, as he writes a bitter, vindictive speech that perfectly mirrors Tricia's personality. This speech is poorly received by the crowd, and ends up being part of what costs Tricia the race. After the dance ends, Tricia finds Jonesy and slaps him, but Jonesy can accept this–after all, Nikki is worth far more to him than Tricia is.
Jude: We love Trish! We love Trish! We love–sorry.
Caitlin: Guys, I have to show you something horrible! I got my bangs cut. Jen: Wow! Those are bad. Caitlin: If they don't grow out before the dance, I won't be able to go! Jonesy: You could always wear the lemon hat.
Caitlin: Okay, I'll do it. I'll sacrifice my own dreams for the coral reef.
Nikki: Ugh, I don't have a chance.
Darth: Nikki and Tricia both scare us! Stoner: Uh... Nerd Girl: Nikki who? Fat Guy: Tricia rocks, man. Stoner: Uh...
Tricia: Oh, sore losers are sulking. It was a great idea, by the way. Thanks.
Brianna: Nikki, I think maybe you use your sarcasm as a defense mechanism to avoid getting too close to people. Nikki:(sarcastic) Yeah, right. Brianna: You're not as secure as you'd like people to think. You're afraid to be true to yourself.
Jude: Do you think Nikki has a chance of winning? Jonesy: Caitlin is a master at transforming people. However, there's a better chance of a monkey jumping out of my butt. (Jude starts staring at Jonesy's butt.)
Brianna: Jonesy, do you chase girls to fill some void in your life? Jonesy:(distracted) Yes. Huh?
Tricia:(reading the speech Jonesy wrote) I just want to say that you'd have to be crazy to pick Nikki over me. (The crowd gasps.) I mean, she doesn't even wear skirts! (Tricia realizes what she just said. She scans the rest of the speech and throws it away.) Tricia: And–and no one at the Khaki Barn likes working with her! And okay, she might be all prettied up tonight, but do you really want some frumpy, unstylish girl representing your school? I don't. I've been dreaming of this, for, like, forever, and she hasn't, so...vote for Trish! (She gets a mild smattering of applause, as well as some boos.) Jen: Wow. That was a really unpleasant speech.
Goof: Jen says to Jonesy that because he didn't book the hall, there will be no dance this year, as there's nowhere to host it. However, Tricia had just proclaimed that her father was willing to donate a new basketball court to the school, which suggests that the school already had a basketball court. If worst came to worst, therefore, the spring dance could theoretically been held in the gym or on the basketball court. This is especially true given that, since the show is set in Canada, the court is practically guaranteed to be inside the school itself.
The episode name may be a reference to a very large social event and carnival put on by Greek Life at the University of Arizona.
One of the scene transitions shows a banner for the event. On it, the year can clearly be read as "2006." This suggests that the series takes place from either 2005-2006 or 2006-2007.
Brianna's readings of Wyatt's friends are:
Jen: Has control issues, including an unwillingness to delegate responsibility and an exceeding bossiness. This has been shown before; in "One Quiet Day" she is unable to stop giving advice to her friends, and in "A Ding from Down Under" the defining characteristic of the puppet of her Jude creates is bossiness.
Caitlin: Is kind and open-hearted, but shallow and needs affirmation from others. The first part is seen repeatedly through the series, most notably in how she readily forgives Tricia even though Tricia continually betrays her trust, and the second part is also seen, with the "needing approval from others" demonstrated best in this episode with her ability to tailor Nikki's public face for maximum voter approval.
Nikki: Uses sarcasm as a defense mechanism to try and push people away, and puts on a cynical face to hide that inside she's insecure. Nikki's sarcasm as defense has been seen many times before, and she may be insecure; for example, in "Enter the Dragon" she was shown to be highly needy when it came to personal relationships when she has PMS, and in "The Birthday Boy" she revealed that she didn't want to date Jonesy because it might screw up the friendship shared by the group.
Jonesy: Uses an overly macho attitude in order to cover up that he is actually quite uncomfortable around women.
Despite having a clear understanding of basic psychology, Brianna does not seem like she'd be a good therapist, as overall her manner is abrasive and she too readily leaps to conclusions about others.
Admittedly, though, she readily points out that she's not a professional, and suggests that people should not yet place too much value on her advice.