The Meddler is the thirty-fourth episode of season one of The Amazing World of Gumball.
Nicole meddles in Gumball's school life and ends up ruining it in the process.
The episode opens with Nicole
coming home from a hard day's work and falling asleep on the couch next to her husband
, who is busy watching television. Gumball
comes home shortly after and tries to share stories about his day at school to his parents, but neither of them pay attention. Feeling neglected, Gumball storms off to his room and accidentally wakes up his mother in the process. Nicole apologizes to Gumball for not paying him much attention, and promises that she will spend more time with him the next day.
At school the next morning, Gumball runs into Penny in the hallway. He asks her if she would like to come and see his new cartwheel trick after school, but she explains that she wants to attend cheerleader try-outs instead. After Gumball embarrasses himself in front of her, he opens his locker and finds his mother cramped inside.
Nicole explains to her sons that she followed them to school to give them more attention all week, a plan which they find humiliating. They soon encounter Tina Rex and her gang of bullies in the hallway, who make fun of Gumball and call him a baby. Disapproving of this, Nicole tells her son to respond to Tina's teasing by claiming that she only bullies people because of her own insecurities and shortcomings. This turns out to be correct as Tina runs away in embarrassment soon after, leaving Gumball unscathed.
Jamie admits that standing up to Tina was pretty cool, but reminds him that his mother will not always be there to protect him. In response to this, Nicole takes Gumball by the hand and reassures him that she will be there for him until for as long as she needs to, which her son does not approve of in the least and runs away from her, accidentally running into Principal Brown in the process.
Principal Brown ends up having his hair shed and subsequently grown back due to the collision, and gives Gumball eight hours of detention with Nicole's "help". Over the course of the day, Nicole continues to embarrass her son, going so far to "help" as to bathe him in the shower room and burp like an infant during lunch.
During lunch, Nicole spots Penny and tries to help Gumball flirt with her by saying that he loves her and wants to take her out on a date. In a fit of panic, he slips up and accidentally says that he hates Penny and has never liked her, breaking her heart and making her cry, and Nicole gives Gumball one last tip and pushes him over the edge. Enraged, Gumball tells his mother to go home and that enough is enough—her constant meddling doing more harm than good.
On the way to her car, Nicole gets an urgent phone call from Gumball, who explains that he made a bad decision, and rushes back in the building to help him. Although initially he denies his mother knowledge of what he did, he eventually shows her his plan to try out for the cheerleading squad to try and win back Penny by beating her at her own game. Though hesitant at first, Gumball then explains to Nicole that he needs her emotional support, so they go to the try-outs.
At the try-outs, Penny performs in front of the judges—Principal Brown and Mr. Small --, but they are both unimpressed by her performance. She explains to them that she has been having emotional troubles lately, but they stand by their decision and explains that someone would have to be pretty terrible in order for her to make the team. Abruptly, Gumball bursts through the door and after an admittedly awful performance which scores a 'zero' by both judges, Penny is given a spot on the cheerleading team.
Failing his plan at winning over Penny, Gumball is held in his mothers arms while he cries about life being unfair. However, Penny is ecstatic and excitedly thanks Gumball for giving her a chance to be on the team. She assumes that this must mean that he truly does like her and he tearfully agrees.
Gumball is then carried by Nicole to the hall, where Darwin is massaging his cheeks. He starts smiling as soon as Nicole shows up. Then Gumball and Nicole walk away with Nicole telling Gumball that he will be her "Gummypuss" even when he's eighty. After they both leave, Darwin's face explodes due to all the excessive smiling he did over the course of the day.
- Nicole: "Right. ...So what's the problem?"
Gumball: "The problem is me! What if I'm not as good as the other girls, what if they laugh at me!? ...And this leotard makes me look fat so I put this skirt on to hide my butt.
Nicole: "What exactly do you want me to do, honey?"
Gumball: "Uh, hello? Be there of course! I need emotional support, you're my mom, start acting like it."
- Penny: "I know, it's just... I had some emotional problems this afternoon an-"
Mister Small: "YOU LEAVE YOUR EMOTIONS AT THE DOOR! THIS IS CHEERLEADING, NOT DRAMA CLUB! YOU BETTER SHAPE UP OR SHIP OUT BECAUSE THIS IS THE BIG LEAGUES SISTER, AND RIGHT NOW YOU'RE AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BARREL! ...Is there anything you'd like to add, Principal Brown?"
Principal Brown: "Only that we're making cuts today and someone's going to have to be pretty bad for it not to be you."
- Anais was the only Watterson who did not appear in this episode.
- This episode premiered in France before it aired in the United States.
- This is the fourth episode to air in the UK before the US. The others were "The Mystery", "The Responsible" and "The Microwave".
- Bobert and Idaho were the only students who did not appear in this episode.
- It is revealed Penny is an (antlered) peanut.
- Whenever Gumball's skirt would fall off or be lifted, he was wearing what appeared to be a red thong.
- Darwin's feet were censored in the showers, playing off how his shoes are the only articles of clothing he wears, despite them being plainly shown in some previous episodes. This is later stated by him in "The Dream".
- This was the second episode in which Darwin's head explodes. The first one was "The Sock".
- This is the fifth episode where we see Gumball completely nude, the other four are "The Picnic", "The Dress", "The Club", and "The Curse".
- In the background its revealed that Elmore Junior High's mascot is a duck, which contradicts earlier episodes that stated the mascot is a mustang. This will be mentioned by a person in "The Name".
- Darwin wears a forced smile on his face with Nicole around. Squidward also wore a forced smile on his face in the SpongeBob SquarePants episode, "Selling Out."
- In one scene, Nicole's skirt is colored white.
- Gumball lost his whiskers at one side when he screamed to his parents.
- When Gumball attempts a Cart Wheel for the first time, his tail and butt are visible on his pants, instead of his white button. The next scene also shows this.
- When Gumball runs upstairs, a door is heard slamming, but when Nicole follows him, it is completely ajar.
- After Gumball falls on his back, he gets back up but the only shoe on his foot had swapped places. After Mister Small and Principal Brown exchange confusion, the mistake seems to have corrected itself.