I get the appeal of Josh, I honestly do. He was a sweet guy, he was genuinely interested in Tina, and he was not afraid to show it. Hell, when I watch “Two for Tina,” I’m always glad that Tina chooses to go to the dance with him over Jimmy Junior.
It’s easy to hate Jimmy Junior if you look at just one episode. He’s been a real jerk on a few occasions, there’s no denying it. But I think it’s a mistake to completely write him off. It’s important to look at the whole picture. So just let me take a few minutes to talk in the defense of Jimmy Junior and why I personally prefer him over Josh.
I believe that most of Jimmy Junior’s actions can be explained by looking at his family life. This is verging into the realm of headcannon a bit, but I think it’s probably safe to say that there’s a lot going on with Jimmy Junior that we’re just not seeing. We don’t get much insight into the Pesto household, but from what little glimpses we do get, it does not seem like he has a very good relationship with his father. We know at the very least that his dad does not support his dancing. I assume that this was a driving factor behind his joining the wrestling team; it was an attempt to win approval from his dad. This might even be initially what was behind his friendship with Zeke as well, who ends up being another distraction for him.
In any case, if Jimmy Junior was just trying to be closer to his dad like I think he was, there is no way he would accomplish that while also getting closer to the daughter of his dad’s enemy. So even though he likes Tina, he ends up pushing her away. It’s not right, but it’s what happens.
But the Jimmy Junior we’ve been seeing recently has matured a lot. I think the events of “Two for Tina” were a wake up call for him. He has finally realized he cannot take Tina for granted any more. That’s why in “Gene It On” he approaches Tina first, and when Louise makes it seem like she might be trying to blow him off, he immediately asks her out, because he knows he has to fight for her now. And let’s not forget how happy he looked asking Tina where she wanted to go on their date, or how he was disappointed that they wouldn’t be alone, or how he wanted to kiss her too. And while we’re at it, I have to also bring up how in “World Wharf II: The Wharfening,” he was showing off his perfectly tailored pants to Tina and he looked so proud when she said they were nice.
So you can talk about how Jimmy Junior was such a jerk in “Two for Tina” all you want, and you can even argue that he was still a jerk in “Presto Tina-o,” but those are just two episodes. You’re ignoring all the times he wasn’t a jerk, like in “Sheesh! Cab, Bob?” and “My Fuzzy Valentine” and “The Unnatural.” And you’re ignoring the fact that his most recent appearances strongly imply that their relationship is going somewhere, or at least that he is now openly interested in her.
Additionally, how much do Tina and Josh have in common, really? They supposedly have this great chemistry, but when it comes down to it, what is there? He goes to a different school, he’s older than her, he hasn’t grown up in a same environment as her. He lifts right out. Jimmy Junior, on the other hand, goes to Wagstaff with her, shares friends with her, lives across the street from her, and grew up in a restaurant just like her. Wouldn’t it be a lot easier, and make a lot more sense, for Tina to build a relationship with someone like Jimmy Junior?
And finally, just look at these kisses. Just look at them. Look at how Tina kisses Jimmy Junior and compare that to how she kisses Josh. That’s a huge difference. With Josh it looks like they’re trying to touch as little as possible. That’s like the minimum amount of what can be considered a kiss. And with Jimmy Junior? Well, we know for sure tongue was used on both accounts. I think that speaks for itself. Tina clearly wants Jimmy Junior the most, and she deserves to get who she wants. And I believe she will, because Jimmy Junior has finally started to mature into someone who deserves her. And that is something you can’t ignore.