Ash and his friends pause for a picnic by a lake, and call out all of their Pokémon for lunch prepared by Brock. Ash compliments Brock on the food, a sentiment shared by Pikachu and all of the Pokémon, to which Brock emotionally plies everyone with more food. Cyndaquil scoffs down two rice balls at once and begins to choke. Ash runs over to help, and a small pat on the back causes Cyndaquil to use Flamethrower to clear its airways and roasts Ash's face in the process. After lunch, everyone has a nap, except for Misty's Politoed, who decides to have another rice ball. In the process of taking one, it knocks the food off the plate and it rolls into the bushes.
Politoed chases after its snack only to be discovered by Tammy, who admonishes "Bean" for running away and losing its red headband again. Resigned to Politoed's behavior she takes its hand and starts walking home, just as another Politoed wearing a red headband wanders out and watches them, seemingly confused. Tammy returns to a large building and announces to a group of Grass-type Pokémon that she has found Bean. However, the Sunflora, Jumpluff, and Bellossom all crowd around, confused, and the girl realizes that this Politoed is not her own. Politoed promptly begins clapping happily, and the Grass Pokémon all enthusiastically dance and sing to the rhythm. Astonished but happy, Tammy exclaims that she loves Politoed.
Back at camp, Brock recalls Onix and they prepare to head off, but Misty exclaims that she can't find Politoed. Just as they run off to look for it, they fall into one of Team Rocket's pitfall traps and are confronted. In the closing line of the motto, Meowth places a large metal plate over the hole, sealing Ash and his friends inside. As Ash demands their freedom, a sad Bean walks past, which Team Rocket believes to belong to Misty. Misty, only being able to hear, cries for Politoed to run away, but Team Rocket tells Meowth to attack, as he is a Pokémon and doesn't do enough battling. Meowth leaps forward, but Bean sticks out its long tongue and stops him in midair, causing him to fall back. Impressed, Jessie and James attempt to entice the confused Bean into joining Team Rocket. However, Misty and the others escape from the hole and urge Bean not to believe Team Rocket. After yelling at each other, Bean tells Meowth that it's not interested, and Pikachu sends them blasting off with a Thunderbolt. Misty runs up to Politoed happily, but instantly realizes that it isn't hers.
Back with Misty's Politoed, Tammy is instructing her Grass Pokémon to dance as Politoed conducts the routine with its clapping tempo. The group leaps into their signature finish with Politoed at the head of a pyramid, just as Misty, Bean, and the others walk past. Misty bets that her Politoed and Bean have been mixed up somehow. Bean looks into the building courtyard and Misty spots Politoed with the girl. Misty explains that they must be a cheerleading squad. Bean becomes angry and upset at seeing Misty's Politoed and rushes up to Tammy, who enthusiastically greets him at first. However, she turns snide, informing Bean that he is too late and has been replaced, saddening Bean. Misty runs up and informs Tammy that Politoed belongs to her, which Politoed proves by happily running over to Misty. The kids introduce themselves while Misty's Politoed dances happily. The girl introduces herself as Tammy and explains that her team is trying to enter the National Cheering Competition. Tammy asks Misty for a favor. She shows the trio how well her troupe performs with Misty's Politoed as the leader and assures her that she would be certain to win first place if Politoed led them to the Nationals. However, Misty is worried about Bean, who is standing all alone and sad watching the proceedings. Tammy explains that she was very angry at Bean earlier, who ran away. Misty asks if Bean can train again, but Tammy sadly says no, then orders her Grass Pokémon back to their practice. Meanwhile, Team Rocket spy on the cheer practice and decide that dancing troupe would make a great gift for the Boss.
Ash and Misty feel bad for Bean, who is sadly walking away. Misty vows to do something for Bean. She and her friends chase after Bean and calls for it to reconcile with Tammy. However, Bean runs away and Brock notes that it didn't go well. Ash and Pikachu follow Bean, while Brock and Misty return to talk things over with Tammy. Ash and Pikachu soon track down Bean, who is practicing its moves. Pikachu attempts to make Bean laugh with some funny faces, but the game is up when Ash bursts out laughing at Pikachu's faces. Ash apologizes for blowing Pikachu's cover and tries to talk to Bean, who simply shoves Pikachu aside and runs off again. Ash calls after Bean, but there is no response. Back at Tammy's, she pleads with Misty to let her borrow Politoed until the competition. Brock admits that having to catch up with Tammy again is a lot of trouble just for a competition. Misty asks if the competition really is that important, to which Tammy replies that it is her dream to be famous and entertain the world with her Pokémon's cheering. The pair pause to consider Tammy's ambitions.
Politoed leads the signature pose once more, but one of the Jumpluff loses its footing and the whole pyramid collapses. Brock and Misty are horrified when Tammy just yells at the group, admonishing them for their failure and saying that she is ashamed of every one of them. The Pokémon begin to cry and Tammy also scolds them for that, until Misty rushes over. Tammy apologizes for the mess, but Misty berates her for not caring about her own Pokémon, not even checking if they were injured. Misty checks on Politoed, who is fine, and then begins to clap, which cheers Tammy's Pokémon out of their tears. Tammy watches Misty check the Pokémon, getting a flashback of her younger self. Tears trickle down Tammy’s face as she remembers that she once cared for her Pokémon and was focused on her dreams of entertaining crowds, not winning. Politoed attends to Tammy, but its clapping only makes her cry harder. She explains her obsession with winning the competition had begun to override everything else. She had been trying to make people happy while upsetting those closest to her. However, her Pokémon begin to cheer, showing that they are not angry at her at all. Tammy emotionally embraces all of her Pokémon.
At this moment, Team Rocket attacks in a giant Cheering Politoed mecha. The robot's giant tongue seizes Misty, Togepi, Brock, Tammy, Politoed, and all of the Cheering squad, and everyone is dumped into the giant robot's stomach cage. Nearby, Ash hears and sees the mecha. He rushes back with Pikachu and Bean in pursuit. The mecha turns around and faces Ash. Jessie taunts him for being tardy. Brock warns Ash, but it is too late as Ash and Pikachu fall into another pitfall with a large sticky flytrap that immobilizes them both. Team Rocket's mecha uses an antenna to seize Pikachu and cut him free, but Ash is left stuck. Inside, Jessie dreams about all of her hard work of digging pitfalls paying off, to which James clarifies that he and Meowth did all the digging. Pikachu uses Thunderbolt but it doesn't work against Team Rocket’s insulated robot. Thrilled at their imminent victory, Team Rocket decides to depart with Pikachu, Togepi, Politoed, and the Cheering squad, with Meowth promising Ash that, since he has been a good sport about them stealing Pikachu, they will return Misty, Brock, and Tammy later. Much later.
As the mecha turns to leave, it is confronted by Bean. Team Rocket lashes it with the robot tongue, but Bean dodges it. Bean launches a Water Gun on the mecha's glass capture hold, freeing the captives. The mecha attempts to squash Tammy and Bean, though Tammy leaps to save herself and Bean. Tammy apologizes to Bean and pleads with it to let her work together with it to reach their goals, which Bean happily accepts. Misty and her Politoed vow to help, and it conducts the cheer squad. Jessie becomes sour and orders Arbok to use Headbutt, which Misty's Politoed immediately counters with a Headbutt of its own. Politoed lands and begins clapping while Arbok is left dazed. Bean uses Double Slap and Politoed follows with a Water Gun, knocking out Arbok. Bean and Politoed team up for a Water Gun and drench the mecha in water. Brock frees Ash from the pitfall and Ash orders Pikachu to use Thunderbolt, but Team Rocket warns him that their mecha is well-insulated from Pikachu's electricity. However, Misty, Tammy, and Brock remind Team Rocket that Politoed and Bean's double Water Gun has drenched their mecha in water, which conducts electricity. Thus, Pikachu's Thunderbolt zaps the robot and sends Team Rocket blasting off.
Politoed and Bean both begin to clap, much to Tammy's astonishment. Bean's clapping does just as good a job as Politoed's, as the Grass Pokémon begin to dance just like they did for Politoed. Grateful, Tammy promises to cheer for Ash in his Johto League championship and bids farewell to the trio, who sets off towards their next adventure.