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- —Weatherman, Weatherwoman, and Weatherlizard's catchphrase
Kicks Up a Storm is the thirteenth episode of the first season of The Magic School Bus. It is about weather.
Walkerville is going through a massive heat wave, the temperature reaching 99 degrees Fahrenheit (or 37 degrees Celsius, as Phoebe adds). Ralphie expresses the wish to make a thunderstorm, and creates the alter ego of Weatherman. When the class begin to argue whether it's water, air, or heat that makes the weather, especially when Keesha and Ralphie argue about Weatherman, Ms. Frizzle decides to take them on a field trip to explore weather.
Ralphie follows Liz to warm up the bus outside and emerges through the door dressed as Weatherman. Tim decides to write this in his comic strip called "The Adventures of Weatherman". Ralphie tells the rest of the class that for his first power, he will make a thunderstorm. But first, they must explore air. They enter the bus and Ralphie, irresolute of what he has to do, presses a red button, which turns on the fan behind the bus. He then pulls a lever, which sends the bus flying in the air and causes the ceiling to flap open. When Ralphie uses the steering wheel, Ms. Frizzle becomes as flat as cardboard and flies to the sky. The rest of the class follow suit and Ralphie realizes he made a huge mistake.
As the class and Ms. Frizzle continue to float in the air, Tim writes the first chapter of his comic strip: "Gone with the Wind". Ms. Frizzle is the first to float back down inside the bus and changes back into her normal human form. She tells Ralphie that he should combine the three elements of weather (air, water, and heat) to make one new type of it. So he transforms himself flat to float with Ms. Frizzle and the rest of the class in the sky. When they notice a thunderhead eclipsing the sun, Dorothy Ann informs that weather is different in different places. Ms. Frizzle adds that different combinations of air, water, and heat make different kinds of weather.
The class hops back onto the bus and gives Ralphie acclaim for his creation of wind. But Keesha refuses to refer to him as Weatherman, for he has yet to create the thunderstorm. When Wanda asks what makes the wind, Keesha responds by explaining that air and heat combined do so, for the sun heats the earth which heats the air which causes the warm air to rise. Moreover, after the warm air rises, more air must replace it with cooler air, thus creating wind.
So Ralphie decides to combine the air with heat to make the thunderstorm and ends up propelling the bus higher in the air. Ms. Frizzle states that he has made an updraft, which is warm air that blows up rather than sideways. Phoebe guesses it as a comparison to heat rising out of a toaster. Ms. Frizzle calls that a good example of a small updraft, but Tim adds one has to be bigger than that. He then decides to put it for the next chapter of his comic strip: "Weatherman and the Updraft Riders". When Wanda asks Ralphie if he can make clouds, he tries to find which button to press to do so. When Dorothy Ann tells him that he needs to make water, he decides to use all three of the elements of weather to transform the class into water. The bus transform into a spray bottle and sprays them outside in the sky. They then change into tiny water drops and hold hands to form a circle. Ms. Frizzle tells them that clouds are made up of tiny water droplets and they end up making a cloud. They suddenly transform into snowflakes made up of ice crystals and slowly fall down from the sky. The ice crystals suddenly melt, and the class is now in raindrops.
The class lands inside the bus and Keesha tells Ralphie that despite making clouds and rain, he still needs to make the thunderstorm. So he decides to make more air, water, and heat. But he finally admits that he will never complete this task. Ms. Frizzle convinces him to never say never and he takes a look outside to see what he has done, much to his dismay.
As the bus continues to fly through the turbulent wind and dark clouds, the class is impressed of the effects the elements have on the weather. Ms. Frizzle explains to them that warm, moist air sweeps up on a huge updraft, the moisture cools and condenses into clouds, and as it gets cold enough, it freezes into ice crystals, thus making snowflakes. The class then learns that snow falls faster once it gets heavy enough, and Ralphie decides to stop the weather. But Ms. Frizzle reminds him that a thunderstorm won't stop until it rains itself out, causing him to panic. So he finally concedes that he isn't Weatherman, and that the costume was Liz's idea. Keesha, who seems contrite of how she treated him, tries to talk him into it. But he claims that he made everything up and accidentally shrinks the bus. When Keesha finally calls him Weatherman, he gets his confidence back and gets the rest of the class safely to the ground, via snowflakes-turned-raindrops. All the while, Tim decides to write this down for the next chapter of his comic strip: "Weatherman and the Snow Riders". The class lands in Carlos' rain catcher (which he left outside to sit out during the field trip). Tim decides to write down the last chapter of his comic strip: "Weatherman Meets the Giant Lizard". The class falls out of the end of the tube and into a measuring cup held by Liz, who dumps them onto the grass as they grow back into their regular size.
As the class run back inside the school, Tim has completed "The Adventures of Weatherman" and hangs the pages on the chalkboard. When Keesha decides to take on the personal "Weatherwoman", Ralphie tells her that the job is bigger between them. Ms. Frizzle then repeats Weatherman's phrase "Shicka-shicka-kaboom!" Meanwhile, outside, the bus uses its umbrella to protect itself from the rain.
During a rainy day, both the male and female producer run inside the office to answer the phone. A girl calls to inform them that she's studying to be Weatherwoman and asks to be tested. She explains that weather is what the air is above and around the citizens all the way to the highest cloud. She then explains that most rain starts as ice or snow, and sometimes, during a thunderstorm, it could produce hail. She even adds that aside from air, water, and heat there was just one single ingredient left out: land. She even uses a mountain pushing air up to create a thunderstorm and keep rain away as an example of the land's significant role in the weather. The female producer also adds that as simple as the episode made the weather out to be, it's really complicated and difficult to predict what it would be like the next day. The girl then admits she isn't studying to become Weatherwoman since no one on Earth makes the weather. Liz then wears a weather costume herself as a means of entertainment.
- This is the second episode in which both producers answer the phone and appear together. The first is "Gets Ants in Its Pants". However, in production order this is the first episode where they answer the phone together.
- On Amazon, this episode cuts off in the middle of the credits.
- Vince Commisso, the show's producer reads the descriptive audio for the blind.
- He reads the descriptive audio dub for other episodes in Season 1 as well in later seasons.
- In this episode, Carlos, Dorothy Ann, and Keesha have short-sleeved shirts on. Arnold and Tim pushed up their long sleeves. Wanda doesn't have a vest on anyway despite the fact that this episode takes place in summer, presumably in August like it's the first days of school and might chronologically precede other episodes. That or the heatwave was unseasonable.
- This is the last episode in which Amos Crawley voices Arnold before Danny Tamberelli takes over.
- This is the last episode in which Max Beckford voices Tim before Andre Ottley-Lorant takes over.
- "All Dried Up" is the last episode of Season 1 to voice Amos Crawley as Arnold and Max Beckford as Tim
- This is one of the few episodes in which Carlos gets a universally positive reaction to one of his puns or jokes. Everyone laughs when he claims, "We were all blown away by the experience!"
- "The Battle for Rock Mountain" acts as a sequel to this episode.
- It's implied that Ralphie has a crush on Keesha in this episode.
- Phoebe is implied to be of Canadian extraction in this episode.
- This is the second episode in the unofficial "Summer Trilogy", which is believed to take place at the end of Year One. The other episodes are "Gets Eaten", also from TMSB Season 1, and "Goes to Mussel Beach".
- This is the first episode where any of the students are seen in their swimsuits. Keesha appears in hers during the wind lesson segment.