"As my DJ cousin, Young MSB, always says: 'let's bus a move!'"
- The Frizzle sisters' cousin, Young MSB, quoted by Fiona Frizzle

"The Magnetic Mambo" is the fifth episode of the first season of The Magic School Bus Rides Again, and the fifty-seventh episode overall counting the 52 original episodes of the prequel.


In the gym, Ralphie A. G. Tennelli blows his whistle. He is hosting the greatest variety show ever: The Walkerville PS Variety Show: A Ralphie Tennelli Production, and he is starting auditions. Arnold M. Perlstein brings in a doctor's note, stating he's "not allowed to be entertaining", and hands it to Dorothy Ann Hudson, who tells the kids that it's legitimate. Ralphie asks Tim Wright, Keesha Franklin, and Jyoti Kaur if they want to enter the show, and they all say yes, which turns into an argument about what the three students want to do for the show. Ralphie stops the argument with his whistle, and just in case they missed it, another blow of the whistle.

Later in the class, Wanda Li and Carlos Ramon are helping the former's brother, William (Under Construction), connect his magnetic trains. Wanda turns one of the train cars around, and makes the magnets attract, fascinating Will. Ralphie storms in the room with a worried look on his face, telling them "variety show, dancing, ca-blooey, help, mess, desperate!" Ralphie is in need of help at the auditorium for the variety show, and he mentions something about dancing. Soon, Mrs. Li (Lisa Jai), Wanda's mother, enters the room and apologizes to Wanda for forgetting to sign her field trip permission slips. She mentions Ms. Frizzle's sense of humor when she notices that her permission slips mention field trips to volcanoes and outer space. Wanda replies that the Friz is "really something", after bidding her and William farewell. Wanda, Carlos, and Ralphie rush to the gym.

When they enter the gym, they see the girls (minus DA) and Tim dancing. They all chose to do dancing acts for the PS Variety Show. Ralphie tells Wanda and Dorothy Ann that the show needs variety. Ralphie blows his whistle, which stops Keesha, Tim, and Jyoti from dancing. Ralphie and DA tell them that there's only room for one dance act, but there are still openings for stilt walking and bagpiping. The dancers don't care. They want to do the Keesha Krump, the Timothy Twist, and the Jyoti Kaur Kathakali. Wanda says that since they can only do one dance, they could dance together. However, Ms. Frizzle comes out from backstage when she hears Ralphie saying "action". She does the robot, the dab, the moonwalk, a few breakdance moves, and even entering full splits. The kids ask The Friz where she learned to dance like that, and she replies that she learned from "Adam (atom) and the Electrons". The kids ask if they can meet them, prompting a field trip.

As they enter the Magic School Bus, Ms. Frizzle notices something missing–the destination of inspiration. The Friz borrows Ralphie's whistle and throws it out of the Bus's window. Then she proceeds to turn on the Shrinkerscope, which miniaturizes the kids smaller than a speck of dust. They then exit the Magic School Bus, equipped with antigravity suits, and proceed to fly out into the atoms that make up Ralphie's whistle. As they recognize the electrons spinning around the electron clouds of each iron atom, Ms. Frizzle introduces the kids to Adam and the Electrons, which are, in fact, actual atoms and electrons. Ralphie says that those spinning electrons are dancing with excitement, style, and most of all, action. The class begins to spin like Ms. Frizzle did in the gym. Later, the Friz and the class grow back to human size and practice the atomic boogie from their field trip. The kids start spinning, but things get out of control as the class knocks into each other, and eventually destroys all of the décor that were decorating the stage (Greek vases on Ionic columns, picture frames, and party streamers). Ralphie's show has been ruined.

As the kids rebuild the set, Ralphie tells the kids he wanted everybody to do the Atomic Boogie and not the Dance-aster. Ms. Frizzle said that when the kids were spinning, they "cancelled each other out" just like atoms do, and it couldn't have gone better. Ralphie says that Ms. Frizzle should talk to his mom, Dr. Tennelli, who knows a hearing specialist, because the rehearsals were a disaster. Ms. Frizzle says to Ralphie that not all atoms act that way, not unless things change. The class goes to the Bus.

Ms. Frizzle and the kids board the Airplane School Bus and head to Kediet ej Jill, Mauritania, which is known for its abundance of magnetite. As the Bus gets pulled in by Kediet ej Jill's magnetite, Ms. Frizzle presses a button on the Bus's touchscreen, which activates the Mesmerglobber, turning it into a maglev monorail train. She lets Ralphie drive the Magnetic School Bus into a cave filled with deposits of magnetite.


  • This is the second time that the class shrinks smaller than they normally do. The first was in "Meets Molly Cule", which is about molecules. However, this episode is about atoms.
  • Ralphie drives the Bus for the third time.
  • The Bus becomes a train for the third time. In "Flexes Its Muscles", the Bus became a locomotive. In "Holiday Special", the Bus became a train car, and in this episode, it is a magnetic-levitation monorail.
  • As the kids rebuild the stage, Arnold is seen in a cameo appearance on the bench, reading The Adventures of Weatherman.
  • Ralphie uses the "hit it" catchphrase in this episode, when he tells Liz to turn on some music as the kids practice the Magnetic Mambo when they return from the atoms of the whistle.
  • The Bus turns into a building for the first time. The second is in "Claw and Order".
  • When Ms. Frizzle enters the gym/auditorium hybrid while dancing, she does many popular moves, such as the robot, dabbing, and moon-walking.
  • When Jyoti says "So you want us to do the atomic boogie?", she speaks with the voice of Wanda. A similar thing happened in "Makes a Stink", when one of Ralphie's lines was voiced by Danny Tamberelli (Arnold in that episode).
  • This episode confirms that Tim is short for Timothy in the English version of the series. In the French dub (even in the original series), Tim is not known as just Tim, and he is known as another full name for the nickname, Thomas (pronounced like Tomás)
  • "Bus a move" will go on to be the slogan of Season 2.
  • This episode reveals Jyoti's last name, Kaur, pronounced like "core" [kor].
  • In this episode, the closed captions spell Ralphie's last name as "TENNELLI" (the way it is spelled in his nationality, Italian) However, in "Inside Ralphie", it is spelled "TINELLI". Ralphie's last name is used for the third time; the previous two being "Inside Ralphie" and "Going Batty".
  • Ralphie mentions the fact that his mother works with a hearing specialist, which references "Inside Ralphie".
  • This is William's third physical appearance, and fourth if the fantasy in "Meets Molly Cule" is counted.
  • Lisa Jai, Wanda's voice actress from 1994 to 1997, takes over Rosalind Chao's role from "Ups and Downs" and "Under Construction" as Mrs. Li. The Li family would later appear in the audience for Dorothy Ann's show in "The Tales Glaciers Tell".
  • The music that plays when Ms. Frizzle dances is reused in "Nothin' But Net". Another song that plays when the kids do the Magnetic Mambo at the end, plays in "Space Mission: Selfie".
  • The fact that this episode is about particles and is focused on a concert is a callback to the molecules show, "Meets Molly Cule", when the kids sing "Down to the Very Last Bit" with Wanda's favorite rock-n'-roll star, Molly Cule. The respective Frizzle sister's first appearance in those episodes are related to music, with Ms. Frizzle dancing in this episode and Professor Frizzle sitting on top of the Bus playing a harmonica in the former.

Episode availability

The magic school bus rides again s01e05

The magic school bus rides again s01e05

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