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The Magic School Bus: The Magnetic Mambo is an episode of the first season of The Magic School Bus Rides Again. Its topic is magnetism.
In the gym, Ralphie 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 brings in a doctor's note, stating he's "not allowed to be entertaining", and hands it to Dorothy Ann, who tells the kids that it's legitimate. Ralphie asks Tim, Keesha, and Jyoti 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, prompting him to yell "all aBOOOOOOOARD!". Keesha notices that everyone has been aboard all day, but Ralphie just likes saying the phrase. He presses the accelerator, but to his dismay, the Bus doesn't start. Ms. Frizzle reminds him that, because the Bus was parked earlier, he needed to turn off the parking break. So, he turns off the parking break and drives the Magic School Bus into a cave filled with deposits of magnetite.
The kids are off and driving inside the cave. To test how powerful the magnetite is, Keesha "clumsily" throws Ralphie's whistle out of the Monorail School Bus's window. Everyone is amazed. Ralphie, desperate to get his favorite whistle back, he stops the Bus, but he forgets to turn on the parking brake.
Ms. Frizzle told Ralphie that he picked the perfect parking spot—right near his whistle. Ralphie asks for his whistle back, but the Friz says he'll get it on his "way back out"—from the magnetite. Ralphie is then handed his suit and helmet, and then sees everyone in his and her suits! Then the kids head inside the atoms of the magnetite.
The kids are back in an iron deposit, but Tim and Wanda notice that the atoms are lined up in a straight, orderly manner. Dorothy Ann wonders if this is due to magnetic forces, and she learns that in this magnetized piece of iron that the kids are in, the atoms spin in synchronized, straight lines. Tim is still wondering how this explains this being about magnetism, so he presses a button on the side of his helmet, which activates his Magnetic Field Glasses. The students put on their glasses as well, and they see magnetic fields. Ms. Frizzle tells the kids that those lines they see near the atoms are a magnetic field. And later, they see that the magnetic field is going out the north pole and in the south pole (which is where magnetic poles come from). The kids then approach the whistle (which was stuck to the magnetite), and Ralphie notices that the atoms of the whistle are magnetic as well. All of these lined up electrons remind Keesha of a line dance—so Ralphie suggests a line dance for the variety show.
The class returns to normal size as Ralphie anxiously pulls his whistle (he called it Tweets)—and a chunk of magnetite—off of the cave walls. He tries to put the magnetite back on the wall, but he just gets his foot hurt. Wanda notices that Ralphie was putting it on the wrong way, reminding her of the train set. Ms. Frizzle gives Arnold his Magnetic Field Glasses and tells him that if the magnetic force is flowing the same way, the magnets pull together and attract. Ralphie notices that The Magnetic Train Bus is missing—and it must have magnetically rolled off on its own due to him forgetting the parking brakes. According to Dorothy Ann's research, the track could go on for miles, but according to Ralphie's research, the kids are stranded in a cave with no way out.
Everybody then searches the tunnel, calling The Magic School Bus by its full name. The kids then notice that the Magic School Bus has been pulled into a very very very deep ditch. Everyone suggests ideas on how to save The Bus. Ralphie blows his whistle, Tweets, and asks the kids if they've got any ideas. Jyoti replies, "a GIANT suction cup!" only for Ralphie, who has a crush on her, to respond "PERFECT!" but he wonders where to get a giant suction cup. Jyoti says she has three at home, much to Ralphie's dismay. He asks anyone else, and Ms. Frizzle chimes in. She tells Ralphie that everybody's coming up with ideas separately. Ralphie says that this is a big problem. The Friz reminds Ralphie that by working together, atoms can exert a pretty big force. So he prompts everyone to come up with ideas together. The class eventually comes up with a human chain. As they struggle to make the chain reach the Bus, Ralphie (the end of the chain) can't reach! If only there was something longer than human arms—MAGNETS! Ms. Frizzle and the class deform their chain. Ralphie reminds the class of the Magnetic Field Glasses, and demonstrates that the magnetic field pulls things towards it by sticking Tweets to the magnetite. Delighted by this attractive solution, The Friz hands everyone MegaMagneto Multitools (that come preshrunk), as they build Magnetite Suits.
The kids form their human chain again, combining everyone's magnetic forces together (even the Friz's)—enough to reach—The Magic School Bus! When they get to Walkerville, they perform an upside down dance in their Magnetic Field Suits—on the Bus in the form of a stage!
- 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.
- Lisa Jai (Wanda in the Original Series) voices the caller in Producer Says.
- Ralphie could have jumped off the human chain, turned the Bus into a helicopter, and flew it out of the ditch. But this magnet suit part was added for learning purposes, just like other episodes of this series and the original series.
- It is implied that Ralphie has a crush on Jyoti, prompting people to ship the two.
- Ralphie has a bond with an inanimate object (his whistle) so strong, he even calls it Tweets.
- The kids form a human chain, like in "Under Construction".
- The kids change their size with neither the Bus's Shrinkerscope and Enormomometer nor the Porta-Shrinker, similar to in the book series by Joanna Cole.
- William from "Ups and Downs" and "Under Construction" makes his third appearance.
- Jyoti refers to the Magic School Bus by its full name. The first time this happened was when Wanda used its full name in "Revving Up". ("The Friz wouldn't let anything happen to the Magic School Bus ever.")
- The kids wear rock suits, just like in "Rocks and Rolls".
- This is one of the episodes that features hi-tech goggles that allow the students to see scientific properties. A few of the previous "goggle episodes" were "In the Arctic", "Pigs in the Wind", "Frizzle of the Future", "Gets Charged", "In the Haunted House", etc.
- This is one of the episodes in which Arnold doesn't complain about a field trip.
- The Bus transforms into the same train in "Nothin' But Net" (you will see it if you pause at the right time), decorated with a circuit pattern.
- Ralphie drives the Bus for the third time. The first two times he took the wheel were in "Kicks Up a Storm" and "Going Batty". In all three episodes, the Bus is transformed when he drives it. (The Weather-Mobile in the former episode and a bat in the latter)
- This is the only episode in which Ralphie drives the Bus when a Frizzle Sister transforms/shrinks it instead of Ralphie transforming/shrinking it.
- 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, and during the performance.
- 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.