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Kicks Up a Storm

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"Kicks Up a Storm" is the thirteenth and final episode of season one of the animated children's series The Magic School Bus. It originally aired on December 3rd, 1994.

Plot

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, Ms. Frizzle decides to take the class 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 called "The Adventures of Weatherman". Ralphie tells the rest of the class that for his first power, he will make a thunderstorm. But first, the class must explore air. The class 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 transforms as flat as a cardboard and flies to the sky. The other 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 he named "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 (which are wind, heat, and water) to make one new type of weather. So Ralphie transforms himself into cardboard to float with Ms. Frizzle and the rest of the class in the sky. When the class notice a thunder cloud eclipsing the sun, Dorothy Ann informs that weather is different in different places. Ms. Frizzle adds that different combinations of wind, water, and heat make different kinds of weather.

The class hop back onto the buoyant bus and the class give Ralphie acclaim for his creation of the 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 makes wind, for the sun heats the earth and the earth heats the air, which causes the warm air to rise. Moreover, after the rise of the warm air, 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 Weatherman has made an updraft, which is warm air that blows up rather than sideways. Tim decides to put the updraft for the next chapter of his comic: "Weatherman and the Updraft Riders". When asked by Wanda if he could make clouds, Ralphie tries to find which button to press to make the clouds. When Dorothy Ann tells him that he needs to make water, Ralphie decides to use all three of the elements of weather to transform the class into water. The school bus transform into a water spray and sprays the class outside in the sky. The class then change into tiny water drops and hold hands to form a circle in the sky. Ms. Frizzle tells the class that clouds are made up of tiny water droplets and the class end up making a cloud. The class suddenly transforms into snowflakes made up of ice crystals and slowly fall down from the sky. The ice crystals suddenly melt, and the class are now in raindrops.

They land inside the bus and Keesha tells Ralphie that despite making clouds and rain, he still needs to make the thunderstorm. So Ralphie decides to make more heat, air, and water. 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 are impressed of the effects the elements have on the weather. Ms. Frizzle explains to the class that warm, moist air sweeps up on a huge updraft, moisture of the rising updraft cools and condenses into clouds, and as it gets cold enough, the moisture freezes into ice crystals, thus making snow. 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 thunder headlight won't stop until the storm rains itself out, causing Ralphie to panic. So he finally concedes that he isn't Weatherman, and that the costume was Liz's idea. Keesha tries to talk him into it. But Ralphie claims that he made everything up and accidentally shrinks the bus. When Keesha finally calls Ralphie "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 fifth chapter of his comic: "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 his sixth chapter: "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 during the thunderstorm, Tim has completed his comic of "The Adventures of Weatherman" and hangs the pages on the chalkboard. When Keesha decides to take on the persona "Weatherwoman", Ralphie tells her that the job is bigger between him and her. Ms. Frizzle then repeats "Weatherman's" phrase "Shicka-schicka-boom-boom." Meanwhile outside, the bus uses its umbrella to protect itself from the rain.

Trivia

This is the second episode where the two producers answer the phone and appear together. The first is Gets Ants in Its Pants.

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