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Recap / Kids Incorporated S 2 E 1 New Kid In Town

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We now commence with Kids Incorporated’s 2nd season, as the band has to find a replacement for band founder Mickey after his family moves away. The kids are still moping, wondering how they’ll go on when Riley comes to get them. When they get back to the P*lace, the band dedicates the opening number to Mickey (fittingly, the first song of Season 2, “Don’t You (Forget About Me)”, includes a series of cut-ins of Mickey on the lower-third of the screen); followed by “Stir It Up”note 

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Following the songs; the girls are fretting about needing another male singer while the Kid seems to be relishing being the lone boy in the band. That status is soon threatened when a newcomer named Ryan shows up (his first line, after continued fretting over where they’ll find another male singer, “How about me?”); with his brash mannerisms clearly rubbing the others the wrong way - leading to their attempt to give him some much-needed “humble pie” (“Show Some Respect”). Soon after another run-in with Kid that leads to Kid recommending an audition after Ryan asks Kid what it felt like when he first auditioned, Ryan wanders onto the stage (“The Search is Over”), with Kid noticing Ryan’s performance and seeing there was clearly more than meets the eye with him.

At an undetermined point, the others agree to let Ryan audition…on stage…live. With showtime nearing, Ryan - to the surprise of Kid - is reading a book (specifically, a Bruce Springsteen biography) and (even more shocking to Kid) enjoying it. Ryan also shows himself to be a gentleman, holding the door for the girls (an act which certainly caught Gloria’s attention). The song for Ryan’s “baptism by fire”: “Tough All Over”. Finally, Riley introduces the names of the band members before (after Stacy whispers the results to him) introducing Ryan as the newest member (with Ryan’s exuberant expression being the last shot before the credits end).

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As mentioned in the recap, this marks the debut of Ryan Lambert as Jerry Sharell’s replacement as the band (and series) male lead, also marking the debut of new dancers Darren Lee (replacing Aaron Hamilton) and Gina Marie Vinaccia (replacing Carletta Prince) - though starting with this season and continuing with the remainder of the series, the dancers would be effectively pushed further into the background with few speaking lines. Additionally; a revived version of Hal Roach Studios (best known for the Laurel and Hardy and The Little Rascals series of short films) replaced K-Tel International as the series co-producer with Lynch/Biller Productions and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer after K-Tel filed for bankruptcy protection. On stage, the “Asbestos” label over the stage was finally changed to “Fire Curtain” (shortly after the series premiered, asbestos was linked to a particular type of cancer known as mesothelioma). Finally, after being credited for Season 1 by her birth name of Marta Marrero; Gloria’s actress began using the nickname Martika, which she would later go on to use professionally.

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Songs performed in this episode:

  • Don’t You (Forget About Me)” (Simple Minds cover; lead vocals by Stacy and Gloria)
  • Stir It Up” (Patti LaBelle cover; lead vocals by Kid and Gloria)note 
  • “Show Some Respect” (Tina Turner cover; lead vocals by Kid)
  • “The Search is Over” (Survivor cover; lead vocals by Ryan)
  • “Tough All Over” (John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band cover; lead vocals by Ryan)

Tropes associated with this episode:

  • Bookworm: Established as one of Ryan’s main habits, a consistent trait throughout his tenure on the series. This also serves as something of a contrast to Kid’s less than studious approach.
  • Continuity Nod: What appears to soften Kid's resistance to Ryan even auditioning was Ryan asking Kid what he felt like when he first auditioned.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Ryan briefly shows flashes of this to the extent that even Kid - normally the main example of this trope - calls him out on it.
  • Spiky Hair: Another trademark of Ryan
  • Unseen Character: This marks the first mention of a character known only as “Billy the Gweeb”; who is apparently suggested to have a crush on Stacy. Based on her reaction, the feeling is far from mutual.
  • Vague Age: Stacy is apparently not old enough to be allowed to cross the street, something brought up when she suggests following Mickey to his new home.
  • Welcome Episode: For Ryan Lambert as the new male lead (while new dancers Darren Lee and Gina Marie Vinaccia join as well, their appearance is not mentioned)
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