This episode centers on one of the main aspects of new band member Ryan: his love of reading.
We kick things off with a performance of Breakaway; upon which the kids head to the break room - during which Ryan picks up where he left off with his copy of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The book proves so captivating that Ryan didnt catch on to Kids attempt to discuss the next song - something Gloria then explains to the younger kids; who are more surprised Ryan wasnt reading for a school project, with Kid attempting (not all that well) to sneak up on Ryan; and Kid ends up dozing off while Ryan gives Renee and Stacy (who thought the Stevenson who wrote the novel was Parker Stevenson instead of Robert Louis Stevenson).
While Kid is napping, the others return to the stage for Message in a Bottle, containing one of the more elaborate stage performances (beginning with Gloria sitting at the counter while Riley is shuffling the bottles; followed by Wendy and Andrea trying their luck before Andrea gets the bottle with the message in it - in this case a We Love You, Kids Inc. banner inside). Ryan and Gloria return to see Kid is still asleep (Gloria guesses Kids dreaming about girls and when pressed for a reason for that guess: She dreams about boys).
What Kid is actually dreaming about is his being in a version of the P*lace, only with Riley er, Rileystein having gone Mad Scientist and turning the P*lace into his laboratory. Rileystein then offers Kid a drink giving those who drink it a new outlook on life and its chocolate-flavored. One sip, a few spins and Kid becomes what Rileystein describes as the most despicable creature known to man, woman or beast: A nerd (Rhythm of the Night)
Ryan then wakes Kid up, using this as an opportunity to explain (both by word and visual aid) that its whats on the inside that matters, not the exterior; setting up the first original number of the season in Dont Judge a Book By Its Cover. After that song, Kid then tells the girls about his nightmare - with the girls teasingly suggesting he prove he can still sing before going back on stage, setting up closing number Celebrate Youth.
Songs performed in this episode:
- Breakaway (Irma Thomas cover (also recorded by Tracey Ullman); lead vocals by Renee)
- Message in a Bottle (The Police cover; lead vocals by Gloria)
- Rhythm of the Night (De Barge cover; lead vocals by Kid)
- Dont Judge a Book By Its Cover (Kids Incorporated original; lead vocals by Ryan)
- Celebrate Youth (Rick Springfield cover; lead vocals by Gloria)
Tropes associated with this episode:
- Bookworm: This being a primary trait of Ryans is emphasized yet again.
- Dream Sequence: The middle of the episode has Kid turned into a nerd.
- Fate Worse than Death: What Kid thinks of being turned into a nerd.
- Mad Scientist: Riley in Kids dream sequence.
- "Reading Is Cool" Aesop: First of two episodes this season featuring this aesop.
- Shout-Out: The Rhythm of the Night sequence features the cast (with the exception of Kid) in various horror-themed costumes (the other band members dressed as zombies; dancer Wendy Brained as the bride of Frankenstein; Gina Marie Vinaccia as Frankenstein; Andrea Paige Wilson as The Hunchback of Notre Dame; Mario Lopez as Dracula and Darren Lee as a werewolf)