Kid takes the center stage for the first episode of Season 2; as he and the others meet an exchange student from Togo.
The episode starts off with a performance of Middle of the Roadnote . Following the opening song, Riley treats the kids to sodas while a new kid is trying his hand at one of the pinball machines - really small sodas. Riley also introduces licorice neckties as a joke (suggested that it would be for businessmen unable to get lunch before a meeting; the joke completely sails over Stacys head to the point where Renee remarks Ive heard of people that dont know anything, but you dont even suspect anything.) Stacy then challenges Renee to guess where the new kid is from (Renee guesses Pittsburgh; Riley guesses Hollywood); giving Stacy an opportunity to crow over knowing something Renee didnt specifically where the new kid is from (Togo) though she had forgotten his name and mispronounced Togo as Pogo; with Ryan joining in to rattle off the things the small West African country was known for (such as coffee, cocoa and cotton among other things) (Ryans answer when Riley queries him on how he knew that: I read). Kid tries to introduce himself, only to get no response; followed by Ryan attempting to introduce himself only for the new kid to repeat everything; leaving the two to think the newcomer was stuck-up before they leave to join the girls on stage for Karma Chameleon (when in actuality, the newcomer knows very little English).
However, the previous exchange has Kid (convinced the new kid was putting Ryan on) irritated to the level of suggesting he be hit from here to Timbuktu (which Ryan feels the need to point out was near the new kids native Togo) when Ryan has a realization that French is the newcomers home countrys primary language; leading to his going with Gloria trying to talk with the kid (whose name we learn at this point is Mbala; and we also see after Gloria notes that his efforts might have sounded closer to Korean to Mbala Gloria is somewhat more fluent in French than Ryan). Undeterred, Ryan attempts to teach Mbala the simple English phrase I miss the bliss of your kiss; which sounds very different out of context. However, that proves to be all the English Mbala knows so far, and Kids effort at a makeover has the transfer student wearing one of the Season 1 performance jackets despite Glorias attempts to explain Mbala being from a different culture; followed by her suggestion of trying on something Mbala would normally wear on (which Kid resists at first and when he does, its clearly too big and Kid is uncertain if Gloria is telling the truth about how he looked in Mbalas robe); leading to Would I Lie to You.
Kid, noting that Mbalas robe reminded him of his fathers pajamas, then decides to leave the break room with Mbala, only for the door to be locked from the inside (Mbala still has yet to pick up any English beyond I miss the bliss of your kiss); with Kid going on a rant until realizing he and Mbala actually have something in common: They look ridiculous. At that point, Mbala begins pointing toward the key (misunderstood by Kid at first); then after it proves to be too high for the Kid to reach on his own Mbala gives Kid a boost to get to the key, leading to Say It Again.
Kid tells the others what happened while Mbala and Stacy arm-wrestle (Stacy wins); with the exchange student sharing some phrases of his own, such as a French phrase the others repeat before learning it means The lion is eating your foot (and which, to the others surprise, proves Mbala knew at least a little more English than he let on). Riley comes in to get the others when Ryan decides to try the phrase out on him only for Riley to have already known what the phrase meant, leading to closing song Stay With Me Tonight.
As a post-script; Mbala being a Foreign Exchange Student and interacting primarily with Kid becomes somewhat Hilarious in Hindsight in that, when Rahsaan Patterson left after Season 4, Kid is written out as having himself become an exchange student.
Songs performed in this episode:
- Middle of the Road (Pretenders cover; lead vocals by Stacy)
- Karma Chameleon (Culture Club cover; lead vocals by Renee)
- Would I Lie to You (Eurythmics cover; lead vocals by Gloria)
- Say It Again (Santana cover; lead vocals by Kid)
- Stay With Me Tonight (Jeffrey Osborne cover; lead vocals by Kid)
Tropes associated with this episode:
- Foreign Exchange Student: Mbala
- Hidden Depths: Toward the end, Mbala proves to know at least a little more English than previously indicated.
- In Another Man's Shoes: The vehicle for this episodes aesop.
- Locked in a Room: Kid and Mbala find themselves locked in the break room midway through the episode.
- Poor Communication Kills: The communication difficulties between Kid and Mbala serve as this once they find themselves locked in.
- Running Gag: The phrase I miss the bliss of your kiss is the only English phrase Mbala repeats for the majority of the episode.