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Recap / Kids Incorporated S 2 E 8 The Abominable Show Man

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This episode marks the 2nd consecutive episode with Gloria at the forefront; as she and the rest of Kids Inc. nearly get duped by a con-artist named Brendan Roberts.

The episode opens with “Sussudio”; after which a fast-talking stranger offers to buy for the kids. He then begins flattering the band using all manner of “showbiz-ese” before introducing himself as an agent named Brendan Roberts (when Ryan asks if Brendan’s a bit young to be an agent; Brendan concedes that point but emphasizes rock is a “young man’s game” - claiming that by the time an agent reaches 20; he’s considered washed up). However, he then promises to get them a record deal. The catch: Performing for a special benefit concert aimed at combating “the greatest killer of all” — natural causes. Ryan and Kid are immediately suspicious of the newcomer; while the girls seem to be at various levels of thinking this might be a good thing as the band returns to the stage (“Bad, Bad Trouble”); during which Brendan’s focus is clearly on Gloria.

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Brendan returns shortly after the song; managing to convince Gloria that he’s legit before approaching the others about the record offer, with the others — including a quite reluctant Ryan — go along. We then see Brendan — using the P*lace business phone — calling an unknown person (where he proceeds to give the mystery man his aunt’s phone number while pretending to act like he was talking to a major studio. He then follows the act up by attempting to sweet-talk Gloria further, first by promising fur coats (Gloria turns that offer down; noting that she doesn’t wear animals) before successfully luring her in with the offer of a new wardrobe (“Wrapped Around Your Finger”). Following this encounter, Gloria attempts to convince the others Brendan is legit; but Ryan — and by this point, the others — are unconvinced; with good reason as Kid, Stacy and Renee see Brendan stealing the money in the lockbox for the already purchased tickets (“Running with the Night”).

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Upon cornering and confronting Brendan, he attempts to claim he tried to steal the money was for “operating expenses” while asking for their understanding (vs. forgiveness) before later offering an apology. However, the band has a different issue to deal with; as since the tickets have been sold — they still had to put on a concert; which they do for a legitimate charity (“Last Train to Clarksville”).

Incidentally; this marked the debut of Brendan Roberts (played by Kenny McMurphy), who went on to become the closest thing the series had to a recurring villain; making two more appearances in “Phantom of the P*lace” later that season and “Rockin’ Saddles” the following season.

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Songs performed in this episode:

  • “Sussudio“ (Phil Collins cover; lead vocals by Ryan & Stacy)
  • “Bad, Bad Trouble’” (Kids Incorporated original; lead vocals by Gloria)note 
  • “Wrapped Around Your Finger“ (The Police cover; lead vocals by Gloria)
  • “Running with the Night’” (Lionel Richie cover; lead vocals by Kid)
  • “Last Train to Clarksville“ (The Monkees cover; lead vocals by Gloria)

Tropes associated with this episode:

  • Con Man: Brendan Roberts is this.
  • Greed: Brendan’s motivation appears to be this. This also marks the beginning of this being a recurring weakness for Gloria; touched on more fully later in the season in the episode “Material Girl”..
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": The kids' reaction upon seeing Brendan steal the money meant for the benefit concert to fight natural causes.
  • One Born Every Minute: The 2nd version (involving Brendan apologizing after attempting to steal the money used for the tickets for the fundraiser to fight natural causes) is in play here.
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