First Impressions Of Earth
is an eight-chapter, 56,923-word The Magic School Bus Fan Fic
by the ultimateSora
. When Arnold's eighteen, he gets his girlfriend Wanda pregnant. They marry, and their daughter Jackie is born just before they start college. Unfortunately, Wanda's love of sex and partying means that she's a poor partner and a lousy mother, and Arnold's first girlfriend Phoebe ends up helping to raise Jackie. Before Arnold and Wanda's second wedding anniversary, they divorce (relatively amicably), largely because of Wanda's infidelity and sporadic violence towards her husband. And that's just the prologue
. Arnold marries Phoebe, and thinks that this marriage will be easier. Twenty years of joy, angst, sex and mental breakdowns ensue.
This is the ultimateSora's most epic fic (covering 22 years). It's also her darkest. Characters discuss abortion, there's minor domestic abuse and a suicide attempt and, most shocking of all, a Carlos/Keesha ship.
The Trope Namer
for Official Couple Ordeal Syndrome
Tropes that appear in First Impressions of Earth include:
- Abuse Is Okay When It's Female on Male: The only one of this author's stories where this is Averted. It's not okay, it's upsetting.
- The Alcoholic: Wanda.
- Alpha Bitch: Jackie. Justified to a certain extent given her messed-up childhood.
- Artistic License - Medicine: Phoebe is diagnosed with melancholic depression. However, she shows symptoms of anorexia, melancholic depression, post-natal depression, Munchausen's Syndrome by proxy, extremely low self-esteem, OCD and mysophobia (fear of germs).
- Better as Friends: Arnold and D.A.
- Break the Cutie: Phoebe
- Catch Phrase: All of the kids have outgrown their Canon catchphrases, a fact which is lampshaded by D.A. when she is running for the Senate and says in an interview that she had stopped saying "According to my research..." by the time she was ten.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Wanda. All the time. She does occasionally apologize for doing it in front of other people's children.
- Darker and Edgier: Very much so in comparison to the author's other stories, let alone to the source material.
- Demoted to Extra: Tim, Ralphie, Carlos and Keesha.
- Evil Stepmother: Averted with Phoebe. It's Jackie who is evil, not her.
- Foreshadowing: When Arnold proposes to Phoebe, she accepts, but warns him that she was brought up as a Catholic "and we don't believe in divorce".
- Early on in Arnold and Phoebe's marriage, after D.A. gets elected to the Senate, Phoebe reads an interview with her best friend where the journalist plays up how attractive D.A. is, and D.A. plays along with it to win votes. She thinks it's funny at the time, but not so much later on. Basically an Invoked "Funny Aneurysm" Moment.
- Heroic BSOD: Poor Phoebe.
- Incredibly Lame Pun: At Arnold and Phoebe's wedding, Wanda jokes about D.A. and Arnold's brief high school rebound relationship by saying to D.A. "...when you were Jewing..."
- Informed Attractiveness: Both Wanda and Phoebe think this applies to Arnold's attraction to Phoebe.
- Insistent Terminology: D.A. would like you to know that, for professional purposes, her name is Ann Ewing.
- Ironic Echo: When Arnold and Wanda are in college and Wanda spends most of her time partying, Arnold turns to Phoebe for help. She ends up mothering Jackie and giving Arnold emotional support, and their relationship is quite touching. Years later, when Phoebe is in hospital because she crashed her car (inducing a miscarriage) while trying to leave Arnold without explaining why, D.A. - sorry, senator Ann Ewing - comes to stay and try to help her best friends mend their relationship. She and Arnold sleep together.
- Jerkass With A Heart Of Gold: Wanda.
- Karma Houdini: Arnold, although it may be fate making up for his lousy first marriage. It's his spoiling of Jackie and inability to discipline her that leads to Phoebe trying to leave him while pregnant (crashing her car and having a miscarriage). Then, while she's in hospital he sleeps with her best friend, D.A. Although he immediately regrets doing this he doesn't tell her, but D.A. does, causing Phoebe to have a mental breakdown. Phoebe eventually leaves him for four years, but they are reconciled. At the end, she wakes Arnold and asks him if he was having an erotic dream. He says he was dreaming about having wild sex with her, but she calls him out on this and he admits it was about D.A. He insists that he loves Phoebe but has feelings for D.A. because he chose to give up on her and stay with Phoebe. Her response is to sleep with him, asking him to call her Dorothy Ann during it.
- Love Redeems: Eventually.
- Official Couple: Phoebe and Arnold. Averted with Carlos and D.A., Fanon's Official Couple, who broke up in high school.
- Official Couple Ordeal Syndrome: The Trope Namer.
- OOC Is Serious Business: When Phoebe finally Takes A Level In Badass and hits Jackie it signals that her relationships with Wanda and Arnold are about to return to as near normal as possible.
- Shotgun Wedding: Arnold and Wanda.
- Shout-Out: The story is named after the album of the same name and each chapter begins with lyrics from songs on the album. Dorothy Ann's surname is Ewing.
- Spoiled Brat: Jackie. Hoo boy.
- Wrong Name Outburst: Arnold calls Wanda "Phoebe" in bed. She isn't impressed.
- You Are in Command Now: At the end of the story, the gang watch the news showing Vice President Ann Ewing being sworn in as President after her superior's assassination.
- Your Cheating Heart: Wanda cheats on Arnold. Years later Arnold cheats on Phoebe with D.A. when Phoebe's in hospital after crashing her car while pregnant with twins (one of whom dies) because she's trying to leave Arnold for reasons she hasn't even been open with herself about, let alone with him.