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Fan Fic: Popular Mechanics For Lovers
Popular Mechanics For Lovers is a humorous 7-chapter The Magic School Bus Fan Fic by the ultimateSora. The gang are in high school. Tim and Arnold love Phoebe. She doesn't love them, but she is tutoring Mikey. Wanda and Keesha love Ralphie. He has a girlfriend. Dorothy Ann doesn't know who loves her, but she suspects that the anonymous notes inviting her to the end-of-year dance are from Carlos. Carlos seems oblivious to everything. Hilarity Ensues. Despite the fact that the four girls call themselves 'The Fantasmic Four' and keep a joint scrapbook documenting their lives, it does not take place in the same continuity as The Life And Times Of The Fantasmic Four.

Tropes that appear in Popular Mechanics For Lovers include:

  • A-Cup Angst: Invoked by Wanda, who feels that Phoebe should suffer from it.
  • The Alcoholic: Wanda. Played for laughs.
  • Alpha Bitch: Janet.
  • Ascended Extra: Mikey
  • Barrier-Busting Blow: At the climax of the action, Mikey reveals that he wrote the notes to D.A., and a heartbroken Phoebe locks herself in Carlos' bedroom. Arnold tries to break it down and fails.
    Tim laughed and went over to Carlos. "How is it he always breaks bones at your house, man?"
    Carlos shrugged. "Beats me, but as long as he doesn't sue me, I don't really care."
  • Bed Mate Reveal / What Did I Do Last Night?: The morning after her date with Arnold, Phoebe wakes up in bed with him.
  • Better as Friends: Keesha and Ralphie.
  • Blatant Lies: When Wanda and Keesha decide to break up Janet and Ralphie, Wanda takes to spying on them from a tree in the garden. Unfortunately, she falls out, and has to explain what she's doing up a tree dressed in black. Her answer? She was chasing a rare kind of weasel, also a Call Back to her Catch Phrase in Canon ("Come on, you weaselly wimps!")
  • Call Back: To the episodes "The Busasaurus", "Wet All Over" and "Holiday Special".
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Mikey
  • Chewbacca Defense: Wanda's Blatant Lies don't work, and Janet keeps questioning her about what she was doing. Wanda replies that as she's injured (she "broke her ass" falling out of the tree) it's unfair to keep hassling her. She then adds that if she wasn't injured she'd beat Janet up for being so inquisitive.
  • Coming of Age Story
  • Deadpan Snarker: Carlos.
  • Faux Yay: Wanda and Keesha insist that Phoebe is in love with D.A.
  • Foe Yay: Invoked in-universe with Ralphie and Janet.
  • Genius Cripple: Averted with Mikey, despite his portrayal as such in Canon.
  • Genki Girl: Wanda.
  • Genre Savvy: Wanda in the climax, when she lampshades the dramatic relationship revelations by remarking that they appear to be living in a mixture of a tragic play and a teen soap. Also Carlos, lampshading D.A.'s arrival.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Arnold and Phoebe.
  • High School Dance: The prom at the climax.
  • Hollywood Dateless: Tim and Arnold. Justified by their feelings for Phoebe.
  • Idiot Ball: Tim writes a song about his and Arnold's rivalry over Phoebe, and then brings her on a date to one of his band's gigs. He plays an album by Brand New, whose first two albums - all that they had released at the time this story is set - were entirely about breakups, in his car on the way there. At the gig, he not only plays the song but dedicates it to "a girl in the audience tonight".
    • Ralphie and Janet are instant messaging each other, and he says he wants to talk to her. She insists that anything he wants to say can be said on the computer, and is then offended when he takes her at her word and breaks up with her.
    • Arnold boasting about sleeping with Phoebe.
  • Jerkass With A Heart Of Gold: Wanda.
  • Lampshade Hanging: When a heartbroken Phoebe locks herself in Carlos' bedroom and Carlos and Arnold run up after her, Wanda and Keesha begin discussing how the gang's lives are starting to resemble a teen soap.
    • Just before this, Wanda and Keesha arrive at Carlos' house to talk to Ralphie (who is hiding from Janet there). Tim and Arnold arrive at the same time to see Phoebe (who is helping Mikey with his homework). Just as Carlos closes the door behind them, the doorbell rings. It's Dorothy Ann. Carlos' response?
    "Well, it was only a matter of time. Everyone else is here."
    • Carlos gets the last word in the fic, and goes with "Isn't everything just disgustingly perfect?"
  • Lead Bassist: Tim
  • Lighter and Softer: Than the other long fics by the same author.
  • Noodle Incident: The first time Wanda "broke her ass..."
  • Refuge in Audacity: Wanda's response to being caught spying on Janet and Ralphie.
  • Scrapbook Story: Invoked with the scrapbook kept by the 'Fantasmic Four' (the name the four girls have for themselves).
  • Ship Tease: a very long, complex one involving Arnold, Tim, Phoebe, Mikey, Janet, Carlos, Keesha, Wanda and Ralphie.
  • Shout-Out: Death Cab for Cutie, Brand New and Dallas all get namechecked. Dorothy Ann's surname is given as Ewing.
  • Tall, Dark and Snarky: Carlos.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Wanda and Phoebe.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic?: Phoebe and Arnold were the shyest kids in their third-grade class (as well as the only redheads and the only left-handed kids). Together they managed to outrun a T-Rex.

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