In the episode "Ups and Downs", the class struggles to make the bus-sub sink. They eventually make it sink by crumpling it. Then Wanda leaves, making it lighter so it floats. They compensate by letting water into the pontoons, making it sink again. Then they want to make it float again, so they fill the pontoons with air. This works, but it shouldn't. At this point we have the bus crumpled, the pontoons full of air and Wanda on-board... the same combination which previously caused it to sink.
Yeah, but they had a lever to make the bus sink and it was broken. That's why they went to all the trouble of making it sink manually. If the bus could have sunk or floated on its own in any capacity, then the whole plot of the episode would be pointless.i
When they filled the pontoons with air, Wanda and three other kids were outside the bus holding the hoses in place. The bus started to rise. The villain reached out with her sub's robot arms and removed the corks in the pontoons, allowing the air to escape. The kids then ultimately got the bus to float by uncrumpling it. Uncrumpled with all the kids on board were the conditions that prevented it from sinking earlier.
They boarded the bus before the corks were removed and that didn't stop it from rising.
While we're in the general vicinity of the subject ... where did the air they pumped into the pontoons come from?
Either magic, or use of electricity to split the water into hydrogen and oxygen, then venting some of the excess volume out. The later case would have been too complex to explain to the kids.
Or maybe the same place it comes from in real submarines-compressed air tanks. The point is to force the heavy water out of the tanks. If you're asking where the compressed air tanks are, that's magic.
They had to teach the kids about the concepts of floating and sinking in water somehow...
Speaking of the above episode, where does a small-town reporter on a ratings challenged show get the resources to buy her very own helicopter, submarine and a giant inflatable plesiosaur to perpetuate a "Scooby-Doo" Hoax with? No wonder her show was failing if that's how she spends her money.
Also, why doesn't she question the fact that a group of kids have a submarine that they're using to try and stop her.
It always bugged me that Ms. Frizzle would stay calm no matter how dire the circumstances were. What exactly does she know about the future that no one else does? I never did trust her, even as a kid.
I always assumed that every episode was a Xanatos Gambit orchestrated by the Frizz to make the kids learn their lessons. No matter what happens they learn about the digestive system or the solar system etc; if all else fails she can fix it herself. She was calm because the kids were never in any danger.
This could also just be The Artifact from the book series, where there was less apparent danger, and Ms. Frizzle was instead just preternaturally calm about the incredibly bizarre events going on... because she caused them.
Alternatively, Ms. Frizzle could be in control of everything the whole time and can pull the plug if anyone is actually going to die.
Maybe she is so one-track minded that she considers the risk of losing a kid or getting whole bus (including her) wiped out an acceptable sacrifice in the name of teaching SCIENCE!
There's a more mundane explanation that, as a somewhat multidisciplinary teacher, she knows how stuff works in a "seen it already" kind of way.
There were a few episodes where she did show fear. The one I remember was during the one where they learned about erosion. A boulder was barrelling towards the children. Ms. Frizzle seemed genuinely shocked and rushed to their aid.
And in Under Construction, when Wanda's hands slipped off the floss, leaving her dangling over the tub with the aligator, the Friz showed genuine concern that she would fall.
There is also the possibility of basic psychology in that as an adult working with children, you are taught to always remain calm so you don't alarm them. If a child sees that you are calm, then they are less likely to panic. Admittedly, this isn't done with travelling to space or the inside of a planet in mind, but it can still apply.
Works with adults too! The idea is that if the authority figure is calm, cool, and collected, than everyone under his/her stead can feel assured that at least someone knows what's going on and knows exactly what to do. That's probably what Ms. Frizzle was doing: keeping herself calm so the kids don't freak out any further than they already were when crap starts happening.
One episode involves Arnold interacting with a student who'd had Miss Frizzle the previous year. Odds are, she's been doing all of this for a while, with many of the same lessons. So she probably HAS seen it many times already and knows exactly what she's doing the whole way through.
I agree with the above ideas, and also think that many circumstances while they're in the bus, she knows that the bus is indestructible and thus feels entirely safe. To add to the "acting calm for the kids" thing, there was an episode where she was in a race on a strange recumbent bike-like machine, and she wore out her muscles. Instead of acting sore or in pain, she very calmly explained "My muscles are worn out. I cannot move." If I recall correctly, the few times she shows concern for students in danger are episodes that are relatively realistic, like when they're up in the mountains trying to carve a statue and the bus' magic isn't in effect.
Speaking of which, what sense does it make that Arnold gets a cold from the Pluto incident? There are no germs in space and it's a scientific fact that you can't catch a cold from being cold. Did they just violate a scientific fact on a science show?
Maybe the damage made his system particularly vulnerable to the germs he encountered when he returned to Earth.
A space wizard did it.
It was obviously a weaker species of the Andromeda Strain.
The freezing and subsequent thawing of the tissues of his lungs and nasal passages resulted in severe irritation, thus imitating the sneezing, sore throat, and draining sinuses of a cold. Yeah.
It's also a scientific fact that you can't survive on Mercury and Venus without space-suits from the future designed to withstand high atmospheric pressure and temperature but Magic School Bus seems to give that scientific fact a Hand Wave too. You also can't go anywhere near Jupiter without getting crushed by the gravity, yet that fact seems to be ignored as well. And what about somehow being able to travel the entire solar system with all the planets perfectly aligned within a normal school day? Shouldn't you be complaining about those violations of scientific fact before nitpicking at a Science-And-Story-Segregation?
In the Producer segment for that episode, he says that if they were being realistic, Arnold should have suffered from health consequences far worse than a common cold.
Not to mention, they'd probably get sucked into Jupiter and would get crushed before hitting the liquid gases.
As I recall, cold viruses are "hidden" viruses that await in your body until a large dose of stress (like cold temperature or lack of sleep) tells them to activate. I imagine being frozen solid would count.
It is true that hypothermia impairs immune function. We still have no good explanation for why he didn't freeze to death, suffocate, or explode, but I'd say we have the part where he gets sick covered.
The idea that you would explode if exposed to a vacuum is a myth. In actuality you'd lose consciousness in less than a minute and be dead not long after.
Maybe the Bus's powers kept Arnold from dying. Ms. Frizzle is never bothered by the danger they get into on multiple occasions. Perhaps the Bus magically keeps everyone safe from any injury, but its power has limits. It was able to keep Arnold from dying, but it wasn't strong enough to keep him completely unharmed, so some manifestation of the consequence of exposing himself on Pluto had to occur. Being frozen and having a cold afterward are just the damage that could get through the Bus' protection.
If we have to nitpick, how come Ms. Frizzle isn't working for NASA? She can somehow supply her students with space-suits that can enable one to survive the conditions of Mercury and Venus, and travel the entire solar system in a day...yet she's working for an Elementary school?! Dude! You can help people way more instead of just inspiring a couple children to maybe study to become astronauts.
NASA tends to frown upon the use of "magic" in their projects (with the exception of that "gravity" thing they keep complaining about but can't explain). It looks bad on the press releases.
Same reason the Doctor would rather be a universal tour guide than tied down working for organizations like UNIT. NASA has their own agenda, and they would place severe restrictions on how Ms. Frizzle could use her bus. She'd rather have the freedom of using it at her discretion, and it seems pretty clear to me that she'd much rather use it to teach children who are open-minded and hungry to learn rather than stubborn adults set in their ways. There's only room for one superiority complex on that bus.
Why are there only eight kids in the entire class?
Their school has a high budget and a great student/teacher ratio.
They're the only ones who survived/didn't go insane.
The original book series had more kids; they just picked out the ones with the most personality for the show.
And racial diversity.
At least half the cast in the old book series was rather bland.
Hey, I used to study in a small private school. His class had six people, of which only one was a girl. It happens!
I was actually in a class full of around 6-10 students. During the time when flu hit around, there was once only about three.
My Consumer Math class had four students, including me. Granted, it was a rural town.
Well, all the kids in the class are bright, so I assumed maybe they were some special class for gifted kids or something.
Or they could live in a slightly rural or low-populated area. The elementary school I went to had around twenty kids in total, ten to a class. If a K-5 school had eight kids in each grade, that's 48 kids.
I go to a private school in New York City, and my classroom has seven kids in it (excluding me). It may be a private school, a rural area, special ed (mind you, special ed isn't just for kids with disabilities), just a small classroom, etc.
Ms. Frizzle herself handpicks only the most worthy.
According to the holiday special, the bus is made from recycled materials, since it "unrecycled" itself. However, the design of the bus seems to suggest it was made in The '50s, before recycling was invented.
It's a modern bus made of parts recycled from the fifties. <_<
Using a fifties design doesn't mean it was made in the fifties. But Ms. Frizzle has the power of Time Travel anyway.
What part of MAGIC School Bus don't you understand?!
A '50s bus (or any other vehicle) would be fairly easily recycled compared to a '70s/80s one. Mostly steel, cast-iron engine block, tempered glass side and rear windows all easily melted down; with the only composite materials being the tires, the laminated windshield and the fabric-backed vinyl upholstery.
Metal was being recycled well before the nineteen fifties, due to the fact that it's much cheaper to reforge scrap than to mine and smelt virgin ore (there's a reason scrapyards can afford to pay people). Since most of the nonmetal parts of a vehicle wear out in less than fifty years, it's reasonable enough to believe those parts were installed after recycling other materials became common.
Not to mention that recycling was a BIG deal in the WWII era. Metal was especially a big deal since it could be used to make weapons.
Has anyone else noticed the irony in Miss Frizzle teaching the children about science, but is doing so by using magic, which contradicts everything she teaches them?
I always assumed it was just a way into brainwashing kids into thinking "science is magical" so they'd be more interested in it.
Maybe it's set in an alternative universe where magitek was used to construct everything from the ground up. She's starting them off with stuff that acts like our science because that's the highest level of abstraction to the magitek. This is why atoms are little balls instead of quantum... cloud... things... Granted, the fact that this isn't common knowledge makes no sense unless you assume that she's, like, God or something, training successors.
Actually, that would make a lot of sense.
I figure it's Clarke's law. The bus is science, just VERY ADVANCED science.
"Magic is just science we do not understand yet"
Or the bus could have stole (lots and lots of) energy from somewhere, then turned it into mass.
Long story short, they're in a grade school. The workings of the Magic School Bus are university material at least.
Um... which ones? I recall learning almost everything he saw on Magic School Bus before even entering High School!
No, not the lessons we learned on the show (recycling is good, this is how yeast works, etc) - How exactly the Magic School Bus itself works.
Oh... wait, does that mean I'm not able to breathe before I learn how breathing works? This doesn't make sense!
No, you can breathe, you just can't engineer a more efficient lung or pass a test on the inner workings of the respiratory system without knowing the mechanics of the lung or the oxygen molecule flows of blood. Likewise, until you understand Applied 12-level hypermath, you may be able to be shrunk, but you're not going to understand how you shrink in any terms besides "magic".
Not necessarily university level... they probably got it from their sister school in Hogsmeade, Scotland.
When do the kids ever learn all the important stuff besides science?
Offscreen, in the classroom, in a non-entertaining manner. Probably by another (more conventional) teacher.
I like to think they have a lit teacher who has a magic bookmark that takes them inside famous works of literature. Because Arnold in the Scarlet Pimpernel would be fantastic.
They must be one of the schools that separates spelling/grammar (and possibly but not necessarily vocab.) from Lit. History for the early grades as well as the later ones, then, since it would just make those things even harder to learn without books.
Reading this particular thread has led me to imagine the kids as they progress through school studying Social Studies with Carmen Sandiego and then English with Thursday Next. I may need to go write that fanfic now.
IIRC, there was a spinoff show/book series/cave painting/skywriting/something where Ms. Frizzle used the bus to teach social studies, mostly by going back in history to important dates, but it wasn't as popular as the classic science based show.
So are Wanda and Tim supposed to be the Producers' kids, or self-insert characters?
I like to think that Tim is the Producer's kid, they look similar, but then again Tim has a father in-show?
Please don't tell me you thought this just because they are the same ethic background
Not the OP, but according to the wiki they have the same last name.
Except Tim doesn't have a last name we know of. We never learn his (or Dorothy Ann's) last name in canon.
My personal headcanon is that the producers are Tim and Wanda from the future. Don't ask her how or why this works; she hasn't thought it through that much.
I always thought they were self-inserts - and that it would explain why Tim was the quiet one.
What did Ms. Frizzle think when Pluto was demoted?
Perhaps she took the kids on a trip to see Eris and show them that we're ALWAYS learning new things about the solar system. Her catchphrase is "Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!" so she obviously doesn't mind the fact that scientific knowledge and classification isn't static. Basically, she probably thought it was fascinating that scientists are always finding out new things. She seems like someone who likes that aspect of science, the exploratory part where you might have to revise classifications and theories. Rather than Pluto's classification being changed, she would probably be more excited about all the new Kuiper belt objects and extrasolar planets being discovered (now that would be an interesting sequel where they go to another solar system!)
I can confirm that she would say this. In fact, she would say something similar for all science subjects, not just astronomy.
How can you confirm? Are you some form of Word of God for Magic School Bus?
From OP of "confirm": Well, as close as I believe I can — I talked with Lily Tomlin at the 2011 New York Comic Con and asked her this question.
Okay, just what is with Keesha's outfit◊? As far as I can tell, she wears a sweatshirt, blue pantyhose, no other bottoms and ballet flats.
Looks like a mini dress rather than a sweatshirt.
I see a sweater and purple shorts.
I know it's not a show to be taken seriously, but who the hell is Ms. Frizzle, and where did she get that bus? Or is she the real spellcaster or alien or whatnot and the bus just her equivalent of a magic wand? And how about the setting around her—there was a picture book that revealed the kids' parents were in on the secret after being temporarily turned into bats, but does the world at large know about her? Has anyone in-universe tried to figure out how she's doing what she's doing? Are there any other characters like her in that setting? And what ethnicity is a name like "Frizzle" anyways?
She's a time lord. Her ethnicity is obviously Galifreyan.
Also, look at the fact that in Doctor Who the known time lords are named "The Master" and "The Doctor." What is the nickname Ms. Frizzle has? "The Frizz."
I wonder if we could call this Doctor Who for children without the aliens and a sonic screwdriver? After all, this was before New Who aired, right??
Great, now you've just given me one of my more wackier fanfic ideas: Magic School Bus Meets Who!.
I hold two theories: Ms. Frizzle is either a witch, a time traveller, or possibly both. Assuming she's a witch, her pet lizard is actually her familiar, and the titular school bus is her greatest magical creation and she wanted to use it to help people.
The most popular headcanon online is she is River Song. same hair, Eccentric personality, travels through time....
She did teach sex ed. Remember the chicken/egg episode? That's pretty much a very tame children show sex ed lesson. If you really want an answer about a hypothetical human sex ed lesson, same way she taught about digestion, sickness, and the egg-laying process. Go inside!
I know this is mild compared to some of the entries here, but ... you know the episode about reptiles? Ms. Frizzle let a class of ten year olds believe that their pet lizard was in life threatening danger just to teach them about reptiles. And nobody even called her on it. That's gotta be somewhere on the Moral Event Horizon.
So all the times she puts her students in mortal danger don't cross the Moral Event Horizon, but a (admittedly mean) head game does?
Right before said explanation, she says she was about to tell them the truth, and you can actually tell where that point is at the beginning of the episode before being interrupted. And to be honest, Herp Haven was one of the safer field trip locations, so she played along with it (although she never alluded at any point that Liz was ever in danger).
This is what I thought:
The kids knew Frizzle cared about them and wouldn't let them die.
The kids can also talk and defend themselves. Liz is a lizard and as far as the kids know, is completely incapable of defending herself.
I always thought she didn't plan that one. When it came up she just let the kids draw their own conclusions. But then again, I haven't seen the episode a long time. BTW I think she didn't plan the bat thing either.
What was really happening with Liz? I missed out on that concept.
Liz was getting her "lizard-house" fixed, and being put in hibernation in the meantime. The kids thought the owner of Herp Haven intended have her be cooked and eaten.
So why couldn't she just say something like, "Kids, they're not going to eat her! Now learn about hibernation while they fix up her house."
Uh... no one mentions that time when they went inside Arnold? I remember back in school they wouldn't even let us take asprin without at least two parental consent forms, and asking the kids if they need it... and she just violates his privacy against his will like that? I'm thinking at least one lawsuit is in order.
Or when they got into Ralph's body when he got sick. That may have been in the books, though. But yeah, Mrs. Frizzle doesn't really let a little thing like privacy, law, etc. get in the way of science. She's like a anti-hero when it comes to that sort of thing.
In The Busasaurus, they claim to have gone so far back in time that the fossilized egg has been turned into a living egg. How exactly does this work? Especially given that the egg changed by going back in time but none of the kids are affected by it.
Wibbly Wobbly, Timey Wimey. (If the Doctor Who episode "City of Death" is anything to go by, the time field is reversed but only the bus and its passengers are stabilized. Presumably somehow the rock was replaced by the original egg as the timestream was going backwards.)
From the same episode, Arnold and Phoebe find the egg lodged in "a rock". How do they not notice that the "rock" is very clearly a sleeping tyrannosaurus rex? There was nothing hiding its face save a tiny bush, and even if there was something that kept them from seeing its sharp teeth you'd think they'd still be able to identify the claws and tail or at least see something suspicious in the fact that the surface of the "rock" was soft and moving, or even to tell the difference between a rock and a living thing. Heck, they weren't even clued in by the fact that it was snoring.
Related to "Bussasaurus"; I get it was part of the Aesop, but why the HECK did all the herbivorous dinosaurs just let all the kids be near and even touch their babies!? Any normal animal would at least try to scare them away. They may be "friendly herbivores" but they're still mothers. Unless they were born without natural instincts, I don't think these dinosaurs would be so okay with the kids getting that close to their young.
Okay, this one's a bit nitpicky, but why does D.A. never take out her pigtails? In fact in one episode she actually removes her hairbands and they're still in place (how does that work exactly? Arnold even points out the absurdity of it). Whenever the current field trip requires her to wear a hat, hers is always specially customized with little holes for her pigtails to fit through. Wouldn't it be easier for Ms. Frizzle to just ask Dorothy Ann to lower her hair?
That could actually depend on D.A.'s hair thickness, or if it was styled when wet and then dried. My extremely thick (and granted, partially African) hair can hold a shape after it's been together for a while and dried that way.
How is it that D.A. always just happens to have a book on the subject of whatever is going on in the current episode? Did Ms. Frizzle just give her a Gallifreyan handbag that's bigger on the inside allowing her to store an entire library.
Each episode shows that the characters are already studying the subject in question, for example, "Gets Lost in Space" shows them building their own solar system at the start of the episode. Therefore, as D.A is The Smart Girl, it makes sense that as soon as they start a new topic, she would go to the library to research it. She doesn't have all of those different books at the same time, just loads of books on the subject current to the episode.
Or she's carrying around her school-issue science textbook...
This one's a bit nitpicky as well and a pretty minor fact, but generally most schools I've been to generally say you're not allowed to wear hats in class most of the time with the exception of cultural or religious customs (i.e. your culture requires you to wear a turban). So how exactly is Ralphie able to get away with always wearing that same hat in class, letalone backwards like he always does. Heck, he didn't even take it off when he got sick and was confined to his bed.
Mrs. Frizzle is just that laid-back enough to not care about Ralph wearing his hat indoors.
In the episode "Out of This World" D.A. claims to have spotted an asteroid heading toward Earth with a children's telescope. If she was able to calculate exactly where the asteroid was going to hit, just how exactly did it not get seen by NASA? Furthermore they actually try to call NASA to tell them, but since they apparently don't already know what really makes them think that NASA will believe some kid calling and saying "I just found out a meteor's going to crash into my school".
That and, in real life, NASA would've already seen a giant asteroid headed toward Earth, so unless D.A. had any new information to give them, she'd basically be stating the obvious to them.
It's also possible that D.A. was wrong about the asteroid and there was nothing to worry about, and Ms. Frizzle just used it as an opportunity for a field trip.
The opening credits. I know it's just a kids show's theme, and I should relax, but... where the hell are we supposed to be going? How do you take a left at your intestine and the your second right at mars in the first place? Where was the first right? Out of sanity?
Via a wormhole. Well how else do you explain the bus traveling the solar system in the course of half an hour?
Did Word of God give a specific reason indigo was omitted from the rainbow pinball machine?
Not really. But the true reason is because science usually omits indigo anyway. Originally, Isaac Newton identified five colors, but changed it to seven as an analogy to the seven notes of the musical scale and because his culture figured seven was such a special number (seven continents, seven planets, seven seas) so he figured light was made up of seven colors.
How did Wanda's mother get away with keeping a venomous reptile in the sandbox? Does social services not exist in Walkerville? While gila monsters have no known fatalities among adults who are bitten and probably can't kill adults because of their minuscule amounts of venom, they can make adults very sick, and the bite is painful. So imagine what it could do to a curious two-year-old! Letting a toddler play in a sandbox with an animal whose venom is as toxic as that of a coral snake can't be considered good parenting. Even if it is for science.
I don't recall Ms. Li allowing her two-year-old son in the sandbox at that time - I would think she just kept him indoors while the gila monster was at their home.
In the first episode, Ms. Frizzle talks about Jupiter and describes it, then randomly says, "But don't worry Carlos, because I'm not on it." Why single out Carlos? Is this a gag/reference to the original books or something?
No. After disappearing with Liz, Ms. Frizzle radios the class and tells them she's on one of the outer planets. The navigational system had been damaged and only shows the inner planets. Carlos thus says "But that's the half of the map we don't have!" Frizzle then says "Good! You can fill it in as you go along." Her not being on Jupiter means they have to fill in more of the map. Apparently Ms. Frizzle thought Carlos was more interested in completing the map than finding her.
There are numerous times when the Bus transforms in the middle of a road in the middle of a city. How come there are never any bystanders to notice that?
In one episode we meet a student that was in Ms. Frizzle's class the year before (or several years before, I can't remember), who is well aware of her teaching methods. It's possible that a good deal of the town knows about it, and just thinks, "oh, there's goes that wacky Ms. Frizzle again". Either that or the bus has a PerceptionFilter.
There's an episode where Miss Frizzle is shown doing her normal magic teaching with the kids' parents. Pretty much everyone's in on it.
The Magic School Bus is a kids show, so (as far as I know) it has no fan forum. I guess the best place to ask is here. How was the show edited and finalized? From what I hear, the video quality the complete series dvd set (a misnomer, it's not complete unless it contains the 60 minute version of Holiday Special and the other unreleased stuff...) is low, some say vhs quality. Does that mean the show is stuck in Standard Definition, like classic Doctor Who serials, or does it use film and was edited in a SD format, like the newer star trek shows (TNG, DS9, and VOY), or was it completely produced on film, like the original Star Trek series, and someone is too lazy to make a new transfer?
I have a few DVD's that were released around the time the complete series was put out in those DVD's have very bad audio on some episodes where the music is very quiet in the talking and sound effects are a lot more clear. Video Quality on episodes also varies. I myself don't know how the series was edited or transferred.
At the start of the opening Ms. Frizzle yells "Seat belts, everyone!", but like a lot of school buses, the Magic School Bus doesn't have any.
There were a few episodes where the kids are seen putting on seat belts.
Is the Bus male or female? On one hand, the episode "...Revving Up" has Mr. Junkitt call the bus "she", yet in the episode "...Sees Stars", we hear the bus (or at least its "ship's computer") speak with a male voice. What do you think?
Actually, a lot of people would give their vehicles female pronouns, and some mechanics actually do that.
How exactly does Arnold ever give Janet the benefit of the doubt? Especially after the butterfly episode, with her not-too-subtly accusing Phoebe of sabotaging the class because they're playing her old school's team, what could feasibly be called her personal Moral Event Horizon given how upset and scared Phoebe is when her friends turn on her. On the word of Janet. Seriously; if that happened in the real world, I'd be worried about Phoebe's continued health, both mental and physical.
Maybe my education experience was anomalous, but don't you need permission slips to take kids on field trips? Frizzle seems to take the kids on field trips whenever it strikes her fancy.
There's heavy implication that Ms. Frizzle's field trips aren't exactly officially sanctioned. They take pretty big steps to hide the fact that Ms. Frizzle has a magic school bus from their own principal, for instance.
Some of the games imply permission slips.
In the episode where they go inside Ralphie...how did Ms. Frizzle know Ralphie was going to be sick? She's shown wearing her medicine dress before Ralphie's mom calls in, so...how did she know?
It's possible Ralphie was showing mild symptoms the day before - at that point he and/or his mom might not have thought it was bad enough yet to keep him home.
Alternatively, there was a cold going around the class and Ralphie was the last one to get sick. Probably also why she had no qualms about taking the ''entire class' into a sick kid's room.