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Recap / The Magic School Bus S 1 E 10 Plays Ball

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The Magic School Bus Plays Ball

Original airdate: November 12th, 1994
Subject: Forces
Focus Student(s): Ralphie, Dorothy Ann

Ralphie wants to play baseball, but the home plate is missing. When Dorothy Ann wants to show everyone a book on friction, which includes a page of a baseball diamond without friction, Ms. Frizzle gets an idea for her next field trip.


  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Dorothy Ann mentions wanting to go to the baseball field in her book, where there's no friction. Not only does the class go there, but they also get stuck.
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  • Book-Ends: The episode starts and ends with the class realizing that the home plate is missing; at the end, it's because Ralphie is reading it.
  • Call-Back: Arnold mentions how the class has gotten blasted (outer space), roasted (baked in a cake), toasted, and eaten (ironically by Arnold, and by a tuna fish).
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Dorothy Ann is crushed that Ralphie wanted to use her book for baseball rather than to actually read. Ralphie even has trouble explaining himself though he says he wasn't going to destroy it.
  • False Reassurance: Arnold and Ms. Frizzle have this exchange:
    Arnold: Just as long as we don't get blasted, roasted, toasted, or eaten, I'm happy.
    Ms. Frizzle: Don't worry, Arnold; that's not till next week.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • Ms. Frizzle implies to Dorothy Ann that she spends summer vacations commentating.
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    • Dorothy Ann is quite accomplished in baseball, as the episode reveals.
  • Imagine Spot: Dorothy Ann invokes this to explain what forces, friction, push and pull are. Arnold then asks that Napoleon Bonaparte be added so he can visualize it better.
  • Logical Weakness: This episode explores the problems when you take friction out of a baseball game, including that the pitcher can't even stay on the mound.
  • Mundane Luxury: Following the field trip, the whole class is quite happy to play baseball in a normal field, with friction.
  • Only Sane Man: Arnold, as shown when he breaks up Ralphie and Dorothy Ann's bickering.
  • Reality Ensues: On their way out of the book's baseball field, the class all ask D.A. if they can borrow her book when Ralphie's done with it. Then Ralphie points out that nobody can borrow it until they get out of it, which shuts them all up.
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  • Sarcasm-Blind: When an out of control Ralphie accidentally grabs Dorothy Ann as he's spinning around the bases, dragging her with him.
    Dorothy Ann: Do I look like home plate?!
    Ralphie: If you were home plate, I'd be safe!
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Dorothy Ann doesn't even have to say a word to call out Ralphie for using her book as a home plate. She merely has to screw up her face and nearly Cry Cute.
  • A Wizard Did It: There's no other explanation for how Ms. Frizzle got Dorothy Ann's book, with its illustration of a friction-less baseball field, and then being able to peel off and pile the letters to create enough push to escape.


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