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Recap / The Magic School Bus S 2 E 3 The Busasaurus

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The Magic School Bus the Busasaurus

Original airdate: September 23, 1995
Subject: Dinosaurs
Focus Student(s): Arnold, Phoebe, Carlos

The class couldn't be more excited to visit a real paleontological dig, where the scientists have found an intact T-Rex skeleton. Things only get more exciting, however, when Ms. Frizzle takes the class back in time 67 million years, and they see dinosaurs in the flesh.


  • Adult Fear: Dinosaurs aside, Carlos is worried when he learns that Phoebe and Arnold have gone into the jungle, chasing after a wild creature. They are his friends, and he doesn't want them to get hurt in a strange place and time.
  • Anachronism Stew: While Pteranodon, Parasaurolophus, and Maiasaura are Late Cretaceous animals, they didn't live 67 million years ago (they went extinct 5 million years earlier).
  • Artistic License – Paleontology: The episode did their best to avert this, but unfortunately it has become dated as of late:
    • Alamosaurus looks like a generic "brontosaur". It is now known titanosaurs are closely related to Brachiosaurus and have longer forelimbs. Titanosaurs also didn't have claws on the forefoot.
    • Ornithomimus and Troodon should be omnivores, rather than true carnivores. They should also have feathers (it's debatable whether Tyrannosaurus has them though).
    • The theropods have pronated hands.
    • Hadrosaurs should have hoof-like hands with no nails.
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    • Thanks to digital technology, it turns out Parasaurolophus's call sounded differently than what was heard in the episode.
    • The Triceratops are depicted with padded feet. In real life, ceratopsian feet were more complicated, with the forefeet having two clawless toes that do not touch the ground.
    • Troodon's validity has been questioned as of late. The troodontids in the episode should be better identified as Pectinodon (once considered synonymous with Troodon).
    • Tyrannosaurus wasn't the biggest meat-eating dinosaur. That title was given to Giganotosaurus and then to Spinosaurus.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: Ms. Frizzle dives into this as the T. rex attacks the bus.
    Hmm, I wonder if this insurance policy covers dino damage.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: Arnold says that if he had known he would be chasing a hungry dinosaur for an egg, he would've "gotten off the bus 67 million years earlier".
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  • Coy, Girlish Flirt Pose: At the end of the episode, Phoebe does this while saying, "It's a good thing you didn't stay home today, Arnold!"
  • Determinator: Arnold will return Dr. Skeledon's egg, even if it means chasing an unknown dinosaur into the jungle.
  • Dogged Nice Girl: Downplayed. It's heavily implied that Phoebe gets a crush on Arnold, but at the end of the episode, despite the fact she helped him get the egg back and uses obvious body language to show her interest in him, he's oblivious and pretty much ignores her in the end.
  • Dumb Dinos: Averted. The dinosaurs are depicted as fairly intelligent. Even the predators are not willing to risk their lives just to get a meal.
  • Entertainingly Wrong: Carlos believes that the dinosaurs are gunning for the kids and are dangerous. The fear of his friends getting hurt actually is legitimate since they nearly get trampled by the herbivores a few times, and the dinosaurs are wild animals. He finds out, however, that the dinosaurs don't mean malice, even the meat-eating ones.
  • Everything Is Trying to Kill You: Subverted. Carlos believes this is the case when they end up separated from Arnold and Phoebe, but it turns out that most dinosaurs don't eat meat and the ones that do can be fended off.
  • Face Palm: Liz does this when Arnold and Phoebe run off after the Ornithomimus.
  • The Glasses Come Off: Arnold puts his glasses away when facing the T. rex.
  • Herbivores Are Friendly: While it's done for an Aesop, it's slightly bizarre to see the mother plant-eaters being perfectly okay with having a bunch of strange mammals going so close to their babies.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Carlos's plan to get the Parasaurolophus to clear the way so they can rescue Arnold and Phoebe backfires when one of the dinosaurs ends up launching the class into egg nests.
  • Idiot Ball: Arnold takes the egg off the bus, where it nearly breaks several times, rather than leaving it behind.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: This trope applies to many carnivorous dinosaurs, in that they want "an easy lunch, without getting hurt." While horns will scare off Troodon, Ms. Frizzle has to go to more drastic means to get rid of the T. rex.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Arnold undergoes this in order to stop the T. rex.
  • MacGuffin: Dr. Skeledon's fossilized dinosaur egg, which regresses back into an egg. Arnold loses it to an Ornithomimus.
  • Mammoths Mean Ice Age: A woolly mammoth shows up in the Ice Age as the class and bus are going back in time.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": The class multiple times during the episode.
    • First when they realize they're in the age of dinosaurs, and a herd of Alamosaurus come by for some salad.
    • Second when the Troodon attack them.
    • Third is when the T. rex attacks the bus, and Ms. Frizzle suggests exploring the Rex's digestive system.
    Class: Ms. Frizzle! DO SOMETHING!
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Arnold and Phoebe accidentally wake up the T. rex when trying to dislodge the egg from its sleeping body.
  • Oblivious to Love: Phoebe seems to make it clear in the end that she has a crush on Arnold, but that seems to go over his head.
  • Oh, Crap!: The Ornithomimus when it smells the nearby sleeping T. rex.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Carlos drops the puns for this episode, opting instead to be the naysayer about dinosaurs being dangerous. Also, Arnold is more proactive in first rescuing Dr. Skeledon's egg and then saving the class from the T. rex.
  • Pick on Someone Your Own Size: Dorothy Ann theorizes that the T. rex is attacking them, a smaller group, because of this. Her theory is proven correct when Giant Arnold manages to scare off the other dinosaur with some karate moves.
  • Prehistoric Monster: The episode teaches this is not the case, though Carlos initially believes in this.
  • Ptero Soarer: The Pteranodons who make a cameo are okay for their time, but aside from the aforementioned Anachronism Stew, they shouldn't be flying over the mainland (Pteranodon was a primarily marine animal).
  • Raptor Attack: Downplayed with the Troodon. No feathers (due to the time the episode was made), but they don't display the ferocity or super-intelligence of Jurassic Park's version of their Velociraptor cousins.
  • Rewind Gag: When the bus and class go back in time, everything important in geographical history happens backwards.
  • Say My Name: Phoebe cries out "ARNOLD!" when he falls as the T. rex is chasing them.
  • Seldom-Seen Species: Alamosaurus is chosen as the token sauropod, due to being set in North America during the Late Cretaceous. Maiasaura appears as well, to show that dinosaurs can be Good Parents. There's also Troodon as the obligatory small meat-eating dinosaur rather than the standard raptor.
  • Ship Tease: Phoebe makes it blatantly obvious that she has a crush on Arnold when he refuses to give up on getting Dr. Skeledon's egg back, and then again after he finishes scaring off the T. rex.
  • Shown Their Work: All the animals, though somewhat displaced in time and space, are principally from the Late Cretaceous and no Jurassic or Triassic fauna are anywhere in sight.
  • Stock Dinosaurs: Tyrannosaurus rex, Triceratops, Parasaurolophus, Troodon, Maiasaura, Ornithomimus and the flying reptile Pteranodon all appear in this episode. Not to mention the one Cenozoic megafauna to make a cameo during the Rewind Gag is the obligatory woolly mammoth.
  • Stock Sound Effects: For some reason, the Parasaurolophus' calls have porpoise noises in them.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: Somehow Arnold's footprint instead of the T. rex's skeleton is preserved at the dig. There is also Dr. Skeledon's fossil regressing into an egg.
  • Tyrannosaurus rex: Of course the dinosaur-themed episode would feature one.
  • Wham Shot: Giant Arnold standing next to the T. rex and the bus.


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