Follow TV Tropes


WMG / The Magic School Bus

Go To

The book The Magic School Bus In the Time of the Dinosaurs features a Stable Time Loop.
The paleontologists discover Maiasaura bones but can't find their nests. The class goes back in time to find the nests, inadvertently leading a Troodon pack to the nesting grounds. The Maiasauras are driven away from their nests and are ultimately eaten by the Troodons. This causes their fossils to end up far away from their nests, leading to the paleontologists' original conundrum.
  • Agreed. This is probably right in canon.
  • Bear in mind, this episode is working off of the false assumption that fossilization can happen to a bone left to rot. Fossils can only form if an organism is buried before it has a chance to rot completely. So it was probably a landslide or volcanic lahar that drove the Maiasaurs away from their nests when they were killed. Besides, a Troodon pack wouldn't be able to take out a whole herd. Like modern predators, they'd cut one animal out of the herd and take it down. It would be enough to feed the pack. Sorry, but there's no stable time loop here. At least, not one involving the Maiasaurs.

The producer portion at the end of each episode is set in a universe where the series follows the Literary Agent Hypothesis.
Liz is consistently shown to exist in this universe, and several other characters from the series do as well. They have the same names in the producer universe, indicating they are the actual people and not the actors who play them. It's also been mentioned that Ms. Frizzle is real in this universe.

Since this portion is also animated, and the producer is often seen on the "sets" used in the episode, the series is live-action in this universe; it's obviously produced on a much higher budget than the series in our world. Presumably, the series there is about Ms. Frizzle's actual teaching methods, but it's Very Loosely Based on a True Story. This is why people always call in to complain about how unrealistic it is.

  • Or the show is accurate, and the producer is keeping up The Masqurade.
  • There is a woman who is "officially" recognized as Ms. Frizzle in Real Life, and she signs books. So, anything is possible.

The bus is an immigrant (import?) from the Cars universe.
It has a face, it definitely has a personality, and it has the rounded overall look of the non-model-specific vehicles from the Cars 'verse. It doesn't talk around the kids because that would scare them.
  • What about hurtling them to the edge of the solar system, back to the age of dinosaurs, and to the bottom of the ocean? Isn't all that slightly more scary than the bus talking?
    • Nope. We prefer our transportation non-sentient, thank you very much...
    • The show made it clear that the kids knew the bus was alive. Maybe it's mute. Or just prefers not to talk.
  • On the other hand: It's from the Transformers universe. But it doesn't transform, for some reason.
    • No, it does transform, it's just that the various transformations all retain a general bus-shape.

The Magic Bus is a relative of Bertie The Bus.
The MSB does look like it has an "Advance-Design" era Chevy chassis. If Bertie's a Bedford chassis, that would make them "relatives."

The bus is a Ganmen.
It makes sense. It's clearly powered by Spiral Energy, as the bus can do whatever is coolest. It also has a face like a Ganmen's, though it doesn't mouth out what Frizzle says. This all means that Ms. Frizzle is a retired Spiral Warrior; Liz is her Boota. Just imagine it...
  • The only problem with this is that the wheel was never invented in the Gurren Lagann-verse.

The bus is an Autobot.
Obviously. What are you, stupid?

The bus is related to the Yellow Submarine.
They're both yellow. They both travel through time. They both fly. They both have extremely complicated controls. They both have extremely vague origins.

The bus even turns into a yellow submarine a few times. Compare this image with this one.

Ms. Frizzle is some other type of non or supra-human.
Maybe she's really an alien ala Washu (though Washu turns out to be much more than that), and the bus is a science experiment, or maybe she's an offshoot of what happens when a witch lives in America, and doesn't get her acceptance letter- or a product of an American school of witchcraft and wizardry~!
  • Oh, please. She's obviously a Time Lord, and the bus is her TARDIS (albeit a different model entirely to the Doctor's).
    • Actually, there are bus TARDISes, as Iris Wildthyme note  has one.
    • The Doctor's Daughter after her first regeneration. She found a way inside the Time War and took a TARDIS. And Liz is her companion.
    • Nah, she's obviously River Song in Cognito!
    • I don't know why the TARDIS needs to be a different model, we know that sometimes River borrows the TARDIS without the Doctor knowing. She's probably just figured out how to hot-wire the Fragment Links and superseding the binary thingy to fix the Chameleon Circuit. She just re-breaks it after she's done so the Doctor doesn't suspect.
  • The bus is her Stand Weird Science!
Dorothy Ann's surname is Ann.
Well, she is the only one in the series with no last name, but she does go by 2 different names. It only makes sense that her last name is Ann. Making her parents Mr. and Mrs. Ann.
  • Actually, we don't know Tim's last name either.
    • At least we don't know if it's official. From what I hear, Jamal is his last name.
      • "Jamal" is not Tim's last name. His last name was only revealed in a Rides Again tie-in book, to be "Wright".
  • Jossed. The same Rides Again tie-in book that reveals Tim's last name reveals DA's last name to be "Hudson".
"Tim" is derived from the character's last name, Thomas.
His real first name is Dean. Three years after being in Ms. Frizzle's class, he moves to Britain and starts attending Hogwarts. Twelve words: Black kid with no character traits aside from being good at drawing.

The kids are in an alternative class... note 
...That's why it's such a small group of kids. The class is designed for children who have social needs, or can't be in what we consider "normal" classes. Some (possible) examples are as follows...
  • Arnold:
    • Phobias. Full stop. Something happened in his childhood that no-one in his family will talk about. As such, he has grown up with so many phobias/neurosis that he used to have trouble in "normal" society. He got a *little* bit better when he was able to channel some of his energy into geology and paleontology, but he still has trouble when he isn't focusing on those things. Ms. Frizzle's class is helping him get over that.
  • Phoebe:
    • Chronic shyness (except when she focuses on something), and an inferiority complex.
  • Carlos:
    • Possibly A.D.H.D. Possibly.
  • D.A.:
    • OCD that manifests with her need for knowing facts, and always having her book bag & books. She has to have them OR. ELSE.
  • Ralphie:
    • His love for comics/sci-fi/fantasy/etc. lead him to not focus in school/get his homework done/etc. He has no drive, and was flunking out (of second grade? Yeah- it's possible). So he was moved to the "special" school in the hopes that he wouldn't fail.
  • Wanda:
    • No self-control. She was too much of a problem for her "normal" teachers due to her lack of empathetic self-control, and her selfish bravado around other kids. As such, she was sent to the "Alternative" school.
    • ...Or she just got into a fight, and caused problems.
  • Tim:
    • Mild form of Asperger's, manifests through his drawings... And the fact that he doesn't talk enough to *have* a personality. note 
  • Keesha:
    • Keesha is/was a dancer based on her outfit. (Yeah, it's WMG time all the way). Either that, or she was a young beauty queen a la Jon Benet Ramsey. It gave her a complex, and she tried not eating... In 2nd grade. As soon as her parents realized what they had done to her, they pulled her from the dancing/modeling/pagenting route (and weren't jerkasses about it. However, a psychologist still recommended that she not be around the other students for... Some reason. (Keesha, like Tim, doesn't really seem *do* a lot, does she...?)
  • Or alternately; they all have Asperger's, are high functioning. Nah nah I kid; although it honestly wouldn't surprise me if this was some kind of accelerated class.
  • Also note that the bus has only four sets of windows, as in a short bus. *Progression of thoughts proceeds in head*...oh, God, what have I done?
  • Leading to...

The class is a 'special class' for children with brain damage.
  • Similar to above reasons for being a "special class," only its a special class specifically for children with pediatric schizophrenia or other some sort of brain damage. That's how they think that they have 'magical' adventures and transform into various animals and objects that they are learning about. Mrs. Frizzle only goes along with their own preconceptions, which explains why she's so calm...

Alternatively, and much more pleasantly, the class is a gifted class.
Some of the class may be eccentric, but they're all geniuses. Ms. Frizzle wouldn't teach them otherwise. She uses being the gifted teacher as a cover for her crazy field trips that the school most definitely does not know about. This explains why the class is so small (they're the only ones who tested gifted), and how they're able to absorb all the information from these field trips.
  • Agreed. Not only are they good at science, but they're all quite creative in different ways and "in the Haunted House" shows that they're all pretty decent musicians. The kind of brilliance that comes with Asperger's is much more over-specialized (even D.A.'s knowledge of science is too wide-ranging and multidisciplinary). Also, none of them (not even Wanda) have the kind of issues with empathy that you'd expect from someone with AS.
    • Funny you should say that. As somebody with Asperger's I was much like D.A. where school was concerned. I did well no matter what the subject(music and art I did well for the class, not well as in "good at it"), especially at D.A.'s age in the show. College changed that a bit, though. If D.A. had Asperger's I see no reason why she could not do what she does in the show and try to know everything about everything.
    • People with Asperger's do not have issues with empathy. That's a myth. Also, not all people with Asperger's are only brilliant at one thing. There are indeed plenty who are brilliant general.

When he was younger, Arnold became SEVERELY traumatized.
Picture the scene, chibi!Arnold (maybe 5/6) wants to go somewhere with a family member (mother/father/aunt/uncle/whatev). He is very insistent about it, and eventually said family member gives in and takes him on their errand. Unfortunately, while there, Arnold witnessed something horrible. Maybe there was a bank robbery or whatever, but it scarred him for life. Now whever he says "I wish I would've stayed home today", he is unconsciously referring back to the trip that he took when he was young that scarred him.

Miss Frizzle is Arnold's daughter.
She came from the future to do something to/about her dad. Possibly to keep him from getting scared so easily, or to be closer to him, whatever.
  • ...Woah... I want to read that fic. (Sort of. Maybe. I'm a little bit afraid of that, to be honest...)
  • Here's the explanation:
    • Arnold and Phoebe grew up and got married (sorry, Arnold/Wanda shippers, but this theory needs Phoebe). They have a daughter (let's call her Phoebe Jr.), and when she's born Ms Frizzle tells them that she's their daughter as an adult. She explains that Arnold and Phoebe would never have got together if they hadn't been baptized by fire (and forced to Take a Level in Badass) in fourth grade, and therefore Ms Frizzle is ultimately responsible for their relationship. She tells them that they all need to train their baby daughter so that she can go back in time and complete the Stable Time Loop. Ms Frizzle and Liz teach Phoebe Jr. how to use the bus, Tim, Carlos and Ralphie encourage her pun-tastic sense of humor and Ralphie teaches her to believe that anything is possible until it has been disproved. Tim helps her design her costumes, and Mikey teaches her to be a technical whiz. Wanda teaches her physical fitness and bravery, D.A. nurtures her intelligence and Phoebe teaches her to be kind and caring. Keesha teaches her skepticism to counterbalance Ralphie's influence, Arnold teaches her to be Crazy-Prepared and Janet teaches her to be arrogant/self-confident enough to endanger her eight-year old students every few days without any qualms. Eventually, when Phoebe Jr. is an adult, Ms. Frizzle reveals that Liz and the Bus are eternal heroes whose job it is to maintain the time loop, and that Liz developed a device that prevents its owner from aging. She hands this device over to Phoebe Jr., gets into the bus and returns to her own timeline to resume life as Phoebe Perlstein Jr. Liz then pilots the bus back to the present. This timeline's Phoebe Jr. gets into bus with Liz and travels to the point in time where Ms Frizzle first started working at Walkerville Elementary. She lives as Ms Frizzle up to the point where Arnold and Phoebe have a daughter, explains and then trains that baby to be her successor. She relinquishes the anti-aging device and returns to her family and friends, only seconds (from their perspective) after her departure.

Miss Frizzle is a Time Lord.
Because she is flamboyant and showy, like all Time Lords. Also, the bus is her TARDIS, since it can travel through time.
  • Not only that, but she came to the Magic School Bus Universe, and her TARDIS looks so cartoony because she's in a cartoon.
  • The Bus is a TARDIS, Liz is her companion, and (for the sake of fandom tradition) Ms. Frizzle is an incarnation of The Rani.
    • Romana, of course.
    • River Song, post-Silence in the Library. Regaining her body also restored her ability to regenerate. And/or triggered a regeneration.
      • Regeneration? Ms. Frizzle could easily be portrayed by Alex Kingston.
    • She could even be the Doctor, regenerated as a woman.
    • Presumably she regenerates into Mary Poppins.
    • No. She's Iris Wildthyme (From the expanded universe) who actually gets points for already having a bus (!) TARDIS.
  • This might also explain why nobody ever calls her out on her habit of spontaneously going on dangerous field trips without permission slips or anything. She has some weird form of perception filter which causes the average person not to notice the school bus is alive, and when they are on their trips, there's some sort of filter on in the classroom, so nobody notices if they just dissapear.
  • Much as I love this theory, don't Time Lords have two hearts? ...And in the episode on circulation, Ms. Frizzle was shown to have only one heart.
    • Maybe she was Chameleon Arched.
      • Fridge Brilliance: If Ms. Frizzle wanted to teach the kids about the human circulatory system, she wouldn't take them inside a Time Lord body.
      • And it is canon that she has a Chameleon Arch. In the reptiles episode, she turns the class into reptiles with a device that dropped from the bus' ceiling. Why it wasn't painful is a Headscratcher to me.
      • Perhaps the Doctor used an older Chameleon Arch, considering that his TARDIS is an older model. Maybe Ms. Frizzle is using an advanced Chameleon Arch model? One that is non-painful?
    • Alternatively, how sure are we that that was really Ms. Frizzle's body?
    • If she's River Song, we don't know how much of her is Time Lord and how much is human. I find it entirely plausible that she's River Song, and her particular kind of human/Time Lord hybrid only has one heart.
    • Well, the First Doctor only had one heart, so perhaps it can be thought that Time Lords in their first incarnations don't have two of them yet. This might mean that if Miss Frizzle is a Time Lord, she hasn't gone through a regeneration yet.
  • Note that in the birthday cake book, it was specifically lampshaded that we never find out how old Ms. Frizzle is.

Ms Fizzle is a spark
The bus and Liz are her constructs. She was experimenting with time travel some day and accidentally transported herself to a different universe. Then she got a job as a science teacher doing what she loves. It also explains her borderline insanity. The only other character that is more excited than science than the frizz is Agatha.
  • Alternately, she IS Agatha. We already know that Agatha has messed with Time Travel.

Ms. Frizzle is like Willy Wonka.
She's basically a magic schoolteacher who takes the kids on the field trips so that she can find a successor to be the next driver of the Magic School Bus, of course. The class is so small because she sees the most promise out of them. Mikey and Janet she sees promise in, but not as much as Arnold, Ralphie, or Dorothy Ann.
  • She has the "Calmly and almost sadistically sends innocent children into mortal peril" down pat.

Miss Frizzle from The Magic School Bus is a Time Lord. The School Bus is her TARDIS. Liz the Lizard is her companion.
There's two ways this could work.

1. Frizzle and Liz got in some trouble and used the Chameleon Arch to transfer her Time Lord identity. She now acts as a teacher to hide and unknowingly use the TARDIS to take this kids on adventures.

2. She is fully aware of what is going on. She decides to use her vast knowledge and become a teacher so that she can take kids on trips using her TARDIS's vast power. This explains why she's so eccentric and out there.

Ms. Frizzle is a witch. Her lizard, Liz, is really her familiar.
Now that you mention it, who reminds you that has that kind of hairdo? Some peculiar looking witch?

Miss Frizzle from The Magic School Bus is not a Time Lord. The School Bus is, however, her TARDIS.
There have been humans who can pilot a TARDIS, and does anyone else think that Ms. Frizzle looks sort of like Professor River Song? My theory: Professor Song decides she needs to get away for a while, maybe to lay low from the cops looking for her after her latest prison break-out, and so she finds a TARDIS and hides in the mid-nineties in America. She takes a job and changes her name to Ms. Frizzle.
  • Partially Jossed. River Song was recently revealed to be a Human-Time Lord hybrid caused by being conceived aboard a TARDIS in-flight.

The school is a private school.
A simpler explanation for the small class size is that the kids go to a private school; many American private schools limit the number of students and keep class sizes to a minimum so that each student can have more individual attention. At an elementary school level, a class size of eight wouldn't be unusual in a small private school. Pheobe's old school was a public school, which is why she is so baffled by how things are done at her new school.

Ms. Frizzle is Carmen Sandiego.
Search your feelings. You know it to be true.

And she steals stuff just to give children a covert geography lesson.

  • Please. Everyone knows Carmen Sandiego is the Rani.
    • Maybe the Rani is Carmen Sandiego AND Ms. Frizzle.

Ms. Frizzle is an embodiment of one of the 4 fundamental forces.
In her case, electromagnetism, which explains the name somewhat. It explains why she can do things like drift from the asteroid belt to Pluto and survive crashing on it all within a minute or two. And many other god-like abilities. The question is, who are the other 3 forces?

The theme song is instructions.
For the longest time, I wondered exactly where it was telling you to go. But now I know for sure, that it is telling you how to get to Sesame Street. You want it to be true.
  • Wait a second. "Cruisin' on down main street, you're relaxed and feelin' good. Next thing that you know you're seeing (WAAHAAHOO!) octopus in the neighborhood!". I'm not sure I understand.
    • "Take a left at your intestine, take your second right past Mars." ...Ew...

The bus was invented by Phineas and Ferb.
It's the most logical answer I can come to.

Some of Ms. Fizzle's class grew up to become Planeteers.
Arnold, Wanda, Tim, Carlos, and Dorothy decided to change their names at some point in their teens, then took up the cause to protect Earth under the wing of Captain Planet. Here's the proof.
  • Or, the Planeteers could be their older siblings.
    • It's very possible that Wanda is related to Gi. I mean, they look really similar.
Alternatively, some of Ms. Fizzle's class grew up to become Power Rangers.
After all, the Power Rangers have their own Carlos.

Where's Walkerville?
Let's hear some guesses!
  • Suburban Vancouver. They're shown to be close to both the ocean and high mountains. The portrait we see of the founder of the town in the background also looks like a Canadian Mountie. And though when they're in the lost and found in another episode we clearly see an American penny, and made a moment of it, doesn't necessarily mean that they're in America. Canadian coins get mixed in with change at least as far south as Rhode Island. And also, the show was produced in Canada using mostly Canadian voice actors. Chances are it's in Canada.
  • Somewhere between Sacramento, CA, and Tacoma, WA. The vast majority of the evidence supports this, with only a few exceptions. Most of the wildlife they encounter/turn into is native (and in many cases, exclusive) to the west coast. They're also far enough north to experience four seasons. And it's stated directly that Walkerville is in America. The most likely location is Oregon or California, which have inland oil wells (seen in "Flexes Its Muscles"). The most defining characteristic of Walkerville is its fairly close proximity to the Sierra Nevadas ("All Dried Up"), near low to moderately high mountains that retain snow for much of the year (a characteristic of the Cascades; the climate of Oregon allows over half of Mt. Hood, about 11,000 ft. high, to remain snow-covered year round, whereas inland 11,000 ft. mountains barely retain patches of snow in shady crags during the summer).
  • Alternatively, it could be right on the border between the U.S. and Canada. This would mean that, theoretically, whichever side it's on could easily be accessed by people from the other country. If the school is located on the American side, than theoretically some of the kids present could be Canadian and just live close to the border. Likewise, the same could be said if it's on the Canadian side. Another more extreme explanation might be that the town actually stretches right over the border, and the school is just located in the American part of the town.
  • Except "Meets Molly Cule" and "Sees Stars" show Walkerville being somewhere on the upper east coast, possibly New England.
  • How about in an American/English speaking enclave within Brazil? This small cutscene from The Magic School Bus Explores the Solar System PC game shows the bus returning to the Earth. Notice something odd about where it lands?
  • I think there's an episode or source of some kind that I can't fully remember where Walkerville is stated to be in Rhode Island.

The titular Magic School Bus really does operate through scientific means.
But they're far, far too complicated to explain to children, so Ms. Frizzle just calls it "magic".
  • Too complicated to explain to children? Please. It's too complicated to explain to ANYONE.

Ms Frizzle is Susan Sto Helit.
It certainly explains her teaching methods. Techinically impossible field trips? Check. Teach them stuff the adults think they're too young to know? Check. And can't you just hear her saying "Hi, inner child, I'm the inner babysitter!"

Alternatively, Dorothy Ann is Susan Sto Helit.
Let's see: Deadpan Snarker with blonde, self-styling hair. Highly intelligent (with maths and science as her best subjects). Generally rationalist in philosophy but willing to accept fantastic explanations when the evidence supports them. Both a Cute Bookworm and a Badass Bookworm.

You may believe that this is impossible, given that Susan is in her twenties in Thief of Time and hasn't left the Discworld at all, while D.A. is eight in The Magic School Bus. The solution, of course, is that A Wizard Did It. Literally. The faculty of the Unseen University in Ankh-Morpork realized that the Auditors of Reality were planning another attack on the Roundworld, so they convinced Susan to let Hex transport her there to head them off. Unfortunately, Ridcully stood on Ponder Stibbon's foot while Ponder was entering Hex's instructions, and the ensuing mess-up meant that Susan arrived on Earth/Roundworld having reverted to childhood and with no memory of her previous life. As Roundworld has no magic and doesn't run on Clap Your Hands If You Believe, Susan loses her powers, but obviously retains her personality, non-supernatural abilities and general badass tendencies. She also has residual subconscious memories and instincts which are the reason she's unfazed by the impossible field trips. If there's no magic on Earth, how does the bus work? Sufficiently advanced technology.

This explains D.A.'s prophetic dream at the start of "Out of this World": Susan often glimpses and/or dreams snatches of the future. In fact, Thief of Time implies that the Auditors tried to wipe out all life on the Disc by crashing a meteorite into it, so while wouldn't they try the same thing on Roundworld, given their notorious lack of imagination? This explains the entire "Out of this World" episode. Think about it, there were three other episodes set in space, one of which explained gravity and one of which was a tour of the solar system that explained about asteroids, meteorites and comets. The only new educational content in "Out of this World" is the so-called 'gravity slingshot' effect, which surely didn't warrant a field trip of its own. Note that "Out of this World" is the only episode where the field trip is not instigated by Ms Frizzle. Therefore this wasn't a plan of hers to educate the kids, but a genuinely necessary action.

On top of this, this theory explains why Insane Troll Logic always presses D.A.'s Berserk Button. It's also the reason for her Limited Wardrobe. Vestigal memories of being Susan (who always wore practical - sometimes severe - clothes in black, white and grey) influence her clothing choices, inspiring D.A. to wear severe roll necks and only wear two dull colours.

Elegant, huh?

The events depicted in The Magic School Bus have never happened, in any timeline.
For one of the four following reasons:
  • Arnold is in his teens and so agoraphobic that his mother decides to send him to a therapist. He resents this, so when the therapist asks him what triggered his agoraphobia he makes up a story about his traumatic year in fourth grade to screw with the shrink.
  • The entire class (plus teacher) exist but there's no magic or weirdness. D.A. actually has low self-esteem (as implied when she loses her book bag in "Blows its Top") and the entire series is a dream caused by her subconscious trying to boost her self-confidence and make her confront her fear of failure and her feelings for Carlos. This would explain why she's the smartest and most consistently badass of the kids, and why she gets to save the planet in "Out of this World".
  • Alternatively, the series is a prophetic dream D.A. is having on the night before she starts fourth grade. All the events depicted therein will happen, but haven't happened by the end of the final episode (when D.A. wakes up and goes to school). We know she can have prophetic dreams because she has one in "Out of this World".
  • Phoebe is about to join Walkerville Elementary and is afraid that she won't fit in. The night before she is due to start, her subconscious makes her dream the entire series as a way of boosting her confidence.

Alternatively, The Magic School Bus is real, and happened on our world.
However, it happened in 1980, not in the 90s. When Phoebe was 18 (in 1990), she wrote a series of bestselling children's books based on her experiences which were illustrated by Tim. They got adapted into a tv series, The Magic School Bus, which had the Friz as its Executive Producer. Tim and Wanda were the producers, Phoebe and her boyfriend Arnold wrote the scripts (which is why Arnold is the most developed character), Keesha was the director and Liz was the director of cinematography. Carlos, Tim and Ralphie designed the sets and special effects, D.A. did the research and provided the education content and Carlos wrote the jokes. Janet (who had mellowed a bit with age) starred as Ms. Frizzle.

Ms Frizzle is Janet.
And has travelled back in time to try to mellow her past self's Jerkass tendancies.

The Magic School Bus takes place in the same universe as Harry Potter and Ms Frizzle is Bellatrix Lestrange.
The kids finished fourth grade in May 1998 (the year the show ended). In May 1998, Bellatrix was killed by Molly Weasley. When she died, she woke up in limbo/King's Cross and was given the opportunity to return to Earth for a year in order to redeem herself. She agrees, and wakes up a week before she is due to start the first day of the 1997-1998 academic year as the fourth grade teacher in Walkerville Elementary. She anonymously commissions Arthur Weasley to build the bus and buys Liz in Diagon Alley. This is why Ms. Frizzle is awesome and has idiosyncratic hair and clothes. D.A.'s book bag is equipped with an Undetectable Extension Charm.
  • Why Bellatrix Lestrange? I think she's a Weasley.

Arnold died in the first episode.
When Arnold takes his helmet off on Pluto in "Gets Lost in Space", he dies. Religion in the Schoolbusverse runs on Clap Your Hands If You Believe (as per Discworld), so Arnold goes to Purgatory because he believes he should be punished for his stupidity. Purgatory is subjective, so Arnold's punishment is to have to live through four years of fourth-grade field trips before being allowed to go to Heaven.
  • Except Arnold is canonically Jewish, so why would he believe in Purgatory?
    • He converted?

The bus is not "magic" at all, but actually a piece of Third-law level technology.
Consider the show is about teaching science, and Mrs. Frizzle is teaching her kids the scientific method and a scientific viewpoint on life; it would be incredibly hypocritical for Mrs. Frizzle to be hand-waving her bus, and even some of her own doings, as "Magic". It's alltogether likely she's from the far future, come back in time to foster scientific thought in the younger generation. The bus is a combination of TARDIS and super-futuristic-multitool-and-lab.
  • Considering that the mechanic that works on the bus also had aliens as customers, that's pretty likely.

Walkerville can be accessed from multiple locations in a similar manner to SCP-908.
However, instead being accessible from multiple location in lakes and oceans, it can be accessed from multiple points on land. Many of the episodes have mountains visible in the distance. In one episode, they fly over these mountains to reach a desert similar parts of the southwestern U.S. In another episode, they visit a swamp just outside the town and in others, the town is close to the ocean. Additionally, it's never specified in which direction most of these locations are relative to the town.
  • Alternatively, Walkerville is a future Termina. Ocean, Swamp, Mountain...probably canyons around there somewhere too.

Dorothy Ann is a wizard
Specifically, a Young Wizards universe wizard. Her 'research' is her manual.

Ms. Frizzle is not a Time Lord...
...But she was a member of the Galactic Kids Next Door as a sort of "test-drive" operative to see if she would be given the honor of being Humanity's representative in it. Obviously, she didn't, that would go to Nigel Uno in Operation: INTERVIEWS, but she was allowed to keep some of their highly advanced technology, said technology being a certain school bus...

Ms. Frizzle is from Night Vale
And Carlos grows up to be Carlos the Scientist.

The asteroid in Out of This World was never going to hit earth
The reason NASA ignored the call in that episode is because, as far as they were concerned, there was no asteroid on a collision course with Earth—and certainly not one heading toward a populated area. If there had been, it probably would have been all over the news, not to mention that school would have been closed. But Ms. Frizzle knows a teaching opportunity when she hears one, so she took the class on a trip to a random asteroid and played along with the "saving the world" narrative to make it more engaging.
  • Alternatively, everything was just a dream that Dorothy Ann had when she fell asleep during a screening of Deep Impact.

Ms. Frizzle is not Carmen Sandiego, but they were/are childhood friends.
note: copy-pasted from the relevant page

Maybe when they were little, Valerie was that weird kid in class who got picked on a lot for her eccentricity before Carmen the mysterious Aloof Dark-Haired Girl came along, who couldn't stand seeing her like that (and their Apathetic Teacher wasn't helping). Early on they find that they share a love of learning about the world and all the wonderful things in it - again, with an Apathetic Teacher they may have been intellectually frustrated. Carmen tends to be more interested in anthropologic stuff in exotic places (e.g., cultural sites) while Valerie prefers to find out about nature and how something works, but there's plenty of overlap between the two (e.g., how could the Moai statues on Easter Island get to where they are now? Will you look at how majestic the Great Barrier Reef is!).

Their first adventures were of Carmen sneaking away and dragging Valerie along with her - this might expose Valerie to how interesting other people can be via cultural artifacts (if she's been picked on, she might have been adverse to social contact), while Valerie may act as a conscious for Carmen, who tends to disregard rules and might have turned out to be a straightforward villainess instead of the Gentlewoman Thief we know her as now. Through their worldwide travels (all hidden from the regular Powers That Be thanks to Carmen's legendary stealth abilities) they also form contacts with a wide variety of people who help them later in life - this is more obviously helpful for Valerie's backstory as the Magic School Bus episodes show her social network to be quite widely cast, but Carmen would also benefit from such a network as well in order to keep her activites on the down-low.

Their childhood experiences can help to inform their present career choices. For Valerie, she became a teacher to nurture nascent inquisitive minds - she knows how aggravating being bored at school can be thanks to her Apathetic Teacher. Going out with the bus to do really hands-on and up-close approaches to learning is about the most effective way to get kids to learn. For Carmen, perhaps at Valerie's encouragement that she can make the world a better place, she goes to work for ACME and uses her skills to become the best detective they've ever had, but the combination of bureaucratic rigidity (to which she's never been fond of rules anyway) and lack of challenge because she's so good drives her away from ACME and into founding V.I.L.E.

Whether they keep in contact today can go either way. If yes, then Carmen's status as the world's most wanted thief is going to keep their opportunities to stay in touch limited (though with a magic bus at her disposal, Valerie will still be able to, say, meet up for coffee in Paris on the weekend). If no, then it's possible Carmen's turn to crime was the breaking point where they fell out (and lots of drama ensued).

Ms. Frizzle teaches a 6th grade class
At some point in season 3, some of the boys' voices got deeper. Coincidence? Doubtful.
  • The thing is, she's pretty obviously an elementary school teacher, and in most US school districts 6th grade is the first year of middle school.

Phoebe is Canadian
She mentions her old school, which is accessible by land as well as English-speaking, measured in metric.
  • She also put her head in a miniature igloo and went in an ice crystal and seemed to be used to the temperature.

The book that Dorothy Ann carries around is actually called "My Research."

The first episode is actually a continuity error and should be later on in the series.
While on their way to the planetarium Arnold comments on what sort of field trip will be happening today to them and references ones we would be seeing in later episodes including the rotting log. The day Janet arrives Frizzle felt like making it look like the field trip was going to be like any other average school trip but waited for when Arnold would realize he would want to prove his cousin that his teacher was the best and that all these trips he had talked about were real and thus... They went up into space.

The actual first episode was going to be The Magic School Bus Gets Eaten
The kids seem less prepared for anything when Frizzle is taking them to the beach, and seem substantially more impressed for their first undersea adventure. Plus, Arnold seems WAY less hesitant to field trips, indicating he hasn't begun to expect the crazy antics that normally happen with his class.

Frizzle actually made Ralphie sick so the whole field trip in the episode could work out.
She does seem like the sort of teacher who would do that to make things work properly.

Frizzle is a Q.
Come on really? Nobody's thought of this? She obviously used her powers to give the bus sentience and made the lizard semi-anthropomorphic, but in truth it isn't the bus with the powers it's HER! She just made up that her bus was magic to mess with the kids heads, plus it's clear Arnold is her Captain Picard.

Ms. Frizzle is a Dreamfinder and Liz is her Figment.
Given that "Dreamfinder" is an occupation title, of course.

Ms. Frizzle is evil.
Those crazy field trips she takes her class on? It's her attempt to get rid of them. Though she doesn't attempt to outright kill them, she secretly hopes that at least one or two of them will be fatally injured in some way at some point. Remember the episode where they went back in time to see the dinosaurs, and the bus got attacked by a T-Rex? Remember how she was more worried over the bus insurance than the safety of her students? That's one example of her subtlety.

Ms. Frizzle COULD cure Mikey's condition but doesn't.
It's a stealth aesop - she wants everyone to accept him for who he is how he is.

D.A. will replace Ms. Frizzle when she retires.
Ms. Frizzle is practically grooming her to be her successor. After being at the top of Ms. Frizzle's class, there's no way D.A. could ever be satisfied with a normal education leading to a normal career.

The town of Walkerville is in Brazil.
This small cutscene from The Magic School Bus Explores the Solar System PC game shows the bus returning to the Earth. Notice something odd about where it lands? This leads me to believe that Walkerville USA is either:
  • Located in an American/English speaking enclave within Brazil or,
  • Located in an alternate universe where Brazil was settled by English colonists.

Magic School Bus 360 will take place in the same continuity as the original show, all of the kids will be new, and Ms. Frizzle will have regenerated.
This news report states that Ms. Frizzle will become "modernized". If they don't mean Totally Radical, this is the most likely scenario. In order to support this theory, (some of) the kids from the original show would make cameo appearances (as adults of course). Of course, this assumes that Ms. Frizzle *is* a Time Lord.
  • Actually, this theory has some practical value as well as being cool. First, it would minimize confusion for episodes with similar themes or plots to old ones. Classrooms change every year, with new students in place of old ones, new lessons to be taught. Secondly, it can allow the new show to make direct corrections to the old show while still having the old episodes happening in canon. Third, for subjects that haven't changed much, it helps to reduce redundant episodes as the viewer only sees what needs to be updated. Lastly, in modern days, it seems that the most likely way for kids to discover the Magic School Bus is through the tv show. If kids see an old episode right after a new one, and the kids have the same general traits hut different personalities, younger viewers might get confused. With new students come new personalities. Thus, I would recommend that the new show supplement the old one, rather than replace it Continuity Reboot style.

Miss Frizzle is a seer (and possibly omnipotent)
She never panics, never worries about the childrens' safety, takes them on ultra dangerous field trips where they can easily get killed (Or worse) she doesn't worry because she already knows what will happen ahead of time due to her powers to see into the future, as well as the fixed timeline theory that assures the future can't alter and kill them all. So while the kids are panicking about the situation, it's nothing to Miss Frizzle who casually treats it as a fun outing. A notable example is the "Water cycle episode" in which the bus key turned into water with them, so they were "assumingly" trapped in the water cycle forever. Though she just continued teaching them like there was no issue... their only hope was the spare key that Arnold conveniently left in the bathroom. She knew he was going to put the key there all along, or if not, she somehow manipulated the events so he would.

Miss Frizzle is *not* a Time Lord because there's no way the Magic School Bus universe and the Whoniverse can fit.
I have long thought that Ms. Frizzle was a Time Lord. However, as I did research, I realized that the easiest way to refute this theory is by looking at her most well known adventure. Originally released as the book "The Magic School Bus Lost in the Solar System", it got adapted to TV as "The Magic School Bus Gets Lost in Space", the computer game "The Magic School Bus Explores the Solar System", and the Sega Genesis game "The Magic School Bus Space Exploration Game". For those who don't know, the plot involves Ms. Frizzle taking her students to the nine, umm... eight planets of the solar system, abandoning the class during the trip and forcing the kids to find her. While (in the TV series at least) aliens exist in the MSB universe (The Magic School Bus Flexes Its Muscles) there's no sign of alien life on the non-earth planets (Unless you count the alien from Pluto in the Producer Says segment of Gets Lost in Space). In the Whoniverse, there are a few alien races worth noting, the Ice Warriors, the Osirians from the Doctor Who serial "Pyramids of Mars"... Even if the other planets *were* empty, there would have had to been some evidence of the alien civilization. Even if probes have trouble making things out, surely walking all over the planets like Ms. Frizzle's class is doing would have revealed *something*. So yeah, wonderful theory, refuted by aliens.

Maybe Doctor Who various aliens races like the Doctor's Galfrian race might come from planets which are million of light-years away from our own?.

Cornelia Contralto and Ms. Frizzle constructed the Eyewitness Museum
Admitedly, this is mostly because the Eyewitness Museum and the Sound Museum were the two fictional settings that I wanted to visit the most as a kid, but a magical ever-changing museum full of moving portal pictures sounds like exactly what someone who had already devised the Sound Museum's multiple biomes in one house set-up might create if given access to the same sort of magic that the bus has. Ms. Frizzle would surely approve of an educational facility where each exhibit is a mini field trip but want it to cover topics other than sound and music. The moving picture of the first Cornelia Contralto and the books with captured sounds inside could have been prototypes for the Eyewitness moving portal pictures.

Ralphie had Strep Throat in the episode "...Inside Ralphie"
They actually single it out to a bacterial infection - the most common cause of sore throats is a cold, which is viral. He doesn't have any cold- or flulike symptoms besides the sore throat and cough either (no runny nose or sneezing when they need him to sneeze they have to induce it with pepper), and he has a fever, which only sometimes occurs with colds but always occurs with strep throat.

In "Rides Again", the kids' family members will get more roles in stories.
At the very least, they need to use Mikey, Carlos' little brother, more. Kid's a tech genius and considering the modern setting, there's tons of stories they could slip him into. Heck; if they're willing to get mildly Darker and Edgier, they could do a plot involving a debate about whether or not the class should fix his legs, possibly even with Carlos being Made Out to Be a Jerkass when he insists that they shouldn't.

We don't see all the field trips. Just the science-based ones.
In North America, young children are usually taught in all subjects by the same teacher. So it's likely that despite the fact that Ms Frizzle specializes in science, she teaches the kids all subjects as well, including math (confirmed in season 2 of "Rides Again?"), literature, history, and maybe some others. And if that's the case she may well take the kids on magical field trips related to those subjects as well. We just don't see them as the show is centered around science. Feel free to post ideas as to what some of those other field trips might be.
  • History: Time travel to various time periods
  • English: Inkheart-style transport into books
  • Music: Transporting themselves into music sheets and interacting with anthropomorphic music notes, a la that one scene from Blue's Big Musical
  • Woodworking: Something that goes along the lines of Bob the Builder (the students use talking, sentient machinery) meets The Red Green Show (projects often devolve into a D.I.Y. Disaster)
  • Math: Donald in Mathmagic Land-esque interaction with magical personifications of math things

Ms. Frizzle is a retired witch
I mean, it is called the MAGIC school bus. So Frizzle is a witch who got tired of doing the regular Witch stuff of flying around aimlessly scaring others, and so went to get a teaching degree. She used magic to give her bus and her pet lizard sapience, and her constant field trips are her way of still practicing magic with her class while also teaching them science. She normally doesn't talk about it since she doesn't want to draw too much attention, but she does occasionally have to talk about like when she helped Molly Cule get her music career going, or when she needed a mechanical repair at her regular repair man.

Liz is a trans girl. Yes, the lizard.
Liz is a Jackson's chameleon. Only male Jackson's chameleons have horns—at most, females may have a small nose horn, but never the pair on the forehead. Liz clearly has horns, but she's always referred to as female. But there's no way Ms. Frizzle would get her dear pet's pronouns wrong, so...

Ms. Frizzle's class is a pilot program.
The Walkerville school district knows Ms. Frizzle is some kind of exceptional being (Time Lord, Q, witch, whatever). When she inexplicably applies for a job there and submits an impeccable CV, they feel like they can't not hire her, so they design a special trial homeroom to test how effective magic tutelage is. They've aimed for the class to be small but representative, which explains why there are only eight students as well as why there's a relatively good distribution of heritages and ethnicities.

Why do the books, by contrast, show a much larger class, most of whom are nameless or unfamiliar? Simple: the trial program shown in the TV series was a resounding success, so the next year, Ms. Frizzle is given a standard class size, and takes them on the adventures described in the books. (When students from the TV series seem to appear in the books, they're there as a kind of Early-Bird Cameo from the illustrator, who must have met them to get a better sense of Ms. Frizzle's teaching style.)

Ms Frizzle is Arnold from the future.
Ms Frizzle is implied to be possibly Jewish (her "Tante Gefilte"), Arnold is Jewish, and they both have curly red hair. Ms Frizzle realized she's part of a Stable Time Loop and if no one helps her past self stop being such a scaredy-cat, her future self will never come to be! So she tends to give Arnold extra attention. And based on Arnold's Character Development, it's apparently working.

Oh, and her sister Fiona from The Magic School Bus Rides Again is actually the dreaded Cousin Janet!! She's also changed a lot since 4th grade, and changed her name and pretends they're sisters rather than cousins to avoid anyone figuring out the whole time-travel bit.

  • You forgot to add that this theory would technically make Ms. Frizzle a MTF transgender woman.
  • I didn't forget it, I implied it. That would obviously be the case and you're all such bright students.
  • Ms. Frizzle being trans would also explain her love of pickles. The drug spironolactone, which some trans women take to reduce their testosterone, is a diuretic. Increased urination depletes sodium, and one popular solution is to eat a lot of pickles.

Morty, from Rick and Morty, is Arnold's biological father.
Just take a look at the man, his looks are a perfect blend of Morty and his love Jessica. Furthermore his parents in the show are his adoptive patents, who took him in after being abandoned by Morty and Jessica at a young age. The similarity of Arnold and his parents looks, in the show, are purely coincidence.

Miss Frizzle sees Carlos as the most likely candidate to take over The Magic School Bus
Whenever anyone laughs at his awful puns, its more often than not Miss Frizzle, who frequently makes them herself. Aside from that, episodes like "Ready, Set Dough!" establish that he has leadership skills. As well as this, he has sometimes shown to be more knowledgeable about science than the rest of his class (he was the one to explain about the rain shadow effect in "All Dried Up"). Perhaps him being a Gadgeteer Genius has something to do with it.

Ms. Frizzle is from Lyra's world and Liz is her dæmon.

If the eleven additional students from the Books were given personalities
Although most of the eleven additional students didn't make it into the show, with only Carmen and Michael being given cameos/minor roles, if the eleven additional students did make it onto the show, they're personalities will primarily be this.
  • Alex (the brown-haired student in the striped sweater) would be portrayed as Arnold's best friend and foil to his nervous tendencies.
  • Amanda Jane (the blonde-haired girl in the green polka-dotted dress) would more or less be a female Arnold, but not as nervous as him.
  • Carmen (the mix race girl in the red shirt) will serve as a smarter half to Carlos.
  • Florrie (the Hispanic girl in the lavender dress) will act in a role similar to Keesha but will downplay her worrying tendencies.
  • Gregory (The blonde-haired boy in the blue striped shirt) will act as a friendly bully with a soft spot for animals.
  • John (the biracial boy in a blue and yellow striped shirt) will more or less serve as a younger foil to Carlos.
  • Michael (the Asian American boy in the red and yellow sweater vest) will more or less be in the background.
  • Molly (the African American girl in the sailor outfit and beaded bangs) will serve as the youngest of the students
  • Phil (the redheaded boy in the green sweater) will be the oldest of the students, as well as the tallest.
  • Rachael (the one that looks like a tomboyish version of Phoebe) will more or less be Wanda's best friend
  • And finally, Shirley (the curly haired blonde girl in the flower pattern pink shirt) will be a Southern Belle with a slight crush on Arnold.