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What An Idiot / The Magic School Bus

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    Season One 
The Magic School Bus Gets Lost in Space
  • Janet, Arnold's cousin, is visiting his class and is established as an Insufferable Genius. Arnold shuts her up when she tries to insult Ms. Frizzle, however, by convincing their teacher to take the class to space. Once the shock wears off and the wonder sets in, Janet wants to prove that they've visited all the planets, to show to her class.
    You'd Expect: She would take tiny samples from each planet, and try not to endanger everyone. A handful of Mars dust, for example, would suffice. The bus can hold maybe twenty students, but it's also trying to navigate the students through outer space, which has no oxygen and a vast size.
    Instead: Janet forces Arnold to help her take giant rocks, buckets of Mars dust, and a jar of Jupiter's "red spot" gas for her proof. In addition, while doing so she strands the class in an asteroid field by pulling the emergency brake, loses Ms. Frizzle while helping her do repairs on the bus, and nearly gets the class killed when driving the bus through Jupiter.
    The Result: The class yells at Janet for her recklessness and has Arnold watch her to make sure she doesn't pull any more shenanigans. By the time they find Ms. Frizzle on Pluto, the bus is overloaded with her space souvenirs and bursts open, stranding all the items on the planet.
  • Following this, Janet says she doesn't want to leave without her "stuff". Arnold tries to point out that he can't leave her on Pluto; while she's been awful, she is his cousin. She'd run out of oxygen, food and water, not to mention the temperatures are below freezing.
    You'd Expect: Janet would lighten her load and only take back small samples on the bus. Simple compromise, that gets everyone home.
    Instead: Janet refuses to budge from where her pile of stuff has landed on Pluto.
    The Result: Arnold, to make her realize the seriousness of the situation, takes off his helmet. On Pluto. His head turns into a block of ice and he falls unconscious before Janet can stop him. She immediately gets on the bus to return to Earth save him, because even she wouldn't want him to die of frostbite.
  • After this, Janet has suffered a huge wake-up call about how her recklessness and arrogance nearly got Arnold killed. She tells the class that it doesn't matter who believes her about space, because going on the trip was enough.
    You'd Expect: Janet would be nicer to the class, especially since they had to tolerate her shenanigans and that Arnold had to risk his life to bring her back to her senses.
    Instead: Janet in future episodes Took a Level in Jerkass. She's not above manipulating her classmates, including Arnold, and engages in petty cruelty.
The Magic Schoolbus Hops Home
  • Wanda's raised a tadpole from birth, named Bella. Bella has since grown into a giant bullfrog, and Wanda is worried that her pet is getting cooped up in her room.
    You'd Expect: Wanda would get a terrarium for Bella, either for the classroom or for her house. Bella needs food, still water to lay her eggs for when she's ready, and space.
    Instead: She brings Bella to class, with only a wading pool, and starts "borrowing" items from her classmates' desks to make her frog happy. Bella obviously isn't satisfied and hops off to find what she needs once given the opportunity.
  • Meanwhile Arnold is annoyed that Wanda wants his desk to give to her frog. Still, he tries to be nice and acquaint Bella with his things.
    You'd Expect: He would remember that bullfrogs hop, and can go long distances.
    Instead: He opens the window for her, expecting she needs fresh air.
    The Result: Bella escapes to a pond nearby, and Wanda is worried sick about her. The class spends the whole episode looking for Bella,and learning about habitats.
The Magic Schoolbus in the Haunted House
  • The class is putting on an orchestra recital, to do an "inventive" arrangement of the William Tell overture. Dorothy Ann is conducting, while Carlos is playing an instrument he made himself, to look cool. As he finds, however, the sound is "ploopy" and doesn't sound musical at all. No one knows what to do since their concert is the next day at the Sound Museum.
    You'd Expect: Dorothy Ann would simply realize Carlos's instrument isn't ready, and plan to perform without it. A bit harsh, yes, but necessary since The Show Must Go On and she wants to make their parents proud. If Carlos can fix it in 24 hours, then all the better.
    Instead: She laments that they'll be a laughingstock at the concert and tells Carlos bluntly that he'll never find his perfect sound, after they missed the dress rehearsal and are spending the night in the Sound Museum.
  • Carlos also has this while trying to fix his instrument. It's loaded with a lot of bells and whistles, that he hopes makes it look cool.
    You'd Expect: He would focus on what could help the sound. That is figure out where the wind is flowing through the pipes and strings as he pedals it, and what is obstructing it.
    Instead: He applies the Insane Troll Logic that if he makes the instrument look better, then it will sound better.
    The Result: The instrument sounds worse and worse with each addition, as Dorothy Ann snarks. Carlos has to get a lesson from Ms, Frizzle and Professor Cornelia C. Contralto II about how music requires sound vibrations, so that he can strip down the instrument to the bare minimum.
The Magic School Bus Gets Ready, Set Dough
  • It's Ms. Frizzle's birthday. The kids are baking a cake in a bakery, due to being too small to buy one and the bakery not having chocolate cakes on display. The baker, unnerved by the "moth" stirring milk and cracking eggs, comes in to confront them after he fails to get an exterminator. Carlos is leading the cake-making expedition while Ms. Frizzle is checking auto parts next door.
    You'd Expect: Carlos would have the sense to hide behind ingredients, as Liz did before.
    Instead: He has the bus turn into a submarine and hide in the cake batter.
    The Result: The baker thinks he made the batter and forgot about it, and puts it in the oven to bake. Soon the class starts to overheat, and can't break out of the cake.
     Season Two 
  • The Magic Schoolbus Blows Its Top
    • D.A. and Carlos have been bickering about her reading her books for research rather than helping out with a three-dimensional map of the world. Their bickering carries into who will get to name a new island that needs to be added to the map. Ms. Frizzle takes the class to the middle of the ocean, and prepares a raft for them to explore.
      You'd Expect: D.A. would leave her books on the bus.
      Instead: She drags them out, and it's more than her usual amount. Carlos accidentally causes a small wave to splash over them, and they sink.
    • Following this, D.A. is upset that her books have sunk into the deep water. Arnold suggests forgetting about them and getting new ones.
      You'd Expect: D.A. would listen. Unless her books are in a watertight bag or are really waterproof, they're as good as gone.
      Instead: D.A. begs Ms. Frizzle to take the class down into the ocean to find her bag because she's nothing without them. The end result is that the class wrestles a giant squid for the bag and get trapped into a volcano. It's only by luck or D.A. being Crazy-Prepared to have waterproof books that they survive, and Carlos finds them while chilling on the raft with Arnold, waiting to name the island.
  • The Magic School Bus and the Busasaurus
    • Ms. Frizzle's latest field trip takes the class back in time. Arnold, who was examining a fossil that Dr. Skeledon let him hold, is horrified that the "rock" has turned back into a dinosaur egg. Thus, it is fragile.
      You'd Expect: Arnold would either tuck it into his backpack or leave it on the bus, firmly secure. The bus is pretty durable and should be a safe space for a dinosaur egg.
      Instead: He takes it out and holds it in his head. The dinosaurs of the time have no idea what to do with these strange humans, .
      The Result: Arnold and Phoebe spend the entire episode chasing after an Ornithomimus that steals the egg to eat. Then they accidentally awaken a T.rex when trying to rescue the egg, which endangers the class.
    • Meanwhile Carlos is worried sick when he hears that Arnold and Phoebe are missing. Having watched his fair share of dinosaur movies, he believes these are monstrous creatures that are looking for an easy human lunch, and is terrified that Arnold and Phoebe were eaten.
      You'd Expect: The class to realize, or Ms. Frizzle to point out, that dinosaurs may not want to hurt them, but these are wild creatures who are easily startled. Thus everyone should proceed with caution while locating Arnold and Phoebe.
      Instead: No one does. They instead point out that the dinosaurs seem more interested in leaves and berries than in people, which while true is not the point. Ms. Frizzle, as always, is encouraging the class to Figure It Out Yourself. The class concludes that most of the dinosaurs don't want to hurt them, and the ones that are meat-eaters can be shooed away.
      The Result: The class nearly gets trampled twice by herbivore stampedes, and Carlo's plan to get a herd of dinosaurs to move away peacefully backfires due to a water dinosaur catapulting the bus into an egg nest.
  • The Magic School Bus Going Batty
    • It's Parents Night, and the class learns that Ms. Frizzle is taking the parents out on an impromptu field trip. Ralphie, who has been reading a lot of vampire comics, freaks out when Ms. Frizzle appears to them in a cape, speaks in a Contralto of Danger about being nocturnal. Her field trip ends up taking the parents to a nearby castle filled with bats. Ralphie becomes convinced that Ms. Frizzle has become a vampire and is going to turn their parents.
      You'd Expect: Someone to point out to Ralphie that Ms. Frizzle is a Bunny-Ears Lawyer and Cloud Cuckoo Lander; she's probably giving them an extra lesson and is deliberately spooking Ralphie so as to teach him and the class about bats. Also, you'd expect someone to mention that if he's going by vampire lore, Ms. Frizzle is very diurnal, loves chocolate cake, and was in class earlier that day.
      Instead: Keesha dismissively goes for Arbitrary Skepticism by saying there are no vampires, despite the fact that they visited an actual haunted house in the previous season and the bus by itself defies logical technology.
      The Result: Liz convinces the kids to follow along on motorcycle and shadow the field trip, to make sure nothing is wrong. Meanwhile, Ralphie has a point that it's weird that Ms. Frizzle is taking the parents to an abandoned castle. The kids get more creeped out the more and more they see Ms. Frizzle escorting their parents around the castle, and start to believe Ralphie, even Keesha. They only realize that Ms. Frizzle is not a vampire when she has the parents take off their fake vampire ears and fangs, after she has them hang upside down.
  • The Magic School Bus Butterfly and the Bog Beast
    • When Phoebe suggests that the new soccer team mascot be the butterfly, Janet suggests that she's sabotaging them because the team they'll be playing is from her old school.
      You'd Expect: The other kids would realize that this is Janet, Alpha Bitch and Manipulative Bitch extraordinaire and ignore her in favor of having a decently sensible discussion with Phoebe where she's allowed to share her reasoning before they reject or accept her suggestion. Also, you would expect someone to point out that the mascot choice won't determine the performance of the soccer team.
      Instead: All of the Frizz kids (except Arnold) immediately consider Janet's theory and start questioning Phoebe's allegiances.
      The Result: Phoebe ends up clearly frightened and confused by her friends turning on her and they end up on a trip that could have gotten them all killed.
    • Due to the misadventures of the trip, the class accidentally gets shrunk to insect size while Janet is unsuccessfully butterfly hunting. Arnold can't get the bus to grow back to normal size because the controls are covered in mud, so he and Tim start blow-drying it. The controls give a loud dinging melody until they are dry. After they see how butterflies and caterpillars survive, everyone starts believing Phoebe when she says that they are more than pretty.
      You'd Expect: They'd remember that Janet is nearby and going trigger-happy with her net, and she doesn't know that the class has shrunk. Janet on their last adventure nearly got the class killed in space due to her obsessions. Also you'd expect they would lay low until the bus controls are dry.
      Instead: The class in unison suggests turning the bus into a butterfly, and Ms. Frizzle agrees with an "If you say so" smile.
      The Result: Janet ends up chasing the class in the bus, and they can't outfly her because the bus doesn't have typical butterfly experience. When Phoebe tries to camouflage the bus, Arnold accidentally alerts Janet to their presence by activating the do-dinger. If not for Phoebe remembering that butterflies can also scare enemies, and Janet losing her glasses, they would have been caught and possibly eaten by Liz, depending.
The Magic Schoolbus Wet All Over
  • For Arnold's science project, he needs buckets of water, to demonstrate how the water cycle works. Wanda is helping him set it up.
    You'd Expect: He would ask for the key to the boys' bathroom closest to the class door, or just use that ahead of time.
    Instead: He asks Ms. Frizzle for the key to the girls' bathroom, and she gives it to him and Wanda.
    The Result: When a girl named Tiffany catches Arnold in the girls' bathroom, he's distracted enough to forget the key. He also forgets to turn off the water and empty the sink. On top of that, when the kids are turned into water, Ms. Frizzle says she needs the real key because her spare key dissolved into water.
The Magic School Bus Revving Up
  • Repairman Junkett wants to send the bus to the junkyard, because in his mind it's old and won't drive well. The class tries to convince him otherwise by taking him on a scenic drive through the mountains. The bus then clonks out, and Junkett decides to call a tow truck to take it for scrap metal.
    You'd Expect: Junkett would stay by the bus until the truck comes, since they're in the middle of nowhere on dangerous terrain.
    Instead: Junkett walks away from the bus in anger. He just misses the tow truck and then tries to run after it.
    The Result: Several cars nearly run him down, and he falls down the mountainside, holding onto a jutting rock for dear life.

The Magic Schoolbus Taking Flight

  • While the class has shrunken to test out Wanda and Tim's toy plane before an air show, Tim accidentally breaks the remote control due to tripping on a screwdriver. He, Phoebe and Liz have been left behind to man the controls, and the plane soars into the sky without any means of steering. Tim, Phoebe and Liz have to figure out how to change the bus into a search plane.
    You'd Expect: Ms. Frizzle to have left behind a manual for how to use the bus in case of emergency. You'd also expect that Tim would choose the plane design since he knows aerodynamics.
    Instead: The kids let Liz experiment with the bus.
    The Result: It takes three tries for them to find a plane that even makes it off the ground. They all suffer Amusing Injuries in the meantime courtesy of the first two tries completely going south.

The Magic Schoolbus Gets Cold Feet

  • During the Friday that Phoebe gets to take Liz home, the kids are worried because Liz and her habitat are missing. Arnold finds part of a flyer for a "Herp Ha," or rather "Herp Haven," where reptiles are taken.
    You'd Expect: The kids to realize that Ms. Frizzle was the only adult who could have taken Liz to the place, asked her about it, and realized that Liz wasn't in any danger. "Haven" is not a bad word. Then the Haven director could have reassured them, as he does at the end of the episode, that they were just giving Liz some pampering that was scheduled ahead of time, Artistic License aside that you shouldn't put a reptile in a super cold environment.
    Instead: They all assume the worst-case scenario that someone kidnapped Liz to "toast and stuff" her at the reptile place. Ms. Frizzle in her Stealth Mentor mode doesn't bother to correct them so they can learn about reptiles.
    The Result: The kids turn the bus into an alligator so that Phoebe can gain entry to the spa, while the bus nearly shuts down from being put in a cold environment. Phoebe is caught with the class-turned-into reptiles in her hand, and she also gets stalked by hungry alligators.
    Season Three 
The Magic Schoolbus Gets Planted
  • The class is putting on Jack and the Beanstalk. They need a beanstalk that Wanda as Jack can climb. Phoebe is in charge of tech and the props.
    You'd Expect: They would not expect Phoebe to make the beanstalk alone, or grow a real one. A bean plant is too fragile to hold a person, even if said child is an eight-year-old.
    Instead: The entire class expects Phoebe to grow a real beanstalk that Wanda can climb. No one offers to help her
    Predictably: Phoebe can only manage to grow a tiny bean-sprout, and Liz accidentally breaks the fragile, last-minute beanstalk she makes from plastic leaves. Ms. Frizzle has to step in to teach the kids about photosynthesis and grow a Phoebe-beanstalk in time for the show.

    Season Four 
The Magic Schoolbus Sees Stars
  • It's Dorothy Ann's birthday, and the kids after school make her a mechanical star that plays music, while she rests at home sick and uses her new telescope. Tim finishes it in time before the class will go visit and surprise her.
    You'd Expect: He would make sure to wrap it up securely and put away all of his tools.
    Instead: He trips on the screwdriver he used to add the finishing touches while carrying the fragile toy.
    The Result: It smashes into a million pieces. As the kids lament, there's no time to make a new one.
  • Following this, the kids decide to buy a real star from Horace Scope's Star Shopping Network. Since it's an infomercial, Keesha insists they should go and check on the star before buying it because it may be a scam for a faulty product. Ms. Frizzle likes the idea and takes the class on an impromptu field trip. Arnold is hesitating because that means going into space right when Dorothy Ann is expecting them, and he suggests just going to the mall to buy a present.
    You'd Expect: The kids to realize that Arnold has a point. They have to be at Dorothy Ann's house soon and while the mall may be last-minute and crowded, it won't be in space.
    Instead: The kids pile in for a field trip, and Ms. Frizzle has the bus pick up a reluctant Arnold and put him in a space suit. Then they go Mass "Oh, Crap!" on hearing that it will take eighty years to reach the first star on sale.
    The Result: While Ms. Frizzle can have the bus go faster than lightspeed in a matter of minutes, they nearly fly into a ball of gas that threatens to burn them alive. After a Failure Montage of trying to find the right star, it turns out Keesha's initial suspicions about the stars being a scam were right, when the one they buy goes supernova. Ms. Frizzle has to make a new star out of the resulting gas and dust so that Dorothy Ann will have her present. While the kids learn about stars and get a great gift, a trip to the mall would have been much easier.

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