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YMMV / The Magic School Bus

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  • Accidental Innuendo:
    • The episode covering plants features a scene where Wanda gets hit by "white stuff" ejected from a chloroplast that's "gooey and sticky"note  and is subsequently grossed out by the fact that it lands in her mouth before she finds out that she likes the way it tastes. Children's educational television, everybody!
    • "At my old school, we never got baked."
  • Adaptation Displacement: The TV show is better known to some than the original books; in fact, a new series of paperbacks went into print based on the TV episodes.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Is Ms. Frizzle something like a Willy Wonka who is teaching the class to find a successor to the Magic School Bus?
    • Is Ms Frizzle a normal human or not? She's implied to be older than her roughly 30-to-mid-40s look, and she is into magic.
    • Is the school bus really magic or is it science? Or perhaps both? It's an oddity that a science teacher would be involved with magic. Clarke's Third Law comes into effect.
  • Awesome Art: Nelvana does an excellent job streamlining the characters in Bruce Degan's illustrations for animation. The animation itself, while not Disney-quality, is surprisingly fluid and expressive for a public-funded edutainment show.
  • Awesome Music: The intro by Little Richard. It's peppy, funky, and catchy.
  • Cargo Ship: Who's the fandom's number one Frizzle-related ship? Arnold or one of her other students? Someone's OC? Mr. Ruhle? One or more of the producers? Lizzie? No, don't be ridiculous - it's the bus, obviously.
  • Crack Ship:
    • Some of the fandom likes involving Ms. Frizzle in crossover lesbian relationships with Mary Poppins (both are Time Lords, apparently) or Carmen Sandiego. Others just ship her with the bus.
    • According to Tumblr, Carlos apparently grows up to be the perfect, wonderful scientist who moves into Night Vale and falls in love with the host, Cecil.
  • Crazy Awesome: Ms. Frizzle of course. It's probably her defining character trait.
  • Epileptic Trees:
    • The popular theory that Ms. Frizzle's students grew up to be the Planeteers in Captain Planet and the Planeteers, which originated from this image macro noticing the uncanny resemblance
    • A theory among the LGBT Fanbase suggests that Ms. Frizzle is Arnold from the future, post-gender-transition. The similar hair, Ms. Frizzle's absolute unflappability, her fondness for pickles... Pickles? 
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  • Fanon: Her traveling through time, space, and dimensions with a group of students in a shape-changing vehicle has led to the nigh-unanimous fandom consensus that Ms. Frizzle is a Time Lord.
  • Genius Bonus: Judging from the visible C drive on the screen, the computer in "Gets Programmed" is obviously running MS-DOS.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships: Arnold. He's been shipped with everyone - everyone in his class, Ms. Frizzle, Molly Cule, that guy from the hot cocoa episode (Harry Arm), that girl from the water cycle episode (Tiffany), Janet, Azula...
  • Memetic Mutation:
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • While on Pluto, Arnold takes his helmet off and his head freezes.
    • Any of the "Fantastic Voyage" Plot episodes.
    • The episode in the sound museum is also pretty creepy, with the class staying overnight in a vast and seemingly-abandoned building with some very surreal features and chasing after the sound of mysterious music that sounds rather creepy in its own right.
  • Older Than They Think: With how enduring the series is as a staple of elementary school classrooms, it can be jarring to learn that the animated series started in 1994, and that the book series started even earlier, in 1986.
  • Paranoia Fuel: If you're sick, a science class might enter your body in a shrunken bus to find out why.
  • That One Level: The platforming minigames in the Explores the Solar System computer game all can be fairly difficult, but the Saturn level with Tim is generally agreed by people who have played the game to be the most frustrating one. The level takes place on tiny slick platforms in Saturn's rings that you will almost constantly be sliding off of into a level-wide Bottomless Pit (causing you to start over) until you get a jetpack a few screens into the level. While the jetpack can keep you from falling into the bottomless pit, it also uses up air. Running out of air will also start you over, without the jetpack, meaning you have to navigate Saturn's icy platforms to get it all over again.
  • Periphery Demographic:
    • The series has gained a large amount of older fans, many of whom grew up with it. It helps that both the facts (for the most part) are still relevant and the characters are interesting. Older fans have been known to revisit the show because of how much they forgot that they had learned in elementary.
    • Conversely, unlike most shows of its age, the series continues to draw in fans from newer generations, thanks to how a good amount of its factual content is still true today (the only majorly flawed episodes by modern standards being "Lost in Space", largely due to Pluto no longer being a planet as of 2006, and "The Busasaurus" due to new discoveries about dinosaurs), leading it to still be commonly read/shown in elementary school classrooms year after year.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
  • Squick:
    • Some of the Fantastic Voyage moments:
      • When the kids go inside Janet's nose in "Makes a Stink"...and inside Ralphie's nose in "Inside Ralphie"...and inside Miss Frizzle's nose in "Works Out".
      • When they go inside Ralphie's cut in "Inside Ralphie".
      • Or when the class was inside Arnold's large intestine in "For Lunch", getting up close and personal with piles of feces.
    • The episode about fungi and molds.
    • Or when the class got laid by a chicken.
    • Or when the class got ejaculated on by a salmon. Yes, that actually happened.
  • Values Resonance: This show may have the single best depiction of diversity in any children's series, in that it only depicts it, but rarely if ever addresses it: apart from the multi-ethnic class, we have two canonically handicapped characters with Carlos's paraplegic brother Mikey and Phoebe's blind father, but never uses them for Positive Discrimination, treating everyone's differences as 100% normal.


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