VHS Review (Posted on 07-30-2013)
"Seatbelts everyone!" - Ms. Frizzle
No words sounded more musical to my ears than those words by Ms. Frizzle. The Magic School Bus
is one of the cartoons that defined my childhood. Yeah, I always say that with all the kids shows I've reviewed thus far. However, none of the shows got me into the astonishing world of science better than The Magic School Bus
; It's that good.
Now to tell you the truth, this is the one and only volume on VHS I own, so if you'd like to see reviews of the other volumes/episodes of this series, email
me, or you may even donate one to me (credits will be given to the donator).
The show opens when Dorothy Ann approaches Arnold as he chews a piece of gum asking what happens when we chew our food. "Digestion," interrupts Wanda. It just so happens that Arnold has been chewing the gum for two hours and twenty-four minutes, and needed six hours and forty-six minutes more to break the school gum-chewing record. The prize: two free tickets to Action Mountain—the ride of Wanda's dreams, which is a theme park ride resembling the esophagus, stomach and intestines.
Ms. Frizzle comes in tugging on a long rope greeting her class. Tugging on the rope was Liz the Lizard as the rope enters in the classroom's skeleton's mouth rolling up together emulating the organs inside the body, waist up. Wanda unknowingly pounds Arnold in the back, making him swallow the chewing gum, then gets mad at him hoping for him to break the record because the ride to Action Mountain was her dream (whoa!).
As Ms. Frizzle prepares the class to go on a field trip (I wished I had a teacher as cool as Ms. Frizzle), Arnold couldn't go because of an "uneasy feeling." When the class leaves Arnold and Liz at school, Arnold snuck a bag of Cheezie Weezies to snack on—a Cheetos-like Puffs chips. Ms. Frizzle subtly targets Arnold as their culprit for the class' field trip. Arnold pops the bag open when all the chips fly out, while the bus magically shrinks and flies into the bag of chips. He then grabs a handful and tosses them into his mouth including
the bus! It's the point of no return for the class: all their learning begins.
The class learns about munching the food into smaller pieces before swallowing into the esophagus and into the stomach. While the kids in the bus continue their analyses, Arnold goes back into the classroom with Liz only to find a record to break, then finds a jar of olives to which he consumes...all
"Olive eating: now that's a school record I could go for." - Arnold
Surely, Arnold. I'm sure the gentlemen at Major League Eating & the International Federation of Competitive Eating
will be proud too. Ask Joey Chestnut.
Desperate, having finished the olives, Arnold hoped he broke the record. Liz the Lizard cracks open a book to remind Arnold he wasn't near in breaking the record, as breaking a record was something he needed to do to impress Wanda (how sweet). With that, Liz continues to help Arnold out. Meanwhile, the class hangs around Arnold's stomach for a while exploring the stomach acids and the chewing gum Arnold swallowed; the class thought that chewing gum was a rock he swallowed. The class slowly discovers the chewing gum entering a hole which is the portal to the small intestine. Ms. Frizzle, in all her positive glory, offers the class to swim and explore the small intestine up close. Wanda decides to, *ahem*, wander off and chase the chewing gum Arnold swallowed. While the class examines the working of the small intestine, they learn, according to "United Digestion: What We Digest, We Deliver," what we consume, the small intestine absorbs the nutrients from the food. These nutrients get delivered to all parts of the body via the blood stream. Now you know the basics of weight gain.
After that discovery, the class needed to find Wanda as they witness her entering into another hole which happens to be the Large Intestine. The class follows and find it resembles a sewage system—a vile stench that not even the bravest human would dare pursue a career in (but someone's got to do it, right?). Ms. Frizzle tells the class the large intestine removes the water from the left overs, leaving remnants that you, yes, poop out. While Wanda struggles to keep still, classmate Carlos saves her from falling off the cliff with the gum as Wanda reminds her friends she had the time of her life (really?). Ms. Frizzle was eager to continue but wants to hear what the class thinks, knowing they'll likely end up in the toilet. Fortunately, Tim came up with a suggestion to go back from whence they came.
"But if I don't eat something, I'll wither away to nothing." - Arnold
There are countless programs, groups and activists fighting hunger and (child) obesity in their respective countries, yet this quote packs a wallop. Share this quote and see what people think!
Still pushing his luck, Arnold tries to find more ways to break records, like stuffing the most pens in a shirt pocket, but no success. Arnold then finds a 'Chocolate Mallow Blaster' from a lunch bag while the facial reaction from Liz the Lizard tells him not to eat it. Inside, the class makes it back to the stomach wondering how they'll get out as Wanda came up with an idea. She acts as the voice of Arnold's conscience and tells him to drink Wanda's seltzer—a carbonated drink which when consumed, gets the class to create a gas bubble ascending up. Having drank the seltzer, Liz the Lizard runs for cover as Arnold let out a huge burp coughing out the bus to the open window. Arnold asks Liz about breaking the record, bummed out that he could never break any record of some sort. The class is back to normal and Ms. Frizzle happily provides Arnold with a nice lunch and swears never to miss a field trip again, while Ms. Frizzle writes about the geologic time period of the dinosaurs.
The episode ends with the infamous kids all over the world dialing the number to call and ask for more Magic School Bus
. I actually did this when I was a kid but I didn't know the number to dial, so I said "I want The Magic School Bus" at the dial tone. The next scene is Joanna(?) eating Chinese food while Liz the Lizard wanders around playing with a piece of chewing gum, as Joanna(?) responds to the feedback left by a viewer on the phone.
If you were born in the late eighties to early nineties, I don't see why you forgot a great animation show like this. And yes, this entertaining series got me highly interested in science and I learned about the digestive process of food consumption. I remember I'd drag my mom and dad to the Store of Knowledge—I believe it was called—at the Glendale Galleria mall and purchasing amazing items that time, one of them being this (it was also the place my sister and I saw and met Wishbone the Dog). Magic School Bus
was an excellent show I watched on PBS/KCET along with ZOOM
to name a few. Nevertheless, you get all the basics down with this series, in this case, the digestive process with the breakdown of food.
As mentioned earlier, this sadly is the only volume I own. However, I strongly recommend this series/volume if you're looking to introduce your kids to science, or to re-live such an amazing series that I'm sure you, too, grew up watching as a kid.
Joanna Cole, if you're reading this, THANK YOU FOR THIS SERIES! Truly a classic to remember forever. (If you don't mind, I'd love to interview you on this website as well.)
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© 2008-2019 written and reviewed personally by Kris Caballero.
Kristin Laskas Martin
Executive Project Director
Executives in Charge of Production
Title Song and Music Score By
Title Song Performed By
Science Content Director
Associate Content Director
Science Content Coordinator
Science Research Coordinator
Based on The Magic School Bus™
book series written by
Director Project Outreach
Nellie Morell Evans
National Advisory Board
Susan Carey, PhD
Milton Chen, PhD
Stephen H. Schneider, PhD
Robert J. Semper, PhD
Hubert Dyasi, PhD
Dorothy Strickland, PhD
Jane Butler Kahle, PhD
Ellen Ann Wartella, PhD
Special Thanks To
James Lawry, Jr., M.D.
Drew Medical Center, E. Palo Alto, CA
State University of New York, Albany
Nelvana Executive Producers
Patricia R. Burns
Design Patty Beausoleil
Layout Aiden Closs
Production Asha Daniere
Script Erika Strobel
Storyboard Laurie Towata
Caroline Simmons Stephanie Karvos
Andrew Tan Gerry Capelle
John Flagg Jim Caswell
Andrea Robbins Rob Smith
Lyndon Ruddy Genni Selby Tony Tarantini
Blayne Burnside Michel Daze
Stefanie Gignac Brad Markewitz
Fred M. Wilmot Suzanne Dargie
Kevin Klis Rob Elliot
Ron Wilson Chris Mãnz
Ted Collyer John Lei
Terry Rotshert Affee Yepp
Rob Sadler Brian Poelnjan
Frank Ramirez Jeff Lyons
Mary Lyons Brad Graham
Mike Nichols Chad Hicks
Joe Gosselin Trevor Davies
Steve Manning Scott Benning
Richard Weston Kevin Fraser
Niall Johnson Ross Campbell
Leif Norheim Steve Daye
Derek Prout Dave Boudreau
Richard Livingston Brad Goodchild
Shane Doyle Lynn Reist
Dennis Gonzales Bill Giggle
Post Production Managers
Mary Jane Patterson
Sound Design By:
Dow McKeever and Marsha Moore
Supervising Sound Editors
Keith Traver Steve Sheiski
Pre-Production Editing Supervisor
Pre-Production Editing Coordinator
Darrell MacDonald Shelley Mills-Hughes
Additional Production Facilities
Hanho Heung Up Co., Ltd.
Negative Cutting Services
Catherine Rankin Productions
The Film House Group
Access Post Production Audio Inc.
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