By Kiyomi Taylor
In episode 4 season 1 of The Magic School Bus, “The Magic School Bus Gets Eaten,” Ms. Frizzle and the kids learn about phytoplankton after going to the beach, driving off of a cliff into the ocean, shrinking down to a microscopic size, and being fitted with underwater breathing apparatuses. This all occurs after the red-haired kid forgets about their living organism show-and-tell assignment and also accidentally steps in pond scum on the way to school, managing to fulfill the prompt anyways in a way that he somehow remains unaware of until the very end of the episode. I want to say that kid’s name is Arnold. He seems like an Arnold. Arnold is always inexplicably bemused and uber disappointed when something objectively awesome happens to him. Arnold honestly and truly has some sort of inhuman incapacity for wonder and adventure — he cringes and says “so wet” when asked to adventure out into the ocean and observe phytoplankton in the scum he still hasn’t yet recognized is connected to his report.
I think that Ms. Frizzle might be some sort of witch. She has a real terrifying manipulative ability over the fabric of the universe that approaches the godly. For instance, in episode 1, the planetarium is closed. So, the class just goes to outer space and explore Mercury, Venus, and Mars (Confirmed: Arnold’s name is definitely Arnold. Episode 1: quote “I knew I should have stayed home today” unquote) Ms. Frizzle also looks and seems shockingly like Bette Midler in “Hocus Pocus” — except super supportive and educational. To be real, they could probably be the same person. Winifred Sanders, the New England witch, reforms herself, changes her name, moves to Canada, strikes up an alarmingly intimate relationship with a pet lizard, dedicates her life to expanding the minds of the children whose life-forces she would have sucked out like so much cauldroncrackpipe in the past.
Also, there are not just one, but two black kids in the class, which is cool. A girl named Keisha, and a boy. There’s an Asian-American girl, and a Latino kid whose name is Carlos. If you think about it, these kids may be having a cooler, more magical, certainly more ethnically diverse education than anyone at Hogwarts — a campus on which I’m pretty confident the existence of a Black girl is murky and disputable at best (a condition which I am singularly bitter about for personal reasons).
Basically, The Magic School Bus series should be the archetype for American education system reform once we either A) circle in on getting powerful warlocks/witches positions as teachers (maybe sweeten the pot for them by offering benefit packages with daemons or the future’s dank legalized weed) or B) achieve a level of technology so transformative that it borders on the magical. A seems likely, B seems likelier. The abolition of zoning and other racist de facto segregators that need to occur in order to achieve a wide reaching national adoption of the Magic School Bus educational system that mirrors the series is something I don’t feel informed enough on to speak on here at this moment, but actively disapprove of and will develop some sort of plan for. I’ve seen the light and this is the future, guys. It’s ideal. I’m willing to do whatever it takes to make classic Magic School Bus episodes like “The Magic School Bus Wet All Over” and “The Magic School Bus Blows its Top” a reality for the youth of the future. In the year 2033, I will dedicate my body to my local 6th grade class for their field trip through my digestive tract in a live educational enactment of Season 1, Episode 2 “The Magic School Bus for Lunch.” In the year 2034, I will provide my local 5th grade class with a pickle in a pickle jar for their microorganism focused field trip based on the quite literally named episode “The Magic School Bus in a Pickle.” In the words of the surprisingly soulful theme song – a sentiment which I will inevitably say to Congress at the end of a convincing powerpoint presentation: “C’monn, ride on the Magic School Bus.”