Sometimes, on the way home from school, Duchess will ask what seem like the most random questions.
"Where does honey come from?"
"What is thunder made of?"
"How come poop only comes from our butts."
More often than not, when I think back to how I first learned the answers to those questions it's because I remember the Magic School Bus episode they were in. And yes, even the poop question is answered in the episode "Magic School Bus for Lunch."
Magic School Bus was a huge part of my childhood. As my daughter was scrolling through the her usual Netflix shows the other day, I saw her skip past Ms. Frizzle's friendly face.
"WAIT! STOP!" I yelled a bit too excitedly for an adult to be yelling about a kids cartoon show. I couldn't help it. I was ridiculously excited to see that The Magic School Bus was on Netflix. I even sent a frantically happy text-message to John.
The episode plots are fairly simple. Ms. Frizzle teaches a third grade class with a school bus that can magically transform itself and its occupants into anything. They go on adventures and every kid has their role; the smart one, the funny one, the one with good ideas, and the whiny one that you just wanted to kick because I would have given anything to be in his shoes and all he could do is complain like a whiny brat. Yes, we don't kick people... but that doesn't mean we can't want to kick people, and he's a cartoon character. Stop judging me.
There are so many episodes that I remember so vividly it’s insane. I remember watching the robot episode and drawing out schematics for how I was going to build a robot out of a microwave and car parts. And he would wear a hat.
So when I found out that Magic School Bus was on Netflix, I squealed a little squeal at the thought of sharing them with Duchess. I was a little hesitant at first, I’ll admit. I’ve tried to go back and re-watch shows from my childhood and have been sorely disappointed. "Clarissa Explains It All," "Legends of the Hidden Temple," "All That." All treasures from my childhood, ruined by adulthood. But I'm happy to say that "The Magic School Bus" has survived the test of time and held up quite well. Even with its 90’s animation and sound, it’s just as awesome as I remember.
We’re getting through all three seasons one at a time. But these are the five I’m most excited to share with Duchess:
The Magic School Bus Out of This World
Aside from the fact that I’ll have to explain that Pluto got demoted, the Out of This World episode actually tackles several questions that Duchess poses on the regular.
Why does the sun go to bed over there and wake up over there?
What does Saturn look like?
I know it’s 9 o’clock but the sun is still up and no I won’t go to bed.
The Magic School Bus in a Beehive
This is an easy one. I think I kept every bit of information from this episode locked in my brain for 25 years. Though Duchess is afraid of bees, it’s episodes like this that tell us why they are important. I think she’s a little less afraid of bees these days, and only slightly more obsessed with actually becoming a queen bee. There may be some Lorde in her future.
The Magic School Bus Makes a Rainbow
Duchess loves rainbows. It’s her favorite color. One of her preschool teachers tried to get her to pick a favorite color from the rainbow and she wouldn’t have it. Rainbow is her favorite color. Period. In this episode, Ms. Frizzle teaches the kids about how light works and how colors work, using a pinball machine and a prism. Duchess laid in bed that night with a flashlight, a mirror and a bunch of colored sippy cup lids, just trying different things to see what she could do with light. Science!
The Magic School Bus Gets Programmed
For anyone that knows me, this one is kind of obvious. In my grown-up job I program databases for a living. This show breaks down what I can’t seem to explain to Duchess when she asks what my “job” is. It’s a pretty simplistic overview of how computers work, and things have obviously changed drastically since 1993 in the computer world. But it’s a good start.
The Magic School Bus Inside Ralphie
We may or may not be raising a bit of a hypochondriac in Duchess. I’m not sure she quite grasps the difference between sick and not sick these days. This episode focuses on viruses and how our bodies fight them. Admittedly, this one is a little over her head and may have made her hypochondria slightly worse. She now tells us that she broke her white blood cells and therefore she is now sick.
Ask Your Dad is a part of the Netflix #StreamTeam. Each month we'll be talking about what we're watching with the kids and why. Let us know what you're watching in the comments or on the Ask Your Dad Facebook Page!