PDA

View Full Version : TLC - The Magic Schoolbus



Avatar28
2003-Jun-12, 03:55 PM
Okay, I guess I should probably expect it considering the name. But I was watching a bit of TV with my son this morning and TLC shows kids shows in the early morning. Anyways, they had an episode of the magic schoolbus where the kids went on some field trip to all the planets. I don't think they could have had more bad astronomy if they had actually tried to.

I was half asleep and still a lot of this bugged me. I know I've forgotten a bunch of it though.

To start off with, they're on Mercury. Okay, not too much bad here except that their spacesuits had NO bulk to them. They looked more like they were wearing a flightsuit for an airplane and the helmets were just bubbles. There was more but I forget exactly what now.

Then they blast off Mercury and fly (in a straight line) to venus in a matter of seconds. They land and walk around with no problems from heat or pressure. Again, I forget what else bugged me about venus.

Blast off and fly in a straight line to Mars, again in seconds. This girl who is obsessed with getting proof from every planet gets all these big blocks of ice and puts them in the bus. Then everyone else is jumping off this big cliff for kicks.

Asteroid belt - Star Wars style. Then they get hit by an asteroid and the teacher is trying to fix the bus with a space walk. Collection girl decides to lasso a small asteroid which yanks her off, but then she stops it and pulls it back with her suit jets. It hits the top of the bus and the teacher and some other creature she has with her (a lizard of some sort?) launch out of the way and go flying off into space. The kids are all freaking out and she says that she's on one of the outer planets and for the kids to go find her. Oh yeah and the asteroids were referred to as "smaller than a moon and bigger than a meteor"

They take off again and collection girl decides to fly into venus and collect some of the red spot as proof they were there. She flies into it then turns a faucet and fills a glass jug up with red cloudy stuff.

The rest of the show goes through really quickly. The other kids restrain collection girl and they pass all the other planets (again in a straight line) real quickly. They finally catch up with their teacher on, of all places, Pluto. Collection girl again gets free and loads up the bus and there's no room for everyone else. All the stuff falls out of the bus and she refuses to leave without it until one of the other kids (her cousin I think) takes his helmet off and instantly has a face covered with a thick layer of ice. It then cuts and they're all safe back on earth and the frozen kid just has a cold and is sneezling.

Meh! If it wasn't on The Learning Channel I suppose it wouldn't be as big of a deal but you'd think they might make at least SOME effort to make sure it's SEMI factual anyways.

captain swoop
2003-Jun-12, 04:03 PM
I watched a Bugs Bunny cartoon last night and I was Outraged.

He was on the moon with some kind of Martian and neither of them had a space suit on!

And he flew there in a straight line in just a few seconds.

Avatar28
2003-Jun-12, 04:20 PM
I watched a Bugs Bunny cartoon last night and I was Outraged.

He was on the moon with some kind of Martian and neither of them had a space suit on!

And he flew there in a straight line in just a few seconds.

Yeah, but Bugs isn't expected to be a semi-educational show. And it wasn't on the LEARNING channel.

ChesleyFan
2003-Jun-12, 04:25 PM
Yeah, but it's a MAGIC school bus.

When I was a kid I had a lot of the Magic School Bus books, including the one that this episode was based on. The book itself included at lot more scientifically accurate information.

Chris_Powers
2003-Jun-12, 04:33 PM
The thing that Discovery Kids has edited out to fit into their broadcasts was the last five minutes or so of the show where they explain what was wrong with the story. In the one you saw, they address the fact that the planets are almost never in a straight line, and that there would be no way to do it all in the length of a class field trip, and that at the time the show was made, Pluto was nearer the sun than Neptune (although Avatar28 is of course right about the other nits!). So the show tried to balance between something exciting for the kids with a hint of actual facts, but DK decided that stories about a little penguin are a higher priority than the disclaimer.

TimH
2003-Jun-12, 04:35 PM
I agree that based on your description, there were some inaccuracies, but is it possible that the good outweighed the bad? What was the goal of the episode? If it was just to introduce the general layout of the solar system (9 planets, sun in the center, earth is the 3rd one out etc) it sounds like it did it's job.

Any TV program where people are traveling to all the planets of the solar system is going to, by necessity, going to have inaccuracies. On Venus for instance, I am pretty sure everyone should died from the extreme pressure. Breaking from reality here is probably a god thing. The painful death of an entire class might be a bit too big of a bummer for a program aimed at teaching children (not to mention the school bus combusting on reentry. I don't think heat shields are standard equipment on those things) :wink:

Rapid travel times are also required in the context you described. If things were made more realistic I would pity the poor teacher would have a rough time keeping kids entertained for the relatively short trip of a few days to get the moon, forget the months it would take for them to get to Mars. And remember, the show is called the Magic School so maybe zipping through the solar system at a few million miles a second isn't such a stretch. :wink:

edit: corrected a typo

g99
2003-Jun-12, 04:35 PM
Hey! I love that show! (yah, yah i'm 21, but we can all have nostalga right?). I actually remeber that episode. :-)

Yes it is a lizard. A very smart lizard, who can drive the bus and often does.

ONe good bit of science is that they would mention how much heach of them would weight on the different planets. I liked that.

But the premise of the show was not to take years to get to the outer planets. It is to teach kids the order of the planets and basics about each.
The other shows are much better. My favorite episode that i liked alot was the weather episode and the flight episode. Each taught alot about the basics of each.

One thing i never figured out was how the heck does the principle and the parents not think something is weird if the kids go on a field trip every day?

tracer
2003-Jun-12, 11:25 PM
One thing i never figured out was how the heck does the principle and the parents not think something is weird if the kids go on a field trip every day?
(Assuming you meant "principal" and not "principle"...)

If it's indeed a magic school bus, they could've done some time-manipulation thing so that each trip only took a few minutes of real time.

Kizarvexis
2003-Jun-13, 12:36 AM
Well since the show/books is aimed at Kindergarten to around 2nd grade, it's not going to get too indepth with the astronomy. And yes, at the end of the shows and books, they will tell you what they changed in the story and mention the more correct info. Remember, at that young of an age, just getting the basics, 9 planets, the names and the order is probably good enough. When I did a planet walk for my daughter's 2nd grade class, they didn't care about the details of the planets. The walk impressed them with the distances involved, but not much more than that.

Kizarvexis

TheGalaxyTrio
2003-Jun-13, 03:03 PM
Yeah, but it's a MAGIC school bus.

You know... you could make the same comment about Enterprise. 8)

TheGalaxyTrio
2003-Jun-13, 03:05 PM
One thing i never figured out was how the heck does the principle and the parents not think something is weird if the kids go on a field trip every day?

Rays.

Colt
2003-Jun-13, 08:05 PM
*hiss-crackle, the BAPA speaker comes on* Attention, anyone who is known to have bashed The Magic School Bus will be summarily executed by the official Stoning Squad (consisting of Colt, g99, and maybe Glom if he feels like it), that is all.*hiss-crackle, pop*

-Colt

The Supreme Canuck
2003-Jun-15, 01:17 AM
Hey, I want in on this official stoning squad! Sounds like a great workout! :wink:

Colt
2003-Jun-15, 05:51 AM
*adds Canuck to the list* See you at the next stoning. -Colt

beskeptical
2003-Jun-15, 08:56 AM
I don't know, we might need to encourage the program writers not to get too far from the facts. Some of those unintended myths might stick in junior's head for a long time.

I think they could get a teensy bit more factual without losing kids' interest. Scholastic Books which publishes the stories and TLC are both more commercial than educational. And, well meaning moms and dads think their kids are watching educational TV while the for profit influence sneaks in the back door.

I'm not saying the stories need major revisions, just that we might do well to keep an eye on the trends.

Kizarvexis
2003-Jul-02, 11:26 PM
*hiss-crackle, the BAPA speaker comes on* Attention, anyone who is known to have bashed The Magic School Bus will be summarily executed by the official Stoning Squad (consisting of Colt, g99, and maybe Glom if he feels like it), that is all.*hiss-crackle, pop*

-Colt

You know you could sub-contract the Narn Bat Squad from Babylon 5 for quite a reasonable price. 8)
Kizarvexis

Colt
2003-Jul-03, 04:39 AM
The what? :-? -Colt

tracer
2003-Jul-03, 07:04 PM
The Narn Bat Squad. Some of of the regulars on the old rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5 (and the later rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated) newsgroups were members. J. Michael Straczyski, the creator, executive producer, number one writer, and all-around head honcho of Babylon 5 occasionally threatened to send a squad of Narns with baseball bats to the home of people who tell him bad jokes. The Narn Bat Squad evolved out of that, consisting mostly of the most rabid fans on the newsgroup who would gleefully gut anyone who said anything bad about B5.