Move over, demure Lola Bunny – a modern iteration of a beloved 90's cartoon character has once again lit the internet ablaze … well, sorta. On Friday, a set of pictures depicting the respective “Ms. Frizzle-s” featured in The Magic School Bus's original run alongside the series' 2017 Netflix reboot entitled The Magic School Bus Rides Again went viral on Twitter, where fans lamented about the iconic character's perceived redesign. Gone is the beloved teacher's whimsical button-up dresses, curly red hair, frizzed by static electricity (or perhaps magic?), and the signature twinkle in her eye right before she's about to make you host live news broadcast on a microscopic school bus from the depths of your classmate's sore throat. Instead, the new, much bland-er, Friz rocks a straight red blowout, a flower necklace that looks like it came straight out of a jewelry-based MLM scheme, and a generous coat of mascara, giving her a look akin to that quirky ginger Zoey Deschanel-wannabe you went to college with, or, well, a certain Cracked social media editor's professional headshots circa 2016.
In light of what some believed to be a bastardization of Ms. Frizzle's new look, fans flocked to social media to air their grievances, dubbing the makeover “homophobic … ”
… equating her to normal SpongeBob …
… calling her a Karen …
… and even expressing their discomfort at her new “sexy" exterior.
Amid this outcry, a key detail of this perceived “makeover” has largely been thrown by the wayside– the new character included in the viral side-by-side comparison is not actually Professor Valerie Frizzle, the Lily Tomlin-voiced star of the show's '90s incarnation. Nope, the bus driver depicted is the Friz's little sister, Ms. Fiona Frizzle. The protagonist of The Magic School Bus's recent reboot, the younger Frizzle, voiced by SNL's Kate McKinnon, takes over her elder sister's class after the beloved teacher announces she'll be putting her newly minted PhD to good use, spending her golden years working as a research professor, “traveling the universe, traversing the ages, exploring quantum realities” at the beginning of the series' first episode.
Although a handful of fans pointed out this viral misconception, even prompting fact-checking site, Snopes, to publish an article clarifying the discrepancy, it seems many of these explanations have been largely ignored for a variety of reasons, likely including the impossibly large shoes Fiona Frizzle has to fill.
Throughout her time in the original series, Ms. Frizzle taught her class – and kids around the globe -- about everything from the human body to dinosaurs and even outer space, all the while growing into a beloved staple, highly revered in homes and schools alike. Considering her status as a true television icon, any successor would seemingly fall short with the bar set no lower than an adored element of an entire generation's nearly collective childhood.
So whether you're loyal to the classic Friz, or are one of the approximately three people that like her new look, there's one thing that's for sure – Ms. Frizzle's next lesson should really cover how to fact check viral tweets. To the bus!