There was whining. There were snacks, both eaten and dropped onto the increasingly nasty minivan floor. There were also, however, many episodes of “The Magic School Bus.”
Several years ago, before the little dudes came along, Brian purchased the DVD box set of the entire Magic School Bus series. One of his childhood favorites, he was eager to see how his own kids would enjoy the show. Maybe it was the combination of transportation (a bus!), outer space, and the fact that he got to watch tv while in the car, but Milo was hooked from episode 1. So that made our drive bearable. (Mostly.)
While driving, I paid little attention to the audio of the show, until I began noticing that each episode ended with “phone calls to the producer.” Each episode is followed by this disclaimer segment, in which unscientific aspects of the show are debunked. How cool is that? The narrative of the episodes include fantastic, albeit unrealistic, adventures, like traveling inside Ralphie’s body to discover what was making him sick, but are followed by disclaimers which plainly state (in a slightly silly, kid-friendly way) that those events could never happen in real life.
My favorite post-show featurette takes place after the “Inside Ralphie” episode. The “producer” is talking with the child caller about all the ways we can keep our bodies healthy. One of the points emphasized: GET YOUR SHOTS. Cue the warming of my vaccine-loving heart.
So, long story short: if you’re embarking on a long trip, and feel alright about letting your kids tune into some tv while you’re on the road, I endorse picking up that Magic School Bus box set. I’ll mail you some Goldfish for your kids to throw on the floor while they watch.