WHO WILL SAVE THE CHILDREN?!
When Netflix announced yesterday that SNL’s Kate McKinnon will voice Ms. Frizzle on its upcoming “Magic School Bus” revival—titled “The Magic School Bus Rides Again”—most people were happy about the news.
But not everyone. The announcement raised the hackles of a small but vocal group of conservatives who believe the show is liberal propaganda targeting America’s children.
“Well there is something that should never happen. The show and the stupid cunt voicing it,” said one commenter on our Instagram post about the news. “Gonna have Alec Baldwin in the background secretly telling the children to hate guns and protest for no reason other than to protest?”
Baldwin, who has played Trump on SNL several times, is famously liberal on many issues and recently helped promote a documentary critical of the gun industry.
McKinnon, who is one of the only gay actors in SNL history, played Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign and made headlines when she performed an emotional rendition of Leonard Cohen’s song “Hallelujah” on the first SNL after Trump’s election. When she finished the song, McKinnon looked into the camera and said, “I’m not giving up and neither should you.”
The comments sections of other news outlets revealed the same suspicion of the show’s supposed secret political agenda. Like this one, from Buzzfeed’s Facebook page:
Or this tweet, posted after Netflix first announced the reboot:
I blame the show the magic school bus for the left wing swing in today’s society. #magic #school #bus #leftwingers #Democrats
Conservatives have alleged for years that children’s TV shows have nefarious left-wing motives lurking behind their cheery animation. Look to Republican efforts to defund PBS as an example. GOP politicians claim shows like Sesame Street, for example, have an insidious liberal bias. Some episodes of the show featured hippies and racial reconciliation, conservative pundits point out. Also, in a 2007 episode, a muppet says she’s going to watch a “trashy news show” called “Pox News.”
But is “The Magic School Bus” left-wing? Not really. People who claim it is like to point out the Scholastic book series — from which the TV show was adapted — includes an installment titled “The Magic School Bus And Climate Change.” The book teaches kids the facts about global warming and what they can do to stop it. Some far-right blogs have equated “The Magic School Bus And Climate Change” with Nazi propaganda that Hitler’s regime used to indoctrinate young people during the 1930s.
They also like to point out that the books’ author, Joanna Cole, wrote a book about sex education almost 30 years ago. The book, “Asking About Sex & Growing Up: A Question-And-Answer Book For Kids,” includes a brief section about abortion in which Cole tactfully explains that “some people are against it for religious reasons.”
Other than that, I couldn’t find any more evidence to suggest that the 1990s animated series — or the upcoming Netflix reboot — are political in any way.
And “The Magic School Bus” is an excellent way of doing that.