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Kate McKinnon’s New Role? Driving The Magic Schoolbus

With Kate McKinnon in the lead, this kids' show just got a whole lot edgier.
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Would you take a ride on Kate McKinnon’s magic schoolbus?

Your favorite ’90s kids’ show is back, courtesy of Netflix’s seemingly endless crusade to resurrect all of our favorite shows and slaughter them.

However, this is one (of few) shows that is actually worth being excited about, if only for its lead star. Kate McKinnon, every lesbian’s imaginary wife (and my future real wife), is reprising the role of Ms. Frizzle. And suddenly twenty-something queer women around the world want to watch this children’s show.

The Magic Schoolbus book series and show taught children about science. In the show, a group of quirky and diverse schoolchildren followed their even quirkier teacher, Ms. Frizzle, on field trips around the world.

But not just any field trips – that wouldn’t be so “magic” now, would it? The eponymous magic schoolbus could turn into a plane, a spaceship, a surfboard or even a blood cell, to take children literally anywhere they needed to go. In one episode, the kids flew inside of a volcano. In another, they time-traveled back to the dinosaur age. If you’re not a Magic Schoolbus fan – or Frizzhead, as I think they should be called – then start with the definitive ranking of all 52 episodes.

So why Kate McKinnon? Of all the comedians in the world, why choose one of the most controversial? By casting SNL’s first openly gay cast member, Netflix runs the risk of upsetting the homophobic parents of children all around the world. (After being exposed to Kate McKinnon playing Ms. Frizzle, all of the female children will most certainly grow up to become gay.)

However, casting a queer woman in the role isn’t new. Ms. Frizzle was originally portrayed by Lily Tomlin, an openly gay comedian. Although Tomlin didn’t come out during her reign as Ms. Frizzle, rumors had been swirling about her sexuality since the 1970s.

Even before McKinnon was cast in the role, Magic Schoolbus fans had decided that she was a lesbian. For some reason, they decided to ship her with Mary Poppins. The Internet runs amok with Ms. Frizzle/Mary Poppins crossover fanfiction, for reasons unbeknownst to the natural world.

If you’re in the mood for a lot bit of nostalgia and a little bit of queer subtext, then tune into the show when it airs later this year. A date has not yet been announced.

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J. Marie graduated from Duke University with a degree in International Relations and dreams of being a creative writer--dreams she's now realizing as a musical theatre writer in NYC. She's passionate about global black identities, black representation in media, and leather-bound notebooks. She also loves backpacking through a new country at a moment's notice, and speaks Spanish, Swahili and Standard Arabic.

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