"As I always say, no guts, no digestion!"
- Ms. Frizzle
"For Lunch" is the second episode of season one of the animated children's series The Magic School Bus. It originally aired on PBS on September 18th, 1994.
In the opening scene, Arnold is seen chewing gum, trying to break the school's gum chewing record, and anticipating to win two free tickets to a ride called Action Mountain, the one of Wanda's dreams. Dorothy Ann, on the other hand, isn't too impressed, as she is more focused on the assignment issued by Ms. Frizzle regarding digestion. Ms. Frizzle suddenly enters the classroom while playing a tug-of-war game with Liz. Liz lets the other end go, the rope slithers into the skeleton, and inflates into a model digestive system.
Ms. Frizzle gives the class an encouraging statement stating "no guts, no digestion!" Wanda adopts this phrase on her anticipation to get the tickets on Arnold winning the record contest, while excitedly slapping him on the back. Upon realizing that this careless action resulted in him accidentally swallowing the gum, she is deeply disappointed, but sincerely forgives him. However, when Ms. Frizzle announces a field trip, Wanda is once again thrilled, while Arnold falls into further dismay.
As the class boards the bus, an anxious Arnold states that he is very uncomfortable after inadvertently ruining Wanda's day and fears that he could accidentally ruin that of his classmates. Ms. Frizzle decides to allow him to volunteer out of the field trip, much to his surprise, with Liz as his substitute teacher. He contentedly agrees, yet he develops a suspicion due to the fact that Ms. Frizzle has never actually allowed this before.
Arnold turns away and opens a bag of Cheezie Weezies for a snack. What he does not know is that the bus has ambiguously shrunk in size and is heading his way. The shrunken bus, blending perfectly in with the Cheezie Weezies, is consumed by him without knowing it in a handful. Ms. Frizzle then drives across his tongue, where the class observes "the pink pavement", "dripping walls", and the "humongo white things", but are all disgusted upon realizing that they are in a person's mouth. They become even more stunned when Ms. Frizzle presents them with a digestive diagram, revealing that the body that they are entering is Arnold's.
After eating the Cheezie Weezies, Arnold heads back to the classroom but has a feeling of emptiness in it. Unaware of the class' location, he grimly states that now he is no longer an obstacle for them anymore. He notices a jar of olives, picks one out, and chews it, still not knowing that the class is observing the first step of digestion right in his mouth (grinding food into smaller particles). Swallowing the olive, he takes the bus along with it.
The bus goes down Arnold's throat, into his esophagus (which automatically pushes the bus down through it, and to which Carlos mishears as "The asparagus"), and out into his stomach, after Ralphie says "I don't know much more I could stomach". While it begins sailing on the surface of the stomach acid and food particles in there, Arnold has already finished consuming the entire jar of olives, thinking of a plan to break the school's olive eating record and reclaiming Wanda's respect. He even fantasizes about breaking the record, earning a trophy, and Wanda hugging him and saying "Oh, Arnold!" His hope is short-lived when Liz tosses the school's record book to him, showing that the highest record was 978 olives - too long a way to go.
While Arnold looks through the book for other unbroken school records, his stomach muscles are beginning to contract, generating turbulence motions in the content and on board the bus. The class also observes the wad of gum he swallowed earlier, which they initially mistake for a giant rock. They also get a feeling that the bus is dissolving, and their fear is confirmed after Ms. Frizzle calmly states that it's the presence of (stomach acid). The film then jumps to a cut scene, where Dorothy Ann presents a flow chart presentation for the digestion they've endured, while in industrial attire at a "digesting" enterprise she says is called United Digestion.
The scene then cuts back to the present, where Wanda is amazingly impressed by what they'd witnessed in the scene of Arnold's digestion. She is so amazed that she says that he "doesn't mess around when it comes to digestion". When Ms. Frizzle states that they had not seen anything yet, Wanda cheers even more for Arnold. This only causes more nausea to Ralphie, who was already suffering from motion sickness.
Outside, Arnold miserably fails to break the record of placing the most pens in a shirt pocket one by one, as it inevitably expands and bursts out.
The bus transforms into a submarine and enters Arnold's small intestine, along with the food remnants and the undigested gum, an object in which Ms. Frizzle states is too tough to be broken down. Inside the small intestine, the class observes countless numbers of "rubber cactus-like things" called villi, via scuba diving in Arnold's digestive juice. While Tim wonders how the nutrition is redirected from it, the film jumps to yet another cut scene. Dorothy Ann narrates that after nutrients are sucked out of the digestive tract and sent into the bloodstream, which then transports the nutrients system wide, and she munches a carrot after finishing her explanation. The scene cuts back to the class realizing the function of the villi, but their attention is disrupted after Wanda gets separated from them and caught on the gum that is rolling away.
Outside, Arnold fails again at another attempt to break a school record by napping, waking up two minutes and four seconds short. He fails to see how he can break this record if his stomach keeps waking him up. As the class tries to rescue Wanda, they exit the small intestine and enter the large intestine, where the atmosphere possesses a dry, but rather, odorous environment, to which Ralphie moans "If the small intestine is "Scuba World", then the large intestine is "Smell World!"". As they move on in search of Wanda, food particles surrounding them grow drier and drier as they progress deeper, with Ralphie imagining her all wrinkled, to which the others call out "Ralphie!" in anger. When they finally catch up with her, she and the gum are both hanging precariously on a ledge. Struggling to keep her balance, she loses it and falls off, but is saved after one of her feet attaches to a strand, which acts like a bungee cord, and propels her back up and into the bus where Carlos grabs her and pulls her back in. However, due to the class' misunderstanding, she is not in peril, but rather enjoying a treacherous "thrill ride" through Arnold's digestive system.
When Ms. Frizzle states that the trip is not over yet, Ralphie becomes frustrated, reciting all the organs of the digestive system consecutively and asking what's left to go through. Ms. Frizzle answers that they just need to "join the rest of the waste products and finish the trip". With the shocked and disgusted class realizing what that really means and refusing to do so, they plan to exit Arnold's body by going back the way they came.
Outside, a seemingly hungry Arnold is anxiously digging out of a locker, stating his inability to break the lunch eating record when he is unable to find any. However, reaching into Ralphie's, he manages to obtain a Chocolate Mallow Blaster with delight.
Meanwhile, the class is busily propelling against the digestive cycle, but they are troubled after realizing the difficulty of departing from the stomach. Back in there, Keesha checks the time and realizes that if Arnold eats lunch, the food would rain down on them. While they are frustrated, Arnold is also in a state of unease; he knows that breaking the lunch eating record will help him regain Wanda's respect for him, but he will also anger Ralphie by stealing his lunch. Suddenly, a slow, misty voice speaks his name the instance he is about to take a bite of Ralphie's Mallow Blaster. The voice, disguised as his "conscience", is actually Wanda speaking on the bus' microphone. She then coaxes him into drinking the bottle of seltzer in her lunch, which makes him hesitate at first and become suspicious of his "conscience". Wanda, on a short fuse, snaps at him to just drink it, and seeking this as another opportunity to break a school record, he does so after telling Liz to time him.
When the seltzer enters Arnold's stomach, the class begins rocking the bus back and forth to create a giant gas bubble in the acid. One forms, which carries the bus afloat and up the esophagus. Arnold loudly belches, without knowing that the bus is propelled out of his mouth by the force. He is yet again disappointed when Liz shakes her head to him meaning he failed to break the seltzer drinking record. His disappointment is interrupted when Ms. Frizzle and his classmates return to the classroom, carrying a tray of lunch for him.
While Arnold eats his lunch, Wanda presents him with a trophy for "breaking the record for being the best field trip ever". When he asks his classmates where they went, they tell him that they had literally gone inside him. Unsettled at this, he declares that in the future, he'll always participate in all future field trips. But his courage is once again thwarted upon realizing their next destination, while his classmates laugh out loud.
- Tim's drawing of Arnold's digestive system includes the large intestine before the class even visits or knows about it.
- Arnold breaks the fourth wall in the end when he declares that he is willing to participate in all the following field trips, but he is discouraged upon seeing the dinosaur on the back of Ms. Frizzle's dress, to which he says, "...starting right after the next one." However, when the class does go back in time to see dinosaurs in "The Busasaurus", he ends up going with them and becomes the hero of the field trip.
- Arnold swallows the bus again in "Goes Cellular."
- Phoebe talks about her old school for the first time, having not done so in "Gets Lost in Space".
- This is the first time the bus shrinks.
- In the producer segment, the clip where the bus is a submarine swimming through Arnold's stomach is seen, which was never shown in or during the show.
- It is implied in this episode that Arnold has a crush on Wanda.
- Amos Crawley (Arnold) also voices the caller in the producer segment.
- Despite the fact that the bus is inside Arnold's body, he is seen riding in the back twice. A similar goof happened in "Revving Up".
- The class is in their regular clothes during the scenes where the bus arrives back in the stomach.
View the episode's transcript here.