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Goes to Seed Gets Ants in Its Pants Kicks Up a Storm

"As I always say, action!"
Ms. Frizzle

Gets Ants in Its Pants is the twelfth episode of the first season of The Magic School Bus. It is about ants.

Episode Recap

The class is trying to decide on a project for the school science fair. Keesha crawls in the classroom, leading an ant, and saves her from getting stepped on by Ms. Frizzle when she arrives. Carlos tells Keesha that there's "no time for ant-ics" and that the class should focus more on their science project. The ant ends up on Arnold's Mallowblaster, and Keesha suggests they make a movie about her. She becomes the director of the film, assigning Carlos and Phoebe as her writers. But when the ant leaves the classroom, the class follow her outside to an ant hill, where the ant is now mixed with more ants. Keesha uses her magnifying glass to search for her ant, and Dorothy Ann informs that the ant has gone to the ant hill to inform the other ants of Arnold's Mallowblaster.

This prompts Ms. Frizzle to take the class on a field trip inside an ant hill, transforming The Magic School Bus into a Mallowblaster. The ants then come around and take it and Keesha decides that the movie should have more drama and excitement. When The Magic Mallowblaster Bus is taken to the anthill, Keesha decides that it's perfect to film the ants in. But she ends up running back to the bus when she encounters two hungry ants.

As Keesha and Liz make it inside the bus, Keesha surmises that the ants are guarding their anthill, which prompts Ralphie to have the movie star a guard ant, which Carlos call the Guardfather. The ants surround the bus and sniff it with their antennae to see if the class are their friend or foe. Carlos jokingly states that They want to know if we smell like the same deodorANT, which he also adds in his list of ideas. Ms. Frizzle also informs that ants' body make certain chemicals called pheromones. This prompts Ms. Frizzle to turn on the ceiling sprinkler so that everyone inside the bus smells like the ants, also adding that When visiting the nest, smell like the rest.

The class exit the bus and Keesha decides to enter the inside of the anthill in search of her star, with Liz and the rest of the class tagging along. When the class is still thinking of a good story, Tim comes across a prolific amount of ant crawling through the burrows. When Keesha becomes increasingly irritated when the class can't find a focus ant to film, Phoebe suggests that the class should work with the ants to know them better. Keesha agrees with this idea and tells the rest of the class to observe the ants' movements in order to know them better. When Ralphie spots two ants that look as if they are kissing, Carlos suggests that the movie should be a romANTce. But the ants are really passing around food, which Arnold recognizes as the cream of his Mallowblaster. So Carlos suggests that the class should do a film of that, which Keesha deems as incomplete. So Carlos suggests that the star could be a presidANT, which is predictably rejected and the other kids ordered him to stop. Suddenly, each of the students is carried away by each ant and Liz gets it on camera as the students hop off. They then come across ants carrying worms, and Keesha reminds the class that the film is focused on ants rather than worms. Phoebe then infers that the worms are really baby ants and Ms. Frizzle informs that when ants are hatching their eggs, they are called larvae, giving Carlos an idea to put this in the film. But Keesha argues that there is no drama or actual action to larvae. When the ants carry the larvae away, Tim infers that the ants are trying to keep them warm. Ms. Frizzle explains that nurse ants move their progeny around the nest so that they get kept in the right temperature. Carlos decides to call the film FlorANTce Nightingale, but Keesha rejects this as well, much to Carlos' annoyance.

Just then, the class come across more larvæ that have grown into pupæ (which Ms. Frizzle says is plural for "pupa"). Carlos states that It would make a great documANTary. Keesha refuses, reminding Carlos that Mr. Cud, another teacher, had his class do a documentary on cows last year. Phoebe tells the two that after a number of other rejected ideas for ants, she decides that the film should be about an egg, upsetting Keesha, even though Carlos is getting angry with Keesha who still hadn't come up with a movie plot. After asked by Phoebe where ant eggs come from, Ms. Frizzle evasively explains to the class that the eggs come from the queen. Keesha loves this idea, and Carlos agrees and decides that the class should search for the queen ant. But the class have no idea which way around the tunnels to go.

Suddenly, water drips from the ceiling of the hill, and the class ducks and covers when the dirt tumbles down the ground. When the class takes a view overhead, Tim states that the ants are repairing the hill as construction workers and tells Keesha that the film should be about builder ants. Keesha tells him that although this is a great idea, there is no star for it, and the queen is the only star for the film.

Keesha leads the class in search of the queen. But as they come across a number of ants in the tunnel, they can't figure out which one is the queen. Ms. Frizzle states that the queen is the biggest ant and is the only one who lays the eggs. Keesha is at first excited of this, but the class reminds her that there's nothing the queen could do as the star of the film. So Keesha, upon being asked time and time again about what the plot is, could not take the pressure any longer and decides to quit and runs away.

Keesha approaches the Bus outside of the rain and decides to just walk through the rain, still upset of her failure to find a star for her movie. Phoebe runs after her and tries to convince Keesha to continue directing the film. While the girls explain the connections of the ants and their duties, Keesha realizes that there isn't just "one" star for the film and decides to make a film about all the ants and what each of them do to protect their nest. When the class arrives outside, Keesha informs them about her idea of the film and even after Carlos initially disagreed with it since he was fed up with Keesha's pickiness and bossiness, she tells them that all the ants are stars rather than only one ant being the star. Liz, the only one who noticing the mudslide coming the class' way, warns Arnold, who warns the others of this. They hop onto The Magic Mallowblaster Bus, but not before Keesha tells them that they still have to save the ants. So she decides that they should use the magnifying glass to block the entrance. The plan works, and Carlos decides to make a survival film, which Keesha calls "A River Almost Ran Through It".

Back in school, the film is played, and the other children give it critical acclaim. Keesha informs that she wouldn't have been able to complete the film without Phoebe, who states she couldn't have done it without Arnold, who also says that he couldn't have done it without Dorothy Ann, who says that she couldn't have done it without Carlos, who also says he couldn't have done it without Wanda, stating that her part was significANT. Wanda that states that she couldn't have done it without Tim, who says that he couldn't have done it without Ralphie, who says he couldn't have done it without Ms. Frizzle, who also concludes that she couldn't have done it without The Magic School Bus. The class then states that they couldn't have done it without the ants. Liz is upset that she wasn't included, but Ms. Frizzle states that It's easy if you got talANT.

Producer Says Recap

Back in the office, Liz is still upset about not receiving any credit for her participation with the class as both the male and female producer promise to let everyone else know how much she assisted the class with the movie. They are then taking a call from one of the viewers who tells them that she only counted 137. The male producer then jokes that the girl is probably an accountANT. The girl then surmises that one of the producers are responsible for such corny puns. The female producer then adds that there wasn't enough budget for the show to afford extra ants to get the right number and that the size had to be limited. The girl also adds that there are also different species of ants, which were also left out. The male producer then informs there are about more than 10,000 different kinds of ants more than about 1,000 different insects put together, and the girl also expresses disappointment of the episode not telling the ants' genders. The female producer then jokes that they felt quite repentANT, and the male explains that the colony of ants mostly consists on females and the males only mate with the queen. The girl also adds that ants use their pheromones for more than just telling their friends from foes, they also use them as a means of communication. As the girl hangs up, the male producer gets a call from an Oscar award committee returning the call, and the producer asks if it would be possible to nominate a lizard. Liz, pleased with the credit she has received, leaps onto the male producer to give him a comforting hug.


  • This is the first episode to be made[1], but Gets Lost in Space was the first to be finally produced, having the code "MSB-1 SPACE". After six more episodes were made, the production of this episode was finished, and it received the production code "MSB-7 ANTS".[2]
  • The blue on Carlos' sweatshirt and Tim's polo are lighter than in other episodes.
  • This episode is also known as "Ants in Its Pants", "Gets Ants in the Pants", or "Gets Ants in His Pants".
    • The latter title, the one used on iTunes, implies that The Magic School Bus is male.
  • This episode shows that the Bus does care about the students' feelings when Keesha gave up on her movie, and the Bus felt sorry for her.
  • This is one of few episodes where Carlos gets a universally positive reaction to one of his puns or jokes. Everyone except Keesha laughs at his FlorANTS Nightingale pun.
    • Despite him finally getting a laugh for one of his jokes, this is also the episode that has more Carlos! gags then any other episode. It is the only time the class tells him to stop after his fourth pun, showing that they do have their limits with his puns. Thankfully they get over it quickly and his positive reaction did come afterwards.
  • After A River Almost Ran Through It was shown, a background character was wearing an outfit similar to Dorothy Ann's. This background character is one of the few who does not appear in Rides Again.
  • Phoebe and Carlos are both shown to be left-handed.
  • This is the first time the two producers are seen together.
  • This is the first and only episode which Ms Frizzle ends up on the receiving end of the Carlos! gag.


  • When Wanda says "What is this stuff?" her voice changes to DA's.

References to other media

  • Among Carlos's ant puns in this episode are puns on The Godfather and Travels with My Aunt.
  • The title Keesha ultimately settles on for this picture is a reference to A River Runs Through It.
  1. "'Gets Ants in Its Pants' is the first episode just because it is the first in production order."