"Hops Home" is the fifth episode of season one of the animated children's series The Magic School Bus. It originally aired on October 9th, 1994.
The class is bringing animals to school and Wanda has brought her pet frog, Bella. But, thanks to Arnold, she escapes. Wanda now wants to get her back. Ms. Frizzle takes the class to several different places, until they find a perfect frog habitat. In this episode, the bus transforms into a frog with green spots on it, as the tires become the frog's legs.
Wanda is hauling her wagon with a tank of her pet frog Bella inside to school and approaches the front door of the classroom. Valerie Frizzle helps her open the door to get inside. While Wanda unpacks her stuff, she gives Bella to Arnold so he could know her. Carlos tells Wanda that "I'm sure Bella will be very hoppy here". Wanda then responds that Bella begins knocking things over when she is too hoppy. So she decides to get another desk to give Bella some room to hop around. But Tim refuses to let her move the desk with the rabbits' cage on it, telling her that the rabbits have their own habitat.
Meanwhile, Arnold introduces Bella to his pet rock and opens the window to give the frog some air. When Wanda asks Arnold to bring her the inflatable pool (a mini raft), Arnold leaves Bella on the rock next to the window and the frog hops away. Wanda tells Arnold to blow the pool so Bella could have some water, which Arnold reluctantly complies to. As Arnold finally finishes, Wanda then notices Bella's absence and that Bella
has hopped out. She brings Arnold with her and asks Valerie if they could look for the frog, giving Valerie an idea of another field trip, much to Arnold's dismay.
The students are later seen riding on The Magic School Bus. "I think I should've stayed home today." says Arnold. "I think Bella should've stayed home today!" replies Wanda. This convinces Valerie to tell them "To find a frog, be a frog." The Magic School Bus then changes into a frog and hops through the frogs' habitat. When they finally stop to the grass, the students exit The Magic School Frog and Wanda begins to search for Bella. Just then, a grasshopper shows up, and Valerie takes a ride on it, with the other students hopping along. They come across a number of bugs that frogs eat, as well as an orange cat, who is about five times their size. They hop onto The Magic School Frog, which hops high onto the tree branch right when the cat pounces at it. Carlos uses another pun saying that "It's just a little mis-hop". As the students exit The Magic School Frog and walk onto the tree branch, They learn that the tree is a perfect habitat for birds and squirrels. Wanda brings Arnold along with her on a high part of the tree to see if they could see Bella from there. Wanda then notices a green creature at the end of the branch and is convinced that it is Bella. She ends up losing her balance and begins to fall. Arnold catches her and the two end up dangling from the tree branch, with the cat below under their heels.
Arnold and Wanda are still dangling from the tree branch when a praying mantis (the creature that was at the end of the tree) hops to the ground and in front of the cat. The praying mantis hops away and the cat chases after it. Arnold and Wanda are then rescued by The Magic School Frog, which continues to hop away. The Magic School Frog stops to a rock in the river and the students exit The Magic School Frog. Since there is a body of water and bugs flying around, Wanda is convinced that Bella is around here and calls for her. She and Arnold fall into the water and end up floating towards a waterfall. The school bus rescues them once again, and Arnold and Wanda land onto the land. Wanda then realizes that the water moves much too quickly for frogs. Valerie then tells the students that bullfrogs need quiet water so they could lay their eggs. So the students decide to find water that is much quieter and more stationary. Just then, they view a Great blue heron soaring above them. Valerie tells the students to look for connections and Wanda continues her search for Bella. The others contrive connections between the animals and their habitat as they follow along.
When the students are just about to give up on contriving any form of connection, Valerie gives them a hint, asking them where beavers live, which is in a pond. Arnold finally sees the connection that the water in the pond is nice and quiet. He informs Wanda of this and the students notice the beavers building their dam. Wanda finally finds Bella on a lily pad and swims through the pond to get to her. Just then, the heron approaches them, and Bella hops away. To the others' horror, they find that Wanda is missing.
As the heron flies away, Wanda is seen emerging from the water asking what happened. She exits out and finds Bella on another lily pad. Wanda tries to get her pet frog back, but her classmates convince her that the beavers' pond is Bella's perfect habitat. Wanda refuses to acknowledge this, saying that Bella is really in danger due to the heron, since they're part of the food chain. She tries to get Bella back. But the frog hops away and when Wanda can do nothing to get her back, she decides to stay at the pond with Bella as well and her classmates can help her protect her frog from the heron. When the heron returns, the students hide behind the plants as the heron flies away once again. When Wanda hops into the pond at an attempt to protect Bella, Arnold reluctantly hops in after her. As Bella swims away, Arnold and Wanda rise from the water and learn that if they can't find Bella, neither could the heron. Arnold takes Wanda along with him to resurface on the land and Wanda tells the rest of the class how Bella used her habitat to hide from the stubborn heron, which Valerie tells Wanda that hiding is another important part of a frog's habitat. Just then, the others find another frog that looks just like Bella named Herman, and that the frog is Bella's new friend. Wanda then decides to finally let Bella live in her new habitat and Carlos says that "I love hoppy endings". Before the class leaves, Wanda says goodbye to Bella and gives her the beanbag frog to remember her owner by.
The Magic School Bus travel back on the road and to school. In the classroom, Wanda offers Arnold his desk back, much to the latter's relief. The class then show Wanda that they have built a mechanical frog for her. Wanda thanks the class for it and decides to put it on Arnold's desk, much to Arnold's annoyance. As Arnold tries to talk Wanda out of it, Valerie states that "Habitats should be shared" as the rest of the class laughs.
Trivia and Goofs
- Frank Welker performs the voice effects for Bella.
- Frank Welker isn't a guest star or credited for voicing Bella. Shame on them.
- This is the first time a cat appears in the series. Another one appears in "Goes on Air".
- Carlos is meant to say "happy" although he did classify "hoppy" as a joke.
- The way the bullfrogs speak sounds like Poke-Language in the Pokemon Anime, a few years before Pokemon to boot.
- The Producer Says segment reveals that Bella got married to Herman and they have children.
- This is the second time in the season Wanda blames Arnold for something. The first time was in "For Lunch".
- Goof: Arnold is seen with the rest of the class with the robotic Bella but when the camera cuts to Phoebe walking over to Wanda he is sitting at his desk.
- Goof: The master tape strangely omits the PBS tags at the start and end of the episode.