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In a Pickle Revving Up Taking Flight

"There's acid all over the paint, the fenders are dented, and the roof looks like it got hit by a meteorite."
Mr. Junkett

Revving Up is the eighth episode of the second season of The Magic School Bus. It is about engines.


Mr. Junkett, a vehicle maintenance inspector, wasn't pleased when he inspects the bus. So he tells Ms. Frizzle that it is going to the junkyard to be condemned. To prove that it is working fine, Ms. Frizzle and the class take him on a test drive, in which it eventually breaks down during a ride around a mountain road. When Ms. Frizzle fails to find the problem with the engine, Junkett angrily condemns the bus and leaves to call a tow truck to tow it away. Ms. Frizzle and the class then don fireproof bodysuits, shrink, and go inside the bus to follow the gas to the engine and find out the problem. They make it inside the gas tank and wonder how they will get from there to the engine. Ms. Frizzle inflates a duck raft and they row through the gas tank. Little do they know, however, Mr. Junkett is on his way with a tow truck ready to take the bus to the junkyard. During the drive, he brags about his award, much to the driver's annoyance.

Meanwhile, back inside the bus, Ms. Frizzle tells Liz through the screen monitor that she and the class are moving out of the gas tank and into the fuel line, only to come across a sticky substance. Ralphie, the first to notice the smell coming from it, and finds out it is peanut butter. The class altogether then finds out it is from the sandwich Mr. Junkett was eating while inspecting the bus. When they clear the line, the gas begins flowing and Liz turns the key to start the engine, the swirls of air sends the class into the fuel pump and leading them to the carburetor. When the engine still cannot start, they discover an opening at the top. Phoebe than refers back to fire safely and learned that it takes air for things to burn, and the engine needs it with gas to run since it burns gas while running. They then learn that it was Mr. Junkett's peanut butter sandwich covering the opening.

With the tow truck moving very closer, the class moves the peanut butter sandwich (and almost Arnold) off the top of the carburetor, only for the tow truck to arrive ready to tow the bus. Liz desperately turns the key, causing Mr. Junkett to believe that the bus is trying to start up. In the carburetor, the class floats around the gas/air swirls as it mixes with the gas. They (minus Arnold) fall into the open throttle valve and go through the carburetor's tube. Liz watches the screen nervously as they head to the cylinder. After entering the cylinder, they realized Liz had stopped turning the key.

Meanwhile outside, Arnold wonders where everybody went, but is almost caught by Mr. Junkett who is examining the bus after hearing it trying to start. Liz, who is hiding under the bus notices what's going on. The tow truck then starts up and tows it away, leaving Mr. Junkett behind in the process. He tries to catch up to it, but a car comes out in the middle of nowhere, forcing him to jump out of its way, but ends up rolling off an edge of a hill and is left hanging onto a root over the edge of a cliff.

During the tow to the junkyard, Liz is still hiding under the bus, and Arnold is still out on the engine. He informs his classmates that the bus is being towed away. Liz is informed that the class is in the The Bus' cylinder once she makes it back inside after crawling out from under it. Ms. Frizzle tells her to turn the key again, but just as she is about to do so, she collapses from exhaustion.

The tow truck makes it into the junkyard and the bus is prepared to be crushed. It is hoisted in between the car crusher by the crane. Arnold tells his classmates if they don't get out, they will be crushed along with the Bus. Ms. Frizzle tells Liz she needs to turn the key. She does so and steps on the gas pedal, which makes the piston move. Keesha smells the gas/air from the carburator entering the cylinder. Ms. Frizzle tells the class that what goes down must go up when it comes to engine pistons and that the cylinder is where three ingredients come together in order to get the engine started.

When the bus is about to get crushed, Ralphie and the class learns that the engine burns gas and try to find a way to get it to do so. Dorothy Ann reads in her book that gasoline burns very easily, so one should be careful around it. Wanda finally learns that the three ingredients of a running engine are gas, air, and a spark. The class then learns that it was the peanut butter that was keeping the spark plug from running, so Carlos cleans it off (only for the peanut butter to stick to him in the process). With it now cleaned off, it burns the gas entering and the class goes through the exhaust system and the metallic maze known as the muffler.

The class exits the exhaust pipe and return to normal size just in time to notice the huge block suspended from a rope about to crush the bus. Liz starts the bus and it transforms into a hot rod, much to Arnold's surprise. It drives away right before the block crashes down, with the class taking a ride. They thank Liz for saving it from being crushed and find that Arnold is still shrunken. Liz activates the screen as he falls into the carburetor, goes through the cylinder, and finally exits the exhaust pipe right before returning to normal size.

The class later return to the mountain road to rescue Mr. Junkett from falling off the root with a crane from the bus, which had transformed into a tow truck. Ms. Frizzle transforms it back into its regular appearance while the class crowds around Mr. Junkett and pretend to fuss over him, including "fixing his hat" (pulling it over his eyes), so he doesn't see the bus transform from a tow truck to its regular appearance. Mr. Junkett then apologizes to her and the class. She also states that, "A good engine is worth the price of ignition." The bus then drives Mr. Junkett to the office to collect his "Vehicle Maintenance Inspector of The Year" award.

Bus Transformations

  • Hot Rod
  • Tow Truck


  • When Liz was hiding under the bus, her eyes are white instead of yellow.
  • Carlos and Phoebe do not use their catchphrases in this episode.
    • Carlos doesn't use puns and Phoebe does not recall a time at her old school.
    • Tim may also count, as he never had a catchphrase until In the Arctic, which is the line from A Magic School Bus Halloween, "Wow! We've been Frizzled!"
  • Dorothy Ann does not have her book bag in this episode, however, she is seen holding a book in a later scene in the cylinder.
  • The class' suits (except Ms. Frizzle's) are color-coded (before shrinking and entering into the engine) and do not have the school logo. However, when they shrunk into the engine their suits are different.
    • Keesha's is maroon or dark red.
    • Ralphie's is yellow-green.
    • Dorothy Ann's is lavender or magenta.
    • Tim's is teal.
    • Wanda's is rose, or a watermelon like color.
    • Arnold and Ms. Frizzle's are a mustard color.
    • Phoebe's is bright red.
      • Out of all the students, Carlos' is the only one that was not changed.
  • When the suits come down from the bus' ceiling, Tim's is not shown when Ms. Frizzle pulled the lever.
  • This is the fifth episode to be switched in streaming order.
  • It is revealed that Arnold despises the smell of gasoline.
  • This episode was one of the few that never got released on VHS, but were released on DVD and streaming services later in the 2000s and 2010s. Previous episodes were Meets the Rot Squad, All Dried Up, and Wet All Over.
  • Instead of the usual bus-shaped blinking light on the monitor to show where the class is, a blinking circle is shown due to them being inside the bus' engine.
  • This is the last episode to air before Halloween 1995. If counted, the next episode would be A Magic School Bus Halloween. Normally people count the latter special after Ups and Downs.
  • This is the second time the bus breaks down. The first time was In the Haunted House where it pretended to be overheated. However, in this episode it really did break down.
  • When Mr. Junkett says that the bus has acid on the paint (For Lunch), dented fenders, and that the roof looks like it was hit by a meteorite (Gets Lost in Space), he references the episodes in Season 1 in which it was badly damaged.
  • Arnold's trip through the engine was very quick since the rest of the class got it running smoothly.
  • Mr. Junkett's face and body resembles his actor Sherman Hemsley.
  • This is one of the few times where The Bus is heard making vocal sounds.
  • This is one of the few times where Liz is heard making vocal sounds. She is heard panting and briefly groans when she faints.
  • Although it wasn't onscreen, this is one of the rare times Ms. Frizzle gets angry.
  • This is one of the few times Arnold falls victim to "Carlos!" gag.


  • At the beginning of the episode, an invisible screw and bolt can be seen on the ground in the shot with Liz looking under the bus.
  • When the class falls off their stack and tell Arnold to look out, Ralphie and Tim can be seen falling through the carburetor's throttle valve even though it was shut.
  • In some scenes before the class goes inside the bus' engine, the hood would be closed or open in some shots.
  • During the transition from Ralphie to Carlos during the line "He's both, Ralphie, a VMI and a VPP.", Ralphie's torso is missing. This is because the series is animated using cel animation, a type where paper figurines are pasted onto a backdrop, and then photographed. In this case, Ralphie's cel in this scene was partially drawn.
  • When Carlos says, "Line's clear, Ms. Frizzle!", his suit is the same color as Ralphie's and Dorothy Ann's gloves are pink.
  • When the bus was being towed away, the doors could be seen on both sides.
  • In a couple of scenes Arnold could be spotted even though he was out on the engine telling his classmates what was going on (similar to "For Lunch").
  • When the class heads to the exhaust system, Phoebe's gloves change/flash from maroon to yellow.
  • In one scene in the carburetor, Ralphie's gloves were red and Phoebe's suit keeps flashing to the color of his.
  • When Ralphie is asking "Where's Liz!", his cap is missing.
  • Mr. Junkett puts a "CONDEMNED" banner on the bus but in later scenes, it is gone. It may have fallen off later on.
  • When Carlos gets the peanut butter off the spark plug, he has some on his suit but in the next shot, it disappears.
  • When Keesha asks, "Just how big is this fire going to be?", Phoebe is in Dorothy Ann's suit and her hair is changed to dishwater blonde as well.
  • In some scenes when the class was in the cylinder, the gas and air disappear in between shots.
  • If you look carefully at the top of the screen when Arnold hides behind the spark plug, Mr. Junkett is not wearing his cap.
  • Ralphie's head is noticeably twitching while brushing himself after the class comes out of the engine.
  • In one scene when the cylinder is going down, Ralphie, Tim, and Dorothy Ann are missing.
  • In one scene as the class travels through the exhaust pipe, Wanda and Carlos are missing.
  • At the end of the episode, Liz, Ralphie, and Keesha are missing when Mr. Junkett gets on the bus.
  • When Dorothy Ann wears her suit along with her classmates, her hair turns dishwater blonde. Keesha's and Ralphie's hair in the episode is also changed to black.
  • This is one of the few times where the bus had been referred to by its full name, "The Magic School Bus".
  • When the class (excpet Arnold) get out of the bus' exhaust pipe, Ralphie's voice is suddenly deeper due to his voice actor hitting puberty.
  • Arnold's hair isn't messy when he came out the bus' exhaust pipe and returned to his normal size.
  • Keesha's suit gets changed from inside the tank from fuchsia to dark red (when Liz shrinks the entire class and inside the tank). It might have been an error or mistake, or remains unknown.
    • This also happens to Ralphie were his suit is turned to chartreuse yellow.
    • Wanda's suit is changed to either the colors rose, watermelon, or possibly rouge. Her gloves are light red too.
    • Dorothy Ann suit is also changed to possibly lavender or magenta as well.
    • Arnold's and Ms. Frizzle's suits changed to mustard yellow.
  • Liz disappears just as Arnold exits the bus' exhaust pipe.
  • When the class sees that Arnold is still shrunken, he's seen sitting on the carburetor. However, after the camera changes shots, he's kneeling on it before falling in.
  • It's unknown how the class found Mr. Junkett. However Liz or Arnold may have noticed him running after the tow truck.
  • When the class exits The Bus' exhaust system and return to their normal size, Dorothy Ann is nowhere to be seen. Though she's seen briefly when Liz transforms The Bus.
  • The inflatable duck raft Ms. Frizzle pulled out mysteriously disappears after the class left the fuel pump.
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