Aired in the 2000s, the show centers around a middle school boy, Ned Bigby, who navigates the toughness of junior high and gives the audience advice. He’s got his closest friends, Simon Nelson Cook (or Cookie) and Jennifer Mosely (or Moze) with him a lot.
There are also bullies. A major example is Jock, who mocks others as a way to torment them.
If you watched this show, you probably know that each episode is a survival guide to different aspects of school. Examples include:
- Substitute teachers
- Spelling bees
- Bad habits
You might also remember some humor and TV show logic, where unrealistic things happen constantly. Below are some moments that stand out to me:
When Jock is naked in the hallway
In the episode, “Guide to: Upperclassmen,” Ned gives the 5th graders a tour of the middle school. One is a crazy kid, Palmer Noid, who breaks into the students’ lockers and throws things around.
Eventually, he removes Jock’s clothes, making him naked in front of everyone, using only his stuffed pink elephant to cover himself. The other kids laugh at him.
I saw this when my brother watched it at around 10 years old. My immediate reaction was by saying, “You’d get arrested for that in real life.” That part is actually true.
But moments where characters in movies and shows do illegal things and don’t get arrested happens a lot. It is because the writers have a story to tell.
When there is a walrus at school
I don’t remember what episode this came from. But I believe it was the one that focused on substitute teachers.
The teacher provides chocolate mousse and even brings a live walrus into the building. The walrus then chases others down the hall.
I actually find this funny since it is extremely unrealistic. Sometimes I do enjoy unbelievable moments from movies and shows.
When a girl with a deep, manly voice talks to Ned
Just like the one with the walrus, I don’t recall which episode Ned talked to a bunch of girls, presumably to develop a relationship with one.
After feeling unhappy with the others, the final girl thanks Ned for talking to her. And she has a deep, manly voice.
Unlike the walrus, I found this kind of freaky. I always found it weird to see girls with manly voices.
But what I’ve done before is to think about how a man did the voice, and the girl lip synced over him.
When Vice Principal Crubbs injures a student and says that he said, “April Fools”
In the episode, “Guide to: April Fool’s Day,” Vice Principal Crubbs disciplines the students by expelling a kid, Loomer, and confiscating Cookie’s glasses and Ned’s guide, claiming that those are no longer allowed in school. However, it turns out those “punishments” were just April Fools jokes.
Eventually, he injures a student to the point where they are taken into an ambulance. He tries to convince the EMT staff that it was only a joke and that he said, “April Fools.”
This is another moment where a character does something that would get him arrested in real life. And no responsible school administrator would hurt a student like that. Regardless of reason, they probably wouldn’t say that it was only an April Fool’s joke.
How all the kids look old for middle schoolers
It is very common for adults to play kids in movies and shows, although it’s usually high schoolers that they will portray. This is due to child labor laws and how any child actor under age 18 has a strict 4-hour limit on filming sets.
Having adults play middle school students is less common. And not all the characters are played by older actors.
Devon Werkheiser, who played Ned, was 12 when he first starred in the show. His character is in 7th grade when the series begins, making him exactly the same age then.
His co-star, Daniel Curtis Lee, who portrayed Cookie, was the same age, while Lindsey Shaw, who played Moze, was 14 in the first episode. The rest were likely old enough to be in high school or even done with school.
Despite the silliness, Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide still taught important morals. For example, in the episode, “Guide to: Excuses,” Ned tells the audience that it is important to tell the truth, regardless of the excuse, otherwise no one will believe them.
Although I wasn’t a die-hard fan of this show, I still enjoyed it. And there are many other memorable moments from this series.
Do you have any thoughts you’d like to share about it? Let me know in the comments if you wish.