A Nickelodeonpost modern live-action series with No Fourth Wall and no Laugh Track set entirely in a Middle School. Now that we have your attention...Ned Bigby (Devon Werkheiser) is the clever but Book Dumb protagonist who is dedicated to completing an all-encompassing guide "to help you survive school," covering every issue from tests and dodgeball to puberty and relationships. Each episode is split into two parts with a "Guide to...[Topic]," that has Ned and his two best friends (Gadgeteer Genius Simon Nelson "Cookie" Cook (Daniel Curtis Lee) and tomboy Jennifer "Moze" Mosely (Lindsey Shaw)) each having their own storyline that requires his advice on the subject.At least Once an Episode when the moment for giving tips comes: the theme music starts, Ned turns to the audience, and begins, "If you're [someone] who's confused about [something], check out these tips." Despite customary Genre Blindness and Moze being the voice of reason, Ned seems permanently aware of the Fourth Wall, with other characters occasionally acknowledging it, to some surprise. In solving the current dilemma and Tip Subject, Cookie tries outlandish theories, Moze goes for the more practical solution and Ned usually applies a scientific rigor.Originally the primary emphasis was delivering the tips and focusing on school matters such as homework, lockers and school clubs. But soon the stories expanded to focus on the complex relationships between the maturing characters and the tips focused on how to deal with social situations. A brief synopsis of these relationships would be:
The nerd Lisa Zemo had a huge crush on Cookie, who accepted her as a friend but was oblivious to her affection. When she came back from summer break changed and stunningly beautiful, he found himself in competition with a fanclub of her new admirers. Meanwhile, he developed a rivalry and potential romance with loud, scary,and slightly-psycho Evelyn Kwong.
Moze has several boys she is interested in as well as others who could be considered Stalker with a Crush. The third season she fell for the handsome foreign exchange student, Fayman, and they become a couple, but she can't understand why she doesn't feel the same spark she feels for Ned.
While Ned and Moze are trying to work out their feelings for each other and their other Love Interests (which they have plenty of), they're surrounded by a cast of quirky students and teachers who will always ensure that Hilarity Ensues.Ran for three seasons and ended in 2007. Never quite as popular as its contemporaries on Nickelodeon (i.e. Drake & Josh) but often considered to be a prized gem of a show. The writing was crisp and the characters were very well fleshed out.According to Devon Werkheiser, a pilot was shot in 2008 about a sequel series in High School. It wasn't greenlit, sadly, and the actors have since moved on from Nick. Given the series' Present Day setting with the characters' graduating middle school in 2007, they would've graduated high school in 2011.
Provides Examples Of:
Abhorrent Admirer: Subverted with Missy. She's pretty, but totally nuts, prompting Ned to avoid her with his life.
Dora and the Huge Crew. They are obsessed with Ned and even bullied people into voting for him in the class elections.
The Artifact: Ironically the Guide itself. With the second season the focus on the show shifted more to the relationships of the characters instead of "Helpful Guides" for fellow middle school students. The actual guide was seen and updated as the tips were added, while it was rarely seen later on. Seemingly Lampshaded in "Boys," where Ned is so hung about Suzie moving away that he gets tips writing block.
Cookie's glasses as well. Originally, Cookie was supposed to be a cyborg, with quite a few early episodes even referring to him as such. However, as time went on, this aspect of his character was dropped, and his glasses (with what appears to be a full working operating system installed in them) were the only remnant of this.
Ash Face: happens to Moze and Suzie when they cause a chemistry explosion in the School Clubs episode.
Asian and Nerdy: Evelyn. But the trope is played with since she is also scarily insane.
Beware the Nice Ones: Inverted with Mr. Sweeny in "Gross Biology Dissections." After his frogs are stolen, he goes into his usual angry mode to scare Ned, Cookie and Gordy into giving them back. When that doesn't work, he does "something different": politely asking them, which has this effect:
Ned: Wow. Nice Sweeny is scarier than regular Sweeny.
"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO—*to the camera* This may take a while.—OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO."
Then there's the episode where they're all trying to break bad habits. Ned finally learns to say no to people, and unfortunately unintentionally denies a chance to go on a study date with Suzie. After being informed of this, he does the standard "drop to knees Skyward Scream" version.
Shandra Taylor, one of Moze's few female friends who disappears without a word before season two.
Also Mr. Munroe, who was listed in the opening credits in season one and appeared in every episode; he made only a few token appearances in season two, and vanished without a trace in season three. This is very glaring because Munroe was originally intended as the mentor figure for the protagonists; on the other hand, as his prominence decreased, the other teachers became more developed.
A bit of Truth in Television; this happens all the time in large schools when teachers only teach grade-level subjects
"I swear I had my hall pass... but I think I ate it."
Compressed Vice: Setting tables to collapse, "a Ned Bigby classic", seen only in the Guide to Records.
Continuity Nod: In "Math," Ned tries to help a classmate, but wrongly answers that two negatives multiplied together make another negative. This ends up coming back to help him in "Positives and Negatives" in an unexpected way when he cheers up two emo teens by introducing them to each other.
Credit Card Plot: In "Extra Credit," Cookie's B-story involves him running up a massive debt on his "emergency" card, buying everything from pizza to a pony from an instant-delivery company.
Ned: Don't you know how a credit card works? You get a bill at the end of the month for all the stuff on it. How are you going to pay for that?
Dawson Casting: The characters are supposed to be 13 (7th grade) and for the most part they aimed to get actors in the realm of 12-15 to play those kids (at the start Devon Werkheiser was 13, Lindsay Shaw was 15). But the series progressed slower than real life and the actors ended up pushing 17-18 when they were supposed to still be 14.
A Day in the Limelight: Ned was stumped for tips on dealing with girls, the best he could come up with is that they like shoes and they smell nice. When Moze harrassed him with "Is that the best you can do?" he pulled out a boombox, turned on the theme music, pointed Mozes' head to the camera and had her deliver the tips.
Disguised in Drag: Happens twice. In Recycling, Ned dresses as a girl to check in the girls' bathroom. In Girls. Cookie dresses up as a girl to find out what Lisa likes in boys. Unfortunately, he also gets hit on by another boy, though mainly for knowing about cars and engines.
Gordy: You see, Ned, fighting against a girl is a lose-lose situation.
Ned: What do you mean?
Gordy: Well, if you lose, *starts laughing* then you got beat up by a girl! But if you win, *sounds horrified* then, dude, you just beat up a girl!
Elaborate University High: They seem to have a lot of free time for middle school kids, although the short episode lengths mean that "today"'s action can easily take place within not much more than 10 minutes' worth of real time.
Emo Teen: "Mark Downer", who was so emo that flowers wilted in his presence.
Finger in the Mail: Parodied. School bully, Loomer, takes the title character's Life Science baby care project doll and sends it back to them piece by piece. The horrified Cookie exclaims, "What do we do now?" to which Ned smiles and replies, "Nothing." Backfires when the day before the babies are to be inspected the teacher suddenly moves up the deadline they still don't have the head.
Gasshole: "Timmy Toot-Toot;" his incredible flatulence is always accompanied by a betrayingly tiny "Toot toot!" sound effect.
He even "passes on" the fame to Ned at one point.
Getting Crap Past the Radar: In a fake parenthood class experiment, Ned and Cookie are partnered together. Mr. Monroe even pushes two male dolls together to represent the relationship.
Mr. Monroe: You can be the alternative family!
This gets even more evident when, a year later, Loomer, his posse and Martin Qwerly join the class and become other two "alternative couples".
There is also a rather interesting moment during the first episode of season 3:
Cookie: Do you think that Lisa Zemo is hot?
Gordy: Ummm, I can't answer that, due to the fact that I'm 40.
There is Suzie's habit of wanting to share lockers with whoever her current boyfriend is, which is treated akin to moving in together as adults.
No mention of that Seven Minutes In Heaven scene in Valentines day? It certainly looked like the Huge Crew were having fun...
In Guide to Dismissal at the beginning of the episode:
Cookie's Thoughts: mmmhhh... I'm Happy!
In "Guide to Crushes" Ned not only pretends to be so enamored with Susie that he pours fruit juice on her shirt while they work together on decorating for the school dance, he then tries to get a bottle glue open which sprays all over her.
One episode that talks about how to ask someone out has Ned unintentionally get a date with Seth while he's trying to tell him that Moze wants to ask him out.
From "Guide to Gym":
Coach Stax: "You mean, all this is over a girl flipping you? You sound like a flipping fool!"
An entire episode was spent around Ned painting a picture of an orange naked lady.
And yet another entire episode was focused on Ned trying not to scratch his pubes in public. We're never outright told where the "embarrassing itch" is, but the placement of Ned's hands (and the massive amounts of itch-relief powder that eventually resolves the issue) make it pretty clear.
In one of the first episodes, mention is made of a "Hottie List" in the girl's bathroom. We get a brief view of some of the names on the list, one of which is Greg Secsay.
In the last episode, Ned has a lot of...issues with his clothes. In the last maybe 15 minutes, he's pretty much running around in just a hula skort.
The Halloween Special had Moze (a ghost) wanting a ghost friend. She spends the remainder of the episode trying to kill Suzie. Granted, the impact is lessened by the fact that Suzie was a zombie, but she still looked pretty human...
Girlfriend in Canada: In one episode, Cookie pretends he has a girlfriend to make Lisa jealous. Unfortunately, the only person he makes jealous is Evelyn...
Glove Slap: Leads to a duel over Moze between Faymen (who she was currently going out with) and Seth (who had broken up with her in the previous season). Lampshaded by Moze:
Moze: Guys! Donít be jealous over me! And where are you getting the white gloves?
Goggles Do Something Unusual: Cookie's glasses have something very much like a full-function Windows PC built into them. He seems to see perfectly well without them, and Ned doesn't seem to suffer any ill effects while wearing them for a full episode.
He Who Must Not Be Heard: Played straight for most of the series with Buzz, one of the bullies. Lampshaded in Volunteering when he gives an impassioned speech about volunteering and everyone, including his friends, is shocked to hear him speak.
Headphones Equal Isolation: In the study hall episode, one of Ned's tips is that a good way to prevent people from distracting you is to wear headphones. You don't even have to plug them into anything.
Held Gaze: In the episode "Guide to: Positives and Negatives", Sarah Gothman and Mark Downing have this before they kiss. It's electrifying.
Happily Ever After: A running gag, usually used at the conclusion of the explanation of whatever scheme's been cooked up this time. Also, the final words of the series, as everything's tied up once and for all with more-or-less everybody being satisified with what they end up with.
Humiliating Wager: One episode has Ned and Mose making a bet that they won't procrastinate on a project. The loser has to do a silly dance wearing silly clothes. Ned seems to be procrastinating, except he was doing things relevant to his assignment, and Mose was procrastinating.
Insufferable Genius: In addition to being bullies that are implied to be even worse than Loomer, the Killer Bee spelling team repeatedly mocks people while also showing off their spelling prowess.
It's a Wonderful Plot: In the episode 'Boys' Ned's friends, Gordy, and Mr Sweeney use this to cheer Ned up and get him writing tips again. They actually pull it off by acting out Ned's past and a present with and without the Guide.
Leitmotif: Martin Qwerly, of all characters, has one that always plays when his motor mouth gets going. Cookie has a rather odd-sounding sting that punctuates some of his more outlandish statements.
Less Embarrassing Term: Ned's experimental "School Survival Cushion Protector" (an ordinary bedroom pillow). Also the "Guide to Volunteering", which is about community service as a school requirement, not actual volunteering.
Limited Wardrobe: Crubbs, Seth and a few others always have the exact same outfit. Missy, despite being the Alpha Bitch, usually wears a yellow blouse if not her cheerleading outfit.
To be entirely fair to the show, they lampshade the fact that Cookie's sudden interest in Lisa is purely superficial at several points after her makeover, especially with his insistence on calling her "new hot Lisa Zemo" or "the hot Lisa Zemo". I'm fairly certain Ned and Moze also point out he had no interest in her before her makeover and thus deserves being spurned by her now. This was even covered by an episode where Lisa had her allergies return for a while and Cookie realizes that no matter what she looks like, he still loves her.
Cookie FINALLY manages to get a date with Lisa in the Grande Finale however.
There is a portrayal of this in an early episode, where Ned stares lovingly at Suzie, Suzie stares lovingly to Loomer, and Loomer stares lovingly to Moze. She is the only one who finds the whole scene strange.
Magic Countdown: On the "Dismissal" episode, there's a timer in the bottom left corner. While it never leaves the screen, the seconds slow down and go faster 10 "seconds" before the bus leaves.
And Moze, even despite the fact that she and Ned are the official couple.
Mistaken for Murderer: Cookie sees a body dressed in Faymenís clothing fall past the window, and becomes convinced that Moze killed him because heís a bad kisser. Eventually he starts to think that Ned, Mr. Monroe, and Gordy are in on it too. Naturally, it's just an old CPR dummy they want to get rid of.
Never Trust a Trailer: In one commercial there was a scene where Moze collides with Ned and ends up on top (no this is not going into that). It was obviously trying to suggest the corridor scene would be a romantic moment for the both of them. But the episode was one of the few not involving the UST between them and the encounter was about as platonic as you could imagine... "Hey there."
No Name Given: Many people are only known by their nicknames: Coconut Head, Backpack Boy...
Noodle Implements: Subverted, along with Noodle Incident, in "Procrastination." Moze and Ned bet "the usual" over whether Ned will put off his social studies project and fail, and she gathers a ton of odd costume parts and props (clown shoes, a toilet plunger, fairy wings, etc.) throughout the episode for the bet itself. Ned passes and we get see what the bet entailed: dancing in a circle in the school's foyer, wearing all the costume parts and yodeling into the plunger while a whole crowd of students looks on.
Moze: This is your worst idea ever. ...Wait, cheese pants was your worst idea ever. But this is close.
Not to mention the varying number of times Ned has been trapped in the girl's bathroom...
Not So Different: The "Guide to Stress" ends with the three protagonists' frightening realization how they're Not So Different from their Mentors: Ned and Gordy, Moze and iTeacher, and Cook and Mr. Wright. Their role models were also a little freaked out.
"Career Week" showed Ned why he would work best in an education-related career. Like Vice Principal Crubbs, he likes giving students advice and helping them to become better people.
Oral Fixation Fixation: In "Guide to: Bad Habits", Cookie goes through a cycle of chewing habits to get his mind off of being a packrat.
Parental Bonus: Vice-Principal Crubbs. His name is a combination of Crockett and Tubbs from Miami Vice, he even dresses with a white jacket over a blue shirt. Originally he wanted to be a Vice Cop, but found the education system more rewarding and he still had "vice" in his title.
Sadist Teacher: Mr. Sweeney, parodied to some degree, as you do see him soften up towards the end, to the point where he doesn't rat Ned out for sneaking onto the field trip. He still leaves him in that tree, though... Ned explains that teachers like Sweeney may seem sadistic, but they ultimately judge themselves based on your performance. If you failed, then they failed as a teacher.
Somewhat similarly with Mr. Crubbs. Though quick to reprimand the students for breaking the rules (and even petty about it when really angry), he has his reasons. As he explained to Ned, Crubbs originally wanted to be a police officer (vice specifically), but he sensed a futility to simply punishing bad people. Wanting to be able to really help people while they could still be reached, he went into education.
Script Wank: Ned will recap the lessons from the episode at the end.
Sdrawkcab Name: In "Survival Guide to Tests", when Ned decides that, to pass the three tests he will have on the same day, he will have to become "the opposite of Ned Bigby". Gordy then asks "Den Ybgib?", and he goes with it. When he passes, he gets a G.E.E.K. membership card with the backwards name on it.
Shout Out: Several to The Fairly Odd Parents (Which is appropriate considering Daran Norris, the voice of quite a few characters on FOP, plays Gordy), many to (what else?) Star Wars in the "Guide to Dodgeball"
Two were made in "Guide to The New Kid". In the end, a new kid from Britain shows up with a Hogwarts Uniform and earlier than that:
Teacher: Please welcome... (is handed a piece of paper from Cook) ...Lord Simon Nelson-Cook, The Duke of Hazzard.
Another episode has Ned's gross school lunch slowly moving off of the plate. It helps that both the film and the episode were directed by Savage Steve Holland.
Vice Principal Crubbs' whole character is a shout out to Miami Vice.
His character's motivation to being a vice principal is because it's the next best thing to being a "vice cop in Miami."
Many Star Wars examples as said before; some are a less obvious bonus ("I don't care if your locker is on the ice planet Hoth, you're still late!") Guide to Dodgeball is the most blatant example. Ned and Moze are both Luke, Cookie is Anakin/Vader, and Loomer is Palpatine. Also, there's a ball called the Force, with Dirga telling Moze to use the Force to defeat Loomer and his posse.
In the later half of Season 2, Episode 17 (Career Week), the show makes a blink-and-you'll-miss-it shout-out to Austin Powers.
Crubs: *watches Ned run off* He's like a little mini-me! *puts his pinkie in his mouth, ala Dr. Evil.*
A circular saw from woodshop class that appears to be possessed and attempting to kill people is nicknamed Christine by the teacher.
Single-Minded Twins: Nerdy oboe-playing Stacy and Tracy. Comically subverted/deconstructed in "Guide to: Shyness" in that Tracy is actually much more dependent than her sister and copies whoever she gets close to... leading to her taking on personas like "Troze," "Treth," "Trisa" and "Tred" throughout the episode.
Springtime for Hitler: Ned's attempts at getting removed from the Class President ballot only succeed in getting everyone to like him. He throws a dodgeball at Coach Dirga's head, and ends up getting endorsed for it.
This Is No Time for Knitting: In one episode, Ned has trouble concentrating on a project he has to complete in 3 days, and has a bet going on with Moze on whether or not he'll actually finish it. She catches him goofing off time and time again with such activites as constructing popsicle-stick ninjas, practicing origami and selling sushi from a booth. It turns out the subject he chose for the project was on Japanese culture, and (surprise, surprise), he wins the bet.
Theme Naming: Mr. Chopsaw the woodshop teacher, Billy Loomer the (looming) bully, Missy Meany the mean girl, Mr. Sweeney the Sadist Teacher, and iTeacher who teaches from a Mac computer.
Transfer Student Uniforms: Averted (a neat trick since the school doesn't have a uniform.) A girl from a rival school joins the volleyball team to sabotage it; she wears Polk team warm-ups throughout the episode.
Two-Teacher School: Magnificently averted. There are almost as many teacher regulars as there are student regulars. And they all teach a particular class subject. In addition, they made it a point of explaining that Mr. Sweeney took up 8th grade science to justify why they were still taking classes from him, rather than just sticking around through all the grades.
An Extra Credit volcano was taken Up to Eleven with the use of concrete, wood framing, knocking out part of the second floor, rerouting some heat vents into the base, and a few sticks of dynamite.
Vandalism Backfire: In one episode Ned was nominated for Class President, but didn't want it, so he starts trying to do things that will not get him votes, including spray painting lockers. Unfortunately in order to keep from having to clean the graffiti up, Gordy (the janitor) gave him a spray can that was the same color as the locker, making it look like he was deliberately painting the lockers.
Webcomic Time: Sort of; the show was retooled after the first nine episodes; after that (and a year-long hiatus), the "new" first and second seasons each covered one semester, while the third season covered all of eighth grade and first aired roughly concurrently with the 2006-07 school year.