Ode to Ned

Lately, we have been TiVo-ing Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide. Every weekday at around 3 p.m., the kids and I sit down to “watch some Ned.”

Ned has all the bubblegummy deliciousness of Saved by the Bell, the teen angst of The Wonder Years, and the comic timing of Arrested Development, with better sound effects. And the acting, the pure physical comedy of it all, is simply delightful. The cast is superb. Ned has Zack Morris’ charm and Corey Matthews’ goofy innocence. His best friend Jennifer “Moze” Mosely is smart, athletic, independent, and witty–she would totally crush Hannah Montana. Their other best friend, Simon “Cookie” Cook, reminds me of Urkel or Screech without being completely annoying and/or socially inept. The cast is rounded out nicely with “Miami Vice” Principal Crubbs, scheming janitor Gordy, and other well-cast teachers and students.

During each 11-minute episode Ned gives tips on how to tackle a school-related problem. Although I’m no longer in 7th grade, I find Ned’s advice is ageless. Hard work always pays off. Tell the truth, no matter how much it hurts. If you’re failing, try something new. Never smash a fruit without eye protection.

The subject matter gets increasingly relationship-oriented towards the end of the show (the 2nd to the last episode is entitled “When You Like Someone Who Is Going Out With Someone Else”), but it’s fun to watch the evolving love triangles, and the content stays purely PG. I highly recommend it for tweeners, their parents, and anyone who appreciates good clean teenybopper comedy.

Oh, Ned. Where were you when I was thirteen?

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