Nick sitcoms seemed to have lost their luster in recent years. Sitcoms like How to Rock, Henry Danger, Nicky, Ricky, Dicky, and Dawn, Bella and the Bulldogs, and so forth fail in their comedy and often talk down to their target audience. However Nick sitcoms in the early 2000s were pure greatness and among them is the one we’re talking about here, Ned’s Declassified. The premise involved Ned Bigby along with his best friends Moze and Cookie at James K. Polk Middle School in California. Ned utilizes his school survival guide to share tips on navigating the various problems middle school can pose.
One of the good points of this show is that it would be educational in providing school survival tips but it would also have fun with a cartoony and exaggerated look. For instance in the Class Clowns episode involved the usual class clown moving away causing the sky to turn gray and teachers to give more work. The Dodge ball episode made a game of dodge ball out to be a chaotic war zone. But the show also gave legitimate tips to legitimate school issues for middle school students (and even some high school students) like organization, pressure, reading, school records, social life, etc. These topics were discussed in fun and relatable detail that would make one capable of seeing these matters utilized in a real life school.
The show also focused on developing relationships between the various characters. When something big happened between the characters it would follow through subsequent episodes whether it was through a main or side plot. This allowed for the characters to grow and develop throughout the series. The relationships were treated like relationships for middle school kids. They weren’t serious ones but they could make a long impact. In many ways the relationship between Ned and Moze has left a long impact on the audience that grew up on the show.
As the main character Ned is basically a troublemaker with average grades. He often tries to take the easy route and it often backfires. This helped relate to many average teens who often weren’t big fans of hard work. But with each episode Ned would learn his lesson and would provide the survival tips in a legitimate way for even the silliest of situations. Moze was another interesting character given episodes to explore various sides of her character as an athlete and as a girl (given that many of her relationships were defined through Ned and Cookie). Her relationship with Ned is one of many positive aspects to come from the developing relationships as it had a steady but sure evolution. While Cookie is the least developed of the three he does get some amazing comedic subplots. All three of these characters have amazing chemistry that makes them feel like a unique unit and a believable friendship. Other side characters like, Coconut Head, Lisa Zemo, Gordy the janitor, Vice Principal Crubbs, and others also work well on their own and with one another. They have great comedic timing and sometimes some deep moments for them as well. Each of them is likable and contributes to the mix of silliness and connection that the show’s tone provides. There are the teachers like Mr. Sweeney, Mr. Wright, Mr. Chopsaw, and Ms. Dirga each of whom have different personalities and are just as likable. They are hard on their students but also try to lend a helping hand to them wherever they can. The show has a huge cast and it’s quite amazing how each one has different roles that never get tiring or unlikable.
Ned’s Declassified can sometimes be too silly but it balances it out with wonderful characters, a good way of executing life lessons, and an overall upbeat vibe. Nick sitcoms may not be what they are used to be but this is not one that ought to be forgotten. It definitely earns its spot next to the titans of Nick sitcoms.