Wayside School, Season One
Nelvana International/ Paramount DVD
4 hours, 52 minutes (13 episodes on two DVDs)
With its vast array of vivid colors, crazy characters, and odd-ball humor, Wayside School has one thing going for it: it’s definitely for kids. And that’s not a bad thing. The series, which is based on the popular young adult novels by Louis Sachar, follows the adventures of a group of grammar school kids who attend Wayside School. Unlike other schools, Wayside was built completely wrong. It’s thirty stories tall, has stairs that go up, and down, and sideways, strange animals roam the halls, and the cafeteria has supernatural powers. Of course, most schools these days have all those things, right?
Each episode contains two stories that revolve around the main hero of the series, Todd. Todd must work his way through the insanity that is Wayside while contending with his nemesis Principal Kidswatter.
Gross-out gags, sight gags, and slapstick run rampant throughout the series. Adults are seen as dopey, whiny, and childish, while the students are smart, savvy, and problem-solvers. This makes sense within the context of the series because it is a Saturday morning cartoon aimed at young kids and not their parents.
While it has it’s moments for older audiences, this particular series is geared more toward elementary school and middle school audiences. There are plenty of identifiable situations in different episodes (someone having a crush on you, having to share to get things done, working as a team, etc.), that could possibly be seen as morals at the end of each story.
The two DVD set contains thirteen episodes and no special features. There is a movie called Wayside School released in 2005 that features Juno and Superbad’s Michael Cera as the voice of Todd. Unfortunately, he’s not the voice of Todd in the series.
Wayside School, Season One gets a B. Entertaining, but no Michael Cera = loss of points.
If you’d like to read the books this TV series is based on, here are their titles:
Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar
Wayside School Is Falling Down by Louis Sachar
Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger by Louis Sachar
Oh, and if the guy who stole my copy of Sideways Stories from Wayside School when we were in the 4th grade is reading this, I want my book back!