Daring to remember ‘Ned’s Declassified’

Wednesday, October 2, 2019 - 12:48pm

Devon Werkheiser in "Ned's Declassified"

Devon Werkheiser in "Ned's Declassified" Buy this photo
Nickelodeon

Does anyone else remember an online rumor that claimed Devon Werkheiser, most famous for playing Ned on “Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide,” was 6 '3? No? Well I do, and turns out it’s false. He’s 5’9, and his voice has not gotten any deeper since 2007. And he wears neckerchiefs unironically now. What does this have to do with anything? Something! Because this week, we’re talking paper over at The Michigan Daily Arts section! And what is the most famous collection of paper on television? No, not Joel Osteen’s Bible — it’s Ned’s sick camouflage composition notebook.

Although I would have liked to bring you the kind of content you deserve today (Top 10 James “Cookie” Cook Moments or a deeper analysis into what the blonde basketball kid did for white players in the NBA), I must redirect to investigate. Why is “Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide” impossible to find online? Of all of the shows to be pirated online, I thought that for sure “Ned’s” would be an easy find. It ran nearly two decades ago for three short seasons and never racked up that many Kids’ Choice Awards. It wasn’t a network darling like “iCarly” or “Spongebob Squarepants,” so I could not imagine why protecting its distribution online would be a top priority. But, after looking through almost every streaming platform and through several misleading YouTube playlists, I could only find the pilot episode on Dailymotion, the Yahoo of video-sharing websites.

In keeping with the theme, there’s just no paper trail. Get it? Please applaud me.

Hear me out on this, but I think Nickelodeon might be trying to bury the show. It wouldn’t be the first time they tried to wipe good shows from our memory. Remember “ChalkZone?” Your subconscious does.

“Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide” was created by showrunner Scott Fellows, a man with a storied history at Nickelodeon. In addition to serving as the head writer on “The Fairly OddParents” for a number of years, he also created “Big Time Rush.” Direct your hate mail to him. I bring up the B-list boy-band specifically because their show, in its entirety, is currently available on Hulu. “Big Time Rush” was never that successful before the dawn of One Direction, and especially not after, so I have to wonder, why did executives at Nickelodeon choose that show to be streamed and remembered and not the show that gave us Coconut Head and Backpack Boy? In a lot of ways the shows are very similar, despite one being about a boy-band of hockey players from Minnesota and the other following the everyday lives of middle schoolers. Both shows share the same farcical humor, and both shows’ rapid-fire sound effects contributed to my short attention span. So why the preference?

In a lot of ways the streaming world could benefit from a show like “Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide.” Kids these days need substance, and Ned delivered good, clean fun that the whole family could enjoy. Maybe, just maybe, if Ned Bigby was available to Generation Z, TikTok wouldn’t be getting so big. Just a thought. If this reflection on paper has done anything for you, I hope it inspires you to write your local congressman and demand that “Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide” be resurrected for online consumption.

P.S. Did you know Moze and Ned totally dated in real life?