Wayside (TV series)
Wayside title card
|Developed by||John Derevlany
Mark Ackland (design)
Riccardo Durante (character development)
|Written by||John Derevlany
|Directed by||Riccardo Durante|
|Voices of||Mark Rendall
Sergio Di Zio
|Theme music composer||James Robertson|
|Opening theme||"Fly by the Wayside" by Skye Sweetnam|
|Ending theme||"Fly by the Wayside" (instrumental)|
|Country of origin||Canada
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||26 (List of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Scott Dyer
|Running time||22 minutes|
|Original channel||Teletoon (Canada)
|Picture format||720i (EDTV)|
|Original run||June 25, 2007 – September 13, 2008|
Wayside (also known as Wayside School) is a Canadian animated television series created by John Derevlany for Teletoon and Nickelodeon. The series centers on Todd, a transfer student who attends Wayside, an offbeat educational institution that was accidentally stacked thirty stories high, with one classroom on each floor. The series' premise is based on the book series Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar, although several elements in the series differ greatly.
The series was conceived by Derevlany in 2003, as an hour-long television special and pilot that aired in 2005. Teletoon greenlit twenty-six episodes of Wayside in 2006, which aired throughout 2007 and 2008. The series was also commissioned to air in the United States on Nickelodeon during the summer of 2007 before being pulled from the network's lineup and returning late in the year. The show ceased production in 2008, but still airs on Teletoon in reruns. The show first aired on Nicktoons on September 1, 2007 and the show is removed from American television on April 5, 2010.
Wayside received generally favorable reviews from critics, and was also nominated for a "Best TV Series for Children" at the 2008 Cartoons on the Bay award ceremony. Despite favorable critical reception, the series has also received negative criticism, including unfavorable comparisons for its differences from the Sideways Stories book series. Many tie-in media have been released, including a DVD release of the pilot episode under the title Wayside: The Movie, released in 2007, and a DVD of the first season, released on August 17, 2008.
Wayside takes place in the fictional Wayside School, an unusual Escher-esque 30-story elementary school. The school had been accidentally built "sideways", with one classroom in each of the 30 stories instead of 30 classrooms on one floor. Like in the books, there are actually 29 floors in the school; the imaginary 19th floor is inhabited by the imaginary Miss Zarves. The series revolves around a new student at the school, named Todd, and his adventures adapting to life as a student at the top floor of Wayside School.
At Wayside, every floor appears to have lockers, stairs, classrooms, doors, and light fixtures. The first floor contains the principal's office; the second floor contains a bathroom and several rows of lockers, while the fifth, sixth, and seventh consist of the classroom for pottery, the school campgrounds, and the school library, respectively. The twelfth floor contains the faculty lounge and pool, while the three floors above that contain the gym, the social studies classroom and gondola canal, and the cafeteria and kitchen.
On the (technically nonexistent) nineteenth floor, there are no doors, but a chute blocked by wooden boards. In the episode "Dana Checks Out," in the hall and stairwell of what is considered the nineteenth floor, there are lockers in the background. On the two tallest floors, Ms. Mush teaches honors class in an auditorium on the twenty-ninth floor, while Mrs. Jewls teaches her students on the thirtieth. Every floor also appears to be a different color. To add to the school's Escher-esque style, all of the features of the floors—doors, lockers, stairs, etc.—are placed in very unusual ways, as seen in the Escher artwork, Relativity. All of the floors' features are either right-side up, upside-down, sideways, or suspended high above the floor, as seen with several lockers.
Wayside primarily centers on Todd (Michael Cera (Pilot); Mark Rendall (TV Series), a transfer student who attends Mrs. Jewls's class on the thirtieth floor and struggles to adapt and conform to Wayside's offbeat academic structure and always gets sent home early on the kindergarten bus for doing nothing wrong. Supporting characters include his friends:
Dana (Lisa Ng (Season 1 - 2), Kira Tozer(Season 3 and Onward)), a Type A overachiever who obsessively maintains Wayside's rules and acts as Myron's campaign manager and best friend. Her real name is Yodana(as revealed in the episode, "Oh Brother"). Her catchphrase is "ENOUGH WITH THE FUN!".
Myron (Martin Villafana(Season 1 - 2), Samuel Vincent(Season 3 and Onward)), a vain and self-centered student who wishes to become class president. He is Dana's best friend(as revealed in the episode, "He Is It").
Maurecia (Denise Oliver from the first two seasons and Ashleigh Ball from the third season onward), a tomboy who wears roller skates and has an enormous crush on Todd. Her name is pronounced "Maur-ee-see-uh" while in the pilot movie, her name is pronounced "Mau-ree-suh" and has red hair instead of purple. She often punches him as a way to show her feelings towards him and Todd sometimes has feelings for her. In the pilot, she is shown to have blue eyes.
Recurring members of the school faculty include:
Mrs. Jewls (Kathy Najimy in the pilot; Kathleen Laskey in seasons 1 and 2; Nicole Oliver in season 3 and onward), Todd's offbeat yet endearing teacher. She puts Todd's name on the Discipline List in almost every episode, despite that Todd has not done anything nothing wrong in her class.
Principal Kidswatter (Kedar Brown in seasons 1 and 2 Clé Bennett in season 3 and onward), the uptight, self-centered and insecure school principal who often makes up apparently arbitrary rules on a whim, without thinking about the consequences of these rules. He does not care for the students, although that slightly changed in the episode "Kidswatter Opus", where he teaches Mrs. Jewels' class when it was her day off, and was even crying at the end and admits he was going to miss them, just as the kids were going to miss him, because they were all making sad faces when Maurecia was saying, "Thanks for everything, Principal Kidswatter." His first name is Louis(as revealed in the episode, "Louis Gets Some Class").
Miss Mush (Jayne Eastwood in seasons 1 and 2; Tabitha St. Germain in season 3 onward), the Eastern European head chef of the school cafeteria and nurse who is best known for her friendly personality and horrible cooking skills, although she thinks is an excellent cook.
Recurring students in Mrs. Jewls' class include:
Shari (Lisa Ng (Season 1: Myron vs. Normy), Tara Strong(Season 3 and Onward)), a female student who wears a smoky purple overcoat and frequently sleeps in class until the third season which she becomes one of the main characters. In the episode "Cabbage My Boy", a video shows that she is awake after school, doing extreme activities(including karate, skateboarding, skydiving, and mountain climbing) with her family, which might be a clue that she takes naps in school to get more energy. She has a little brother, and a baby sister. Her family owns a Monster Truck that they normally use to take Shari to school. She also seems to be quite wealthy and quite intelligent, as her family was able to afford a monster truck, and she was able to make a movie under the production known as, "A Shari Production", and she was able to recognize Myron in the Normy costume in "Myron vs. Normy. She might look like she's sad most of the time(because her face is asleep), but she seems to be quite happy with her life. Also, her whole family(besides her sister) wear a hood, and it might be the school that makes her sleepy.
Stephen (Terry McGurrin in the first two seasons and Samuel Vincent in the third season onward), a student who wears a Halloween elf costume. His whole family wears holiday related clothes(his mother dressed as the Easter Bunny, his sister as a pilgrim, and his father as Santa Claus). He technically becomes one of the main characters starting in Season 2.
Jenny (Denise Oliver in Seasons 1-2 and Tress MacNeille in Season 3 onward), an Evel Knievel-esque stunt performer who often rides a bike in the shape and sound of a motorcycle throughout the school. She is often known for her fabulous blonde hair. She often calls her friends by the nick names she gives them(for example, she gave Maurecia the name Sister Mo and Dana the name Sister D). In "Daring Love" it's hinted she might be in love with Myron. She was the first one in the series to have told any stories about a kid named Nick, whom of which is Louis revealed in Myth of Nick. Along with Shari, she will become one of the main characters in the third season.
The three Erics, consisting of Eric Fry, Eric Bacon, and Eric Ovens (Terry McGurrin(Ovens), Peter Oldring(Bacon), and Dwayne Hill(Fry)), three similarly-attired students in Mrs. Jewls' class who perform many casual tasks collectively. Bacon is the largest Eric, Fry is the African American Eric, and Ovens is the smallest Eric.
John (Megan Fahlenbock), a student who is usually upside-down and walks on his hands.
Joe (Terry McGurrin), a student who is known for his large orange-colored afro. His whole family has the same colored afro. He seems to have a fondness for nature life in "Joe in Fro".
Leslie (Lisa Ng(Season 1 - 2) and Tara Strong(Season 3 and onward)), a female student who uses her two pigtails to perform everyday tasks;
Bebe Gunn (Denise Oliver(Season 1 - 2) and Grey Delise(Season 3 and onward)), a female student best known for her advanced art skills. She doesn't normally talk, instead she draws, but she does talk in "Music Lessons".
Deedee (Lisa Ng(Season 1 - 2) and Grey Delise(Season 3 and onward)) who wears a pink and purple vertically striped shirt and has lemon-lime green hair.
Several members of the school faculty also play minor roles, including:
Le Chef (Peter Oldring), the former French chef in the teacher's lounge who was to be appointed cafeteria chef in place of Ms. Mush but was later evicted from the school due to his obnoxious demeanor.
Mr. Blunderbuss (Dwayne Hill), the adventurous fourteenth-floor teacher who often goes on hunting safaris throughout worldwide jungles.
Miss Zarves, the teacher for the nonexistent nineteenth floor.
Other recurring characters include:
Poobinsky, an octopus that Ms. Mush attempts to cook for lunch but is always unsuccessful in doing.
Stewy, another octopus who is an exchange student for Ms. Mush.
Fluffy, Maurecia's short-tempered pet porcupine who often envies Todd.
Differences from the books
There are a number of notable differences between Wayside and Sideways Stories from Wayside School. For example, in the series, a large number of changes were made to the character of Todd; in the book series, he is not a transfer student, although three transfer students appeared in the book chronology, namely Sammy, Sue, and Benjamin Nushmutt. However, Sue does not appear in the series, and Todd instead appears to take the latter's role as "new kid". Maurecia's personality also diverges from that of the series—in the books, she is normal girl with a love for ice cream who is never mentioned nor depicted to wear roller skates and is almost always featured with her best friend Joy, who never appears in the series. Calvin, Paul, Jason, D.J., Kathy, Ron, Allison, Dameon, Terrance, Joy, Mac, and Benjamin Nushmutt never appear in the series. Also, in the series, Mrs Gorf is a substitute for Mrs Jewls, whereas in the book, she was their full-on teacher before Mrs Jewls came, and in the book, Todd and Jenny stood up for the class, and in the series it was Maurecia and Myron. Also, in the books, Todd doesn't have a pet so he brings in his baby brother, whereas in the series, Myron brings in his brother, and also in the books, it never mentioned that Todd had a pet goldfish called King Arthur.
DVD Talk described Wayside as "a clever, often hilarious little show that demands a larger audience", praising the series' scripts and dialogue as "delight[ed] in mixing absurd humor with fond grade school memories."
DVD Verdict stated "The most satisfying part of Wayside is how the show feels perfectly balanced—it has enough wacky antics and bizarre events to satisfy young audiences, enough logical fallacies and defiant attitudes to amuse middle-aged kids, and enough clever and sardonic wit to please adults fortunate enough to find themselves in front of a television set while the show is playing," concluding that Wayside was "the perfect cartoon adventure for families of all ages."
Blogcritics reviewer negatively compared the animated series to the books which inspired it, stating that the series "doesn't have the magic that the books had," and noting that while the books provided "wacky, silly, with odd, funny, almost-realistic-but-not-quite characters", viewers get no such character development from the animation, and expanded that while the show is shared from an adult perspective, it is not meant to be enjoyed by parents and kids" watching it together, being "geared towards younger kids".
Boston Globe offered that while viewers familiar with the character development in the book series will see that the animated series "understandably, dispenses with the nuance in favor of kid-friendly slapstick and goofy conceptual jokes", the children and parents who have not previously encountered the books "won't know what they're missing."
Awards and nominations
In 2008, Wayside received a nomination for "Best TV Series for Children" at the 2008 Cartoons on the Bay award ceremony.
|Season||DVD release date|
|Region 1||Region 2||Region 4|
|1||March 30, 2006 (Wayside: The Movie)
August 29, 2007 (Season 1) 
In 2007, the pilot episode of Wayside was released and branded as Wayside: The Movie. The first season excluding the pilot was released on August 29, 2008 under the title Wayside School: Season 1.
- Derevlany, John & Oliver, Lin (concept); Durante, Ricardo (2005-11-15). "Pilot". Wayside. Season 01. Episode 00. Teletoon.
- Derevlany, John; Durante, Ricardo (2007-04-21). "Myron vs. Normy". Wayside. Season 01. Episode 6A. Teletoon.
- Derevlany, John; Durante, Ricardo (2007-05-19). "Mrs. Gorf". Wayside. Season 01. Episode 10B. Teletoon.
- Derevlany, John; Durante, Ricardo (2007-05-19). "French Fried". Wayside. Season 01. Episode 11B. Teletoon.
- Derevlany, John; Durante, Ricardo (2007-03-31). "Honors Class". Wayside. Season 01. Episode 3A. Teletoon.
- Gutierrez, Albert (2007-09-23). "Wayside: The Movie DVD Review". DVD Dizzy. The Walt Disney Company. Retrieved 2010-08-13.
- Cornelius, David (2008-08-30). "Wayside School — Season One". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2010-08-13.
- Arsenau, Adam (2008-08-10). "Wayside School: Season One". DVD Verdict. Retrieved 2010-08-13.
- Wax, Alyse (July 18, 2007). "TV Review: Wayside on Nickelodeon". Blogcritics. Retrieved 19 December 2010.
- Weiss, Joanna (June 25, 2007). "'Wayside' skips the nuance, but not the fun". Boston Globe. Retrieved 19 December 2010.
- "Wayside — Season 1". TV Shows on DVD.com. Retrieved 2010-08-13.