Wayside (TV series)

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Wayside title.jpg
Wayside title card
Created by Louis Sachar (books)
Developed by John Derevlany
Written by John Derevlany
Directed by Riccardo Durante
Voices of Mark Rendall
Denise Oliver
Lisa Ng
Martin Villafana
Kathleen Laskey
Kedar Brown
Sergio Di Zio
Jayne Eastwood
Theme music composer James Robertson
Opening theme "Fly by the Wayside", performed by Skye Sweetnam
Ending theme "Fly by the Wayside" (instrumental)
Composer(s) Scott Bucsics
Country of origin Canada
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 26 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Scott Dyer
Doug Murphy
Lin Oliver
Running time 22 minutes
Production company(s) Nelvana
Mercury Filmworks
PiP Animation Services
Studio 306
Original network Teletoon
Picture format 720i (EDTV)
First shown in November 19, 2005 (special)
Original release March 16, 2007 (2007-03-16) – January 15, 2008 (2008-01-15) (series)

Wayside is a Canadian animated comedy television series developed by John Derevlany for Teletoon and Nickelodeon. The series centers on Todd, a transfer student who attends Wayside, an offbeat 30-story elementary school. It is loosely based on the Wayside School books by Louis Sachar, although several elements differ between the two works.

Derevlany conceived Wayside in 2003, leading to an hour-long television special pilot titled Wayside: The Movie that aired in 2005. Teletoon greenlit twenty-six episodes of Wayside in 2006, and the series made its premiere on March 3, 2007. It ended on July 9, 2008, with a total of two seasons and 26 episodes. It also aired briefly on Nickelodeon during this time, beginning in June 25, 2007. Reruns of the show currently air on YTV.

Wayside received generally positive reviews from critics, who praised its clever and off-beat humor. The series was nominated for a "Best TV Series for Children" at the 2008 Cartoons on the Bay award ceremony. The pilot episode and the first season are both available on DVD.



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.[1] 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;[2] the school campgrounds,[3] the sixteenth floor contains the faculty lounge and pool;[4] the sixteenth floor contains the cafeteria and kitchen;[4] the (technically nonexistent) nineteenth floor contains a chute blocked by wooden boards, which is rumored to be the classroom of the legendary Ms. Zarves; and the thirtieth floor contains Mrs. Jewls' classroom.[4]

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.


The main characters:

Todd (voiced by Michael Cera in the pilot; Mark Rendall in the 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, but often gets sent home early on the kindergarten bus even when his behavior is beneficial. He has no siblings,[5] but he has had two pet fish, his deceased gold fish, King Arthur I, and his current green catfish, King Arthur II.[6]

Dana (Lisa Ng), Wayside's resident overachiever who obsessively maintains the school's rules and acts as Myron's campaign manager[4] and best friend.[7][8] In Cabbage My Boy, it is claimed by Todd that she has "a million siblings",[5] and in Imperfect Attendance, she has arrived to school on time her whole life, even in the(realistically impossible) pre-preschool.[9]

Myron (Martin Villafana), an overweight, power hungry, and self-centered student who wishes to become class president. He has no pets, but used his baby brother, Fido, as a pet for pet day.[6] He also has two other brothers that never appeared in the series.[5] He also never gets tagged in the game of tag, as revealed in He Is It, because being "it" means being the most powerful kid on the playground.[7] He, on numerous occasions, has acted like a baby, normally when he doesn't get what he wants.[7][8][10][11]

Maurecia (Denise Oliver), a tomboy who wears roller skates and has an enormous crush on Todd, although he doesn't feel the same for her. However, he has shown some feelings for Maurecia, mainly in Rat In Shining Armor.[12] She claimed to have a big family in Cabbage My Boy.[5] Before Mrs. Gorf came along, she was once a gentle girly girl.[12] In the pilot episode, she had pink hair[4] whereas in the series, her hair appears to be either dark blue or purple.

The main members of the school faculty are;

Mrs. Jewels (Kathy Najimy in the pilot; Kathy Laskey in the series), Todd's offbeat yet endearing teacher who frequently sends Todd home early on the kindergarten bus for slight misdemeanors. She has a father named Papa Jewels,[13] who appeared in Teacher's Parent Conference. In the episode Age of Aquarium, it was shown that Principal Kidswatter got her name wrong three times when she applied for her job.[14]

Principal Kidswatter (Kedar Brown), often referred to as Mr. Kidswatter, the uptight and eccentric school principal who doesn't like doors, as he renames them goozacks after he bans the usage of the word door in the pilot,[4] and does not care for the students, as he calls them the What-cha-ma-call-its. Although that may have slightly changed in Kidswatter's Opus, where he substitutes for Mrs. Jewels' class on her day off, and he actually enjoyed it. Although, when Mrs. Jewels took her class back when she came back, he cried at the end, admitting he was going to miss them, just as the kids were going to miss him, because they were all making sad, shiny pupiled faces when Maurecia says, "Thanks for everything, Principal Kidswatter.", after he bids them farewell.[15] In Louis Gets Some Class, it is strongly hinted that his first name is Louis.[16]

Louis (Sergio Di Zio), the relaxed, friendly yard teacher at Wayside who is the most popular person at Wayside.[16] His middle name is Nick, as revealed in Myth Of Nick, where he, as a student, is the main character of "Nick Stories", where he does things that seem to interest the kids.[17]

Ms. Mush (Jayne Eastwood), the Eastern European head chef of the school cafeteria and nurse who is best known for her wisecracking personality and horrible cooking skills. She comes from the land of Mamaland.[18] She still shows loyalty to the Mamaland school, even though she works for their rivals, as shown in Mascot Madness[7] and Mad Hot.[18]

Supporting students in Mrs. Jewels' class include;

Shari (Lisa Ng), a girl who wears a smoky purple hooded jacket, and frequently sleeps in class. When she's not near the school, she likes to do extreme sports activities with her family(including her younger brother, her baby sister, and her parents), including Kung-Fu, skateboarding, skydiving, mountain climbing, and riding in a monster truck, owned by her parents.[5] She has been awake for a short period of time in Oh Great Leader,[6] Cabbage My Boy,[5] Myron Vs. Normy,[14] Mrs. Gorf,[12] Music Lessons,[19] and Kidswatter's Opus.[15]

Stephen (Terry McGurrin), a boy who dresses like an elf for Halloween everyday. His family does the same, only with different holidays. His father as Santa Claus, his mom as the Easter Bunny, and his little sister as a Turkey Pilgrim.[5] In Be True To Your Elf, it is revealed that he wears grey colored clothes under his costume, and in the same episode, he created a normal alter ego named Mr. Normal.[20]

Jenny (Denise Oliver), a girl who has fabulous blonde hair, is a stunt performer, and dresses in an Evel Knievel-esque. She speaks with a Southern accent. She was the first of many students to tell stories about Nick,[21] the main focus in Myth Of Nick, who happens to be Louis.[17] She didn't have her bike until Pull My Pig Tail.[22] In Daring Love, it is hinted that she might have a crush on Myron.[23]

The Three Erics , three students with similar attire that typically do activities in unison, including;

 Eric Bacon (Peter Oldring), the largest of the Erics, who has blonde hair.
 Eric Fry (Ricky Collins), the tallest, and most athletic of the Erics, who is African American, and has purple hair.[23]
 Eric Ovens (Terry McGurrin), the smallest of the Erics, who has red hair.

John (Terry McGurrin), a boy who is upside down, and comes from a family of upside down inventors and scientists.[11] For reasons unknown, his voice gets lower in Upside Down John.[11]

Joe (Peter Oldring), a boy who has a large, orange afro. In Joe In Fro, it is shown he has a fondness for nature life.[24]

Bebe (Denise Oliver), a girl who is a master artist. She spoke a few times in season one, mainly in Music Lessons,[19] but is completely mute in season two.

Leslie (Lisa Ng), a girl who performs tasks with her long pigtails and usually looks angry for reasons unknown.

Rondi (Denise Oliver(Season One); Terry McGurrin(Season Two)), a rather large girl who's almost always happy. She was shown brushing her teeth once in Todd Falls In Love.[25]

An unnamed female student (Denise Oliver) who wears a purple/pink vertically striped dress and has lemon-lime colored hair. It is assumed by the fans that her name is Deedee. She only spoke once in Myth of Nick.[17]

Recurring characters who are either members of the school faculty, or pets, include;

Mr. Blunderbuss (Dwayne Hill), the adventurous fourteenth-floor teacher who often goes on hunting safaris throughout worldwide jungles. He mainly appeared in Mrs. Gorf.[12]

Fluffy, Maurecia's green, short tempered porcupine, who despises Todd, due to Maurecia having a huge crush on him.

Ms. Mush's Octopuses, one of them she always tries to cook for lunch and fails, Poobinski,[18] and the other being a foreign exchange student from Mamaland, Stewy.[26]

Minor and one time characters or antagonists include; (A)=Antagonist (NA)=Non-antagonist (U)=Unidentified

Mrs. Gorf (Julie Lemieux), an evil substitute teacher for Mrs. Jewels who had the ability to transform her students into apples before being accidentally transformed into one herself by Maurecia.[12] (A)

Le Chef (Terry McGurrin), 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, and the fact that Ms. Mush beat him in Todd's cooking challenge.[25] He appeared again in Le Race, where he challenged Mr. Kidswatter to a challenge of Parkour, with the prize to Le Chef being complete control over the whole school of Wayside.[9] (A)

Miss Zarves, the nonexistent teacher on the, technically, nonexistent nineteenth floor. She was only referenced in Dana Checks Out.[21] (U)

Papa Jewels (Peter Oldring), Mrs. Jewels' father, who wants his daughter to give the best education she can give. He only appeared in Teacher's Parent Conference.[13] (NA)

School District Supervisor (Terry McGurrin), a man who is Mr. Kidswatter's boss, and looks like a leprechaun that Mr. Kidswatter encountered twice. He only appeared in Be True To Your Elf.[20] (U)

Hoy Hoy Hoy Dumb Bells, Mamaland rivals of Wayside who appeared in Mascot Madness[7] and Mad Hot.[18] (A)

 Ms. Aywil Kiseu (Julie Lemieux), Head of the school of the Hoy Hoy Hoy Dumb Bells. Her full name is pronounced "I Will Kiss You". She used to date Mr. Kidswatter, but she dumped him 21 years, 3 months, and 12 days ago in Mad Hot.[18]
 Timmy Tricky (Kedar Brown), Todd's Mamaland look alike and rival. He is often called Timitry. He appeared very large and had dirty blonde hair in Mascot Madness,[7] but appeared slightly similar to Todd in Mad Hot,[18] only taller, has slightly darker skin, and has dirtier red hair.
 Unnamed Students (Kedar Brown, Julie Lemieux, Denise Oliver), three other students that appeared in Mascot Madness[7] and Mad Hot.[18] Two of them look similar, but one of them is a boy with no visible hair, and the other is a girl with short pink pigtails, and one of them is a short girl, and has green hair that cover her eyes.

Differences from the books[edit]

There are a number of notable differences between Wayside and the Wayside School books. 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 two transfer students appeared the book chronology, namely Sue and Benjamin Nushmutt. However, neither Sue nor Benjamin appear in the series, and Todd instead appears to take the latter's role as "new kid".[27] 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.[27]


Critical reception[edit]

Wayside has received generally positive reviews from critics. David Cornelius of DVD Talk described it 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."[28] Adam Arsenau of 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."[29]

However, the series also drew criticism for its differences to the Wayside School books on which it was based. Alyse Wax of Blogcritics 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".[30] Joanna Weiss of 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."[31]

Michael P. Dougherty II of Fulve Drive-In gave a largely negative assessment of the series, describing it as "a disgrace to the novels" and believed it "totally strips away any intelligence or meaning they had." Dougherty also criticized the series' "total lack of ingenuity," and "coupled with the fact that it tainted the book series name makes this an awful, no good animated series."[32]

Awards and nominations[edit]

In 2008, Wayside received a nomination for "Best TV Series for Children" at the 2008 Cartoons on the Bay award ceremony.[33]


DVD box set for season 1.
Season DVD release date
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
1 March 30, 2006 (Wayside: The Movie)
August 29, 2007 (Season 1) [34]
2 November 16, 2008 (Season 2) N/A N/A

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.[34]


  1. ^ Derevlany, John & Oliver, Lin (concept); Durante, Ricardo (2005-11-15). "Pilot". Wayside. Season 01. Episode 00. Teletoon. 
  2. ^ Derevlany, John; Durante, Ricardo (2007-04-21). "Myron vs. Normy". Wayside. Season 01. Episode 6A. Teletoon. 
  3. ^ Derevlany, John; Durante, Ricardo (2007-05-19). "Mrs. Gorf". Wayside. Season 01. Episode 10B. Teletoon. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f http://tubitv.com/video?id=274950&title=Wayside_Special1
  5. ^ a b c d e f g http://tubitv.com/video?id=274926&title=S01:E03_-_Honors_Class__/_Cabbage,_My_Boy4
  6. ^ a b c http://tubitv.com/video?id=274925&title=S01:E02_-_Meet_the_Pets_/_Oh,_Great_Leader3
  7. ^ a b c d e f g http://tubitv.com/video?id=274927&title=S01:E04_-_Mascot_Madness__/_He_is_It!5
  8. ^ a b http://tubitv.com/video?id=274928&title=S01:E05_-_Best_Friendzzz__/_Kindergarten_King6
  9. ^ a b http://tubitv.com/video?id=274948&title=S01:E25_-_Le_Race_/_Imperfect_Attendance26
  10. ^ http://tubitv.com/video?id=274939&title=S01:E16_-_Safety_Monitor_/_Kidswatter_the_Movie17
  11. ^ a b c http://tubitv.com/video?id=274946&title=S01:E23_-_Upside_Down_John_/_The_Final_Stretch24
  12. ^ a b c d e http://tubitv.com/video?id=274933&title=S01:E10_-_Rat_in_Shining_Armor__/_Mrs._Gorf11
  13. ^ a b http://tubitv.com/video?id=274932&title=S01:E09_-_Principles_of_Principals__/_Teachers_Parent_Conference10
  14. ^ a b http://tubitv.com/video?id=274929&title=S01:E06_-_Myron_vs._Normy__/_Age_of_Aquarium7
  15. ^ a b http://tubitv.com/video?id=274947&title=S01:E24_-_Kidswatters_Opus_/_The_Three_Erics25
  16. ^ a b http://tubitv.com/video?id=274936&title=S01:E13_-_Louis_Gets_Some_Class__/_My_Fluffy_Hair14
  17. ^ a b c http://tubitv.com/video?id=274944&title=S01:E21_-_Dr._Dana_/_Myth_of_Nick22
  18. ^ a b c d e f g http://tubitv.com/video?id=274931&title=S01:E08_-_Mad_Hot__/_Mamaland_Blues9
  19. ^ a b http://tubitv.com/video?id=274935&title=S01:E12_-_Music_Lessons__/_Todd_&_Bull_Story13
  20. ^ a b http://tubitv.com/video?id=274940&title=S01:E17_-_Be_True_To_Your_Elf_/_Sideways_Protest18
  21. ^ a b http://tubitv.com/video?id=274937&title=S01:E14_-_Dana_Checks_Out_/_My_Biggest_Fan15
  22. ^ http://tubitv.com/video?id=274924&title=S01:E01_-_Pull_my_Pigtail_/_Class_Cow2
  23. ^ a b http://tubitv.com/video?id=274938&title=S01:E15_-_My_Partner_Gets_All_the_Credit_/_Daring_Love16
  24. ^ http://tubitv.com/video?id=274945&title=S01:E22_-_Slo_Mo_Mo_/_Joe_n_Fro23
  25. ^ a b http://tubitv.com/video?id=274934&title=S01:E11_-_Todd_Falls_in_Love__/_French_Fried12
  26. ^ http://tubitv.com/video?id=274942&title=S01:E19_-_The_Rat_Truth_/_Free_Stewy20
  27. ^ a b Gutierrez, Albert (2007-09-23). "Wayside: The Movie DVD Review". DVD Dizzy. The Walt Disney Company. Retrieved 2010-08-13. 
  28. ^ Cornelius, David (2008-08-30). "Wayside School — Season One". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2010-08-13. 
  29. ^ Arsenau, Adam (2008-08-10). "Wayside School: Season One". DVD Verdict. Retrieved 2010-08-13. 
  30. ^ Wax, Alyse (July 18, 2007). "TV Review: Wayside on Nickelodeon". Blogcritics. Retrieved 19 December 2010. 
  31. ^ Weiss, Joanna (June 25, 2007). "'Wayside' skips the nuance, but not the fun". Boston Globe. Retrieved 19 December 2010. 
  32. ^ Dougherty, Michael P. II. "Wayside School — Season One (Nickelodeon DVD)". Fulvue Drive-In. Retrieved 2010-08-13. 
  33. ^ "Nelvana.com : Company : Awards Received". Nelvana. Retrieved 2010-08-13. 
  34. ^ a b "Wayside — Season 1". TV Shows on DVD.com. Retrieved 2010-08-13. 

External links[edit]