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)
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) Teletoon Original Production
Nickelodeon Production
Original network Teletoon
Picture format 720i (EDTV)
Original release June 25, 2007 (2007-06-25) – July 9, 2008 (2008-07-09)

Wayside (also known as Wayside School) 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. 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;[1] the sixteenth floor contains the cafeteria and kitchen;[1] 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.[1]

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 are 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; Maurecia (Denise Oliver), a tomboy who wears roller skates and has an enormous crush on Todd; Dana (Lisa Ng), Wayside's resident overachiever who obsessively maintains the school's rules and acts as Myron's campaign manager and best friend; and Myron (Martin Villafana), an overweight and self-centered student who wishes to become class president.

The main members of the school faculty are Mrs. Jewls (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; Mr. Kidswatter (Kedar Brown), the uptight and eccentric school principal who does not like doors, as he calls them goozacks, and does not care for the students, as he calls them the What-cha-ma-call-its; Louis (Sergio Di Zio), the relaxed, friendly yard teacher at Wayside who is the most popular person at Wayside; and 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.

Supporting students in Mrs. Jewels' class include, Shari (Lisa Ng), a female student who wears a smoky purple hooded jacket, and frequently sleeps in class; Stephen (Terry McGurrin), a boy who dresses like an elf for Halloween everyday; Jenny (Denise Oliver), a female student who has fabulous blonde hair, is a stunt performer, and dresses in an Evel Knievel-esque; John (Terry McGurrin), a boy who is upside down, and comes from a family of upside down inventors and scientists; Joe (Peter Oldring), a student who has a large, orange afro; the Three Erics (Terry McGurrin, Peter Oldring, Ricky Collins), three students with similar attire that typically do activities in unison; Bebe (Denise Oliver), a female student who is a master artist; Leslie (Lisa Ng), a female student who performs tasks with her long pigtails and usually looks angry; Rondi (Denise Oliver), a rather large girl who's almost always happy; and an unnamed female student (Denise Oliver) who wears a purple dress and has lemon-colored hair.

Minor members of the school faculty are Mrs. Gorf (Julie Lemieux), a substitute teacher for Mrs. Jewls who had the ability to transform her students into apples before being transformed into one herself by Maurecia; 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; and Miss Zarves, the nonexistent teacher on the nonexistent nineteenth floor.

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".[4] 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.[4]


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."[5] 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."[6]

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".[7] 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."[8]

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."[9]

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.[5]


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) [10]
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.[10]


  1. ^ a b c d 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 Gutierrez, Albert (2007-09-23). "Wayside: The Movie DVD Review". DVD Dizzy. The Walt Disney Company. Retrieved 2010-08-13. 
  5. ^ a b Cornelius, David (2008-08-30). "Wayside School — Season One". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2010-08-13.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "dvdtalk" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  6. ^ Arsenau, Adam (2008-08-10). "Wayside School: Season One". DVD Verdict. Retrieved 2010-08-13. 
  7. ^ Wax, Alyse (July 18, 2007). "TV Review: Wayside on Nickelodeon". Blogcritics. Retrieved 19 December 2010. 
  8. ^ Weiss, Joanna (June 25, 2007). "'Wayside' skips the nuance, but not the fun". Boston Globe. Retrieved 19 December 2010. 
  9. ^ Dougherty, Michael P. II. "Wayside School — Season One (Nickelodeon DVD)". Fulvue Drive-In. Retrieved 2010-08-13. 
  10. ^ a b "Wayside — Season 1". TV Shows on DVD.com. Retrieved 2010-08-13. 

External links[edit]