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Moze Was A GiftHere's why Moze was awesome: Sure, she mostly hung out with guys and wasn't stereotypically girly, but she didn't reject femininity either.
So what is it about this tween-centric comedy that so inspired my love that it nearly ranked in the top 20?
Each half hour episode (22 minutes minus commercials) is broken into two halves, and that’s part of the charm of the show: the unprecedented, zany pace.
But the absurdity is not compartmentalized to Cookie — everyone has bits of weirdness. Yet, for as unbounded as reality often seems at Polk, there’s something very focused about many of its plots. Though Ned’s seems, on the surface, a show for the Internet age, with three or four plots packed into just over ten minutes, the show seems inspired by an old-school aesthetic and mindset. I’ll keep this section short — there is a LOT of innuendo and arguably-sexual jokes and imagery in this show. His ongoing plot, starting from the first episode and spanning the whole series, is his attempt to catch a weasel loose in the school. Watch enough kids shows (and I’ve watched my fair share, both because I have several younger siblings and because I kind of enjoy some of them) and you quickly realize that most kids and tweens can’t act worth crap. Even better is Devon Werkheiser playing title character Ned (though Moze is better-written than Ned, usually).
The scenes that Workheiser and Shaw share are reliably enjoyable, and the episodes that focus on Ned and Moze’s platonic but turbulent friendship are always among the best. Others are much more general — episodes borrow from a bunch of different genres, from mystery to horror to soap opera to sci-fi to sports movies to classic sitcoms to documentaries and more. There’s even some fantastic meta-humor in the show: The seventh episode has a very funny plot about Cookie basically casting himself, a reference to the actor for Cookie was recast. It all builds towards the series finale as the third season sets up several love triangles. It’s not at all perfect: The plot about art thieves is way out of the show’s realm, and I wish more of it had taken place in the halls of Polk.
So it was pretty clear from the start of the third season, if not much earlier, that the show’s endgame was Ned and Moze realizing how much they love each other and getting together. You could’ve guessed them getting together, but you probably wouldn’t have guessed how sweetly the finale did it.
The show ended before it started losing steam, so there was never a feeling of wading through the muck that often tinges long-running comedies.
The gorgeous Christian Serratos plays Suzie Crabgrass, Ned’s crush (and one of my Nickelodeon high school TV crushes, along with Mindy Crenshaw).
In case you didn’t believe me that the show piles on recurring characters, Wikipedia counts 53 recurring characters on top of the five credited leads (Jim Bullock receiving credit as a lead was always ridiculous, BTW).
On the topic of characters the show never quite figured out, I never really could embrace Faymen as anything other than an obstacle to an inevitable Moze-Ned hookup.


While the show did figure out Missy as a great villain, I’m not a fan of the episodes where she pines after Ned. As great as Beard Combover Guy is, my favorite side character is probably the psychic Lunch Lady Rose. If I ever finish my Wonder Years recaps, this show is a strong candidate for episode-by-episode discussion.
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She was a jock and also a brain, she wasn't prissy but definitely wasn't afraid to wear pink either. He was full of useful advice and even when he wasn't he still had the kids' backs when push came to shove.
Did any of you have a weird attraction to Coconut Head’s haircut or was that just me? The notion that it’s “better” than many of the shows ranked lower on the list is ridiculous — mainly because the show is ridiculous.
It’s smart and self-referential enough that it would be labeled a “cult hit” if it was aimed at an older audience. It’s a comedy about a wacky, surreal middle school, focusing on three central characters: the titular Ned Bigby and his two best friends, Jennifer “Moze” Mosely, and Simon “Cookie” Nelson-Cook. Eleven minutes per episode, with many episodes having A, B, C, and sometimes even D stories! Many of the side characters are intrinsically gimmicky and ridiculous (more on them in a minute), and the other main characters are plenty unpredictable.
Especially in the second and third seasons, many episodes have some sort of genre-focused twist (much like another beloved show, Community).
Nope — “Backpack Guy” immediately becomes a recurring side character, never losing his ridiculous backpack. It’s not quite as cleverly self-referential as Arrested Development, but it’s definitely a “lite” version of that.
Rather than have Suzie be the popular-girl crush Ned would never date, the writers finally let them get together and let the social dominoes fall. I wish that it had gone even harder on the use of inside jokes to thank fans, and Loomer’s rapid reinvention had felt more true to character. If your show takes place almost entirely in a school that the kids are leaving behind at the end of the show, what is the ultimate thing you can do to send off the school and show? I always want finales to both honor the tone of the show and go out on some big climactic note of finality. It hits all of the notes I wanted and has an appropriately gonzo, insane conclusion for a show that was always so wild. Yet I also felt like not much was left on the table — the show ended pretty much exactly when it should have.


It’s wacky but warm-hearted, and it develops characters and relationships in a satisfying way. The teachers are less interesting than the students, but there are a few highlights: One is Vice Principal Crubbs, dressed in Miami Vice pastels.
I always felt like the show was trying to do something strange and original with the idea of a computer-based teacher but never figured out what that was. It’s borderline wish fulfillment — why would the popular girl aimlessly want to be with a dopey guy?
Probably the fact that its weirdness was a great throwback to the brand of weirdness that Nickelodeon was so well known for in the ’90s. He frequently cross-dresses (“seeee ya!”), speaks in a fake British accent for an episode, digs a tunnel beneath the school, records a country song (“Cowboy Cookie!”), and more. I trace this back to the show’s obvious appreciation for old Looney Tunes cartoons which were very much the same way.
Lindsey Shaw (who has rightfully landed a few major gigs since Ned’s ended) is delightful as the aggressive tomboy Jennifer Mosley.
He plays well with every other actor on the show, especially Norris (Gordy) and especially especially Shaw (Moze).
Some of them are very specific — like a shot recreating the famous poster for Attack of the 50-Foot Woman. The show is constantly piling on characters who could have been one-time jokes, but who recur and maintain their ridiculous traits. You feel very rewarded as a fan who watches every episode in order and gets to know the characters.
Because the show at that point had developed such a huge roster of strange, enjoyable side characters, the show’s quest to try dozens of permutations of characters pining after each other and sometimes getting together proved very satisfying. I want finales to tie up the show’s conflicts and give us satisfying conclusions for our characters while still telling contained stories.
On top of that, it has some of the most absurd humor you’ll see in any show, kids’ or otherwise.
The show develops the relationship between the science teacher and Ned perfectly, treading the line of annoyance tinged with affection perfectly. They were all across the board, from her friend Ned to the idiotic basketball star, Seth Powers.
Credit both the writing and the acting — Moze is a very well-written character not just by kids’ show standards, but by TV standards, period.




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