Written with affecting humor tending toward the madcap, Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide nevertheless centers each half-episode around a real issue that is pertinent to children of middle-school age--and as rarely happens in kids' television, the lessons here might actually *help* your kid(s) navigate life.
While the action is zany, care is taken in the writing to present the students as whole people; and beyond the direct-to-camera tips given out copiously by Ned in each episode for such minor horrors as having something stuck in your teeth or the best placement for a locker, there are invaluable strategies for more serious pitfalls such as bullying, poor self-image, academic dishonesty, and how to deal sensitively with a friend's tragedy. The plot of each episode is more or less an illustration of each "survival tip."
It is TV for kids of a certain age, and therefore parents are largely absent in person, although their presence is felt: the kids get themselves into and out of trouble, as responsible people should, but there is no mistake that they are subject to rules at home. The school faculty, while not caricatured as inept, is certainly a bit on the clueless side (as is the entire adult population in a middle-schooler's reckoning!), but there is wisdom there, too.
Middle school is a fraught time for developing humans, with new challenges and risks, and with decisions that for the first time in your life may affect the *rest* of your life. It is the time when we begin to fine-tune important distinctions between, for instance, dignity vs. pride, ambition vs. greed, discipline vs. obsession, and embarrassment vs. shame. In short, it's when we start the business of growing up. People--kids and adults alike--could do worse than seeing other confused and imperfect humans making it through, sometimes with grace and sometimes by the skin of their teeth, but always with a laugh and, in the end, as people who, by facing the music, can face the next day without shame ...even if they *are* a little embarrassed.