Song of the Day: “Big Brown Eyes” by Old 97’s (Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide)

This week, I’ll be writing about songs featured in some of my favorite musical moments from some of my favorite TV shows. Be warned that I don’t shy away from spoilers.

Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide is an absolutely bananas slice of early 21st century TV. Targeted at middle schoolers but made by smart writers, the show blends a bonkers ADHD pace of gags with a surreal absurdity and subversive undercurrent. You can read my summary of why I consider one of my favorite shows of all time here.

In its third and final season, it played with some soap opera elements as it inevitably spiraled toward romantically pairing its two leads, Ned and Moze. Platonic friends and foils, the characters played by Devon Werkheiser and and Lindsey Shaw featured fantastic comic chemistry that the show occasionally let boil over into romantic tension.

The show’s finale is an all-timer: The teachers literally tear down the middle school with construction equipment, as the students go on a field trip and are chased around by ninjas and art thieves. But the episode’s high point is when Ned, gradually transformed into a “wild man,” finds himself struggling between his feelings between his dream girl (Suzie Crabgrass) and his best friend (Moze). He bonks his head and has visions of many clips from the series’ history — all of Moze, none of Suzie.

That the show would score its pivotal moment to a deep album cut by an alt country band shows its impeccable taste and craft… despite being possibly the silliest show of all time. With numerous references during the finale to Moze’s “big brown eyes,” we get a great payoff: A background track literally titled “Big Brown Eyes.” Bravo, Ned’s. I miss you dearly.

Click here for the full list

Click here for the full list

Dan and Brian from Earn This now have a film review site and podcast:

The Goods: Film Reviews

The Goods: A Film Podcast

Available on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Stitcher, and more.

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