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Facts About Every Student From the 30th Story of Wayside School

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Louis Sachar's Sideways Stories From Wayside School series is still a favorite of elementary-age kids, decades after the first book hit the shelves. Each of the three books features 30 chapters -- one for each floor of the Wayside School building -- and each chapter (usually) features one student. Here are a few facts about each of the 30 students in Mrs. Jewls' class on the 30th story.

1. Allison was once stuck in Miss Zarves' class on the 19th floor for a week after she wondered whether Mrs. Jewls' class was really on the 29th floor, since the 19th story doesn't exist. (Sorry.) She knocked out Rondi's adorable front teeth.

2. Bebe Gunn's little brother Ray is trapped on the 19th story. (He's there because she made him up, and like a lot of things that don't exist, he's in Miss Zarves' class.) Bebe Gunn is the fastest drawer in class; she can knock out a picture of a flower in under 8 seconds.

3. Benjamin Nushmutt is called Mark Miller by everyone in class because he was too shy to correct Mrs. Jewls when she first introduced him. A student named Mark Miller is in Miss Zarves' class, but everyone calls him Benjamin Nushmutt. He has no idea why.

4. Calvin has a tattoo of a potato, and is best friends and drawing partners with Bebe. He has a cat named Mrs. Jewls. He was once sent to deliver a note to the 19th story, but Mrs. Jewls (the teacher) forgot to give him the note, and he didn't know how to find the 19th story because it doesn't exist. (Sorry.) So he went back to class, where Mrs. Jewls (the teacher) thanked him for being such a good helper.

5. Dameon runs up and down the stairs a lot, and is in love with Mrs. Jewls. Joy once stole his lunch and lied about it, then gave him hers when her mom dropped it off.

6. Dana owns a dog named Pugsy, who was instrumental in Myron's demotion from Class President. When she comes to class with a ridiculous number of mosquito bites, Mrs. Jewls turns Dana's mosquito bites into numbers so they won't itch anymore.

7. Deedee loves sports so much that she disguises herself as a dead rat (Mrs. Jewls' least favorite thing) so she'll get tossed out of the window at recess, giving her a jump on snagging one of the coveted green balls, which bounce the highest.

8. D.J. has a dog named O.K. D.J. is super-happy all the time. His best friend is Dameon, but he gets along with everyone because he's just so happy. (He says no explanation is required to be happy. Kid's onto something.)

9. Eric Bacon is the skinniest kid in class. Everyone calls him Fatso, because all Erics are fat. He may have been the left-handed Eric who called Miss Zarves the principal, Mr. Kidswatter, a mugworm griblick. He's a pretty great breakdancer, too, but he breaks things when he dances so breakdancing is banned at Wayside. His dog's name is Billy.

10. Eric Fry is the fattest kid in class, and the best athlete (even though he once dropped the ball during a game). Everyone calls him Butterfingers, because all Erics are terrible at sports. He has a goat named Billy.

11. Eric Ovens is the nicest kid in class. Everyone calls him Crabapple, because all Erics are grumpy. His cat's name is Billy.

12. Jason is in love with Allison. He has a big mouth (literally) and chews on pencils all the time. His dentist is a scam artist who extracts healthy teeth for extra money. Jason was once stuck to his chair, thanks to a wad of gum placed there by Joy. Joy kissed his nose and made him fall over, which freed him from his chair.

13. Jenny wears a helmet to class, for which she is always late. Jenny is famous for turning the evil Mrs. Gorf into an apple (by holding up a mirror as Mrs. Gorf tried to turn her into an apple) and for coming to school on a Saturday, where she encounters the men with attache cases.

14. Joe can't count but he always gets the right answer on math problems. One day he wakes up and is able to count perfectly, and then he announces that he has 55,006 hairs on his head. (All curly, as fans will remember.)

15. John sees the blackboard upside-down, which is a problem because Mrs. Jewls only writes right-side-up. Dana is afraid she has a crush on him. After trying to learn to stand on his head, John discovers that he can read right-side-up.... but now everything else is upside-down.

16. Joy is a lunch thief. She doesn't know why she does it, but she felt so guilty after stealing Dameon's lunch that, for a whole year, every item she took from him tastes like Miss Mush's cooking. (So, the worst ever.) She likes Todd's lunches especially, but has also been known to take Maurecia's ice cream. Joy is never punished herself, but manages to get other students in trouble in nearly every chapter.

17. Kathy is a terrible kid who doesn't like anyone but Sammy. The reasons she hates everyone else are really specific, but she also hates the person reading the Wayside books.

18. Leslie has long pigtails, which Paul likes to pull. Leslie's toes are useless to her, so she tries to sell them to Louis (the schoolyard teacher). He won't pay full price, but offers to pass them along to Miss Mush to make little hot dogs from. She declines, because she'd really like to get at least 50 cents for her toes. When Louis offers to buy her pigtails, Leslie is shocked. "Cut my hair! Are you crazy?"

19. Mac was once named Nancy, which was terrible for him because he was a boy. Nancy traded names with a girl named Mac, who later became his girlfriend. He also named his dog Mac.

20. Everyone loves Maurecia (except Kathy), and Maurecia loves ice cream and Todd (but only secretly). After trying every flavor of ice cream, her love for it disappears. But she still (secretly) loves Todd.

21. Myron is the only person ever brave enough to try Miss Mush's Mushroom Surprise. (The surprise was that he liked it.) He does not like dancing the tango in Mrs. Waloosh's class, though, which the other students think is crazy. After Myron was late for school because he rescued Dana's dog on the way, he is demoted from his role as Class President.

22. Paul pulls Leslie's pigtails every single day. First one, then the other. Despite this, Paul and Leslie are best friends.

23. Ron is the worst kickball player in school. No one will play with him, except the time Louis decided to give it a go. They were defeated two days in a row.

24. Rondi's best feature is her front teeth, according to everyone. Her best friend Allison punched them out. When Rondi's front teeth come back in, no one thinks she's cute anymore.

25. Sammy has a bad attitude and wears a bunch of raincoats to class. He's so rude and smells so terrible that only Kathy, the meanest girl in school, actually likes him. It is revealed that Sammy is actually a dead rat, Mrs. Jewls' least favorite thing, and she tosses him out.

26. Sharie has very, very long eyelashes and a non-stop life, so she wears an enormous coat to class, which she sleeps inside of during class. She fell out of the building once, only to have Louis save her at the last possible moment.

27. Stephen is a natural blond who took in a little too much pool time, turning his hair green from the chlorinated water. He always wears a bad outfit, and is the only student to dress up for Halloween (because it fell on a Sunday that year). When Pet Day comes around in the third book, Stephen doesn't have a pet. He names an orange Fido and brings that instead.

28. Terrence is really bad at playing ball, so he kicks it over the fence whenever he has a chance. Secretly, he really wants to play, but his reputation as a bully is better than being the new Ron of kickball, so he keeps it up even though he doesn't actually want to be mean.

29. Poor Todd gets in trouble every day, but it's never his fault. As a result, he goes home on the kindergarten bus at noon, and has no idea what happens in class from 12 to 2. Maurecia is in love with him, but talks badly about him when he isn't around, which is every afternoon.

30. A girl named Sue is featured in a spin-off book, Sideways Arithmetic From Wayside School, but never appears in the three novels. She can't understand Mrs. Jewls' method for doing math, and no one in class can understand her "normal" way of doing math. Mrs. Jewls finally suggests Sue try a different school.

My favorite student was Sammy. Do you have a favorite Wayside story? Or better yet, a potato tattoo?

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Giovanni Rufino - © 2012 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved
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XOXO: 20 Things You Might Not Know About Gossip Girl
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Giovanni Rufino - © 2012 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Ten years ago, Gossip Girl became appointment television for America’s teenagers—and a guilty pleasure for millions more (whether they wanted to admit it or not). Like a new millennium version of Beverly Hills, 90210, the series—which was adapted from Cecily von Ziegesar’s book series of the same name—saw The O.C.’s Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage trade in their west coast cool for New York City style as the show followed the lives of a group of friends (and sometimes enemies) navigating the elite world of prep schools and being fabulous on Manhattan's Upper East Side. In honor of the series’ tenth anniversary, here are 20 things you might not have known about Gossip Girl.

1. IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A LINDSAY LOHAN MOVIE.

Originally, the plan for adapting Gossip Girl wasn’t for a series at all. It was supposed to be a feature film, with Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino writing the script and Lindsay Lohan set to star as Blair Waldorf. When those plans fell through, the producers approached Josh Schwartz—who was just wrapping up work on The O.C.—about taking his talent for creating enviable high school worlds to New York City’s Upper East Side.

"The books are a soap opera, and TV makes a lot of sense," executive producer Leslie Morgenstein told Backstage of the decision to go the small-screen route. "When we made the list of writers who would be the best to adapt Gossip Girl for television, Josh was at the top of the list."

2. PENN BADGLEY INITIALLY TURNED DOWN THE ROLE OF DAN HUMPHREY.

Barbara Nitke - © 2012 THE CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Though he was hardly a household name when Gossip Girl premiered, Penn Badgley had been acting for nearly a decade—and had a lot of experience working on first season TV shows that never took off—when he was offered the role of Brooklyn outsider Dan Humphrey, and his initial response was: thanks, but no thanks.

“The reason I turned it down initially was because I was just frustrated,” Badgley told Vulture in 2012. “I was frustrated and I was broke and I was depressed and I was like, ‘I cannot do that again. I can't.’ … Stephanie Savage, the creator [of Gossip Girl], she said to me, ‘I know you might not want to do this again, but just take a look at it.’ And I actually was like, ‘I appreciate so much that you thought of me. I just don't want to do this. Thank you for understanding that I wouldn't want to do this.’ And then they couldn't find anybody for it—which is weird, because a million people could play Dan Humphrey—and she came back around, I was about to get a job as a waiter, and I was like, ‘Okay.’”

3. ULTIMATELY, BADGLEY PROBABLY WISHES HE HAD FOLLOWED HIS INITIAL INSTINCT.

Badgley told Vulture that, “I wouldn't be here without Gossip Girl, so I will always be in debt and grateful. And I've said some sh*t that ... I don't regret it, but I'm just maybe too honest about it sometimes.”

But executive producer Joshua Safran had a different view on the situation. “Penn didn’t like being on Gossip Girl, but …. he was Dan,” Safran told Vanity Fair. “He may not have liked it, but [his character] was the closest to who he was.”

4. THE CREATORS GOT THE IDEA TO CAST BLAKE LIVELY FROM THE INTERNET.

According to Vanity Fair, when it came time to casting the show’s main roles, they cruised some of the online message boards related to the Gossip Girl book series to see which actors fans of the books were suggesting. One name they kept seeing for the role of Serena van der Woodsen: Blake Lively, who had starred in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. “We didn’t see a lot of other girls for Serena,” Schwartz said. “She has to be somebody that you believe would be sitting in the front row at Fashion Week eventually.”

5. LIKE BADGLEY, LIVELY WAS ON THE VERGE OF QUITTING ACTING.

© 2008 Warner Bros. Television

Like her onscreen (and eventually off-screen) love interest Penn Badgley, Blake Lively was also considering leaving Hollywood when Gossip Girl came calling, so she turned the producers down.

“I said, ‘No, I want to go to college. Thank you, though,’” Lively told Vanity Fair. “Then they said, ‘OK, you can go to Columbia [University] one day a week. After the first year [of the show], it’ll quiet down. Your life will go back to normal and you can start going to school. We can’t put it in writing, but we promise you can go.’ So that’s why I said, ‘OK. You know what? I’ll do this.’”

As for that going back to school and life going back to normal? “When they say, ‘We promise, but we can’t put it in writing,’ there’s a reason they can’t put it in writing,” she said.

6. LEIGHTON MEESTER DYED HER HAIR TO GET THE PART OF BLAIR.

Because Blair Waldorf and Serena van der Woodsen were both best friends and occasional enemies, it was important to the show’s creators that the characters did not look like the same person. That fact almost cost Leighton Meester the role of Blair.

“She came in and she was really funny, and really smart and played vulnerable,” Schwartz recalled of Meester’s audition. “But there was one problem: she was blonde. And Blake was blonde, obviously; Serena had to be blonde. So, [Leighton] went to the sink and dyed her hair. She wanted it.’” (Sounds like something Blair would do.)

7. THE NETWORK WORRIED THAT ED WESTWICK LOOKED LIKE A “SERIAL KILLER.”

Giovanni Rufino - © 2012 THE CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Ed Westwick, who originally auditioned for the role of Nate Archibald but ended up playing bad boy Chuck Bass, almost didn’t land a role on the show at all. Though the show’s co-creators, Schwartz and Savage, loved the darker edge that Westwick brought to the group of friends, The CW worried “that he looked more like a serial killer than a romantic lead.”

“He's menacing and scary, but there's a twinkle in his eye,” casting director David Rapaport told BuzzFeed. “You want to hate him, but you would also probably sleep with him. He's one of those guys you hate for always getting away with things, but you also want to hang out with him and see what he's up to next. He's the guy that's going to give you a joint for the first time or get you drunk for the first time, so you know he's wrong for you, but he's fun.” Fans clearly agreed.

8. WESTWICK CHANNELED HIS INNER CARLTON BANKS TO PLAY CHUCK BASS.

In order to perfect his posh American accent, Westwick—who was born in London—looked to another iconic American television character for help: The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’s Carlton Banks (Alfonso Ribeiro). “There’s a slight thing in Carlton Banks,” Westwick told Details Magazine in 2008, “that kind of über-preppy, that I did pick up on.”

9. GRETA GERWIG AUDITIONED FOR THE SHOW … IN OVERALLS.

In 2015, Golden Globe-nominated actress Greta Gerwig—who just wrote and directed Lady Bird, starring Saoirse Ronan—talked to HuffPost Live about the mistakes she made early on in her career as an actress. “I have had moments when I was starting out when I was auditioning for things like Gossip Girl," she said. “And they would look at me like, 'Why are you wearing overalls to this audition?' And I'd be like, 'They said she was from a farm!' and they would be like, 'Well, this is Gossip Girl.’” (The role she was auditioning for, Eva Coupeau—a love interest for Chuck—eventually went to Clémence Poésy, who played Fleur Delacour in the Harry Potter movies.

10. BLAIR WALDORF HAD TWO MOMS.

© 2008 Warner Bros. Television

In Gossip Girl’s pilot episode, Blair’s mom—popular women’s clothing designer Eleanor Waldorf—was played by Florencia Lozano. In episode two, and throughout the rest of the series, Eleanor was portrayed by Margaret Colin.

11. IT WAS ONE OF TELEVISION’S FIRST STREAMING SUCCESS STORIES.

Years before House of Cards changed the way we watch, and even define, “television,” Gossip Girl served as a sort of precursor to the streaming generation. While the show’s Nielsen ratings were mediocre, New York Magazine reported that, “New episodes routinely arrived at the No. 1 most-downloaded spot on iTunes, and then there were the hundreds of thousands who were downloading free week-old episodes on the CW's site. Even executives at Nielsen threw up their hands and admitted that Gossip Girl appeared to be speaking to an audience so young and tech-savvy they hadn't really figured it out just yet.” (Lost and The Office had followed similar tracks.)

12. THE SHOW WAS BANNED BY SOME NEW YORK CITY SCHOOLS.

Giovanni Rufino - © 2012 THE CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

According to Vanity Fair, some of the elite New York City private schools that might have shared some similarities with the show’s fictional Constance Billard and St. Jude's banned their students from watching it. (Which, the outlet noted, “only served, in all likelihood, to make the students want to watch it more.”)

13. THE SERIES TURNED ITS CRITICISMS INTO A MARKETING CAMPAIGN.

Even by 2007’s standards, Gossip Girl—for a show about high schoolers on what was mainly known as a teen-friendly television network—seemed to relish in pushing the boundaries of what might be acceptable. It didn’t take long for parental advocacy groups like the Parent Television Council to take very public, and vocal, issue with the show's in-your-face sexuality. When it was criticized as being “mind-blowingly inappropriate” and “every parent’s nightmare,” the show turned those critiques into a marketing campaign to help promote viewership.

14. A WRITERS STRIKE HELPED THE SERIES GROW ITS VIEWERSHIP.

While the show struck a chord with certain audiences immediately upon its release, the 2007-2008 Writers Guild of America Strike proved to be a boon to the series. “The CW, because they couldn’t just run repeats or game shows, [Gossip Girl is] all they had,” Schwartz told Vanity Fair. “They kept re-running the show during the strike so more and more people were watching.” Which led to even higher ratings when the show returned for a second season.

15. DESIGNERS WERE BEGGING TO SEE THEIR FASHIONS WORN ON THE SHOW.

Giovanni Rufino - © 2012 THE CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Just like New York City itself, the fashions in Gossip Girl essentially served as another character. According to a 2008 article in The New York Times, “Merchants, designers, and trend consultants say that Gossip Girl … is one of the biggest influences on how young women spend."

“When we came back with Season 2, so many designers were lining up and wanting to be a part of it,” the show’s costume designer Eric Daman told Vanity Fair. “They wanted their stuff on either Blake or Leighton.”

16. IT SPAWNED ITS OWN CLOTHING LINE.

To capitalize on the show’s influence in the fashion world, Daman and designer Christine Cybelle (a.k.a. Charlotte Russe) created a Gossip Girl-inspired clothing line.

17. KRISTEN BELL PLAYED AN ESSENTIAL PART OF THE SERIES, BUT WAS NEVER CREDITED.

Though viewers had to watch all 121 episodes of Gossip Girl to learn the identity of the titular tattler, Kristen Bell provided the voice for “Gossip Girl” for all six seasons, without credit. And while she sort of hoped that the finale would have revealed that she was indeed “Gossip Girl” all along, that ending was not meant to be. “I’m sure that it would’ve been really cool had I got to play some vicious part and actually come out as Gossip Girl, but I think it was appropriate for one of the main cast members to have surfaced as Gossip Girl,” she told Perez Hilton.

Though she was a key part of the series, she didn’t learn GG’s true identity until the very end of the show—and she was surprised. “I don’t know that I ever forethought it being Dan,” she admitted. “That was a bit of a shocker!" (If it makes her feel any better, Badgley reportedly didn’t learn Gossip Girl’s identity until that scene was actually shot.)

18. JANUARY 26 IS "GOSSIP GIRL DAY" IN NEW YORK CITY.

© 2008 Warner Bros. Television

At least it was in 2012, when then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg proclaimed January 26 “Gossip Girl Day” in celebration of the show’s 100th episode. “I don’t have a whole lot of time to follow what New York magazine has called ‘The Greatest Teen Drama of our time,’” Bloomberg said. “But I am interested in finding out who the real Gossip Girl is—Serena’s cousin, maybe? And I don’t see how Blair could marry Prince Lewis while she is clearly in love with Chuck, although she and Dan became pretty close when they interned at that fashion magazine. And I just wish that Nate and Vanessa had been able to work things out, I guess Nate was preoccupied with everything that was going on with his father and Jenny and, I mean, it was a tangled web, I guess Dan would have ended up making their relationship impossible anyway, but I’m just a casual fan.” 

Super-fans of the show can still take a Gossip Girl tour of New York City.

19. IVANKA TRUMP AND JARED KUSHNER MADE A CAMEO.

Over the full course of the series, plenty of familiar faces popped up, but two in particular seem kind of funny in retrospect: Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner played themselves in a club scene. (Ivanka was apparently a huge fan of the series.) “They did it for the money,” a chuckling Schwartz told Vanity Fair.

20. IN AN ALTERNATIVE UNIVERSE, SERENA IS A SERIAL KILLER.

In 2002, von Ziegesar published a bloody take on her famed book series with Gossip Girl: Psycho Killer, which she said she’d love to see adapted. "I took the original text of the first book and whenever I saw an opportunity, I layered in this story of Serena coming back from boarding school as this coldblooded psychopath, which, to me makes total sense,” von Ziegesar told Entertainment Weekly. “She’s sort of like the Ryan Gosling of Gossip Girl world. She has that deadpan style, doesn’t seem to have much personality, and she’s really gorgeous, but then underneath she has this kind of scary ability to kill people. So she’s murdered people up at boarding school. She’s always had this dark side and everyone is a little bit scared of her.”

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Natasha Zinko
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This Just In
This Jeans-Inside-Your-Jeans Look Will Cost You $695
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Natasha Zinko

Besides a few updates here and there, the classic style of denim blue jeans hasn’t changed much since the late 19th century. Now, a London-based fashion designer wants to disrupt the wardrobe staple. Their revolutionary new idea? A second waistband sewed on top of the first one.

According to Mashable, these high-waisted double jeans from Natasha Zinko are retailing for $695. Wearing the pants makes it look like you forgot you already had jeans on and put on a second pair on top of them. But buying two pairs of designer jeans to wear at once would probably be less expensive than owning this item. The double jeans are actually one garment, with the high-waisted inner pair stopping at the hips. Boasting seven pockets, they’re not entirely impractical, but having to undo two sets of buttons and zippers sounds like more trouble than it’s worth.

Model wearing double jeans.
Natasha Zinko
There is a market for high-end blue jeans disguised as fashion crimes, as Nordstrom proved earlier this year with their $425 pants covered in fake dirt. The Natasha Zinko double jeans have already sold out on shopbop.com.

[h/t Mashable]

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