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Remembering Clone High

As a fan of television, there will come a time when you’re drunkenly scrolling through Netflix with the hope that some lost genius will crash into your lap. Every waking moment will be spent devouring it, to the detriment of health and hygiene. Enter Clone High. It premiered on MTV in 2002, and featured 13 half-hour episodes that were home to, in my opinion, some of the greatest comedic moments in cartoon history. However, it was simply before its time, and was cancelled after only one season. This was largely due to the fact that the show didn’t garner phenomenal ratings…and also because of the whole situation of Indians holding hunger strikes as a protest of one of their idol’s portrayal on the show. I’m sure people familiar enough with the show to call themselves fans – whether they watched during its original run, or later online like I did – were heartbroken to scroll through “more episodes,” and see that it had ended after just one year. If you’re looking for a summary, it’s right in the show’s intro. To quote, “Way, way back in the 1980s, secret government employees dug up famous guys and ladies, and made amusing genetic copies. Now their clones are sexy teens, now, they’re gonna make it if they try.” The main cast includes, you guessed it, angsty and hormonal teenage versions of historic figures. The protagonist is Abe Lincoln, too distracted by the stunning good looks of Cleopatra to notice that his longtime friend, Joan of Arc, is deeply in love with him. Cleo likes Abe for who he is, but is also drawn to the macho, womanizing jock that is JFK. She teeters between dating the two, leading to some hilarious results. Oh, and Abe’s best friend is Mahatma Gandhi – our resident party animal. The supporting cast is littered with occasional “celebrity” cameos, such as super-nerd George Washington Carver, the socially-awkward Van Gogh, and Mexican cholo carpenter Jésus Christo. They all attend high school together, and grapple with the common problems of growing up as only they can. It’s not purely historical comedy, however. There are many episodes that are irrelevant to history, and unique to Clone High. Abe Lincoln pours his heart out in a film fest entry about a giraffe playing football, JFK has to deal with having two homosexual fathers, and Gandhi is a party-crazed goofball who claims “Gandhi is anti-violence, not anti-comedy.” Such characteristics are not seen in your average history textbook, and that’s what makes Clone High so great – the off-the-wall, unpredictable comedy. The show satirizes typical high-school dramas like Dawson’s Creek, and gives its group of extraordinary teens many of the same problems that normal high schoolers deal with, such as losing their virginity and being pressured into drugs. While on the surface this may seem a bit uninspired, the show gains its own identity through certain subversions of these tropes. Abe is pressured by his own father into sleeping with Cleo, and the students are pressured into smoking raisins by an authority figure. These elaborate parodies of teenage drama contribute to the brilliance behind the show. If you’re not convinced already, know that the show’s creators are Christopher Miller and Phil Lord, are some of the best comedic minds in Hollywood now – they’re the men behind the 21 Jump Street reincarnation and more recently, The Lego Movie. Yeah. They didn’t hit the mainstream until recently, but they showed the same brilliance during their run on Clone High. What’s the best part about the show? All 13 episodes are available, for free, on YouTube. If you get hooked as quickly as I did, I’m sorry for ruining any chances you had at being productive in the next 5 hours. But, it’s ultimately worth it in the end, as I believe that the show is one of the greatest ever to have come to an end too soon. In other words, [Link to Pilot]

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1 Comment on Remembering Clone High

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