Holy shit, guys. I mean, really. Holy Shit. One of the benefits of writing Throwback articles is the freedom I have to scour the internet for obscure cartoons that were only on for a season or less. One such show, a show that aired as quickly as it was taken off the air was Clone High, a brilliant little show from the creator of Scrubs and Cougar Town, Bill Lawrence.
The premise is simple. A mad scientist is commissioned by the government to create clones of famous historical figures in an effort to take over the world…I guess. As you are well aware, cloning would take a very long time, and the clones would have to grow up. Clone High takes a look at these famous historical figures in their formative adolescent years with hilarious results.
Any of you who watch movies or are aware the 80’s existed knows that fictionalized high school shows or movies cater to certain stereotypes. A jock, the jock’s girlfriend everyone wants to bone (and who is also a slut,) the sensitive loser we’re all rooting for who pines after the jock’s girlfriend, his wacky sidekick, and the girl best friend who harbors feelings for our protagonist.
So basically it’s JFK, Cleopatra, Abraham Lincoln, Gandhi, and Joan of Arc. In a madcap display of comedic bliss, we get to see how these historical figures would handle modern life in high school. We get a pinch of everything, sight gags, historical jokes, cheesy teenage melodrama, and animation that’s a bit of a hearken to the old 90’s MTV cartoons (more on THOSE shows in the coming weeks,Blabberbuddies.)
You know, I often wonder why this show was taken off the air. I had heard rumors that people were offended by the depiction of Gandhi as an ADD rattled thrill seeker, but I found him to be charming as far as sidekicks go. I really wish we had gotten more than one season of Clone High because it was genuinely funny with some great voice actors rounding out the cast. Many of which would go on to appear on Scrubs.
The thing is, Blabberbuddies, the show nailed every teenage stereotype out there. JFK is the alpha male football player which coincides with his historical counterpart. Cleopatra as the sexpot girlfriend makes perfect sense. Even Joan of Arc as the brooding, semi-Goth kid who sometimes hears voices works, but the real focus is Abe. A shy, sensitive, kid who is clueless about Joan (setting the show up for so many wonderful John Hughes’ moments,) that we’re always rooting for. Gandhi is our comedy relief and it
So I went with the first episode for my review: Escape to Beer Mountain; A Rope of Sand. Basically this episode establishes the main cast, as well as the A plot. Abe pines for Cleopatra and is invited to a party thrown by JFK. The rivalry between the two former presidents begins, as JFK forbids Abe and company from attending, that is, until Abe says he will bring the beer.
Recruiting a half-retarded Genghis Khan to get the beer for them, they eventually succeeded. Joan, meanwhile, starts a crisis hotline to help troubled clones. Meanwhile, Principal Scudworth (their creator,) and his helper robot Mr. B, who calls everyone “Wesley” and wears a red sweater, are assigned by their superiors to do a report about life of the teenage clones.
The episode culminates at JFK’s party, where it’s discovered that Abe could only get non-alcoholic beer, but everyone thinks it’s the real deal. Cleopatra chooses Abe over JFK, but soon dumps him when Abe comes clean about the beer. Principal Scudworth and Mr. B infiltrate the party and hilarity ensues. Scudworth is turned into a human piñata and Mr. B helps Joan reach an important decision: she should tell Abe how she feels.
Man, I miss this show. The writing was so spot on, and the characterization really made me care about our trio of losers. Bill Lawrence always had a knack for that sort of thing, as well as throwing in episode appropriate music on his shows. I feel bad that it never got picked up for more seasons and I wonder whatever became of those clones. Oh well, I guess MTV decided musclebound, spray-tanned idiots and their slutty, stupid roommates would make better TV than a witty, original comedy cartoon.
9 out of 10
Till Next time!
-P Von D.