Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Best TV Show of the 90s is "Clarissa Exlains It All."

Katie: Ok, so you got to choose the show this time. When I said you should choose a show you *want* want to watch, you had no hesitation choosing “Clarissa.”

Kelly: I did, and I always liked Clarissa. And I still do, I’ve decided.

Katie: Was there something specific you were looking forward to?

Kelly: I just remember finding her really relatable. She was kind of a tomboy who did her own thing, and she wasn’t too rich or too popular so that I didn’t feel like I could relate.  Inside, I am Clarissa Darling is what I’m saying.

Katie: Are you now saying I’m Ferguson?

Kelly: Sometimes you were Ferguson.

Katie: Wow. Just wow.

Kelly: Sometimes.  Like right now when you’re being offended that you’re Ferguson. That’s so Ferguson of you.

Ferguson + Katie = Fergatie

Katie: I think we should move on before we don’t speak ever again.

Kelly: I wrote down that you asked me "Was TV weird back then?" which was so deep that I couldn’t answer it. You were upset by the season schedule I believe.  

Katie: Yeah, Season 1 is January - July, then Season 2 is August - December of the SAME year! Those were examples, not factual dates. But you get the idea.

Kelly: Better fact check before it goes on the internet.

Katie: INTERNET: THIS WAS NOT FACT-CHECKED. There, I covered my bases.

Kelly: Are you listening, Internet? (It’s not listening.)

Katie: Can’t sue me because it didn’t listen. We started with “Coolest Picture” from Season 1, Episode 6. It originally aired March 30, 1991.

Kelly: So looking around her room, I immediately remembered she had hubcaps on the wall and that was always weird. ‘Cuz she wasn’t like into cars, she just likes shiny things. Like a magpie.

Katie: I also wrote down hubcaps! I always thought that was so hip. She had hubcaps and license plates, just to show she’s a renegade. A renegade magpie.

Ooh, shiny!

Kelly: I had forgotten about Elvis the alligator until he showed up.

Katie: Yeah!

Kelly: And then he DISAPPEARED AGAIN. What the hell?

Katie: I wonder what the character arc of Elvis was.

Kelly: He seemed to not like most things.

Katie: I do remember her having outfits for him, but she never put them on him, she just... had them in drawers.

Elvis the Alligator - Stylish and Deadly. Note: Outfit for display purposes only.
Kelly: Elvis has a Facebook page dedicated to him and on it, I learned that the woman who wrote Hunger Games also wrote for “Clarissa Explains it All.”

Katie: Who would you pick to be in a video game: Katniss or Clarissa?

Kelly: In a video game, I’m assuming that someone’s trying to kill me. So, Katniss. In real life though, Clarissa.

Katie: But that was the beauty of Clarissa’s video games, it wasn’t about murdering! It was about clothes and buckets of water and a lot of ladders.

Best coded ladder
Kelly: She perfected the coding of ladders so by god she was going to use it. It might not always be murdering, but it was occasionally making your best friend feel like crap, which is something that Clarissa and Katniss share. Clarissa and Katniss are the same person in alternate universes. Think about it.

Katie: You’ve unlocked a mystery of the world. So the first episode we watched didn’t have Sam in it, which was bullshit.

Kelly: Major bullshit. It had some crap girl named Judy. Fuckin’ Judy.

Katie: It was Jody, Kelly. She was in one episode in the history of “Clarissa Explains it All” and we picked that one episode.

Judy Jody. Kelly’s favorite character.
Kelly: Who the hell cares, she means nothing to me.

Katie: That’s a fair point.


Katie: She’s not listening, just like the Internet.

Kelly: So in that episode, Clarissa wanted to wear a pillbox hat to picture day and her mom FLIPPED THE FUCK OUT.

Katie: Yeah, don’t mind the Chairman Mao-inspired shirt, be upset with the pillbox hat.

Kelly: She wanted to wear a nice silk shirt and a hat and her mom was like “helllll no.” It made no sense.

Katie: I will say, they had a lot of intellectual references: Chairman Mao, Jackie O, Ghandi, Robert Frost, FISCAL DEFICIT… I was kinda impressed. I’m sure they all went over my head when I was 8.

Kelly: The deficit was a huge conversation topic in the 90s.

Katie: I might have had the “Hey Dude” world figured out, but not Clarissa’s world, even though she was supposed to be explaining it all.

Kelly: She didn’t really explain a lot, now that I think about it. Like why her mom wouldn’t let her be herself on picture day, why her mom was so racist towards latchkey kids, what happened to Elvis, why she hated her blind date so much. “Clarissa Leaves a Lot Out” more like.

Katie: And why her mom didn’t care that her pre-teenage daughter was secretly dating, but god forbid their neighbors build a chain link fence.

Kelly: Why Ferguson didn’t get sent off to juvie for forging their names to legal documents. I remember that we were supposed to hate Ferguson because he was annoying. But he was truly awful.

Katie: I PASSIONATELY hated Ferg as a kid, and that held up to today. He wasn’t as ugly as I remembered. So he has that going for him.

Kelly: Yeah, that’s true. I noticed that. But he was bordering psychopathy.

Katie: And he came out to be a normal looking man in real life who is doing cool shit with his life.

Kelly: It’s good he quit acting though, he was not great. But MJH was really good!

Katie: She was! Like, scary good.

Kelly: A lot of this show held up, way better than I thought.

Katie: The acting, the all-white family, the racist mom, the graphics, the dream sequences. We learned her mom HATED broken families and poor kids in Season 2, Ep 3 “Sam Darling.”  She said he was a “latchkey kid without a real family.”

Kelly: She thought it would be good for Sam to stay with them so he could experience “a normal family.”

Katie: Yeah, and he had a dad, he was just on a business trip.

Kelly: And he has a mom too, she just travels with the roller derby.

Katie: Poor, ignorant, bastard child. Thank God for Janet.

Kelly: And then they enslaved him. Like, they super wanted to hang out with this child instead of letting him do homework.

Katie: Janet wanted him to call sponsors to donate to her made-up charity instead of studying with Clarissa.

Kelly: And the dad made him sort comic books and then double check the numbers of the comic books he intended to put back in the basement. So it was clearly just a cover story to get more time with Sam. Maybe this show does need a hotline too.

Child slavery
Katie: “Have your friend’s parents ever made you do the dishes and then make you feel guilty when you don’t make calls for them? Tell an adult who isn’t your friend’s parent.”

Kelly: “If an adult ever makes you feel uncomfortable by making you count comic books, run and find a police man.”

Katie: Speaking of Sam, he was by far the worst actor and had the most butt hair.

Kelly: He was a whisper’s length away of having an actual butt on his head was such the state of his butt cut.

A butt of hair
Katie: I did have a crush on him when I was a kid, but I remember it only lasted a season or two.  I was def over him before the show ended.

Kelly: He was the poor man’s Rider Strong.

Katie: OH MY GOD RIDER STRONG. I can’t even get started on him. He was all over my bedroom walls.

Kelly: He was yuck. But you were always into yuck.

Katie: “Rider Strong? I hardly even know her but you better ride me,” is what I’d say.

Kelly: You’d get far with that, I bet… as a child.

Katie: If Hey Dude’s Danny can get a kiss and butt hair Sam can get a date, I can get something too.

Kelly: Butt hair Sam did not want a date. And it was a blind date so she didn’t even know about his butt hair situation. I was really sad we didn’t get to see these blind date people who were so cool.

Katie: That was from Season 3, Episode 13 - they go on a blind date! 

Kelly: We didn’t see like, anyone they talk about on the show ever. Cheap bastards.

Katie: They referenced a lot of people on the show and they were never showed. Like their principal. Principal Merkin. MERKIN, KELLY.

Kelly: And Kiki Nibbleman, who you thought was called Nippleater.

Katie: Might as well have been, really.

Kelly: They couldn’t cough up a child actor’s wage to show the world Kiki Nibbleman? They could pay money for Judy Jody but they couldn’t pay for Kiki Nibbleman.

Katie: We DID get to see Clarissa’s “boyfriend” and even back then, so innocent, they would go ‘steady’ and like, sit on a couch together, and that was it.

Kelly: Clarissa was such a strong independent woman, she was NOT interested in a steady boyfriend. And then KIKI NIBBLEMAN WENT OUT WITH CLARISSA’S BOYFRIEND. And she spread a rumor about Clarissa.

Katie: Yeah, on paper it was a really intense plot line, but the show didn’t seem THAT intense.

Can we talk about the fashion for a moment? You might think I want to talk about Clarissa but I want to talk about Janet’s mom pants, and they were not mom jeans, they were.. I-don’t-even-know pants.

I-don’t-even-know pants
Kelly: Palazzo pants maybe. They looked super comfy and I would wear them and I don’t curr what anyone thinks.

Katie: Judy Jody would curr.

Kelly: Judy Jody is dead to me.

Katie: At one point you said, “I’m pretty sure I had that shirt..... the one Ferguson is wearing.” So I think you’re more Ferguson than you think and that’s sad for you.

Kelly: I swear I did have Ferguson’s shirt.

Katie: I'm sure you did, because you were the Ferguson in our house.

Kelly’s real-life, legitimately-owned Ferg shirt
Kelly: I also had a number of shirts from the Men of Hey Dude Collection.

Katie: I can’t believe someone hasn’t made a “Clarissa Explains it All” phone app that’s all just mini-games of her video games from the show. I would play that app like I would play Rider Strong.

Kelly: The last episode didn’t have a video game, but we did go 3 for 4 episodes with video games. And the last episode did have your boyfriend whatshisname. Buster or Chunk or some such.

Katie: Clifford Snapehuffer.

Kelly: I don’t think it was Snapehuffer.

Katie: Clifford Spleenhurfer.

Kelly: There it is. Great names.

Katie: Even Wikipedia says that their relationship “ends inexplicably at one point in season 4.” INEXPLICABLY - ironic, Clarissa?

Kelly:  CARE TO EXPLAIN THAT ONE, CLARISSA? I’m saying. Clarissa begets more questions than she does answers.

Katie: The theme song also held up! And pretty memorable for not really having words.

Kelly: It was another one that I immediately recalled once the first notes were played.

Katie: And for a show that was only on for 3 years, I mean, it made a lasting impression.

Kelly: Wikipedia hails it as a real game-changer for women-lead sitcoms.

Katie: She didn’t need a boy, she wore what she wanted, she was into SCIENCE and COMPUTERS and EXPERIMENTING. Experimenting with science and theories, not like, with drugs or boys.

The Wrap-Up

What is your take away from this show?

Katie: “There’s always enough for one more when you have stew.” Lol, jk, but Janet did say that.

Kelly: That’s really good, though.

Katie: My take away is that it was a solid show and it held up for many different reasons and I wish there were more shows like this. Aaaand that their principal's name was Merkin.

Kelly: Mine is, being yourself and being independent is always in fashion.

Katie: Well shit, nothing can beat that.

Which character would you be?

Katie: CLARISSA. I said it first, so.

Kelly: Everyone is a little bit Ferguson, too. Face it. Face your Ferguson.

Katie: I was def Ferguson because I always want to hang out with you and be in your room.

Kelly: Cool, then I will take your Clarissa that you just dropped. Thaaaaanks.

Katie: Sorry not sorry you were my idol.

Kelly: Awwwwwwwww.

Who would be your Tiger Beat Pull-Out Poster?

Kelly: And you can’t say Rider Strong because he’s not in this show.

Katie: Dammit you beat me to it. Ok, then Clifford Snapehuffer Spleenhurfer.

Clifford’s shirt is made from all things 90s
Kelly: I guess I’m going with Sam, although he’s kind of a wet wad. I should really say no one, because that’s what Clarissa would pick.

Katie: You're so in sync with this show.

Kelly: It spoke to me then, and it speaks to me now.

Would you watch “CEIA” again, for simple enjoyment?

Kelly: Hells yes I would.

Katie: I think I would, for like a girl’s night where we want to feel empowered and rock awesome outfits, but not like, every morning or something. And once again, with a mug of wine.

Bimbi count: 3: Sam, Kiki Nippleperson, and Judy Jody.

Katie: Sam was a bimbi, he was pretty dumb.

Kelly: I don’t think we get to count Kiki because we never saw her fucking bimbi face.

Katie: But we KNOW she was a bimbi.

Kelly: Oh, she was a lying, rumormongering bimbi, to be sure.

Katie: Every girl is a bimbi compared to Clarissa.

The Party Rating: 5/5 

Kelly: Full on Party. Beat that, every other show from the 90s.

1 comment: