Clone High: Complete 1st Season (2003) Review
(More customer reviews)Clone High has a very original concept; back in the 1980s, secret government agents dug up some of the most famous and influential historical figures and cloned them. The clones were put in the care of foster homes, and are being secretly monitered by the government. By now, they are in high school, and are attending Clone High High School, where Principal Cinnamon J. Scudworth (Phil Lord) can keep his eye on them. Scudworth is employed by the Board of Shadowy Figures, the government group responsible for the clones, but he secretly plans to steal the clones away from the government for his own purposes. Scudworth is a stereotypical mad scientist; he is completely insane, speaks in an overly dramatic manner, and even built a robotic butler named Mr. Butlertron (Chris Miller).
The main clones are Abe Lincoln (Will Forte), a nice guy who is very indecisive, Joan of Arc (Nicole Sullivan), a goth girl with a crush on Abe, Ghandi (Michael McDonald), Abe's best friend and party animal (he buckled under the pressure of living up to the original Ghandi), Cleopatra (Christa Miller), a sexy, self-absorbed rich girl, and JFK (Chris Miller), a loud, obnoxious, partier who is Lincoln's rival for Cleopatra's heart. Some other clones include George Washington Carver (Donald Faison), a science nerd obsessed with peanuts, Thomas Edison, an AV nerd, Ponce de Leon (Luke Perry), a Fonzie-esque guy who likes to litter, Vincent van Gogh (Andy Dick), a depressed art student (if you've seen Wedding Crashers, think Todd), and Buddy Holly (Neil Flynn), an aviator with an unsafe plane. In addition to the numerous clones, there are many original characters such as Toots (Donald Faison), Joan of Arc's blind foster parent, Wally and Carl (Faison, Flynn), JFK's gay foster dads, Abe's Foster Dad (Joe Flarhety), who is kind of a knock on Flarhety's character in Freaks and Geeks, Mr. Sheepman (Andy Dick), a history teacher and the first mostly human clone, and Glenn the Janitor (Flynn), who is Ponce's foster dad and a direct parody of Flynn's Janitor character on Scrubs (Glenn is the exact opposite of the Janitor on Scrubs, but Scudworth still hates him).
The episodes wonderfully poke fun of the teenage drama genre. The episodes all deal with bizarre "issues", such as smoking raisins to get high, corporate sponsorship, the ADD epidemic, religious tolerance, incarceration, and the death of a friend. In fact, every episode begins with "Tonight, on a very special Clone High", and every episode has a "Previously" segment and a "On the next..." segment, neither of which are necessary, because the show isn't (for the most part) serialized. Futhermore, the relationship structure is similar to that of most popular teen dramas; the male protagonist (Abe) likes the sexy girl (Cleo) who is dating a jerk (JFK), while his best female friend (Joan) pines for him. Meanwhile, Abe's best male friend (Ghandi), is always trying to score with the girls, though he usually ends in failure. The animation is somewhat crude, though I think that it is (1) part of the show's charm, and (2) another way to poke fun at generic teen shows. I think that the cheap animation is supposed to make us think that this was a kind of quick imitation.
A lot of the humor on the show derives from the fact that so many of the clones are nothing like the originals. Abe is indecisive, JFK is not a good leader, Ghandi is a party animal, Ghengis Khan is mentally challenged, and Nostradamus is a terrible psychic. Of course, there are numerous other kinds of jokes, ranging from current events references (such as the extreme marketing), great guest stars (including Marilyn Manson, Jack Black, John Stamos, and Mandy Moore), and parodies of classic cartoons, such as when Scudworth engaged in a Roadrunner/Wile E. Coyote scenario with a skunk. Also, a lot of the humor is similar to that found on the show Scrubs, which makes sense because Scrubs creator Bill Lawrence is one of the creators of Clone High. And with the exception of Judy Reyes and Ken Jenkins, all of the Scrubs regulars did voices in this show. Also, a lot of guest stars on Scrubs also appeared in this show, sometimes as regulars (Nicole Sullivan, who does the voice of Joan of Arc, had a somewhat recurring role on Scrubs).
Sadly, Clone High was cancelled after only one season. There was so much more they could have done, and so much humor to be had with yet-to-be introduced clones. It's sad that we'll never get to see the exploits of Abe and Ghadi or hear Mr. Butlertron call anyone Wesley again, but oh well. The show ended in a "cliff-hanger" which further parodied the teen drama. It's actually a pretty fitting ending for the type of show that Clone High is. Who knows, maybe someday we'll get a movie, similar to Firefly, but for now, enjoy these 13 episodes.
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