Clone High Explained

Show Name:Clone High
Show Name 2:Clone High U.S.A.
Format:Animated Sitcom, Comic science fiction, Satire
Creator:Phil Lord
Christopher Miller
Bill Lawrence
Director:Ted Collyer
Harold Harris
Voices:Will Forte
Nicole Sullivan
Phil Lord
Michael McDonald
Christa Miller
Christopher Miller
Theme Music Composer:Abandoned Pools
Country:Canada
United States
Language:English
Num Seasons:1
Num Episodes:13
Executive Producer:Phil Lord
Christopher Miller
Bill Lawrence
Producer:Kim Cleary
Runtime:30 minutes
Company:Touchstone Television
Doozer
Lord Miller
Nelvana
MTV Original Series
Network:Teletoon (CA)
MTV (US)[1]
E4 (UK)
Website:http://www.clone-high.com/

Clone High (occasionally referred to in the U.S. as Clone High U.S.A.) is a Canadian-American animated television series that aired for one season (November 2002 – April 2003) on MTV and Teletoon.[2]

The series had run in its entirety in Canada on Teletoon before premiering in the United States on MTV. The last five episodes were never broadcast in the United States. The Clone High theme song was written by Liam Lynch and performed by alternative rock band Abandoned Pools, who also provided much of the series' background music.

Synopsis

Clone High is set in a high school that is secretly being run as an elaborate military experiment orchestrated by a government office called the Secret Board of Shadowy Figures. The school is entirely populated by clones of famous historical figures that have been created and raised with the intent of having their various strengths and abilities harnessed by the United States military. The principal of the high school, Cinnamon J. Scudworth, has his own plans for the clones, and secretly tries to undermine the wishes of the Board (Scudworth wants to use the clones to create a clone-themed amusement park, dubbed "Cloney Island", a decidedly less evil intention than that of the Board). He is assisted by his robot butler/vice principal/dehumidifier, Mr. Butlertron (a parody of Mr. Belvedere), who is programmed to call everyone "Wesley".

The main protagonists of Clone High are the clones of Abraham Lincoln, Joan of Arc and Mahatma Gandhi. Much of the plot of the show revolves around the attempts of Abe to woo the vain and promiscuous clone of Cleopatra, while being oblivious to the fact that his friend Joan of Arc is attracted to him. Meanwhile, John F. Kennedy's clone (referred to as "JFK"), a macho, narcissistic womanizer, is also attempting to win over Cleopatra and has a long-standing rivalry with Abe.

Themes and style

Much of the humor in the show comes from the large contrast between the personality of the clones and the actual values and legacy of the historical figures they are descended from. For instance, Gandhi is portrayed as a hyperactive jerk-with-a-heart-of-gold whose biggest dream is to be accepted by those around him, in contrast to his historical legacy of calm nonviolence. Abe Lincoln is similarly portrayed as weak and indecisive, completely lacking the resolve of the President whose DNA he shares. All of the clones are also given mis-matched foster parents who have little in common with them. Gandhi's parents are a stereotypical Jewish-American couple, while JFK is raised by a homosexual, interracial couple; Joan's "foster grandpa" is an elderly blind musician similar to Ray Charles named Toots, a parody of the stereotypical wise old man role (and the magical negro role) found in many teen shows, and who begins many of his declarative sentences with the words, "Now, I may be blind, but I can see..." followed by a wise-sounding observation that has little-to-nothing to do with anything.

The show also includes humor based on the historical figures themselves. For example, the diner the clones frequent is called The Grassy Knoll, a reference to the JFK assassination conspiracy theory about a second shooter, dubbed "The Man on the Grassy Knoll". Other references seen are the flag at The Grassy Knoll being permanently at half mast and the car on the roof of the diner containing the original JFK's body leaning over the edge. There are pictures of assassinations hanging on the walls of the restaurant, such as the famous Currier and Ives print of the Lincoln assassination (though this version is in color and considerably more graphic than the original print). The genetic ancestors of all of the five main clones died of similarly irregular causes: three assassinations, one execution and one suicide. Other historical figure-based humor includes offhand coincidental remarks to other students, such as Abe mentioning that the clone of Napoleon is so annoying because of "some kind of complex", or Gandhi telling Catherine the Great to "get off her high horse".

The show is also a parody of "issue" episodes of high-school themed comedies; in fact, almost every episode opens with a voice-over parodying the "very special episodes" of TV shows. Episodes center on various social issues, including Gandhi being shunned by his school for having ADD (because of misinformation about the disorder), parodying shows which tackle AIDS awareness (it even included a special guest celebrity who tries to educate the students). Other episodes tackle drugs (smoking raisins), the environment, and underage drinking in a similarly ridiculous fashion. In a clear sign that it is parodying the high school genre, it even ends at prom: a stereotypical "high school show" ending. Even the prom is a joke however, as we learn it is only the Winter Prom.

There was a running gag that creators Phil Lord and Christopher Miller wanted to include in the show "where Clone High – being an exaggeration of typical high schools in teen dramas – would have many proms throughout the year". Planned proms included "an Early Winter Prom, a Late Winter/Early Spring Prom, a Mid-Semester Prom, a Post-Prom Clean Up Prom, etc". The only surviving references to this joke are the Homecoming Prom in episode 6, "Homecoming: A Shot in D'Arc", and the winter prom in episode 13, "Changes: The Big Prom: The Sex Romp: The Season Finale".[3] Another reference to the gag was deleted from episode 8, "A Room of One's Clone: Pie of the Storm".[3]

Characters

See also: List of Clone High characters.

Production

The series was originally developed in 2000 and was titled Clone High School, USA! and the production was overseen by Touchstone Television. It was originally pitched to the Fox Broadcasting Company but was rejected and it was later picked by MTV in 2001.[4] All the original character designs were much different from what they would become even though the characters kept the same physical attibrutes and appearance.

The show uses the process of limited animation and has a flat and very stylized appearance that resembles the animation used in the last generation of Hanna-Barbera cartoons (such as Dexter's Laboratory, Two Stupid Dogs, The Powerpuff Girls and Samurai Jack, the last is the show in which the Lord and Miller admire). The characters and backgrounds are traditionally drawn but the frames and cels are frequently recycled. The reason for the usage of this animation was explained by the co-creator Chris Miller, "We like the snappy pose-to-pose animation, more for reasons of comic timing than anything else, things that aren't expected are funnier: If an anvil's going to fall on your head, it had better not take more than three seconds. That's why we like the quick pose-to-pose stuff. For scenes with more emotional content, the characters move a little slower and more fluidly." and Phil Lord adds, "But we never want the viewer to be paying attention to the animation, because it's there to serve the jokes and the story, we strip out extraneous movements, because we don't want to draw your eye to anything that's not part of a joke." Also, Each episode produced has the budget of approximately $750,000.[5] Gandhi is the most animated character on the show; he requires twice as many story-board poses as any other character.[6]

The series was produced by Bill Lawrence who also produced Scrubs, Spin City and currently Cougar Town. Many of Scrubs alumni provide voices of several characters in Clone High, such as Zach Braff, Donald Faison, Sarah Chalke, John C. McGinley, Neil Flynn and Christa Miller.

Also, there is an image of a dolphin hidden in almost every episode. In the episode "Raisin the Stakes," there were countless hidden messages that appear to be a parody of subliminal messaging.

Episodes

TitleWriterOriginal Airdate

Soundtrack

The previous animated MTV series Daria and Beavis and Butt-head had used then-current popular music as a soundtrack. But in contrast, Clone High featured a wide variety of music, usually exclusive to alternative rock, indie rock, punk rock, pop rock, metalcore, from mostly unknown and underground bands and musicians, a previous MTV animated series Undergrads had also done this. Of these include Alkaline Trio, Ritalin, Catch 22, Ilya, The Gentleman, Drex, Taking Back Sunday, Jo Davidson, Saves the Day, Hot Rod Circuit, Thursday, Helicopter Helicopter, American Football, Dashboard Confessional, Elf Power, Abandoned Pools, The Get Up Kids, Mink Lungs, Mates of State, Snapcase, The Mooney Suzuki, Jon Derosa, Ephemera, Jinnrall, Avoid One Thing, DJ Cellulitis, DJ Piccolo, Whippersnapper, Matt Pond PA, Mad City and Bumblefoot[7] [8] The series other background music and original score would be performed by the Abandoned Pools.

Reception

Because of the series' early cancellation in 2003, it quickly fell into obscurity, especially in the United States. However, it has garnered a large fanbase through Internet viewings (mainly from YouTube) and reruns on Teletoon's Detour block and Razer in Canada.

It has been critically acclaimed for its comical, nonsensical approach to teenage life, parodies of historical figures with well-developed and unique personalities, and witty and fast-paced dialogue. Heather Marulli of the website Television Without Pity, called the series "a mini-masterpiece of the animated genre; an opus to the primetime cartoon"[9]

David Bianculli of the New York Daily News, wrote that "(Clone High) in a year of variations and ripoffs of established themes and genres, it's a true original. It's also a cartoon, and is truly, outrageously bizarre", and that, '"Clone High" is the highest of high concepts'.[10]

It currently has an 8.7 rating on TV.com,[11] a 8.9 rating on IMDb[12] and is listed as #5 on IGN's Reader Choice: Top Animated Series.[13]

Controversy

An article in Maxim Magazine depicting Mahatma Gandhi getting beat up by a muscular man sparked outrage in India.[14] Clone High was caught in a crossfire when citizens in the country conducted internet searches on the Maxim article but also found out about the show's Gandhi character on MTV's website. This sparked an outrage in India over the show's depiction of Gandhi.[14] On January 30, 2003, the 55th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi's assassination, approximately 150 protesters (including members of parliament) gathered in New Delhi and vowed to fast in response to Clone High.[15] MTV offered a quick apology, stating that "Clone High was created and intended for an American audience," and, "We recognize and respect that various cultures may view this programming differently, and we regret any offense taken by the content in the show." [16]

DVD Release

DVD CoverTitleRelease dateEpisodes
"Season 1"September 20, 200513
The DVD was released in Canada by Nelvana with the help of Teletoon. The DVD contains the complete first season, including the 5 episodes which did not originally air in the United States.

External links

Notes and References

  1. News: Peer pressure of historic proportions. The Los Angeles Times. 2003-01-20. 2010-11-08. Scott. Sandell.
  2. News: Clone High on hiatus! No school for Scudworth!. 2003-03-17. CloneHighUSA.com. http://web.archive.org/web/20030603210505/http://clonehighusa.com/news/ARTICLES/Article_HTMLs/article_8_hiatus.htm. 2003-06-03.
  3. Web site: Pava, Adam. Episode Six: 'Homecoming: A Shot in the D'Arc' Notes. CloneHighUSA.com. http://web.archive.org/web/20030427125949/http://www.clonehighusa.com/backstage/episode_notes/episode_six.html. 2003-04-27.
  4. Web site: CloneHighUSA.com. web.archive.org. 2004-02-25. 2011-07-12.
  5. News: Freshman animators. articles. latimes.com. 2003-27-2. 2011-27-7. Charles. Solomon.
  6. Web site: Clone High Fun Facts. archive.org. 2011-28-7.
  7. Web site: MTV.com - Onair - Clone High. Web.archive.org. 2003-01-19. 2010-12-06. http://web.archive.org/web/20030119090212/www.mtv.com/onair/clone_high/. 2003-01-19.
  8. Web site: CloneHighUSA.com. Web.archive.org. 2003-01-04. 2011-07-03. http://web.archive.org/web/20030409053346/www.clonehighusa.com/music/music_by_episode.html. 2003-04-09.
  9. Web site: Marulli. Heather. Tonight, On A Very Special Clone High.... televisionwithoutpity.com. 2009-12-01.
  10. News: Bianculli. David. This Class Is One For The History Books. nydailynews.com. 2003-01-20. 2010-07-27. New York.
  11. News: Clone High, USA on TV.com.
  12. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0305011/
  13. Web site: Fowler. Matt. Readers' Choice: IGN's Top Animated Series - TV Feature at IGN. Tv.ign.com. 2010-12-06.
  14. Web site: “”. Clone High NEW Behind the Scenes Discussion. YouTube. 2010-12-06.
  15. News: Ashok. Sharma. MTV's Gandhi 'insult' outrages Indian MPs. 2003-01-31. The Guardian. London.
  16. News: Josh. Grossberg. MTV Apologizes for Gandhi Goofing. 2003-01-31. E! Online.