Remember when MTV showed cartoons? The questions beckons back to a simpler time, a time of Beavis and Butthead, a time of Daria, and on the tail end of those widely successful programs, a time of Clone High. Originally airing in the yesteryear of 2002, Clone High ran for a mere thirteen episodes before its cancellation. Often unremarked and unremembered, it begs the question, why should you care?
A lot of reasons. Seriously, a lot. Clone High was created by Bill Lawrence (creator of Scrubs), as well as Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (the minds that brought us 21 Jump Street and the Lego Movie). The voice cast was no less impressive, featuring a host of Scrubs actors (including Zach Braff himself), a number of famous guest stars, (Jack Black, Mandy Moore, John Stamos, and Marilyn Manson) as well as the ever eccentric Andy Dick as a genetically modified sheepman.
That’s all well and good, but what was the show about? The titular Clone High is a high school populated by clones of famous individuals throughout history, Abe Lincoln, Joan of Arc, Gandhi, Cleopatra, and JFK, run by a mad scientist principal and his robotic butler. The series places these teenage clones in dizzying variety of situations culled directly from the most memorable late 80’s and early 90’s high school teen dramas. Ever wanted to see what happens when Abe Lincoln and JFK run against each other for student body president? You probably never thought about it, but now you are.
And it wouldn’t be an MTV cartoon without the music! Half of Beavis and Butthead’s appeal were the music videos, after all. Clone High provides a surprisingly in touch musical selection (for 2002), featuring the Abandoned Pools, Alkaline Trio, Dashboard Confessional, the Get Up Kids, and Saves the Day. There may or may not be the ubiquitous musical episode thrown in there as well.
The style of humor lives in the eccentric. One episode summary reads, “Gandhi goes on a raisined-out subconscious mindtrip where he encounters a hummingbird-unicorn-donkey creature, a two-headed Olsen Twins monster, a talking Italian pencil, and a stereotypically Australian dragon, on his quest to rescue a princess who he believes will have sex with him.”
Often featuring pop culture and historical references, Clone High was an expertly crafted gem that was too smart for its time. Running a mere thirteen episodes, it’s hard to justify not giving the series a try.