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Clone High (occasionally referred to in the U.S. as Clone High U.S.A.) is an American animated series that aired for one season (November 2002 – April 2003) on MTV and Teletoon. It has officially been on hiatus since March 17, 2003.

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 is 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", his intentions with the clones being decidedly less evil than those of the Board). He is assisted by his robot/vice principal/dehumidifier Mr. Butlertron (a parody of Mr. Belvedere), who is programmed to call everyone "Wesley" (a reference to one of the main characters in Mr. Belvedere).

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 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.

Many celebrities, including Tom Green, Andy Dick, Mandy Moore, John Stamos, Marilyn Manson, Michael J. Fox and Jack Black make guest appearances on the show (sometimes as themselves). In addition, there are many portrayals of clones of famous historical figures, such as Julius Caesar, Catherine the Great, Genghis Khan, Vincent van Gogh, George Washington Carver, Helen of Troy, Gautama Buddha, Juan Ponce de León (who appears as a cross between himself and Arthur Fonzarelli and is known as "Poncey"), Marie Curie (who is deformed, due to radiation damage to her DNA), and even Jesus Christ (who is portrayed as a latino named Jesús Cristo always shown in shop class doing carpentry).

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 gay interracial couple; Joan's "foster grandpa" is an elderly blind musician similar to Ray Charles named Toots, who fills the stereotypical wise old man role (and the magical negro role) found in most 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 nod to the JFK assassinationmarker 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 assassinationmarker (though this version is in color and considerably more graphic than the orignal print). The genetic ancestors of all of the main five 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 a rude 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". Another reference to the gag was deleted from episode 8, "A Room of One's Clone: Pie of the Storm".

During the process of writing an episode, the writers would all get together to pitch jokes. Often, a writer would pitch an extension onto a joke, then another writer would pitch another extension, and so on, until it became what the writers called a wacky stack, a joke so bloated and over-written it was no longer funny.(see Episode 2, Election Blu-Galoo)

The season, and as of 2003, series finale is a cliffhanger episode, ending with the entire cast, aside from Principal Scudworth and Mr.Butlertron, deep-frozen.

Characters

  • Abe Lincoln: A naïve yet nice guy, forever wrestling with the legacy of his clonefather, Abraham Lincoln. Voice by Will Forte.
  • Joan of Arc: A cynical, regretful, and angst-ridden goth clone of Joan of Arc with a crush on her best friend, Abe. Although she does not seem to be an obvious goth, she called herself one during a confession to Jesús Cristo in the third episode. Voice by Nicole Sullivan.
  • Gandhi: Buckling under the pressure of being a clone of Mahatma Gandhi, he has become a non-stop party machine instead. Voice by Michael McDonald. His portrayal as a party animal enraged many in Indiamarker, including prominent members of India's parliament.
  • Cleopatra: A sharp, sultry, seductive, cruel and manipulative clone of Cleopatra VII of Egypt. Voice by Christa Miller.
  • JFK: A pretty boy, sex-obsessed captain of the football team and soccer team who believes he is doing a good job of living up to John F. Kennedy, whom he believes to have been "A macho, womanizing stud who conquered the MOON!" Voice by Christopher Miller.
  • Principal Cinnamon J. Scudworth, Ph.D.: A deluded, self-aggrandizing megalomaniac who always wears rubber dish-gloves and has an annual psychological breakdown after which he attempts to kill John Stamos. Voice by Phil Lord
  • Mr. Butlertron: A robot who is programmed with a highly sensitive compassion protocol (a parody of Mr. Belvedere). Also known as Mr. B. He calls everyone "Wesley", a reference to the youngest son on Mr. Belvedere, Wesley Owens. Voice by Christopher Miller.
  • Mr. Sheepman: A kindly history teacher at Clone High, and the first mostly human clone with a little sheep DNA mixed into his genetic composition (a parody of Dolly the Sheep). His mannerisms are a parody of Don Knotts. Voice by Andy Dick.
  • Secret Board of Shadowy Figures: A secretive government organization who employs Principal Scudworth and is sponsored by Puma.


Other CharactersOther characters in the series that have appeared include Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, Eleanor Roosevelt, Marie Curie, Vincent van Gogh, Julius Caesar, George Washington Carver, Catherine the Great, Helen of Troy, Genghis Khan, Jesús Cristo (Jesus Christ), Ponce (Juan Ponce de León), Thomas Edison, Napoleon Bonaparte, Paul Revere, Buddy Holly, Martin Luther King, Jr. and others.

Episodes

Clone High premired on November 2, 2002, after that eight new episodes were shown one week after the next (Season 1, Part 1), then after a one month break, the remaining four were aired (Season 1, Part 2).

# Title Original Airdate Description Notable Guest Stars
1 Escape to Beer Mountain: A Rope of Sand November 2, 2002 Abe can't go to JFK's party unless he supplies beer. Michael J. Fox as Gandhi's remaining kidney, Andy Dick as Van Gogh, Donald Faison as George Washington Carver.
2 Episode Two: Election Blu-Galoo November 3, 2002 Abe and JFK run for class president. Marilyn Manson as himself.
3 A.D.D.: The Last 'D' is for Disorder November 10, 2002 Gandhi is diagnosed with A.D.D. Zach Braff as Paul Revere, Donald Faison as Toots, Tom Green as himself.
4 Film Fest: Tears of a Clone November 17, 2002 In an effort to stop school riots, Abe hosts a film festival. Donald Faison as George Washington Carver.
5 Sleep of Faith: La Rue D'Awakening November 24, 2002 With the PXJTs right around the corner the students of Clone High hit the books. John C. McGinley as Doug Prepcourse.
6 Homecoming: A Shot in D'Arc December 1, 2002 To prove that girls are just as athletic as boys, Joan secretly joins the basketball team. Chris Berman as himself, Dan Patrick as himself, Neil Flynn as Julius Caesar.
7 Plane Crazy: Gate Expectations December 8, 2002 Cleo goes to Canada for spring break to be on a popular T.V. show. Ashley Angel as himself, Neil Flynn as Buddy Holly.
8 A Room of One's Clone: The Pie of the Storm December 15, 2002 After her house burns down, Joan has no choice, but to move in with Cleo. Donald Faison as Martin Luther King Jr. and Toots, Neil Flynn as Moses.
9 Raisin the Stakes: A Rock Opera in Three Acts January 12, 2003 A rumor goes around that you can get high on raisins. Jack Black as the Pusher/Larry Hardcore.
10 Litter Kills: Litterally January 19, 2003 JFK's long-time best friend dies. Luke Perry as Ponce, Neil Flynn as Glenn the Janitor and Julius Caesar.
11 Snowflake Day: A Very Special Holiday Episode January 26, 2003 Joan has lost the snowflake day spirit. Mandy Moore as Herself?
12 Makeover, Makeover, Makeover: The Makeover Episode February 3, 2003 With prom not too far away, the students of clone high get makeovers. None.
13 Changes: You got a Prom with That? February 10, 2003 The Clone High Junior prom becomes an imminent disaster when The Board of Shadowy Figures makes a death threat towards Principal Scudworth. John Stamos as himself, Tommy Walter as himself.


Controversy

An ad in Maxim Magazine depicting Mahatma Gandhi in a negative manner initially sparked controversy, which led to a greater awareness of the show in India and sparking an outrage in that country. On January 30, 2003, the 55th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi's assassinationmarker, approximately 150 protesters (including members of parliament) gathered in New Delhimarker and vowed to fast in response to Clone High. 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."

DVD release

DVD Cover Title Release date Episodes
"Season 1" September 20, 2005 13
The DVD was released in Canada by Nelvana with the help of Teletoon. The DVD contains the complete first season, including the 2 episodes which did not originally air in the United States. Warner Home Video holds the rights to distributing the series on DVD if it is ever released in the US.


References

External links




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