Back in 1991, Clarissa Explains It All hit our small screens and explained a lot of fascinating things that were happening in her pre-adolescent life. Y'know, like what it was like to wear your first training bra and how to avoid that annoying pest of a brother. That sort of thing.
Admittedly, we love it then and we still love it now, which is why news that the show might be heading for a reboot brought us all a great deal of excitement over the past few days. So in anticipation of what is to come, why not brush up on your Clarissa knowledge with the following facts:
1. Sibling rivalry was always at the heart of the series
Yep, the show's creator, Mitchell Kriegman has previously revealed that Clarissa's constant battle with her little brother always lay at the crux of the show. He said:
“Although sibling rivalry may not always be the subject of an episode it is always present as part of the context. … The issue of sibling rivalry is treated simply as a fact of life … rather than something the show ever needs to apologize for, or explain away, or tack a moral on.”
2. There's a 'Clarissa Explains It All' bible
Yup, Kriegman put together a 52-page document that included all character descriptions, the monologues and the catchphrases. In addition, it contained information of all the fantasy sequences, the video games and snippets of info on how the graphics treatments were accomplished. Kriegman passed the document to all the show's writers, urging them to use it as a guide when preparing scripts for episodes. Nice!
3. Clarissa's bedroom set was very complex
It included a They Might Be Giants poster, a science experiment, a dollhouse, some bizarre hats, among other things.
4. The reason behind Clarissa's name is a secret
Kriegman has admitted he's taking this tidbit of information to the grave, saying:
“That’s a secret that’s going to go to my grave with me. The only thing I can say is that I intentionally picked a name that she could say that she hated.”
5. On average, seventy hours were spent on each episode
That came to usually six days a week in three week blocks, with two weeks off in between until all the episodes in the season were completed.
6. A phenomenal amount of successful writers have written for the show
Some of the big names include Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games), Becky Hartman Edwards (Parenthood, Suddenly Susan, The Larry Sanders Show), Doug Petrie (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, American Horror Story), Alexa Junge (Friends, The West Wing, United States of Tara), Peter Gaffney (Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, Recess, The Simpsons), Patricia Marx (SNL, Women Aloud, The New Yorker), Alan Goodman (The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo, Hey Dude), Michael Borkow (Roseanne, Malcolm in the Middle, Friends), Glenn Eichler (The Colbert Report, Daria), and Alison Taylor (The Cheetah Girls, Lizzie McGuire).
7. Rachel Sweet wrote the theme song
Kriegman's pal actually put together the intro after the creator gave Rachel full reign in deciding what it would include. Although the opening title sequence ended up slightly different to the one we are used to, the sound actually stayed the same:
8. The show wasn't cancelled because of poor ratings
Nope, Clarissa Explains It All didn't suffer the typical death of most sitcoms. In fact, Nickelodeon decided to pull the plug because the studio agreed that at almost seventeen, Clarissa was simply too old for her viewers. This is what Kriegman has to say:
"In those days, Nickelodeon stopped at 14 and MTV started at 15 or 16, and there was no middle ground. They didn’t cross that line, ‘cause that was MTV territory, and the attitude of MTV was way different than the attitude of Nickelodeon. The audience changes before the media changes, so [the network execs] weren’t really aware how much kids had grown in the time that we had done the show. They felt she was way too old for the network. And I just felt like she could’ve kept going, and there wasn’t really a reason to stop from any perspective. I think people would have stuck with her.”
9. Melissa Joan Hart isn't really like Clarissa in real life
While Jason Zimbler admitted to identifying with his character Ferguson, Melissa didn't think she was that similar to Clarissa. Her actual words were:
"I think I'm different from Clarissa in a lot of ways. For one thing, when Clarissa meets new people, she always starts out with a bad impression. I think Clarissa's attitude is: 'Expect the worst and you'll never be disappointed.' I'm not like that."
Watch her explain it all in the video below:
How much do you really love 'Clarissa Explains It All?'