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Tonight, On A Very Special Clone High

by Heather Marulli December 1, 2009 11:18 am
Tonight, On A Very Special <i>Clone High</i>…

Scrubs is returning to ABC on December 1st for a 9th season, which may leave some wondering "Wasn't that show cancelled years ago?" and others somewhat excited about the impending birth of J.D. and Elliott's spawn. Another Bill Lawrence project that remains forever tucked away in the dusty corners of my memory is Clone High. Clone High was a short-lived cartoon that aired on MTV during the 2002-2003 season. Only 13 episodes exist of what I will dare to call a mini-masterpiece of the animated genre; an opus to the primetime cartoon.

Clone High was the story of hormone-ridden, confused high-schoolers. What made them stand out, however, is that they were all government-funded clones made from the DNA of famous historical figures. The main protagonist was Abe Lincoln, a gangly, acne-ridden teen with a crush on the school's hottest chick, Cleopatra. Abe's best friend was a womanizing clone version of Gandhi, a portrayal that many have speculated led to the demise of the show. Another friend was Joan of Arc, who harbored a secret crush on Abe and suffered at the sight of his obsession with Cleo. The most popular guy in school, however, was JFK, complete with a stunted Boston accent and dumb-jock tendencies. (Cleopatra is numbers 1 and 2 on his list of 150 women to sleep with during the year.)

The voice talent of Clone High featured Will Forte as Abe, and MadTV alums Nicole Sullivan and Michael McDonald as Joan of Arc and Gandhi, respectively. The series also featured Bill Lawrence favorites Donald Faison as Toots (a Ray Charles-type blind singer) and Neil Flynn as Julius Caesar. Christa Miller of course had a role on her husband's series; she voiced the sultry Cleopatra.

The teenagers are supposed to be a part of a military experiment to create super-powerful clones of great historical figures to rule over the earth. Their insane principal, Cinnamon Scudworth, who wants to use the clones to run an amusement park called "Cloney Island," monitors the clones. His sidekick is a robot butler named Mr. Butlertron who calls everyone he encounters by the name "Wesley."

I was initially drawn to this show in the midst of an obsession with JFK after completing a project on the Bay of Pigs invasion for school. Yes, I am a bit of a history nerd, and the show's funny portrayals of Vincent van Gogh as a lonely art student, Marie Curie as a radiation-deformed outcast, and overweight, bumbling Ghengis Khan thoroughly amused me. Other historical references can be seen throughout the show -- for example, the local hangout is a fast food restaurant called The Grassy Knoll, which features a classy mock-up of the JFK assassination, complete with a JFK dummy horrendously slumped over the side of a Lincoln Continental limousine. If anything, we can be grateful that this show introduced teens to historical references they may have otherwise missed out on.

Clone High was a memorable parody of the teen dramedy; each episode had a theme that was subsequently ripped to shreds with a wit that has since been unseen at MTV during the Super Sweet 16 era. In one episode, Gandhi is diagnosed with ADD and becomes an outcast. Another episode parodied peer pressure and found the students smoking raisins to get high. This series stands as solid proof of Bill Lawrence's talent, and although it was cancelled too soon, Clone High remains a cult favorite. Perhaps by some miracle someone will either A) pick up where this series left off in a cliffhanger or B) produce an animated series of similar magnitude. Oh, well. A nerd can dream.

The collection of 13 episodes isn't available on DVD in America; however, fans can purchase the Canadian release.

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