Clarrissa Explains It All was a television series that aired on Nickelodeon in the 90’s. If you ever watched it, you’ll remember it as being neither good nor bad.
“It all” was every important question a kid in India needed answered about life on the other side. What did American kids eat for breakfast (cereal), why didn’t they have nuclear rocket-sized school bags like us (lockers), and how did they have so much free time after school (no tuition classes). Blonde, crazily-garbed ( that really meant something in the nineties) and happy-all-the-frigging-time Clarissa was our window into the other world. The reason we said “puh-leeeeeze” and rolled our eyes the way we did and the inspiration behind every baggy pair of jeans. If you didn’t do these things back then, you were probably lame. Aaaargh, even talking about Clarissa makes me regress into adolescence.
Then the nineties got over and we moved on. You might say we forgot teenaged, blonde Clarissa and all her harmless, useless nuggets of wisdom.
Until, Melissa and Joey, a sitcom aired on ABC Family. I still remember that fateful day when I got home and innocently tuned into Star World. The face that smiled out at me from the screen nearly caused me to go into a House MD certified version of anaphalactic shock. It was Clarissa but she was *shudder* adult. She had adult arm-fat and adult problems and she was talking about sex like she’d already *shudder* had it.
Ugh. Why can’t television let the dead past bury its dead? It’s a cruel marketing trick. They take Clarissa with all her fresh hopes and dreams of youth and they give her arm-fat and a name that sounds similar (Melissa? Really?). Then they pop her onto our TV screens so she can taunt us with her lame adult life. Melissa and Joey follows the humdrum adventures of a 30 something council woman Melissa who hires a guy called Joey to take care of her niece and nephew. I don’t have a beef with the fact that the show has awful humour and loud, cartoonish acting. Clarrissa Explains It All had both. I have a beef that I can’t ignore the show just because it has Clarissa is in. So whenever the monstrosity is on, I watch in spite of myself and weep with terrible shame once it’s over. Oh innocence lost.
What’s that? You’re saying I’m over-reacting? Come on, it’s the same as that before and after picture of Macaulay Culkin that’s the doing the rounds on facebook. You know, the one where the before version is him in Home Alone, all cherubic and round eyed and the after version is him drug-ravaged, gaunt and looking a lot like what Voldemort’s loser computer-nerd brother might look like.
Well, I’ve seen the picture and it’s not the same thing at all. You know why? I never liked Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone. Oh come on, you’re arguing, you were never too gone on Clarissa either. To that I can only roar, a la Kelso circa season two of That 70s’ show, “I thought she was ok.”
P.S: If you skipped the Clarissa phase altogether, you’re either too young or too old and both possibilities are sad because the nineties were the greatest time to be fourteen. The nineties ftw.