[[caption-width-right:300: This may be the greatest show ever recorded.]]
->''"If you're so smart explain THIS, Clarissa!"''
-->'''Clarissa''', ''Music/MindlessSelfIndulgence''

♪ ''[[{{Scatting}} Na na na na-na!]]'' ♪

One of the earliest original sitcoms on {{Creator/Nickelodeon}}, about a teenage girl named Clarissa Darling, her geeky, conniving, conservative brother Ferguson, and her wacky hippie parents. Usually featured Clarissa commenting on the plot directly to the camera, imitating a newscaster.

Despite its seemingly innocent reputation, in retrospect, ''Clarissa'' probably [[GettingCrapPastTheRadar got some crap past the radar]], as the show had a habit of making subtle references to sex and teen partying, albeit in a light-hearted, contemporary fashion. Also one of the few shows on the channel that could skate by with using and at times spelling out words like "hell" and "sex" onscreen.

Also noteworthy for being one of the first shows to feature a female lead and be gender-neutral. Before this show, the only shows with a female lead (as few as they were) were intended for girls only. It also helped to tear down a long standing belief that shows with female leads wouldn't be able to gain a significant male audience.

The show ran from 1991 to 1994, ending just before the introduction of cartoon programming that would come to dominate the channel in TheNineties. Is also notable for being one of the roles Creator/MelissaJoanHart is known for besides [[Series/SabrinaTheTeenageWitch being a witch]].

In July 2011, it became one of the four inaugural shows of Creator/TeenNick's "Series/The90sAreAllThat" lineup.
!!This series provides examples of:

* ThirtyMinutesOrItsFree: Since their mom is a health-food nut, Clarissa and Ferguson once took advantage of being allowed to order pizza by timing the delivery boy down to seconds, and then re-ordering more when he was inevitably late.
* AmazinglyEmbarrassingParents: Clarissa's parents have all manner of eccentric, oddball hobbies. Clarissa may or may not get dragged into them, but she always feels annoyed at them.
* AnnoyingYoungerSibling: Ferguson makes it his life's mission to annoy Clarissa.
* ArsonMurderAndJaywalking: "There are lots of things worse than having your mom teach at your school, like flossing with barbed wire, swimming through shark-infested waters, or having Ferguson for a brother."
* AsideComment: How she Explains It All.
* AwLookTheyReallyDoLoveEachOther: Clarissa and Ferguson are capable of getting along, and in the last episode [[spoiler:he admits he'll miss her when she leaves for New York. He even hugs her.]]
* BabysittingEpisode: One episode had Clarissa baby sitting "Little Elsie", an absolute monster of a child, who makes it a point to make Clarissa's life a living hell. [[spoiler: Clarissa manages to beat her by goading her into bragging about everything she's gotten away with and [[CaughtOnTape recording it]].]]
* {{Balloonacy}}: Clarissa attempts to do away with Ferguson by hooking him up to a straitjacket attached to balloons. Hapless Sam falls victim to the trap instead.
* BetterAsFriends: Sam develops a crush on Clarissa at one point, and she reluctantly agrees to go on a date with him. It turns out that, as close as they are, they have absolutely zero chemistry and agree that they are... well, this trope.
* BigEater: Clifford. Eating an entire pizza ''just makes him hungrier''.
* BlackBestFriend: Olivia, though she doesn't appear as frequently as Sam.
* BoyNextDoor: Sam.
* ButtMonkey: Sam does have a tendency to fall off of that ladder more often than he'd like to admit..
* CannotTellAJoke: Ferguson was generally a straight-laced, snobby know it all. Later in the series, he spent an entire episode practicing the delivery of a cliche joke (A homeless man walks up to me on the street and says he hasn't had a bite in...) for some event that he was participating in. The humor came not from the joke itself, but from the ludicrous attempts at telling it, which eventually started including ridiculous stresses on random words of the punchline, a la "I bit '''him'''. '''I''' bit him. I '''bit''' him."
** Oddly enough he could qualify as a competent DeadpanSnarker [[DependingOnTheWriter most of the time.]]
%%* ChainLetter: Marshall got one.
* CigaretteOfAnxiety: Clarissa has a dream sequence where she finds her mother smoking like a chimney. The mother explains that she used to smoke and had quit, but that recent stress had caused her to pick up the habit again.
* {{Cloudcuckoolander}}: One episode, Clarissa has serious problems training to become "normal". ItRunsInTheFamily, even her mentor is NotSoAboveItAll.
* ConflictBall: The source of some of the drama being the unjustified parental veto.
%%* ConsolationWorldRecord: In one episode.
%%* CoolBike: One episode revolves around her wanting to ride a motorcycle.
* CoolPet: Clarissa has a pet alligator named "Elvis".
* CoolTeacher: Mr. Futtstein. Clarissa often quotes his words of wisdom, and one of his assignments was watching television for 24 hours straight to figure out how to improve it.
* ADayInTheLimelight: "Ferguson Explains it All".
* DietEpisode: Marshall tries to go on a diet upon discovering he can no longer fit into his old jacket from high school. Janet is reluctant to help him out, stating that every time she tries to help him with a diet, she ends up becoming the bad guy because he can't stick to it.
* DisproportionateRetribution:
** Clarissa and Sam end up getting arrested during a protest in which Sam decides he's hungry and tries to open up a bag of chips. It leads to [[DisasterDominoes him flinging back into the next person, causing a chain reaction until someone ends up squirting mustard all over the [=CEO=] of the company they were protesting against.]] The town however, is aware that he overreacted to what was clearly an accident, and when he loses sympathy as a result, he tries to save face, drop the charges and listen to their cause.
** Clarissa plans to do away with Ferguson by attaching him to a straight jacket covered in balloons for taking her training bra to school for show and tell.
* DoggedNiceGuy: The Clarissa/Clifford dynamic starts off by following this to the letter, with Clarissa being irritated by his relentless serenading her until he stops, at which point she realizes she misses him.
* DropInCharacter: Sam doesn't have to call ahead or even knock on the front door. He just props a ladder against Clarissa's patio and climbs on in unannounced. Clarissa often doesn't even look up from what she's doing when he arrives, simply calling "Hi, Sam!" when his ladder and dissonant guitar lick leitmotif are audible.
* EnterStageWindow: It's debatable whether Sam's even aware the Darlings' house has a door. At one point he was downstairs in the kitchen, and instead of leaving through the back door he climbed out through that window!
* EvilRedhead: Ferguson isn't really evil in the world at large, but he certainly feels that way to his older sister.
* FirstGrayHair: In one episode, Clarissa's mother panics about getting older after discovering that she has a gray hair. Clarissa's dad, however, is quick to point out to her that she only ''had'' a gray hair, having just plucked it out before both characters entered the scene.
%%* FullNameUltimatum
%%* GameShowAppearance
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar: One episode had Clarissa go lingerie shopping at the mall, and accidentally bring one of the bustiers home with her. They also spelled out the words "sex" and "hell" at various times in the show.
* GranolaGirl: Clarissa's mom is quick to jump on any trends she feels would advance the world.
* {{Homage}}: One episode has Clarissa befriending [[Film/AllAboutEve Eve, the new girl in school; she practically worships Clarissa, begins copying her style, and later steals her ideas for the school newspaper column]].
* HostileShowTakeover: "Ferguson Explains It All".
* IJustWantToBeYou: Eve in the episode "Hero Worship".
* ImagineSpot: At least OnceAnEpisode, often more.
* InsufferableGenius: Ferguson is remarkably smarter than Clarissa. At least, book smart. And he will never, ever shut up about it.
* IntrepidReporter: The one featured on the show has an odd tendency to sleep standing up.
%%* LaughTrack
* {{Leitmotif}}: Now full-on MemeticMutation.
* LethalChef: Janet, as she both is a health food nut and likes to experiment in the kitchen.
* LoveAtFirstPunch: Clifford falls for Clarissa because she's the first girl to ever try and stand up to him. However, they don't actually fight, which is definitely a good thing as it's made abundantly clear the results would not have been pretty.
* LovesMyAlterEgo: Clarissa once attended a costume party while dressing and acting like a punk named "Jade", and caught the attention of an older boy.
* NoFourthWall: Clarissa addresses the audience almost every scene. Ferguson and Sam also did it a few times.
* NoSparks: The reason Clarissa and Sam decide they're BetterAsFriends.
* OfCorsetsSexy: Clarissa tries on a bustier and accidentally leaves the store wearing it under her clothes. May count as SheIsAllGrownUp.
* OffscreenMomentOfAwesome: Sometimes we see Clarissa come up with a solution and only hear what happened after she carried it out.
* PacManFever: Clarissa would, OnceAnEpisode, make a game venting her frustrations at her current dilemma. They looked a bit like what games would appear as at the time; but nowadays they would be more appropriate for flash.
* PetsHomageName: In one episode, Ferguson finds a lost cat that he names William F. Buckley.
* PhraseCatcher: "Hi, Sam." ''[[{{Leitmotif}} twang]]''
* PlatonicLifePartners: Clarissa and Sam.
* PrecociousCrush: Clarissa develops a temporary one on the local television weatherman.
* RearWindowInvestigation: The episode where Clarissa and Sam try dating features a B-plot with Ferguson investigating a possible murder the neighbor appeared to commit.
* SecurityBlanket: Ferguson, still sleeps with his "blankie". Clarissa was once able to sabotage his election for class president by releasing a picture of him with it throughout the school.
* ShapedLikeWhatItSells: Marshall Darling is an architect who seems to specialize in these.
* SpinOff: After the series ended, Nickelodeon aired the pilot for a failed spin-off called "Clarissa Now" which focused on Clarissa getting a job in New York. It even featured an urbanized version of the "Na Na" theme song. It failed to catch on with younger viewers due to the fact that it was originally produced as a prime-time sitcom for CBS complete with an all-adult cast that included comedian Robert Klein and Lisa Gay Hamilton (of "The Practice").
* ThereWasADoor: Sam. Repeatedly. {{Lampshaded}} often by Clarissa's dad.
%%* TimeToMove
* TitleSequenceReplacement: The first season episodes originally opened with Clarissa trying on different costumes her family and Sam handed her.
* TrappedInTVLand: Clarissa pretends to be this to prank Ferguson, when she'd really just set up an elaborate video camera.
* UnDuet: Clarissa performs one in front of Sam when her partner backs out.