Western Animation: Clone High
I'm a Kennedy. I'm not accustomed to tragedy!
Gandhi: If there's one thing Mahatma Gandhi stands for, it's revenge!Clone High
(2002-2003) is an animated show parodying the Teen Drama
, especially the Very Special Episode
. (The American broadcast added "U.S.A." to the title.)
The plot is pretty straightforward, being outlined at the beginning of every episode by the Expository Theme Tune
. Way, way back in the 1980s
, secret government employees dug up famous guys and ladies and made amusing genetic copies. Now the clones are sexy teens, now
. They're gonna make it if they try. Loving, learning, sharing, judging. Time to laugh and shiver and cry. A time to watch Clone High
A Myth Arc
is implied, wherein the Secret Board of Shadowy Figures
that created the clones check up on the progress toward conditioning them into a super-strong and super-intelligent army. However, little progress is ever made in that, or in Principal Scudworth's plan of creating a clone-based amusement park called "Cloney Island", as the series was canceled in the US after less than a season. The rest of the season aired in Canada (home of the series' lead animation studio), and the out-of-print DVD was only released in the Canadian market. The large list of historical figure clones includes:
- Abe Lincoln, the clumsy, lanky, nice-guy protagonist who is smitten with Cleopatra and constantly suffers physical abuse as he tries to live up to the original Abraham Lincoln's legacy. Ironically, he's portrayed as deeply indecisive.
- Gandhi, Abe's best friend, who cracked under the pressure of living up to the original Mahatma Gandhi and devolved into a wild party animal.
- Joan of Arc, an angsty goth clone of the original Joan of Arc, who is desperately in love with her best friend Abe, and can't seem to ever make him realize said infatuation.
- JFK, the cocky Jerk Jock who macks on all the hot clone girls at school, and has a skewed perspective of the original John F. Kennedy as a "macho, womanizing stud who conquered the MOON!" Made even more hilarious by the fact that his foster parents are a male gay couple. Almost never referred to by a name other than his initials.
- Cleopatra, the sexy, seductive horndog who fulfills the role of Alpha Bitch. Clone of Cleopatra VII (69-30 BC).
- A plethora of minor characters useful for one-shot jokes and 24 Hour Party People scenes, including Gaius Julius Caesar, Nostradamus (1503-1566), Catherine the Great ("Or should I say Catherine the So-So"), Napoleon Bonaparte, the Brontë Sisters (Charlotte, Emily, Anne), Fedor Jeftichew (Jojo the Dogfaced Boy, 1868-1904), and countless others
- Also includes Mad Scientist Principal Cinnamon J. Scudworth, his mechanical yet sensitive servant Mr. Butlertron, who calls everyone 'Wesley', and The Secret Board of Shadowy Figures.
A lot of the humor comes from off-hand or irreverent historical references (like the scene where the clone of Buddy Holly
invites Abe to ride on a broken-down plane along with Ritchie Valens
, The Big Bopper, Jim Croce, and half of Lynyrd Skynyrd
... all of whom had their real life counterparts die in plane crashes).
Now with a recap page
As a show with a premise based on parody, it mocks quite a few tropes:
- Adults Dressed as Children: Scudworth & Butlertron in the pilot
Scudworth: Raise the roof! RAISE IT!
Butlertron: Where are my bitches?
- Affably Evil: The Board of Shadowy Figures, particularly its leader (voiced by co-creator Bill Lawrence). He always speaks in a calm voice when talking to Scudworth and retains a dry sense of humor thought out the dinner in episode 4. This still does not eclipse the fact that he strongly considers killing Scudworth and maintaining strong control over the clones, whom he regards as little more than objects, rather than humans, to serve as a super army for future purposes. In spite of this, he and the other members try their best to assure the clones can live in a peaceful environment and have as normal a teenaged life as possible.
- The Aggressive Drug Dealer: "The Pusher," who deals... raisins
Abe: Hm. I don't really feel anything... Well, I have a strong constitution, so I don't reallyI CAN TASTE THE SUN!!!
- All Guys Want Cheerleaders: Cleo, only Cleo. Cleo Cleo Cleo Cleo Cleo.
- All Love Is Unrequited: Especially in the finale
- Ambiguously Bi: After JFK's initial worries, he adapts to the prospect of being gay pretty quickly. Cleo, too, doesn't seem too put out about almost having sex with Joan.
- American Accents: JFK's accent alternately sounds either Kennedese or New Yorker.
- And Another Thing: JFK in the pilot, as a variant on his trademark explaining the joke.
- Animal Athlete Loophole: Lincoln directs a film called It Takes a Hero, based on the fact that "There's no rule that says a giraffe can't play football."
- Inverted for the purpose of a You Go Girl moment by Clone High's actual sports team, which explicitly prohibits "girls and animals" from playing on the team (considering it's supposed to be boys' basketball). A lot of those players have fine moustaches...
- Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering?: JFK does the 1-person variant a lot
- The penultimate episode has this right before its many makeover montages.
Cleo: Are you thinking what I'm thinking?
Joan (tired) / Cleo (excited): Suicide
! / Makeover!
- Also Mr. Butlertron has been programmed to be pondering what Scudworth is pondering.
- Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Gandhi and Tom Green, the latter to more of an extreme than Gandhi. Tom's speech about ADD is ultimately derailed by a plastic bag.
Wanna go shave a dog?
- Attack of the Political Ad: When Abe and JFK are running for student body president, JFK puts out an attack ad against Abe. First the ad claims Abe is a liar because his answer to what his age is was different to what it was a year before and then footage of Abe eating spaghetti is very poorly edited to make it look like he's eating a baby.
- Bare Your Midriff: Joan of Arc. Even in the winter.
- Back for the Finale: All the celebrity guests that appeared throughout the series reappear in the finale. It's implied that they were somehow involved with the Board Of Shadowy Figures and their ultimate plan for the clones. What that plan was, we will probably never know...
- Be a Whore to Get Your Man: Mocked in the finale, along with Unnecessary Makeover
- Beautiful All Along: Joan
- Beta Couple: Gandhi and Marie Curie near the end of the show.
- Betty and Veronica: Joan (Betty) and Cleo (Veronica) for Abe (Archie), in one of the most obvious and evident parodies of this classic Love Triangle. JFK takes the role of Reggie.
- Bittersweet Ending: Abe and Joan confess their love the minute they get frozen along with everyone else. But then Skudsworth does include the board of shadow figures who were going to use them as super soldiers.
- Bland-Name Product (possibly Mr. Alt Disney): The "Unspecified Rodent-Themed Amusement Park", where Abe goes to visit the animatronic Lincoln in order to gain some advice.
- Blind Seer: Parodied with Toots, who thinks he's perceptive and insightful despite his blindness.
- Sometimes he shows surprisingly clear insight, but most of the time he stumbles around like Mr. Magoo.
- Bolivian Army Ending: The (more or less, see Cut Short) resolution of the series Love Triangle, with Abe realizing he has feelings for Joan (and the other way around) only to discover she and JFK in bed together, just as the freezer is turned on.
- Bloody Hilarious: Quite frequently. Between Geshi chewing animal faces and the invention of the Knork (knife + fork), several episodes turn into bloodbaths at the drop of a hat.
- Body Horror: Some clones such as Marie Curie didnt quite get through the cloning process properly. Also, Ghandi's increasingly disturbing appearance during "Election Bluu-galoo", from consuming Xtreme Blu, which is really just pancake batter and blue house paint.
- Geshi, the GESH High mascot, was genetically engineered with a zipper to resemble a mascot costume more. If someone pulls on the zipper, all his organs fall out.
- The creepy talking horse fetus Nostradamus uses to ask girls out on prom dates.
- Bow Chicka Wow Wow: One On the Next clip showed Joan and Cleo fighting and the narrator saying this.
- Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: Abe passes by a store selling stoves, pipes, and stovepipe hats (famously worn by the real Abraham Lincoln).
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: The Narrator enjoys doing this a lot.
Bus Full of Innocents Bus Full Of Pandas
- But He Sounds Handsome: "John D'Arc", to Abe:
Forget Cleo! She's a skanky ho. You should date... Joan of Arc!
- The Casanova: JFK. Though the Ho Yay may make it Anything That Moves...
- Came Back Wrong: Severe radiation poisoning caused the clone of Marie Curie to come back horribly disfigured.
- Catchphrase: "Now I may be blind..."
- Chekov's Gun: When Joan hears the Voice Of God in The Last D Is For Disorder, it turns out its actually broadcasts from a Christian radio station she's been picking up with her retainer that Ghandi dented earlier in the episode
- Clone Jesus: Though this version is a hispanic carpenting major who pronounces his name Jesús.
- Cloning Blues: Several of the clones have adopted wildly different personalities than their clone parent because the pressure to live up to them [or more accurately, The Theme Park Version of them] caused minor breakdowns
- Clumsy Copyright Censorship: Mr. Butlertron was originally named Mr. Belvetron, but they couldn't secure the rights. He still calls everyone Wesley, though.
- Colon Cancer: Every episode title has a colon, leading up to "Changes: The Big Prom: The Sex Romp: The Season Finale."
- Conspicuous CG: Used intentionally during an over-the-top in-show ad.
- Continuity Nod: When JFK summons woodland creatures to help clean up litter in "Litter Kills Literally", Geshi from "A Shot In the D'ark" is among the animals that show up. Geshi is also seen hiding in the rafters during a "blink and you'll miss it" moment in the finale.
- In the finale, Skunky Poo and Crabby Cakes from "Plane Crazy" appears in a crowd scene.
- Crucified Hero Shot: Twice in "Raisin The Stakes", to parody Jesus Christ Superstar.
- Cue O Clock: Cleo's "Sex O'Clock". She reiterates it just to make sure Abe didn't mishear it as "6 O'Clock"
- Cut Short: Aside from and due to MTV bailing out mid-season, the finale (of the season and the series), in which the Secret Board, having been officially told of Scudworth's plans, attempt to take back the clones at the Winter Prom, leading to the Locked in a Freezer ending was a Cliff Hanger.
- Dead All Along: Parodied with the trucker in episode 5.
- Deadpan Snarker: Joan, as per the goth stereotype.
- Department of Redundancy Department: Larry Hardcore - "I was into everything: weed, grass, ganja, reefer, marijuana, mary jane, I did it all. I even smoked pot once."
- Later in the same episode: Julius Caesar-"Smoking raising is like LSD...On acid!"
- Also, the full name of the school is "Clone High High School".
- Don't Explain the Joke: JFK. Constantly.
- And by "What I Mean", I mean SEXUAL REFERENCE!
JFK: Hey, let's all go swimming... in my pool! And by pool, I mean bathtub... and by swimming, I mean SEX!
- Other characters are often guilty of this too.
Cleo: Abe, it's sex o'clock. It may have sounded like I said the number six but instead I substituted the more suggestive word...sex!
- Dope Slap: Gandhi gives Abe one in the last episode of the season/series when Abe asks him if Joan would return any feelings Abe might have for her.
- Do They Know It's Christmas Time?: Spoofed with Snowflake Day
- "She's lost her Snowflake Day spirit. Sure as shootin', she's lost it."
- Erotic Eating: Cleo attempts to seduce "John Dark" this way, with a banana, a carton of milk, and some whipped cream. It doesn't work.
- Expository Theme Tune: "Way, way back in the 1980s secret government employees dug up famous guys and ladies and made amusing genetic copies."
- Eye Scream: Scudworth stabs John Stamos in the eye with the prom king crown in the finale.
- Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: Cleo's Drunk Foster Mom.
- Facial Horror: In Snowflake Day, Abe keeps getting gruesomely injured in his face and mouth. First he is forced by Napoleon to eat a glass he dropped on the floor during his shift at the dish pit at TGI Chili's, then accidently cuts his cheek open with the knork (a combined knife and fork he and Ghandi invented) when eating with it, then gets even MORE injured when he loses control of a motorized version of said utensil, and finally, when he eats a wienie tot that Joan hid a razorblade in during a fit of anti-holiday pique.
- Fake High: Happens twice, with parody Very Special Episodes:
Cleo: This might be the beer talking—
Abe: I doubt it.
Cleo: It's just, I always saw you as this honest guy, but now I'm seeing you as a cool guy who just happens to be honest.
- Also happens in the episode "Raisin the Stakes," which is about teens going wild and hippie after smoking... raisins.
- Fat Idiot: Genghis Khan, so very much.
- Five-Man Band:
- Flawed Prototype: Mr Sheepman.
- Forgotten Fallen Friend: Ponce De Leon, who is never mentioned after his episode (or before for that matter).
- Freeze-Frame Bonus:
- Several in "Raisin the Stakes."
- During the PTA scene when Scudworth gets up to talk to the parents, a blink-and-you-miss-it drawing of him surrounded by little hearts flashes onscreen with the words, "Scudworth is your favorite character!"◊
- During the hippie song, after JFK sings "Sign my cast for me," the words "I BURIED PONCE" flash onscreen.
- At the very end of the episode, the words "FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT RAISINS, VISIT YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY" appear.
- In the season finale, when Abe enters the freezer to find Joan in bed with JFK. Just before Joan pulls the sheet up over her chest, "Nice try" can be seen written on her breasts, replacing any naughty bits.
- Freud Was Right: Parodied in-universe when Sigmund Freud's clone is the only one who picks up on the subtext of Joan's film
- Freudian Slip: Subverted with Cleo's "sex o'clock", she points out that it was not a slip of "six o'clock", and that she really did mean to say "sex o'clock".
- Gag Penis: Genghis Khan; when walking in the men's locker room, he is accompanied by a sound resembling a boulder dragging across the floor. Joan's face is incredulous.
- Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: Cleo's first reaction to finding out John was Joan was to gag at the thought that she was trying to make out with Joan, then she smirked and said "Hot."
- Also, the Cat Fight between the two of them. JFK and Gandhi are very interested.
- Goofy Print Underwear Pink heart boxers are seen off of Gandhi in the pilot and on a cop during the parody of The Benny Hill Show.
- G-Rated Drug: Sleep deprivation.
- Ham-to-Ham Combat: Principal Scudworth and Butlertron when they're having one of their... uh... domestic squabbles. Complete with soap opera-esque piano in the background.
- Happily Adopted: All the clones have foster parents, and they're aware of it. Of course, sometimes it's questionable as to how happy they are.
- Made funnier by the fact that Abe and his father address each other as "Foster Dad" and "Foster Son".
- Hahvahd Yahd In My, er-uh, Cah: JFK, naturally.
- Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?: During JFK's brief sexuality crisis when he finds himself attracted to "John Dark", actually Joan Of Arc in disguise, he goes to ridiculous extents to affirm his hetereosexuality. And when he finds out it was a chick all along, his relief is palpable.
- Larynx Dissonance:
Joan of Arc John Dark
- Le Film Artistique: Joan's entry in the film festival. Heavy on the True Art Is Incomprehensible part.
- Literal-Minded / Rhetorical Question Blunder:
Mr. Butlertron: What would the real Joan of Arc have done?
Joan: She would have listened to her heart. And then she would've gotten burned at the stake. [nervous laugh] But what are the odds of that happening again?
- Local Hangout: The Grassy Knoll
- Locked in a Freezer: With literally everyone who had appeared beforehand (except Scudworth and Butlertron) in the Season Finale. Although it's not quite an example of this trope...
- Logic Bomb: Parodied and averted in one fell swoop by Mr. Butlertron on Scangrade
Butlertron: Before you kill me, I have one request: can you answer a multiple choice question?
Scangrade: I'm Scangrade. I grade tests for a living. Ask me your question!
Butlertron: Are you a) handsome, b) smart, c) scrap metal, or d) all of the above?
That's easy. I'm a) and b), but not c), so I can't be all of the above. Wait...you can't fill in two ovals! NOOOOO!
- Long-Lost Uncle Aesop: Ponce de Leon.
- Loophole Abuse: Subverted with the rule that "no girls or animals can play on the boys teams".
- Love Triangle: Joan/Abe/Cleo and Abe/Cleo/JFK. The end of the show showed some beginnings to a Abe/Joan/JFK triangle but of course it was canceled before we could find out.
- Make-Out Point: "Teen Sex Cove"
- The Makeover: Parodied to hell and back; see Unnecessary Makeover below)
- Manly Gay: One of JFK's fathers certainly qualifies.
- Makeover Montage: Spoofed, combined with Unnecessary Makeover
- Makeover makeover, makeover makeover, makeover makeover, MAKEOVER.
- Master of the Mixed Message: Abe is the king of this trope, unfortunately for Joan
- Mirror Monologue: JFK in the penultimate episode
- Spoofed often by JFK, as they tend to devolve into Mirror Arguments.
- Mixed Metaphor: Abe has a few of these; see the trope page
- Mr. Exposition: Lampshaded relentlessly in episode 6
- Mushroom Samba: When Gandhi smokes raisins in "Raisin the Stakes," he hallucinates some... strange things.
- Musical Episode: Raisin the Stakes: A Rock Opera in Three Acts
- My Eyes Are Leaking: Parodied. When JFK (seeking guidance) cries in front of Principal Scudworth, Scudworth shrieks and exclaims "Is that water leaking out of your face!?" Could be considered an inversion as well, since Scudworth is the only (naturally born) human among the main characters.
- NameTron: Mr. Butlertron.
- Nature Vs Nurture: A continuous theme is how many of the clones deal with the pressure of living up to, or trying to distance themselves away from, their historical parents.
- No Dress Code: Cleopatra wears a shirt with deep cleavage and a micromini. Also, Joan of Arc has a belly revealing shirt on.
- No Swastikas: Of course, Played for Laughs. The insignia of Clone High's rival school, Genetically Engineered Students High (GESH), is a parody of the Nazi insignia with a G in the place of the swastika. Nowadays this symbol, thanks to imageboards, is more closely related with Grammar Nazi...
- Also, if you look closely, you can see that Hitler's clone has a peace sign on his armband.
- Not-So-Innocent Whistle: Gandhi, after releasing Geshy into the wild.
- Oblivious to Love: Abe to Cleo, Joan to Abe
- Oddly Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo: The second episode is titled Episode 2: Election Blu-Galoo.
- Opening Narration: "Tonight, on a very special Clone High ..." Also counts as Once an Episode, since it starts every episode.
- Overly Long Gag: JFK does this occasionally, usually overlapped with Don't Explain the Joke. For example:
JFK: [about a party] I'll see you there. And by will, I mean won't! HAHAHA!
*leaves* *comes back*
JFK: Because you're not invited. I, er, uh, wasn't sure if I was clear about that earlier. So, you're not. Invited, that is.
*leaves* *comes back*
JFK: TO MY PARTY!
*leaves* *comes back*
JFK: Forgot to wash my hands...
- Pals with Jesús Christo: The clones of Jesus and apparently the Buddha attend attend the same classes as everyone else.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: "John Dark" is Joan of Arc, but with the addition of a white tee shirt, backwards cap, and impressive handlebar mustache. Absolutely everyone is fooled.
- Pet Baby, Wild Animal: Parodied by Gandhi with Geshy.
- Popular Saying But: When life gives you lemons, you CLONE those lemons and make SUPER LEMONS!
- Prison Rape: Subverted, the "initiation" the other prisoners were planning for Ghandi in the showers was just a celebratory toss into the air.
- Product Placement: Parodied three times in the space of five minutes in episode 2.
- Putting on the Reich: GESH
- Race for Your Love: Parodied to the point of Running Gag in one episode
- Rasputinian Death: Ponce de Leon's death.
- Refuge in Audacity: The segments of Plane Crazy with Principal Scudworth and Skunky-Poo, whose interactions are almost as violent as Itchy and Scratchy, and a fair bit more profane (Skunky-Poo's catchphrase is "try and catch me, bitch!").
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Vice Principal Mr Butlertron, who is much beloved by the students and often listens to their problems and offers advice. Compare to the deranged, childish Scudworth and the cold, manipulative Board of Shadowy Figures.
- Retroactive Wish: Lampshaded, and then it works
- Rhyming with Itself: Parodied with the whole "G-Spot rocks the G-Spot!" thing.
- Rock Bottom: Lampshaded, subverted, combined with Retroactive Wish
- Rock Opera: The episode "Raisin the Stakes: A Rock Opera in Three Acts"
- Salt and Pepper: Parodied with Gandhi's film, Black and Tan
- Say My Name: See the article
- School For Scheming: Parodied
- Screwy Squirrel "WHY SKUNKYPOO WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY?!?!"
- She Cleans Up Nicely: Spoofed repeatedly, mostly with Joan, in "Makeover, Makeover, Makeover: The Makeover Episode"
- Shout-Out: All the weapons Scangrade uses are also from BattleBots.
- Single-Target Sexuality: Abe's preference for women is summed up in episode 1: Cleo. Only Cleo.
- Six Student Clique: Minus the sixth student but they fulfill these roles as well as the the Five-Man Band. Both Cleo and Joan could count as the Wild One.
- The Head: Abe
- The Muscle: JFK
- The Quirk: Gandhi
- The Pretty One: Cleo
- The Smart One: Joan
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Scudworth and all 5 of the clones valiantly try to reach their goals all throughout the series. JFK and Cleo seem to have it made the best, more than most typical 16 year olds. By the show's end, the angst and lust soon frustrates all of the teenaged characters and the circumstances do not permit them to absolve them. As for Scudworth, his plans to build a theme park island filled with the clones has been "put on ice" so to speak.
- Special Guest: Ranging from Tom Green to Marilyn Manson to, of course, STAMOS himself.
- Manson even gets his own song.. about eating healthy!
- Michael J. Fox, in a one-line cameo as Gandhi's remaining kidney. He got full Special Guest Star credit for it.
- Sweet on Polly Oliver: JFK and Cleo, towards "John Dark".
- Sweet Polly Oliver: With a disguise consisting entirely of a fake handlebar mustache. A similar disguise is also used successfully by a dolphin.
- Talking to Themself: JFK, after making fun of Gandhi, starts arguing with his own reflection (and losing badly) and ends up betting to his reflection that he can turn Gandhi into a ladies man of his own caliber.
- Tempting Fate: Many times. Conversed and Inverted in episode 2. Also subverted once: "Don't worry about the storm. I built this house like Noah built his ark. Yep, this house is flood-proof!" Cue lightning strike, setting house on fire.
- The Exit Is That Way: Abe, walking off a pier
- The Glasses Gotta Go: JFK while making Gandhi over
- The Khan: "STAMOS!"
- The Power of Love: Used in the musical episode to try and break down the giant fence their parents are building. Though Cleo points out "Love is just an abstract concept, it can't break down stuff!"
- There Is a God!: Joan Of Arc had been trying to stop her film (which contained a declaration of her love for Abe) from being played at the school film festival. When the projection booth catches fire and Edison announces all the films got destroyed, she proclaims there is a God. She then takes it back when Edison announces that Joan's film had not only survived, but had been expanded somehow and was now in widescreen. Fortunately, her work was so abstract that no one suspected it was Joan's love letter to Abe...save for Sigmund Freud.
- Thick-Line Animation: It almost looks like a Genndy Tartakovsky cartoon.
- Thing-O-Meter: The official voting system for Clone High's student council elections is an applause-o-meter. This is how a dog became student council president.
- Women Are Wiser: Joan and Cleo are more focused on their goals. By contrast, Abe, Gandhi, and JFK are usually idiots.
- Xtreme Kool Letterz/Totally Radical: X-Stream Blu, an EXTREME new food product which is made of pancake batter and blue paint. Gandhi nearly kills himself with it.
- "Stick it in your face-hole and SLAM IT!"