JFK: 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.
Joan of Arc, an angstygoth 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.
A lot of the humor comes from off-hand or irreverent historical references (like the scene where the clone of Buddy Holly invites Abe to ride on a broken-down plane along with Richie Valens, The Big Bopper, Jim Croce, and half of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! ...Wesley.
As a show with a premise based on parody, it mocks quite a few tropes:
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...
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.
Back for the Finale: All the celebrity guests that appeared throughout the series reappear in the finale, its 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...
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
What's that on the roof of The Grassy Knoll? Oh look, it's the reconstruction of John F. Kennedy's assassination.
Which seems to be a theme of the restaurant, considering what's inside. When Abe can't figure out what would stop him from wanting to be President, perfectly framed in the shot is a painting depicting a highly exaggerated version of Abraham Lincoln's assassination.
Before dying, Poncey discusses mortality with JFK, remarking that there is no real Fountain of Youth. The real Ponce de Leon was a Spanish explorer. Guess what he was searching for.
Cleopatra's oral fixation in the show mirrors the same some historians claim of her.
When all basketball players with fake mustaches are ordered off the court, one of the players seen leaving is Groucho Marx.
Skudworth: Little do they know I have my own plans for these clones. Plans that don't include these shadowy figures at all. Hehehehehehe... Shadowy Figure Guy: You're talking in a normal, indoor speaking voice.
Ink-Suit Actor: The guest stars who don't play themselves usually wind up as this (such as Jack Black's character). Joan lampshades this with Mandy Moore's character by constantly asking her if she is really Mandy Moore, although it seems to be purposely inconsistent whether the character is supposed to be Mandy Moore having randomly become a hobo, or a hobo who just is identical to Mandy Moore.
The credits lampshade this, by giving Mandy Moore a special guest credit as "herself?"
Ironic Echo: JFK during a road race against Abe. His convenient forgetfulness of his family's bad karma finally bites him.
JFK: Nothing bad ever happens to the Kennedys!
Abe mentioning that he's afraid of running for student body president somehow.note He says so with a plainly visible background painting of Abraham Lincoln being shot by John Wilkes Booth at the Ford's Theater.
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.
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.
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 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.
This Is My Side: Done horizontally ("Bunk beds, Abe!") for the sole point of creating a hilariously tortured reference to the American Civil War and Reconstruction.
Tonight Someone Dies: Mocked extensively with Ponce de Leon, so much, in fact, that this doesn't even need to have a spoiler tag.
Julius Caesar: "Oh Ponce, you're such a regular character."
"Tonight, on a very special Clone High, one of the clones you've grown to love will be horribly killed! This is not some cheap-ass stunt where we lamely introduce a new character just to kill him off! A Clone dies tonight!" As the Narrator talks, the camera cuts to each cast member, but Ponce is cut to more and more often as the speech goes on.
Extra points for bending over backwards to be the most Very Special Episode on a show parodying those.
Totally Radical: The entire marketing and basic concept behind Xtreme Blu from Episode 2.