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Western Animation / Clarence

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The kings of the world.note 
"It's worth it."

From former Adventure Time storyboard artist and CalArts grad Skyler Page comes this Cartoon Network original about the Slice of Life antics of a bunch of elementary school-aged kids from the suburbs of Aberdale, focusing mainly on the chubby, perpetually optimistic and endearingly awkward Clarence, and often involving his two best friends, neurotic goody-goody Jeff and mischief-maker Sumo..

The series marked an interesting change of pace for the network: in contrast to the wild, surreal shows Cartoon Network has in its post-CN Real/"New Thursdays" days (Uncle Grandpa, The Amazing World of Gumball, Regular Show, Steven Universe, Teen Titans Go!, and of course Adventure Time), Clarence is more down-to-Earth, culling humor from real-world situations, mostly those associated with the little things experienced in childhood (mostly school-related) and only delves into surreality because the protagonist is a child with an overactive imagination and a bizarre perspective on the world. Think of this series as a throwback to those mid-to-late 1990s kids' cartoons that showed kids going to school and having more realistic adventures, often learning a life lesson in the processe.g. .


It was announced in April 2017 that Clarence would end with its third season, with episodes continuing into 2018. The final episodes aired on June 24, 2018.

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  • Absurd Altitude: The flume ride in "Water Park" is so high an airplane is seen flying below it.
  • Ad-Break Double-Take: Parodied in "Rise and Shine" when Clarence sees a mountain lion in his backyard:
    Clarence: Oh no, a bear!
    (fade out)
    (fade in)
    Clarence: Oh no, a bear!
  • Adorkable: Jeff and Breehn. And Clarence too a lot of the time.
  • Adults Are Useless: Invoked in "Man of the House". Sumo stops Jeff from calling an adult because he doesn't trust adults.
  • Adult Fear: There are many times when Clarence runs off from his parents to go do something or end up doing something dangerous.
  • Aerith and Bob: Out of the main three, we have Clarence, Sumo and... Jeff. Although Sumo doesn't really count since it's just a nickname. However, we also have Belson, and background characters Kimby, Crendle, Malessica, and Gilben.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Much of Clarence's idiosyncratic behavior shows signs of autism, although he is far more social than the norm.
  • Ambiguously Gay: In "Jeff Wins" the two women raising Jeff are never explicitly stated to be his parents (one could be an aunt or a friend who's a roommate), but there have been fan theories that Jeff Has Two Mommies. The episode, "Chimney," however, revealed that, yes, Jeff has a lesbian couple for parents.
    • Although considering that the mannish woman also has a perfectly squared head like Jeff, it's possible that she's the birth mother.
    • In "Neightborhood Grill", Ms. Baker is waiting for a blind date when a handsome man enters, but he meets up with another man and they exchange European style cheek kisses before leaving hand in hand.
      • Adding to this, Kevin comes back in "Hairence" as a hairdresser.
    • Most of Clarence's interactions with Jeff and Sumo are sometimes this just to make it sound more ambiguous as possible.
    • In "Chimney" Jeff clearly says his "Moms" won't allow him to have a dog; so maybe not so ambiguous.
  • Anatomy Anomaly: A number of characters lack visible ears, including Clarence, Jeff and Percy.
    • Also you add Percy and his parents who are usually shown without actual hands that can only be seen under certain situations.
  • An Aesop:
  • Animation Bump: The intro is more fluid and has better detailed shading than the rest of the show.
    • The hallucination scenes in "Tuckered Boys" also have more fluid movement, with a touch of Deranged Animation.
    • Percy's fantasies in "The Tails of Mardrynia" are animated in the style of a Don Bluth film, as the sequences are given what can be described as a cable television attempt at Full Animation.
  • Anything Can Be Music: In "Honk", the children compose a symphony out of squeeze horns.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In "Spooky Boo", the kids wonder about a scary house up on a hill. Chelsea thinks it's the site of an orphanage that burned down and is haunted by the spirits of the kids who died there; Sumo thinks a rat-man lives there; and Jeff thinks it's something even scarier - a cult that grows its own vegetables.
  • Artificial Limbs: In "Average Jeff", Clarence has wooden legs in Jeff's nightmare about his future. Likewise, in the future scenes in "Pilot Expansion" Clarence, Jeff and Sumo all have cybernetic legs.
  • Art Shift: Happens briefly during Clarence's nightmare sequence in "Clarence's Millions", as a homage to Little Nemo in Slumberland.
    • It happens again in "Jeff's New Toy" when Clarence is trying to explain to Jeff how he broke his action figure.
    • And on "The Forgotten" when Clarence explains his plan to get home, drawn as a realistic 1940s detective comic.
    • "Goldfish Follies" is done in the style of a Fleischer Studios cartoon, implying that this is how the world looks through Clarence's eyes.
    • Sumo is drawn in a cruder, sketchier style when stabbing a stick in a mud puddle in "Lil' Buddy".
  • Astronomic Zoom: "Chimney" opens with one, which is actually shown upside down.
  • Attractive Bent-Gender: Sumo apparently finds Clarence this in "Clarence Gets a Girlfriend", when Clarence tries on a bikini. Specifically, he stares at him intently and asks him to do a pose.
  • Bad Date:
    • In "Clarence's Gets a Girlfriend", hilariously so, but it gets resolved at the end when they decide to just be friends and hang out.
    • Ms. Baker's blind date in "Neighborhood Grill".
    • In "Lil Buddy" we see Ms. Baker on a bad date with a guy who makes her change a tire in the rain.
  • Badass Bookworm: Jeff, in "Fun Dungeon Face Off". He may be a scrawny nerd, but he has mad skills when he's angry.
  • Bait-and-Switch: In A Pretty Great Day With a Girl, Clarence leads Amy into thinking he's going to pee on Belson and his comrades but it turns out he was spraying them with a water bottle.
    • A similar trick is pulled with boxes of yellow juice in "Lost Playground".
  • Bedsheet Ladder: Jeff uses one in "Jeff Wins" to escape his room. Thing is, his room is on the first floor.
  • Bee Afraid: In the pilot, Clarence somehow fills a piñata with bees then breaks it open near the end.
  • Better as Friends: Clarence and Ashley.
  • Big Brother Bully: Mostly Tanner and Joseph, who’s mostly seen doing this to Sumo, more than to all the other brothers, in "Stump Brothers" was a close example until at the end between Sumo and Tanner had slated to end the rivalry at least.
  • Banana Peel: Clarence purposely slips on one in "Lost in the Supermarket".
  • Berserk Button: Jeff really doesn't like it when someone eats his fries. And don't break his toys.
    • Surprisingly, Clarence has one: Don't mess with his recess.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: In "Lil Buddy", Clarence became an even bigger deliquent than usual all because he missed one recess.
    • Jeff, if anyone tries to steal his fries or mess with his stuff.
  • Big Fancy House: Breehn's house, at least from the inside.
  • Big Storm Episode: The "Clarence's Stormy Sleepover" story arc, in which a big storm hits Aberdale.
  • Bigger Is Better: The erratic.
    Clarence: It's a monster rock that eats other rocks.
  • Bland-Name Product: Abound in "Lost in the Supermarket"; Quaker Oats oatmeal is replaced with "Puritan", for example, and Spam is replaced with "Ham in a Can".
  • Blatant Lies: Clarence's story about what happened to Jeff's toy.
  • Blind Mistake: In "Puddle Eyes", Clarence gets dried mud over his eyes, and his attempts to feel his way around leads to many of these.
  • Bowdlerise: UK airings of "Spooky Boo" cut Chelsea's line "Shut up, Sumo, or I'll fart on you!" down to "Shut up, Sumo!"
    • Cartoon Network Latin America (and also in a Russia, Middle East and some portions of Europe) initially banned the episode "Neighborhood Grill" because of the scene where a man thought to be Ms. Baker's date turns out to be a gay man waiting for his date until January 2016. When it finally aired, that scene was cut.
  • Bragging Theme Tune: A mild example, as the opening theme brags more about being a kid in general than about Clarence himself.
    I don't care what you say!
    Gonna do what I want all day!
    'Cause I'm the king of the world!
  • Break the Cutie: Happens to Clarence very briefly in "Dinner Party" when he touches fiberglass, stinging his hand. He quickly gets over it after Jeff washes it off.
  • Brick Break: In "Karate Mom", Mary takes a karate class with Clarence. When they get to the part when they break boards, Mary is about to take her turn when a pushy little kid cuts in line and breaks her board. Mary shows him up by taking the two halves, putting them on top of each other, and splitting those.
  • Broken Treasure: Jeff's toy in Jeff's New Toy.
  • But Not Too Gay: A gay couple kiss each other on the cheek in "Neighborhood Grill". Apparently, the network was already uncomfortable broadcasting the same-sex affection, but did allow it on two conditions: 1) they would kiss on the cheek and not on the lips, and 2) one of them couldn't bring flowers. Either way, it's still amazing Cartoon Network allowed the scene to appear during non-[adult swim] hours in the United States, and a lot of critics and viewers praised the episode for showing homosexual couples in a casual, non-anvilicious manner.
  • Calvinball: Belson Ball in "Time Crimes" appears to be this, though apparently some of the teachers run a fantasy-sports bracket for it. However, the game is still incomprehensible to the viewers, so it qualifies.
  • The Cameo:
    • Wirt and Greg make a brief appearance in "Lil Buddy". If one looks closely, their silhouettes are seen in the background.
    • Brendon Small grew up and became a video store clerk, as seen in "Video Store".
  • Cannot Keep a Secret: In "Jeff's Secret", Clarence struggles to keep from telling others that Jeff has an extra toe.
  • Capture the Flag: The full-half-hour episode "Capture the Flag". The game becomes Serious Business as it turns into all out war.
  • Cast of Snowflakes: Everyone, even the background characters, look distinct from each other.
  • The Cat Came Back: The goose that Clarence keeps running into in "Goose Chase".
  • Chain of Deals: Clarence goes through several in "The Trade".
  • Chained Heat: Clarence handcuffs himself to both Jeff and Sumo to get them to be friends again in "The Break Up".
  • Cheaters Never Prosper: Averted at the end of "Jeff Wins", though Clarence didn't mean to cheat and switched the names by accident.
  • Clip Show: In "Pilot Expansion" Clarence, Sumo and Jeff as old men reminisce about the day they first met, with clips from the pilot being used for the flashbacks.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Clarence of course. Sumo comes a close second. And heck, even Jeff shows shades of this sometimes.
  • Cold Open: "Lil Buddy" has one where Clarence brings his doll to show and tell. This is deleted in reruns of the episode where it is the second short in a half-hour slot.
  • Commercial Break Cliffhanger: Spoofed in "Rise and Shine" when Clarence comes face to face with a mountain lion.
  • Comic Trio: Clarence, Jeff and Sumo.
  • Contrived Coincidence: In "Goose Chase" Clarence keeps being followed by a goose until the goose sees a flock of geese in the the sky and joins them. Clarence comes to the conclusion that the goose was just looking for its friends and it was just a coincidence that he kept running into it. Subverted when it turns out the goose wanted the other geese to help him ambush Clarence.
  • Cool Pet: In "Boy Bird Man", Sumo has a pet roadrunner he names Hot Sauce.
  • Costume-Test Montage: Clarence has one in order to get ready for his date in 'Clarence Gets a Girlfriend'.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: As Chad notes, "The Forgotten" could have been avoided if Clarence simply called instead of trying to walk home.
  • Credits Gag: "Pilot Expansion" ends with a parody of The Jetsons' end credits featuring fake credits.
  • Creepy Doll: Clarence's Lil' Buddy doll. It's dirty, missing an eye and falling apart at the seams. The other kids are freaked out by it, especially when Clarence tries to force them to play with it.
    • In "Dog King Clarence", Clarence enters an old lady's house and finds a whole closetful of old dolls. Even Clarence finds it disturbing, and considering that he usually isn't disturbed that often, that saying something.
  • Cringe Comedy: Clarence often says or does embarrassing things in public despite of being too young to understand that.
  • A Day in the Limelight: "Slumber Party" is one for Kimby, Courtlin and Malessica.
    • "Dream Boat" is one for Sumo.
    • "Average Jeff" is one for Jeff.
    • "Too Gross for Comfort" is one for Chelsea.
    • "Neighborhood Grill" is one for Ms. Baker.
    • "Belson’s Sleepover" And "Belson’s Backpack" is definitely for Belson.
    • "Breehn Ho" is one for Breehn.
    • "Have a Ball" is one for Percy and Gilben.
    • "The Big Petey Pizza Problem" is one for Gilben and Jeff.
    • Each chapter of "Clarence's Stormy Sleepover" focuses on one character or set of characters.
    • "Karate Mom" is one for Mary.
    • Samuel for "Pools Out for Summer".
    • "Lost Playground" is for Camden and Hershey also.
    • "Classroom" for Brady and Coco.
  • Darker and Edgier: The closest is "Lil' Buddy", as seeing the main character took it to the extreme when seeing him fall into depression, going with the emo getup, and then deliberately throws punches at two people for literally no reasons.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: "Goldfish Follies" is shown in sepia tone.
  • Department of Redundancy Department:
    • "The most peculiar peculiarities," in "Clarence's Millions".
    • "Breakfast is part of a nutritious breakfast" from the opening title card of "Rise and Shine"
    • "Nature Kate says Milk is Nature's Milk" from "Nature Clarence".
  • Deranged Animation: The hallucination sequences of "Tuckered Boys" directed by the Baman Piderman creators.
    • Clarence's dream in "In Dreams" is full of this.
  • The Determinator: Sumo in "Dream Boat" working tirelessly to build a boat.
  • Disappeared Dad: In "Pretty Great Day with a Girl," Clarence tells Amy that he empathizes with her having divorcing parents, since his real father doesn't live with him.
  • The Disease That Shall Not Be Named: Throughout "Ice Cream Hunt" it's heavily implied that Larry has Alzheimer's.
  • Distaff Counterpart: In "Dullance", Clarence meets a middle school girl who inexplicably looks like him in a debutante outfit.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: In "Neighborhood Grill", Clarence runs off from his parents in a restaurant and innocently stops and sits with a creepy, 70-year-old man (his teacher's weird date) who quickly writes down everything Clarence is saying in his notes. The man says that he is also named Clarence (a tactic of pedophiles is to claim that they have the same name as a child to gain the child's trust/interest).note  After talking, the man takes Clarence's hand and walks him to the bathroom without the knowledge of Clarence's parents.
  • The Dreaded: Sandy, the rude customer in "Hairence". The hair salon employees stop in their tracks when they hear the sound of her scooter approaching.
  • Dream Within a Dream: Clarence's nightmare in "Clarence's Millions".
    • Implied in the end of "In Dreams".
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Clarence's biological father Damian first appeared in "Pizza Hero" as Ms. Baker's ex-boyfriend before "Rock Show" revealed who he was.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: In the pilot, Belson lived in a normal house right across the street from Clarence, but in the actual show, he lives in a mansion. The school was also named Prescott Elementary (and Jeff goes to a different school, Lincoln Elementary), and Clarence's teacher is named Mrs. Bernstein instead of Ms. Baker.
    • In some of the earlier episodes Ms. Baker has a longer face.
    • Gilben moved on-screen in "Clarence's Millions", but in later episodes he only ever moves when he's Behind the Black.
  • Egg Sitting: In "Plant Daddies", Ms. Baker's students are paired up to take care of plants. Clarence and Sumo, in particular, treat it as if it were a real baby.
  • Epic Fail: In "Jeff's New Toy", Clarence only has to play with Jeff's toy for a few seconds before he breaks it, and he tries to repair it using a stapler, masking tape and toothpaste, with disastrous results.
  • Even the Rats Won't Touch It: In "Jeff Wins", a flashback to one of Jeff's cooking contest freak-outs shows him tossing his entry to the pigs, who then throw it back.
  • Expy: Clarence/Sumo, Jeff, and Belson are quite a bit like Ed, Edd n Eddy respectively.
  • Extra Digits: Jeff has an extra toe that he's conscious about. When Clarence learns about this, Jeff becomes very worried that his secret might get out.
  • Eye Scream:
    • Clarence spends most of "Puddle Eyes" blinded by mud in his eyes, thinking that his skin grew over them.
    • A particularly painful-looking example at the end of "The Tails of Mardrynia", when the bugs from Clarence's animal world take up residence in Belson's left eyelid/eye socket.
    • In "Clarence's Stormy Sleepover", Belson puts glue on Mr. Reese's binoculars and they stick to his eyes. Later Sumo rips them off of him, and not only does it look painful but he has to get his head wrapped.
    • In "The Boxcurse Children", when Clarence, Jeff, and Sumo are returning the cursed items where they found them, it's shown that Clarence has to wear an eyepatch because the curse gave him pinkeye. At the end of the episode, it gets worse.
  • The Faceless: Belson's dad in "Company Man".
  • Fall Guy: In "The Interrogation", Mr. Reese eventually blames Belson for the graffiti on his car, partly because he wants to get the investigation over with and partly because he just doesn't like Belson.
  • Fingore: Invoked in "Gilben's Different". Clarence is practicing clipping a baby's fingernails, with Jeff as the baby using a doll arm. Clarence is so nervous that he ends up cutting off one of the doll arm's fingers. This leads to a Big "NO!" Skyward Scream from Clarence.
  • Food and Animal Attraction: In "Goose Chase", Clarence gives his sandwich to some birds, who then follow him around. When the sandwich is all gone, the birds leave... except for one goose.
  • Four-Fingered Hands: Averted, but referenced in "Rise and Shine" when Clarence is shown a man with a missing pinkie and he says "Cool, cartoon hands!"
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: In "Lil Buddy", when Clarence is digging a hole you can spot silhouettes of Wirt and Greg in the background.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: The laser tag battle in "Money Broom Wizard".
  • Funny Background Event: In "Fun Dungeon Face Off", when Mary (Clarence's mom) is talking to Sammy (Shawn's mom), you can see Jeff and Clarence in the background begin to have their sword fight over a french fry box.
  • Future Loser: In Jeff's nightmare in "Average Jeff", he sees himself and Clarence as old men working at a grocery store.
  • Gainax Ending: "Average Jeff" has Jeff finding out that though he was put in the crayon kids class he is the top of class and he feels proud of himself, only for the quills and crayons classes to be dissolved anyway, but Jeff is fine with this. Then Jeff goes to his desk to find a girl with a tapir head sitting there and the episode ends on him screaming. Was it another dream? Considering there's a duck girl in the class, a tapir girl isn't out of the question.
    • "In Dreams" ends with Clarence waking up from his dream and being taken back to bed. But then the host of the show about dreams that Clarence and Chad were watching appears in the foreground and stares at the audience. And while he stands there, a second one of him steps into the garage. The foreground host says "Dream sign", as the second host close the garage door.
    • "Balance" ends with the title character being an escaped circus performer with mind control powers. The ringmaster captures him with the help of a monkey and a clown, which look like Jeff and Sumo and are even named the same, and puts him back inside his wagon. The wagon falls over and Balance gets loose, and Ms. Baker tells the kids to go back inside.
    • "Chimney" ends with the titular dog and Joshua riding in a freight train as stowaways and howling to the moon. Then Joshua proclaims his love for Chimney, which prompts the dog to do the same to Joshua through an inexplicable ethereal voice, apparently confirming Sumo's earlier nonsensical suspicions that he was a ghost dog all along. Joshua himself does not mind this, and is actually more upset about Chimney not referring to him as "Josh".
  • Genre Throwback: According to the show's writer and head of story Spencer Rothbell, the show was intended to be a homage to cartoons from the 1990's.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: it now has its own page.
  • Going to See the Elephant: In "Pretty Great Day With A Girl", Amy and Clarence go in search of an erratic.
  • The Ghost: Clarence's dog, Dennis. The character is mentioned several times and we even see their dog bowl and dog house on multiple occasions, but the dog itself is never present. Seems to have finally been averted in the season 2 episode "Dullance" when a yellow furred dog appears during the last few seconds of the episode, sleeping in what appears to be Clarence's room with a few action figures on its back. Only time will tell if this is actually Dennis, or if it was just meant to be a visual joke for the phrase "Tired as a dog."note 
  • Good Angel, Bad Angel: Clarence's shoulder angels are a horse and a fish, as seen in "Jeff Wins".
  • Good Cop/Bad Cop:
  • Goofy Suit: Drippy the water park mascot, who is really Josh.
  • Gross-Up Close-Up:
    • Clarence's dirty hands in "Fun Dungeon Face Off", as seen from Jeff's point of view.
    • "Straight Illin'" treats us to Clarence's sick face after eating 500 spoiled deviled eggs.
    • The part in "Li'l Buddy", where seeing Clarence being happy after reuniting with the doll that he buried, as he spins around with it, with his face being typically gross.
    • "The Boxcurse Children" has repeated quick cuts of Clarence's infected eye.
  • Halloween Episode: "Spooky Boo" and "A Nightmare On Aberdale Street".
  • Happily Married: Breehn's parents, it seems.
  • Hartman Hips: Almost the entire adult female cast falls under this, but most notably are Mary and Ms. Baker.
  • High-Dive Hijinks: Sump experienced this in "Pools Out For Summer", as when on the diving board, he visually sees the entire view of pool pans out.
  • Hilarity in Zoos: In the episode "Zoo", Clarence and Belson are made "seat buddies" and have to go through the zoo together and eventually get locked inside after hours, while Clarence inadvertently annoys Belson the whole while.
  • "Home Alone" Antics: In "Man of the House". When Chad comes home early, the boys have to disarm the traps before he gets hurt.
  • Honor Before Reason: In "Jeff Wins" after finding out he helped Jeff cheat by accident, resulting in Jeff winning and boosting his confidence, Clarence attempts to tell everyone what happened and Jeff's moms have to get him to shut up.
  • Hypocritical Humor: In "Clarence Gets a Girlfriend" just as Jeff is saying what a nice guy he is he ignores a girl asking him to hold a door open for her and lets it slam into her.
    • In "The Big Petey Pizza Problem", Belson remarks that he doesn't like bowling while playing a penguin bowling video game on his Game Boy.
  • I Am Spartacus: In "Officer Moody", when Jim Reese meets his old police partner Carol Moody, Belson is caught red-handed pulling the fire alarm. When Cowboy Cop Moody attempts to put the handcuffs on Belson, reminding him that pulling a fire alarm is a felony, Reese covers for Belson and tells Moody that he pulled the alarm, getting handcuffed by Moody. Soon, Clarence, Camden, Chelsea, Percy, and the whole class cover for Reese and Belson, with Jeff mentioning that he saw Mavis do it. Fortunately, Moody is called away to a car catching fire before she can handcuff anyone else.
  • Identical Grandson: Closely invokes with Chad’s Grandfather, who has the same appearance as his son and grandson.
    • And then there’s Ms. Shoop's relatives, who looked like Ms. Shoop by the face.
  • Idiot Houdini: Clarence and Sumo regularly commit crimes without realizing it and get no punishment.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Any given episode title that is either more than two words and sometimes the title name revolves around any environment themed or often start with the "The" part.
  • Ignored Aesop: In Honk, Jeff thought Clarence learned to "Be Yourself daily moral lesson", but Clarence learned when you love something, move on.
    Clarence: "Don't shed a tear for Hornsby, guys. He's in a much better place now — and so am I, because I learned my daily moral lesson.
    Jeff: "That being true to yourself and not letting anyone else tell you who you are or what you should do is the only way to forge true friendships?
    Clarence: "I learned that when you lose your horn, you buy the whistle.
  • I'll Kill You!: Jeff to Clarence in "Fun Dungeon Face Off".
    Jeff: I'm gonna kill you, Clarence!
  • Immortality: At the end of "Pilot Expansion", Old Clarence (First seen as Mrs. Baker's date in "Neighborhood Grill") is seen, still taking notes and looking exactly as he did 78 years ago.
  • Ironic Echo Cut: In "Fun Dungeon Face Off".
    Mary: All the kids love Clarence.
    Jeff: I'm gonna kill you, Clarence!
  • I've Got an X, and I'm Not Afraid to Use It!: In "Honk," "I've got a horn and I'm not afraid to use it!"
  • I Remember It Like It Was Yesterday: In "Pilot Expansion", an elderly Jeff and Sumo argue about when they first met, and Clarence says he remembers it like it was 78 1/2 years ago. (Which might count as an in-universe explanation for the Early Installment Weirdness aspects.)
  • "Jeopardy!" Intelligence Test: Jeff is seen doing this in the pilot (and by extension, "Pilot Expansion").
  • Laugh Track: In "Man of the House", canned laughter follows Clarence's punny comments on the booby traps being set. Progressively, the laughter gets less and less jolly as his jokes get lamer, until the last one ("Pasta la vista, baby") is met with groans instead.
  • Locked in a Room: In the episode "Zoo", Clarence and Belson get locked inside the zoo that their class went to for a field trip after-hours.
  • Lost in Character: In "Brain TV", Clarence spends so much time watching an old sitcom he starts acting like the characters.
  • Man Bites Man: In "Just Wait in the Car", Clarence bites an old lady in the butt because she cut in line at the supermarket. This is why he has to wait in the car while Mary does errands.
  • Medium Blending: The title cards are photographs of real props.
    • Clarence's explanation of how Jeff's toy got broken in "Jeff's New Toy" is done in cut-out puppets.
    • In "Nothing Ventured", Clarence and Sumo collect what they think are crickets but are actually cockroaches from an Italian restaurant, and there's a brief shot of live-action roaches when they first see them.
  • Camden's hair dolls in "Talent Show" are pictures of real hair dolls. There is even a shot of one held by a live-action hand.
  • Merchandise-Driven: The Show Within a Show Supreme Court Squad Extreme.
  • Mind Screw:
    • "The Forgotten" is an entire episode of confusion. From the Charlie Brown references to the end, implying that the entire episode was broadcast on a homeless man's TV set in a sewer, it's very hard to figure out what was real and what wasn't.
    • "Rough Riders Elementary" has even more confusion. Rough Riders Chicken comes to sponsor Aberdale Elementary and slowly takes over the school. Soon, the school is turned into a fast food restaurant with the kids as mindless employees. And then things just stop making sense. Fortunately, the end reveals that it was all a story by Clarence.
    • "In Dreams" is mostly a Dream Sequence, so this is expected, but the appearance of the host of the show about dreaming at the end implies that the whole episode is a Dream Within a Dream.
    • "Balance" is quite mind screwy, despite everything being explained in the end.
    • "Pizza Hero": Is Papa Marianio, the local pizza parlor, a really swell guy like everyone thinks, or is he just a creepy weirdo, like Jeff claims, and everyone’s just altering the stories of their encounter with him so that it fits with the popular image? The episode never gives us a clear answer, and it only gets more confusing at the end, when it’s revealed that Jeff bad-mouthing Papa Marianio was actually Papa Marianio himself in disguise all along.
  • Minor Injury Overreaction: In "Man of the House", Jeff dodges a bunch of thrown stuff, but loses it when a baseball gently touches him.
  • Mistaken for Aliens: In "Attack the Block Party", Clarence and Jeff see a movie about aliens. Afterwards, Clarence sees a drone being flown by Belson and thinks its a UFO. He follows it and finds a teenager with pierced ears and thinks he 's an alien. Meanwhile, Jeff sees a party at the teen's home and think's it's an alien hive.
  • Mistaken for Romance: In "Pretty Great Day With A Girl" Belson and his friends think Clarence and Amy are hanging out because they're a couple when really they're just hanging out as friends. It is also hinted that the reason for Belson and his friends following them and starting a pinecone war to take the rock that Clarence and Amy found is because Belson has a crush on Amy and was jealous of Clarence being with her, which of course Belson tries to deny. Since Amy was written out of the series after this, it remains unknown whether Belson had a crush on her or not.
    • In "Clarence Gets a Girlfriend" Ashley's friends assume Clarence likes her just because he talked to her.
  • Mistaken Species: When Clarence sees a mountain lion, he shouts "Oh, no! A bear!"
    • In "Goose Chase" Clarence sees a swan and mistakes it for another goose.
  • Monochrome Past: Some episode flashbacks are all in one color like in the pitch pilot (and, by proxy, "Pilot Expansion"), Neighborhood Grill and the best example, Too Gross for Comfort.
  • The Moving Experience: In "Sumo Goes West", Sumo is getting transferred to West Aberdale Elementary and Clarence tries to find some way to get him to stay at Aberdale Elementary. By the end, Sumo ends up transferred to West Aberdale and the episode ends with him still there.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: The whole premise of the show, while still keeping it in the realm of possibility (unlike Cartoon Network's other current shows, which like to stretch possibility to its limit or, in some cases, gleefully toss it out the window).
  • Mundane Solution: When Sumo suggests simply taking away Clarence's horn in "Honk", while Jeff acts like he's holding a loaded gun.

    Tropes N-Z 
  • Naked People Are Funny: In-Between Clarence and Sumo, mostly the latter had gotten this category when it does not involves having clothing being torned or removing them, but mostly being involve in places that has something to do with swimming.
  • Negative Continuity: In "Chalmers Santiago", while digging through a box of stuff his mom wants him to drop off at the thrift store, one of the toys of note he found is the broken, old Lil' Buddy doll which he tosses aside in disgust, calling it creepy despite happily playing with the doll by the end of "Lil' Buddy", the episode that preceded this. His change of attitude towards the plaything is notorious considering the recent events.
  • Never Say "Die": Averted as a general rule. Jeff makes it no secret that he wants to kill Clarence for taking his fries.
  • Nightmare Sequence: "Clarence's Millions" has this in the middle of the episode.
    • Also in "Honk", when Clarence realizes he has a problem with honking his horn all the time.
  • No Antagonist: The series is way too goofy and mundane to have any villains or antagonistic characters. Belson sometimes acts in a slightly antagonistic manner towards Clarence, however, Clarence doesn't seem to notice and it is shown Belson has a friendly and soft side too, similar to Harold Berman.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Lauren's dad, who appears at the end of "Big Trouble in Little Aberdale", gently encourages Lauren to talk about her needs while using puppets, which is highly reminiscent of Fred Rogers, the host of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.
  • No Ending: "Hoofin' It" ends with the pig race descending into chaos and rioting, which even the narrator of the episode is baffled by. Cue test card!
    • "Plane Excited" ends just as Chad is attempting to land the plane, not showing whether or not he succeeded.
  • Noodle Incident: What happened between Josh and Sumo that gave Josh his scar.
    • "Dullance" opens with Chelsea cornered by an angry mob when Clarence appears with a painting with a letter hidden inside. We never find out about what led to this. Later in the episode, Clarence runs into various characters asking for his help, but he is too tired to help them out. At the end, Clarence runs over to help them, only to find that their problems have worked themselves out somehow. Of particular note is a girl who looks just like Clarence, who apparently wanted him to take her place; in the end, she bids goodbye, talking about learning a lesson from Gilben.
  • No OSHA Compliance: The "Fun Dungeon" has obviously not been inspected lately. How else could Clarence and Jeff get on top of it so easily? It can be said that the whole "Fun Dungeon" is a parody of such play areas such as at McDonald's and Chuck E. Cheese's.
  • No Sympathy: In "Zoo" the children are angry at Breehn when his nut allergy prevents them from going to certain parts of the zoo. Then when Breehn has to be taken to the hospital from an peanut butter allergy, Nathan punches him in the arm because him getting sick canceled the field trip. Though Breehn did intentionally eat the peanut butter despite knowing what it would do to him.
  • Not-So-Abandoned Building: The house across the street from Clarence's in "Chalmers Santiago", where the title character supposedly lives. It turns out to be Belson, whose father bought the house. He uses it to play videogames alone.
  • Off-Model: Done deliberately in "Lil' Buddy" with Sumo. When he repeatedly stabs a twig in a mud puddle, he's drawn in a scratchier style to show his inner rage.
  • One Steve Limit: There's (presumably) two different unseen characters named Damian; Clarence's biological father and Nature Kate's boyfriend.
  • Parental Bonus: In the episode "Company Man" Clarence stumbles into an office building where he is believed to be the boss's son. On a refrigerator in the break room, letter magnets can be seen spelling out "2 BIG 2 FAIL." Especially relevant when the boss is arrested for fraud at the episode's conclusion.
  • Parental Obliviousness: In "Patients" Tinia's mom is busy reading a magazine through most of the episode and just lets Tinia have all the candy she wants. But she turns Mama Bear when she thinks Clarence is bothering her daughter.
    • According to "Company Man", Belson's dad doesn't even know what he looks like.
  • Parental Substitute: Chad, as a stand-in for Clarence's Disappeared Dad.
  • Pooled Funds: Clarence dreams of swimming in Clarence Bucks in "Clarence's Millions".
  • Poor Communication Kills: In "Turtle Hats", Ms. Baker is about to give the kids their weekend assignmet when she gets a text from her boyfriend that reads "I think you're turtlehats." She wonders out loud what turtlehats means, and the students think that's the assignment. She doesn't realize her mistake until Monday when she sees the kids working on their projects.
    • Lost in Transmission: Turns out "turtlehats" was an auto-correct mistake and was supposed to read "totally hot". Then he sends a message reading that he sent it to the wrong phone, meaning that he was dating someone else. Ms. Baker erases him from her contacts.
  • Previously On: Used on "Clarence's Stormy Sleepover". Since Clarence provides the narration, they reflect his own unique slant on things.
  • Puddle-Covering Chivalry: Discussed in "Clarence Gets a Girlfriend". Clarence practices chivalry with Sumo to impress his new girlfriend; they go to a puddle and Sumo instructs him to throw his coat over it. "What's maybe something you could do? Maybe something you've seen on TV?"
  • Punny Name: The judges of Supreme Court Squad Extreme have names that pun on current members of the Supreme Court of the United States.
  • Radish Cure: In "Honk", Jeff tries to cure Clarence of his obsession with horns by having the other kids honk horns at him. It backfires, as not only does it encourage Clarence more, the other kids start enjoying it too, until the teachers confiscate them all.
  • Put on a Bus: Sumo switches schools in Season 3. Subverted in that he's still a regular character, continuing to hang out with the others, only when Clarence is not at school.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: The end credits song is "Good Habits (and Bad)" by Saba Lou, a song recorded a few years prior to the start of the series.
  • Reality Ensues: The show utilizes this trope to maximum effect in order to subvert all the cliched premises, tropes, and character types seen in children's slice-of-life shows.
    • In "Straight Illin'", Clarence ate 500 deviled eggs to fulfill the dare made by Belson who's only doing it to take him down a notch. Clarence get sick not just because he ate too many of them, but also because the eggs stayed outside where it was sunny and hot... Rotting them enough to give him the egg virus which infect the whole school.
    Sumo: "Do you think making Clarence eat 500 deviled eggs that sat out in the sun was a bad idea?"
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • Sumo gives one to both Jeff and Clarence in "Jeff's New Toy", telling Jeff not to be so uptight, and Clarence not to mess with other people's stuff.
    • Balance gives a big one to Belson when they first met.
  • Reckless Gun Usage: In the pilot, a cop attempts to shoot a swarm of bees.
  • Rich Bitch: Both of Breehn's parents, who spend the entire episode of 'The Dinner Party' showing off their house, condenscendingly shut down Mary when she tries to start a conversation, and are more worried about the damage done to their house than the fact that several children could've been hurt, and one of them being their own son.
  • Running Gag: People calling Josh, Joshua instead, with Josh correcting whoever does it last at the end of the episode.
    • Also, Josh keeps getting new injuries with each appearance.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: In "Dare Day" Jeff refuses to participate in Clarence and Sumo's dares. Halfway through the episode, he actually leaves to go on vacation in Madrid.
  • Show Within a Show:
    • Cartoon sci-fi legal procedural Supreme Court Squad Extreme, supporting a toyline.
    • The Blurbs, an old sitcom shown on "Brain TV".
  • Slippery Swimsuit: In "Pool's Out For Summer", Sumo once lost his swim trunks after jumping off the diving board. This time he brought suspenders, and made the jump perfectly, but when he attempts to jump off the big diving board, the suspenders get tangled on it and he lies hanging over the pool. With no other choice, he simply takes off his shorts and jumps completely naked.
  • Something Completely Different: "Pilot Expansion," which is just the original pitch pilot of Clarence sandwiched between framing devices of Jeff, Clarence and Sumo as old men in the future trying to tell the story of how they met. And, for reasons known only to the writers, it ends with a shout-out to The Jetsons.
    • "Goldfish Follies," which shows Clarence bringing a goldfish home from the pet store as a Fleischer Studios cartoon.
  • Spaghetti Kiss: In "The Forgotten", Clarence finds spaghetti in the dumpster and asks Brady to eat it with him "like dogs do".
    • In "Belson Has a Girlfriend", Clarence tries to make Belson and his girlfriend eat a slice of pizza together like this.
  • Special Edition Title:
    • The title sequence to "Goldfish Follies" is in sepia tone, and the theme song is in the style of big-band music.
    • For the "Clarence's Stormy Sleepover" mini-series, the normal title sequence is interrupted by the episode title card.
  • Special Guest: NPR's Terry Gross as Deborah Copper, local radio interviewer.
  • Spit Take: Jeff has one when Clarence reveals he has a new girlfriend in "Clarence Gets a Girlfriend".
  • Stacy's Mom: Mrs. Belson. Who one of the kids describes as "foxy."
  • Story Arc: "Clarence's Stormy Sleepover" in season 3.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: It's obvious which one of Jeff's moms gave birth to him.
  • Suck E. Cheese's: The Pizza Swamp fits this trope to a tee. It's complete with "Big Betty" (That creepy basketball game where you throw the ball into a "breathing" puppet-like target), "The Money Broom" (The old "Shoot-a-coin-into-the-pile-and-see-what-falls-out" game) and a game where you swat seals with a giant mallet. It's basically a carbon copy of the real place.... But it's not!.
  • Sucky School: Aberdale Elementary is filled with incompetent staff who can barely do their job correctly.
    • The management would often issue unfair tests, like the gender-biased quills and crayons in "Average Jeff" and the spelling bee that only students with 20/20 vision would be able to win.
    • The detention monitor is susceptible to sugar highs and easily falls asleep during lunch break.
  • Sudden Video-Game Moment: In "Chalmers Santiago", Clarence crossing the street is show as a Top-Down View game with sound effects.
    • In "The Tunnel" Belson's trip through the sewers, along with Sumo and Clarence running around on the surface, appear as a platform game. Complete with Belson losing "lives" whenever he runs out of light.
  • Surprise Creepy:
    • "Rise and Shine" has Clarence encounter a mountain lion in his backyard.
    • "Rough Riders Elementary" has Clarence's school enter into a partnership with Rough Riders Chicken who turn out to an alien chicken cult that uses their brand-new Cinnamon Ranch sauce to turn the students into mindless drones. The whole thing turns out to be Clarence's project on "Why Rough Riders Chicken is My Favorite Food."
    • "Clarence's Stormy Sleepover" has Jeff tell a story that implies he came close to discovering what might have been a dead body. In the end, Percy plays with his "treasure", a severed hand.
  • Sweetheart Sipping: In "Clarence Gets a Girlfriend", a nervous Clarence sees a picture of a couple sipping from the same milkshake and tries the same with Ashley, but just ends up making a mess.
  • Synchro-Vox: The principal of Clarence's school.
  • Take That!:
    Clarence: Maybe I should just get paid for doing nothing, like a statue, or a senator.
  • Teachers out of School: In "Neighborhood Grill", Clarence is shocked to see Ms. Baker at the restaurant. An Imagine Spot shows that he thought she was a robot that spent the nights at school being charged.
  • Time Master: Clarence thinks the watch he got from a cereal box in "Time Crimes" gives him the power to control time.
  • Timmy in a Well: Spoofed on "Chimney". After the boys fall down a well, the dog Chimney appears to be going for help at first, but then it just wanders around and eventually starts dropping sticks down the well. Eventually the sticks are made into a ladder and the boys get out on their own, by which time Chimney had simply wandered off.
  • Tin Foil Hat: In "Space Race", Clarence becomes paranoid about the moon and starts wearing tin foil on his head. He also uses up all the tinfoil to cover his room.
  • The Unintelligible: Sumo seems to be this to everyone except Clarence and possibly Jeff briefly, but the series soon makes it clear that everyone else can understand him.
  • The Un-Reveal: In "Lil Buddy" Clarence is sent to see the principal, but when his chair turns around we see Ms. Baker sitting in it instead, as she's filling in for him temporarily.
  • Uranus Is Showing: In "Space Race", Percy puts a banana in Belson's rocket and says it's going to Uranus. The closing title states that Sumo will become the first astronaut to explore Uranus.
  • Vocal Evolution: Jeff's voice deepens as the show progresses.
  • We Are Experiencing Technical Difficulties: The ending of "Hoofin' It".
  • Weird Currency: Clarence Dollars in "Clarence's Millions". Benson tried to make his own currency.
  • Well-Intentioned Replacement: The fake toy box Clarence makes in "Jeff's New Toy".
  • Wham Episode:
    • Lil Buddy. Clarence goes from optimistic bundle of joy into a basic opposite of himself who constantly gets into more trouble than usual, punches Belson in the nose and came very close to getting expelled.
    • Company Man. Clarence meets the boss of a company and he is Belson's father, who mistakes him for his own son. Then it takes a darker turn when it turns out he is a Corrupt Corporate Executive and he was getting away with it for years because he's rich, causing him to get arrested because the undercover agents bugged Clarence to get the conversation recorded. On top of that, Belson is unaware of what happened and he may feel the hit to his rich social life soon because of Clarence.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Mrs. Baker's immediate reaction to Jeff's behavior in "Average Jeff", after landing in the average class.
    Jeff: No! I want my life to be better than theirs!
    Miss Baker: (unamused) Jeff, I want you to think about what you just said.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: "Pilot Expansion".
  • Why Did It Have To Be Fire Hydrants?: Apparently, Mavis is terrified of them.
  • Wild Teen Party: In "Detention", the kids take advantage of Mr. Reese's sugar crashes to turn detention into a nightclub.
    • Clarence, Jeff and Sumo infiltrate one such party in "Attack the Block Party".
  • Women Are Wiser: Quietly subverted in "Average Jeff", wherein the kids' class is broken into two groups based on an intelligence test, one smarter group and one dumber group. Paying careful attention to the background characters in every scene reveals that the smarter group is overwhelmingly female, and the dumber group is overwhelmingly male. This seems to be a straight example when noticed, but the episode ends with the whole thing undone as the test came under fire off-screen for being gender-biased.
  • Yellow Sash of Power: Jeff is inordinately proud of being made hall monitor in "Detention", even sewing the sash to his shirt. He then abuses his power to turn detention into a happening nightclub. (It Makes Sense in Context)
  • You No Take Candle: Blaide in "Dollar Hunt" speaks like this. He seems to be a lost foreigner trying to find a bus stop to get home.
    • However, Blaide is shown to be in Clarence's class, as seen in "Zoo".
  • Your Head Asplode: Jeff's head explodes at the end of his nightmare in "Average Jeff".