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Western Animation / Clone High

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Tonight, on a very special Clone High...
Energetic and engaging, Clone High!
Our angst is entertaining!
Clone High! Our lives are never boring!
Who am I?
Clone Hiiii-igh!note 
Way, way back in the 1980s
Secret government employees
Dug up famous guys and ladies
And made amusing genetic copies
Now their clones are sexy teens, now!
They're gonna make it if they try!
Loving, learning, sharing, judging
A time to laugh and shiver and cryyyyy!
A time to watch Clone High!
— Theme song sung by Abandoned Pools

So goes the premise of Clone High, a Canadian-American animated sitcom from MTV and Nelvana. Originally airing from 2002 to 2003, the show parodies the Teen Drama, especially the Very Special Episode. (The American broadcast added "U.S.A." to the title.) It was created by Phil Lord, Chris Miller, and Bill Lawrence.

The plot, as outlined at the beginning of every "very special episode" by the Expository Theme Tune above, is pretty straightforward, and the incessant trope-lampooning is anchored by the show's Love Dodecahedron: the lanky, indecisive Abe pines for the popular, seductive horndog Cleopatra while ignoring the affections of his friend, the snarky, angsty Joan of Arc. Cleo herself is on and off with the cocky horndog Jerk Jock JFK, who's often preoccupied with sleeping around the school. Meanwhile, Abe's best friend, the partying, attention-starved Gandhi "provides some sort of comic relief.''

Oh yeah, did we mention the students are all clones of historical figures?

Then, of course, there's the school's eccentric, Mad Scientist Principal Cinnamon J. Scudworth and his mechanical yet sensitive servant Mr. Butlertron, who calls everyone 'Wesley'. They serve the Secret Board of Shadowy Figures that created the clones to condition them into a super-strong and super-intelligent army, although Scudworth fosters his own plan of creating a clone-based amusement park called "Cloney Island."

Mixed with a healthy dose of humor from off-hand or irreverent historical referencesnote , Clone High premiered to mediocre ratings and an infamous backlash from Indian audiences for its portrayal of Mahatma Gandhi. A hunger strike outside MTV Studios in India eventually prompted the network to pull the show in the US after less than a season. The remainder aired in Canada on Teletoon's Detour block (where the show debuted), and the out-of-print DVD was only released in the Canadian market. However, most of the series is available in the US on the MTV app/, Paramount+ and through digital stores.

After 17 years off the air, MTV finally began airing the complete series for the first few months after the launch of their MTV Classic channel. In 2020, a revival of the series (frequently mis-billed as a reboot) was announced with Phil Lord and Chris Miller on-board to help "reimagine" the show. News of the revival renewed public interest in the show's popularity, aided by the show exploding onto multiple streaming platforms as well as being released for free on YouTube through Nelvana's Retro Rerun channel (only if you're outside the US due to MTV still owning the rights). Originally announced for MTV, the revival was later picked up for two seasons by HBO Max (although MTV will still produce it); Season 2 premiered on May 23, 2023, 20 years after the conclusion of the original series and on the same day the service was rebranded as simply Max. A third season has been confirmed for release on Feb 1, 2024.

The revival picks up 20 years after the original series' Cliffhanger and introduces several clones to the main cast, including the cool-headed class president Frida Kahlo, the overachieving people-pleaser Harriet Tubman, the internet-savvy Confucius who struggles to think as clearly as his clonefather, and "Topher Bus," a clone of Christopher Columbus who struggles to reject the fallen legacy of his clonefather. Gandhi is conspicuously absent, and unlike the first season, Nelvana is uninvolved.

See also: Afterschool Charisma, a manga series with the exact same concept, only played completely and utterly straight.


As a show with a premise based on parody, it mocks quite a few tropes:

  • Adaptational Nationality: As to be expected when one gathers clones of people from around the world into one place. Historical figures like Joan of Arc (French), Vincent Van Gogh (Dutch), and Ponce de Leon (Spanish) are reimagined as American teenagers. It would be a shorter list to mention all of the clones who don't fall under this.
    • Jesús Cristo is depicted as Hispanic, despite the fact that his clone father was Jewish and lived approximately 1,500 years before the Spanish first colonized the Americas. (However, it is possible that he was adopted into a Hispanic family.)
    • Played with in the case of Topher Bus. While American as any other clone at the school with a June Cleaver-esque foster mom, he identifies as Italian like his clone father and becomes annoyed at people who use Italian stereotypes online.
  • Adaptational Protagonist: In the revival series, Joan becomes the central figure rather than Abe.
  • Adults Dressed as Children: Scudworth and 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 throughout 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 teenage life as possible.
  • Affectionate Parody: Clone High in general parodies the current high school generation in the most creatively bonkers and over-the-top way possible. The first season in particular mocked Teen Drama shows like Dawson's Creek during the time they were popular. By the time of the revival, the show moves away from parodying teen dramas and instead takes a 21 Jump Street approach where it updates the tropes and gimmicks of the first season to show how different high school has become in-between seasons 1 and 2.
  • 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 really I CAN TASTE THE SUN!!!
  • Alcoholic Parent: Cleo's foster mom; she is always seen with a martini in her hand and has a permanent drunken slur to her voice.
  • All Guys Want Cheerleaders: Abe and JFK spend the majority of the show vying for one and fighting each other for her hand. As Abe put it: "Cleo, only Cleo."
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Zig-zagged in the Season 1 finale: Abe decides to ask Cleo to the prom, leaving Joan alone and heartbroken. Joan then decides to go to prom with JFK, whom she had initially rejected, to make Abe jealous - and it works. Abe begins to regret his choice but sticks it out with Cleo anyway, while Joan is left alone at the prom, as JFK is too busy with his other dates (Catherine the Great and the Brontë sisters) to spend time with her. Abe compliments Joan and begins to suggest a Relationship Upgrade, but is interrupted by Cleo, to whom he decides to lose his virginity, once again crushing Joan. However, when Abe can't stop calling Cleo by Joan's name, he realizes that he's actually in love with Joan, breaking Cleo's heart. At the same time, Joan bonds with JFK, who tells her that he likes her as she is, and that Abe doesn't deserve her if she has to change herself for him to notice her. This leads to Abe, Cleo, and Gandhi walking in on Joan and JFK post-coitus, just before being frozen and putting the entire plotline to a complete halt. The only people who come out the other side of prom in a better place are Gandhi and Marie Curie, who have developed feelings for one another but decide to wait before dry humping for the first time.
  • 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.
    • In the second season, however, all ambiguity is thrown out the window in Cleo's case, with her beginning a relationship with Frida Khalo in Sexy-Ed after bonding with her in the previous episode.
  • Amusing Injuries: Parodied in Scudworth's rivalry with Skunky Poo, which has all the traditional setup and gags of a classic chase cartoon and uses typical cartoonish methods like the Dynamite Candle or Anvil on Head, but also depicts Scudworth's actual injuries in a much less charming light (he screams in genuine pain, frequently bleeds, suffers what are clearly broken bones or lost teeth, and at one point his eye pops out of its socket). In the tradition of this trope, though, he always recovers after the next scene transition.
  • And Another Thing...: JFK in the pilot, as a variant on his trademark explaining the joke - he does this when uninviting Abe and Gandhi to his party. See Overly Long Gag below.
  • Angrish: Mr. B does this when he smashes a few things after Mr. Scudworth fired him in favor of Ecybopooch
  • Animal Athlete Loophole:
    • Abe directs a film called It Takes a Hero, using Loophole Abuse to say that "Ain't 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...
  • Animation Evolution: The animation in the revival does have the same style of season 1 but there have been some improvements to make the show look like something that would come out today. These include clearer compositions, nicer backgrounds, brighter colors, cleaner lines, and a few more added frames in between the poses. This is especially present in the new title sequence, which incorporates modern fluid computer graphics.
  • Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering?:
    • 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.
  • Artistic License – History: The theme song of the show claims that all the clones were taken from dug-up corpses of "famous guys and ladies". In real life, some figures, such as Mahatma Gandhi, were cremated, and Joan of Arc was famously burned at the stake, meaning there'd be no body to source DNA from, and chances are slim, if not non-existent, of said DNA remaining in the ashes, and that's assuming they weren't scattered at sea (some of Gandhi's ashes were buried in California, for instance). Meanwhile, many others have no graves to dig up, because nobody actually recorded where they were buried (such as Genghis Khan, whose grave was famously kept secret, or Cleopatra, whose grave has never been found). That's also not getting into the fact that the real-life counterparts of some characters, such as Cleopatra, died too long ago to be feasibly cloned.
  • Art-Style Dissonance: The show's rated TV-14 and has a fair amount of crass humor to match, despite its geometric and highly stylized art style making it look more like an early Cartoon Network show. It helps that Rough Draft Studios, the studio that did the animation for those shows, did animation for this one as well.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    Abe: [talking about Gandhi] My friend has ADD. And everyone treats him like some kind of leper.
    Tom Green: Well, that's discrimination! Hey, do you wanna go take a dump on my parents' bed?
  • A Very Special Episode: Parodied; every single episode is named "a very special episode" by previews and the opening. Several also deal with common topics of those kinds of episodes—albeit not at all in the traditional way.
  • Back for the Finale: All the celebrity guests that appeared throughout the series reappear in the Season 1 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...
  • Bad Mood Retreat: Parodied in episode 2: after an emotional argument, Joan and Abe have a Sad-Times Montage, where they both end up walking to their "thinking docks" at the local pond, so they can stare into the water sadly. Then a different camera angle shows that their docks are right next to each other, five feet apart.
  • Beautiful All Along: Parodied and Deconstructed with Joan in the Season 1 finale; she is given an Unnecessary Makeover three times over, with the last one (done by Cleo) being the most successful due to it being the most scantily clad. However, she hates the makeover and is still quite depressed over losing Abe, so she plasters on a fake smile and bubbly personality instead to cover it up. It's only at the end of the night, when she switches back to her normal clothes and personality, that JFK of all people drops the Stock Aesop on Joan that she is perfect as she is, and that if she needs to be someone else to get Abe to like her, he doesn't deserve her at all.
  • Be a Whore to Get Your Man: Mocked in the Season 1 finale, along with Unnecessary Makeover - to make Abe jealous, Joan begins playing the part of vapid and ditzy, including a very revealing prom dress, while at prom with JFK. While this does succeed in getting Abe to notice her, it makes her miserable and she still ends up spending the majority of the night alone. See Beautiful All Along below.
  • Beeping Computers: Usually parodied.
    • When Mr. Scudworth types on his computer, it makes funny sounds. Specifically the "Quack" and "Sosumi" sounds from Macintosh operating systems.
    • When Mr. B runs Gandhi's symptomsnote  through his computer, he sounds like a human imitating "beeping computer" sounds.
  • Beta Couple: Gandhi and Marie Curie near the end of the show, who get together just minutes before its ending.
  • 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. So much so that JFK refers to Joan as a "Betty" in the season finale, saying that he likes that she acts this way (as opposed to making herself up as "a slutty whore").
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: The first episode of the second season, which came out two decades after the series was Screwed by the Network, has a gag where Scudworth accidentally burns himself with coffee when Candide Sampson enters his office. To cool himself off, he splashes more coffee on himself, only to recoil again. Butlertron then snarks with an Aside Glance, "Yes, why would anybody do anything a second time after they got burned so badly the first tiiiiiime?"
  • Bittersweet Ending: In season one. Abe and Joan confess their love the minute they get frozen along with everyone else. But then Scudworth does include the Board of Shadowy Figures who were going to use them as super soldiers.
  • Black Comedy: Much of the show's humor comes from its facetious treatment of issues usually presented seriously on teen dramas (e.g. drug abuse, discrimination, death). Not to mention the gore. Humor is also derived from the fates of the clones' genetic sources, such as Marie Curie being a misshapen mutant because her clonemother died of radiation poisoning and JFK gloating that "nothing bad ever happens to the Kennedys" when the real JFK was a president most famous for being assassinated.
  • Bland-Name Product: The "Unspecified Rodent-Themed Amusement Park", where Abe goes to visit the animatronic Lincoln in order to gain some advice.
  • Blended Family Drama: Joan learns that her adopted grandfather has been dating the adoptive mother of her mortal nemesis Cleo, and then a storm destroys her house, forcing her and her grandfather to move in with Cleo and her mother. She's not thrilled about it, to say the least.
  • 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.
  • Bloody Hilarious: Quite frequently. Between Geshy 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.
    • Gandhi's increasingly disturbing appearance during "Election Bluu-galoo", from consuming Xtreme Blu, which is really just pancake batter and blue house paint.
    • Geshy, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 quite often, ranging from talking to specific viewers directly ("I'm talking to YOU, Doug") to discussing his coworkers and duties as narrator; you can see a highlight video of his best moments here.
  • Bus Crash: In the original series, they seemed to be ramping up to a plot where Toots and Cleo's Drunk Foster Mom get married, forcing archrivals, Joan and Cleo to become step-sisters. However, in the second episode of the reboot Toots was abruptly mentioned in passing to have been killed while Joan was frozen, ruining any chance of this plot happening.
  • Bus Full of Innocents: Parodied in "Sleep of Faith, La Rue D'Awakening," when Abe falls asleep at the wheel and nearly rams into a bus coming the opposite way. To up the ante, it's a 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!"
  • Came Back Wrong: Severe radiation poisoning caused the clone of Marie Curie to come back horribly disfigured.
  • The Casanova: JFK; he is dating Cleo, but openly cheats on her regularly (even calling her a "skank" for kissing Abe while mid-coitus with another girl), immediately sets up a casting couch to vet actresses during the film festival, and attends the school prom with Joan, Catherine the Great, AND the Brontë sisters.
  • Celebrity Casualty: In one episode, John Stamos dies after being stabbed in the eye with a crown.
  • Cerebus Retcon: The first episode establishes that Mr. Butlertron calls everyone "Wesley", for an unknown reason. The reason is, of course, that he is an Expy of Mr. Belvedere. Except that in Season 2, we learn the actual reason is that Wesley was the name of his adoptive brother from whom he was estranged for years after learning that they were not actually identical twins. The same adoptive brother who, after they were finally reunited, drowned during an unsuccessful attempt to baptize Butlertron so that the two of them could always be together both on Earth and in Heaven.
  • Character Catchphrase: Pretty much every character has one.
    • Abe: "Dinger!"
    • Joan": "You guys."
    • Gandhi: "Say WHAAAAAAAAAAAT!?"
    • JFK: "I, er, uh."
    • Mr. Butlertron: "Wesley."
    • George Washington Carver: "What's that you SAAAAAAY!?"
    • Toots: "Now I may be blind..."
    • Scan Grade: "INFIDELS!!!"
    • Geshy: "Loolooloolooloolooloo!"
    • Skunky-Poo: "Try and catch me, bitch!"
    • Krabby-Kakes: "You got crabs, ass-face!"
  • Character Shilling: At the end of season two JFK starts singing Abe's praises and claiming that if anyone is going to date Joan he wants it to be Abe. This coming after Abe spent the entire first season treating Joan terribly and the writers finally calling him out for his actions in the reboot makes all the positivity for his character appear to come out of nowhere. This was likely done in part to get more viewers rooting for Abe and Joan as a couple rather than the fan-preferred JoanFK.
  • Chekhov's Gun: When Joan hears the Voice Of God in The Last D Is For Disorder, it turns out it's actually broadcasts from a Christian radio station she's been picking up with her retainer that Gandhi dented earlier in the episode.
  • Clone Angst: 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.
  • Clone Jesus: Unsurprisingly, the big G made it into Clone High (don't ask how they got his genes). Though this version is a hispanic carpenting major who pronounces his name Jesús.
  • 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."
  • Continuity Nod:
    • When JFK summons woodland creatures to help clean up litter in "Litter Kills Literally", Geshy from "A Shot In the D'Arc" is among the animals that show up. Geshy is also seen hiding in the rafters during a "blink and you'll miss it" moment in the Season 1 finale.
    • In the Season 1 finale, Skunky Poo and Crabby Cakes from "Plane Crazy" appears in a crowd scene.
  • *Cough* Snark *Cough*: In the first episode, when Abe admits to the cop that he distributed non-alcoholic beer, the cop coughs while saying "Loser!"
  • Covers Always Lie: The Season 2 poster features Topher happily relaxing with the other main clones. In the season itself, he's a toxic Jerkass under that veneer of political correctness who everybody hates. The closest thing he has to a friend is Abe, and even he comes to see what an ass Topher really is.
  • Creepy Gym Coach: The gym teacher, a clone of Eleanor Roosevelt, seems to be sexually interested in the female students.
  • Crucified Hero Shot: Happens twice with Abe in "Raisin The Stakes", as a parody of Jesus Christ Superstar - the first shot is at the end of the opening song "Normal," and the second can be seen when Abe climbs to the top of the fence during "Higher and Higher."
  • Cue O'Clock: In "Changes: The Big Prom: The Sex Romp: The Season Finale", Cleo says "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 original run), 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 Cliffhanger.
  • Dead All Along: Parodied with the trucker in "Sleep of Faith"; when the trucker tells Gandhi his name is "Prepcourse," Gandhi comments that Doug Prepcourse died 40 years ago, and then flashes back to scenes (that certainly never happened in the show) of him traveling alone, including floating down the highway where the truck would have been.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Joan, as per the goth stereotype.
  • Death by Irony: Parodied. In "Litter Kills, Litterally," Ponce de Leon, who was pro-littering and is seen tossing trash aside throughout the episode, is killed by stray litter which binds his hands, trips him onto the ground, cuts at his flesh, and finally suffocates him causing him to die in a pool of his own blood.
  • Death Course: Abe does one for a publicity stunt in "Episode Two: Election Blu-Galoo," to prove he is "cool" after signing on with X-Stream Blu.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: The season two premiere shines a light on Abe's Fish out of Temporal Water status by having him use dated language and jokes, such as joking that his shoes were made by blind people or calling something "retarded" before getting cut off. This leads to the student body cancelling and ostracizing him until he publicly punishes himself for his behavior.
  • Demoted to Extra: The majority of the supporting cast from season 1 — most notably Julius Caesar, Genghis Khan, Jesús Cristo, Marie Curie, and Catherine the Great — are non-speaking background characters in season 2, which puts more focus on the main cast and the second generation clones. The exceptions are Van Gogh, who gets a total of one line, and George Washington Carver, who has minor roles in "Some Talking but Mostly Songs" and "Sexy-Ed".
  • 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 raisins is like LSD... On acid!"
    • Also, the full name of the school is "Clone High High School".
  • Distaff Counterpart: "Cloney Island: Twist!" introduces Scudworth's long-lost lover Sandra Sandria and her robotic assistant Mrs. C. Aside from Sandria being a different ethnicity, they are more or less female versions of Scudworth and Mr. Butlertron.
  • Don't Eat and Swim: "Don't You Get It? Sports Are Huge in This Town" establishes that Scudworth used to be a champion snorkeler, only to fall from grace when he got cramps from eating ribs before a competition.
  • 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, mostly Cleo.
      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. Abe's reaction says it all.
    Abe: I think I'm in love with Joan! Do you think there's a chance she returns my feelings?
    Gandhi: (gives Abe a killer Disapproving Look as several short clips of Joan pining for Abe play)
    Abe: What?
    Gandhi: (instant Dope Slap)
    Abe: (beat) ...I see.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Eleanor Roosevelt, whose intention for the year is to make the students feel even more insecure about their body’s physique.
  • Dude, Where's My Reward?: Joan sheds a tear at everyone lording on Abe being the MVP of a basketball game, even though Joan scored her school's only point of the game.
  • Enhance Button: When trying to find out if Cleo wore his letterman's jacket, Abe does this with a VCR.
  • Erotic Eating: Cleo attempts to seduce "John D'Arc" this way, with a banana, a carton of milk, and some whipped cream. It doesn't work.
  • Euphemism Buster: JFK constantly makes euphemisms and constantly ruins them because of his need to brag. See Don't Explain the Joke above.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": "Cleo's Drunk Foster Mom" - even her boyfriend, Joan's foster father Toots, calls her that.
    • Happens again with "Ashley Angel from O-Town" in "Plane Crazy: Gate Expectations," to the point that Cleo referring to Ashley by just his first name causes Abe to react with horror ("You call Professor Angel by his FIRST NAME?!"). Even Ashley Angel refers to himself by his full title in his introduction.
  • The Exit Is That Way: Abe, walking off a pier while trying to leave in a huff.
    Abe: Goodbye, Joan. (walks the wrong way and falls directly into the lake)
    Abe, walking back onto the pier soaking wet: Goodbye, Joan. (walks off in the opposite direction)
  • 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 Season 1 finale.
  • 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 accidentally cuts his cheek open with the knork (a combined knife and fork he and Gandhi 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 weenie tot that Joan hid a razorblade in during a fit of anti-holiday pique.
  • Fake High: Happens twice, with parody Very Special Episodes:
    • First, when Abe buys non-alcoholic beer for the Wild Teen Party:
      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 is about the size and shape of a pregnant manatee, and he's almost as intelligent as one, too. He often gets the cast into trouble, like stopping Abe and Gandhi from buying beer.
  • Fictional Social Network: Season 2 introduces FlipFlop, a clear parody of TikTok.
  • Le Film Artistique:
  • Flanderization: Due to the absence of Gandhi in the revival, Abe has often been used as a surrogate for the same kinds of "funny dumb guy" jokes that would normally come from him. This has led to Abe becoming a lot more uncharacteristically stupid in certain episodes, now that he no longer has an even more dim-witted sidekick to carry out the stupid jokes for him.
  • Flawed Prototype: Mr Sheepman, who, if you haven't guessed, is part sheep. He proudly refers to himself as "the first mostly human clone."
  • Forgotten Fallen Friend: Parodied. Ponce de Leon, who appears only in "Litter Kills, Litterally," is unceremoniously killed off, and is never mentioned again. There is exactly one mention of him prior to this episode, and it's a subliminal message in "Raisin the Steaks," which can be seen here. See Freeze-Frame Bonus below.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • Several in "Raisin the Stakes":
      • During the opening MGM logo parody, a still of the school mascot appears with a phonograph saying "LET'S GO TO THE DARKSIDE!"
      • 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!"
      • Right before that, in the scene where Abe and Cleo are talking on the roof, they are naked (pasties over the boobs, nothing else censorable visible) for a frame.
      • During the hippie song, right as JFK sings "Wheel me!" the words "I BURIED PONCE" flash onscreen.
      • While Joan is singing, there's a one-frame image of her as a nun superimposed over her normal look.
      • 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.
  • 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".
  • 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.
  • Funny Background Event: At least Once an Episode, there's either a dolphin somewhere in the scene or the sound of a dolphin chirping. Sometimes shows up in the foreground.
  • 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.
  • Genre Blending: The show mocks the present high school generation by combining the pop-culture of its time with sci-fi, social satire, a coming of age story, and a Looney Tunes-esque wacky cartoon all at the same time.
  • 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.
  • The Glasses Gotta Go: The last part of JFK giving Gandhi a makeover? Removing his glasses.
  • 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 ends up treated as an absolutely terrifying, borderline addictive phenomenon in one episode. Raisins get a similar showing.
  • 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. The happiest, oddly, seems to be JFK, despite his parents being gay.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?: During JFK's brief sexuality crisis when he finds himself attracted to "John D'Arc", he goes to ridiculous extents to affirm his hetereosexuality. And when he finds out it was Joan all along, his relief is palpable.
    Goodbye, Will & Grace. Hello, Dharma & Greg.
  • Hidden Depths: The troglodyte clone of Genghis Khan who can barely walk upright turns out to have an amazing singing voice when he sings Schubert's Ave Maria at Ponce's funeral.
  • High School AU: Its premise functionally shakes out to be one for actual history, with the characters being put into traditional high-school archetypes and most of the story being focused on romance and slice-of-life.
  • High-School Sweethearts: Parodied. The only couples focused on are the high school aged clones. Deconstructed since JFK and Cleo break up frequently before permanently splitting off. Gandhi and Marie Curie are the only stable couple of the series, only getting into one small fight.
  • Historical Hilarity
    • 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.
    • In the Season 1 finale, Marie Curie is going out with Rock Hudson, someone whom she describes as "knowing how to treat a lady". Rock Hudson was a homosexual. She even says later he is teaching Oscar Wilde to play pool as to why he isn't with her right now.
  • Hollywood New England: JFK, naturally, as a clone of the icon of half the stereotype. He even has the classical thick-to-the-point-of-incomprehensible Kennedy accent.
  • Howl of Sorrow: While mourning the death of Ponce, JFK lets out a cry of despair while Cleopatra consoles him. His cry almost sounds like that of a Siberian Husky.
  • I Can't Believe It's Not Heroin!:
    • Raisins in "Raisin the Steaks," which seem to cause hippie behavior and hallucinations - as Julius Caesar says, "Raisins are like LSD... on acid!"
    • And even more ludicrous (if that's possible), sleep deprivation is treated like an impossibly insurmountable addiction, with Abe gasping in horror when Joan reveals that the camp she attended the previous year was a "sleepaway camp." Her rock bottom was being found "face up in the gutter, wide awake." Somewhat Played With as, unlike smoking raisins, sleep deprivation is actually an extremely serious issue if it goes on long enough.
  • I Have No Son!: Gandhi's stereotypically Jewish foster dad says this after Gandhi says he wants to be a trucker.
  • I Like My X Like I Like My Y: In the series finale, "You Got a Prom Wit Dat?", Gandhi states that he likes his humping like he likes his martinis: dry.
  • Impact Silhouette: Done by Abe in "Sleep of Faith" (although there was an open window right next to the spot where he burst through the wall), and again by Scudworth in the Looney Tunes parody segment of "Plane Crazy: Gate Expectations."
  • I'm Standing Right Here:
    Scudworth: 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.
    Scudworth: ...So I am.
  • Inadequate Inheritor: A recurring theme. Few if any of the clones are able to live up to the superlative standards set by their predecessors, which they themselves are very much aware of, and are often shown stuggling to either live up to those standards or distinguish themselves from them.
  • 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?"
  • Insignia Rip-Off Ritual: Lampshaded by Scudworth with the insignia on Abe's basketball jacket in "Homecoming: A Shot in the D'Arc."
    Scudworth: Lincoln! You're out as captain and John D'Arc's in! I shall now remove your embroidered "C"!
  • Insistent Terminology: Ashley Parker Angel From O-Town is always referred to as such.
  • Intimate Marks: "Cloney Island: Twist!" has Scudworth reunite with his long-lost lover Sandra Sandria, finding that it's indeed her when they show off the matching pi tattoos they have on their asses.
  • Ironic Echo:
    • JFK during a road race against Abe. His convenient forgetfulness of his family's bad karma finally bites him.
    • Abe mentioning that he's afraid of running for student body president somehow.note 
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Joan feels this way about Abe throughout the series, helping him out with his relationship troubles and even encouraging Cleo to choose Abe in the pilot. Subverted in that she begins to grow resentful of Abe due to him constantly choosing Cleo over her, leading to her hooking up with JFK.
  • Jerk Jock: JFK - athletic, good-looking, popular, and also a cheating womanizer. Best exemplified by "A Room of One's Clone: The Pie of the Storm," where he spends almost a full minute making jokes about Marie Antoinette's boobs, only to then beat up Gandhi for stealing his pun.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: JFK has his moments, but this is especially true in the Season 1 finale; he is the only person to tell Joan that he likes her how she is, and that Abe is an idiot for not seeing it.
  • Jesus Was Way Cool: The Jesus clone is a pretty nice guy, if a bit clumsy with a nail-gun.
  • Joke of the Butt: In "Blinded With Pseudoscience: Magnetic Distractions", Topher tries to decide on what kind of logo to use for when the Bleacher Creatures tag a building. One of the options suggested is to simply depict the gang's butts, and that's the design they go with at the end of the episode.
  • Killer Rabbit: Geshy, the genetically engineered mascot for G.E.S.H high school, looks like an odd but cuddly creature, but is actually a vicious predator when left on its own.
    • Episode 3 of the revival has a very literal example.
  • Lady Drunk: Cleo's Drunk Foster Mom, who does nothing but drink all day and try to act younger than she is, such as by trying to join in on Cleo and Abe's game of spin the bottle.
  • Lamarck Was Right: Subverting this is the basis for most of the characters, where characters cloned from brilliant leaders or genius philosophers or great war heroes are reduced to high school antics and many are very aware that they don't match up to the original. That said, this changes from joke to joke—the most obvious being that JFK inherited the Kennedy accent despite both his foster parents having fairly normal American accents.
  • Lame Rhyme Dodge: One of the show's most recognizable lines; Joan, frustrated with Abe for constantly chasing Cleo, states that she is "so mad she could kiss younote ." Abe comes back on-screen and asks her to repeat herself, and Joan comes up with the line that she is so mad, she could "piss glue." A clip of the scene can be found here.
  • Larynx Dissonance: Joan of Arc John D'Arc in "A Shot in the D'Arc," who slips into a much higher register when pleading with Abe to consider dropping Cleo for Joan.
  • Limited Animation: Done deliberately for stylistic effect.
  • Literal-Minded:
    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?
    Mr. Butlertron: 38%.
  • 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?
    Scangrade: That's easy. I'm a) and b), but not c), so I can't be all of the above. can't fill in two ovals! NOOOOO! (explodes)
    Butlertron: The answer was c). You f***wad.
  • Long-Lost Uncle Aesop: Ponce de Leon is a transparent parody of this trope in "Litter Kills" - the episode is his first and last appearance.
  • Loophole Abuse:
    • Subverted with the rule that "no girls or animals can play on the boys teams".
    • Exaggerated with Abe's film: "There's nothing in the rules that says a giraffe can't play football."
  • Losing Your Head: The two-parter at the end has Marie Antoinette decapitated by a helicopter propeller. She is later shown to still be alive while carrying her head.
  • Love Triangle: Joan/Abe/Cleo and Abe/Cleo/JFK. The end of the show hinted at the beginning of an Abe/Joan/JFK triangle but of course it was canceled before we could find out.
  • Madonna-Whore Complex: Joan and Cleo, respectively. Ends up inverted in the Season 1 finale when Cleo, the "Whore," ends up rejecting Abe for sex after realizing he's in love with Joan, while Joan, the "Madonna," ends up losing her virginity to JFK, a Handsome Lech she originally despised).
  • Make-Out Point: "Teen Sex Cove" is often visited by the main cast.
  • The Makeover: Parodied to hell and back in the aptly named "Makeover, Makeover, Makeover: The Makeover Episode." The episode consists entirely of makeovers done to several different characters (mostly Joan, but Gandhi and Scudworth are made over as well) and scenes showing the end result of the makeovers. In total, there are five makeovers, four of which are fully shown on-screen, and only two of which are maintained outside of the initial montage (JFK's makeover of Gandhi, and Cleo's makeover of Joan). See Makeover Montage and Unnecessary Makeover below.
  • Makeover Montage: Spoofed and deconstructed. The montages steadily become less and less about the makeovers themselves as it becomes clear how pointless they are. Joan's first montage is Played With; the montage aspect is played straight, but Abe's choices are terrible in general, beginning with Joan trying on clothes at what appears to be a costume shop and leading to Joan dressed as a nurse with Farrah Fawcett hair and a cyborg eye. The second makeover (JFK and Gandhi) features Gandhi trying on the same outfit three times, with JFK hating the first two and inexplicably loving the third. The third makeover (Toots and Joan) is abruptly cut off by Toots getting hit by a car, and ends with Joan crying in a column of tires, wearing a large T-shirt and a football helmet. The fourth makeover (Cleo and Joan), while the most successful, quickly drops the initial goal of getting Joan ready for prom and ends with Cleo and Joan buying lingerie and guns, robbing a bank, and getting their nails done at a salon. Scudworth's makeover is skipped over entirely, and the next time he appears, he is inexplicably dressed like The Dandy.
  • Manly Gay: One of JFK's fathers certainly qualifies; he is balding, has 5 o'clock shadow, smokes cigars (permanently, from the look of it), wears a dirty beater tanktop, and even has a tattoo of a heart on his shoulder (a traditional tough-guy tattoo, sans "Mom" label).
  • Master of the Mixed Message: Abe is the king of this trope, unfortunately for Joan. Ends up parodied at the end of "Makeover, Makeover, Makeover" by a zoom-in to Abe's lips as he says "J'Cluh" instead of Joan or Cleo's name. This then segues into an Overly Long Gag at the beginning of "You Got a Prom Wit Dat?", where Abe repeatedly says words that sound like Joan's name before finally saying his chosen girl... although the silhouette of the character being spoken to makes it abundantly clear right away that it's Cleo.
  • Medium Blending: Happens in "Raisin the Stakes" when Gandhi begins tripping on the raisins; after he falls off of Galdemore's back, he lands in front of a live-action cat, which quickly gobbles him up.
  • Mirror Monologue: Spoofed often by JFK, as they tend to devolve into The Man in the Mirror Talks Back. Particularly notable in "Makeover, Makeover, Makeover," where the catalyst for him deciding to makeover Gandhi is a bet he makes with his own reflection.
  • Mixed Metaphor: A staple of Abe's speeches.
    Abe: You sold us all a bill of goods, and those goods turned out to be bad. Then you sold me up the river.
    Joan: That may be, but I sent you up that river with my heart as a paddle!
    Abe: But you took that paddle and smacked me in the face, and I wear my heart on my sleeve, so when I wiped my face, I got heart all over it.
  • Mr. Exposition: Lampshaded relentlessly in the opening to "A Shot in the D'Arc" by the two announcers; one of them even uses the word explicitly.
    Dan Patrick: You said an expository mouthful, my versatile friend!
  • Mushroom Samba: When Gandhi smokes raisins in "Raisin the Stakes," he hallucinates some... strange things.
  • Musical Episode: As you can guess, this is parodied in "Raisin the Stakes: A Rock Opera in Three Acts," and with a cameo by Jack Black to boot.
  • 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.
  • Name-Tron:
    • Mr. Butlertron.
    • Scangrade was originally going to be called Scantron, but the name was copyrighted.
  • 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 Quite Starring: Lampshaded and Played With with Mandy Moore's character in "Snowflake Day" - Joan frequently asks if she's Mandy Moore, which she denies repeatedly to the point of screaming at Joan to "get off her back." The end credits take it further by listing Mandy Moore as playing "Herself?"
  • Not-So-Innocent Whistle: lampshaded in "A.D.D.: The Last 'D' is for Disorder":
    Mr. Sheepman: Your innocent whistling doesn't fool me. I'm 70 percent sure that farting noise came from you.
  • Oblivious to Love: Heavily parodied with Abe and Joan. Joan's feelings for Abe are so transparently clear that, when Abe asks Gandhi if there's any chance of her returning his feelings in the Season 1 finale, Gandhi simply gives him a Disapproving Look, followed by a Dope Slap.
  • Oddly Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo: The second episode is titled Episode 2: Election Blu-Galoo.
  • The Omniscient Council of Vagueness: A very literal example with the Board of Shadowy Figures, to the point that the latter may as well be the Trope Namer themselves - they intend to use the clones as an elite team of soldiers for a tactical advantage, but the reason why is never specified... nor does it seem like the clones are exactly getting the message.
  • Once per Episode
    • "Tonight, on a very special Clone High..."
    • A dolphin is either heard or seen.
    • A character sheds a Single Tear.
  • Opening Narration: Featured in every episode: "Tonight, on a very special Clone High..."
  • 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!
    [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.
    [comes back]
    [comes back]
    JFK: Forgot to wash my hands...
    • Happens again in the Season 1 finale, this time with Abe:
      Abe: Will you go to the prom with me... J'Cl- (clears throat and laughs awkwardly) Excuse me, got a tickle. Will you go to the prom with me... (inhales) ...Jo...king aside, will you be my prom date... Cleo?
  • Padding the Paper: In the episode "Escape to Beer Mountain: A Rope of Sand", it's the principal who intends to "use a big font [and] futz with the margins." In Scudworth's defense, he has to write a report to demonstrate he understands teenagers to be left in charge of the clone project. Failure means death.
  • Pals with Jesus: The clones of Jesus and apparently the Buddha attend attend the same classes as everyone else.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: "John D'Arc" 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, a mascot stolen from another school that turned out to be genetically engineered. Naturally, it turns out that Geshy is also ridiculously carnivorous.
  • Pink Is Erotic: After Joan realizes that her plan to seduce Abe by making him jealous doesn't work, she opens up to JFK and the scene cuts to Abe, Gandhi, and Cleo finding Joan and JFK in a pink bed after having sex. Cleo's bedroom is pink and she has the highest libido of the main cast.
  • Piss-Take Rap: Gandhi's rap career starts out when he accidentally rhymes "kiss" with "bupkis." Joan herself points out that it's a pretty weak rhyme, but Gandhi is convinced it's proof, and it only gets worse from there (including a lot of Rhyming with Itself).
  • Political Overcorrectness: In the beginning of "Snowflake Day", this is one of the first things heard:
    Mr. Scudworth: I can hardly believe it's only been a year since the United Nations abolished religious holidays in favor of the non-offensive, all-inclusive, Snowflake Day!
    • Topher Bus does this to avoid being "cancelled". He's happy to blackmail Abe, but insists it should be called "white leveraging".
    • In "Money Can Buy Me Love: Stupid is as Cupid Does", Van Gough responds to Harriet and Touissant using the word "slo-mo" by correcting them that the proper term is "slomosexual".
  • [Popular Saying], But...: When life gives you lemons, you CLONE those lemons and make SUPER LEMONS!
  • 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!"
  • Previously on…: Used on every episode except the first: "Previously, on Clone High..."
  • Prison Rape: Subverted, the "initiation" the other prisoners were planning for Gandhi in the showers was just a celebratory toss into the air.
  • Product Placement: Parodied three times in the space of five minutes in "Election Blu-Galoo," which is, in itself, a parody of the very concept of Product Placement.
  • Pun-Based Title: Almost every episode title in the show falls under this category, often overlapping with Literary Allusion Title and Pop-Culture Pun Episode Title. The only titles which feature no puns are "A.D.D.: The Last 'D' is for Disorder," "Snowflake Day: A Very Special Holiday Episode," and "Makeover, Makeover, Makeover: The Makeover Episode." Specific examples include:
  • Putting on the Reich: GESH High School has a mostly Aryan-looking student body, wear black uniforms, and have their flag being a white circle on a red field with a blocky letter G in the middle.
  • Race for Your Love: Parodied to the point of Running Gag in one episode, where everyone treats it as perfectly reasonable for a drag race to be considered a good resolution method for who deserves Cleopatra.
  • Rasputinian Death: Ponce de Leon's death; he is first "cuffed" by plastic soda rings, then receives full body papercuts from his candy wrappers, then has a plastic straw from a juice box pierce his throat hard enough to get it in his bloodstream, then a plastic bag covers his head as he slips on a banana peel, THEN he hits his head on a plastic bottle which somehow causes his skull to fracture and the bag to fill up with his blood, and THEN he finally chokes to death on his own blood. The entire sequence takes somewhere over a full minute of the episode.
  • Readings Blew Up the Scale: During a promotional event for Xtreme Blu, Mr. B has an Applause-O-Meter. At one point, there is so much applause that the Applause-O-Meter broke.
  • Rearrange the Song:
    • A somber version of the theme for "Litter Kills"
    • And one for "Snowflake Day", with Christmas bells.
  • 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.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Invoked and Lampshaded with Poncey in "Litter Kills: Literally", who had apparently been JFK's best friend and beloved to the rest of the clones, and was treated like he'd been there since the beginning.
    Julius: Oh, Poncey, you are a regular character.
  • Retroactive Wish: Lampshaded when JFK loses his friend Ponce, and then it works
    JFK: For my first wish, I want my dead friend back! Ponce! You're alive!
  • Rhyming with Itself: A running gag when Gandhi becomes a rapper is him doing this, with his catchphrase being "G-Spot rocks the G-Spot!" Naturally, JFK thinks it's great.
  • Rock Bottom: JFK after Ponce de Leon dies via littering accident.
  • Rock Opera: The episode "Raisin the Stakes: A Rock Opera in Three Acts," coupled with a guest appearance from Jack Black of Tenacious D fame!
  • Ruder and Cruder: Downplayed, Season 1, in spite of all its sexual themes, was mostly restricted to mild swears and even blurred-out characters giving middle fingers, with the one episode containing constant swearing from Mr. Butlertron being bleeped; and while Season 2, untethered from network television, has characters flash middle finger emojis, and one character can clearly be heard grumbling "Fuckin' bullshit", still keeps the vulgarity to a minimum, albeit while upping the gore.
  • Say My Name: Happens twice with Joan SINGING Abe's name dramatically in "Raisin the Stakes," once during the opening song and once during his dream sequence after falling off the fence and hitting his head.
    • A Running Gag for Scudworth in the penultimate episode of the series, who spends the majority of it agonizing over his childhood rival... "STAMOS!!"
  • School for Scheming: Parodied; the aptly named Board of Shadowy Figures plans to use the clones as military assets
  • Shaped Like Itself:
    Cleo: This year, the theme for the Awareness Fair is.... Awareness!
  • 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.
    • JFK and Gandhi get into a Benny Hill-style chase with Cleo and Joan.
      JFK: Holy Toledo! They're fighting in their skivvies!
    • And did we mention Mr. Butlertron?
    • In the Musical Episode "Raisin the Stakes", most of the music takes inspiration from Tommy, and some visuals seem to be lifted from the movie adaptation, as well as Yellow Submarine and The Wall. Additionally, one recurring acoustic guitar riff seems to be lifted directly from "Dogs".
    • The segment with Scudworth and Skunky-Poo is a homage to the classic Looney Tunes cartoons.
    • The backstory Joan gives her male alter ego "John D'Arc" is the plot from Planet of the Apes (1968).
    • One of the background characters is Jojo the Dog-Faced Boy, a star basketball player.
    • A very subtle reference to the Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney duet "The Girl is Mine" in "Sleep of Faith."
      Abe: Beat it, JFK. The girl is mine.
      JFK: No, no, the doggone girl is mine!
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Abe's preference for women is summed up in episode 1: Cleo. Only Cleo. Subverted in the end though, when he suddenly realized that he's in love with Joan.
  • Sleep Aesop: In "Sleep of Faith: La Rue D'Awakening", Abe becomes Cleo's new errand boy, but he becomes sleep-deprived, which causes him to make poor decisions until he accept's JFK's challenge to a drag race.
  • Sleeps with Everyone but You: Even after they become a couple, Abe never actually sleeps with Cleo. Cleo actually tries harder to sleep with Joan (as John D'arc) than she does with Abe, and has no qualms about listing the various guys she's had at least some sexual contact with right to his face.
    Cleo: Look, Abe... I'd like nothing more than to let you feel me up like you were my dentist... But I care too much about our future together.
    • Played With in the Season 1 finale. The entire episode is building up to Abe's first time with Cleo, which Cleo is clearly looking forward to and which Abe is both anxious and excited for... but when the time comes, Abe's repeated Wrong Name Outbursts make it obvious to Cleo that he's in love with Joan. When he tries to kiss her after the fact, she slaps him and covers her chest in disgust while exclaiming, "Do you seriously think I'm gonna go through with this now?"
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: In the middle. 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 be resolved. As for Scudworth, his plans to build a theme park island filled with the clones has been "put on ice" so to speak.
    • It lean more towards the idealistic side in the revival. High school has certainly changed over the past 20 years and seemingly for the better. Characters are much more likely to be make friends with one another and care deeply about being tolerant and respectful towards cultures and individuality. Even the board of shadow-y figures want to resurrect the initial plan not to create a deadly army but to create new leaders that could build a better future.
  • Special Guest:
  • Spoof Aesop: Littering is good in moderation, religion is for fools and liberals, selling your ideals out is good.
  • Stupid Evil: Scudworth's grand scheme is to hijack clones ("The greatest minds the world has ever known!") and open a theme park themed after them.
    Scudworth: I first got the idea for Cloney Island by watching the movie Jurassic Park III.
  • Stylistic Self-Parody: When mad about basketball, Abe rants "Damnit I'm the tallest!" (and indeed, he's the tallest clone)
  • Subliminal Seduction:
    • "Raisin the Stakes" is full of blink-and-you'll-miss-it messages, including:
    • As Scudworth gets up to talk at the PTA, a picture flashes on screen with the words, "Scudworth is your favorite character!"
    • At one point JFK falls through the roof and gurgles incoherently on the ground. Played backwards, the gibberish turns out to be a message urging viewers to nominate Clone High for an Emmy. It can be listened to here.
    • At the very end of the episode, the words "FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT RAISINS CONSULT YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY" flash on screen.
    • More are mentioned here.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Principal Scudworth is totally not using the clones to build an amusement park, no.
  • Sweet on Polly Oliver: JFK develops feelings for "John D'Arc," who is Joan in disguise, and begins questioning his sexuality.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: Joan- er, "John" with a disguise consisting entirely of a fake handlebar mustache. A similar disguise is also used successfully by a dolphin, a goose and Groucho Marx.
  • Take That!:
    • "Sexy-Ed" has one to Riverdale's Teacher/Student Romance between Archie and Miss Grundy. "Miss Grumble" is a Dirty Old Woman who dies trying to have sex with Abe, and Mr. B points out that the situation is statutory rape.
    • "The Principal Principal: Sub Zero to Sub Hero" has Confucius spout out random phrases while trying to think of how he can win Harriet back from Touissant. When he says "son of a bitch", an image of Chief Justice Clarence Thomas is shown.
    • "Cloney Island: Twist!" reveals that Scudworth's long-lost lover Sandra Sandria once had plans for a theme park based on Texas called Texasland, with her blueprints including jabs at the state's failing infrastructure and negligence towards gun control.
  • 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.
  • 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 for Sigmund Freud.
  • Thick-Line Animation: It's often been miscredited to Dave Wasson, the creator of Time Squad. Though in a roundabout way, this makes sense: Wasson did do the character designs, but didn't receive credit.
  • 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.
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: To quote Skunky Poo: "Try and catch me, bitch!"
  • 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.
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: The short, wiry Gandhi eventually ends up with Marie Curie, who has an overall large build and is possibly the tallest girl in school.
  • 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 are 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.
  • Totally Radical: The entire marketing and basic concept behind Xtreme Blu from Episode 2.
  • Totem Pole Trench: Napoleon and Taft in "A Shot in D'Arc" do this in the middle of a basketball game. Where an eight-foot-tall student in a non-regulation outfit came from is rather confused.
  • Trauma Swing: Joan in the first episode after seeing Abe and Cleo together.
  • True Art Is Incomprehensible: In-universe example. Joan tells Abe she loves him by making a highly symbolic and nonsensical movie, including a Gratuitous French parody in which Joan says things like "Céline Dion" and "paella" (which, as you may note, is Spanish and not French). Only Sigmund Freud gets the message.
  • Truth in Television: While sleep deprivation is played for laughs (see G-Rated Drug), anyone who's actually had sleep-related problems such as insomnia or apnea will tell you it's actually a pretty serious problem.
  • Undiscriminating Addict: Supposedly recovered drug addict Larry Hardcore boasts that when he was still in the throes of addiction, he would have smoked raisins if he thought they would get him high.
  • Unknown Rival: Principal Scudworth to John Stamos, who considers Scudworth a good friend and is blithely unaware of the hate Scudworth has for him.
  • Unlucky Everydude: Abe is this, as he is somewhat bumbling and VERY awkward, both of which make him feel like a lesser counterpart to his biological father, Abraham Lincoln.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Abe's catchphrase "DINGER!"
  • Verbal Tic: Mr. B tends to draw out the last word he says in a long mechanical droooooooooo-oooooooone. Also, his habit of calling everyone "Wesley".
  • Very Special Episode: Literally every single episode. It's even in the opening and closing narrations!
  • Viewers Are Geniuses: You had to have some knowledge of history to really get some of the jokes.
  • Wham Episode: "Litter Kills, Literally" - serving as a parody of one - and the Season 1 finale, "You Got a Prom Wit Dat?" - serving as a straightforward example. The former is an Affectionate Parody of shows like Saved by the Bell with their tendency toward Very Special Episodes, while the latter features the Board of Shadowy Figures coming to claim the clones, Abe finally realizing his feelings for Joan only to discover she's already slept with JFK, and finally Scudworth freezing the lot of them in the meat cooler, leaving the show on a cliffhanger as Abe barely gets out the words "But Joan, I love y..." before being frozen.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: Scudworth's bastardized British accent (Phil Lord claims that it's him doing a very bad Jamaican accent).
  • Who Is Driving?: Parodied in "Homecoming: A Shot In D'Arc", where this exact line shows up after Genghis walks into the back of the van—when they realize this, it provokes a scream. The van is then shown using its blinker and braking before turning at an intersection.
  • Whoopi Epiphany Speech: Subverted with Toots, the blind Jazz player. He'll start a speech that sounds like it'll be the voice of reason in troubled times, but instead decides to let everyone get on with their angry mob.
    "Now, I may be blind, but I can see certain things loud and clear. This is a room full of scared people making decisions based on fear and ignorance. Now, when I left the house this evening, I intended to go to Giovanni's Italian Restaurant. I can tell I'm in the wrong place. So, if you'll excuse me, I'll leave and let you get on with your meeting."
  • Wild Teen Party: The first episode is about Abe trying to get invited to JFK's party and, later, trying to get beer for it.
  • Women Are Wiser: Downplayed; Joan and Cleo are much more goal-oriented, with Joan establishing and becoming the sole member of a teen crisis hotline from thin air in the pilot, and Cleo using her womanly wiles to maintain her status in student government, as well as to get accepted to the coveted "dance school" run by Ashley Angel from O-Town. They're still teens, though, and get into the same dumb shenanigans as their classmates. By contrast, Abe, Gandhi, and JFK are very impulsive, and focus more on girls and dating than their actual studies or life goals.
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: X-Stream Blu, an EXTREME new food product which is made of pancake batter and blue paint. Gandhi nearly kills himself with it.
  • You Cloned Hitler!: A clone of Hitler himself was one of the attendants of the student film festival in the episode "Film Fest: Tears of a Clone". However, he's seen wearing an arm band with a peace symbol on it, implying that he didn't turn out like the original Hitler unlike most takes on this trope.
  • You Go, Girl!: Joan proves herself as the best of the boys' basketball team, but only because she can make the basket.
  • You Mean "Xmas": BRUTALLY parodied in "Snowflake Day: A Very Special Holiday Episode." Scudworth's opening monologue makes it very clear what the episode's intentions are.
    Scudworth: Dear family and friends, is it possible a year has passed since my last impersonal, over-informative, photocopied holiday update? I can hardly believe it's only been a year since the United Nations abolished religious holidays in favor of the non-offensive, all-inclusive Snowflake Day!
    Joan, in a Gilligan Cut: Well, this blows.
  • Younger Than They Look: The clone project started sometime in the 1980s, putting all the clones of Clone High in their teens. A few of them, such as Moses and Thomas Edison, look like old men despite being in their early 20s at the oldest.
  • YouTuber Apology Parody: The first episode of the second season has Abe apologize on FlipFlop for his problematic language, only to keep digging himself deeper on accident, eventually derailing into screaming misogynistic rants when nobody accepts his terrible apologies.

"Can we start (start) over...?"


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Clone High USA


Scudworth and Skunky-Poo

Scudworth's Sitcom Arch-Nemesis is a whacky skunk named Skunky-Poo, whose screws with him in a way that parodies the sort of antics seen in Looney Tunes. Every time Scudworth suffers an Amusing Injury in one of their segments, it's always capped off with Skunky-Poo spraying him in the face. Not pictured: The "Don't get on that plane!" gag with Skunky and the ending of the subplot in which Scudworth gets tormented again, this time with a crab named Krabby Kakes.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (10 votes)

Example of:

Main / SmellySkunk

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