Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the directors of The LEGO Movie and 21 Jump Street, announced almost precisely a year ago that their animated series Clone High will be rebooted in the early 2000s. The return of the series is one step closer to being a reality today.
Clone High chronicled the clones of historical personalities such as Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, Joan of Arc, Gandhi, Cleopatra, and others as they coped with all of the teen angst, romance, and drama that comes with high school. Lord & Miller are now reviving and reimagining the series, and they just had a table read for the first episode, which has an all-too-appropriate title for reviving the Clone High remake.
While the clones inherit many of their characteristics from their forefathers, the show’s humour stems from the stark contrast between the clones’ personalities and the real ideals and legacy of the historical persons from whom they are derived. In contrast to his historical legacy of peaceful nonviolence, Gandhi is presented as a hyperactive jerk with a golden heart whose greatest wish is to be accepted by everyone around him. Abe Lincoln is presented in the same way, as weak and indecisive, lacking the resolve of the President with whom he shares DNA.
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A summary of Clone High
Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, and Bill Lawrence developed the adult animated series. The plot revolves on a high school filled with clones of famous historical individuals. Adolescent versions of Abe Lincoln, Joan of Arc, Gandhi, Cleopatra, and JFK make up the major characters. Every episode is announced as a “very special episode,” as a spoof of adolescent dramas such as Dawson’s Creek and Beverly Hills, 90210.
In the 1990s, Lord and Miller created the series’ premise while at Dartmouth College, subsequently proposing it to executives at Fox Broadcasting Company in the United States, who ultimately opted to pass on the show. It was developed between 2002 and 2003 and was eventually bought by cable channel MTV. The show’s design is highly stylized, with a restricted animation style that emphasises humour and plot above graphics. Tommy Walter wrote the Clone High theme song, which was performed by his alternative rock band Abandoned Pools, who also contributed a lot of the background music for the show.
Clone High is set at a high school in the fictional town of Exclamation, USA, that is being used as part of an enormous military experiment conducted by the Secret Board of Shadowy Figures. The school is totally filled by clones of well-known historical personalities who were developed in the 1980s and reared with the goal of having their varied skills and abilities harnessed by the US military.
Cinnamon J. Scudworth, the high school administrator, has his own intentions for the clones and discreetly seeks to subvert the Board’s objectives (Scudworth wants to use the clones to create a clone-themed amusement park, dubbed “Cloney Island”, a decidedly less evil intention than that of the Board).
Mr. Butlertron (a spoof of Mr. Belvedere), his robot butler/vice principal/dehumidifier, is programmed to call everyone “Wesley” and speak in three separate intonations, the ‘high’ pitch only being heard once in the first episode, “Escape to Beer Mountain: A Rope of Sand.”
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Clone High Controversay
Though the Clone High reboot will follow in the footsteps of the original show by focusing on Abraham Lincoln, Cleopatra, Joan of Arc, John F. Kennedy, and others as they deal with the trials and tribulations of adolescence, there is one key figure who was left out of the announcement when the show was renewed. Gandhi was not among the historical individuals that were originally cast as characters in the drama.
Gandhi’s presence in the cast of the first series sparked a lot of debate. MTV withdrew Clone High from the air when over 100 individuals in India went on a hunger strike to protest the series, which was already generating low ratings at the time. As a result, we believe Gandhi will not be making a comeback with the program. Even if the character is included in the cast, it is unlikely that comedian Michael McDonald will reprise the role, as it would certainly cause a fresh round of controversy.
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Clone High received mixed reviews from reviewers when it was aired in 2002. On Metacritic, which calculates a normalised rating out of 100 based on critic reviews, the programme has a score of 60, indicating “mixed or average reviews,” based on seven reviews. The New York Daily News’ David Bianculli commended the series, saying, “It’s a real original amid a year of variants and ripoffs of known themes and genres. It’s also a cartoon, and it’s just strange.”