Do you remember waaaaaay back when having a day off meant Saturday, and Saturday meant waking up at the crack of dawn to plop yourself in front of the television set with a bowl of sugar based cereal substitute to watch Saturday morning cartoons? Yeah, me neither. But that’s okay. Let’s get NOSTALGIC!
Let’s say you work for a top secret organization populated by shadowy figures seeking global domination. Did you agree with me when I said that? No? Good. That was a test. If you had agreed with me, I’d have to do something with a certain degree of… finality to you. But you didn’t, and since you didn’t, and since it’s a Saturday, specifically November 2, 2002… we can watch Clone High U.S.A., which aired for the first time on this date.
Mad scientist, Cinnamon J. Scudworth, uses cloning technology to recreate some of history’s most prominent figures, including Abraham Lincoln, Gandhi, Joan of Arc, John F. Kennedy, and Cleopatra, all of whom have the stereotypical hallmarks of their genetic predecessors. Clone High U.S.A. was [described] by its producers as “a comedy disguised as a teen drama” and by media critic Dakota Loomis as “a fascinating cross-pollination of the History Channel and Saved by the Bell…” The show only lasted for 13 episodes due to an outcry from Indian views who “were offended by the depiction of Gandhi as a Ritalin-popping, junk-food-eating underachiever.” Which is… totally fair.
What I remember
Technically speaking, I did not watch this cartoon in the 80s BUT it took place in the 80s, albeit a fictional 80s where famous guys and ladies were cloned to make amusing genetic copies. (I think that’s how the theme song went.) I started watching Clone High U.S.A. in the early 00s, in that indeterminate period of my existence between completing undergraduate college and finding a job. The art style from the show was somewhat influential in creating my own style while I was teaching myself to draw webcomics in order to justify to myself having graduated with an art degree.
This week, on a very special episode of Clone High… Abe, Gandhi, and Joan prepare to start a new year of school. Joan is in love with Abe. Abe is in love with Cleo. And Cleo is in love with… herself? And Abe. And JFK. But mostly… herself? Joan starts a teen crisis hotline to demonstrate her commitment to community service to Abe. Non-alcoholic beer is consumed at a party. Mr. Butlertron makes scones!
I’ve never watched any of the teen dramas that Clone High U.S.A. parodied because I didn’t understand the point behind watching a show about teenagers (or actors in their 20s-30s pretending to be teenagers) as a teenager, but my surface level knowledge of them from pop culture tells me that this was exactly what they were like.
If you liked Clone High U.S.A.
Genetics 101 : from chromosomes and the double helix to cloning and DNA tests, everything you need to know about genes by Beth Skwarecki
Woolly : the true story of the quest to revive one of history’s most iconic extinct creatures by Ben Mezrich
Lincoln road trip : the back-roads guide to America’s favorite president by Jane Simon Ammeson
Gandhi : the years that changed the world, 1914-1948 by Ramachandra Guha
The maid and the queen : the secret history of Joan of Arc by Nancy Bazelon Goldstone
JFK / Coming of Age in the American Century, 1917-1956 by Fredrik Logevall
When Women Ruled The World : Six Queens Of Egypt by Kara Cooney
Also check out
Clone High Food Pyramid Song by Marilyn Manson
(Yes, Marilyn Manson. Yes THAT Marilyn Manson. I checked the credits.)
I didn’t have any webcomics from November of 2002 but this one was from a few months later.
For more on Saturday Morning Cartoon Rewatch by Kevin
Saturday Morning Cartoon Rewatch one – Voltron: Defender of the Universe
Saturday Morning Cartoon Rewatch two – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Saturday Morning Cartoon Rewatch three – The Herculoids
Saturday Morning Cartoon Rewatch four – Hong Kong Phooey
Saturday Morning Cartoon Rewatch five – He-Man and the Masters of the Universe
Saturday Morning Cartoon Rewatch six – Valley of the Dinosaurs
Saturday Morning Cartoon Rewatch seven – Thundarr the Barbarian
Saturday Morning Cartoon Rewatch eight – Captain Cavemen and the Teen Angels
More to come (live from what I remember about the 80’s!) as this story continues.
Kevin Wadlow is 100% a real human being and definitely not a murder of crows wearing a person suit. He is an avid reader of horror, tabletop gamer, and drinker of coffee who enjoys drawing things of strangeness along the way. When the zombie apocalypse comes, he will probably be eaten first after saying something about how he fully expected to go out like this.