1 9 9 1 – 1 9 9 4 (USA)
66 x 30 minute episodes
“Hi, I’m Clarissa Darling. I didn’t choose the name. I wanted ‘Jade’, but by that time, it was too late already. Anything without a last name would have been better. ‘Madonna’ would have been great, but no one asked me.”
13-year-old Clarissa Darling (Melissa Joan Hart) lives at 464 Shadow Lane in a town called Baxter Beach. She likes Twizzlers, junk food, substitute teachers (she attends Thomas Tupper Jr. High School) and the rock group They Might Be Giants, and she is a computer whiz.
She has a foot-long “security” alligator named Elvis as a pet, who lives in a small plastic pool in her room (which she calls the “Heartbreak Hotel”).
Clarissa dreams of being able to drive and spends much of her time plotting against her obnoxious little brother, Ferguson (Jason Zimbler), who she calls “Ferg-face” and “Ferg-wad”, amongst other things.
Ferguson is a Republican and vice president of the Dan Quayle Fan Club (there is no president – “You can’t have an office higher than your idol”).
“Living with my brother,” she says, “is like having your hair set on fire, then having it put out with a sledgehammer”.
Clarissa’s mother, Janet (Elizabeth Hess) is a vitamin freak and health food nut whose Zucchini lentil surprise is her favourite dinner (along with Carob pudding cake with whipped tofu topping). She works as the head of the Children’s Museum of Baxter Beach.
Marshall (Joe O’Connor), Clarissa’s father, is an architect. He calls Clarissa “Sport”.
Her best friend and neighbour – who always enters via ladder through Clarissa’s bedroom window – is Sam (Sean O’Neal), and although he is both a boy and a friend, Clarissa is quick to point out that he’s not a “boyfriend”, he’s her “best bud”.
Clarissa uses on-screen video devices and special effects to tell viewers everything she knows about herself, her family and life in general, breaking the fourth wall to speak directly to the audience.
When the run of Clarissa Explains It All came to an end in 1994 (because the character of Clarissa became too old for Nickelodeon’s target demographic), a spinoff series was planned for CBS, following Clarissa to New York to become an intern on a newspaper called the Daily Post.
A pilot was made, but the series wasn’t picked up.
The theme tune to Clarissa Explains It All is a song called Way Cool, sung by Rachel Sweet.
Melissa Joan Hart