Clarissa Explains It All

I just want to point out immediately that the title of this show is a lie. Clarissa doesn’t explain it all. There were many questions left unanswered and problems unsolved. You would think she could at least explain a cure for cancer or something.

Clarissa Darling (played by Melissa Joan Hart) and her family are a bit off-beat. They’re different, but not too different that they would seem abnormal. Clarissa was a just a teenage girl with really cool clothes, trying to make sense of the world. It was hard for me to relate to Clarissa’s problems when I was 6 years old, but I gave it a shot. I was intrigued by her. She was different—she liked reading, writing, poetry, photography, and art. Clarissa had a baby alligator in her room named Elvis who I particularly enjoyed seeing.

Clarissa would often talk to her audience. That's why she's staring at us.

Clarissa would often talk to her audience. That’s why she’s staring at us.

Perhaps one of the best things about Clarissa was her love of music. She mentioned a lot of good bands throughout the show and even some band members appeared in episodes. Some examples of her 90’s taste in music were They Might Be Giants, Pearl Jam, and Violent Femmes.

Clarissa’s best friend was Sam Anders. He would often rest a ladder on her window and climb up it whenever he wanted to come over. Wikipedia says that their relationship was a “novelty” because they were just friends and no romance blossomed between them. Like, how is this novel? Isn’t it normal? Do girls fall in love with every guy they talk to? Ugh.

But to be perfectly honest, I would’ve loved to see Clarissa and Sam hook up. They always got along really well and made each other happy. Sam would often bring his guitar up the ladder and serenade Clarissa.

Ferguson Darling was Clarissa’s unfortunate ginger brother. He didn’t have a lot of friends at school mostly because he was pompous and nerdy. He loved money and tried to come up with ways to get rich quick. His sibling rivalry with Clarissa was fun to watch and always made me feel good that I didn’t have a brother with the devil’s red hair. It’s worth mentioning that Ferguson was a Young Republican who loved Dan Quayle and Ronald Regan. I feel like kid’s shows these days wouldn’t dare mention politics never mind certain political figures. Especially those of republican standings.ferguson

Clarissa’s mom was Janet Darling. She was an environmentalist and liked cooking weird meals for her kids. They usually involved tofu. Clarissa often sought out advice from her mom, like any normal teenage girl would.

Clarissa’s dad is Marshall Darling. He was an architect who designs weird buildings. Lot of his creations are used a tourist attractions or retail locations. I don’t remember this, but Wiki says that he made a “Fryfel Tower” which actually sounds like somewhere I would want to eventually live.

I don’t really remember many of the minor characters from the show since I didn’t even know what minor characters were when I was watching the show.  But from reading the Wiki page, they keep pointing out what a monumental show Clarissa Explains It All was because it was the first Nickelodeon show where the main character was a girl. The creators were impressed that both girls and boys enjoyed the show because they were under the impression that shows with male leads were more relatable for girls and boys.

This is so stupid. Kids will literally watch any show that’s on TV. Girl lead, boy lead, animal lead, alien lead, whatever. Why is this considered a television breakthrough? Clarissa needs to explain some things to them.

14 thoughts on “Clarissa Explains It All

  1. You’re right, Clarissa never did tell us much at all. One time i offered to climb into a girl’s window. She said no then we stopped talking.

    I don’t remember much about this show but it seems pretty progressive despite the whole female lead nonsense. As long as there is a prominent male character I don’t think too many little boys would care. Sam was pretty cool and I remember his real name is “Sean” something and I would pronounce it “Seen” which I know you would have too because you mentioned it in the Boy Meets World piece. That always bothered me.

    I always forget about Ferguson. He could have been a lot more evil. Redheads really had it rough in the 90s didn’t they?

    • I was surprised how much I forgot. I thought I had a pretty good memory of this show but turns out I only remembered people’s names? There weren’t any episodes on youtube to refresh my memory either!
      That’s crazy about Seen. At least he pronounces it the right way if he spells it like that. But yeah that bothers me. How did you even come across that bit of info?
      Yeah Ferguson could’ve been a better character. He could’ve been like Megan on Drake and Josh. But nope.

      • I came across his name because I always used to look at the opening credits and the first time I heard the name “Sean” pronounced openly I wondered why everyone was making such an obvious mistake.

        Clarissa never had any memorable episodes so don’t feel bad for not remembering a thing. It was the Frasier of kid’s shows with less sexual tension between brothers.

  2. I remember watching this show because I thought Melissa Joan Hart was hot. I’d still bang her, though not Clarissa era Melissa because that’d just be weird. I too grew up watching this and then Sabrina the teenage witch, which makes me extremely cool.

    • I think Melissa Joan Hart got less hot as the years went on. In Sabrina she was relatively cute and now she’s just a kind of cute mom. I’m glad Clarissa was played over in the old UK so that we are able to have the same memories!

  3. I freaking LOVED this show. Lovedlovedloved it. I adored everything about Clarissa and I tuned in every week in hopes that a love connection would be made between her and Sam, who I was also in love with. Ferguson was hilarious. One thing I remember about him is that he was either the president of the William F. Buckley fan club or he had a pet named William F. Buckley. That is some insanely wry writing right there. Nick in the early 90s was an amazing place.

    • I knew you, out of all people would appreciate this post. You were the perfect age when this was on.That’s amazing about Ferguson and William F. Buckley. The Wiki page was saying how the show was one of the first to type out “Hell” and “Sex”. So ahead of it’s time! Melissa Joan Hart was perfectly cast though. I couldn’t imagine another Clarissa.

    • My brain is where knowledge comes to die. No joke. I remember so many shows from my youth, it’s so disgusting. But I’m also extremely proud of it. But to be honest, I had to look up a lot of facts about this show because I didn’t remember it that well. 😦

  4. Haaa!

    Never saw it.
    Is there some significance to the fact that family’s named “Darling?” Maybe they were related to George and Mary Darling, the parents in Peter Pan. Elvis the Alligator sounds good. I’d watch a show about him as long as they didn’t make him climb a ladder, too. Unless he was animated.

    • So sorry! I didn’t see this comment until now! Geeze I’m dumb.
      I like the connection you made with the Darlings. I think the parents in Peter Pan live up to the name more than the people in Clarissa’s household. However, In Peter Pan, I think the Darlings could be guilty of animal abuse…poor Nana!
      Elvis the alligator was cool. You would’ve liked him.

  5. i loved this show and i was in my 20s. i felt i had a good grasp on what *cool* was, and clarissa definitely had it.


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