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TV Throwback: Clarissa Explains It All



Clarissa Explains It All. Nickelodeon. Melissa Joan Hart. Ferguson. 1991. I was just a youngin’ when the show began, four-years-old, but I remember the days of Clarissa Darling, star of the show, and her family and life. Her dad was Marshall, her mom was Janet, and her infamous brother was Ferguson. She lived in Ohio and had a best friend named Sam and a pet caiman named Elvis (only in the first season). She dealt with all the normal pubescent troubles, trials, and tribulations – pimples, bullying, school, sibling rivalry, and lingerie (she stole a pair in one episode). All of this I remember quite well but these plot details are no different than all the other shows of the time. What was different about Clarissa Explains It All was
 

 
It was a Virginia Wolfe kind of thing and it was cool. As a viewer, I didn’t feel on the outside. I felt as if Clarissa was returning from one of her charades to tell me what happened, just as if you were meeting up with your friend for coffee or tea to discuss last night’s events. It was a great show, a very intimate one where I felt that Clarissa was my friend and not a distant character.

I miss Nickelodeon, do you?

27 Comments

  1. Reply

    Clare Mountain

    You know, I barely watched Nikelodeon when I was a kid. I didn’t really watch TV in general, but I do remember Clarissa explains it all. She’s the epitome of 90s fashion! Gotta love that scrunchie 😉

    • Reply

      Maddie964

      I’d rock a scrunchie any day!

  2. Reply

    Diana

    I miss Nickelodeon too! It’s definitely a part of my childhood. Clarissa Explains it All was one of my favorites because it wasn’t like any other show, she was one of a kind. Now I’m in the mood to do some childhood TV catching up.

  3. Reply

    Kate Fitchett

    I loved that Show! I wish that I could watch some of the old episodes! Do you know where I could find them?

    • Reply

      Maddie964

      I don’t now where to find episodes. When I was writing this post, I watched a few snippets on You Tube.

  4. Reply

    theperfectnose

    The avclub did a retrospective on this show last year. I got teary eyed. And promptly forgot about it immediately. Till today XD

  5. Reply

    blytheponytailparades

    Oh boy! THROW BACK! HAHA 🙂 This show….it’s been years and years since I’ve even thought about it.

  6. Reply

    ShanniLoves...

    I loved that show as a kid!! I loved her clothes, I wanted to dress just like her. Nickelodeon was the best channel ever. I miss it! I’ll have to try to find some of her episodes online and reminisce of the good ol days!

    • Reply

      Maddie964

      I never wanted to dress like her… I was a VERY girly girl but I defintely wanted to be her.

  7. Reply

    sallieforrer

    I remember this show and “Blossom” being big influences right around the same time – in fact I was confusing the two in my head when you were describing Clarissa, thinking “but wait, wasn’t Joey Lawrence always crawling through her window?” Haha! You’re right, Clarissa was a totally cool show for a tough age group to address. There was still a bit of innocent “kid” stuff in that show, but they handled the growing up stuff way in a grown up way.

    • Reply

      oonaballoona

      blossom for me too!!! especially when they went to that “a very special blossom” place…

      by the way, in the clarissa shot, they left the tape on the bottom of her shoes to help diguise foot fall for sound. i quite geekily think this is HILARIOUS.

      • Reply

        Maddie964

        ha! So cool Oona! I never would have noticed her tape!

    • Reply

      Agoodwardrobe

      Blossom! Oh man, I went through a very awkward hat phase because of that show and I have school pictures to prove it!

  8. Reply

    Alycia Crowley

    I love me some Melissa, growing up Sabrina the Teenage Witch was like the highlight of my life! 🙂 loving your blog missy!

    • Reply

      Maddie964

      Sabrina the Teenage Witch. That’s another show I was totally into. This could go on forever.
      Thank you for the compliment on my blog. I spend way too much time on it but I wouldn’t spend my time any other way.

  9. Reply

    Marisa Noelle

    Now that’s a blast from the past! I LOVED that show and Nickelodeon during that era. What girl didn’t want to be Clarissa? It’s just not the same now. I was really into watching the Nick at Night lineup with my grandparents around that time too – Get Smart, Mary Tyler Moore. Dick Van Dyke…hehe. Good times 🙂

  10. Reply

    anto

    I remember being obsessed with this show. Before reading your entry I had very little recollection of characters, plot lines, etc but it’s all coming back now. Even that catchy theme song that I used to love. I agree with you and I believe that one of the things that kept me coming back to this tv show was the engaging format. Nickelodeon was the best!

  11. Reply

    Jennifer Chong

    i loved clarissa! ah memories, that was so long ago!

  12. Reply

    Becky Bedbug

    I never liked Clarissa. I didn’t like what she wore.

    I loved Sabrina though!

    Becky
    xx

  13. Reply

    dixie

    omg i LOVES clarissa explains it all. 7 year old me thought she was the coolest and i totally wanted to dress just like her (sorry becky!). 90’s nickelodeon was the best ever. I wonder if there’s some old episodes on you tube……

  14. Reply

    Ginger

    Aww man, I rarely got to watch Clarissa because my parents didn’t believe in paying for TV (they still don’t have cable!), so I had to wait until I was at my grandparents’ house to load up on Nickelodeon shows!

  15. Reply

    Meg the Grand

    OMGawd, I just squealed when I saw this! LOVED Clarissa, and loved her crazy style and the fact that Sam came into her bedroom via ladder and window – total rock star. I loved the drawing on the screen, the everyday troubles that she addressed, and how she definitely felt like a friend. I have a love for Melissa Joan Hart to this day because of this show… but Sabrina definitely helped 🙂

  16. Reply

    Meg the Grand

    OMGawd, I just squealed when I saw this! LOVED Clarissa, and loved her crazy style and the fact that Sam came into her bedroom via ladder and window – total rock star. I loved the drawing on the screen, the everyday troubles that she addressed, and how she definitely felt like a friend. I have a love for Melissa Joan Hart to this day because of this show… but Sabrina definitely helped 🙂

  17. Reply

    Meg the Grand

    OMGawd, I just squealed when I saw this! LOVED Clarissa, and loved her crazy style and the fact that Sam came into her bedroom via ladder and window – total rock star. I loved the drawing on the screen, the everyday troubles that she addressed, and how she definitely felt like a friend. I have a love for Melissa Joan Hart to this day because of this show… but Sabrina definitely helped 🙂

  18. Reply

    Meg the Grand

    OMGawd, I just squealed when I saw this! LOVED Clarissa, and loved her crazy style and the fact that Sam came into her bedroom via ladder and window – total rock star. I loved the drawing on the screen, the everyday troubles that she addressed, and how she definitely felt like a friend. I have a love for Melissa Joan Hart to this day because of this show… but Sabrina definitely helped 🙂

  19. Reply

    Shoko

    I loved this show! Loved her – totally thought she was the coolest 🙂

  20. Reply

    Chrystina Noel

    Everyday.

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