All I Really Need To Know I Learned From Clarissa Explains It All

Illustration for article titled All I Really Need To Know I Learned From Clarissa Explains It All

Whenever I'm in doubt, I ask myself, "How would Clarissa explain this?" Clarissa Explains It All was the first sitcom on Nickelodeon to feature a female lead. Over 65 episodes, Clarissa Darling took us through her slightly wacky life, dressed in outfits that would make Stacey McGill and Claudia Kishi freak out with envy. Sure, she was weird, but that was the whole point of the show. Clarissa looked like any girl in your middle school; she wasn't a model, never walked around with a fake tan or an airbrushed complexion, and her style was completely original and ridiculous. Clarissa's quirky wardrobe was a huge part of her character, and she wore it with the confidence of someone who is proud to be exactly who they are. Clarissa's style represented the rest of her life; it was creative and hopeful and something that she was determined to make her own.Clarissa's life was filled with characters that were both entertaining and painfully recognizable to tweens: her parents, who were a bit kooky but well-meaning, a terribly annoying ginger kid brother named Ferguson who made her live a living hell, and a platonic (ok, they dated for like, 2 episodes) male best friend named Sam, who, for some reason or another, always climbed into her room via ladder as a wahhh-wahh sound played in the background. In an age where tween shows revolve around girls with hidden superstar lives or psychic powers or the desire to make it big as a singer/model/actress, it makes me a bit sad that there aren't any modern day Clarissa's around to have ordinary adventures. What Clarissa was able to explain, in the end, is that life is pretty insane. Your parents are weird. Your best friends might flake out on you sometimes, but if they're really good friends, they're worth holding on to. Your brother is an annoying jerk, but he'll grow out of it. Sometimes there aren't any answers, and sometimes, things can't be explained. Growing up is awkward and confusing, but if you look around, you might notice that there are people nearby who love you enough to help you through it. Most importantly, Clarissa Darling never wanted to be anything but herself. There were no musical "I'm a rock star too!" segments in the show, no stupid Disney soundtrack tie-ins, no spin-off films called Clarissa Rocks The Mall or what have you. She was an ordinary girl who cared about the environment, animals, writing, her family, and the typical victories and defeats that go along with being a kid. She was just like the rest of us, and I miss her. However, I take solace in knowing that at the close of the show, Clarissa ends up embarking on a career in journalism, which leads me to believe that in the real world, she would totally be explaining it all on her very own blog, which means, of course, that Clarissa Darling would, most likely, be a Jezebel commenter. All right! All right! Way cool!

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My parents canceled our cable right around the time Clarissa was on so I missed out on this.

But it just makes me excited that Drive Me Crazy is on this afternoon on HBO or something. I'm totally going to watch it & get my Melissa Joan Hart fix.

And yay for weekend Jezebel. Now I'll never get anything done.