Before they were the Spider-Verse producers, the Lego Movie guys, the 21 Jump Street guys, or even the Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs guys, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller — along with Scrubs guy Bill Lawrence — were the creators of MTV’s one-season wonder Clone High. And now, the trio is returning to the network to revive the 2002 cult favorite.
“We thrilled to reunite with Phil Lord, Chris Miller and Bill Lawrence to re-imagine this cult classic as we rapidly grow our portfolio of beloved and iconic adult animation series,” said Chris McCarthy, president of ViacomCBS Entertainment and Youth Group, in a news release. Writer and producer Erica Rivinoja (The Last Man on Earth, Clone High) will be the showrunner for the revival, which is currently in development, with Lord, Miller, and Lawrence producing.
If you missed Clone High the first time around, don’t sweat it. The low-budget animated series ran for a single 13-episode season from 2002 to 2003, before being canceled due in part to backlash against its depiction of a clone of Mahatma Gandhi. A DVD release of the full season was produced, but was available only in Canada.
The show itself was about teenage clones of historical figures going to high school together, struggling to live up to the legacy of their genetic origins while also experiencing typical teen drama plot lines. Show lead Abe Lincoln, for example, was placed in a love triangle with his best friend, Joan of Arc, and the hottest girl in school, Cleopatra. For her part, Cleopatra was often torn between her feelings for Abe and dating the more socially advantageous jerk, JFK.
From a less granular perspective, the series was an out-loud parody of the teen soap opera trend that dominated the 1990s. Specific references to shows like Dawson’s Creek abounded, and every installment of the series opened with a narrator ominously stating, “Tonight, on a very special episode of Clone High ...”
Many episodes of Clone High were send-ups of the ham-fisted attempts that teen dramas made to address “real-life issues,” with episodes that “explored” underage drinking, smoking pot, and living with ADHD. For example, there’s a whole episode where, thanks to a guest appearance from Jack Black, all the kids get hooked on smoking raisins and try to overthrow school leadership in a rock opera parody, and Gandhi goes on a three-day drug trip.
In the age of Riverdale, Pretty Little Liars, and 13 Reasons Why, it’ll be interesting to see what aspect of teen media Lord, Miller, and Lawrence choose as their new go-to target. And it’ll be interesting to see if they finally resolve the first season’s cliffhanger ending.
I mean ... Joan of Arc slept with JFK at winter prom!