Clone High (occasionally referred to in the U.S. as Clone High U.S.A.) is an American animated series that aired for one season (November 2002 – April 2003) on MTV and Teletoon. It has officially been on hiatus since March 17, 2003.
The series had run in its entirety in Canada on Teletoon before premiering in the United States on MTV. The last five episodes were never broadcast in the United States. The Clone High theme song is written by Liam Lynch and performed by alternative rock band Abandoned Pools who also provided much of the series' background music.
Clone High is set in a high school that is secretly being run as an elaborate military experiment orchestrated by a government office called the Secret Board of Shadowy Figures. The school is entirely populated by clones of famous historical figures that have been created and raised with the intent of having their various strengths and abilities harnessed by the United States military. The principal of the high school, Cinnamon J. Scudworth, has his own plans for the clones, and secretly tries to undermine the wishes of the Board (Scudworth wants to use the clones to create a clone-themed amusement park, dubbed "Cloney Island", his intentions with the clones being decidedly less evil than those of the Board). He is assisted by his robot/vice principal/dehumidifier Mr. Butlertron (a parody of Mr. Belvedere), who is programmed to call everyone "Wesley" (a reference to one of the main characters in Mr. Belvedere).
The main protagonists of Clone High are the clones of Abraham Lincoln, Joan of Arc, and Mahatma Gandhi. Much of the plot of the show revolves around the attempts of Abe to woo the vain and promiscuous clone of Cleopatra, while being oblivious to the fact that Joan of Arc is attracted to him. Meanwhile, John F. Kennedy's clone (referred to as "JFK"), a macho, narcissistic womanizer, is also attempting to win over Cleopatra and has a long-standing rivalry with Abe.
Many celebrities, including Tom Green, Andy Dick, Mandy Moore, John Stamos, Marilyn Manson, Michael J. Fox and Jack Black make guest appearances on the show (sometimes as themselves). In addition, there are many portrayals of clones of famous historical figures, such as Julius Caesar, Catherine the Great, Genghis Khan, Vincent Van Gogh , George Washington Carver, Helen of Troy, Gautama Buddha, Juan Ponce de León (who appears as a cross between himself and Arthur Fonzarelli and is known as "Poncey"), Marie Curie (who is deformed, due to radiation damage to her DNA), and even Jesus Christ (who is portrayed as a latino named Jesús Cristo always shown in shop class doing carpentry)
Much of the humor in the show comes from the large contrast between the personality of the clones and the actual values and legacy of the historical figures they are descended from. For instance, Gandhi is portrayed as a hyperactive jerk-with-a-heart-of-gold whose biggest dream is to be accepted by those around him, in contrast to his historical legacy of calm nonviolence. Abe Lincoln is similarly portrayed as weak and indecisive, completely lacking the resolve of the President whose DNA he shares. All of the clones are also given mis-matched foster parents who have little in common with them. Gandhi's parents are a stereotypical Jewish-American couple, while JFK is raised by a gay interracial couple; Joan's "foster grandpa" is an elderly blind musician similar to Ray Charles named Toots, who fills the stereotypical wise old man role (and the magical negro role) found in most teen shows, and who begins many of his declarative sentences with the words, "Now, I may be blind, but I can see..." followed by a wise-sounding observation that has little-to-nothing to do with anything.
The show also includes humor based on the historical figures themselves. For example, the diner the clones frequent is called The Grassy Knoll, a nod to the JFK assassination conspiracy theory about a second shooter, dubbed "The Man on the Grassy Knoll". Other references seen are the flag at The Grassy Knoll being permanently at half mast and the car on the roof of the diner containing the original JFK's body leaning over the edge. There are pictures of assassinations hanging on the walls of the restaurant, such as the famous Currier and Ives print of the Lincoln assassination (though this version is in color and considerably more graphic than the orignal print). The genetic ancestors of all of the main five clones died of similarly irregular causes: three assassinations, one execution, and one suicide. Other historical figure-based humor includes offhand coincidental remarks to other students, such as Abe mentioning that the clone of Napoleon is so annoying because of "some kind of complex", or Gandhi telling a rude Catherine the Great to "get off her high horse".
The show is also a parody of "issue" episodes of high-school themed comedies; in fact, almost every episode opens with a voice-over parodying the "very special episodes" of TV shows. Episodes center on various social issues, including Gandhi being shunned by his school for having ADD (because of misinformation about the disorder), parodying shows which tackle AIDS awareness (it even included a special guest celebrity who tries to educate the students). Other episodes tackle drugs (smoking raisins), the environment, and underage drinking in a similarly ridiculous fashion. In a clear sign that it is parodying the high school genre, it even ends at prom: a stereotypical "high school show" ending. Even the prom is a joke however, as we learn it is only the Winter Prom.
There was a running gag that creators Phil Lord and Christopher Miller wanted to include in the show "where Clone High – being an exaggeration of typical high schools in teen dramas – would have many proms throughout the year".Template:Citation needed Planned proms included "an Early Winter Prom, a Late Winter/Early Spring Prom, a Mid-Semester Prom, a Post-Prom Clean Up Prom, etc".Template:Citation needed The only surviving references to this joke are the Homecoming Prom in episode 6, "Homecoming: A Shot in D'Arc", and the winter prom in episode 13, "Changes: The Big Prom: The Sex Romp: The Season Finale".<ref name="pundog6">Template:Cite web</ref> Another reference to the gag was deleted from episode 8, "A Room of One's Clone: Pie of the Storm".<ref name="pundog6"/>
During the process of writing an episode, the writers would all get together to pitch jokes. Often, a writer would pitch an extension onto a joke, then another writer would pitch another extension, and so on, until it became what the writers called a wacky stack, a joke so bloated and over-written it was no longer funny.
The season, and as of 2003, series finale is a cliffhanger episode, ending with the entire cast, aside from Principal Scudworth and Mr.Butlertron, deep-frozen.
- Abe Lincoln: A naïve yet nice guy, forever wrestling with the legacy of his clonefather, Abraham Lincoln. He is in love with Cleopatra. Voice by Will Forte.
- Joan of Arc: A cynical, regretful, and angst-ridden goth clone of Joan of Arc with a crush on her best friend, Abe. Although she does not seem to be an obvious goth, she called herself one during a confession to Jesús Cristo in the third episode. Voice by Nicole Sullivan.
- Gandhi: Buckling under the pressure of being a clone of Mahatma Gandhi, he has become a non-stop party machine instead. Voice by Michael McDonald. His portrayal as a party animal enraged many in India, including prominent members of India's parliament
- Cleopatra: A sharp, sultry, seductive, cruel and manipulative clone of Cleopatra VII of Egypt. She has a big ego and sees herself as a queen. Voice by Christa Miller.
- JFK: The obnoxious, womanizing school jock who believes he is doing a good job of living up to John F. Kennedy, whom he believes to have been "A macho, womanizing stud who conquered the MOON!" He has an even bigger ego than Cleo. Voice by Christopher Miller.
- Principal Cinnamon J. Scudworth, Ph.D.: A deluded, self-aggrandizing megalomaniac who always wears rubber dish-gloves and has an annual psychological breakdown after which he attempts to kill John Stamos. Voice by Phil Lord
- Mr. Butlertron: A robot who is programmed with a highly sensitive compassion protocol (a parody of Mr. Belvedere). Also known as Mr. B. He calls everyone "Wesley", a reference to the youngest son on Mr. Belvedere, Wesley Owens. Voice by Christopher Miller.
- Mr. Sheepman: A kindly history teacher at Clone High, and the first mostly human clone with a little sheep DNA mixed into his genetic composition (a parody of Dolly the Sheep). His mannerisms are a parody of Don Knotts. Voice by Andy Dick.*
- Secret Board of Shadowy Figures: A secretive government organization who employs Principal Scudworth and is sponsored by Puma.
- Other Characters: Other characters in the series that have appeared include Marie Currie, van Gogh, Julius Caesar, George Washington Carver, Catherine the Great, Helen of Troy, Genghis Khan, Jesús Cristo (Jesus Christ), Ponce (Juan Ponce de León), Thomas Edison, Napoleon Bonaparte, Paul Revere, Buddy Holly, Martin Luther King, Jr. and others.
Clone High premired on November 2, 2002, after that eight new episodes were shown one week after the next (Season 1, Part 1), then after a one month break, the remaining four were aired (Season 1, Part 2).