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‘Clone High’ review: Max Revival brings back animated comedy in blissfully silly form


There’s a funny little irony to Max’s existence Clone high. Originally created for MTV in the early s, the animated comedy revolves around a bunch of teenagers who are genetic copies of notable historical figures, reborn for a new era. Now the series itself has been resurrected with much the same DNA (creators Phil Lord, Chris Miller and Bill Lawrence all return, as do most of the voices), but in an entirely new setting. But just as characters like Abe Lincoln (Will Forte), Joan of Arc (Nicole Sullivan), and JFK (Miller) adjust to their new normal, so too Clone highserving up a new season that feels just as silly and sharp as the show did the first time around.

Clone high couldn’t have known it at the time, but the first-season finale provided the perfect setup for a revival. In the 2003 episode, all the characters are frozen during their winter prom. The “highly anticipated and mildly anticipated” second season opens with the board of shadowy figures – that is, the nefarious group that engineered the clones – deciding to finally thaw the class 20 years later.

Clone high

It comes down to

Nice and cozy.

broadcast date: Tuesday May 23 (Max)
Form: Will Forte, Nicole Sullivan, Ayo Edebiri, Mitra Jouhari, Vicci Martinez, Christa Miller, Kelvin Yu, Neil Casey, Phil Lord, Chris Miller
creators: Chris Miller, Phil Lord, Bill Lawrence

First, though, they warn each other that “when these clones got frozen, a huge amount of drama got frozen with them” — namely, the unresolved love quadrangle between clumsy Abe, his lovelorn bestie Joan, airheaded jock JFK, and hot mean girl Cleopatra (Mitra Jouhari, replacing by Christa Miller from the original run). Season two adds to that hormonal stew a whole new crop of students born and raised while the returning characters were on ice, including artsy class prez Frida Kahlo (Vicci Martinez) and theater kid Harriet Tubman (Ayo Edebiri).

Meanwhile, Headmaster Scudworth (Lord) and his loyal robotic sidekick Mr. B (Chris Miller) carry on with their own semi-evil schemes – this time overseen by Candide (Christa Miller), a cold-blooded girl boss whose idea of ​​a glass ceiling is a literal glass ceiling to be built over Scudworth’s office so that she better keep an eye on him.

A lot has changed in the two decades since Clone high went off the air, as Scudworth recounts in a six-hour “We Didn’t Start the Fire”-esque song to notify the newly thawed children. But the biggest shifts aren’t really about “poke bowls, Fyre Fest, Kim Kardashian (who) was a West.” The premiere spends much of its half-hour runtime getting the old gang accustomed to modern cultural norms. In 2023, Joan’s do-gooder tendencies land her in the cool crowd along with Frida and Harriet, while Abe’s ignorant use of terms like “Indian style” and “gay” sends him to the “cancelled corner” next to Marilyn Manson. and John Wayne. (On a more practical note, the party animal depiction of Gandhi on the show — which sparked a hunger strike in India in 2003 — has been written out altogether.) The Gen-Z-and-their-cancellation jokes don’t make for the freshest ground, but Clone high thankfully avoids the sourness of fellow Max cartoon Velma by taking everything on a good-natured goofball approach.

Indeed, the show’s greatest charm is its sheer silliness. Despite previous voiceovers describing each episode of serious Clone high as “a very special episode of Clone high”, the series is not about delivering important life lessons or sharp cultural critiques. Even storylines that deal with heavier subjects like performance anxiety or the bleak state of American sex education are primarily vehicles for absurd cartoon violence or childish sexual puns.

Not every joke clicks well – the idea of ​​”Topher Bus” (Neil Casey) trying to distance himself from his genocidal clone father through performative awakening is smarter in theory than execution. But most of them land, and are then followed by increasingly absurd escalations, until what started as a blissfully stupid prank about two girls riding alone together on two separate tandems has somehow turned into an outrageous I know what you did last summer riff.

As plots grow more ambitious over the course of the ten-chapter season, Clone high refuses to ever take itself too seriously. The penultimate outing is a “paradigm-shifting opus” of an episode titled “For Your Consideration” that operates as a broadcast of self-contained Emmy-baited chapters, with characters saying things to each other like “Your life is so been epic and award-worthy!” It’s also a truly inventive episode that pushes the boundaries of the show’s flat, lucid artistic style, dancing right on the border of emotional and cynical. I found myself fogged up a bit towards the end, as well as laughing at myself for steaming up towards the end.

That is Clone high in a nutshell. It’s not really trying to make you think, and it probably won’t make you cry either. But it will make you laugh a hell of a lot.

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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