A Look Back on Clarissa Explains it All


I’ve talked plenty about Nickelodeon live action shows before: The good, the bad, and most importantly the ugly. But I have never mentioned this show. And despite in no way being a part of its demographic I still find it a fun and engaging show that deserves more recognition in the realm of live action Nick.

Perhaps the best aspect of this show lies in Clarissa’s interactions with the other characters and vice-versa. Clarissa’s brother Fergus for instance had him as the stereotypical snitching younger brother who would suck up to his parents but was always mischievous and the two have a cute and realistic relationship. While Sam isn’t much as an individual character the show makes a bold move of not making Clarissa and Sam into a couple. They were nothing more than friends and the show was perfectly fine with them as such. There was even one episode involving them dating and them deciding that it was disgusting.

One of the other interesting aspects of this show was how Clarissa, Sam or Ferguson often tended to make mountains out of molehills. Their odd perception of life gave the show a youthful charm to it and made it a lot of fun to watch. And the problems themselves are relatable among youth and family.

In Melissa Joan Hart’s portrayal of Clarissa she manages to give the character a good variety of angles with her being this all-loving and popular protagonist. A character like that could easily turn out horrible but within the variety of angles there’s always some part of Clarissa that the viewers can find themselves connecting to. The character of Clarissa may be seen as an average girl with an average life but lives in an extraordinary way. And this is a trait that carried over to some of the early 2000s Nickelodeon live action shows with female protagonists.

If there is one real nitpick about the series it’s that some aspects like the clothes, the special effects, the sets, etc. are very much products of the time period and some of these aspects today give the show more of a camp value.

With that being said Clarissa Explains it All is a great show with a great lead with a great setting and some good secondary characters for Clarissa to work her antics off of. And even if some aspects are dated it works in showcasing the charm of the 90s and just the overall show. No matter what age you may be, whether you’re a boy or girl, there is always something enjoyment to find in this show.