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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Clarissa Explains It All: Season One (review)

It’s the series that launched Melissa Joan Hart as a star, and if you’re saying “Who?” you’re not alone. It’s not as if this Nickoeleon sitcom for peewees boded well for its then-adolescent headliner in its 1991 debut season, when throughout 13 episodes, Hart’s just-barely-teenaged Clarissa broke the fourth wall to whine directly at the audience about how clueless her parents were, how dorky her little brother was, and how hard it was to be a teen today. Rarely have I encountered a more vapid television series that was so enamored of its own sense of self-importance — it manages to turn Clarissa’s desire for nonconformity into a barrage of sitcom clichés, and it completely misses the irony of presenting an episode in which Clarissa’s mom declares no TV for a week. It’s enough to render even one of the boob-tube faithful thoroughly agnostic.


MPAA: not rated

viewed at home on a small screen

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