'Clone Excessive' overview: Joan of Arc and JFK return for an excellent enjoyable, self-aware revival

A lot has modified within the 20 years since Clone Excessive first aired on — then obtained canceled by — MTV.

For starters, Clone Excessive really discovered an viewers because it went off the air. Whereas it obtained low scores throughout its MTV run, it went on to develop a cult following. Its creators Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, and Invoice Lawrence additionally went on to attain huge success with their involvement in tasks like Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Lord and Miller) and Ted Lasso (Lawrence, whose TV creations additionally embody hits starting from Scrubs to Shrinking). Then there’s the teeny tiny undeniable fact that comedy and animation have additionally shifted in a significant manner since 2003 — together with, you recognize, the remainder of the world.

With all these adjustments in thoughts, it ought to come as no shock that Clone Excessive‘s long-awaited second season isn’t any clone of its first — and that is a superb factor. Lord, Miller, and Lawrence have all returned for this revival, together with co-showrunners Erik Durbin and Erica Rivinoja, who wrote on the unique collection.

Clone Excessive‘s group addresses the 20-year time hole between seasons with relative savvy and self-awareness, ushering in a brand new forged of historic clones and zany teenage adventures that really feel true to Clone Excessive 1.0 and to its new time interval.


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How does the Clone Excessive revival evaluate to the unique?

Teenage Abe Lincoln looks sad while teenage Joan of Arc and JFK make out.

The love triangle is in full impact.
Credit score: Courtesy of Mx

Clone Excessive‘s revival picks up 20 years after the Clone Excessive Season 1 finale — and but, for a lot of characters, no time has handed in any respect. That is as a result of the present’s authentic forged of excessive school-aged cloned well-known guys and women(opens in a brand new tab) was all frozen in ice on the very finish of Season 1.

Now unfrozen by a cabal of shadowy figures in an effort to full the mysterious “Operation Unfold Eagle,” Clone Excessive’s college students — together with Abraham Lincoln (voiced by Will Forte), Joan of Arc (voiced by Nicole Sullivan), Cleopatra (voiced by Mitra Jouhari), and JFK (voiced by Miller) — are nonetheless processing the aftermath of Season 1’s promenade evening, and all the connection drama that got here with it. Will Abe confess his like to Joan or Cleo? Will Joan and JFK keep collectively? (If you happen to do not bear in mind the small print, the shadowy authorities workers get you caught up quick, together with a revamp of the traditional theme music by Deserted Swimming pools.)

However that drama is not the one factor the clones want to fret about. They should atone for 20 years of tradition, in addition to get to know the brand new host of clones Principal Scudworth (voiced by Lord) has created. Amongst them are Harriet Tubman (voiced by Ayo Edebiri), Frida Kahlo (voiced by Vicci Martinez), and Confucius (voiced by Kelvin Yu).

The place the unique Clone Excessive era spoofed ’90s and early 2000s teen TV archetypes just like the dumb jock and the cynical goth woman, these newbies recall to mind Gen Z with their colourful hypebeast styling and individualism that clashes with Clone Excessive’s prior social hierarchy. Their character designs, full with brighter colours and trendy clothes, set them other than the unique set. It is simply certainly one of some ways wherein Clone Excessive reminds us it is a continuation of an older present in addition to a “trendy refresh,” because the logline places it.

Clone Excessive is a particularly self-aware reboot.

Abe Lincoln, JFK, and Joan of Arc sit in auditorium seats with their eyes forced open by metal machines.

How else would you catch somebody up on 20 years of tradition?
Credit score: Courtesy of Max

Clone Excessive is hyper-aware of problems that will come up on account of its time soar. In its first episode again, it instantly tackles questions of outdated, stereotypical humor and cancel tradition. Fortunately, it comes throughout as much less cringey or preachy than it does as a have a look at the whole chaos that happens when two totally different generations of teenagers meet for the primary time. It additionally serves as a meta tackle the superb line a reboot should stroll between sustaining its authentic spirit whereas making itself over considerably to stay related.

Meta-humor has all the time performed a component in Clone Excessive, however the revival turns it up a notch, particularly in terms of the character of the reboot itself. “Why would anybody do something a second time after they obtained burned so badly the primary time?” Scudworth’s robotic Mr. B (voiced by Miller) asks. Regardless of the specter of being burned, Clone Excessive pulls off the transition from 2003 to 2023 and not using a hitch — for probably the most half.

Viewers of the unique Clone Excessive will instantly discover that Gandhi (voiced by Michael McDonald), Abe’s finest pal and sidekick from Season 1, hasn’t been unfrozen with the opposite clones. It is smart, on condition that Gandhi’s portrayal(opens in a brand new tab) led to protests and starvation strikes in India and MTV canceled Clone Excessive in consequence. In as a lot of a compromise as it might probably afford, Clone Excessive Season 2 briefly makes reference to Gandhi in a manner that followers might not discover significantly satisfying. When seen by means of the lens of the present’s authentic cancellation, that second and among the “cancel tradition” commentary can learn a tad like an apology tour. Nonetheless, the brand new characters and storylines make for fulfilling replacements for a extremely sticky scenario.

Clone Excessive continues to be a enjoyable highschool romp.

A shirtless man plays the saxophone for Joan of Arc, Sacagawea, JFK, and George Washington Carver.

Intercourse ed is out, sax ed is in.
Credit score: Courtesy of Max

Whereas Clone Excessive‘s first episode is sort of totally dedicated to reconciling the hole between 2003 and 2023, the remainder of its season drops us proper again into highschool shenanigans. The send-up of juvenile cleaning soap operas continues to be in full impact, full with the sort of necessary morals that you just’d count on from “a really particular episode of Clone Excessive.”

Cliques, reputation, and relationship woes are, as all the time, central to Clone Excessive, however the collection takes us on another madcap adventures too. For instance, an episode devoted to check nervousness rapidly devolves right into a horror film, all because of a furry little mascot. Elsewhere, aspect plots involving Scudworth and his new boss Candide Sampson (Christa Miller) enable for extra sinister clone-y intrigue. In these circumstances and extra, Clone Excessive excels at heightening style conventions. (Additionally, the style theme music remixes are bops.)

So whereas lots is totally different about Clone Excessive this go round, lots continues to be the identical. It is nonetheless an over-the-top comedy full, it is nonetheless stuffed with intelligent historic nods, and it nonetheless incorporates a ton of influential teenagers dropping their minds.

Maybe most significantly of all, its JFK continues to be a unclean joke-obsessed himbo with a deep love for his personal butt. Some issues, you simply should not change.

Clone Excessive premieres Could 23 on Max.(opens in a brand new tab)