Sitcoms Online - Main Page / Message Boards - Main Page / Photo Galleries / DVD Reviews / News Blog / Buy TV Shows on DVD

View Today's Active Threads / View New Posts / Mark All Boards Read / Chit Chat Board

Clarissa Explains It All links and theme songs at Sitcoms Online / Clarissa Explains It All Photo Gallery


Clarissa Explains It All - Season One

Buy Clarissa Explains It All - Season One on DVD

Sitcoms Online Message Boards - Forums  

Go Back   Sitcoms Online Message Boards - Forums > 1990s Sitcoms > Clarissa Explains It All
User Name
Password


Welcome to the Sitcoms Online Message Boards - Forums.

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest which gives you limited access to view most discussions and access our other features. By joining our free community you will have access to post topics, search, view attachments, communicate privately with other members (PM), respond to polls, upload content and access many other special features. Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free so please, join our community today!

SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Headlines Twitter Facebook Instagram RSS

Rare Game Show on GSN with TV Veterans; Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 27, 2014)
Steve Coogan Tapped for Happyish Pilot for Showtime; Lifetime's Lizzie Borden Movie Turning Into Limited Series
CBS to Launch Decades, A New Digital Subchannel; The CW Orders Full Seasons of The Flash, Jane the Virgin
COZI TV Goes One Step Beyond on Halloween; FX Unveils Simpsons World
Hogan's Heroes Returns to TV Land; CBS All Access Service Includes Classic TV
Week 4 TV Ratings and Analysis; How the Sitcoms Did
SitcomsOnline Digest: CBS Introduces CBS All Access; Even More Remakes of Classic TV Series Under Consideration; New Family Guy DVDs


New on DVD/Blu-ray (October/November/December)

WKRP in Cincinnati - The Complete Series Sgt. Bilko - The Phil Silvers Show - The Complete Series Family Ties - The Complete Series Happy Days - The Sixth Season The Jeffersons - The Complete Series Mork & Mindy - The Complete Series

10/07 - The Dick Van Dyke Show - Classic Christmas Episodes
10/07 - The Flying Nun - The Complete First and Second Seasons (Mill Creek)
10/07 - The Middle - The Complete Fifth Season (Warner Archive)
10/07 - The Office - The Complete Series
10/07 - The Wonder Years - Season One
10/10 - The Wonder Years - The Complete Series - Read Our Review / The Signature Edition / Seasons 1-3
10/14 - 2 Broke Girls - The Complete Third Season
10/14 - Two and a Half Men - The Complete Eleventh Season
10/21 - Married with Children - Seasons 5 and 6 (Mill Crek)
10/21 - The Soul Man - The Complete Second Season
10/21 - Square Pegs - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
10/28 - WKRP in Cincinnati - The Complete Series
11/04 - Hot in Cleveland - Season Five
11/04 - Napoleon Dynamite - The Complete Animated Series
11/04 - Sgt. Bilko (The Phil Silvers Show) - The Complete Series
11/11 - Dads - The Complete Series
11/11 - Family Ties - The Complete Series
11/11 - My Favorite Martian - Best of Collection
11/11 - Taxi - The Complete Series
11/11 - Wings - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
11/18 - King of the Hill - The Complete Seventh Season / The Complete Eighth Season
11/25 - Better Off Ted - The Complete Second Season
12/02 - Happy Days - The Sixth Season
12/09 - Barney Miller - The Complete Sixth Season
12/09 - The Jeffersons - The Complete Series
12/09 - Mister Ed - The Complete Series
12/09 - Mork & Mindy - The Fourth Season / The Complete Series
12/16 - The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis - The Final (Fourth) Season
12/23 - My Favorite Martian - Season Two - Collector's Edition
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 08-21-2013, 12:08 PM   #1
JamesG
Moderator
Forum Celebrity
Freakshow
 
JamesG's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 01, 2008
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Posts: 28,715
TV "Clarissa" Creator Talks Upcoming Book, Failed Spin-off, and Everything Clarissa

"Clarissa Explains It All" Creator Talks New Book, Failed Pilot, That Ladder, Those Clothes and More
8/21/13


It's been nearly 20 years since "Clarissa Explains It All" signed off Nickelodeon, but the pre-adolescent blonde at the center of the series (played by Melissa Joan Hart) who had a penchant for mismatched men's style shirts with bike shorts, hating on her redheaded little brother, and letting her best friend use a ladder to get into her bedroom, has never left the hearts and minds of many children of the '90s.

The series, which aired for five seasons on Nickelodeon from 1991-1994, was a candid, yet quirky depiction of tweenhood and Mitchell Kriegman, the creator of "Clarissa Explains It All", tried to continue her story as a young woman with a 1995 CBS pilot, titled "Clarissa Now". The spinoff brought the character to New York City, where she was a young journalist working at a newspaper, but sadly, Clarissa Darling's story was cut short.



Now, 18 years after the pilot wasn't picked up to series, Kriegman is reconnecting fans with Clarissa, who's now in her mid-'20s, with an upcoming novel called Things I Can’t Explain, tentatively slated for a fall 2014 release.

Below, Kreigman opens up to The Huffington Post about where Clarissa and the Darlings are now, what really happened with that "Clarissa" pilot, another missed spinoff opportunity, the Nirvana-inspired "Clarissa" album that wasn't, his Lena Dunham connection, getting ripped off by "Dawson's Creek", the clothes, that alligator and much more.









How did the idea for the book come about?

Well, I've been thinking about it for ages just because the show was always unfinished business to me because Clarissa kept on growing and why wouldn't you want to know what happened to her? I found the end to be just kind of an absurd stop. The show never went down in ratings. The show never lost its audience.

And I felt frustrated when we did the CBS pilot because I got sort of taken out of that and even though I cast it and I designed it in a lot of ways, I didn't really get to realize it. So since I've been writing novels, which is relatively recent, that's when it really dawned on me.



The other thing is, I've had this amazing experience that I'm extremely thankful for -- that happens everywhere, including the ski lift -- that anytime I talk to anybody from 23-35, they are so thrilled to hear about "Clarissa". It literally makes my day every time I talk to someone who loves the show and I just find it to be incredibly satisfying.

It's the thing that transcends all the difficulties of the business and all the difficulties of creating something and making it live. We're sitting here, well into 2013 and the fact that it's fondly thought of, it's just great.

But basically, it's always been on my mind. I've always wanted to find a new way to get back involved with her life.









Why a book versus a TV reboot or a movie?

The novel, for me, is just the most genuine way to do it because if you did it as another TV series, not only are there hurdles because of the business and everything, but it's such a different play, especially to that audience that's grown up on so much media.

To do it as a novel, we all know it takes something to write a book. [Laughs] And it means that you're really going to explore it and you're really going to see what she's like.









Is the book going to continue where the "Clarissa Now" pilot left off?

There are a couple things I'd love to correct from the original report. One is that she's probably a little bit older than 23 -- she's sort of quarter-life, mid-'20s. I'm trying to keep it general a little bit.

And what I wanted to do was not to ignore that CBS pilot, even though it wasn't necessarily what I had envisioned. I wanted to absorb that as part of her life. Journalism isn't the focus of this book at all. It's really about her romance and love life and point of view on the world and catching up with her. She's looking for work just like everybody else -- I say she's on the "unenjoyment" line -- and she has some skills from having been a journalist.

She kind of got to the point where she would have had a career as a journalist if journalism had been what it was. The paper that she worked for went away and she had to start over again. I think it's so interesting that a lot of people have to do that at 25. I mean, how wild is that? They've gone to college, they've found a good job and then they went away?

So that's where I put her really. The only reason why I mention journalism is because I'd rather absorb what people know [from the pilot] than deny it.



The centerpiece of this whole thing is really a guy. She's finishing a relationship in this book and starting a new one. It's what happens when the cute guy that she used to see at the coffee shop every day suddenly becomes somebody that she's talking to and involved with, all by these quirky, goofy, kooky, oddball, Clarissa kind of maneuvers.

It's almost by coincidence so it's almost like she just takes a leap.









So I'm guessing she's not with Sam [Sean O'Neal]?

You'll see Sam, although if there's another guy, there's another focus. Not everybody is the focus of the book, but the old characters make appearances. It's fun!









How much will the rest of the Darlings come into play?

Clarissa is really involved with her family, even at her quarter-life. I think kids still are, but she always was managing her parents, you know? Mom [Elizabeth Hess] and Dad [Joe O'Connor] are huge factors [in the book], Ferguson [Jason Zimbler] definitely is a factor and there's a lot of other characters too.

You know what there is? There's a bunch of girlfriends, which I'm really looking forward to.









Going back to the "Clarissa Now" pilot, what went wrong?

I think it was too early for the show to be true to its form. It was a funny situation because I had written a lot of drafts, I had cast it, I had started building the set and everything and I just think they weren't ready -- which is really funny when you look at "Modern Family" and everything else out there -- but they weren't ready for her to talk to the camera and have fantasies.

And I was like, "Well, what do you mean? That's how she expresses herself! That's how this show cuts itself above other shows!" And there was one exec that said something that I'll never forget. He said, "Network audiences can't handle that postmodern sensibility."

And look at everything on TV now. That's so not true. [Laughs]









"Clarissa" was one of the first shows on Nickelodeon geared towards tweens and with a male and female friendship at its center. The show definitely broke a lot of rules. Was it hard for you to get the green light?

Well, there are two big things that were different about the world at the time. The number one thing from the environment at Nickelodeon was Geri Laybourne was there and she deserves just an enormous amount of credit. Our job at Nickelodeon in those days was to break the mold. Our job was to explode the genre of kids' TV.

So you could fail and do a show that maybe didn't work for the audience, but you couldn't fail to take a risk. You had to do something different. It was really defined in those days as the anti-Disney, as opposed to being somewhat of a shadow of Disney now. You have to understand, I'm not a guy that's good at doing the same old thing. I'm really good at breaking the mold. [Laughs] So I loved it -- it was a perfect environment for me.



The next big challenge was that the conventional wisdom was that boys won't watch a girl lead -- it was the Barbie/G.I. Joe days and everybody from the toy industry to the TV industry to the cartoon industry, everybody believed that if you did a girl lead, you'd never succeed. And I methodically figured out how to do it.

It was the first tween and the first main female character -- I think Mayim Bialik [on "Blossom"] came around that time too -- but basically, there wasn't a girl lead that really ran the show and was as empowered as Clarissa was. Part of the idea was that 50 percent of our audience was boys. Fifty percent of our fan letters from the very beginning were from boys and that friendship [between Sam and Clarissa] -- kids were dying to see a friendship between the sexes.

In the real world, that was not that far-fetched, but on TV it was. Everything from how the opening was cut, the color scheme of the show, I modeled everything so that boys and girls would watch the show and that it would be equal.



They did have a little bit of trouble wrapping their heads around a guy writing a 14-year-old girl, but there's a great tradition of men writing great female characters. So that was a hurdle a little bit and then, the other issue was, at one point, I wanted Clarissa to be able to stand up to a bully and to be ready to physically fight a bully.

Now, the way the story went, she didn't end up having to fight the guy -- in fact, he ended up falling in love with her.



But the way it was set up until the third act, was, "This guy's picking on my brother. I don't like my brother, but I don't want anybody picking on my brother!" [Laughs] She called him out and was practicing to fight him and was ready to do it. At first, they were really worried about it, but then again, if you really look at it in the broad terms, they completely supported me.

I have no complaints about Nickelodeon. They really gave me the opportunity and supported me.









Besides that episode, what others stand out to you?

You know which one I love that people don't usually talk about is 'Ferguson Explains It All'. I thought that was the beginning of another series if they were ready for it. It was ahead of its time! But I felt like Ferguson could be Dexter, the cartoon character [from "Dexter's Laboratory"]. He's a crazy, brainy guy who will take ridiculous risks because he doesn't know better. So that one I loved a lot and that was a special one.

I loved the last one a lot where she was Murphy Brown. I loved 'Cool Dad' and all the parodies in that one. I loved 'Brain Drain', which was the game show, and ['Alter Ego',] the one with James Van Der Beek.









Speaking of James Van Der Beek, in the pilot episode of "Dawson's Creek", when Joey climbed up to Dawson's bedroom on her ladder, it was kind of hard not to see the "Clarissa" connection.

Did you feel ripped off?


[Laughs] It's really funny. I have to tell you, I love Lena Dunham. I think she's just brilliant and she's brilliant because she's made a career out of nothing and without the standard process. And I love that she's so risky and dangerous in the way she works.

Anyway, she tweeted that she was ready to address the issue of nepotism [on "Girls"] and that the truth is that her father played tennis with the creator of "Clarissa Explains It All".

And I did actually used to play tennis with her father, who's a pretty cool guy in his own right. So I love that the show permeated the universe.









We have to talk about the clothes. Did do you work really closely with the costume designer on perfecting Clarissa's look?

First of all, the name of the costume designer is Lisa Lederer. She's brilliant. I've totally stayed in touch with her. In fact, when I started writing this book, we sat down and talked about what Clarissa would be wearing now and I've already pulled a whole bunch of jpegs of clothes [she used to wear]. It's so wacky and she couldn't keep being so whacked out -- otherwise, she's a lunatic.

But when Lisa came in, she was just the coolest person in the world -- way cooler than all of us. I actually had one arbitrary rule that there was no purple allowed and we tried to use as much green and blue -- which goes back to that girl/boy thing -- as we could.

I would say that [the wardrobe is] mostly Lisa, but my wife at the time was an editor for Seventeen so I definitely had some resources from her in terms of what kids were wearing. But I would definitely have to say that it was my idea to have the clothing be out there and creative that way, but I didn't design it -- Lisa did. She was just brilliant.

She deserves all the credit.



One of the first things that we heard when we started the show was that a famous ABC executive, Stu Bloomberg, his daughter came downstairs and she was dressed in this completely create-your-own kind of way -- the precedent for it was really Annie Hall to some degree -- and it looked incredibly wacky to him.

And he said to her, "What are you doing? What are you wearing?" And his daughter said, "I'm dressed like Clarissa!" [Laughs]









And her room too was just incredible!

Yes! I had the set designers design a normal bedroom and then I started whacky-ing it out. When I told them I wanted black and white checkerboard on the wall with hub caps, there were people who thought I was into Satan worship.

Everything in her room is totally cool and wild. Everything was planned and everything was about expressing her. It was the ultimate expression of a character.









And "Clarissa" probably had the most exotic pet we'd ever seen on TV with Elvis.

Well, at the time, I had a girlfriend that had a baby pool and she had tadpoles and all sorts of creatures in it and she was a very creative woman -- she was an artist. I thought, "Oh! Maybe Clarissa would do that."

It didn't survive because it became just too difficult to keep that in the story all the time so Elvis had to go away. He didn't get flushed down the toilet, I promise. I had lots of funny ideas for him, but we couldn't make it work.









What went into deciding on the theme song?

The genius behind the theme song is Rachel Sweet, but again, it's a lot like Lisa Lederer and the clothes.

I had produced a TV series that Rachel Sweet was the host of and the star of called "The Sweet Life" on Comedy Channel, which didn't last very long, but I knew she was brilliant and in a lot of ways, she was the adult Clarissa at the time so I just wanted Rachel to do the coolest thing she could do and she created the coolest song.

It's incredible!



We created an album called 'Clarissa and the Straightjackets' and it was done like a garage band with Rachel and Tony Battaglia, who had co-written the theme with her, and we produced it for Sony Wonder. It was such a good album and this was before they let kids' shows do albums. They got upset that it wasn't kiddie enough. It was in the days of Nirvana and Pearl Jam so there were long cuts.

I actually did produce it, but I took my name off of it because it was such a drag. They reduced everything to three-minute songs and they dumbed it down because they were worried it wasn't enough of a kids show record.









Would you want to do a follow-up book or would you want this book to be adapted into a movie or something like that?

Well, we'll see. I mean everybody always wants the most of their property and when you create something, you want it to go as far and wide as it can.

It's certainly going to be written in a way that could continue -- Clarissa's still alive at the end, I promise. [Laughs]

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/0..._3787649.html?
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-04-2014, 08:10 PM   #2
90skid4ever
Frequent Poster
Member
 
90skid4ever's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 03, 2014
Posts: 80
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesG
"Clarissa Explains It All" Creator Talks New Book, Failed Pilot, That Ladder, Those Clothes and More
8/21/13


It's been nearly 20 years since "Clarissa Explains It All" signed off Nickelodeon, but the pre-adolescent blonde at the center of the series (played by Melissa Joan Hart) who had a penchant for mismatched men's style shirts with bike shorts, hating on her redheaded little brother, and letting her best friend use a ladder to get into her bedroom, has never left the hearts and minds of many children of the '90s.

The series, which aired for five seasons on Nickelodeon from 1991-1994, was a candid, yet quirky depiction of tweenhood and Mitchell Kriegman, the creator of "Clarissa Explains It All", tried to continue her story as a young woman with a 1995 CBS pilot, titled "Clarissa Now". The spinoff brought the character to New York City, where she was a young journalist working at a newspaper, but sadly, Clarissa Darling's story was cut short.



Now, 18 years after the pilot wasn't picked up to series, Kriegman is reconnecting fans with Clarissa, who's now in her mid-'20s, with an upcoming novel called Things I Can’t Explain, tentatively slated for a fall 2014 release.

Below, Kreigman opens up to The Huffington Post about where Clarissa and the Darlings are now, what really happened with that "Clarissa" pilot, another missed spinoff opportunity, the Nirvana-inspired "Clarissa" album that wasn't, his Lena Dunham connection, getting ripped off by "Dawson's Creek", the clothes, that alligator and much more.









How did the idea for the book come about?

Well, I've been thinking about it for ages just because the show was always unfinished business to me because Clarissa kept on growing and why wouldn't you want to know what happened to her? I found the end to be just kind of an absurd stop. The show never went down in ratings. The show never lost its audience.

And I felt frustrated when we did the CBS pilot because I got sort of taken out of that and even though I cast it and I designed it in a lot of ways, I didn't really get to realize it. So since I've been writing novels, which is relatively recent, that's when it really dawned on me.



The other thing is, I've had this amazing experience that I'm extremely thankful for -- that happens everywhere, including the ski lift -- that anytime I talk to anybody from 23-35, they are so thrilled to hear about "Clarissa". It literally makes my day every time I talk to someone who loves the show and I just find it to be incredibly satisfying.

It's the thing that transcends all the difficulties of the business and all the difficulties of creating something and making it live. We're sitting here, well into 2013 and the fact that it's fondly thought of, it's just great.

But basically, it's always been on my mind. I've always wanted to find a new way to get back involved with her life.









Why a book versus a TV reboot or a movie?

The novel, for me, is just the most genuine way to do it because if you did it as another TV series, not only are there hurdles because of the business and everything, but it's such a different play, especially to that audience that's grown up on so much media.

To do it as a novel, we all know it takes something to write a book. [Laughs] And it means that you're really going to explore it and you're really going to see what she's like.









Is the book going to continue where the "Clarissa Now" pilot left off?

There are a couple things I'd love to correct from the original report. One is that she's probably a little bit older than 23 -- she's sort of quarter-life, mid-'20s. I'm trying to keep it general a little bit.

And what I wanted to do was not to ignore that CBS pilot, even though it wasn't necessarily what I had envisioned. I wanted to absorb that as part of her life. Journalism isn't the focus of this book at all. It's really about her romance and love life and point of view on the world and catching up with her. She's looking for work just like everybody else -- I say she's on the "unenjoyment" line -- and she has some skills from having been a journalist.

She kind of got to the point where she would have had a career as a journalist if journalism had been what it was. The paper that she worked for went away and she had to start over again. I think it's so interesting that a lot of people have to do that at 25. I mean, how wild is that? They've gone to college, they've found a good job and then they went away?

So that's where I put her really. The only reason why I mention journalism is because I'd rather absorb what people know [from the pilot] than deny it.



The centerpiece of this whole thing is really a guy. She's finishing a relationship in this book and starting a new one. It's what happens when the cute guy that she used to see at the coffee shop every day suddenly becomes somebody that she's talking to and involved with, all by these quirky, goofy, kooky, oddball, Clarissa kind of maneuvers.

It's almost by coincidence so it's almost like she just takes a leap.









So I'm guessing she's not with Sam [Sean O'Neal]?

You'll see Sam, although if there's another guy, there's another focus. Not everybody is the focus of the book, but the old characters make appearances. It's fun!









How much will the rest of the Darlings come into play?

Clarissa is really involved with her family, even at her quarter-life. I think kids still are, but she always was managing her parents, you know? Mom [Elizabeth Hess] and Dad [Joe O'Connor] are huge factors [in the book], Ferguson [Jason Zimbler] definitely is a factor and there's a lot of other characters too.

You know what there is? There's a bunch of girlfriends, which I'm really looking forward to.









Going back to the "Clarissa Now" pilot, what went wrong?

I think it was too early for the show to be true to its form. It was a funny situation because I had written a lot of drafts, I had cast it, I had started building the set and everything and I just think they weren't ready -- which is really funny when you look at "Modern Family" and everything else out there -- but they weren't ready for her to talk to the camera and have fantasies.

And I was like, "Well, what do you mean? That's how she expresses herself! That's how this show cuts itself above other shows!" And there was one exec that said something that I'll never forget. He said, "Network audiences can't handle that postmodern sensibility."

And look at everything on TV now. That's so not true. [Laughs]









"Clarissa" was one of the first shows on Nickelodeon geared towards tweens and with a male and female friendship at its center. The show definitely broke a lot of rules. Was it hard for you to get the green light?

Well, there are two big things that were different about the world at the time. The number one thing from the environment at Nickelodeon was Geri Laybourne was there and she deserves just an enormous amount of credit. Our job at Nickelodeon in those days was to break the mold. Our job was to explode the genre of kids' TV.

So you could fail and do a show that maybe didn't work for the audience, but you couldn't fail to take a risk. You had to do something different. It was really defined in those days as the anti-Disney, as opposed to being somewhat of a shadow of Disney now. You have to understand, I'm not a guy that's good at doing the same old thing. I'm really good at breaking the mold. [Laughs] So I loved it -- it was a perfect environment for me.



The next big challenge was that the conventional wisdom was that boys won't watch a girl lead -- it was the Barbie/G.I. Joe days and everybody from the toy industry to the TV industry to the cartoon industry, everybody believed that if you did a girl lead, you'd never succeed. And I methodically figured out how to do it.

It was the first tween and the first main female character -- I think Mayim Bialik [on "Blossom"] came around that time too -- but basically, there wasn't a girl lead that really ran the show and was as empowered as Clarissa was. Part of the idea was that 50 percent of our audience was boys. Fifty percent of our fan letters from the very beginning were from boys and that friendship [between Sam and Clarissa] -- kids were dying to see a friendship between the sexes.

In the real world, that was not that far-fetched, but on TV it was. Everything from how the opening was cut, the color scheme of the show, I modeled everything so that boys and girls would watch the show and that it would be equal.



They did have a little bit of trouble wrapping their heads around a guy writing a 14-year-old girl, but there's a great tradition of men writing great female characters. So that was a hurdle a little bit and then, the other issue was, at one point, I wanted Clarissa to be able to stand up to a bully and to be ready to physically fight a bully.

Now, the way the story went, she didn't end up having to fight the guy -- in fact, he ended up falling in love with her.



But the way it was set up until the third act, was, "This guy's picking on my brother. I don't like my brother, but I don't want anybody picking on my brother!" [Laughs] She called him out and was practicing to fight him and was ready to do it. At first, they were really worried about it, but then again, if you really look at it in the broad terms, they completely supported me.

I have no complaints about Nickelodeon. They really gave me the opportunity and supported me.









Besides that episode, what others stand out to you?

You know which one I love that people don't usually talk about is 'Ferguson Explains It All'. I thought that was the beginning of another series if they were ready for it. It was ahead of its time! But I felt like Ferguson could be Dexter, the cartoon character [from "Dexter's Laboratory"]. He's a crazy, brainy guy who will take ridiculous risks because he doesn't know better. So that one I loved a lot and that was a special one.

I loved the last one a lot where she was Murphy Brown. I loved 'Cool Dad' and all the parodies in that one. I loved 'Brain Drain', which was the game show, and ['Alter Ego',] the one with James Van Der Beek.









Speaking of James Van Der Beek, in the pilot episode of "Dawson's Creek", when Joey climbed up to Dawson's bedroom on her ladder, it was kind of hard not to see the "Clarissa" connection.

Did you feel ripped off?


[Laughs] It's really funny. I have to tell you, I love Lena Dunham. I think she's just brilliant and she's brilliant because she's made a career out of nothing and without the standard process. And I love that she's so risky and dangerous in the way she works.

Anyway, she tweeted that she was ready to address the issue of nepotism [on "Girls"] and that the truth is that her father played tennis with the creator of "Clarissa Explains It All".

And I did actually used to play tennis with her father, who's a pretty cool guy in his own right. So I love that the show permeated the universe.









We have to talk about the clothes. Did do you work really closely with the costume designer on perfecting Clarissa's look?

First of all, the name of the costume designer is Lisa Lederer. She's brilliant. I've totally stayed in touch with her. In fact, when I started writing this book, we sat down and talked about what Clarissa would be wearing now and I've already pulled a whole bunch of jpegs of clothes [she used to wear]. It's so wacky and she couldn't keep being so whacked out -- otherwise, she's a lunatic.

But when Lisa came in, she was just the coolest person in the world -- way cooler than all of us. I actually had one arbitrary rule that there was no purple allowed and we tried to use as much green and blue -- which goes back to that girl/boy thing -- as we could.

I would say that [the wardrobe is] mostly Lisa, but my wife at the time was an editor for Seventeen so I definitely had some resources from her in terms of what kids were wearing. But I would definitely have to say that it was my idea to have the clothing be out there and creative that way, but I didn't design it -- Lisa did. She was just brilliant.

She deserves all the credit.



One of the first things that we heard when we started the show was that a famous ABC executive, Stu Bloomberg, his daughter came downstairs and she was dressed in this completely create-your-own kind of way -- the precedent for it was really Annie Hall to some degree -- and it looked incredibly wacky to him.

And he said to her, "What are you doing? What are you wearing?" And his daughter said, "I'm dressed like Clarissa!" [Laughs]









And her room too was just incredible!

Yes! I had the set designers design a normal bedroom and then I started whacky-ing it out. When I told them I wanted black and white checkerboard on the wall with hub caps, there were people who thought I was into Satan worship.

Everything in her room is totally cool and wild. Everything was planned and everything was about expressing her. It was the ultimate expression of a character.









And "Clarissa" probably had the most exotic pet we'd ever seen on TV with Elvis.

Well, at the time, I had a girlfriend that had a baby pool and she had tadpoles and all sorts of creatures in it and she was a very creative woman -- she was an artist. I thought, "Oh! Maybe Clarissa would do that."

It didn't survive because it became just too difficult to keep that in the story all the time so Elvis had to go away. He didn't get flushed down the toilet, I promise. I had lots of funny ideas for him, but we couldn't make it work.









What went into deciding on the theme song?

The genius behind the theme song is Rachel Sweet, but again, it's a lot like Lisa Lederer and the clothes.

I had produced a TV series that Rachel Sweet was the host of and the star of called "The Sweet Life" on Comedy Channel, which didn't last very long, but I knew she was brilliant and in a lot of ways, she was the adult Clarissa at the time so I just wanted Rachel to do the coolest thing she could do and she created the coolest song.

It's incredible!



We created an album called 'Clarissa and the Straightjackets' and it was done like a garage band with Rachel and Tony Battaglia, who had co-written the theme with her, and we produced it for Sony Wonder. It was such a good album and this was before they let kids' shows do albums. They got upset that it wasn't kiddie enough. It was in the days of Nirvana and Pearl Jam so there were long cuts.

I actually did produce it, but I took my name off of it because it was such a drag. They reduced everything to three-minute songs and they dumbed it down because they were worried it wasn't enough of a kids show record.









Would you want to do a follow-up book or would you want this book to be adapted into a movie or something like that?

Well, we'll see. I mean everybody always wants the most of their property and when you create something, you want it to go as far and wide as it can.

It's certainly going to be written in a way that could continue -- Clarissa's still alive at the end, I promise. [Laughs]

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/0..._3787649.html?

What a cool person, of course Clarissa is his mini-me!
__________________
90skid4ever@gmx.com
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-23-2014, 02:38 AM   #3
TMC
Senior Member
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 09, 2001
Posts: 7,079
Default Inside Clarissa Explains It All with Creator Mitchell Kriegman

http://splitsider.com/2012/02/explai...plains-it-all/

Quote:
Before grabbing my crème brûlée latte at the café round the corner in preparation for putting this “Nostalgnick” piece to bed, something about my lovely young barista struck me as fairly reminiscent of what I was about to write.

“Did you ever watch Clarissa Explains It All?” I blurted out to her, trying to avoid eye contact with her rather lascivious décolletage cresting her folksy-DIY blouse. “Hell yeah!” she told me. “That was my show!”

Not too surprising. She’s probably either a little younger than I, or my age. And she’s a girl. Cleaning the dishes behind her was a fairly epicene duder who loudly announced the same thing. “Oh, I loved that show!”

A few days earlier, a selfsame fey IT girl who works at my buddy’s place told me that one of the main reasons she initially got into technology was because of Clarissa’s preternatural interest in computers and videogames. I have to admit, I was a little less than astonished that the show still holds such resonance for these lumpen laborers. It wasn’t just, “Oh, yeah, I remember that show. Want any cream?” or “Clarissa explains what exactly?”

There were two things that surprised me when I spoke on the phone to Clarissa Explains It All creator Mitchell Kriegman. One is that there exists out there a Melissa Joan Hart album under the name Clarissa & the Straightjackets, with the not-so-surprising title of This is What “Na-Na” Means (a clarion nod to the show’s theme song).

Released in 1994 — when Kriegman’s series would finish its fifth and final season — the seven-song album boasts such madrigals as “Walkin’ in the Cemetery” and is peppered with heart-wrenching lyrics of the ilk: “Down my block/There’s a tragic girl/She seen a big black hole/I see a magic world.”

Word to your motha.

According to Kriegman, when first completed by Hart, “Na Na” was “too good” in the eyes of the corporate lackeys at Sony Wonder who determined it would be impossible to market the thing as a kids’ album.

See, by the time Clarissa had finished its four-year tenure, Nickelodeon was a very different beast than it had been in its freewheeling, devil-may-care days, back when Kriegman had birthed his literal brainchild about a strong and precocious “smart aleck” young girl with the unlikely name of Clarissa Darling (which she herself hated, as she makes clear immediately in Episode One).

Hence, according to Kriegman, Sony Wonder “slashed up” the original Straightjackets album, made it much shorter and added in “a bunch of silly audio noises and quotes” to the effect of his taking his name off of the project.

And, I suppose, that’s the second thing that surprised me about my over two-hour long conversation with the man now living in the Hamptons with his 14-year-old daughter (whom he assures — with apologies to Hart — is “much cooler than Clarissa… or anything else I could have imagined”). He’s so goddamn thoughtful and earnest about his show — and about much of what was going at Nickelodeon in those primordial days. Perhaps it has something to do with what Kriegman referred to as a “dual nature” to Nick’s programming over its first decade-and-a-half.

To clarify, Kriegman invoked his work on Sesame Street in which Cookie Monster would vaunt as Alistair Cookie for Monsterpiece Theater. “Kids wouldn’t get that joke,” Kriegman confessed. “But they would love watching Cookie Monster… and, meanwhile, their parents could laugh at something they would understand — a parody of Masterpiece Theater — too.”

Kriegman, as with most of the show creators and writers at Nick in the eighties and nineties, were able, as Charles Eames said time and time again, to “take [their] pleasures seriously.” He had, after all, created a show that, in his view, would become the sole paradigm for the “tween” set that was to come ten years later.

Punky Brewster had been a bit younger when she first burst onto the screen, and Patty Duke (along with her identical twin cousin) had been a might bit older. Little House on the Prairie and Adventures in Wonderland were adaptations and not exactly tween fare anyway.

Blossom Russo may have given Clarissa a run for her money as the first true TV tween, but there’s no debating that Clarissa was at least the first female protagonist on any Nick show — leading the way for all her gal progeny to come.

But, like Kriegman, Clarissa also took herself rather seriously most of the time… even when she was goofing off. Perhaps this stemmed from her possessing — rather intentionally I learned in talking with Kriegman — that uniquely “androgynous” quality born of what Elinor Glyn was talking about when she coined the phrase “It Girl” in reference to Clara Bow: “A nameless charm, a special magnetism that attracts both sexes.”

Sure, Clarissa (and, I suppose, Melissa Joan Hart) was only 13 or so when the show began its 65-episode run, but her “It”-ness definitely imbued the years she explained “it” all to us, and now at last — well, it’s time to let her originator explain where “it” all came from.
  Reply With Quote
Reply



Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 08:37 PM.


Although the administrators and moderators of the Sitcoms Online Message Boards will attempt to keep all objectionable messages off this forum, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the author, and neither the owners of the Sitcoms Online Message Boards, nor Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd. (developers of vBulletin) will be held responsible for the content of any message. The owners of the Sitcoms Online Message Boards reserve the right to remove, edit, move or close any thread for any reason.

Powered by: vBulletin Version 3.5.0
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.