OK, so I'm not saying that Melissa Joan Hart following me on Twitter was a career peak or anything... but I'm just saying that it's kind of a BIG DEAL for any '90s enthusiast. Why? Simply because — though most of my conscious memory of Hart's career involves convincing my mom to let me stay up late to watch Sabrina The Teenage Witch — most of what I learned about life, I learned from Clarissa Explains It All . Precocious and consistently in layers of neon, Clarissa Darling delivered real talk like no other — and, though it's a show now decades old, re-watching Clarissa It All today is still a totally worthwhile venture. So go forth and do it!
"But how, Mary Grace, and where shall I start?" Well, even if you don't get Nickelodeon's new nostalgia channel The Splat, there's a VERY good chance that you use the Internet (an even bigger chance if, you know, you're reading this right now). So, as it would turn out, there's a hefty selection of Clarissa Explains It All episodes available on Hulu. In short, it's easy to find episodes of this show if you Google hard enough.
So if you're planning on digging into some Clarissa classics, may I suggest starting with these 11 episodes?
1. "Clarissa's Revenge"
The first episode of the series is a must — if only to familiarize yourself with Clarissa's likes and dislikes (she's not a big fan of barf) and to relive the anxieties of acquiring your first training bra.
2. "Urge To Drive"
The plot is standard (Clarissa tries to earn money to buy a car, specifically), but Clarissa's monologue about the things people prioritize is GOLDEN — really up there with Meryl Streep's "cerulean" speech in The Devil Wears Prada . Her wisdom is usually up to snuff.
3. "Brain Drain"
Genius Ferguson could potentially be the worst Ferguson, make no mistake. You DO get to see him dress up as Einstein and Mozart, though.
4. "Cool Dad"
My dad actually is a cool dad (no quotations, it's an undeniable fact) so this was great to watch and be grateful I don't have a father who refers to jokes as "yuckles." I'm sure it would be equally as great to watch if you DO happen to have a dad that refers to jokes as "yuckles" (my deepest sympathy).
A historic moment in which Clarissa defends Ferg-Breath, with a juicy twist ending!
6. "Life Of Crime"
The sheer hilarity of being ashamed of accidentally swiping a bustier. It was a simpler time.
7. "Boy Thoughts"
Finally, Ferguson and Clifford help me understand the inner workings of the male mind with their public access show.
8. "Janet And Clarissa Inc."
I actually recorded the fake commercial songs on a Playskool cassette player, which definitely dates me. Clarissa and Janet brainstorm an idea for a snack named "Bouncy Balls."
9. "Alter Ego"
An iconic episode that guest stars JAMES VAN DER BEEK in his VERY pre-Dawson days. Clarissa, meanwhile, is masquerading as a bad girl Jade who Baby Van Der Beek falls for. WHAT WILL SHE DO? WILL THE TRUTH COME OUT? (Guess).
10. "A Little Romance"
A real stab to any and all Clarissa/Sam shippers, yes — but we need to celebrate that the idea of them as a couple was at least realistically brought up. I mean, he was climbing through her window TRI-DAILY, you know?
Clarissa becomes editor-in-chief of the school paper and it cuts me to my very soul as she battled bribery and bad writing alike. Bonus points for ending on the immortal line, "All’s fair in love and pizza." Because I believe in journalistic ethics too, but that resolve would weaken in the face of free pizza.
That should be enough to get you going, and then there's only, you know, 54 episodes to go. Treat yourself to some early '90s wisdom today!
Images: Nickelodeon (1); Giphy (11)