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Home > Clone High (2023): A Review

Clone High (2023): A Review

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The Reboot Of The Cult Animated Series Is A Sad Clone Of The Original

The plot of Clone High is as simple as it can be. The show takes place in a high school where all the students are clones of famous figures throughout history. The twist is that these clones are all hormonal teenage versions of themselves. Max’s reboot of the MTV cult series continues with this idea but with a more modernized touch as the clones wake up in 2023. The voice talent for this show includes Will Forte, Nicole Sullivan, and Phil Lord.

The Original and It’s Clone

Twenty years have passed since the events of the original Clone High. The original followed the exploits of teenage clones such as Abraham Lincoln, Cleopatra, Joan of Arc, and John F. Kennedy. It also involved a love triangle. The reboot still focuses on the triangle but also adds a twist in the form of clones adjusting to life after being frozen for twenty years. This is also a good way for the writers to interject a modern spin to the show after being off the air for so long. Without spoilers, the plot of this reboot seems derivative of the original, with the love triangle just going in the opposite direction. It ultimately relies on the rewriting of specific characters’ personalities. In a way, it’s worse because certain characters’ development feels like a setback just to justify the plot. The humor has also had some changes, for better or worse. 

Retaining some of its deadpan delivery, the show now also incorporates elements of modern comedy. The problem with this is that it often feels too self-aware. While the original was fearless in incorporating this form of comedy, this reboot relies on self-awareness as if it were the only thing about comedy to change over the past twenty years. On the occasional instance where the show stops depending on self-awareness, there are glimpses of genuinely funny moments. It is a shame because the show’s original formula could work in a modern setting.

Character Chemistry

One of the best parts about the original Clone High is watching all the characters interact with one another. Who hasn’t dreamt of seeing John F. Kennedy and Abraham Lincoln in the same room? Moments like this are exactly what makes the original work so well. Plenty of the characters have great chemistry, and seeing them together on screen makes for some hilarious moments. The revival does something odd by removing and adding certain characters. Characters from the original, such as Gandhi, are missing from the revival. This particular character is a favorite for many due to his chemistry with every other character in the show. The series also includes new characters like Confiscus, Frida, and Harriet Tubman. While introducing a few new characters is a good idea, removing fan favorites almost defeats the purpose of a series revival. Most people have spent the last twenty years waiting for their favorite characters to return. This also creates the issue of imitating the same chemistry with little to no success. 

Fortunately, the clones still manage to be convincing by embodying the most well-known traits of each figure they’re based on. Abe is genuinely honest, Frida is a colorful, feminine figure, and J.F.K. can’t keep it in his pants. These character traits often lead to some good setups and punchlines. Thankfully, most of the original voice cast returned to help bring these characters to life.

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Art Style  

The aesthetic of a cartoon can be essential. Animated shows like The Simpsons and South Park have art styles and aesthetics that are instantly recognizable. The original Clone High managed to do this by using a muted color palette to reflect a sense of angst similar to the teenage clones. The soundtrack also played a prominent role with the opening song “Master,” performed by Abandoned Pools, which prepares the viewer for twenty-four minutes of angst. The soundtrack in this revival still feels fitting. However, the aesthetic has undoubtedly gone through changes. There is way more color in the reboot compared to the original. Even the newer character designs have more color incorporated.

Frida, for example, has so much color that she instantly captures every scene. Another new character, Harriet Tubman, has pink hair. This change in aesthetic isn’t necessarily bad and is understandable. Since this show is technically returning after twenty years and the scope of pop culture has changed within that frame, these changes make sense. The new color palette reflects the explosion of color in the real world. However, this addition of color changes the show’s identity and makes it feel like something is missing in the process. This also makes it stand out less amongst other animated shows. A balance between the aesthetics may have worked better while maintaining the show’s angsty atmosphere.

The Original is Always Better

Clone High suffers from what many other revivals/reboots seem to face, and that is an identity crisis. In order to bring a modern audience, changes were made to the aesthetic and humor of the show. Unfortunately, this leads to two opposing forces tied to each other. It’s too different from the original to recommend to old fans. On the other hand, there are too many inside jokes for newcomers to understand properly. Overall, the show has its merits, but for fans who spent the last two decades waiting for a satisfying conclusion, this may be different from what they’re looking for. 

Clone High is currently streaming on Max.

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Clone High 2023 Max Official Trailer

Source: Dead Talk Live

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A lover of gore and over the top violence, no movie can make my stomach squirm. The only thing better than a bloody death scene is a well choreographed stunt. Whether it be action or horror, if it has blood in it, then I've likely already seen it.