Volume 96, Issue 65
Friday, January 24, 2003

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Lord Clones Gandhi
The result? Funny

By Christopher Hodge
Gazette Staff

Gazette file photo
"CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT GIRL?" High school takes on a strange new twist in Teletoon's hilarious cartoon Clone High.
"You can't go around The Simpsons," says Phil Lord, co-creator of the new animated series Clone High. "You have to go through them."

In the wake of the phenomenal success of The Simpsons, very few sitcom writers can deny the influence the show has had. Together with fellow creator, Chris Miller, Lord hopes Clone High will also be able to establish a niche for itself and share some of the same type of success enjoyed by The Simpsons.

Thinly disguised as a typical high school soap opera, Clone High is a hip blend of smooth animation, sharp writing and comic hilarity. It's a cartoon playground for Miller and Lord to toy around with many of the archetypes associated with the genre, as well as poke fun at them.

"High schools are a universal microcosm that has lasted 50 years in show business," explains Miller. "People keep going back to them because they express things that encapsulate society on a smaller scale."

The collaborative brain child of the two creators, Clone High poses the hypothetical question, "What would happen if the government cloned famous historical figures and sent them to the same high school?"

The students enrolled at Clone High include Abraham Lincoln, Joan of Arc, Gandhi, Cleopatra and JFK. The show follows the genetically-engineered clones through their day-to-day struggles as teenagers in a high school setting.

"Many of our own experiences are reflected in the show," Lord says. "We both went to small private schools with characters like Gandhi and Cleopatra. They are kind of archetypal, but they really do exist!"

Amongst the many talented comedic actors who lend their voices to the show are Christa Miller from the Drew Carey Show as Cleopatra, Nicole Sullivan from MADtv as Joan of Arc and Andy Dick from Newsradio as Mr. Sheepman – all of whom have backgrounds in improv and sketch comedy.

"Sketch comedians are good at doing a lot of different personalities," Miller says. "Regular film stars come off sounding flat. They tend to play themselves, while a sketch comedian has a broader range of characters."

Both creators also star in the show. Lord is the voice of principal Dr. Cinnamon J. Scudworth, while Miller is the voice of JFK, as well as vice-principal Mr. Butlertron.

"It's so much fun," says Lord, whose character spends the majority of each episode yelling. "It's just me screaming and pouting and being especially whiny. Chris is a wonderful voice actor too, plus he can do more than one character."

In addition to the cast, the two have also snagged a few well-known celebrities including Jack Black, Tom Green and even Marilyn Manson.

"Before the show aired, we sent a script to Marilyn Manson and said, 'We wrote you in, and we hoped you'd do it,'" says Miller, who was pleasantly surprised by how many celebrities were willing to lend their voices to a show that they knew nothing about. "Now that the show is on the air, I think it'll be much easier."

Although it premiered yesterday on MTV, Clone High has actually been shown here in Canada since the beginning of November.

"It was supposed to come out on MTV and Teletoon at the same time," says Miller. "However, MTV had some scheduling changes. Teletoon, who also co-produced it, didn't."

With 13 episodes completed, the success of the show now depends on how well it will be received both here and in the United States.

"It's all about ratings now," says Miller, who is confident that the show will be a success. "It depends on whether or not people watch it. That will justify another season, and that's why we're pulling for a lot of grassroots support."

Clone High airs on Teletoon at 10 p.m., Tuesday to Saturday.


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