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There has been much discussion about the ages of Clarissa and Ferguson, since their ages were never explicitly stated in the show. The writers confounded the issue by mixing up references to Thomas Tupper Junior and Senior high schools and by making it appear that Clarissa and Ferguson were in the same school throughout the series.
Whether and when Clarissa started driving before ``The Final Episode'' (#165) is also up for debate.
The writers continually made references to Marshall's and Janet's past which were internally inconsistent, leading to confusion about their ages, as well.
The ages of the actors were unknown for a long time, too. In fact, I still don't know the exact ages of anyone except Melissa Joan Hart.
Well, the 12:30 episode was Clarissa in Love (w/Flip Fontana), and the 6:30 was a totally new episode, where Janet tries to get to know Clarissa better; she's suddenly worried about a 'generation gap' in the Darling household. One interesting note: Clarissa got the DMV instruction handbook. :) Yup, she'll be driving soon, folks.
Also, one thing of interest that I saw was that during the new intro I was looking to see what changes in the 3 kids I could notice - and none were obvious. Yet, during the show, there was at least one scene where 'Ferg' was almost as tall as Clarissa - and that is a pretty big growth spurt if I remember correctly. I don't think it was as obvious in the intro ...
There's something definitely wrong with the parent's time line -- they keep making references to the '60s, and have set Marshall and Janet in college then, but the '17 years after high school' since Janet saw Joey Russo would put her at about 34 or 35, and a mid-seventies high school graduate. (As a mid-seventies high school graduate myself, I can assure the younger viewers that the '60s were Dead and Buried by then.)
What is Clarissa's date of birth? Is there any episode in the first first season that actually states that she is fourteen years old?
What is her status at Thomas Tupper Jr. High? When is she going to graduate?
What is the range of grades/ages at TTJH? Are Nick and Becky from ``President Fergus''/``Power Struggle'' really enrolled there? (They verified the poll results that ``They all know Clarissa, and they like her... better.'')
What is the meaning of the reference to ``Theodore Tupper Jr. High'' in ``The Latest on Mom'' (CDNN episode)? Is there a real person named Thomas Tupper? Theodore Tupper? Tommy Tucker? (The inventor of Tupperware was Earl S. Tupper. It would be interesting to have a school named after him.)
As for Clarissa's nominal age, I believe it's 14, though I don't think that's been explicitly stated (in fact the only evidence I can think of offhand is the 'Career Night Psychosis' case studies from the 'Career Night' episode). I believe Ms. Hart herself is now 16. Dunno about Jason Zimbler (Ferg) or Sean O'Neal (Sam) but I'd guess 14 and 16 respectively. The parents look late-30ish to me, and as I've previously griped the writers have those character's time lines in some confusion.
The writers have made some adjustments as the kids get older -- I can think of two early plot bits centering around Clarissa not filling out yet, and obviously after the New Intro _that_ idea's not going to reappear...
According to the television listings in the New York Times, a preview of the premiere of Clarissa Explains It All was shown on Saturday, March 23, 1991. Also according to those listings, Clarissa was thirteen at the beginning of the series. In the Saturday Highlights section under the heading ``Youthful Perspective,'' the March 17 Televison section says (on page 49):Melissa Joan Hart stars in a preview of ``Clarissa Explains It All,'' a sitcom about an imaginative 13-year-old with a pet alligator and a pesky younger brother.The Highlights section in the TV listings of the Saturday, March 23, 1991 New York Times essentially repeats that description. The listing itself describes the episode:A 13-year-old dreams of the future and plots against her brother; premiere
I also saw the resusults of the Kids Pick the President poll, which I'll (qualitatively) announce in another message. Someone who has the actual numbers may want to send them. BTW, did Ferguson indicate in one of the pre-results teaser reports that he is Fourteen years old? Just how old is Clarissa now, and how much older is she than her brother? The age difference SHOULD be significant.
There's an August '91 NYT article (``Melissa Explains...'') stating that Ms. Hart was (then) 15. So she's (at least) 16 now. But since they're still labelling the kids as going to a Jr. High then I'd assume Clarissa's nominal age is 14/15. Dunno about Jason Zimbler, but in the first year shows there looked like at least two years difference between them.
Of course now he's actually taller than Ms. Hart and his voice is dropping, and he did imply Ferguson was 14 in the 'point-counterpoint' Kids Pick the Prez spot.
I am aware of that article. It narrows her age down even further by referring to a birthday party that she had in April.
> Dunno about Jason Zimbler, but in the first year shows there
>looked like at least two years difference between them.
_I_ always thought so. Clarissa seemed to represent herself as belonging to a distinct age group from her younger brother, and what I saw seemed to bear that out.
In the first year shows, I think Clarissa had a physical advantage in Ferg-fighting, and it made quite a difference in the first episode that she was able to glare DOWN at her brother after her attempt to send him skywards failed in a most inconvenient manner. Now the rules seem to have changed. Does Ferg-face now represent the age group that Clarissa used to represent? It's hard to accept.
In the Darling residence's family room during ``President Fergus'', there is a graph on one of the chalkboards and the y axis has markings for the 7th and 8th grades, so we might conclude that Thomas Tupper Jr High has two grades.
From the episode with Ms Cheesebrow, the misguidance counselor, there is a line that says Clarissa and Ms Cheesebrow have been meeting for two years. That would put Clarissa near the end of the 8th grade.
This is exactly my point. If TTJH ends with the 8th grade, and Clarissa was near the end of the 8th grade THEN, where is she *now*? Furthermore, how is it that Ferguson was already at the same school as Clarissa from the very beginning? Furthermore, why were those little kids, Nick and Becky, acting as if they too go to this school, by confirming the attitude of the students as measured by the poll?
I think it's because Clarissa goes to one of those school where they have students from first grade to jr. high. In the episode where Ferguson runs for Class president, Clarissa went to have lunch with ferguson. there are sevearl other episodes that seem to indicate they go to the same school.
Speaking of doors, if peepholes are at a standard height, and I think they are, then Ms. Hart is rather short for 16. She needed a (6`` or so?) boost from Ferg to see out the peephole in 'N.P.P'.
The Silent Treatment felt more like a first-year plot. Somehow the younger Clarissa seems more convincing FergFighting than the older model... particularly since she started out so much taller than Ferg. But it was neat they finally got Jason Zimbler's growth spurt into a script.
Marshall's comment about driving being a few more days away... Clarissa in Driver's Ed, anyone?
I thought about that, but I decided that it is more likely that he meant that Family Volunteer Day was a few days away so Clarissa had time to come up with a different project. Is that consistent with what he actually said? Did they make it intentionally ambiguous? Clarissa is getting older, but I always thought that she should be graduating from Thomas Tupper Junior High before she reaches official driving age. Then again, by my reckoning, she should have already graduated.
Yeah... but I guess it's TV's '90210' clause coming into play!
Seriously, it's getting harder to believe she's in Jr. High. Much longer, and it'll be hard to believe Jason Zimbler is either. I'll have to check the tapes, but I'm pretty sure Ms. Hart's grown a couple of inches (in height); look at her next to Clifford Spleenhurfer in ``180's'' compared with them in ``E.P.S''.
If the average male is expected to live 73.4 years, and Marshall is having a midlife crisis after comming to just so on the scale, how old does that make him on his birthday? 36, 37 or 40? I went to the Bronx High of Science, but I have difficulty reading this instrument. So, Clarissa really is about to enter driver's ed! (Jim Davis's first impression of Marshall's comment may have been accurate.) It's just not clear whether it's a junior high school that's supposed to be offering it. Of course, the big question is whether we will be allowed to see Clarissa after she has been allowed to drive.
Thomas Tupper Junior High has somehow morphed into a high school. Clarissa never graduated, nor did Ferguson; instead they just stayed there while the school graduated into a high school.
Clarissa is supposed to have had a birthday one month before this episode.
Would that be her sixteenth? (MJH turns 17 in April.)
That would fit, I think, but they're a little sloppy about dates and such...
Well, according to the People magazine article from either June or July 1991, she [...] is (in 1991) a ninth grader at Sayville Junior High.
Melissa also has four siblings, Trisha, 12, Elizabeth, 10, Brian, 7 and Emily,5 that are in the acting business. (This is 1991).
First of all, CD is in Junior High (references to Thomas Tupperman Junior High), so is probably more like 13-14 than 16-17 (as is MJH). Second, a major part of the appeal of the show is the agelessness of the character[...]
In the ``Underwear'' episode, CD's parents were not going to leave the car keys with Clarissa. So she must be old enough to drive, no?
CD was in junior high originally (Thomas Tupper Jr. High), and was 13-14 at the beginning of the show. In ``The Crushing Sport'' (the Fergfootball episode), Tupper was referred to as a high school. No explanation was given. It had been getting hard to beleive that Clarissa could still be in junior high.
Clarissa has considered herself old enough to drive from the very first episode. Others did not share that conviction. However, in the last episode shown in 1992, Clarissa was preparing to enter driver's ed. the next semester. She is close to the established age at which people are considered old enough to drive.
An August 25, 1991 article (which I had intended to have a copy of available for reference) says that ``Melissa is already grown-up beautiful.'' This point of view would negate the issue we were discussing, wouldn't it?
Who: Melissa Joan Katherine Hart Where: Nick News W5
They actually claim that Clarissa is fourteen years old. However, I still believe that this has been conclusively contradicted. Note, for example, that Clarissa is finally going to be admitted to driver's ed, and that Ferguson identified himself as being fourteen in the Kids Pick the President results presentation--he cannot be that close to Clarissa's age; being a younger brother in a different age category is an important part of his identity. Furthermore, in a recent episode she said her birthday was a month ago, and she clearly had not just turned fourteen. I don't care how unreal the show is--this is still convincing evidence.
I saw the Nick News thing on Melissa and Clarissa today. Did you know that Melissa has freckles and Clarissa doesn't? They just white them out. It certainly makes her look younger. Melissa looks much older than Clarissa does.
I thought that Clarissa looked considerably older in the ``Blind Date from Hell'' sequence than she is usually made to appear.
Ms. Hart is now 17, and has another season of CEIA lined up, which will carry her through 18 -- more or less the line between teenager and adult.
>The writeup in TV Guide for this episode says ``Also on Nick, _Clarissa
>Explains It All_ on a prime-time Saturday outing. The 15-year-old learns
>a lesson in responsibility when, through her own carelessness, her bike is
>stolen''. It makes sense they'd bump her up to 15 if she's supposed to be
>in High School now -- I think the show still had her in Jr. High when the
>NNW5 interview first ran.
I thought she was fifteen a long time ago. I wonder if we kept track of all the times specific seasons were indicated, whether it would make any sense. Anyway, Clarissa was supposed to have had a birthday a month before ``The Underwear Underworld'' (which you seem to refer to as ``The Bustier Kid'').
Newer viewers watching last night's show might not know that Clifford Spleenhurfer has been on CEIA for a while, or how his relationship with Clarissa has evolved [...] and now 'Boy Thoughts'; [...] and they've filled in his character a bit -- Clifford's apparently a senior, for instance. Which makes dating Clarissa a bit unconventional: she's a freshman, unless they've given up on plausible timelines for her altogether.
About the arrangements the characters made: Does she who holds the tickets (and the press pass) get to drive the funny car? They keep teasing us about Clarissa being about to drive. Clarissa said that the wrong person was in the driver's seat.
Character nuitContity note: Two years ago Clarissa was in Thomas Tupper JR. High, right? Apparently not -- she was checking out band instruments, marked T.T.H.S, from her high school band teacher. Guess that goes along with Clifford Spleenhurfer's recent promotion to the senior class between Commitment and Boy Thoughts...
Jason used to go to the town high school in his home state of New Jersey, but the schedule didn't give him the flexibility to also film Clarissa in Orlando. Luckily, a family friend is assistant principal of an all-girls school that would allow Jason to be both an actor and a high school student. So, Jason is now the only male in his school--except for the chemistry teacher.
How old is Ferguson supposed to be? And how old is Jason Zimbler? Finally, if he's in high school, and Clarissa's supposedly a freshman just about to get driving lessons, then is perhaps Jason older than Clarissa? How old is Melissa Hart, anyway? Why does she have to be so cute?
See Alternate episode titles for help with an unofficial title or other episode reference you don't recognize.
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