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Results of 1995 mailing list poll

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Here are the results of a poll conducted by Noel Alfonso on the ``clarissa'' mailing list, 19 Apr - 16 May 95.

Note that, unless otherwise indicated, all first-person statements below are Noel's, not mine.

Noel reports: [edited for appearance]

In all there were 46 responses out of circa 120 members (38%). The last poll in 1993 had 21/40 (53%) response rate. Sometimes the number of answers doesn't equal 46 due to multiple responses or no response.

1. Age

 Average age: 26.5 years
        high: 55
         low: 13

Breakdown by age group:

  0:  < 10
 13: 11-20  (30%)
 20: 21-30  (45%)
  6: 31-40  (14%)
  4: 41-50
  1:  > 50

no response:   2

Further breakdown in the 10-20 range:

2: 20 years old
5: 19
2: 18
0: 17
1: 16
0: 15
2: 14
1: 13

Fun fact: Melissa's age is 19 [at the time of the poll].

The average age in the '93 poll was 28.

2. Gender

 44: Male   (95.7%)
  2: Female  (4.3%)

3. Your City

I won't list them all, but here's some summary info.

 34: U.S.A.
 11: U.K.
  1: Germany

American responses, by state:

 5: New York
 4: California
 4: Texas
 3: Massachusetts
 2: Florida
 2: Illinois
 2: South Carolina
 1: Arkansas
 1: Indiana
 1: Iowa
 1: New Hampshire
 1: Louisiana
 1: Oregon
 1: Pennsylvania
 1: Tennessee

The only American city with more than one response: New York City (2).

Fun Fact: Using the Darling ``residence'' of Chicago [see Where They Live at Bevis King's CEIA Homepage] as the approximate midpoint of the U.S., of the American responses:

  22: East of Chicago
  11: West of Chicago
   1: in Chicago

4. Computer Experience

  0: a) I only know how to use e-mail.
  8: b) I can find my way around the standard programs.
 11: c) I can program a little.
 17: d) I am an experienced programmer.
  9: e) I am/was a systems administrator for multi-user systems.

no response: 1

26/46 (57%) have lots of computer experience.

5. In an average week, how many episodes of CEIA do you watch these days?

 26: a) 0-3 episodes  (54%)
 16: b) 4-7           (33%)
  2: c) 8-10
  0: d) 11-15
  3: e) 15 or more

no response: 1

Comment: Most of us can only manage a few episodes a week. If the episodes were new, I'm sure it'd be much higher. Generally speaking, U.S. responses were mostly (a), and U.K. responses had a lot of (b)'s. Maybe 'cause they're newer there [in U.K.]?

6. Have you seen all 65 episodes of CEIA?

 21: a) Yes      (46%)
 15: b) No       (33%)
  9: c) Not sure (20%)

no response: 1

Comment: It turns out that a lot of us have seen them all. Also, a lot of the ``no'' and ``not sure'' people said they were pretty close to seeing all 65.

7. How were you introduced to watching Clarissa Explains It All? [paraphrasing]

11: hooked after seeing it once
 8: channel surfing / by ``accident''
 5: from your children / younger siblings
 3: the ads were amusing
 3: from SNICK
 3: from NICK U.K.
 2: liked the title, started watching it
 2: recommended by friend(s)
 1: satellite TV
 1: saw MJH in a magazine
 1: from the WWW page
 1: from the mailing list
 1: from Live & Kicking on BBC 1
 1: from the newspaper
 1: ``there was a sidebar article about Clarissa's `interactive
    simulations' in Amiga World''
 1: ``I was hired to edit the series''

Some people had more than one answer. It's great someone started watch CEIA because of the mailing list or the WWW page.

8. Why do you like to watch Clarissa Explains It All?

Note: I (dcljr) summarized the results for this question. I split up people's responses (which were usually a few sentences long) and grouped the comments together by topic. The grouping is rather arbitrary, but hey... what can you do?

  Clarissa is a way cool person
  I thought that Clarissa was was very cool
  she has a definate attitude which is cool
  I liked the irreverence of Clarissa
  Clarissa is refreshing
  Clarissa is an endearing character
  I like Clarissa's personality and way of looking at things, and I enjoy
      seeing her present her life and her perspective on life in general
  Clarissa's bad self.  I like seeing a chick who's smart, funny and off-
      beat.  She doesn't have a stick up her butt like Blossom and isn't
      self-indulgent like Angela on "My so called life"
  Clarissa is a very interesting character, from her crazy schemes to get
      what she wants, to her witty obsevations about everyday life, from
      her hubcap collection to her pet alligator Elvis, from her vegetarian
      mother to her rivalry with her Eddie Haskel-esque brother Fergeuson,
      and finally her totally platonic relationship with a guy who visits
      her by climbing up to her bedroom window and spends alot of time in
      her room.
  I like the opportunity to think as if I were as young as Clarissa
  I think she is almost like me


  MJH, that's about all
  I watch CEIA because I'm a Melissa Joan Hart Fan
  MJH has no other shows!

Clarissa's/Melissa's looks

  Clarissa's cute
  cute main character
  Melissa Joan Hart is very beautiful
  Melissa Joan Hart is CUTE!
  MJH is cute and fun to was
  she has great looks
  probably mainly because I have always been atracted to innocent looking
      women and she looks very innocent
  same as every other male watchers (wink wink)
  oh yeah, yeah, she's a doll, OK? :)
  cos' she's a chic

Melissa's acting (etc.)

  MJH is a clever, talented actress
  I just love the way MJH acts
  I also enjoy seeing Melissa Joan Hart and her special style of acting,
      including the way she speaks, gestures, uses facial expressions, etc.
  her facial expressions and mannerisms (or is that womanisms ?)
  MJH's voice

other actors/characters

  I like all the lead performers
  the cast is excellent
  the show had a strong ensemble cast that I'll miss if CBS picks up the
  I like the characters and enjoy seeing them interact
  the characters
  good characterizations
  Sam's also cool. He's a real sweetheart.
  I can also relate to it (via. Ferguson) because of the fact that I also
      have an older sister (by three years)

writing / story lines

  the writing is inventive
  the show was also far better written than I would have expected
  the story lines
  the stories are amusing


  the gentle humour
  I think the show is very funny
  funny show

show's style/attitude/coolness

  the style of the show
  I liked the show's attitude
  it's cool!
  it is cool

handing of problems / realism

  its lightharted approach to some serious problems
  Clarissa (and the writers) handled a lot of topics that kids always
      deal with while growing up in a non-preachy way and the show was
      always entertaining because of it
  some of the conflicts/dilemmas in the shows were realistic with
      realistic solutions
  believealbe kid-parent relationships
  it's so true to teenage life
  as the philosopher and doughnut connoisseur Homer Simpson said, ``It's
      funny because it's true.''


  liked the asides and the "fantasy" parts.  Sometimes CEA gets a little
  offbeat - quite surreal at times ...


  It's not cut from the same cookie-cutter as all the network sitcoms
  it's so different, I like shows with a bit of style
  because its not the usual lame brain stuff, its intresting and different
  it is different and imaginative, not just a stereotypical sitcom
  When I first saw the program I enjoyed that the program was a fresh
      change from the standard sitcom.  Now I see the not only is it
      different but it is also great TV

the interface

  I like having Clarissa talk to me
  the way Clarissa talks to the audience

don't know

I still don't know


  the show is simple and quirky but irresistable
  just a fun program to watch
  its intelligent wholesome entertainment that makes me smile
  the show is intelligently produced
  because it's good
  Plots involve small family problems.  Children fight.  No big special
      effects.  Restricted location so the plots involved more character
      than action or location device.
  Sam is Clarissa's friend and not her boyfriend which is also a
      refreshing change
  she has a cool room
  I liked to see what she was wearing.  I figured it took a pretty
      confident girl to wear some of those outfits.
  Stumbled upon it a few times & liked it.  Started watching regularly.
  now that I've seen virtually every episode X amount of times, I'm fairly
      sure that I'm rather knoledgeable when it comes to CEIA.. and hey,
      I have to refresh my memory every now and then.. :-)
  Amiga animation is used on the show in a very interesting way

9. Which are your favorite CEIA episodes? Please name no more than five & you don't have to rank them.

I realize that nearly every episode is good, and that it's hard to choose a few as favorites. The purpose was to find general info if you had to choose. Many people stated it was hard to choose. (There were five people who said ``all of them'' as a response.)

Note: The number of votes precedes the title.

Editor's note: Incidentally, at the time poll responses were being collected, Nickelodeon was just finishing off one ``cycle'' of repeats and beginning another (showing episodes #'s 163-165 & 101-116 in the period Apr 19 through May 15). See U.S. airings of CEIA for more information.

10. Which are your least favorite CEIA episodes. Please name no more than three.

Note: Nine people said ``none of them''.

Summary of Favorites and Least Favorites

Out of 65 episodes of CEIA, 40 different episodes received at least one vote for favorite (more than I expected). 26 episodes received at least one vote for least favorite. This left 14 episodes which were not listed as either a favorite or least favorite. 16 episodes are listed under both categories.

Episodes that weren't listed as either a favorite or least favorite

Episodes that were listed under both favorite and least favorite

Since I saw everyone's response, in case you're curious, here's what my votes were for. [This is Noel speaking here.]


Least Favorites:

11. Would you place CEIA as one of the 10 best TV shows in the last 15 years?

 22: a) Yes      (48%)
  7: b) No       (15%)
 17: c) Not sure (37%)

Two people said ``for a children's show `Yes', but overall `No' ''. I placed these votes in the middle as ``not sure''.

My vote: I said `yes'. It's always fresh and funny. Up there with Cheers and The Bob Newhart Show. Audacious for a ``kids'' show. I'm not convinced it was written with kids in mind....

12. CEIA's run of new episodes ended rather abruptly. Which would you agree with most?

 16: a) Good timing.  Get on with Clarissa's life on network TV
  3: b) Good timing.  It was getting stale.
 13: c) CEIA should have lasted one more year.
  9: d) CEIA should have lasted 2 or more years.
  6: e) None of the above.

no response: 2

Two people said they'd rather see MJH as someone other than Clarissa. One didn't agree that it ended ``abruptly'' (maybe others did too).

Most people who added a comment said they'd like to see Clarissa deal with her senior year of high school (as opposed to her ``sudden'' graduation). Two people wanted to see her in a college setting.

Note: I realized that answers (a) & (b) aren't mutually exclusive. I apologize if it was poorly worded. For those who gave an ``(a) & (b)'' response, I counted one for both.

Comment: In light of the recent news that ``Clarissa'' wasn't picked up by CBS, I think my personal answer goes like this:

``I'd like to see MJH in `Clarissa' if it's picked up by ca. January 1996. If it's not off the ground by then, then I feel it's too late & I'd like to see Melissa get a good job in another role (a different series, or movies).''

In the poll, I answered (c).

13.-15. These questions were related to some of the shows that I watch; I wanted to see the viewing habits of the members of the list.

Three of my favorite shows also deal with growing up:

Yet all four seem completely different.

13. Do you watch The Secret World of Alex Mack?
14. Do you watch My So-Called Life?
15. Do you watch The Adventures of Pete & Pete?


 a) Yes, a lot.
 b) Sometimes.
 c) No, I don't like it.
 d) No, I've never seen it.
 e) No response given.


    13. SWAM  14. MSCL  15. P&P
    --------  --------  -------
 a)    12         7        10
 b)    10         9        18
 c)     5         0         4
 d)    17        28        12
 e)     1         1         1

Note: When these results were posted to the mailing list, Adam Lieberman said:

These results notwithstanding, I know that a number of months ago there were some members of the list who said they didn't like My So-Called Life. They complained about its ``annoying slickness'', and praised CEIA for avoiding this.

Noel responded:

To be certain, I re-checked the responses, and no one said ``c) I don't like it'' about MSCL. There were 45 responses to the question out of roughly 120 members. I thought it was nice that no one responded (c), since I feel it was an incredible show. Since MSCL is not shown in the UK, the ``never seen it'' responses were pretty high. Considering it was also canceled due to low ratings, not many in the U.S. have seen it either (pre-MTV days).

I also thought the number of people who responded ``d) never seen it'' about Alex Mack was pretty high as well, considering it took Clarissa's spot in the SNICK line-up. It even debuted October 8, 1994, one week after ``The Final Episode''.

[See U.S. airings of CEIA for more information.]

16. What similarities, if any, do you see between the four shows?

Note: As with question 8, I (dcljr) summarized these results. Since each person usually compared (or contrasted) the shows in several ways, I've broken up the comments and grouped them by topic.


  I don't see many similarities at all.  The four shows each take a very
  different view of adolescence.


  Mainly the point of view that the show's project. All from a childs/
  teenagers point of view. This gives me more to relate to. My favourite
  show is actually 'The Wonder Years', this show is extreemley well

  In their own ways, the two that I do watch portray life from the young
  person's point of view, more than life as an adult sees the young
  person's point of view.

about teens

  They all deal with teenagers?

  All of them are about Teenagers.

  They deal with teenage life in a sense

  teen angst


  They deal in thier level with growing up and explaining why things are
  when you are older.


  The shows deal with kids doing quirky kids things in the context of
  school or a family setting.

  CEIA and SWAM are both well-written shows about endearing teenage
  girls coping with the trials and tribulations of growing up.  The
  sci-fi part of SWAM is my least favorite.

female leads

  Well, CEIA, Alex Mack, and MSCL all have a female as the main
  character. This is pretty rare in tv.

  I like the strong female leads in both Clarissa and Alex Mack.  I
  don't feel so drawn to the others.

  CEIA, SWAM and MSCL all focus on the lives of young teenage girls
  (Alex may be around the lower bound of this) and their perspectives on

  Three of them are based on strong female lead characters.


  Well, Clarrissa and Angela of MSCL have a lot in common, but their
  views are portrayed in very very different types of shows. The both
  are dream dates too.

  CEIA is funnier [than SWAM], I think, because dweeby little brothers
  provide more comic fodder than genius older sisters.  The parents on
  these two shows are interchangeable, although Marshall and Janet have
  had more featured roles due to CEIA's longer lifespan.

  Alex Mack (I forget who plays her) is good on her own, but the rest of
  the characters are so dopey, especially Alex's best friend (Ray, I
  think). He just doesn't compete with Sam.

  Err, they are all shown on NIckelodeon. Seriously, I think they all
  have good characters in them that appeal to young kids.

  The babes, man, the babes!  (Namely, Clarissa, Hillary, Olivia, Alex,
  Annie, Barbara, and Ellen.)

  Only that Larissa Olsen (I think that's her name) could go in the same
  direction as MJH.


  CEIA, MSCL and P&P all let young characters give their thoughts in
  their own words.


  Pete, (the elder) of P&P's momologues are similar to MJH's, although
  she does them better.


  There's also a surreal quality to "Pete and Pete" and what I've heard
  about "...Alex Mack."  There are surreal qualities to "C.E.I.A."--
  "breaking the fourth wall" being the most apparent--but it's not as
  obvious unless you look for it.  The fact that Sam constantly climbs
  through a teenage girl's window and no one thinks twice about it is
  also pretty surreal.  Haven't the neighbors ever heard of a
  neighborhood watch program?!

  CEIA, SWAM and P&P all have a focus on the unusual (Clarissa tends to
  like things that differ from the usual, Alex lives under unusual
  personal circumstances and Pete and Pete go through all sorts of
  unusual experiences).

  I watch it [P&P] sometimes, but it is a little _too_ weird for me.

  They're all a bit quirky.


  For me, most of these shows at least try to break out of the ususal
  mold TV series use (especially sitcoms).  Both CEIA and P&P accomplish
  this and stand out on their own.  They do this by a mixture of good
  acting, unique story ideas, and engaging format.  From what little I
  have seen of MSCL and SWSoAM, ALEX MACK seems too restricted by story
  lines involving the Chemical Plant.  On MSCL, her parents seemed too
  dumbed down (recall this was only after a single short viewing)

  All four shows have the potential to present fresh outlooks on life.


  The show is marketted to a much younger age group in the UK ,I feel,
  than in the US it is still aimed at the 12 - 14 age group that the
  rest of NICK UK is aimed at. However seeing her at college might have
  been cool, if a little passe - 90210 and Saved by the Bell have all
  been there done that and got the t-shire

  Let's see... They all are on Snick. ...No that's not it MSCL was on
  network tv. They all star young women.  Wait no, P&P aren't female. Is
  it that the shows appeals to just kids?  No, I watch some of them. It
  must be then...

  Clarissa and MY So-Called Life, I think, provided opposite ends of the
  spectrum. Clarissa was basically a comedy showing the lighter side of
  the adolescent years while My So-Called Life was a dark, sometimes
  brooding, drama dealing with some of the more traumatic episodes of
  being a teenager. Of course, for the time being, they're also both out
  of production.

  If you want a similiarity between all four shows, they all have good

  I like watching them.

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