Cartoons can have a pretty long shelf-life. Due to (relatively) low production costs and the comparatively cheap rates of voice actors, certain animated franchises can go on decades-long runs. Heck, how long has The Simpsons been on the air? A thousand million years? It sure feels like it.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that every great cartoon gets to live a long and fulfilling life. Sometimes, even the very best examples of the medium get axed before their time and leave fans desperate for more. No canceled cartoon is more beloved (and more missed) than 2003’s cult classic Clone High.
Clone High aired on MTV at a time when it was still kind of cool and not a reality show dumpster fire. Despite its amazing premise, quality cast of voice actors, and insane quotability, Clone High only managed a run of 13 episodes before being unceremoniously thrown into the dustbin of history.
Even worse, the show ended on a cliffhanger, which has left the show’s hardcore base of diehard fans frothing at the mouth for some closure. After all, they know better than anyone that Clone High is a true high-point for adult animated comedies, and one of the greatest cartoons ever, period. Suck it, Family Guy.
"Next Time, On A Very Special Clone High"
Usually, the "Next Week On" tag that follows most shows is nothing to write home about. Not so with Clone High. The “Next Episode” segments were actually a highlight, with the voiceover guy becoming a distinctive character in and of himself.
He often got off track and talked about his personal problems, and once threatened to kill one of his co-worker’s dog. It definitely wasn’t something to be skipped over. The voiceover guy also made sure to let the viewer know that every episode was “very special,” and he was right. They were all special in our hearts.
Subtle, Historical Humor Permeated Every Episode
A lot of the jokes in Clone High required at least a passing understanding of history to fully appreciate. JFK was a great example of this, when he said things like “I’m a Kennedy, I’m not accustomed to tragedy!” or flinched whenever someone pointed finger-guns at him.
Another notable example was an entire episode that featured Joan of Arc thinking she was hearing the voice of God, which actually turned out to be radio reception coming from her new set of braces. Only Gandhi seemed entirely divorced from his "clone-father", but he still struggled with the weight of his historical progenitor.
The Cast Of Characters/Actors Was Spectacular
Casting is vitally important to a great television series, and Clone High had an exceptional cast of both characters and voice actors. Clones of historical greats like Abraham Lincoln, Gandhi, JFK, Cleopatra, and Joan of Arc comprised the show’s main characters, and the historical biographies of their genetic forebears was definitely played to comedic effect.
The voices were provided by some notable names, too, with actors like Will Forte, Andy Dick, and Michael MacDonald playing regular roles. Even the background characters were great, like the arrogant Julius Caesar (voiced by Neil Flynn, the Janitor from Scrubs), or the mad scientist George Washington Carver (Donald Faison, also of Scrubs fame).
Mr. Butlertron Was The Robot Best Friend We All Needed
One of the very best characters in Clone High wasn’t a clone at all, it was the loyal robot butler of the school’s principal (the amazingly named Cinnamon J. Scudworth) known as Mr. Butlertron.
Mr. B, always rocking his elegant sweater vest, was a true delight. whether he was dispensing sage advice or trash-talking grading machines. Most endearing of all, Mr. B had an uncontrollable habit of calling everyone "Wesley," although we never figured out quite why. Don’t let that fool you, Mr. Butlertron was probably the smartest character on the show.