For a show that’s been off the air for over 15 years, Clarissa Explains It All has sure been in the news a lot this past week. First, the pilot for the long-lost spin-off Clarissa Now surfaced. Then, TeenNick announced that it will begin rerunning old favorites, including Clarissa, in a new late-night block called The ’90s Are All That. All the nostalgia got us wondering: What ever happened to Clarissa Darling, her friends, and her family? Well, readers, we did some good, old-fashioned reporting, and the results of our investigation are after the jump.
After graduating from high school, Clarissa put her knack for odd, wonderful fashion choices, geeky video game programming, and unlikely art projects to good use at Sarah Lawrence. Looking around at the eclectically garbed 18-year-olds that swarmed her dormitory, she knew she had finally found her people. Clarissa then spent a few lost months drinking, smoking pot, and experimenting with indie rock under the influence of ecstasy.
But don’t worry — this is Clarissa. She got her shit back together right quick and, as we recently learned from Clarissa Now, took an internship at a New York newspaper. There, she published a few stories, pissed off a few jealous olds, and ended up in a tawdry affair with her boss, a well-known editor twice her age. Needless to say, she never made it back to Sarah Lawrence.
After splitting with her older beau, Clarissa jumped to a brand-new, online magazine, where her fresh, funny voice, talent for coining colorful (but never profane) insults, and attractive explanatory graphics made her the toast of Web 1.o. Unfortunately, her publication folded during the late-’90s dot-com apocalypse.
Clarissa rose from the ashes as an independent blogger. On ClarissaExplainsItAll.com, she dished about her stint with her still-famous former boss and scored herself a sweet book deal. We don’t have to tell you what happened after that, because we’re sure you’ve read all about it on Gawker.
Poor Sam didn’t fare quite as well as Clarissa in college. Oh, he did fine academically. And he had tons of female friends. But every time he asked one of them out, they would be, like, on the way home and he would try to kiss her and she would turn away and say something like, “Oh, Sam! Did you think this was a date? You’re one of my best friends, but I don’t think of you that way.”
Eventually, he fell in with a pickup artist. (We’ve seen some photos of Sam “peacocking” in a jester hat and guyliner that are so unfortunate we can’t in good conscience share them.) While he did eventually lose his virginity, he also contracted syphilis and got the girl pregnant the same night. Or, so she said. For some reason, she was never so keen on getting a paternity test. Sam took full custody of his son Elvis (named after Clarissa’s pet caiman) and used his ladder skills to open a small house-painting firm in his childhood hometown.
He never forgot about his first love, though. A few years ago, when Clarissa was visiting her parents for Thanksgiving, they chanced to meet again when he climbed in her old bedroom window — which was not, we repeat not something he did on a daily basis. Jaded by city life and longing for something pure, honest, and authentic, Clarissa allowed herself to fall into her old friend’s comforting arms. Back home, she told her hip, New York friends about how sweet and simple Sam is, how he’s not a self-involved, hyper-analytical drag like everyone she’s ever dated in the city. They married last summer. Surely you saw the photo spread… on Gawker.
By the time Ferguson graduated from high school, he’d had enough of life amongst his Clinton-loving, NPR-worshiping family. He bade them goodbye forever, financed his education at Bob Jones University with a prestigious William F. Buckley Grant for Evil Geniuses in Training, Whoops, We Mean “Conservative Prodigies.” In the summers, he interned on George W. Bush’s presidential campaign.
Ferguson left Bob Jones with a magna cum laude degree in Political Wonkery and was rewarded for his loyalty with a job in the Bush White House. In fact, he was involved in a cover-up so wretched that, when WikiLeaks exposed it last year, student activists from around the country converged on the Connecticut compound where he lived with his pretty, blonde wife and gaggle of children, chanting, “Death to Fergface.” One protester managed to sneak in the Darlings’ window and was apprehended by private security — but not before giving Ferguson an atomic wedgie. Since that incident, the family has lived in what sources fondly describe as an “undisclosed location.”
Empty nest syndrome hit Janet hard, with Clarissa disappearing into a drug-addled college dreamworld and later so busy with her little “weblog” she hardly had time to time to email, while Ferguson has been incommunicado for over a decade. (She doesn’t like to talk about that nasty note she received from his college, informing her that as part of Bob Jones’ process for cleansing its “warriors,” her son had been commanded to cut all ties with Liberal Enablers.)
Clarissa finally managed to get her mom out of her funk shortly after she and Sam got together by insisting she and Marshall move to Park Slope, where an art teacher obsessed with vegetarianism and organic food could open a lucrative “unschool” for the neighborhood children. Darling’s Dairy-Free Day School was an instant success; we hear the waiting list is five years long, and rather than submit their kids to an oppressive public institution, hip parents are holding their kids back from kindergarten. Hey, their 12-year-olds will learn to read as soon as they’re ready.
Meanwhile, the mother of one of Janet’s students is a famous Chelsea gallerist who happened to stop by on Puppet Day. Those hand puppets you see above are slated to appear in the 2012 Whitney Biennial, and Damien Hirst has already dubbed Janet “the outsider artist of her frightfully old, not terribly sexy generation.”
Initially, Marshall was displeased with the move to Brooklyn. In New York, he lamented, everyone seems to live in the same damn glass-and-steel apartment building or maybe some boring, converted loft. Not a single developer wanted to hear about his ideas for teacup-shaped detached housing or West Village dog grooming salons designed to look like a fuzzy, pink poodle.
That all changed one fateful night when Janet invited a bunch of her new art-world friends over to their duplex for tofu shakes. They simply couldn’t take their eyes off Marshall’s Pop Art-inspired miniatures (never mind that they were only models for buildings that hadn’t worked out). His debut solo show opens this spring at Jonathan LeVine Gallery. Critics are already comparing Marshall and Janet to Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner. Clarissa is happy for her parents, but to her, they will always be irredeemable “dorkfaces.”
Former bully and one-time Clarissa boyfriend Clifford Spleenhurfer lives in Detroit, MI and fronts the local punk-metal band SpLeEnHuRfEr — a nine-time winner of the Detroit Free Press‘s coveted Best Band to Black Out While Seeing title. He would like to tell you about that one time they opened for the Misfits… but where are you going? Come back here! He’ll pound you!