Everything ‘Clarissa Explains It All’ Taught You About Life

Life & Culture Editor

Before Melissa Joan Hart (who was, unfortunately, unable to participate in this story) was a teacher on trial for daring to say that “God is not dead,”  before she played a wise-cracking politician on Melissa and Joey, and even years before she was the world’s favorite iteration of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, she was simply known as Clarissa Darling, a spunky high-schooler with a best friend who refused to use doors because they were too restrictive, man (weird, right?) and the ability to create awesome computer games that perfectly simulated everything she was feeling despite having zero training in science or technology of any kind. (She also had a pet iguana named Elvis, which was pretty cool.)

Unfortunately, repeated watches of Clarissa Explains It All (and I own it on DVD) have made it clear that the show itself does not stand up to the test of time. But plot lines and love stories aren’t what matter. Because Clarissa was never about plot: It was about teaching you, the viewer, how to live your life to the fullest. And as a 13-year-old who begged for cable only to watch Clarissa impart these lessons upon me, it’s only fitting that we take a few moments and remind ourselves of the enduring teachable moments she gave us as we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the show.

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