Clone High (occasionally referred to in the U.S. as Clone High U.S.A.) is a Canadian–American adult animated series created by Phil Lord, Christopher Miller and Bill Lawrence. The show centers on a high school populated by the clones of famous historical figures. The central cast includes adolescent depictions of Abe Lincoln, Joan of Arc, Gandhi, Cleopatra, and JFK. The series also serves as a parody of teen dramas such as Dawson's Creek and Beverly Hills, 90210; every episode is introduced as a "very special episode".
Lord and Miller first developed the series' concept while at Dartmouth College in the 1990s, later pitching it to executives at American network Fox Broadcasting Company, who ultimately decided to pass on the program. It was later purchased by cable channel MTV, and was produced between 2002 and 2003. The show's design is heavily stylized and its animation style limited, emphasizing humor and story over visuals. The Clone High theme song was written by Tommy Walter and performed by his alternative rock band Abandoned Pools, who also provided much of the series' background music.
Clone High first aired in its entirety on Canadian cable network Teletoon between 2002 and 2003, later debuting on MTV. It became embroiled in a controversy regarding its depiction of Gandhi soon afterward, which prompted hundreds in India to mount a hunger strike in response. Shortly after, MTV pulled the series, which had been receiving low ratings. Clone High attracted mixed reviews from television critics upon its premiere, but it has since received critical acclaim and a cult following. In July 2020, it was announced that a reboot of the series is in the works at MTV Studios with the original creators Lord, Miller, and Lawrence returning. In February 2021, it was announced that HBO Max had ordered 2 seasons of the reboot.
Clone High is set in a high school in the fictional town of Exclamation, USA, that is secretly being run as an elaborate military experiment orchestrated by a government office called the Secret Board of Shadowy Figures. The school is entirely populated by the clones of famous historical figures that were created in the 1980s and raised with the intent of having their various strengths and abilities harnessed by the United States military. The principal of the high school, Cinnamon J. Scudworth, has his own plans for the clones, and secretly tries to undermine the wishes of the Board (Scudworth wants to use the clones to create a clone-themed amusement park, dubbed "Cloney Island", a decidedly less evil intention than that of the Board). He is assisted by his robot butler/vice principal/dehumidifier, Mr. Butlertron (a parody of Mr. Belvedere), who is programmed to call everyone "Wesley" and speak in two distinct intonations.
The main protagonists of Clone High are the clones of Abe Lincoln, Joan of Arc, and Gandhi. Much of the plot of the show revolves around the attempts of Abe to woo the vain and promiscuous clone of Cleopatra, while being oblivious to the fact that his friend Joan of Arc is attracted to him. Meanwhile, JFK's clone, a macho, narcissistic womanizer, is also attempting to win over Cleopatra and has a long-standing rivalry with Abe. Gandhi acts in many of the episodes as the comic relief. Also on a few occasions, the characters that we see learn most of "Life's Lessons" the hard way