Before the arduous and occasionally self-induced stressful moments of adulthood and before the awkward and hormone-filled moments of young adulthood, there were the sugar-high years known as childhood. In these innocent moments of your life, you learn valuable life lessons that, if you’re mindful, you keep with you long after you’ve grown back those two front teeth. But what if you could live those moments again vicariously through a two-dimensional Cartoon Network character who is probably suffering from childhood obesity? In this week’s segment of “For Your Consideration,” we’re featuring a true Cartoon Network gem known as Clarence.
Set in the lower middle-income fictional town called Aberdale, Clarence showcases the life of a chubby nine-year-old boy of the same name, his two best friends, Jeff and Sumo, his loving mother, Mary, and her unemployed sort-of-a-buffoon boyfriend, Chad. Clarence’s claim to fame is his incessantly happy attitude towards life and he’s ardent on sharing this happiness with his friends, family members and the rest of the neighborhood.
Why You Should Watch
The show’s introduction is all you need to understand the characters and what takes place in this run-of-the-mill town. It gives viewers a quick glance at the characters’ daily lives and the harmless chaos that occurs in nearly every episode.
Clarence and his friends are your average kids; they find ways to make school fun and interesting, they go on epic adventures that often take place in their imaginations, they bother their parents and guardians into doing certain activities that adults would find boring, and they have embarrassing crushes that end in awkward scenes. The series is your typical Cartoon Network show as it seldom follows the social status quo and includes themes that aren’t usually in a kids’ show. For one thing, in an early episode of the series, viewers are introduced to Jeff’s moms. Later in the series, they feature two men kissing (even though it’s only cheek to cheek). Female characters are also held in high regards in the show. Nearly every female character that Clarence comes into contact with is high-spirited, not always feminine, and confident; and each has individual quirks that make them more than lovable.
Even though Sumo’s wild and often irrational behavior upholds the show’s kooky side, Jeff’s uptight and borderline OCD-ish behavior makes you remember the weird kids that you encountered in your own childhood. The two are obviously polar opposites, but they’re brought together under one common denominator – Clarence.
While Clarence might come across as the jovial kid that everyone loves being around, the show develops his character in ways that might go unnoticed if you aren’t watching closely. Some episodes reveal Clarence’s insecurities, like the time he thought he lost his friends to his imaginary deviant clone. Other episodes show his childhood innocence fading, like the time he had to come to terms with Sumo transferring schools or in season three, episode seventeen where he realizes that Chad isn’t as admirable as he originally thought.
Other than to bask in nostalgia, I suggest giving the series a go simply to add some unadulterated silliness in your life. Sometimes, you just want to forget about that annual report due in the next two days or ignore the fact that you’re caught in the proverbial rat race. Binge watching this show is a perfect way to do just that.