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Donald Lancon's
Clarissa Explains It All
Episode Guide

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2 Jun 97

This is a brief episode guide for the TV show Clarissa Explains It All. It gives the official titles and episode numbers (in order of production) and my own plot synopses for all of the episodes.

The latest version of this guide (not that it'll be changing very often!) is the one at:

There's an old text-only version at:

(The .gz extension means that this is a GZIPped file. See the README file in the same directory for info about decoding GZIPped files.)

Guide contents

Titles and plot synopses

Pilot episode
The pilot episode was taped in November, 1990, but was never aired. It was reportedly identical to the first aired episode, ``Revenge'' (#101), but with different actors in every role except Clarissa and Ferguson.

First season

``Revenge'' (#101)
Clarissa is determined to exact the ultimate revenge on Ferguson after he embarrasses her at school by bringing her training bra to show-and-tell.
``School Picture'' (#102)
Clarissa and her bud Jody are on a mission to wear the most outrageous outfits they can think of on the dreaded... School Picture Day.
``No T.V.'' (#103)
Things get a little tense around the Darling household when Janet declares no TV for a week; while the rest of the family spends quality time together, Clarissa is hard at work trying to figure out a way to get television back into her life.
``Urge to Drive'' (#104)
Driven by the urge to buy a used 1976 apple-red Gremlin, Clarissa and Sam get into a get-rich-quick scheme and quickly start getting poor.
``CNN'' (#105)
Janet gets testy when an old friend from her dancing days -- who was never as serious about dancing as Janet was -- comes to town to give a performance.
``Haunted House'' (#106)
When Janet's sister, the touchy-feely Aunt Mafalda, visits from the Great White North (Canada), Clarissa tries to figure out a way to shorten her stay.
``Bully'' (#107)
When the school bully (Clifford Spleenhurfer) starts picking on Ferguson, Clarissa must come to his rescue -- well, actually, she just wants to get her stuff back!
``New Addition'' (#108)
Marshall and Janet are showing sure signs that there will be a new addition to the Darling household.
``Brain Drain'' (#109)
Ferguson becomes unbearable (even more so than usual) when he scores highly on an I.Q. test at school; the rapid inflation of his ego leads to a five-year plan for world domination and an appearance on the quiz show ``Brain Drain'' opposite Clarissa.
``Bake a Cake'' (#110)
Darling anniversaries have mostly been disasters in the past, but Clarissa has high hopes that this year will be different -- until Janet and Marshall disagree on how to celebrate; then it looks like there won't even be an anniversary this year!
``Parents Who Say No'' (#111)
Clarissa wants to work at the annual Baxter Beach Carnival, but Janet and Marshall don't think she's mature enough.
``Cool Dad'' (#112)
Clarissa is afraid that Marshall will embarrass her at her school's career night.
``Sick Days'' (#113)
Clarissa desperately wants to get sick in time to miss Ancient Greece Day at school.

Second season

``Crush'' (#114)
Having flipped over local TV weatherman, Flip Fontana -- her first crush on an actual human being -- Clarissa forms the Junior Meteorological Society in an effort to meet the object of her affections.
``She Drives Me Crazy'' (#115)
Clarissa bends the truth a bit and wins ``Cheeky'' magazine's ``My Bro, What a Guy'' essay contest; but before she can collect the grand prize -- a new car -- she actually has to be nice to Ferguson in front of the magazine's editor.
``Sam.....Darling'' (#116)
Clarissa thinks it'll be cool when Sam moves in with the Darlings while his dad is away on business; unfortunately, Sam spends all his time playing the polite, helpful houseguest for Janet and Marshall.
``President Ferguson'' (#117)
Clarissa's history report about dictatorial abuses of power turns into a case study when Fergsuon runs for class president.
``The Return of Mafalda'' (#118)
Disaster befalls the Darling house (at least in Clarissa's opinion) when Aunt Mafalda returns from the Great White North to babysit while Marshall and Janet are away in New York; how can Clarissa keep her from totally ruining her slumber party??
``The Great Debate'' (#119)
Clarissa is caught in the middle when Janet is protesting the building of a ``Quick-n-Jiffy'' mini mall that Marshall designed.
``ME 101'' (#120)
After failing a magazine mother-daughter quiz, Janet decides she doesn't know enough about Clarissa.
``The Understudy'' (#121)
Clarissa thinks she's got it made when she gets the part of understudy to the lead in the school's production of Pirates of Penzance; no lines to learn, no songs to sing -- unless....
``Can't Buy Love'' (#122)
A tangled tale of love and betrayal: Ferguson befriends a rich kid, J. Elliot Fundsworth III, in order to get into the ``inner circle'' of high society (specifically, the Young Americans Junior Yacht Club); but J. Elliot is just using Ferguson to get to Clarissa, whom he has a crush on.
``Misguidance Counselor'' (#123)
The school guidance counselor, Mrs. Cheesebrow, wants Clarissa to follow her ``three F's'' (Focus, Fusion, Follow-through) in order to fit in.
``Sam In Love'' (#124)
Clarissa ends up in the middle of Sam's faltering love life after she helps him ask out Elise Quackenbush.
``A New Look'' (#125)
Clarissa is interested in Clifford Spleenhurfer now that his interest in her has apparently waned [see ``Bully'' (#107)].
``Total TV'' (#126)
Clarissa is out to watch 24 hours of total TV for her school project (to improve an ordinary object); can she survive the experience without succumbing to TV Overload Psychosis?
``Janet's Boyfriend'' (#127)
Janet's old flame, Joey Russo, pays the Darlings a visit while he's in town promoting his new book, ``Women Who Love Men Who Love Women Who Love Men''.
``The Darling Wars'' (#128)
Clarissa and Ferguson try to get along for just one night when Marshall and Janet leave them home alone, but the peace doesn't last long; it's storming outside, the lights go out, and... hey, did you hear that noise?!
``Poetic Justice'' (#129)
At a loss for ideas, Clarissa programs her computer to write her poem for English class -- and then regrets it when the poem wins the Youth Poets United Golden Quill Award.
``Sam's Swan Song'' (#130)
Clarissa must cope with losing her best friend when Sam's mom comes to town to skate in her final roller derby match and take him away to Seattle.

Third season

``Punch the Clocks'' (#131)
Clarissa seeks gainful employment in order to cure her terminal case of EPS; the job at The Beaten Bongo gets away, but those at Bert's Bait Bucket, What a Weenie Hotdog Shack, Precious Poodle Playpen, and Planet Fantastic 2000 (a comic book store) don't.
``The Silent Treatment'' (#132)
When Ferguson starts giving Clarissa the old silent treatment, she wishes things would go back to how they used to be.
``Involunteering'' (#133)
Clarissa is stuck for ideas when Janet asks each member of the family to create presentations for the kids at the Children's Museum.
``Take My Advice...Please'' (#134)
When Ferguson asks Clarissa for advice about how to win a girl's heart, she gives him the worst advice she can think of -- unfortunately, it works!
``Marshall's Mid-Life Crisis'' (#135)
The family is riding out Marshall's midlife crisis okay, until he announces that they're all moving to remote Mango Island in the South Pacific.
``Football Fever'' (#136)
The Darling's next door neighbor, Ned Soaperstein, bets Marshall that no Darling could ever make the school football team.
``Life of Crime'' (#137)
Clarissa's life becomes a nightmare when she accidentally shoplifts a ``Madonna-esque'' bustier.
``Marshall's Parents Visit'' (#138)
Marshall's conservative, straight-laced parents come to visit and celebrate their 40th anniversary -- only they've changed... and now no one can keep up with them.
``Blind Date'' (#139)
When Sam convinces her to go on a blind date, Clarissa prepares for the worst. (Adam Lieberman's description.)
``The Flu'' (#140)
Clarissa and Ferguson have to take over the running of the Darling household when Janet and Marshall are laid up in bed with the flu.
``ESP R US'' (#141)
When Clarissa and her friend Olivia write to ``The Psychic Collection'' to find out whether Olivia is psychic, they both find themselves in trouble that neither could have predicted.
``Commitment'' (#142)
Thinking Clifford is pressuring her into going steady, Clarissa freaks and calls it quits; but when Clifford starts seeing Kiki Nibbleman, Clarissa suddenly feels an overwhelming urge to go steady with... well, anyone!
``Road Trip'' (#143)
The Darlings try to beat the family vacation curse by skipping the usual visit to Lake Winnemucca and going instead to the Grand Canyon; everyone chips in to prepare for the trip, but trouble arises when their plans start conflicting.
``The Bicycle Thief'' (#144)
Clarissa begins to miss her old bike when it disappears from the front lawn; now who'd steal a dumb old bike?
``Boy Thoughts'' (#145)
Starved for attention, Ferguson creates a public access TV show starring himself and Clifford Spleenhurfer -- and manages to embarrass Clarissa and Olivia in the process.
``Hero Worship'' (#146)
The new girl in school, mousy Eve Biderberg, idolizes Clarissa, but things get weird when she starts dressing like Clarissa, talking like her, hanging around with her friends... living her life!
``A Little Romance'' (#147)
Clarissa convinces Sam that there's a perfect girl out there for him -- unfortunately, Sam thinks it's her.
``The Zone'' (#148)
Clarissa ``hits the zone'' and starts playing the flute really well -- until she lands a solo in the school recital; everyone is talking about her impending performance... now if she could only remember how to play!
``Tale of Two Moms'' (#149)
When Sam's mother, Dangerous Debbie, comes to town for the roller derby playoffs and stays with the Darlings, she begins to get on everyone's nerves. [See also ``Sam's Swan Song'' (#130).]
``Don't I Know You'' (#150)
Clarissa and Olivia's plans to beat Cyndi Sparkle with a hip-hop dance routine at this year's Talent Show go awry when Olivia gets sick and Clarissa has to go solo; meanwhile, Clarissa tries to find inspiration in the diary of her look-alike great-great-aunt [once removed] Coco Lancome, a Parisian dancer in the 1920's.
``Babysitting'' (#151)
Clarissa tries and fails to get out of babysitting little Elsie Soaperstein (who gives Clarissa hell every year) on her parents' anniversary.
``Educating Janet'' (#152)
Clarissa prepares for the worst when Janet substitutes for Ferguson's art teacher at their school.
``The Cycle'' (#153)
When Olivia's brother decides to sell his motorcycle, Clarissa is determined to be its new owner.
``A New Mom'' (#154)
Clarissa thinks Janet is suffering from Empty Nest Syndrome, so she does everything she can think of to make her feel needed.

Fourth season

``Editor-In-Chief'' (#155)
When Clarissa becomes the editor of the ``Thomas Tupper Times'', everybody wants a piece of the action.
``Piper Comes to Visit'' (#156)
Clarissa thinks a visit from Piper Henderson of New York City (and London and Istanbul) will cure her boredom, but Piper turns out to be even more bummed-out than Clarissa ever was. (Parts of this description were lifted from Adam Lieberman's ``Episode List''.)
``Alter Ego'' (#157)
For a lark, Clarissa goes to a party dressed as punked-out ``Jade, from Long Island'' (complete with nose-ring); but things get serious when she meets a boy that she likes and who likes her -- uh... that is, who likes Jade.
``Sam's Dad'' (#158)
The exciting world of interning turns out to be not that exciting when Sam and Clarissa each intern for the other's father.
``The Firm'' (#159)
Marshall is being wooed by the architectural firm of Dempsey, Dempsey and Poteet; will he forget all of his ideals and become just another corporate ``suit''?
``Janet & Clarissa, Inc.'' (#160)
Janet and Clarissa decide to go into business together when they invent a health food that bounces.
``Ferguson Explains It All'' (#161)
Ferguson's plans to take over the family (using the mind control techniques of Arnold Huffenflinger) go awry when he goes mano-a-mano against Clarissa; she finally finds out what the Darling household would be like without Ferguson around -- and it's not a pretty sight.
``Dear Clarissa'' (#162)
Clarissa is having so much fun writing an advice column (under the pseudonym Alice B. Talking -- as in Alice B. Toklas) that she doesn't realize the effect she can have on people's lives -- until she gets a letter that's a serious cry for help.
``UFO'' (#163)
Clarissa gets a job as ``stringer'' at ``The Daily Dispatch'', but she's not too keen on her first assignment: a ``kooky'' human-interest story about a local nut (Kate Whitacre) who thinks she saw a UFO -- especially when she realizes that Kate isn't that much of a nut after all.
``Clarissa Gets Arrested'' (#164)
Clarissa and Sam stage a sit-in to protest the use of animal testing by local cosmetics company Woolcott Industries -- and manage to get arrested in the process.
``The Final Episode'' (#165)
Clarissa thinks her future is all set (starting classes in the fall at the College of Cincinnati School of Journalism) until her article on malls and teen angst wins a contest and she's offered an internship at the ``New York Daily Post''.

Summary of episode information

Here is some information about the 65 episodes (and the pilot) of Clarissa Explains It All. They are listed in order of production. Blank lines separate official seasons.


                                Orig.  Running  Date of  Date of  MJH's Age
No. Episode                     Order  Time     Airing   Prod.    at Prod.
--- -------                     -----  -------  -------  -------  ---------
xxx Pilot                         0    ??:??      never   11/90    14y 7m

101 Revenge                       1    19:52    3/23/91    3/91    14y 11m
102 School Picture                6??  25:32    unknown    3/91    14y 11m
103 No T.V.                       2??  25:27    unknown    3/91    14y 11m
104 Urge to Drive                 7??  25:25    unknown    3/91    14y 11m
105 CNN                           3??  25:14    unknown    4/91    15y
106 Haunted House                 4??  26:08    unknown    4/91    15y
107 Bully                         8??  25:44    unknown    4/91    15y
108 New Addition                  5??  25:02    unknown    5/91    15y 1m
109 Brain Drain                   9?   25:56    unknown    5/91    15y 1m
110 Bake a Cake                  10?   25:33    unknown    5/91    15y 1m
111 Parents Who Say No           13?   25:35    unknown    6/91    15y 2m
112 Cool Dad                     12?   25:25    unknown    6/91    15y 2m
113 Sick Days                    11?   25:43    unknown    6/91    15y 2m

114 Crush                        14    24:17    2/14/92    1/92    15y 9m
115 She Drives Me Crazy          15    24:16    2/23/92    1/92    15y 9m
116 Sam.....Darling              16    24:18    3/01/92    2/92    15y 10m
117 President Ferguson           17    24:18    3/08/92    2/92    15y 10m
118 The Return of Mafalda        26    24:17    9/12/92    3/92    15y 11m
119 The Great Debate             25    24:17    9/05/92    3/92    15y 11m
120 ME 101                       18    23:48    6/07/92    3/92    15y 11m
121 The Understudy               23    24:17    8/22/92    3/92    15y 11m
122 Can't Buy Love               24    24:17    8/29/92    4/92    16y
123 Misguidance Counselor        19    24:17    6/14/92    4/92    16y
124 Sam In Love                  20    24:03    6/28/92    5/92    16y 1m
125 A New Look                   21    23:58    7/12/92    5/92    16y 1m
126 Total TV                     22    23:14    8/15/92    5/92    16y 1m
127 Janet's Boyfriend            28    24:02    9/26/92    5/92    16y 1m
128 The Darling Wars             30    24:18 * 10/24/92    6/92    16y 2m
129 Poetic Justice               29    24:17   10/10/92    6/92    16y 2m
130 Sam's Swan Song              27    24:18    9/19/92    6/92    16y 2m

131 Punch the Clocks             31    24:17   11/21/92    9/92    16y 5m
132 The Silent Treatment         32    23:42   11/28/92   10/92    16y 6m
133 Involunteering               33    24:12   12/12/92   10/92    16y 6m
134 Take My Advice...Please      34    24:47   12/19/92   10/92    16y 6m
135 Marshall's Mid-Life Crisis   35    24:18   12/26/92   11/92    16y 7m
136 Football Fever               36    24:07    1/23/93   11/92    16y 7m
137 Life of Crime                37    24:17    1/30/93   11/92    16y 7m
138 Marshall's Parents Visit     38    24:18    2/13/93   12/92    16y 8m
139 Blind Date                   39    24:18    2/27/93   12/92    16y 8m
140 The Flu                      40    24:03    3/13/93    1/93    16y 9m
141 ESP R US                     41    23:59    3/27/93    1/93    16y 9m
142 Commitment                   42    23:50    4/17/93    1/93    16y 9m
143 Road Trip                    43    24:00    5/08/93    1/93    16y 9m
144 The Bicycle Thief            44    24:18    5/22/93    2/93    16y 10m
145 Boy Thoughts                 45    24:15    6/19/93    2/93    16y 10m
146 Hero Worship                 46    24:20    6/26/93    3/93    16y 11m
147 A Little Romance             48    23:57    8/14/93    3/93    16y 11m
148 The Zone                     47    24:18    7/10/93    4/93    17y
149 Tale of Two Moms             49    24:17    8/28/93    4/93    17y
150 Don't I Know You             50    24:08    9/11/93    4/93    17y
151 Babysitting                  51    24:15    9/25/93    5/93    17y 1m
152 Educating Janet              52    24:18   10/16/93    5/93    17y 1m
153 The Cycle                    53    24:17   10/23/93    5/93    17y 1m
154 A New Mom                    54    24:18   11/13/93    6/93    17y 2m

155 Editor-In-Chief              55    24:45   11/20/93    9/93    17y 5m
156 Piper Comes to Visit         56    24:47   12/04/93    9/93    17y 5m
157 Alter Ego                    57    24:19   12/18/93    9/93    17y 5m
158 Sam's Dad                    58    24:18    1/08/94    9/93    17y 5m
159 The Firm                     59    24:19    1/15/94   10/93    17y 6m
160 Janet & Clarissa, Inc.       60    24:18    2/05/94   10/93    17y 6m
161 Ferguson Explains It All     62    26:33    4/23/94   11/93    17y 7m
162 Dear Clarissa                61    24:17    3/12/94   11/93    17y 7m
163 UFO                          63    24:18    7/16/94   12/93    17y 8m
164 Clarissa Gets Arrested       64    24:08    7/23/94   12/93    17y 8m
165 The Final Episode            65    24:49   10/01/94   12/93    17y 8m

 * includes 2:05 ``It Came From Somewhere Else''

Other sources of information
My ``Clarissa Explains It All'' homepage.
The ``Melissa Joan Hart sites around the net'' page at my web-site.

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