hello! im sure a lot of you have heard of the cartoon network show clarence through the skylar page scandal, in which the creator of clarence sexually harassed a storyboard revisionist, emily partridge, and was fired for it. i wasnt in the fandom before this disgusting behavior came to light, but i am now and i can clearly see the effect its had on the shows fandom. there is not that much fanart, when you ask people about their favorite cartoons they never recommend clarence, there are a number of rumors about it, and even well known cartoon reviewers like mr enter call it a bad cartoon. im here today to dispel some rumors and give you some reasons to watch this great show. and just so we’re clear, ive watched twenty something episodes with a friend who’s watched most of season one, but having said that…
rumor: you shouldnt watch clarence because skylar page, a known sexual harasser, worked on the show and youre supporting him by watching it!
truth: yes, skylar page has sexually harassed a woman at cartoon network, and he was rightfully fired for it. he has not been involved with clarence since 2014, and gains nothing from you watching his show. but there’s more! a writer for clarence, patrick harpin, has come forth and said that despite creating the show, skylar page has had little to no influence on it. all of the great things i can say about clarence are made possible because of the amazing writers and storyboard artists, and the most that skylar page did was read over their ideas and approve them. an entire team of talented people worked very hard to bring clarence to life, and it would be a damn shame to discredit them just because skylar page was a part of that team, especially when he contributed next to nothing and has not been working on the show for two years.
truth: no, there are not. in fact, the protagonist, clarence, and his mother and step father are all fat and there are never any jokes made about their weight. in addition, no other fat stereotypes and misconceptions, like all of their clothes not fitting, or being unattractive are used.
rumor: there’s gross out humor!
truth: no. i have not seen this episode yet, but according to my friend there is only one episode specifically focused on gross out humor, in which some kids get together and try to tell the grossest stories imaginable because they think it’s funny. other than that, i havent seen anything even remotely resembling gross out humor.
rumor: the art style looks bad!
truth: while i will admit that this one is a little more subjective, personally, i dont think so. i think it just looks like the art style of a modern cartoon, and is on the same level as the art style of say, steven universe or gravity falls, while also being very distinct. the colors are great and the animation is always fluid and every setting looks real and like somebody actually lives/works there. its always a joy to watch.
and now, here are some reasons why i think clarence is a great show that deserves a lot more attention and praise:
-i’ve consumed a lot of media that has a child protagonist, or even a large cast of child characters, but this is the first piece of media ive seen in a long time that genuinely feels like its from the perspective of a child, while also not being immature or shallow. i have never watched this show as a child, but it still manages to evoke feelings of nostalgia.
-the refusal to use generic, boring stereotypes and tropes that have been done to death. it would have been so easy to take the main trio and make clarence a fat dumb kid, jeff a stuck up nerdy goody two shoes, and sumo the bad influence, but they’re not! each and every character, even the ones that arent used as often as the main trio, still have a lot of little details and quirks that make them feel real, especially the trio, which is really amazing when so many people seem to have no idea how to write children. i feel like i could run into any of these characters in the real world and it would make sense, they feel like real people! it would be so easy to make mary and chad, clarences parents, into the smart wife and dumb husband trope, but no! mary is good natured, determined, and never shows anything short of unconditional support to her son. chad is more goofy, but for the most part hes not irresponsible, hes not incompetent, and hes great with kids! id also like to point out, while im at it, that this show never uses bad relationships as humor; clarence’s parents love each other and fully support their son, the same goes for jeff and his parents, sumo doesnt have the greatest relationship with his parents, but its never treated as funny.
-the representation. as ive said before, the main character and his family are all fat and its never treated as a bad thing. jeff, a member of the main trio, is shown to be neuroatypical and its never treated with anything short of respect. jeff also has two moms, who deeply love and care for him and 100% support him, and theyre never treated as abnormal and there are no jokes made at their expense.
-i know ive gone into this a little bit above, but the characters are magnificent. they have so many quirks and tiny details to make them seem real, and there are plenty of episodes dedicated to just developing them, and its honestly so enjoyable to watch them interact with each other.
if it wasnt already clear, i think clarence is a great show, and its rly upsetting to see so many people write it off because of a creator who gains nothing from people enjoying his show, or because of some bogus rumors. having said that, you can watch one of the episodes here, on youtube, for free, on cartoon networks official channel. please, give it a chance.