Film Fest: Tears of a Clone is the fourth (of 13) episode of the popular and defunct animated television series Clone High. In it, the teenaged cloned versions of various historical figures (who were cloned by a secret branch of the U.S. government in order to build a super army) learn to channel their feelings into artistic pursuits following an unfortunate riot.

Plot summary (spoilers)

The Clone High cross-country team wins a meet, causing the students to riot. The riot is particularly violent, complete with smashed windows and a flipped (and then ignited) swimming pool. Principal Scudworth sees nothing wrong with the riot at first; he is initially impressed that the Clones are rioting at a college level. He is quickly reprimanded by the Secret Board of Shadowy Figures, however, who inform him that he's walking on thin ice -- clone of Karen Carpenter thin. They invite themselves to his place for dinner to discuss their concerns in person. Scudworth's suggestion of the Olive Garden is shut down. His house. Next Thursday. No dairy... please.

Kindly history teacher/first mostly human clone Mr. Sheepman tries to deal with the riot by proclaiming himself the clones' care-iff. He inadvertently reveals that he lets his feelings out every night between 9 and 9:15 p.m. on a pillow shaped like his father, then invites the clones to share ways to express their feelings. Gandhi reveals that Joan makes movies, which she explains to be experimental works that she never shows anyone. Feeling responsible for the riot as a member of the cross-country team, Abe offers to organize a film festival.

Joan is, at first, skeptical about the idea and isn't generally enthused because she knows Abe likes Cleo -- much to her great disappointment. Abe misinterprets this as disappointment in the commercial aspects of the film festival and tries to make it up to Joan. When she tells him that there's something pressing she needs to express, he tells her she should use her film to tell him rather than say it outright.

The clones get to work on their films: Joan enlists the help of Genghis Khan for her movie about "Gabe Lincolne," who loves his best friend but hasn't told her yet. Abe plans an inspirational story about a football-playing giraffe. Cleo's film, "The Best of the Best of the Best of the Best of the Best" is about how difficult it is to be her. Gandhi approaches George Washington Carver to co-star in his film about two cops from different cultures learning to fight crime together as buddies -- Black and Tan -- and has a hard time at first. Carver has only agreed to be in the film after being assured that there is a part for his anthropomorphic peanut. Creative differences ensue; Carver walks off the project but then saves Gandhi's life when a water tower collapses. He agrees to be in the film provided he gets to rewrite his character his way. Say whaaaaaaaaaaaat?

Cleo, meanwhile, is having a great deal of trouble with her biopic. Her diva attitude is wearing down the crew. Joan's film is suffering from the fact that her leading man, Genghis Khan, isn't terribly bright and keeps forgetting his lines. (His only line is to weep uncontrollably.) Abe is also having difficulty getting the right degree of emotion out of his leading actor, who just can't seem to properly convey that there's nothing in the rule book that says a giraffe can't play football. JFK's film never materializes, since he spends most of his time making out with prospective actresses in the projection room. Principal Scudworth is also concerned with the state of his apartment, which he hasn't redecorated since getting his degree in the mad sciences. He and Mr. Butlertron go shopping, and a musical montage about self-expression follows.

Joan's film is complete, and she's excited about it because it sums up her feelings for Abe. After running into him in the editing room, however, her excitement fades. He refers to her as a friend multiple times, explicitly stating that they're like brothers -- even closer than sisters. So close they could sleep in the same bed and never touch or kiss. This breaks Joan's heart. Dejected, she throws her film in the garbage. Abe finds it a few minutes later and decides that Joan is going to express herself -- "even if I have to do it for her." On the night of the film festival, Joan is shocked to find her name listed in the program. Abe tells her that she should express her feelings because they might change the world. But that's what Joan's afraid of.

The screenings begin. Gandhi's film is well received, whereas Abe's film, which involves a giraffe playing football and scoring the winning touchdown in an all-important game spurred on partially by the love of a young woman before he is beamed back to the mothership and the girl announces that she's pregnant with the giraffe's lovechild, is met with confused applause. Cleo's film is just about to air when Clone High's coal-powered projector catches fire, destroying the remaining films. Joan is jubilant, loudly proclaiming that there might just be a God after all. The teenaged clone of Thomas Edison, who runs the projector, then rains on her parade by announcing that her film not only survived the fire but expanded due to the heat and is now available in widescreen. ("Oh. There is no God.") Before the film is screened, Joan announces to the audience that "It's pretty obvious what this is about, so let's just get it over with." The film is anything but obvious, however, as it is styled after experimental Ingmar Bergman-type films. The entire audience is confused once it's over -- except Sigmund Freud, who correctly understands that it means that Joan loves Abe. She hits him.

Meanwhile, Scudworth and Mr. Butlertron have successfully converted the former's bachelor pad into a place worthy of bringing one's shadowy overloads for dinner. Right before the guests arrive, Scudworth sends Mr. B into the kitchen so the Secret Board members don't see him. Mr. B is upset and cries when he reaches the other room. The dinner, however, doesn't go well. Scudworth's attempt at an ice-breaking comment ("So, religion's for fools, eh? Fools and liberals!") is met with empty silence. Mr. B saves the day, however, by asking whether he's in space -- because the Shadowy Figures look out of this world. The head Shadowy Figure informs Scudworth that they came to his house to kill him but had such a wonderful time that they'll give him another chance. The storyline ends with Scudworth telling Mr. B that he's done it again. Awwww.

Abe officially closes the film fest by asking the assembled crowd whether it was the best film fest ever. This devolves into yet another riot, similar in virtually every aspect to the original. Meanwhile, Joan and Abe talk outside. Joan asks whether her film changed everything, since Abe must obviously know the truth about how she feels. Abe, not wanting to rock the boat, tepidly agrees and confirms that he wants to stay friends with Joan. She then says something about her film being the only one that was truly personal, to which Abe takes offence. "Did you watch my movie, Joan, or did you just see it?" he asks, explaining that he was that giraffe. This leads Joan to ask who the little girl in the film was, to which Abe bids her good night and leaves. The episode ends with the "camera" zooming in on Joan as reflective music plays. The music then stops abruptly as Joan looks at the "camera" confusedly.

Historical references

This is the first major appearance for the clone of George Washington Carver. He appears briefly in the first episode when he first introduces his genetically engineered peanut. This is an obvious reference to the real George Washington Carver and peanut butter. There are also minor references to other historical figures, such as the clone of Mother Teresa submitting a "teen slasher sex romp" to the festival. The early reference to Scudworth being on ice as thin as the clone of Karen Carpenter is another.

This is one of the most quotable Clone High episodes, if not one of the most well-known and well-loved. Of course, it's hard to determine which is the most well-known and well-loved when there are only 13 episodes to begin with. Nonetheless, when I personally think of my favourite Clone High quotes I am instantly reminded of a number from this episode:

  • "Unacceptable? Did you see the pool? They fipped the bitch."
  • "Do you mind? Some of us are nailing Catherine the Great, here... or, should I say, Catherine the So-So!"
  • "Say whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?"

References:
http://www.clone-high.com/episodes.htm
"ADD: The Last 'D' is for 'Disorder.'" Clone High: The Complete First Season. DVD. Owned by me.

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