Originally published with Paste Magazine on October 9, 2015.
When Clarissa Explains It All first aired on Nickelodeon in 1991 it accomplished several firsts. For starters, it was the first television show starring a female protagonist on the network. It also marked a significant shift in terms of the network’s programming. Hey Dude had broadened the possibilities by becoming a live action hit, which let Nickelodeon explore options beyond cartoons, including Clarissa Explains It All, Salute Your Shorts and more.
Network execs had concerns about a female lead, worrying that it would ostracize male viewers, but the show quickly proved this wasn’t the case. Girls and boys tuned in to watch Clarissa (played by Melissa Joan Hart) get into and out of scrapes, learn lessons along the way, and look totally rad doing it all. [Full article available at Paste]