But then I started watching it, and the show is just now beginning to grow on me. No it's not perfect, it's no pre 8th-season "Simpsons", but you have to appreciate how the creators use the clone characters to both mock the personalities of historic figures and the treacly WB high school dramas AND at the same time give new insights on famous historical figures by placing them in a modern setting.
Some historical figures are easily recognizable. For example JFK is a popular prettyboy jock who constantly surrounds himself with women, Cleopatra is an overly ambitious siren who doesn't let moral clarity get in the way of her goals and Abe Lincoln fills the role of an eagle scout who often speechifies yet is often oblivious of others input.
Other characters are not so obvious. For example Joan of Arc is a goth mired in negatism and Ghandi is an ebullient party-animal. Neither fits the expectations set by their "cloneparents".
Nor should they, because as teenagers, they will distance themselves and form their own identities. But the more you think about the history of their predecessors, the more like them they become. Joan of Arc is devotionally in love with Abe Lincoln, no matter how many times he has spurned her, just like how the real Joan of Arc is devoted to God even when she is being burned at the stake. Also there was the episode where Joan dressed in drag in order to play on the boys basketball team, a la the real Joan leading an all male army.
Ghandi's overly extroverted behavior stems from his need to fit in, just like the real Ghandi emulated the imperialistic Britains during the early part of his life by studying in England, becoming a lawyer and extoling the racist virtues of Cecil Rhodes. Only when Ghandi was mistreated on the train did he begin his campaign for social justice.
All in all three stars (***) out of four. The idea of recasting historical figures in a modern high school drama still screams "I've run out of ideas", but they somehow made up for it by casting characters I can care about.
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