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New MTV show offers modern stage for historical drama -- high school

March 6, 2003

By Jessica Runnels

Ode to drama -- the mystical, magical and magnificent force that rules all of our lives. It compels us to strive for greatness, backstab our friends for formal dates, agonize over Sing acts and wallow in the defeat that accompanies our relentless quest for perfection. Yes, drama controls us all.

Sunday night I was watching a re-run of MTV's latest reality television show, Clone High USA. Suddenly I had an epiphany -- a small one, but an epiphany nonetheless. We the people of the 20th and 21st centuries didn't invent drama; we just invented its largest and most regularly used stage -- high school.

Clone High follows five historical figures -- Cleopatra, Joan of Arc, John F. Kennedy, Abraham Lincoln and Mahatma Gandhi -- as teenagers attempting to make it through high school. Their lives are filled with the usual bickering, egotistical antics and self-consciousness that we all battled in high school, but their trials and tribulations become more significant because they all are destined for greatness.

Let's meet the characters.

The girls, Cleo and Joan, are as different as night and day. Cleo, with her dark hair, striking features and overabundance of confidence, is the most popular girl in school, and most of the guys would cut off one of their own limbs just to have a date with her.

Joan, on the other hand, is every guy's best friend. She is smart, witty, athletic and willing to stand up for a cause. She's also a bit of a tomboy, and she hunches over when she walks.

The boys are equally diverse, yet just as interesting. JFK is a charming overachiever who has lived the privileged life that is the stuff of legends. He's obviously a politician in the making, running for student body president but losing at the last minute to a stray dog, and he's a ladies' man. In fact he's Cleo's ex-boyfriend, but rest assured there is no shortage of eager girls to fill her place.

Abe is the super-tall, diplomatic and somewhat self-conscious captain of the basketball team. Abe is dating Cleo, which is fine except for the fact that he has more in common with Joan, and she knows it. Joan even dressed like a guy and changed her name to John Dark in an effort to talk Abe into asking her to the homecoming dance. Abe just thought John was trying to move in on Cleo, who, being the most irresistible girl in school, couldn't understand why the new basketball player just wasn't interested in her.

Last, but definitely not least, there is Gandhi, a skinny, quirky, gangster-in-the-making who suffers from attention deficient disorder, which everyone thought could be caught from toilet seats. Gandhi does weird things like befriending strange aliens and making rap videos with an abundance of scantily clad women.

Clone High is definitely the funniest show you aren't watching, and although it's silly, it does have a point. We all need some form of drama in our lives. Cleo, Joan, JFK, Abe and Gandhi all had drama, not in an American high school of course, and look at where it got them.

So I challenge all of us to make a new third-month-of-the-year resolution. We all should embrace the drama in our lives with open arms, knowing that it will make us better people in the long run. Or you can just watch Clone High USA at 9:30 p.m. Mondays on MTV and get a good laugh knowing that life in high school, or the Baylor Bubble, ain't so bad after all.