With the new Netflix series about Sabrina Spellman, when people hear Melissa Joan Hart these days they might go straight to Sabrina the Teenage Witch. But before Sabrina there was Clarissa, the teen protagonist of Clarissa Explains It All on Nickelodeon, who talked directly to the camera and walked the audience through the typical adolescent woes of 9th grade.
In the new documentary The Orange Years: The Nickelodeon Story (executive produced by Adam F. Goldberg, creator of The Goldbergs), Hart recounts her audition with Clarissa-creator Mitchell Kriegman where he asked her whether she liked the band New Kids on the Block.
“He said, ‘Do you like the New Kids on the Block?’ and I went, ‘Ugh, I hate them!’ and then I went, oh no. This guy’s in Hollywood, he probably knows them.”
But turns out Kriegman was more interested in which bands Hart liked. She was a fan of They Might Be Giants, which went on to inform Clarissa’s slightly off-beat tastes.
In addition to Hart, Nickelodeon alums Kenan Thompson (All That, Kenan and Kel), Kel Mitchell (All That, Kenan and Kel), Marc Summers (Double Dare), Christine Taylor (Hey Dude), Larisa Oleynik (The Secret World of Alex Mack), Danny Tamberelli (The Adventures of Pete & Pete), Michael C. Maronna (The Adventures of Pete & Pete), and Christine McGlade (You Can’t Do That on Television), and more also appear recall their time during the early years of the network.
The Orange Years: The Nickelodeon Story, produced by Shawn Cauthen (Netflix vs. the World), Bill Parks (Ghostheads), and Alisa Reyes (All That), will premiere at DOC NYC on Nov. 15.