Melissa explains Clarissa: ”She knows exactly what she wants. She’s into being a fashion Don’t.” Melissa is the almost-16-year-old Melissa Joan Hart, who plays 14-year-old Clarissa Darling on Nickelodeon’s Clarissa Explains It All, now in its second successful season.
Clarissa is a funky Ferris Bueller type who likes to turn to the camera to explain her teenage world (her first crush, dad’s speech at Career Night). Like Clarissa, Hart seems both sophisticated and kidlike. Lunching at a Manhattan bistro, she orders escargot but then admits that what she really likes is that she can draw on the tablecloth. ”She has the ability to draw you in a calm, quiet way,” says executive producer Mitchell Kriegman. ”She’s incredibly natural.”
Hart, who has appeared in Beside Herself Off Broadway and on Saturday Night Live and Another World, lives in Greenwich Village with her casting agent mom and four siblings. Her wish for the show: ”A girlfriend to hang out with — I’m surrounded by boys.” For now, Clarissa may be feeling her first pangs of love. ”This season, everyone has a brush with the L-word,” Kriegman says. Hart hopes the show continues until both she and Clarissa head off to Yale. But not to its famed drama school — she says she’s already had enough of that.