A team of intergalactic warriors fights to protect the universe, but the combination of three highly trained beings and one quirky young boy leaves the team struggling to overcome the dangerous scenarios that are put in front of them.
The offbeat adventures of Courage, a cowardly dog who must overcome his own fears to heroically defend his unknowing farmer owners from all kinds of dangers, paranormal events and menaces that appear around their land.
I really feel bad that I undersold this show in the beginning, but I'm so very glad I decided to give it another go.
"Clarence" has had it a little rough with the controversy surrounding its creator, Skylar Page. In spite of this, I really hope that it manages to rise above this and be lauded for its diversity and real heart when it comes to relationships between friends and families.
I like that each of the three boys really brings something to the table and has their own sort of intelligence as well as faults. Jeff comes off as the one who is most easily able to traverse the ins and outs of society, sometimes acting as the apologist for his other two, more socially awkward friends, but isn't without his faults, having a bit of anxiety and a general "uptightness" about him. In spite of this, he never really comes off as seemingly thinking of himself as better than his two friends. Sumo is as intelligent with practical things as Jeff is with dealing with people, and has a sincerity and loyalty about him when it comes to his two friends. But he's also that friend everyone had who would've set off fireworks inside a shed full of cans of gas and paint just to see what would happen.
And Clarence is the heart and glue that holds the three together. I get this distinct feeling that Jeff and Sumo might not "hang out" or even paid attention to one another had it not been for Clarence. While sometimes grating, Clarence is also very empathetic and sympathetic to all of those around him, and has a desire to make things around him better.
The relationships with parents are really great, as are the different types of families portrayed and lifestyles. Clarence and his family consist of his mother and her supportive but bit of a slacker boyfriend. Clarence has a dad, but he's "no longer in the picture". This is the type of family I grew up in when I was younger, but that I didn't really see represented. You have the feeling that Clarence and his family aren't exactly the richest, but that they get by. The front yard's a mess, the blinds are cracked, and there's forever a purse on the doorknob. Again, this is the world I grew up in, and it's refreshing to see it portrayed as something not bad, not good, but neutral. Life.
Jeff and Sumo live in completely different worlds. Jeff isn't particularly wealthy, but seems more of the "upper middle" class. He probably has gone skiing to Colorado for a family vacation at some point. And his family is probably one of the most progressive I've seen, consisting of him and his two moms. And again, no extra attention is given to this. It's just life. Sumo, meanwhile, lives with a countless number of siblings in an area where he'd probably be fine neighbors with Kenny McCormick and his family. He's self-aware of this, noting that he doesn't have a lot, and sometimes gets lost in the shuffle with the rest of his siblings, but still has a loving relationship with his father.
And the relationships between the children and their parents is something else I find really special about this show. In a more recent episode, both Belson and Clarence are tasked with cleaning their homes, and their mothers both take equal but different ways of "inspiring" their sons to clean. Neither method is particularly mean, and looking from the point of view as an adult, I recognized both of these from growing up.
The show has its surreal moments that remind you that it's a cartoon for sure. There are random musical numbers, breaking of the fourth wall, and blendings of reality, sometimes when you expect it the least, but I think that it's honestly just the show playing with its own reality, and I appreciate these occasional breaks. The writers are aware of the huge universe they have to play in, and they like to take opportunities with using it as their sandbox. The only limits of the world are Clarence's imagination.
It's hard to follow acts like "Adventure Time" and "Steven Universe," which are often touted for their inclusion of different types of people and lifestyles, but I really don't think this show gets the credit it deserves. There's no large, over-arching mythos or hidden secrets. It's just a bunch of kids and their friends and occasionally things get really weird. But I think it's really relatable in its own way, with likable characters and situations that are easy for most people to remember being in.
3 of 5 people found this review helpful.
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