Clone High Episode 7 ‘Plane Crazy; Gate Expectations’
Written by Tom Martin
Aired 12/8/2002 on MTV
Part of the high school experience is being selfish with every single life decision, large or small. In between puberty stuff, trying to find your own identity, and staring at boobs, high school is about making decisions to serve and further yourself. It’s part of the reason reality doesn’t hit us until we’re adults – it’s staring us right in the face in our formative years, but we’re too busy learning about ourselves to notice the world around us. This is the crux behind ‘Plane Crazy; Gate Expectations’, where the slowly blooming romance between Abe and Cleo hits a major snag.
Of course, it’s over something so arbitrary, it could only be found on a high school show: Ashley Parker Angel from O-Town (yeah, it’s a dated joke) has started a dancing academy, and Cleo’s acceptance brings her to the faraway beaches of Canada, where it’s filmed. And like any guy his age with a new girlfriend that’s way out of his league, Abe is insecure about his girl grinding up on Ashley (who might be the most gaily-dressed character in the history of animated television) and would rather her stay here and be with him, than pursue her dreams and do what makes her happy.
This is the dilemma a lot of high school couples face at some point, when college admission letters start rolling in and adult lives start seeping into the snow globe of high school life. And like Abe and Cleo, we deal with it in the best way we know how: we try and get exactly what we want – because we’re young, so fuck compromises, right? Abe’s jealousy blinds him to the reality that Cleo is still keeping her promise of being faithful (at least, we’re mostly lead to believe), even when it becomes obvious Ashley Parker Angel from O-Town is really in love with her.
In reality, the build-up for the entire episode is the build-up to the first ‘real’ kiss between Cleo and Abe, all built around a parody of airport scenes in romantic comedies. The joke gets a little repititve by the time we get to Ashley’s singing version of the “Don’t get on that plaaaaaaaneeeee!!!”, but the visual trickery by Cleo in the last scene is actually quite touching, and reveals to us that for all the narcissistic behavior Cleo exhibits, she’s actually starting to feel something for the guy whose shrunken varsity jacket is around her neck.
That being said, the rest of the episode was funny, but not nearly as strongly written. Ghandi goes off on a very predictable rap journey, after rhyming the words ‘kiss’ with ‘bupkis’ and adorning the moniker G-Spot, which leads to an intentionally annoying (but still grating to listen to) song that gets him super popular. I typically enjoy Ghandi more when he’s interacting with the other characters, rather than being ‘zany’ on his own, so I could do without the music video scenes – and it feels like the whole point is to have JFK condemn rap music as ‘song-taking’, something I find a bit offensive and off-putting in a way most of Clone High isn’t.
Scudworth’s plot is even more annoying, a lazy recreation of the Wile E. Coyote cartoons, replacing the road runner with a skunk whose tagline is “Try and catch me, bitch!” Really all the story line is Scudworth being set up in increasingly brutal and elaborate ways, with each scene closing with the skunk and his tagline. The scenes all felt very unconnected to anything else going on, and even on its own, felt too pedestrian and predictable to be funny (although I did enjoy the end: “you’ve got crabs, ass-face!”).
All in all, a mixed episode for Clone High, leaving Joan out of most of the action to spend way too much time playing on the same airport joke over and over again (just like the Scudworth/skunk sideplot). But it’s still an infinitely watchable episode, playing off the ideas of the selfish nature of being a teenager. The dialogue and jokes are great, but the physical gags in this episode were a big swing and a miss.
– JFK: “above the fruited plain…. HAHAHAHA, fruited plain!!!!”
– Scudworth: “I’ll be able to see and hear everything they taste and smell.”
– Cleo reveals she’s hooked up with JFK, a college boy, her dentist, and her tennis instructor. Someone is experienced for a high schooler.
– “Last boarding call for Canada City, Canada.”
– Apparently, Ghandi is dating Sarah Michelle Gellar.