Creator of Clarissa Explains it All, writer, director, and producer.
It was Mitchell who reached out to me a few months ago, reminding me that in 2013 he had reviewed an art show I had curated at the Arts Fund of Santa Barbara. He had a book he had published and it was then I realized this was the man who ruled many a ’90s teens’ life with the show he created, Clarissa Explains It All on Nickelodeon.
His new book, Things I Can’t Explain: A Clarissa Novel reimagines Clarissa as a 20-something who can no longer explain it all, and must traverse a landscape of modern romance and modern publishing.
We set up this talk in his Santa Barbara home, very close to where I once used to live, among his daughter’s paintings and memorabilia from his other shows, specifically Bear in the Big Blue House. But I had read his bio and his IMDB and I knew there was more to him that cool stuff for kids.
In this wide ranging interview we talk about writing teen characters, growing up in Virginia, his stint at Saturday Night Live, and who was scarier to work under, Mike O’donoghue or John Kricfalusi.
Above: One of Mitchell’s early video works, Cleavage.
If you’re listening to this episode on the day we posted it, i.e. OUR SEASON TWO PREMIERE!!! then you will be in time for this Friday, Dec. 11, at 6 p.m. where I’ll be introducing Mitchell at SBCC’s FeBland Forum for ClarissaFest, featuring a screening of the show and a Q&A. There will also be an afterparty at ImpactHub, 1117 State St. following the event, from 8 to 11. RSVP at clarissafest.splashthat.com
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