Na na na na! Way cool! For those who don’t remember, those words made up the theme song for ‘Clarissa Explains It All.’ Nickelodeon definitely had a hit on its hands in the ‘90s when it aired the cheesy, but loveable, series. Who didn’t love tuning into the quirkiness of the Darling family and to receive advice from Clarissa Darling herself? Also, we can’t forget her amazing fashion and that fabulous bedroom that pretty much everyone wished they had for themselves.
I think it’s perfect timing to catch up with the small cast -- it’s been 22 years since the show first started -- and to see what they’re up to today, especially since the recent announcement that the hit show would be turned into a book. Yes, a book! Creator Mitchell Kriegman will be turning Clarissa’s life, who is now in her mid-20s, into a print version. It’s slated to be released in the fall of 2014. How exciting!
Let’s see where the cast is today:
1. Actress: Melissa Joan Hart
Character: Clarissa Darling
Back in the day, she was definitely admired for her wit, style and comedy, but nowadays, Melissa Joan Hart is all grown up and has evolved into a beautiful woman. After saying goodbye to ‘Clarissa,’ Hart dabbled here and there with a variety of projects, but the one show that put her back on the acting map was the popular teen series ‘Sabrina the Teenage Witch.’ The comedy lasted for seven seasons. After that, she wasn’t spotted on too many TV shows, but as we all know, she is now a lead on the ABC Family Comedy ‘Melissa & Joey.’ Of course, we can’t forget her appearances on ‘Dancing with the Stars,’ ‘Drive Me Crazy’ and ‘Can’t Hardly Wait.’ When she isn’t acting, Hart is very busy at home with her husband of 10 years and their three boys, Mason, Braydon and Tucker.
2. Actor: Jason Zimbler
Character: Ferguson Darling
He played Clarissa’s annoying little redheaded brother Ferguson who was always causing trouble and getting in the way. We all knew and loved him as Ferg-Face! So, what happened to Jason Zimbler? After playing Ferguson Darling, Zimbler fell off the acting map. He hasn’t appeared in anything since. Rather than continue with acting, Zimbler ended up going to school at Notre Dame and graduated in 1998. Just because he didn’t stick to acting doesn’t mean he’s still not in the entertainment industry. Apparently, he currently works for HBO as a full-time software designer.
3. Actress: Elizabeth Hess
Character: Janet Darling
Elizabeth Hess played smart, responsible and respectable mother and wife Janet Darling to her two children and husband. After the Nickelodeon series ended, Hess didn’t take on too many TV or movie projects. In 2000, she starred in one episode of ‘Law & Order,’ but hasn’t been spotted in any major titles. Ever since ‘Clarissa,’ Hess has taken a liking to the theater world. Reportedly, she is now a teaching coach at top education facilities like Fordham University at Lincoln Center and NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She’s also starred in several theater works, including ‘Descent,’ ‘Birth Rite,’ ‘At/One’ and ‘Living Opening & Notoriously.’
4. Actor: Joe O’Connor
Character: Marshall Darling
Joe O’Connor was known for playing Marshall Darling aka the unique architect who designed tourist and retail attractions. When he wasn’t working or giving Clarissa advice, he was known for calling his daughter by the nickname “sport.” Like Melissa Joan Hart, he’s also stuck to acting and has starred in many TV series like ‘Friends,’ ‘Melrose Place,’ ER’ and ‘Weeds,’ among several others. Most recently he was spotted on ‘Bones,’ ‘NCIS’ and ‘Mad Men,’ where he played the recurring role of Tom Vogel.
5. Actor: Sean O’Neal
Character: Sam Anders
Who didn’t love seeing Sean O’Neal play Sam Anders aka Clarissa’s best friend? It was refreshing to see -- in the ‘90s -- a friendship that was between a girl and a boy, rather than the traditional friendships that were featured in every other TV show. In addition to being BFF’s with Clarissa, Sam was also known for visiting her by propping a ladder on the side of her house, and then entering her room through the window. Talk about a unique entrance! After his stint as Sam was finished, O’Neal rarely appeared on the small or big screen. Nowadays, his one true love is his music and singing career.
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