Na- Na- Na- Na! Hey cool! From 1991-94 Clarissa Explains It All on Nickelodeon was the it thing. Clarissa Darling was the girl you wanted advice from. Of course the lead actress Melissa Joan Hart has accomplished many big things since the show ended in movies,tv, fashion, merchandising,marriage,and motherhood and has become one of the most popular television stars of this generation. Melissa was nice enough to chat with me about the show and Nickelodeon Studios all in part of the documentary about the studios.
1. How did you get the role in “Clarissa Explains it All”?
I auditioned 3 times in NY
2. What was a typical day like at Nickelodeon Studios?
We worked 10 hour days, 6 days a week and inside the dark studios the only time we saw the Florida sun was when we walked to our school trailer which was outside the studios elephant doors.
3. Do you remember any other shows being filmed where you were at?
Welcome freshman was there when we first started and the variety show called RoundHouse that I loved to sneak into the stage and watch. The kids on these other shows and I would hang out once in a while.
4. I know that “Clarissa” was the first scripted show produced at Nick Studios and was a deciding factor on whether a show could be filmed in Florida. What was one of the good things about living/working in Orlando?
At that age I enjoyed the theme parks. I didn’t get a chance to enjoy the area since we worked 6 day weeks and then on my off weeks I headed home to New York. But the weather was a plus.
5. “Clarissa” was the first Nickelodeon show that centered around a female protagonist and really paved a way for the female centered Nickelodeon shows right now. How do you feel about that role today?
I hold Clarissa in a very special place in my heart for many reasons. When you read my book Melissa Explains it All this fall you might get a good idea of how I felt about the character.
6.. Have you ever gotten slimed?
Yes I think I did once as a taped segment for the awards show but we also did a Clarissa episode called Brain Drain which was a game show like Double Dare and me and Ferg slid down a gooey slide into a pool of slime. Nick studios had a gal kitchen and I would often go in and taste the slime and gak which were made of applesauce and pudding.
7. Did you have a favorite ride at Universal Studios Florida?
I loved Back to the Future at the time. I have to go visit the Harry Potter world next time.
8. I think that Nickelodeon Studios was a special place for kids and adults to interact with actors and tv shows and just have a lot of fun especially somewhere like Orlando. Would you agree with that?
Yes it was a great way to show the world how tv is produced without being disruptive to the process. I think it was educational for kids and adults alike.
9. Would you like to see Nick Studios be re-opened?
Sure. At the time they were cutting edge technology and brand new. It would be nice to see them open to the public whether Nickelodeon or another network/studio for the public to enjoy and as a great place to make some tv magic.