Watch Clarissa Explains It All Fans Read Their Fan Mail 20 Years Later


Clarissa Explains It All, which debuted on Nickelodeon in 1991, got tons of fan mail during its four-season run. (This was long before social media, and before most people were regularly using email.) This year, the show’s creator, Mitchell Kreigman, released a new Clarissa book called Things I Can’t Explain—and to celebrate, he caught up with some of the kids who sent that fan mail. The now-adults agreed to read their letters on camera for a video that’s done up in Clarissa’s signature style.

One fan, in his letter, talked about the birth of his baby brother; another, who said in her letter that she’d gotten roles in school plays, confesses that that had been a lie. Another fan—who, in her message, listed all of her pets—summed up why the show appealed to her then, and why it's still so beloved now: “It's a good thing to be smart ... [Clarissa] never had to pretend to be somebody else.”

Kreigman, who spoke with mental_floss last year on the 20th anniversary of the show’s final episode, has done a lot besides Clarissa: he served as executive producer on Bear in the Big Blue House, wrote episodes of Rocko’s Modern Life, and penned a YA novel about a Jersey girl obsessed with Audrey Hepburn. But, he told us, Clarissa is still the “most satisfying thing” in his career. The idea that you do something 20 years ago, and everybody still remembers it—not just remembers it fondly, but passionately, and cares about it—I just love it,” he said.