Rewatching Explains It All from an adult perspective, Collins’ perspective, one spots depression lingering on its edges. Teenage problems are confusing. Girls and boys succumb to the same pressures every day. Clarissa dreams big to escape -- “Blind Date” transforms into a black-and-white gothic romance for a solid five minutes -- and jumps her hurdles. Which may have been easier in the ‘90s. Collins says she came up with Hunger Games after flipping between war-torn, 24-hour news footage and reality television. ”We have so much programming coming at us all the time," she told the AP in 2010, ”Is it too much? Are we becoming desensitized to the entire experience? ... I can't believe a certain amount of that isn't happening." This is not Clarissa’s world. The movies, television, and video games that saved her then only add to today’s cacophony. Hunger Games pines for the simpler life of math tests, annoying siblings, and best buds who pay visits through second-story windows.
There was no doubt Collins would one day switch gears from television to the literary. Clarissa was well read. In "Blind Date” and “A Little Romance,” the Darlings quote Robert Frost’s “Mending Wall” and the Shakespeare play Antony and Cleopatra. Later in life, she wanted to be a writer (and in the failed 1995 CBS pilot Clarissa Now, she almost became one). There’s reason to think Clarissa would grow up to write something like The Hunger Games. She had imagination. She had perspective. And she was a little angry. Collins followed the path instead -- but she never left her first proxy behind.
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Matt Patches is Thrillist’s entertainment editor. He previously wrote for Grantland, Esquire.com, Vulture, The Hollywood Reporter, and The Guardian. Growing up, he really wanted Clarissa's computer. Find him on Twitter: @misterpatches.