In Defense of: “Clerks: The Animated Series”

clerks TAS

If you ask filmmaker Kevin Smith what the biggest successes of his career are, he’d include Clerks, Dogma, Red State, and Smodcast Internet Radio. That completely makes sense, because that’s what most everyone else would include.

Now, if you asked him about his biggest failures, he’d say Jersey Girl and Cop Out, then he’d launch into a long story with the phrase “one time, I wrote a script for Superman…”

But there’s a piece of media out there that is generally left off either of those lists, even though it deserves a spot on both. That is Clerks: The Animated Series.

Somewhere along the line, someone had to the idea to do a cartoon based on the movie Clerks and run it on network television, ABC to be specific. Sounds like the perfect idea, right? Not so much.

This is where the failure part comes in. Only 6 episodes were developed, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. As far as I am concerned, Smith and company did the right thing. They produced half an order and had planned on playing the rest of the season by ear. Smart move on their part. It was the network that drove Clerks: The Animated Series into the ground.

Instead of setting a single timeslot for the cartoon, it was just kind of jammed in between other things as filler. That’s the first step in the making this no respect sandwich. Next, they ran the shows out of order. They played the fourth episode first (makes sense, right?), and two weeks later, they played the second. But the second episode relies heavily on the first episode (we’ll get to that in a few minutes), which means no one had a clue what was happening because the first episode never aired.

Great marketing, right?

It’s really a shame that ABC ran the show into the ground, though. I’ve seen all of the episodes, and trust me, they are good enough to hunt down. I bet someone has DVDs…

There were a few little things I didn’t like, like the fact that Jay and Silent Bob sold illegal fireworks instead of drugs. But honestly, the change made sense, and it didn’t take me out of it any. Another thing is the lack of profanity. Vulgarity is the hallmark of pretty much any Kevin Smith movie, specifically the Clerks franchise, but again, the change makes sense. You can’t say “fuck” or “cocksucker” or talk about going ass-to-mouth on ABC, and all of those things are commonplace from the guy who wrote the line “My girlfriend sucked 37 dicks!”

But that just made the writing smarter. Smith and the other writers (including the legendary Paul Dini!) couldn’t rely on dick and farts jokes too much or else they’d get canned (fat lot of good that did them), so they tightened up the writing and got some of the funniest exchanges I have ever heard in any Kevin Smith creation.

Now, I figured since the series is one of my favorite things Kevin Smith has ever done and only six episodes long (roughly two hours after the commercials are removed), I’d take it upon myself it watch them all marathon style and give you a taste of each.

Check it out! Each page has a separate episode. I know, it’s convenient.

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5 thoughts on “In Defense of: “Clerks: The Animated Series”

  1. I was there when Clerks first aired.I liked it. Knew absolutely nothing about Kevin Smith at the time. A year later, I was obsessed with View Askew and Clerks The Animated Series was on my VHS shelf. I still go back to it (on DVD of course) when I feel really down. For some reason it always succeeds in chasing my worries away.

    • I didn’t see it until it re-aired on Adult Swim in the early 2000’s and I’ve been a fan ever since. I think I had seen “Dogma” on Comedy Central around the same, but other than that, I wasn’t on the Kevin Smith train. The cartoon is actually the reason I first watched the movie.

  2. The weird thing was that I saw those two episodes that aired and forgot about them. Then I saw Dogma, and Chasing Amy, and Mallrats, then I saw Clerks. My Brother-In-Law was watching it. I walked in and saw Dante and Randal sitting there and thought, “Where the hell have I seen this before?” Then I went to the View Askew Website and saw a huge banner for the animated series and it all came rushing back. I couldn’t believe I’d forgotten it.

  3. Pingback: Jay and Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie | Let Us Nerd

  4. Pingback: The Work of Kevin Smith | Let Us Nerd

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