Clerks: The Animated Series
|Clerks: The Animated Series|
|Also known as||Clerks|
|Created by||Kevin Smith|
by Kevin Smith
|Developed by||David Mandel|
|Voices of||Jeff Anderson|
|Composer||James L. Venable|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||6|
|Executive producers||Bob Weinstein|
|Running time||22 minutes|
|Production companies||Miramax Television|
View Askew Productions
Woltz International Pictures Corporation
Walt Disney Television Animation (uncredited)
|Distributor||Buena Vista Television|
|Original network||ABC (2000)|
Comedy Central (2002)
|Original release||May 31, 2000 –|
December 14, 2002
Clerks (retronym: Clerks: The Animated Series) is an American adult animated sitcom that was first broadcast on ABC in 2000. Based on Kevin Smith's 1994 comedy film of the same name, it was developed for television by Smith, Smith's producing partner Scott Mosier and former Seinfeld writer David Mandel with character designs by Stephen Silver, known for character designs in Disney's Kim Possible and Nickelodeon's Danny Phantom. It is the first television show to be set in Smith's View Askewniverse.
Six episodes of the show were produced; only two episodes aired before the show was cancelled by ABC.
Clerks: The Animated Series was produced by Miramax and View Askew Productions in association with Touchstone Television. In addition to being Disney's second adult animated series after fellow Touchstone Television production The PJs, it was also the first (and so far) only adult animated series produced by Walt Disney Television Animation, which ultimately went uncredited.
According to the commentary for the series premiere episode, Smith and Mosier first had the idea of the animated series in 1995. In that same commentary, Mosier claimed that they pitched the series to "every" network, including HBO, Fox, The WB, and several others. They were given a thirteen-episode order from UPN, but turned down the offer in order to be on a bigger channel like ABC, having been told that UPN would be off the air within a year.
On a DVD bonus feature, Smith revealed that they initially cast Alan Rickman as the voice of Leonardo Leonardo, so they decided to design the character after Hans Gruber from the film Die Hard (1988). Rickman disapproved of the design because he did not want to play the character again. ABC eventually turned him down anyway for budgetary reasons and recast the role with Alec Baldwin.
Only two episodes were broadcast on ABC in the year 2000 before the series was canceled. Several factors contributed to the cancellation, including low ratings, the show's not fitting in with ABC's other programming, unsuccessful test-screening to older audiences, and ABC's decision to air the shows out of order. ABC aired the fourth episode first, as opposed to the intended first episode, and then aired the second episode despite the fact that the second episode is the 'flashback' episode, and derives much of its humor from the fact that it flashes back to the first episode (as well as the beginning of that very episode) rather frequently. Additionally, the second episode aired without the scene from "Flintstone's List", the fictional RST Video rental that spoofed Schindler's List.
All six episodes were released on DVD in 2001, marking one of the first occasions in which a short-lived TV series found success in this format. The DVD commentary features cast and crew who frequently cite their disagreements with the network over the show's development. The entire series was eventually aired on Comedy Central, with the unaired episodes airing for the first time on television on December 14, 2002. In 2006, digital Freeview channel ITV 4 in the UK, began broadcasting episodes late on Monday nights. Starting November 14, 2008, Cartoon Network's Adult Swim block aired the series on Friday nights. It also aired on the El Rey Network during their "Jay and Silent Bob Takeover Marathon."
Several scenes filmed for, but cut from, the film Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back (but included on the film's DVD release) contain metafictional moments when Randal makes references to the animated series, as well as its cancellation. On his DVD commentary for the film, Smith said the intent was to make the quick cancellation of the series a running gag.
- Brian O'Halloran as Dante Hicks
- Jeff Anderson as Randal Graves
- Jason Mewes as Jay
- Kevin Smith as Silent Bob
- Alec Baldwin as Leonardo Leonardo
- Dan Etheridge as Mr. Plug
- Tara Strong as Giggling Girl
- Walt Flanagan as Fanboy
- Bryan Johnson as Steve-Dave Pulasti
- Charles Barkley as Himself
- Gilbert Gottfried as Jerry Seinfeld and Patrick Swayze
- Kevin Michael Richardson as Narrator
- James Woods as Major Blakava
- Michael Buffer as Himself
- Gwyneth Paltrow as Herself
- Judge Reinhold as Honorable Judge Reinhold
- Kenny Mayne as Himself
- Bryan Cranston as Various
- Jeff Bennett as British Customer
- April Winchell as Bailiff
- Phil LaMarr as Alex Foley
- Lauren Tom as Various
- Kerri Kinney-Silver as Mother/Muffin Lady
- Brian Posehn as Albert/Man on Fire
- Michael McKean as Professor Ram/Creepy Old Guy
- Kath Soucie as Jay's Granddaughter/Angry Costumer/Starstruck Woman
- Dana Gould as Guy in 80's Flashback
- Kevin McDonald as Batman Fan/Freak
- Paul Dini as George Lucas
- Frank Welker as Bill Clinton
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date|
|1||"Leonardo Leonardo Returns and Dante Has an Important Decision to Make"||Chris Bailey||David Mandel & Kevin Smith||December 14, 2002|
|Billionaire Leonardo Leonardo returns to Leonardo, New Jersey and opens the Quicker Stop right across from the Quick Stop, which takes away all of Dante and Randal's customers, and nearly puts the Quick Stop out of business. The duo set out to stop Leonardo by uncovering his plot to enslave all of humanity, but are scoffed at during an appearance at Town Hall. Jay and Silent Bob, who had been selling illegal fireworks to children, inadvertently blow up the Quicker Stop, thwarting Leonardo's plans.|
|2||"The Clip show Wherein Dante and Randal are Locked in the Freezer and Remember Some of the Great Moments in Their Lives"||Nick Filippi||S : Paul Dini;|
S/T : David Mandel & Kevin Smith
|June 7, 2000|
|Dante and Randal get locked in the freezer of the Quick Stop. There, they look back on their lives, primarily in clips from the same and previous episode, including foiling Leonardo's evil plans, working at convenience stores in the United Kingdom and India, how Randal got them kicked off The Real World, and their first meeting as children. Jay and Silent Bob also manage to get themselves locked in; Silent Bob eventually uses a crowbar to get them all out, only for Dante and Randal to become locked in the video store. In a parody of Stand by Me, an elderly Jay narrates what became of his friends following the events of the episode. This episode was storyboarded by Benjamin Gluck.|
|3||"Leonardo Is Caught in the Grip of an Outbreak of Randal's Imagination and Patrick Swayze Either Does or Doesn't Work in the New Pet Store"||Chris Bailey||David Mandel & Kevin Smith||December 14, 2002|
Quick Stop is put under government control after Leonardo is said to have been infected with a deadly virus by a monkey at the new pet store next to RST Video (at which they find Patrick Swayze working). Unfortunately, Jay and Silent Bob steal the monkey so they can teach it to smoke. The town of Leonardo is to be destroyed unless Dante and Randal manage to stop the helicopter pilot from dropping a bomb. After Randal tells the pilot that Dante is gay, Dante is forced to state that he is gay on live television to save the town.
|4||"A Dissertation on the American Justice System by People Who Have Never Been Inside a Courtroom, Let Alone Know Anything About the Law, but Have Seen Way Too Many Legal Thrillers"||Steve Loter||T : David Mandel, Kevin Smith;|
S/T : Steve Lookner
|May 31, 2000|
Randal is left in charge of the Quick Stop as part of a bet between him and Dante. Jay sues the Quick Stop for $10,000,000 after slipping on Randal's spilled soda. Randal is Dante's lawyer for the case, while Judge Reinhold presides, and several NBA all-stars are members of the jury. Randal ends up doing more harm than good, putting Dante at the mercy of the courtroom. Before the verdict of the case can be announced, a disclaimer informs the audience that the script for the remainder of the episode was lost and that a new ending was written by the Korean animators. The episode ends with a series of animated non sequiturs with Engrish dialogue.
|5||"Dante and Randal and Jay and Silent Bob and a Bunch of New Characters and Lando, Take Part in a Whole Bunch of Movie Parodies Including But Not Exclusive to, The Bad News Bears, The Last Starfighter, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Plus a High School Reunion"||Nick Filippi||Brian Kelley||December 14, 2002|
|Dante and Randal attend their high school reunion, where Randal discovers he has the ability to turn women into lesbians, and Dante is accosted by his old baseball team because they don't remember him (although Dante was the coach that won them the championship game). Leonardo decides to let Dante manage his Little League team. The team is on a losing streak until the inclusion of Jay and Silent Bob (as Jay is still in the fourth grade for being held back so many times and is technically eligible to play). Meanwhile, Randal is put into slave labor after beating the high score on an old video game. Dante and the baseball team discover Randal while searching for the baseball team they have been scheduled to play (which turn out to be some of the children enslaved to work in the mines).|
|6||"The Last Episode Ever"||Steve Loter||Kevin Smith & David Mandel||December 14, 2002|
|Dante and Randal work inside the Quick Stop discussing various things after being told that they need to make the show more similar to the original Clerks. Meanwhile, outside, Dante's supposed to have a date with Caitlin Bree, Jay and Silent Bob go to a fair where havoc ensues, Walt and Steve-Dave need stuff, Leonardo Leonardo finds a soccer team on his roof, and Dante keeps getting called by a guy who wants to show him "the truth about The Matrix". Eventually, due to a phone call unknowingly made to the President, the Army surrounds the Quick Stop, the President is attacked by hookers and vampires who are enraged to find RST closed, and Dante and Randal finally go outside, where the animators put them in various awkward situations until it is revealed that Jay is the one behind it all.|
Proposed but never made
According to the DVD commentary, these were some ideas that were being considered for episodes of the show if it were to continue:
- Randal exploits Jay by making "snoogans" a catchphrase, leading to Jay becoming a recording artist.
- Randal buys KITT from Knight Rider at a used car lot. The car becomes envious of Randal's relationship with Dante and attempts to kill Dante and impersonate him at the store (a reference to Single White Female). He manages to trick everyone except Dante (and likely Silent Bob) with his thin disguise.
- Jay joins a boy band. Silent Bob is sad that Jay is gone, so Randal and Dante bring Bob in to work at the Quick Stop. He turns the store around and it becomes a great success. Silent Bob is given a piece of gum and says, "Mmm, Juicy Fruit," which shocks Dante and Randal asking him, "You can talk!?" (a reference to the Chief in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest).
- Allegedly in the 7th or 8th episode, Dante and Randal would have added to their cast of friends a boy ward, named Robin, in a direct reference/parody of Batman's own "boy wonder", though like Lando, would probably not have been featured prominently. This plot element was most likely not intended to actually be part of series as it was described by Kevin Smith after mentioning that Paul Dini, best known for his work on Batman: The Animated Series, had also worked on Clerks: The Animated Series.
- The DVD commentary briefly mentioned an episode idea where Ben Affleck would play the King of Canada. The episode premise was also described as "the Aladdin parody."
- There was also going to be a Saturday Morning spin-off called Li'l Clerks, which would feature child versions of the characters.
- Another spin-off, titled Old Jay, would feature Jay as a grandfather. This evolved from the last segment of Episode 2, which was a parody of Stand by Me.
For several years following the series' cancellation, Smith announced plans to make an animated film. He revealed in a commentary on Episode 6 that it would go theatrical (with the hopes to win an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature), but later made plans to go direct-to-video. The basic plot involved Dante and Randal making a movie about their lives at the Quick Stop, a reference to the production of the original film. In an interview, Smith expanded on the delays surrounding the film. Apparently, when the Weinsteins left Miramax, owned at the time by Disney, the split was not completely amicable. The rights to the Clerks television show were still owned by the Disney company, who as a result were reluctant to work with The Weinstein Company, throwing the future of Clerks: Sell Out into question. At the 2007 Cornell Q&A, Smith said due to the Miramax/Weinstein argument "you will see a Jay and Silent Bob cartoon before Clerks: Sell Out."
However, when Miramax was purchased by Filmyard Holdings in 2011, Smith revealed on Twitter that Miramax had contacted him for new projects, and the possibility of reviving the series came up. In October 2019, Smith announced that a repurposed version of the script for Sell Out would serve as the basis for the live-action Clerks III. In 2020, as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Smith teased about bringing the show back on Hulu.
Clerks: The Animated Series was named the 98th best animated series by IGN, comparing it to Firefly due to its partial, out of sequence airing. They specifically praised the second episode for its parody of the old television staple of clip shows, by showing clips of the previous episode as well as clips from the episode itself.
The series was released in a two-disc collector's edition DVD set called Clerks Uncensored. The "Uncensored" refers to the restoration of a second episode segment cut from broadcast, as well as an uncensored episode, introduced by Mewes and Smith, in character as Jay and Silent Bob. The DVD was given an R-rating by the Motion Picture Association of America for "some sexual humor".
- Perlmutter, David (2018). The Encyclopedia of American Animated Television Shows. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 126–127. ISBN 978-1538103739.
- Erickson, Hal (2005). Television Cartoon Shows: An Illustrated Encyclopedia, 1949 Through 2003 (2nd ed.). McFarland & Co. pp. 202–203. ISBN 978-1476665993.
- Buss, Andrew (May 31, 2020). "An Oral History of Clerks: The Animated Series". Consequence. Retrieved May 12, 2021.
- "The View Askewniverse - News - Clerks - Canceled". viewaskew.com. Retrieved 21 February 2015.
- Clerks: The Animated Series: Episode 6: The Last Episode Ever commentary. Buena Vista Home Entertainment.
- MTV Movies Blog - Kevin Smith Hopes To Make Jay And Silent Bob Animated Film by Shawn Adler, December 3, 2007
- "'Clerks: The Animated Series' Might Return in 2013 - /Film". Slashfilm. 23 March 2012. Retrieved 21 February 2015.
- "Kevin Smith says 'Clerks 3' is about the clerks making Clerk". The A.V. Club. October 10, 2019. Archived from the original on November 20, 2019. Retrieved October 14, 2019.
- Jeremy Dick (May 3, 2020). "Clerks: The Animated Series Revival Is Being Pitched by Kevin Smith". Movieweb. Retrieved May 10, 2020.
- Michael Roffman and Andrew Buss (May 3, 2020). "Kevin Smith Hoping to Reboot Clerks: The Animated Series At Hulu [Exclusive]". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved May 10, 2020.
- "98, Clerks: The Animated Series". IGN. 2009-01-23. Archived from the original on 2009-01-19. Retrieved 2009-01-23.
- "The 25 Most Underrated Animated TV Shows of All Time". Complex Networks.
- "Clerks: The Animated Series". IGN. Retrieved 2012-03-26.
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