From the Vault: Clerks: The Animated Series

Clerks: The Animated Series premiered in 2000. Oh my god, that was 15 years ago...

After digging through my pile of many DVD's, I came across the short-lived: Clerks: The Animated Series. Not having checked it out in a while, I popped it in and watched all six episodes and verify that the show was still as funny as I had remembered.

Once completing viewing of the show's entirety, I decided to throw a review up because, well, I got nothing better to do. I will review each episode then provide a final score at the end of my review. Also, I will not go too in depth regarding the show's bonus features and they will not play a part in the review or overall score.

Episode 1: Leonardo Leonardo Returns and Dante Has an Important Decision to Make

Dante Hicks (Brian O'Halloran) and Randal Graves (Jeff Anderson) get re-established in this new setting of Clerks. Randal continues to be a slacker working at RST Video while Dante continues to want more out of his life while slaving away at the Quick Stop. When eccentric billionaire Leonardo Leonardo (Alec Baldwin) returns to Leonardo, New Jersey and opens up a rival "Quicker Stop", Dante and Randal uncover Leonardo's true intentions and attempt to stop Leonardo. Also, Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Kevin Smith) take their selling of fireworks (since drug dealing can't be shown on television) from the Quick Stop to the front of the Quicker Stop. The episode struggles like most pilots do in setting up and establishing a world and characters. The show hadn't yet found its rhythm, but it wouldn't take long to find its humor and the meta-world that the characters would inhabit.

Episode 2: The Clipshow Wherein Dante and Randal are Locked in the Freezer and Remember Some of the Great Moments in Their Lives

After a robbery at the Quick Stop, new locks are installed within the store. Wanting to ensure the locks work, Dante and Randal accidentally get themselves locked into the Quick Stop freezer. While awaiting rescue, the two clerks reminisce about moments in their lives. This episode pokes fun at other television shows that utilize a clipshow as an episode. Rapid-fire dialogue along with a non-stop barrage of jokes; most of which hit, make this the funniest, not best, episodes of the series.

Episode 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

After a box of burritos goes bad, Randal decides to sell the box to Leonardo Leonardo. At the same time, a new pet store has opened which houses a monkey. Mistaking Leonardo falling ill from the burritos to being bitten by the monkey, Randal begins to live the movie 'Outbreak'. A little more plot-heavy than the prior episode, the jokes still continue to come at a furious pace and include multiple jokes that are on-off and make no sense yet provide at least a chuckle. For some reason, the "big bee" gets me every time. James Woods and Gilbert Gottfried provide plenty of laughs as a member of the military and Patrick Swayze, respectfully.

Episode 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

After Jay slips on some liquid neglectfully left behind by Randal, Jay's case is taken up by a high-powered attorney who plans to sue Dante and the Quick Stop for $10 million dollars (Randal technically wasn't working). Possibly the best episode of the series, this episode is able to balance a solid plot with some of the funniest and most memorable jokes for the show. Everything from the Leonardo jury to Judge Reinhold presiding over the trial works. The jokes may not be as rapid-fire as those in Episode 2, but the laughs are harder and well earned. Extra points for an amazing ending that comes out of nowhere yet you just have to laugh at.

Episode 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

Taking a step backwards from the momentum gained in the prior 3 episodes, Episode 5 struggles along throughout most of the episode. Dante begins coaching Leonardo Leonardo's little league baseball team. Realizing that Jay has a great arm and is recognized as a child, Dante adds Jay to the team who then begins to win. Meanwhile, Randal is taken and forced into slave labor after amassing a high score in a video game. Neither story works well, though Randal's does have a few funny moments (take break!) and Dante's story does have a nice callback to a joke in prior episodes. The episode as a whole, though, really doesn't gel or have the laughs as the prior episodes did. Interestingly, this is the only episode throughout the entire series' run that Kevin Smith is not credited as a writer.

Episode 6: The Last Episode Ever

Wanting to return to "old school Clerks" instead of the meta-type show it has become, Dante and Randal work a 12 hour shift at the Quick Stop. Jay and Silent Bob inform the clerks that a fair has set up across the street that includes monkeys, cotton candy and Alan Thicke. Circumstances prevent Dante and Randal from leaving the store as the environment begins to crumble in their personal lives and the area in and around the Quick Stop. By far, the most "out there" episode as Dante and Randal keep their positions in the Quick Stop like the film, but the absurdity of the show permeates every other inch of the screen. This could be considered the "kitchen sink" episode as this was written as a finale and is as crazy and over the top as you might imagine. A good way to send off the series.

Clerks: The Animated Series holds up well after being immaturely pulled from the ABC schedule fifteen years ago. Those looking for a continuation from the film might be disappointed by the slapstick and meta humor. If you go in and just enjoy the jokes offered, you will find yourself having a really good time.


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