Review: Clerks Uncensored

Disclaimer: This isn’t really SF or fantasy in any sense of the word.
I’m just a big fan of Kevin Smith, who’s arguably just a grown-up fanboy
himself. (You’ve seen his movies, and probably read some of his comic
books.) If blatant fanboy-ism isn’t your thing, go read something else.
Thank you, drive through.

If you’re still reading, soak up the review
of the “Clerks Uncensored” video/DVD just released today.



What The Heck?

In mid-1999, ABC started to air
“Clerks,” an animated series based on Kevin Smith’s notorious movie of the
same title. Dante, Randall, Jay and Silent Bob, all the usual suspects are
there (though it should be noted that Silent Bob isn’t quite as silent as
usual).

Some compared “Clerks” to “The Simpsons,” an arguably apt comparison
for the plethora of pop-culture references and multi-layered, occasionally
subtle humor. Some simply called it childish and more than a bit profane
(also an accurate assessment). The ratings were abysmal, and ABC canceled
the series after just two episodes.

Anyway, all six episodes are on this video and DVD. As I’m
moonlighting as a clerk myself, in a shocking abuse of power and
authority, I sold myself the tape two days before its “street” date.
Yes, this is highly illegal, but Kevin Smith just doesn’t strike me as
the type to care all that much.

Cast/Crew

Kevin Smith got all the key actors from “Clerks” to lend their voices
to the series: Brian O’Halloran (Dante), Jeff Anderson (Randal), Jay and
Silent Bob (Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith), and even Lisa Spoonauer (Dante’s
infamous ex, Caitlin Bree) in a few small bits. And basketball star
Charles Barkley.

Synopses

This is a toughie, as the “Clerks Uncensored” packages has six
episodes, only two of which aired on ABC before the network canned the
series.

The episodes are provided in production order, starting with the “lost
pilot,” which is listed on the
official series site
as episode 5 (full title: “Leonardo Leonardo
Returns and Dante Has An Important Decision to Make”). The rest of the
episode titles are even longer, so I’ll just make ’em up as I go. In
order:


  1. Supervillain Leonardo Leonardo threatens the Quick Stop by opening a
    “Quicker Stop.”
  2. The flashback episode, filled with clips of all the previous episodes.
  3. The “Outbreak” parody, in which, for reasons far too bizarre to
    explain, Gilbert Gottfried portrays the voice of Patrick Swayze.
  4. Jay sues Dante for ten million dollars after slipping in the Quick
    Stop. (This was the first episode to air, and judging from the ratings,
    the only one most people saw. I’ll wager the “surprise ending” turned off
    more than a few mainstream viewers.)
  5. The high school reunion, Dante coaches Little League, and bizarre
    parodies of “The Last Starfighter” and a half-dozen other movies.
  6. The “old school” episode. The Quick Stop stays open all night, because a fair’s in town.

Highs And Lows

High point: the introduction to the second episode. The segues are
live-action, with Jay and Silent Bob at the palatial estate they bought
with their wicked mad “Clerks” paychecks (or something). Jay points out
that the episode was pretty cool, but they couldn’t curse because it was
TV. So, Jay gets in enough cursing for all six episodes in one 45-second
snippet. If you’re a fan of that kind of humor, it definitely works.

Low point: some of the gags get recycled a bit more than they should.
The “climbing up the building” visual gag gets hideously overdone,
sadly.

Originality:

There are more than a few jokes that hearken back
to the movie. If you don’t know the movie, some things are gonna seem a
bit weird. They try to explain everything away, but in the process there
seems to be a bit of strained exposition (though it’s usually still
funny). Beyond that, though, the gags are more hits than misses. 5 out of
7.

Effects:

The animation is obviously cheesy, the characters are
kinda blocky, but it still works in a low-budget sorta way. 6 out of
7.

Story:

Blatant fanboy-ism here, but I enjoyed every episode,
every parody from “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” to the unaired
“Flintstone’s List” bit. 7 out of 7.

Acting:

Mostly voice acting for the show itself. Nothing
spectacular, but solid all around. I’m adding an extra point for the live
segments, because they’re just so darn cool. 5 out of 7.

Production:

The animation is cheesy, again, but it works. The
sounds, visuals, are all acceptable from an objective standpoint. 5
out of 7.

Overall:

If you’re a fan of Kevin Smith, this wins with an
easy 7 out of 7. If not, give it a shot, maybe you’ll be impressed, though
for a more mainstream audience the total is more likely 3/7 or so.

Total: 35 out of 42

Buy this selection on DVD or VHS from amazon.com.

3 replies on “Review: Clerks Uncensored”

  1. Dave says:

    In other news…
    We’re experimenting with various versions of a reviews rating system. Though the categories are a bit flexible, we’ve kinda decided that each review will have six or seven of ’em, each worth seven or six points, so that the total will be 42 points.

    It wasn’t my idea; blame fiziko. I just liked it enough to steal it. :)

  2. choochus says:

    Emotional rollercoaster
    I was about ready to go into a rant when I read the

    title of this article because I just bought the

    original Clerks DVD, and figured that a newer, better

    version must have been released – then I read the

    article and am overjoyed.


    I watched and enjoyed both episodes of the cartoon when

    they were aired, but was expecting the axe.


    Too cool for primetime… Is the DVD truly uncensored?


    That was one of the downsides to watching the cartoon

    on network television – Kevin Smith dialog needs

    cursing! (though, I thought that it was a little

    overdone in Dogma)

  3. Abstruse says:

    Just a quick correction…
    I’m a hue Kevin Smith/View Askew fan. As such, I thought I’d point out one little flaw in your article. The TV series originally aired in the summer of 2000, not 1999. I’d also like to add that, if you’re thinking about getting this DVD and have yet to see the movie it’s based on, GO RENT THE FUCKING MOVIE! It’s my personal favorite movie of all time, beating out even Casablanca. And if my language above offended you, don’t even THINK about getting either the cartoon or the movie.

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