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Animated Frolic

I had been pretty jazzed to see this animated adaption of Clerks the movie appear on ABC, but in their infinite wisdom, they aired it during the summer, and when they didn't see magic happening in the ratings, the show pulled after only two episodes.

And which episodes did they air? The 2nd and the 4th. Sure, sure, there were bits in the 1st which a corporate entity might not like, and probably the 3rd too, though I don't recall any. But let's just note it makes for a slightly strange viewing experience, especially since the writers were being strange to begin with. The second episode is, after all, a retrospective, and while it's definitely a send-up of retrospective shows from sitcoms throughout televised history, they only had one episode (and whatever portion of the second episode already written) to show clips from. We are already very confused because of the character Leonardo Leonardo, who was central to the first episode, making brief appearances that didn't seem explained. And then the second episode aired (fourth in reality) was a courtroom drama (presided by "Judge" Reinhold) which ended in a wild explosion of Animé as, supposedly, the script was lost on its way to the Korean animators.

So, let's say the broadcast experience showed flashes of brilliance, but mostly quick jokes, and not a lot of depth. How do the full six episodes stack up?

There's some good stuff here - a lot of parody of the form, as in The Simpsons or South Park - and a lot of really random non sequitors, which happen to appeal to me a lot. There is a hint of a struggle to find ideas, though that might just be a side effect of the parodies they were doing. The last episode features a "return to" the look of Clerks the movie - sort of. I think it would have been interesting to see this continue and find out what new territory would have been explored, but unfortunately, the writing probably undermined any potential general following, leaving them with just the cult audience from the Kevin Smith film. Some concession to building a new audience should have been made, and maybe it could have taken off.

The DVD (a 2 disk set) has episode introductions from Jay and Silent Bob (in character, and uncensored), and alternate-angle sketches used in creating the series. Mainly, this set is for the dedicated fans, but those interested in animation may find it interesting as well.

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