Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sunday Best: Sitcoms of All Time #18 - Clerks: The Animated Series

1 Season (2000)

Like Andy Barker PI, Clerks is one of the shortest series on this list, lasting only 6 episodes.  It never had a chance hit its stride, but it also never had a chance to lose any of its steam.

Based on Kevin Smith's debut directorial effort, Clerks takes place primarily in and around the the Quick Stop wear our protagonist, the pit upon Dante Hicks works in a dead end job next the video store where his childhood friend Randall works. Throw in other View Askew regulars like Jay and Silent Bob along with recurring villain Leonardo Leonardo, create for a strange, but hilarious brew.

I used to be a fan of the original Clerks movie.  As I've gotten older it's raw vulgarity is wears in me. But the cartoon show forced Smith to fit his humor into a network television format.  There are some who have argued that this censorship stifled his natural funniness. I disagree. The censoring forced him to be more creative and achieve humor that lasts beyond the I total shock humor.  I believe that if Clerks had a chance to continue, it had the potential to become another Simpsons.

The show had a completely silly feels with a pulse on the pop culture which is more common today than when it debuted in 2000.  The jokes were broad but witty. It also seriously doubled down on its geek cred. I never saw a show that came up with a plot that mashed together Temple if Doom and The Last Starfighter

"The Clipshow Wherein Dante and Randal are Locked in the Freezer and Remember Some of the Great Moments in Their Lives" (1x02)

Perhaps other shows did this, but I thought the premise was fantastic: on the second episode of your series, do a clip show. This device, usually used in a 3rd season slump, gives the production team a break by splicing together funny moments from earlier eps. But Clerks twists the trope by doing it so early (this was actually the first episode to air). Not only was it pure ridiculousness, but the clips were actually quite hysterical, down to the Stand By Me ending.


Again like Andy Barker, because the run was so short, the show never had a chance to jump the shark. The show and it's ideas may have eventually been played out. But it never did.

Every single episode is completely hysterical. Even though it had a short life, I can still quote some of its best jokes (understood in context):

Dante: Why are we walking like this?

Randall: Hey, Lando.
Lando: Hey.

Big Mac: Nothing can kill the Grimace.

Every episode is great. Very few series can say that. And for that reason Clerks is one of the best sitcoms of all time.

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