For years, I’ve often thought that Kevin Smith’s short-lived ABC cartoon sitcom, “Clerks: The Animated Series,” based off of his first film, Clerks (obviously), is one of the best pieces of entertainment the director’s name has ever been attached to. It certainly holds up better than the live-action cartoons of Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back or Mallrats, and was arguably ahead of its time when it debuted in 2000, immersed in pop culture minutiae and utilizing gags that would later be featured to great effect on shows such as “Community” — the fake clip show, combining movie parodies, and a perfect bottle episode. Unfortunately, it debuted on the same night as CBS’ continuing mega-hit “Survivor” and was unceremoniously cancelled after two episodes, so most of their funniest, cleverest material is only available on DVD. Or, YouTube, if you’re nasty.
Obviously, your appreciation for Smith’s brand of humor and affection for his recurring characters Dante, Randall, Jay, and his hetero life-mate Silent Bob may have a hand in how much you would enjoy a cartoon “Clerks,” but it’s possible return next year shouldn’t be easily dismissed. Especially if they can get Alec Baldwin to reprise his role as Leonardo Leonardo, the titular clerks’ archenemy, which isn’t out of the realm of possibility with Harvey Weinstein and his reconfigured Miramax studio behind this project. One hopes some of the original behind-the-scenes talent might return, as well, specifically Dave Mandel as writer/executive producer, who on the DVD commentaries always seemed like the real genius behind the television series. If Smith’s other TV work is anything to go on, and with all due respect to Scott Mosier, his longtime producing partner, it’s safe to say the soon-to-be-retired filmmaker needs a voice from outside of his inner circle to really make everything click.
Here’s one of my favorite episode tags from “Clerk: The Animated Series,” happy Monday(!):
Rob Payne also writes the comic The Unstoppable Force, tweets on the Twitter @RobOfWar, and his ware can be purchased here (if you’re into that sort of thing). He would totally accept Smith’s first choice of vocal talent for Leonardo Leonardo, Alan Rickman.