Western Animation: Clerks

Dante, Randal, Silent Bob and Jay. Huh... thought Silent Bob was taller...

Clerks: The Animated Series is a loose adaptation of the film Clerks by Kevin Smith, running from May to June, 2000. Dante Hicks is the much put-upon clerk of a Quick Stop convenience store in Leonardo, New Jersey. He is tormented by his friend, video clerk Randal Graves, as well as stoner hangers-out Jay and Silent Bob.

Included more wackiness and fantasy than the film. This was lampshaded. Contained little swearing or sexual references. This was lampshaded, also. Added such things as an arch-nemesis, Corrupt Corporate Executive Mr. Leonardo Leonardo and his Odd Job like assistant. Had a Token Minority, Lando, who showed up just to be black, saying a few words every now and then. All of that lampshaded as well. It also had a Clip Show, in the second episode. Lampshaded, at least the first part.

Marked the first time the character designs of Stephen Silver were added to the animation direction of Steve Loter and Chris Bailey. This team, with a distinct visual style, would come up again in a much different place. Also had an impressive voice cast, most notably the four main actors in the original film (Brian O'Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith) reprising their roles.

It was very funny, but it only had six episodes made. Episodes four and two made it to air, in that order. Fortunately, a DVD is available and the show aired in full on Comedy Central and [adult swim].

Kevin Smith had planned a DVD movie called "Clerks: Sell Out" about Dante and Randal making a film in the Quick Stop, but when Harvey and Bob Weinstein left Miramax in the hands of Disney, Smith refused to work with the Mouse House without the support of the Weinsteins. Though, since Miramax's current non-Disney owners have partnered with the Weinsteins, there is now a greater likelihood for the series to return in some form or another, preferably as early as 2013, but so far nothing has happened yet.

Interestingly, Smith has always referred to the show as "Clerks: The Cartoon" (which it was also called in a trailer shown at film festivals) or "The Clerks Cartoon," but never "Clerks: The Animated Series." Go figure.

This show contains examples of:

  • Adaptation Distillation: Clever and witty as an adaptation. Could be considered a show on its own and still be as good, especially since the original movie was extremely well-done.
  • Affably Evil: Leonardo Leonardo.
    Well played, Clerks.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: From the pilot — The Secret Diary Of Desmond Pfeiffer may sound like a show the writers made up to parallel the show, but it was very real. It aired on UPN for four episodes — two more than Clerks: The Animated Series did.
  • And Knowing Is Half the Battle: Subverted/parodied in episodes one through three.
    • There was going to be one that talks about prejudice. The DVD commentary say it would be something like this:
    Kid: Grandpa, what's prejudice?
    Grandpa: Where did you hear that?
    Kid: Kenny told me.
    Grandpa: Who's Kenny?
    Kid: My Jewish friend.
    Grandpa: That's prejudice. You think of him as your Jewish friend instead of just your friend.
  • Animated Adaptation
  • Animated Series
  • Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering?; From the first episode:
    Dante: Wait a second. Are you thinking what I'm thinking?
    Randal: Urinating in the frozen food section and watching it steam up? Oh yeah!
  • Anticipatory Breath Spray: When Jay says that Caitlin Bree is making out with guys whose names start with B, Silent Bob does this before running off.
  • Art Shift: Which was... yes, lampshaded as being due to Korean animators extemporizing after losing the end of the script.
  • As Himself: Judge Reinhold plays himself in episode 4, although he is literally a judge.
    • Charles Barkley in most of the episodes.
    • Gwyneth Paltrow makes a brief cameo as herself in the second episode trying to rent a movie at the video store, but Randal kicks her out even though she has membership.
  • Banana in the Tailpipe: Judge Reinhold dreams of this in reference to the trope namer.
    [after being woken up by his wife]
    Reinhold: Ugh. I had that dream again.
  • Better Than a Bare Bulb
  • Big Bad: Leonardo Leonardo.
  • Body Sushi: Randal recounts being married to a Japanese business man, who had him do this.
  • Bowdlerisation: Jay and Silent Bob are never shown or mentioned as drug dealers in this series (though on the 4th episode, when he slips at the Quick Stop, he tells Silent Bob that the "stuff" may have kicked in,) though in the first episode they are shown selling illegal fireworks and dynamite to children. Both this, and the fact that the show contains very little (if any) cursing were heavily lampshaded during the series.
    Jason Mewes (in the DVD): Because it was TV, we couldn't curse. So, on behalf of that... *cue Cluster F-Bomb*
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Done throughout the series, but the sixth episode strays into No Fourth Wall.
  • Butt Monkey: Dante.
  • Call Back: Episode 5 references the "why are we walking like this?" scene from Episode 1 (fittingly, as it was also the one most referenced in the Clip Show.)
  • Catch Phrase: "Well played, clerks, well played...", plus Jay's sayings.
  • Catch Phrase Spouting Duo
  • The Chosen One: Parodied with Randal, who as revealed in episode 5 is the one to spread male worthlessness in order to convince all women to become lesbians.
  • Clip Show: The second episode aired.
    • Made even better by the fact that the series was shown out of production order and as such there are no clips or references to the fourth episode of the series which was actually the first to air.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Randal
  • Cold Opening
  • Collapsing Lair
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Rational, responsible Dante wears cool colors (blue and dark green) while carefree, audacious Randal wears warm colors (red and orange.)
  • Complexity Addiction: Leonardo's plans to overthrow the Quick Stop involve a deeper plot, exposed by Dante and Randal: "Phase Thirty-Nine, robot chickens!"
    Leonardo: Or perhaps you'd rather visit our international coffee bar complete with its own little book department which has its own super teeny tiny coffee bar inside. And a selection of tiny adult magazines.
  • Content Warnings: (Which become parodies in the third panel)
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive
    • If you believe the commentary, not just confined to the premise of the show, but to its production, as well.
  • Courtroom Antic: Parodied in the courtroom episode.
    • The trial is presided over by the honorable Judge Reinhold, and he lets Randal get away with his nonsense through open bias.
    • Randal calls a series of "surprise witnesses" during Dante's trial. All of the witnesses are directors of movies Randal didn't like, and he demands refunds from each of them. After he's finished, the witnesses leave, without ever saying a single word that has to do with the trial's actual proceedings. He also calls a girl to the witness stand just to get her phone number.
    • The prosecuting lawyer has Dante questioned by a pair of giggling girls, and plays the tapes of a completely unrelated prank call made by Jay and Randal.
  • Courtroom Episode: Episode 4 revolved around Jay pursuing a Frivolous Lawsuit against Dante for slipping on a puddle of spilled soda.
  • Disproportionate Retribution; Leonardo Leonardo vows to do this at the end of episode 1:
    Leonardo: I vow that my vengeance won't be swift or entertaining! I will draw it out over a decade in such a subtle fashion, that you will have to wonder if the misery in your life was either manifest or the machinations of Leonardo Leonardo! Or... a third thing.
  • Dissimile: Caitlin's charity kissing booth which costs nothing, and isn't for charity. And has no booth. And it's not just kissing. And you don't have to be a guy. Dude, she's cheating on you.
  • Distant Finale: Played in the second episode, as a spoof of the film Stand by Me.
  • Don't Explain the Joke: "Dude, she's cheating on you!"
  • Dutch Angle: Spoofs the Batman use of this to simulate climbing a building.
  • End of Episode Silliness
  • Escalating Punchline
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: In episode three, Jay and Silent Bob get a monkey solely so they can teach it to smoke.
  • Flanderization:
    • Randal is portrayed as more of an idiot than he really is. On the commentaries, Kevin Smith acknowledges that Randal was also a lot more willing to "punch holes in Dante's boat" and essentially sell him out at the first opportunity. He and the other writers, though, feel this worked.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Dante is melancholic, Randal is sanguine, Jay is choleric, and Silent Bob is phlegmatic.
  • Fourth Wall Mail Slot: Parodied in one episode.
  • Gainax Ending: More or less played straight in the final episode. Justified in episode 4, when the announcer said that the original ending was lost during its trip overseas to be animated by Koreans and the Korean animators created a new ending.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: During one of the parody PSA segments, a pair of children are bored on a rainy day. The little girl suggests making a movie, and commands the little boy twice to take off his shirt.
  • Half Hour Comedy
  • Happy Birthday to You: Averted; they sing "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow" instead.
  • Helium Speech: "It's only funny if you talk, stupid."
  • Hero of Another Story: Jay and Silent Bob.
  • "How Did You Know?" "I Didn't.": When Dante and Randal realize they forgot to blow up the Quicker Stop, suddenly it blows up and Jay and Silent Bob emerge from the wreckage.
    Dante: How did you know about the plan?
    Jay: What plan?
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Except for "The Last Episode Ever," each episode features progressively longer titles that are more suitable as plot descriptions than episode titles. This is episode 5's title, for example (which is also the longest one):
    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
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Leonardo Leonardo shows some similarities to Hans Gruber, and at one point Alan Rickman was considered for the part (he ended up being voiced by Alec Baldwin instead.)
  • Instrumental Theme Tune
  • Irony: The aforementioned Art Shift becomes this when you realize the rest of the show was also animated in South Korea.
  • I Warned You: In Episode 6, Randal left the video store closed because vampires will be coming. He warned his and Dante's boss about it, but "he never listens." He was right, but Randal doesn't even bother saying it.
  • Jerk Ass: Randal, on occasion.
  • Kneel Before Zod: In episode 5:
    Leonardo Leonardo: This rabble of mid-level managers, teachers, doctors, lawyers, and Nobel laureates will bow before the might of Leonardo Leonardo Leonardo!... Sorry, Leonardo Leonardo.
  • Lemony Narrator: The narrator (Kevin Michael Richardson, who also voiced Lando) reading the disclaimer before each episode falls into this trope. During the last episode, after reading the disclaimer, he remarks, "I don't care for this show, either."
  • Lighter and Softer: Even when this wasn't exactly a show for children, it contains much less sex-related humor and profanity than the two live-action movies.
  • Locked in a Freezer
  • Made of Explodium: In the first episode a man crashes his car, which catches on fire. After he gets out of the car, he spontaneously combusts while running down the street. Not to mention the fire hydrant he crashes into BURSTS INTO FLAMES.
  • Man on Fire
  • Message in a Bottle: A failed attempt by Randal when he's trapped in the Pyramid.
  • Monochrome Casting: A straight example, which is also parodied in the form of Token Minority Lando.
  • Mundane Fantastic
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed
  • No Respect Guy: Dante.
  • No Such Thing as Bad Publicity: In episode 5, Leonardo Leonardo orders his publicist to kill Hop Osgood with bad publicity, to with the publicist responds with this phrase.
  • Nothing Exciting Ever Happens Here: Dante invokes this verbatim in the first episode...
  • No, You: Randal's Catch Phrase.
    • In episode 2:
    Brit: Pack of fags?
    Randal: You're a fag!
    Brit: It's a cigarette, mate.
    Randal: I'm not your mate, fag! (Randal pounces on the man)
    • Later:
    Dante: Boy, it wasn't until years later that we found out what "fag" really meant. Right, mate?
    Randal: You're a fag!
    Dante: No, a fag's a cigarette, remember?
  • Obligatory Swearing: Jay does this in the live-action episode intros for the DVD version.
  • Only Sane Man: Dante again.
  • Overly Long Gag
  • Parody Episode: Episode 3 parodies Outbreak. Episode 5 parodies The Last Starfighter, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and The Bad News Bears.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation
  • Race Fetish: Randal is only interested in Asian chicks. Though, when through some wacky circumstance, he has several Geishas eager to do his bidding, he sends them out for porn magazines featuring Asian women.
  • Recap Episode: The cartoon parodied this in the very second episode made. What compounded this even further was that, due to Executive Meddling, this was actually the very first episode ever aired.
  • Running Gag:
    • "Why are we walking like this?"
    • Randal's (day)dreams about Dante being "The biggest idiot ever."
    • Charles Barkley getting dissed.
    • "Are they/is he talking about us?"
    • Randal joking about Dante being gay.
  • Self-Deprecation: In the fourth episode, the bailiff said, "All rise for the honorable Judge Reinhold." which caused the courtroom to laugh. She angrily replied, "Show some respect for Judge Reinhold!" When Judge Reinheld (played by himself) sat down, he remarked, "That's okay, it's more laughs than I got in Head Office."
  • Shout-Out: The usual View Askew collection of pop culture references.
  • Silent Bob: Guess who? (Very subverted: He talks during every "Science Says" segment except the last one.)
  • Special Guest: Lampshaded every episode with Charles Barkley trying to horn in on Jay and Silent Bob's PSA segment. And then, once those ran their course, Kevin Smith still found ways to shoehorn Barkley into every episode except for the last one.
  • Spoof Aesop: The "educational" segments at the end tend to provide these.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike
    Randal: Look at [that monkey], he's shaking in fear.
    Dante: No, he's masturbating.
    Randal: But it's out of fear.
    And later...
    Leonardo Leonardo: Oh, dear... something scared that monkey.
    • And later in episode 5, both Randal and Leonardo go to their High School Reunions with a story of each one suing the government over bad meat.
  • Stupid Question Bait: When the chief of police is holding a press conference about a suspected outbreak while wearing an Officer Big Mac costume, the reporters are more interested in asking him questions related to McDonald's.
    Steve-Dave: Will this administration ever bring the Hamburglar to justice?
    Big Mac: No... Yes. Look, does anybody have any questions about the virus that could kill us all?
    Reporter: Can the virus kill the Grimace?
    Big Mac: Nothing can kill the Grimace.
  • Take Our Word for It: The last episode is chock-full of this trope. Randal and Dante are deliberately trying to evoke the original film — since fans of the movie are complaining the series has strayed so far from it — by confining themselves to the Quick Stop, despite ludicrously interesting things happening just outside.
  • Take That
  • Thick-Line Animation
  • Those Two Guys: Jay and Silent Bob, per the norm.
  • Title Please: No episode title is visible on the screen, though it's probably for the best, given how ridiculously long most of them are.
  • Took a Level in Dumbass: Randal went from a lazy slacker with average intelligence who in the film gave the big profound "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Dante to an immature moron in the cartoon.
    • Ironically, this is what Dante thinks Randal is in the movie.
    Randal: What did I do that was so wrong?
    Dante: What don't you do? You know, sometimes I think the only reason you come to work is to make my life miserable.

    Randal: Jesus, there you go again trying to pass the buck. I'm the source of all your misery.
  • Touché
  • The View Askewniverse
  • The Voiceless
  • Wacky Guy: Jay, sort of.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: Parodied at the end of episode 2 during the Shout-Out to Stand by Me.
  • Yamato Nadeshiko: Spoofed in episode 2 when Randal recalls an incident in which he wedded a Japanese businessman who forced him to become one. He's even seen at one point wearing a kimono and chopsticks in a hairbun. The businessman is pleased with his housework, to which Randal replies in a graceful manner.

Alternative Title(s):

Clerks The Animated Series