Clerks: Uncensored

Clerks: Uncensored (2000)
Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Extras: Commentary track, Storyboards, Featurettes, Trailer & TV Spot

In the past, most critics (but not me) have considered ’Mallrats’ to be writer/director Kevin Smith’s nadir. Not anymore. Now we have ’Clerks: The Animated Series’ to lambast. This show originally aired on ABC, although only two of the original six episodes aired. (And in seemingly random order, as they aired epsiode four and then episode two.) I thought that perhaps ABC wasn’t giving the show a fair shake, but thanks to the ’Clerks: Uncensored’ DVD, I now know the truth. ’Clerks: Uncensored’ contains all six episodes of ’Clerks: The Animated Series’. Allow me to go ahead and say that if you’re a fan of the film ’Clerks’, you probably won’t like the show. (Which is actually addressed on the show!) As with the film, the show features convenience store employee Dante Hicks (Brian O’Halloran) and his slacker video-store worker friend Randall Graves (Jeff Anderson). They are constantly being harassed by Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Kevin Smith), who do nothing but hang out in front of the store. The film ’Clerks’ worked because everything in the film, no matter how weird, had an air of truth to it. ’Clerks: The Animated Series’ doesn’t work because it meanders all over the place, going from one outlandish set piece to another. There is no consistency to the show and it never plays by its own rules. Shows like ’The Simpsons’ get a bit weird at times, but it’s always justified. ’Clerks: The Animated Series’ simply throws in random characters (which are typically celebrities) and bizarre situations, that add up to nothing. For example, the show suddenly turning into anime is a cute idea, but it isn’t funny. Simply put, the show is woefully unfunny.

’Clerks: Uncensored’ arrives on DVD from Miramax Home Entertainment. The image is offered in a full-frame format, as this was originally intended to air on TV. The image is razor sharp and very clear, showing no grain or distortion. The colors, while intentionally muted, come across as true and slightly vibrant at times. The audio on the DVD is a Dolby 2-channel surround mix, which offers clear dialogue and some surround sound action. Although, I always got too much bass response from the opening theme.

The new catch-phrase at Disney must be, ’Let’s make it a 2-disc set!’ But, unlike the recent Disney Animation 2-disc sets, the ’Clerks: Uncensored’ set fails to deliver. There is an audio commentary for each episode which features Kevin Smith and crew. On the majority of these commentaries, they discuss the origin of the show and why it failed, rarely doing any scene specific commentary. The ’hows and whys’ of the show’s demise (!) should have been a separate section. Also, each show contains storyboards for each shot, which can be accessed by using the ’Multi-angle’ feature. (They call these ’Animatics’. I thought animatics were hand- or computer-animated storyboards.) Each episode features a pointless, but thankfully brief, introduction by a live-action Jay and Silent Bob. ’The ’Clerks’ Style’ is a 10-minute segment, featuring voice-over by Kevin Smith and supervising director Chris Bailey, in which the style of the show is discussed. This is complemented by a three-and-a-half minute segment in which Smith and Bailey discuss the show’s character development. Rounding out the extras are a Film Festival Trailer (which actually is funny) and the ’Super Bow’ TV spot. The four extra features are repeated on both discs. I can only assume that having the episode, commentary, and complete storyboards together took up a great deal of disc space, therefore warranting 2-discs. But, this is a warning, that 2-discs doesn’t mean hours and hours of viewing pleasure. Die hard Kevin Smith fans may be sorely disappointed. I know I was.