Spotlight
Clerks: The Animated Series
Jay and Silent Bob are very much part of the Clerks universe
Almost as if they knew time was against them, the six extant episodes made by the Clerks crew follow an arc that would have fit a show that had a long, healthy run: they begin in the style of the film, immediately launch into a fantastically ironic retrospective "clip" show, gradually branch out into the experiments afforded them by the medium, and then self-consciously respond to imaginary fan complaints by attempting to return to their roots, all within the space of six half-hour shows. Along the way, they skewer everything from dead-end jobs to Star Wars to the WNBA to Judge Reinhold. Among their favorite targets are their own—the geeks, nerds and fan-people who are both the lifeblood and the bane of any project with a toe in the fantasy pond, and the results are always funnier than they are cutting. Yes, Clerks fans: Steve-Dave does make an appearance, and yes, he's still talking about Star Wars.

The 2-disc DVD set that Miramax has fashioned around the six episodes is surprisingly complete, for such an aborted project. Apart from throwaway live-action intros to each episode featuring Jay and Silent Bob, there are featurettes, sketches, trailers and DVD-ROM content. The package's best bonus is undoubtedly the full-length commentary on each episode by Smith, Mosier, Mewes and other key members of the production team. As expected from Kevin Smith's DVDs, the anecdotes are both ribald and revelatory, with many shots at the studio executives who killed the show, and many insights into the writing and animating process. For example, the Korean animator assigned to the series becomes a legendary figure by the end of the commentaries, mostly for his seemingly endless capacity for willfully misunderstanding the scripts he was supposed to animate.

While Smith has often threatened to leave the Askewniverse behind to pursue, in his own words, material with fewer dick jokes, it is evident that both he and his audience share an indomitable love for the characters we all first met in Clerks. There are rumors, some originating with Smith himself, that the animated series team may reunite for a feature-length project, if Jason Mewes can clean himself up enough to perform, and if Smith himself gives himself the time and space to write the script. After seeing these episodes in their exceptional DVD package, I'm sure you will also be hoping he manages to make it happen.
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