TV My new article for Off The Telly about Clerks: The Animated Series has just been published with a nice creamy background this time. You can read it here. Still embracing DVD technology, I offer the following deleted scene, cut for time and relevance:
"But it was enough to get Smith a reputation of sorts and as is the way in these stories Hollywood was calling. It’s important to talk about his next project because it would be the first time he worked for a major studio, and the curbing of his artistic control, something which would happen again with the cartoon series. Mallrats was Clerks writ large – his attempt to essentially remake that film in a much larger setting. Instead of Dante and Randal, this time Brodie and TS. Jay and Silent Bob returned but their role was more cartooney, more comic book characterish (Silent Bob became obsessed with trying to use The Force from the Star Wars films and had a Batmanesque utility belt). It gave Smith the chance to work with professional and name actors (this was were he would meet long time pals Ben Affleck and Jason Lee, whose careers he would jump start, and fell out with Shannon Doherty). But this came at a price. The studio clearly wanted a mainstream film, so much of the verbal humour of the first becomes gross out visual humour ala Animal House. As the production began, Jay was almost recast (Jason Mewes was almost the only non-professional actor on the set and the executives weren’t sure if he could carry the film). Throughout production he felt that the piece was being compromised and that ultimately the studio didn’t really understand what he wanted to do. The film was barely released in the end but found an audience on video, which is were it premiered in the UK having missed out on a theatrical release here as well. It was during the making of this film certain cynicism of the studio system undoubtedly crept in; his next film Chasing Amy was a no budget indie production again."
I'll record an audio commentary when I can round up the boys. In an odd twist I talked up Mike 'Friar Tuck' McShane's work on Clerks. In his excellent piece on Whose Line Is It Anyway? Matthew Rudd shares the love:
"McShane never failed to find a rhyme, never failed to find a plot to the story, never resorted to "oh yeah"-esque fillers to account for syntactical or structural deficiencies and - most crucially - never failed to be funny. His vocal work was enormously impressive, veering worryingly towards perfection, something which improvisation never sought, expected or needed. However, McShane's lack of roughness around the edges never gave rise to any nudge-nudge grumbles about rehearsal - his integrity was always way ahead of that in the race. His skill was also useful as the last verse of the collective song (a march or gospel, generally), as at least two of the previous three contributions regularly were delivered on a rhyme-at-all-costs basis, with humour treated merely as a bonus. On top of all that, McShane could sing."
He also goes on to remind us of all the things we were saying at the time, (ie) John Sessons wasn't funny, Josie Lawrence couldn't sing, Tony Slattery needed a good kicking etc.

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