June 05, 2000 12:00 PM

ABC (Wednesdays, 9:30 p.m. ET)

Kevin Smith’s 1994 movie Clerks was a leisurely comedy about gold-bricking employees at a quick-stop food mart and adjoining video store. Its distinguishing features: deadpan, foulmouthed humor and a decidedly downscale look (shot in no-budget black-and-white). So why unhook the slackers from shabby reality and transfer them to this new cartoon show, starting a six-episode run May 31? Why raise the characters “from the drudgery of-their daily lives to comic-book-hero status” (to quote ABC publicity) when the daily drudgery was what made them funny in the first place? Why put them on a broadcast network, where they can’t talk nearly as dirty as they did in the movie? And why turn the comedy into a celebrity-spoof fest that’s little more than a catalog of pop-culture references? Can you say “ill-conceived”?

The main actors from the movie—Brian O’Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Jason Mewes and Smith—are heard in the animated version. Guest voices range from Alec Baldwin to Charles Barkley. One of them should have taken creator-executive producer Smith aside and whispered, “Bad idea.”

Bottom Line: Clerical error

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