"A Dissertation on the American Justice System by People Who Have Never Been Inside a Courtroom, Let Alone Know Anything About the Law, but Have Seen Way Too Many Legal Thrillers" is the fourth episode of Clerks: The Animated Series. It was the first of the two episodes that aired.
Disclaimer joke: "With that in mind, America, let's rise up against our celebrities and make fun of them."
After slipping on a soda Randal spilled, Jay sues Quick Stop for $10,000,000 dollars. The trial is held by Judge Reinhold
and the jury consists entirely of black NBA
All-Stars. Randal defends Dante, where he does nothing but try to "get hip" with the jury and demand famous film directors to give him back his ticket money for their awful films he saw. The episode never reaches a verdict, due to the script pages of the episode being lost and replaced by Korean animation
- The original disclaimer joke was "With that in mind, America, let's rise up against our celebrities and kill them." but was forcibly changed by ABC executives.
- Kevin Smith and the fellow writers spent the night of the episode's airdate reading internet reviews.
- This is the first episode without an ending segment with Jay and Silent Bob. Probably because of this, this is the first episode of the show where Silent Bob doesn't speak. Kevin Smith has stated that they wrote one segment spoofing The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints public service announcement in which a grandfather tells his grandson about prejudice.
- The speech bubble during the faux-Korean animated section loosely translates to "Work with enthusiasm!", echoing the "Everybody work!" of the dubbed dialogue.
- Near the end of the episode, before the verdict is reached, someone has a dream of the verdict and wakes up in bed. In Randall's dream, the jury finds in favor of him; they give him a large check for ten million dollars; Dante proclaims that he (himself) is 'The Biggest Idiot Ever' (a reference to episode 2), and is also dressed like Larry Flynt. An idea suggested was Jay and Silent to have dreams (or share a dream), and to find themselves waking up in someone's house which they've broken into.
Pop culture references
- When Jay and Dante enter the courtroom, it is a parody of The People's Court.
- The black and white chapter title during the court case, along with the sound effect that is used, is a reference to Law & Order.
- Several References to Judge Reinhold films, such as Gremlins, Beverly Hills Cop, Head Office and Vice Versa. The ending bit is a parody of a scene from another Reinhold film Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
- The directors that Randal demands money back from: George Lucas (for The Phantom Menace), Steven Spielberg (for Hook), Joel Schumacher (for Batman and Robin), Woody Allen, and Spike Lee. An internet note, which Kevin Smith said would have been great, stated that the last director should have been Kevin Smith.
- The scene in Washington is a parody of the Oliver Stone film JFK, one of Kevin Smith's favorites.
- Charles Barkley, Reggie Miller, Allen Iverson, Patrick Ewing, Grant Hill, and 7 unidentified NBA players are on the jury, all of which entered in a typical NBA game fashion, accompanied by a gavel mascot and Michael Buffer announcing. Dante and Randal notice that the jury are all black instead of them all being basketball stars, though Dante does wonder why white NBA player Chris Mullin isn't included.
- The end of this episode has several references to Japanese animated programs, such as Transformers, Sailor Moon, Pokémon, and Digimon: Digital Monsters.
- Tom Cruise shouts memorable lines from A Few Good Men and Jerry Maguire, while appearing from apparently nowhere attached to stunt wires (the wires being a reference to Mission: Impossible). Ironically, both the lines that he shouts ("You want the truth? You can't handle the truth" and "Show me the money") were not originally spoken by Tom Cruise's characters in either film.
- When the jury enters the courtroom, Allen Iverson is shown to be the height of a midget, making fun of his relatively short (by basketball standards) height in real life.
- Randal says in the beginning of the episode that he has to choose which customers to allow to rent a video. We then see a guy deciding whom he should let into the video store, one of which he asks "aren't you Natalie from The Facts of Life?" This may be a reference to Dana Plato, a star of Diff'rent Strokes, the show of which The Facts of Life was spun-off of, who robbed a video store after her career sank after the cancellation of Diff'rent Strokes.
"Bear is driving" internet phenomenon
An Internet phenomenon
originated in this episode. In the final scenes, the ending of the script was apparently "lost" overseas and the episode was finished by the North Korean
animators, so the episode proceeds in a surreal fashion featuring many anime
and nonsensical events. After being chased out of a courtroom by riot police, Dante and Randal enter a getaway car driven by a bear. Dante, in a badly dubbed
voice, exclaims: "Who is driving? Oh my God, Bear is driving! How can that be?". The Bear has been touted to appear in the (Clerks: Sell Out
) animated movie.