Why the “clip-show” is the greatest format ever

The “clip-show”, in its simplest forms, is an episode of a television show, typically a half-hour sitcom, which is composed primarily of clips from previous episodes. “Clip-shows” are a convenient way to rehash the high points of a series, as most clip shows happen during the later seasons of a show’s run. These shows allow the audience, as well as the characters themselves, to reminisce and reflect on the communal journey that has been made.

Some “clip-shows” are simply a means to fill an episode’s time, but even when done poorly, the audience will still walk away mostly satisfied. However, when done well, a “clip-show” can be so much more than a compilation of previous material. I would like to highlight a pair “clip-shows” that I feel maximized the effects of the genre.

1. Clerks the Cartoon: This gem of a television show ran for only 2 episodes in 2000 before being canceled, but the entirety of the show (6 episodes) can be found on dvd. This show ran a “clip-show” for the second episode, which is magical. The characters repeatedly say “Remember when…” and you get a clip from the first episode, which is so absurd, it’s hilarious, especially since it’s the same 3 clips over and over. Unfortunately, when the show first aired, ABC showed episode 4 first, then episode 2, then canceled the show. Without seeing the premiere episode, the clip-show’s humor falls flat, so I can’t fathom why ABC would sabotage a show like that.

2. Community: This show is so good, if you are not watching it, you are doing yourself a disservice (NBC Thursday at 8). Ths past week, Community had a clip-show, which would seem odd for a show wrapping up its second season. But, only 10% of the clips were old material this time, so the viewer was treated to new, original clips from events they had never seen before, like the St. Patrick’s Day debacle that somehow involved the group dressed as leprechauns in a raft on a lake, or the group’s trip to a huanted mansion, ala Scooby-Doo. Watching this episode made me wish that it was a genuine clip-show, and I had seen the story behind these clips in their entirety, because they looked so good. Hopefully they recorded full episodes they can save for a rainy day.

This is why I love the “clip-show”: at it’s worst, it is still a series’ greatest hits; at it’s best, it turns the format on its head, and creates something entirely new and wonderful. If you have any clip-shows you found enjoyable for whatever reason, please share them in the comments section.

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About Wes J.

Your Focus Determines Your Reality
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