Television review: “Super Clyde” starring Rupert Grint & Stephen Fry
Back in March of this year, we reported that Rupert Grint & Stephen Fry would be shooting a CBS pilot together, titled Super Clyde. Sadly, once filming completed, the pilot was not picked up by CBS. Lucky for us – and for fans of Rupert – you can now watch it in it’s entirely ONLINE!
SUPER CLYDE is a comedy starring Rupert Grint about a shy comic book fanatic who discovers his calling after he inherits millions of dollars from his eccentric uncle. Clyde, a mild mannered fast food worker, is bequeathed $100,000 per month for the rest of his life and with the help of his butler, Randolph (Stephen Fry), Clyde begins his thrilling new life as a Super Hero, secretly helping strangers in need.
THIS REVIEW CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS.
The episode starts as a lot of serials do these days – with the conclusion of the show (or in this case, the middle), then moving into a flashback. We open up as Clyde (Rupert Grint) is running down the sidewalk being chased by a group of ladies seemingly out for an evening’s stroll. We then fade into the flashback, which shows and summarizes Clyde’s life as a child. He has a brother & a sister, and his parents passed away when he was young. At that point, he started reading superhero comics, Superman, Batman, etc., because they had also lost their parents when they were kids. After the death of his parents, Clyde & his siblings moved in with his Uncle Bill, the inventor of silly putty (it was actually invented by engineer James Wright in 1943), and a very weird man who loses his wallet 3-4 times a week, drives a Pacer (even though he owns far nicer vehicles) and has photo albums full of odd photos of himself. Eventually, their Uncle Bill passes away, and leaves all of his money to a charity that “supplies prescription lenses for low income felines.” The trio is astounded that their Uncle wouldn’t leave them anything except the roof over their heads and enough money for food. Clyde’s older brother Duke is put in charge and immediately fires their butler Randloph (Stephen Fry). The entire sequence has a voiceover by Rupert – which doesn’t sound like him AT ALL. I had to wait to actually see the voice come out of his mouth to convince me that it was him. It’s part valley girl and part British gent trying to do an American accent, but somehow it works.
In the next bit we see Clyde 15 years later, apparently an adult. He has a job at a local fast food joint, and has a crush on his co-worker Jolene. There is an odd, yet very endearing scene between Clyde and Jolene while at work, balancing the cash register. I think Jolene has a total of seven lines, but I could see her character becoming an important part of the show later on, once the main idea and plot is established.
That can’t really be said for Clyde’s brother & sister, Duke & Faith. Duke has decided that, instead of getting a job, he would slowly sell off every one of his late uncle’s possession. Faith seems to have drowned her sorrows in food, and has gained a significant amount of weight since her uncle’s passing. Both are caricatures, and are clearly meant to be. I too think that this would come in to play further down the road, but at the moment seems slightly silly and a little bit overdone.
Then, out of the blue, the trio (ha!) get a call from their uncle’s lawyer – the charity was FAKE! Uncle Bill wanted them to grow up without the influence of money, to become the people that they were supposed to be. They are now all entitled to a $100,000 check every month, for the rest of their lives. Duke & Faith are of course happy, but Clyde is confused and a bit worried, underwhelmed even. Duke spends his money on possession, including his dream car, but does make ONE sound decision – bringing back their uncle’s old butler Randolph. Faith “invests in herself” and gets life altering liposuction. One afternoon, Clyde has a discussion with Randolph, who has a little painted doctor on his hand named “Doctor Giggles” and apparently gave advice to Clyde as a child. Clyde explains to Randolph that he doesn’t have to work anymore, he has all the money he could ever possibly need, but Clyde doesn’t want to quit – when would he get to see Jolene? Clyde doesn’t think he deserves the money because he hasn’t found what his true calling in life is (or, his silly putty, as his uncle’s will put it). Randolph decides that it is time that Clyde learns the true story of his uncle – and why he always seemed like the happiest man on Earth.
Dear ol’ Uncle Bill only lost his wallet once in his life – and that’s what ended up changing his life. As a young millionaire, Bill spent his money frivolously. But the day that he got a call saying that someone had found his lost wallet, he was elated! The man returned the wallet to Bill, but refused to take a reward. Bill decided to pay the man back by (basically) stalking him in a run down Pacer and then buying him something that he needed – a new lawnmower! From there on out, Bill purposely “lost” wallets all over town and would reward people by doing a good deed and returning the wallet, money in tack. The creepy pictures of himself were his reminders of all the people that he had helped.
Clyde likens his uncle to a superhero – and after a bit of time and some soul searching (and against the advice of Randolph) decides that he too is going to “lose” wallets all over town and anonymously reward people, just like his uncle.
Now we find ourselves back at the beginning of the show, Clyde having found only one person over a month long escapade of non-returned wallets. A woman with children who rides three buses home everyday just to read her children a bedtime story. Clyde follows her home, spies through her window, and get chased down by the ladies out for a stroll. Clyde is rescued by Randolph (on a VERY Hagrid like motorbike with sidecar, might I add) and plots out his plan. He is going to buy her a car, pay her insurance, taxes, and gas for the next ten years. He drops the car off in the middle of the night – and bam. It’s done! Clyde has become the superhero he has always wanted to be. The woman wakes up the next morning perplexed, reports it to the police, who in turn simply tell her that, “It’s not a crime to be generous. You should consider yourself lucky.”
The episode ends with Clyde putting his very first grinning selfie on his wall, mother & children hugging in the background. He then proceeds to dance around his room, to the same old record that his Uncle Bill used to play.
I actually really enjoyed this pilot and am quite surprised that it didn’t get picked up for at least half of a season. The feel was light, fun, and had a lot of tie in graphics to the overall theme (comic books & super heroes) such as speech bubbles, SPLAT graphics, and sketched storyboard cutaways. Rupert was excellent as always, an almost convincing American. Unlike some of the other Potter actors, Rupert is able to step away from the mannerisms and patterns of Ron and step firmly into a new character. Clyde’s world seems like one that he could’ve flourished in, as we all know how good Rupert is at comedy. Stephen Fry is equally magnificant, even if we don’t see him for half of the episode. He was clearly meant to be the conscience, leader, and right hand man to Rupert’s Clyde, and I am sad to know that this relationship won’t ever come to be. Duke & Faith, played by Tyler Labine & Justine Lupe, were the only characters that didn’t feel 100% developed in the pilot, but seeing as they are most likely meant to be background fodder, more of a distraction than an addition to the main plot, I was okay with this.
I was a big fan of My Name is Earl, and this show has a very similar feel and basis. I was sad when that show was cancelled, and although Super Clyde will most likely never see the light of day, I am sad it is “cancelled” too! Fans should gobble this gem up while they can.