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The 7 Most Important Recurring Characters in Kevin Smith Movies (Not Named Jay or Silent Bob)

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By TM Rider 

Kevin Smith’s movie world is a vast one, so large that it’s considered a universe by fans of the successful writer and director.

The View Askewniverse — View Askew being the name of Smith’s production company — is the nickname given to any Kevin Smith film from 1994 (Clerks) to 2006 (Clerks II). (The only film not included in the universe is the Bennifer bomb Jersey Girl from 2004.) Inspired by the John Hughes films of the 1980s, Smith created a world of characters and storylines that weaved throughout his films. Smith used many of his real life friends in these roles.

Of course, Jay and Silent Bob play major roles in all the films, and characters like Randal and Dante from Clerks or Holden from Chasing Amy turn up in multiple films. But what about those secondary characters that appear and reappear throughout the films? The Julie Dwyers, Shannon Hamiltons and Walt Flanagans that litter the universe and keep the View Askew machine moving from film to film.

Here are the most prevalent characters in the View Askewniverse, ranked from least to most important, and how the characters and stories connect to one another.

Honorable Mention: Jaws (The Movie)

T.S. Quint: I was going to propose to her.
Brodie: Where?
T.S. Quint: The Universal Tour.
Brodie: You’re kidding. What part?
T.S. Quint: When Jaws popped out of the water.
Brodie: That’s the most romantic thing I’ve ever heard.
T.S. Quint: Too bad I’m not trying to marry you.
Mallrats

The numerous Jaws references probably go unnoticed by the casual viewer of Smith’s movies. Many of Smith’s films, especially the early flicks, make reference, either visually or verbally, to the Jaws franchise. Smith once listed Jaws as one of his top five favorite movies of all time.

The more obvious references are TS Quint’s wish to propose to his girlfriend Brandy on the Jaws ride and the fact that Quint, and his best friend Brodie Bruce, are an homage to Quint and Brody, the characters that Robert Shaw and Roy Scheider played in Jaws. In Clerks, Randall hums the iconic Jaws theme music and drops a reference to needing a “bigger boat” while playing killer shark with his chips and salsa. In Chasing Amy, the scene where Holden, Banky and Alyssa down beers in a bar and recall injuries sustained during the performance of oral sex on women is a tribute to the moment in Jaws where the men sit around the table and compare the injuries sustained in their travels around the world.


7. Willam Black (Scott Mosier)

Willam Black is known for his limited intelligence, looking like hell, and his fondness for being “snowballed” (Learn the meaning of the term in the NSFW clip below.) Black is played by longtime View Askew film editor and producer Scott Mosier. He reprises the role in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and in the Clerks cartoon


6. Brodie Bruce (Jason Lee)

Brodie is an unemployed, comic book-obsessed nerd who lives in his parents’ basement. He’s first introduced to the Askewniverse in Mallrats as being best friends with T.S. and is a cousin of Randal Graves by virtue of sharing a cousin, the unseen “Walt” who we’ll get to later, and a never seen but occasionally referenced “crazy grandmother.” Brodie makes a cameo appearance in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back in which it’s revealed he now owns a comic book store called Brodie’s Secret Stash.  (A play on Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash, the comic book store owned by Kevin Smith that is featured on AMC’s Comic Book Men.) This was after his stint as host of The Tonight Show, as revealed at the end of Mallrats.


5. Shannon Hamilton (Ben Affleck)

Shannon Hamilton plays a pivotal role in Mallrats but his name, and likeness, is referenced throughout several films. Shannon’s influence is a woven tapestry of asshole-ry.

Hamilton is the manager of Fashionable Male and the arch enemy of Brodie Bruce. Shannon dates Brodie’s ex-girlfriend Rene Mosier. In Mallrats, Tricia Jones reveals that she had sex with Hamilton as research for her book Borgasm. She even taped their sexual encounter. At the end of the film, after Hamilton is arrested for having sex with a minor, it is explained that “Shannon made a lot of friends at the Rahway State Correctional Facility.”

Hamilton is mentioned in Chasing Amy, when Alyssa Jones explains that she had sex with him in college, he taped it without her consent, and showed it around campus. In a non-movie mention, Hamilton’s face is plastered on a milk carton in Clerks: The Comic Book to show he’s since gone missing after his release from prison. Rumor has it be may turn up as the villain in Kevin Smith’s proposed Mallrats sequel, assuming he’s not busy being Batman.

4. Rick Derris (Ernest O’Donnell)

Rick Derris is the local pervert and sexual deviant who’s had sex with just about every woman in the Askewniverse.

In Clerks, Derris reveals to Dante that he had sex with Dante’s ex-girlfriend Caitlin Bree numerous times during their five-year relationship. In Mallrats, Gwen, T.S. and Brodie Bruce recall a high school costume party in which Derris and Turner had sex on a pool table dressed as Burt Reynolds and Jackie Gleason from Smokey and the Bandit. In Chasing Amy, it’s revealed that Derris and his friend Cohee London have a three-way with Tricia Jones’ older sister Alyssa during high school. This was the reason she was given the colorful nickname “finger cuffs.”


3. The Hicks Cousins (Brian O’Halloran)

At first glance, it probably seemed to viewers as though Brian O’Halloran was just playing different roles in all the Smith films, when in fact he was portraying the many cousins of Dante Hicks. That’s when he wasn’t actually playing Dante in Clerks and Clerks II.

In Mallrats, O’Halloran is Gil Hicks, the dating show contestant who’s exposed as being “sort of” homophobic by Brodie. In Chasing Amy, O’Halloran reappears as high-ranking executive Jim Hicks, the man interested in turning the Bluntman and Chronic comic book into a cartoon series. In Dogma, he’s Grant Hicks, the newsman who meets an unfortunate end at the hands of angry arch angels.


2. Julie Dwyer

Never has a dead woman, the same dead woman, played such a huge role in so many different films.

Julie Dwyer was first mentioned in Clerks as the old high school friend of Dante and Randal who tragically died doing laps in a swimming pool at a YMCA. Dante and Randal both ditch work to attend the funeral, which Randal dubbed “the social event of the season,” and leave quickly after Randal knocks over the casket (a scene that viewers never witness except for the two guys sprinting out the front door of the funeral parlor).

In Mallrats — which takes place the day before Clerks — Julie Dwyer is supposed to be the contestant on Truth Or Date. She’s told that “the camera adds ten pounds” which prompts her to swim all those laps and eventually die. Her death forces Brandi to take her place on Truth Or Date, a show produced by her father, which leads to her breakup with TS.

Julie is again mentioned in Chasing Amy as a friend of Alyssa Jones and in Clerks II when Randal mentions going to her funeral.


1. Walt Flanagan

Walt Flanagan is the only member of Smith’s universe that’s both real and fake. Walt Flanagan, a childhood friend of Kevin’s, does exist and has played several roles in his films (and is a cast member on AMC’s Comic Book Men) but there’s also the fictional Flanagan (often referred to as Walter) who pops up in conversation between characters in many of the films.

Walter, a shared cousin of Randal and Brodie, is probably most remember for dying of a broken neck while trying to give himself oral pleasure. In the beginning of Mallrats, Brodie tells the story of how Walter kept getting cats stuck in his ass in an attempt to scare out a gerbil he’d previously lost in his butt. One of the most obscure references to Walt is in Mallrats during the chase scene with Jay and Silent Bob and mall security guard LaFours. Jay comments to Silent Bob about LaFours that “the bastard is faster than Walt Flanagan’s dog.”

Walt’s most memorable on-screen role is as Walt Grover, a stooge to comics nerd Steve-Dave Pulasti. Grover even gets his own catchphrase, the often repeated by hardcore fans “Tell ’em Steve-Dave!,” that he yells during an altercation with Brodie in Mallrats. And of course, Tell ‘Em Steve-Dave is the name of the SModcast network podcast that the real Walt Flanagan cohosts with Bryan Johnson and Brian Quinn.

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Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.

via GIPHY

Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…

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IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.

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IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).

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IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.

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IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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