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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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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at IFC.com

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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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…