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Film / The View Askewniverse

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The 'Verse of the eight films in Kevin Smith's New Jersey Trilogy, named for his production company View Askew. It is Like Reality, Unless Noted, sometimes hidden (active divine and infernal forces) and some visible ("Mooby's" fast food chain and several other multinational corporations). And the occasional giant poop monster.

The Askewniverse films are as follows:

Three animated adaptations:

Related films with Askewniverse characters:

The Askewniverse comics are also:

  • Clerks (comic)
  • Clerks Holiday Special
  • Chasing Dogma
  • Bluntman and Chronic
  • Jay and Silent Bob in Walt Flanagan's Dog
  • Quick Stops

Video Games

  • Jay and Silent Bob: Mall Brawl (2020)
  • Jay and Silent Bob: Chronic Blunt Punch (2021)

Some features of the View Askewniverse:

  • All There in the Manual:
    • The comic series Chasing Dogma, which bridges Chasing Amy and Dogma, and explains just how Jay and Silent Bob ended up in Illinois;
    • Various director commentaries point out things never explained in the film, like Brodie Bruce and Randal Graves' relationship (they're cousins), or that Rick Derris is Jay's older brother.
  • Ambiguously Gay: "When you do it, you think about guys!"
  • Anachronic Order: Mallrats is the second film in the series, but actually occurs on the day before the events of Clerks. The rest of the films are chronological, but the comics are set at points throughout the history (one of them is actually the earliest occurring story). And no one knows when - or even if - the animated series fits in.
  • The Animated Series: Clerks got a short-lived one.
  • Anti-Hero: Jay and Silent Bob.
  • Anything That Moves: Jay proudly proclaims this in Clerks.
  • Arc Number: Thirty-Seven!!!
  • Aside Glance
  • Back to School: See below under What Could Have Been.
  • Book Ends: The 'Verse begins with Clerks and ends with Clerks III.
  • Brand X: "Nails" cigarettes, Chewlie's gum and Mooby's restaurants, among others.
  • Cameo: Jay and Silent Bob have a short cameo on the movie set of the Show Within a Show "Stab" in Scream 3. Then, when in ...Strike Back, they interrupt the filming of a fictional Scream sequel to rescue their monkey.
    • That scene is a lot funnier since Scream 4 was released.
  • Catch-Phrase Spouting Duo
  • Cerebus Rollercoaster: While each film does have comedic moments, every other one seems to land either hard on the Denser and Wackier side (usually the ones focusing on Jay and Silent Bob) or the Darker and Edgier side.
  • Cluster F-Bomb
  • Continuity Snarl: In Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Matt Damon appearing As Himself references acting in Dogma, while several other references in the same film clearly establish the events of that film as having happened. Presumably, Damon and Affleck did a completely different film of the same title in The View Askewniverse.
  • Everyone Went to School Together: Just pay attention to many of the conversations involving characters or locations from other films, and you'll pick up on this real quick.
  • The Ghost: A literal example with Rand and Brodie's Cousin Walter (Word of God confirms that all three are distant relatives), who dies via autofellatio before the events of the franchise and therefore isn't in any of the movies, but whose sexual deviancy is a frequent topic of discussion among the two surviving characters.
  • Good Adultery, Bad Adultery: Usually played for laughs of the 'ex-girlfriend cheated on the hapless hero' variety - Caitlin cheated on Dante a lot (mostly with painters), as did Gwen with T.S, though Gwen at least seems to feel a bit guilty.
  • Fanservice: Joey Lauren Adams topless in Mallrats.
  • Finagle's Law
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?: Jay.
  • Head-Tiltingly Kinky
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: A big trademark of Smith's is that the leads of these films are often a male duo of this variety: Dante and Randall, Brodie and T.S., Banky and Holden, Bartlebee and Loki and of course the trope namers themselves, Jay and Silent Bob.
  • High-School Rejects
  • Interspecies Romance: It's not bestiality. It's interspecies erotica, fucko!
  • Invisible to Normals
  • It Will Never Catch On/Vindicated by History: Kevin Smith was told during production of Mallrats that a gag where semen gets stuck in Joey Lauren Adams' hair had to be cut. Because it was gross, would never sell and it would doom the movie, etc. Except for, you know, that other movie that did it three years later and grossed over 350 million freakin' dollars.
  • Jerkass: Shannon Hamilton.
  • Joisey: Portrayed sympathetically, as Kevin Smith and most of the cast are natives.
  • Kavorka Man: Downplayed with Dante. He's not ugly or even unattractive, but you wouldn't think a spineless, whiny manchild would wind up in two separate love triangles, both times with women considerably out of his league.
  • Last Het Romance: In one episode of Clerks: The Animated Series, Randal discovers that all of his ex girlfriends became lesbians after dating him. Subverted with Alyssa, for whom Holden ends up becoming her first het romance after years of only dating women and the last before dating another woman, making him her only het romance.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: Jay and Silent Bob go way beyond just Heterosexual Life-Partners, especially since Kevin Smith apparently based their relationship on that of his own mother and father.
  • Like Reality, Unless Noted: Clerks, a Slice of Life DIY indie film, and Chasing Amy, a tasteful, grounded dramedy, both take place place in the same continuity as Dogma, a Religious Horror movie that includes a giant poop monster. 'Nuff said.
  • Manchild: Most of the male characters in these films are incompetent losers or just straight-up idiots. See "Women Are Wiser" below.
  • Mean Boss: Apparently, Dante and Randal's boss. In Clerks, he went to Vermont, leaving Dante stuck at work for the entire day despite assuring him he'll only be working a few hours. In Episode 4 of the cartoon, he didn't hire a lawyer for Dante even though he said he would.
  • Mocky Mouse: Several of the films, most notably Dogma and Clerks II, feature a cartoon cow named Mooby, who has several noticeable similarities in design to Mickey Mouse (especially the gloves and buttoned shorts) and is the focus of a profitable multimedia franchise. Kevin Smith even stated that the intention was for Mooby to look similar enough to Mickey without risking a lawsuit from Disney.
  • Nerds Are Virgins: Averted. Not only does nearly everyone in these films (save Elias) have a healthy sex life, but because Everyone Went to School Together, most of them are separated by approximately one sexual partner.
  • Noodle Incident: The events from Julie Dwyer's wake in Clerks are never clear after we see the two main characters running from the family.
    • Subverted in the comic, and later when the wake was animated and added to the Clerks X 10th anniversary edition.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Loki directly compares Bartleby to Lucifer (alluded to via his former title the "Morning Star") when he starts ranting about how God treats angels.
    "You sound like the Morning Star!"
  • Once an Episode: Silent Bob will speak. Sometimes it's a single line, sometimes an entire monologue.
  • One Degree of Separation: All the characters either know each other from high school, or from past events in other films. Jay and Silent Bob are the centerpiece of the View Askewniverse, being the only characters to appear in every film. Where to begin:
    • Randal Graves and Brodie Bruce are cousins.
    • Dante Hicks is related to Gil (Suitor #3 on Truth or Date), Jim (the exec who wants to make Bluntman and Chronic into a cartoon series), and Grant (the reporter who is killed by Bartleby and Loki). To better identify all the Hicks cousins, well, notice that they're all played by Brian O'Halloran.
    • Caitlin Bree and Alyssa Jones were best friends in high school, cheated on Dante while he was dating Caitlin.
    • Alyssa's two sisters are Heather, who goes out on a date with Rick Derris in the original Clerks, and Tricia, the 15-year-old from Mallrats who wrote... you know. Further confirmed when Alyssa and Tricia exit the Bluntman and Chronic movie premiere together in ... Strike Back.
    • Speaking of Rick Derris, he managed to nail sisters Alyssa and Heather, and was also one of the many guys Caitlin cheated on Dante with. In Mallrats, it's mentioned he also slept with Gwen, who had previously gone out with T.S. Quint.
    • Shannon Hamilton also had sex with two of the Jones sisters, Alyssa and Tricia; a video of his encounter with each was produced. He also slept with Gwen.
    • Brandi Svenning, T.S. Quint's girlfriend in Mallrats had previously been involved with Banky Edwards from Chasing Amy.
  • Only Six Faces: The small number of actors involved in Clerks caused a live-action version of this trope.
  • Physical God: Somewhat subverted.
  • Powers That Be
  • Pretty Fly for a White Guy: Jay, at times.
  • Punny Name: In Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Federal Wildlife Marshal Willenholly is named for the characters Marshall, Will and Holly on the 1970's children's TV show Land Of The Lost.
  • Real Women Don't Wear Dresses/Most Writers Are Male: The Askewniverse does not lack well-written female characters by any means. Feminine women, on the other hand, are practically non-existent.
  • Recursive Canon: In-Universe, the movies Clerks, Mallrats, and Dogma exist as well (presumably as slightly different movies from the ones we know) . Chasing Amy is confirmed to not exist, having been written as a comic book by Holden instead.
  • Reference Overdosed
  • Retcon: Kevin Smith stated that Zack and Miri Make a Porno is not part of the universe, but included the character Brandon St. Randy in Jay and Silent Bob Reboot.
  • Santa Claus: Clerks Holiday Special
  • Seinfeldian Conversation: Several, with memorable inquiries such as the morality of the Rebels in Return of the Jedi, and the merits of not/going ass-to-mouth.
  • Shout-Out: Even the entries that aren't so over-the-top get their share, like the pastiche of a memorable Jaws scene in Chasing Amy.
    • A substantial portion of the dialogue in Dogma is either quoted from or referring to several movies and shows, including Indiana Jones, Star Wars, The Karate Kid, and The Six Million Dollar Man.
    • Also, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back is essentially one long parade of cameos, with nearly every single one of them accompanied by a Shout-Out to that person's most famous previous movie role. That, and the bong-lightsaber scene.
      • Look kids, it's Mark Hamill! [applause]
      • In fairness, he did that because test audiences failed to recognize Hamill.
  • Shrug Take:
    Silent Bob: I got nothing.
  • Silent Bob: Also the Trope Namer.
  • The Slacker: Pretty much every single male character in the universe.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Clerks was a pretty bleak and cynical film for the most part. Some of the later films were more in the middle. Every film from Clerks II and onward has leaned more towards the idealistic end.
  • Speech-Centric Work: Even Smith acknowledges that his movies lack real visual panache, but Clerks was a success based entirely on how witty and memorable the dialogue was. Roger Ebert also praised Chasing Amy for an extended scene where Holden asks Alyssa questions about lesbians and held nothing back.
  • The Stoner: Jay.
  • Those Two Guys: Jay and Silent Bob; Steve-Dave and Walter.
  • Translator Buddy: Jay to Silent Bob.
  • Transparent Closet: Jay, to the point that a deleted scene in Clerks II had Silent Bob get fed up and break his silence for the sole purpose of calling him out on it.
  • Uncanny Family Resemblance: Dante Hicks and his sundry cousins, all played by Brian O'Halloran.
  • The 'Verse: Not all of the films in this series are direct sequels of each other, but they all take place in the same universe and Jay and Silent Bob tend to pop up in all of them.
  • The Voiceless: God, LaFours, Silent Bob.
  • "Will Return" Caption: Some of the films parody this with a "Jay and Silent Bob will return" caption, referring to two characters who are usually recurring minor ones rather than a hero.
  • Women Are Wiser: The more sensible, intelligent characters in the Askewniverse tend to be women, while the men are almost always perverted slackers who end up causing their own misfortunes.