An abundance of inside jokes and references weave together the movies that fall within Kevin Smith’s View Askewniverse canon. Films like Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy, and Dogma drop allusions to unseen characters (like “Cousin Walter”, who met an undignified demise) or feature similar pop culture conversations (as in the inordinate amount of Burt Reynolds-centric discussions).
Of course, you wouldn’t be reading about it here if the View Askewniverse didn’t also feature its own brands:
Other than the ubiquitous Nails Cigarettes posters and cigarette cartons, there isn’t much discussion or elaboration on this brand in the films. However, as in the case of Higham Superfilters, there must be some unseen details only visible to those inside the screen.
“Mysterio” from Aint it Cool News got a chance to visit the office of Smith’s oft-used Production Designer, Robert “Ratface” Holtzman on the set of Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. He writes:
There, it’s like heaven for any View Askew fan. All those cool Mooby posters, the Brodie shirt, designs and logos… all of it, is done here. This is ground zero. There are Mooby menus, cups, posters, production designs and blueprints, tons of specially designed and dressed props. It’s cool to see and read the fine print on a pack of Nails, or reading the inside gags bits on the Mooby menu that would otherwise would fly by onscreen so fast you wouldn’t catch, seeing rejected material that Miramax deemed a little too offensive. Sweet stuff to see indeed!
Mooby the Golden Calf is both a fictional chidren’s character (a la Barney), and the mascot of the spinoff fast food franchise, Mooby’s. Askewniverse characters work at Mooby’s, wear Mooby merch, and sometimes even murder Mooby executives.
The View Askew merch site, Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash, once auctioned off screen-used props which included much of the Mooby’s paraphernalia so excitedly described by “Mysterio”, and seen above.
In order to liven up the image of the Catholic Church, Dogma’s Cardinal Glick (George Carlin) unveils the Buddy Christ campaign. Meant to replace the grim image of a tortured, bleeding savior, Buddy Christ is just a happy dude who thinks you’re a-okay. You can buy this version of the upbeat son of God on Amazon. Now that’s swell!
Like the Creator God of the Deists, Kevin Smith set the View Askewniverse in motion, and then slowly backed out of the room. He’s apparently done with that part of his career – Clerks II being the tail end of the geeky, pop-culture obsessed, slightly juvenile (okay… VERY juvenile) ouroboros.
Perhaps other filmmakers will keep the flame alive by occasionally giving characters a pack of Nails to smoke, or dropping references to Cousin Walter. Poor, poor Cousin Walter.