Turning the hegemonic paradigm on its head.

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Posted by JamesJay at dialup- on August 06, 2001 at 21:40:12:

Or how two drug dealers reign at the top of the food chain in the Askewniverse: one more quietly than the other I might add.

I had a few unwanted hours away from my office today. (Let's just say that my '95 Jetta decided to drop it's figurative lower intestines all over the road last night. Who the fuck knew that a Volkswagen Jetta had two mufflers??) So after I arranged to have the eviscerated piece of shit towed to the nearest garage, I hopped on the net and discovered that Kevin Smith was going to be a guest on NPR, I figured I'd at least kill an hour. I've loved all his films and never really participated in a live call-in show before. (And I'll never make fun of talk-show callers again . . . keep reading.) I was lucky enough to get to speak with Kevin on the program. Listen to the last caller (James from Waterbury, CT) who sounds like he's: a.) really nervous, b.) a pack and a half a day "Nails" fiend who just ran up two flight of stairs or c.) waxing the carrot to the latest Maxim cover featuring Helena Bonham Carter. Two of the above apply. After Helena's latest role as a simian, I'd feel conflicted even thinking about "c."

Anyhoo, after I finished posing my query to Kevin, and feeling pretty stupid about my presentation, I took a second to think about why his movies strike a chord with myself and so many of my friends and colleagues. I think the appeal has to do with the structure of his stories. He puts the comic relief, the traditional Shakespearian "jester" character (or "characters" in this case) in the background, serving as nuisances to the central characters. But there is always a defining moment where either Jay or Silent Bob make a point to a central character (Holden in "Amy" and Bethany in "Dogma") that serves to complete a central character's "arc." This is a tried and true method of traditional storytelling. Kevin, however, puts another twist to it in his world of characters. The "jester" figures become central characters who don't just fade away after they've served their purpose of driving the protagonists forward- they learn and follow their own character arc according to how they interact with the central characters of the story. So much to the point in the Askewniverse that a resolution to these "jesters" (Jay and Silent Bob) becomes necessary to finish the whole story as well as satisfy the audience that there is a resolution to the whole of the "Jersey Chronicles." Because you can't really walk away from the world Kevin has created without knowing what happens to these two characters. It would be akin to ending the "Star Wars" series with a shot of C3P0 and R2D2 being ditched on Endor by Queen Padme without a compass or a pot to piss in. (Or oil to "lube" up with. Noontch.) It wouldn't make sense.

So, I really dig the way Kevin has made two background characters into lovable and necessary parts of his world. I'm sad to see them go, but I'm excited to see what Kevin will create next outside of the "Askewniverse"

Oh....and thanks for answering my question today, Kevin. Aside from my bumbling, I think I represented our town of Waterbury, Connecticut to the world in a better light than our fucking mayor has.


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