The Four Phases of a Kevin Smith Fan
by Guerrs

Smith meets fans head-on

I've been a big Kevin Smith fan since 1996, but my geek-outs have cooled in recent years, mostly due to the burgeoning fan base that gives normal nerds a bad name. I'm referring to pretty much anyone on Talkbacks and message boards. Smith himself has now taken to the trenches of the boards to defend his honor, and all of a sudden you see the profanity-laced posts disappear, replaced by heaps of praise. Many of the posts are along the lines of "I've always been a fan Kevin" and "Let me post using Kevin Smith’s diction and self-deprecation in hopes that said man will respond to me!" There's something sad about the whole thing, but it's hilarious to read Kevin Smith addressing specific fans. It got me thinking, and I realized there's a certain evolution of the Kevin Smith fanboy. His films bring out the best and absolute worst in pop-cult followers. Emphasis on cult. I now present the Four Phases of Kevin Smith Fans.

Phase 1: Normal Human Being
As a normal human being, you have no knowledge of Kevin Smith, except that he's a movie director. An independent movie director. And, as a normal human being, you shy away from anything with the word independent in it. But hidden deep inside you, there are nerd tendencies waiting to burst out, Alien-style.

Phase 2: Mallrats x 36
It all starts when someone introduces you to Mallrats (or Clerks). All of a sudden, you have a realization that Brodie Bruce is the greatest character on the planet, and damn does he talk cool for a nerd! So you watch Mallrats 36 times, and you only watch Clerks 15 times (cuz it’s, you know, in black and white), and become obsessed with all things Askew. You sign up on the message boards with a name like Brodie_Nootch, and start gushing about your love for "dick and fart jokes." You read all about the crossover references and point them out to your friends as if you discovered them. And you suddenly change your inflection of the phrase "Holy shit."

Ah, young love.

Phase 3: Chasing Gaymy
Then you discover Chasing Amy. This is the pinnacle of any Kevin Smith Fan's Career. You feel like you're growing because the movie has a deeper message than Mallrats. You now know all the stories about Superman, Fletch, and Green Hornet. You spend a lot of time convincing yourself Banky's not gay because damn, he’s cool like Brodie! At the same time, you're developing a strangely homo-erotic relationship with Kevin Smith and his work. Luckily, your 'not gay' argument stands firmly on two words Banky utters at the end of the movie. "Thank Christ." It's not until Phase 3 that you realize the truth.

Phase 4: Dogmeh
By the time you move to Dogma, your use of the English language has grown exponentially, even though you still don't understand half the words you are saying. Then a strange thing happens. You don't watch Dogma 30 times. You laughed, maybe even gained "insight" into religion. But you can't bring yourself to watch Chris Rock give another bad facial expression. Then you catch Clerks: The Animated Series, and shield criticism because that second episode with "Who’s driving? Oh my God bear is driving!" was the funniest fucking thing you’ve ever seen. Your old Mallrats days of geekdom are restored briefly for Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, but you can't bring yourself to watch Silent Bob give another bad facial expression, and you think the music is downright cartoony. Plus, you find out Banky WAS gay! You go on the message boards and blast Kevin Smith for always going to the dick and fart jokes. For falling back on Jay and Silent Bob. And for exposing your previously concealed gay side. But you see Jersey Girl on opening day anyway, groan at this departure from dick and fart jokes, and realize you'll only watch it three times in your entire life. Then, you stop writing on the message boards altogether. You stop visiting All is silent.

Phase 1: Normal Human Being…Kinda
And now, you've come full circle. Kevin Smith and his movies have the ability to bring out the greatest addiction for nerds: loyalty. You get hooked on his early movies, share them with friends, say things like "If that tubby bitch can do it, so can I!" Because Smith is so open and accessible to his fans, you feel a kinship. But with all overly passionate fans, there's disappointment. It can’t be helped. Kevin Smith isn't disappointing the fans. His fans are building up ridiculous expectations and disappointing themselves. And just when you come down from your wild fanatical ride and think everything is back to normal, Kevin Smith brings it full circle by making Clerks 2. All of a sudden, you're buying the 10th anniversary Mallrats DVD. You're dusting off Brodie_Nootch, telling Smith you were a fan all along. And you're finally admitting to people that you love the cock. Welcome back.

As for me, I have been through the phases (minus the message board stuff and the cock-loving). I love his movies, I love his stories, and I love that he's a self-confessed nerd. But more importantly, Kevin Smith is still the only celebrity to sign my poster "To Steve, a really big asshole." Tom Green wouldn't even do that! That alone always has me in a perpetual state of Phase 2 Fandom.

If you never realized how bad Jeremy London stinks at acting until your 37th viewing of Mallrats, has a stink palm for you.

© 2005 The Decking Crew