Clerks writer-director Kevin Smith shows his gratitude for Netflix’s That ’90s Show shouting out/homaging his 1994 debut film.
The following article contains minor spoilers for That ’90s Show Season 1, Episode 2, “Free Leia,” now streaming on Netflix.
The second episode of Netflix’s That ’70s Show sequel series, That ’90s Show, pays tribute to Kevin Smith’s 1994 debut film, Clerks — and Smith himself has taken notice.
“Thank you to [That ’90s Show] for including a reference to my favorite [’90s] veteran and his debut film!” Smith cheekily tweeted. “As a TV baby, I still get a rush whenever my name or work is shouted out in media I didn’t create. And the fact that [Tommy Chong] was the button was bliss! This made my morning!”
In That ’90s Show‘s second episode, “Free Leia,” central protagonist Leia Forman (Callie Haverda) — the daughter of Eric Forman (Topher Grace) and Donna Pinciotti (Laura Prepon) from That ’70s Show — pays a visit to the video store. While there, she nervously asks her main love interest, Jay Kelso (Mace Coronel) — the son of Michael Kelso (Ashton Kutcher) and Jackie Burkhart (Mila Kunis) — for a movie recommendation. Leia asks, “[W]hat’s that one movie? You know, with all the guys and the place and… the guys?” Jay guesses Clerks, to which Leia agrees.
In addition to name-dropping Clerks, this scene from That ’90s Show directly homages a memorable moment from the film itself — more specifically, the scene in which video store employee Randal Graves (Jeff Anderson) complains about the various customers who come in to rent movies. Randal recalls an encounter with one customer in particular, who was trying to find a specific movie while offering entirely unhelpful clues as to what he was looking for. “Do you have that one with that guy who was in that movie that was out last year?” the man asks.
That’s How We Did It in the ’90s, Son!
Regarded as a landmark release for independent filmmaking, Kevin Smith’s Clerks originally released in theaters in 1994. The film was not only Smith’s debut feature, but also the first entry in his larger View Askewniverse franchise of interconnected movies. A direct sequel, Clerks II, eventually hit theaters in 2006, with Clerks III following suit in 2022. Other films in the View Askewniverse include Mallrats (1995), Chasing Amy (1997), Dogma (1999), Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001) and Jay and Silent Bob Reboot (2019). The franchise may continue beyond Clerks III, with Smith currently developing a sequel to Mallrats.
That ’90s Show Season 1 is currently available to stream on Netflix in its entirety.