biff n' his boys

welcome everyone, to perhaps the nichest, most obscure group of characters i have ever fallen in love with. i present: biff tannen, 3-D, and slick.

obviously, biff tannen is the famous antagonist of the back to the future movie trilogy. you can even spot 3-D in the background of some shots. but the specific version of these goofs i'm obsessed with is their appearance in back to the future: the musical. even more specific, the versions played by nathaniel hackmann, will branner, and daryl tofa respectively.

...yeah. do you believe me when i say these are the nichest guys i've ever been attached to? i've written many fanfics about these goofballs. if you want a detailed timeline for said fics, check out the 'lessons learned' timeline.

because they're so obscure, i get to infodump to you about each of them! yippee!

canonical info

biff tannen

the man, the myth, the legendary bully who doesn't know his metaphors. played by nathaniel hackmann, his character in the musical is very similar to his movie persona. except if you go digging, you can find two cut songs that flesh out his backstory and give him motivation for his actions. these songs are it's what i do and good at being bad (links go to tumblr posts with lyrics and extra info)

of course, i recognize that these songs were cut because they risk the audience sympathizing with biff. he's the villain! he does things that shouldn't be copied, especially by young kids that might see the show. it serves the story to remove them.

however. my silly little fanfic world that i write for fun isn't meant for public consumption on the level of a west end/broadway musical. when i write biff as a man with trauma, who's made terrible mistakes but is still allowed friendship and kindness, i'm not excusing his actions in the show.


the silly goof, played by will branner! he wears 3D glasses all the time, no matter what. if you ignore the fact that it was definitely supposed to be a physical comedy moment, there's a part right before teach him a lesson that shows he has strabismus (crossed eyes) behind the glasses.


combined from the characters match and skinhead from the movies, slick was originally played by daryl tofa on broadway. he constantly has a toothpick/match in his mouth, and holds his hands very autistically near his belt.


i think about these guys too much. if you've read this far down the page, you know this by now.

3-D/slick are gay for each other

listen. i don't really have any "proof" i just think i'm right. okay? okay.

favorite moments

this is basically just a list of everything they do in the whole musical because they only have around 20 minutes of stage-time. but this is my shrine i can do what i want. they also might not do these things in every single performance, it's just what i noticed when i saw the show myself (and a particular video of it).

biff's biffs

a probably-comprehensive list of every phrase biff messes up throughout the show.

  • make like a tree and get outta here!
  • i'm gonna unwind him and break him right in three!
  • i gotta de-radicate him!
  • after we were so rudely interrupted the other day, i had a... renovation
  • (biff, can't you take a hint?) yeah, i'll take whatever i can get.
  • isn't that a very interesting re-development?
  • there's something about that punk that i don't trust, he's dangerous-t
  • i'm gonna remind him of what a man can't do
  • i'm gonna teach him a lеsson that he'll always forget
  • teach him for messin' with a man he won't regret
  • teach him a lesson that i haven't learnt yet
  • teach him for messin' with a man he will forget
  • it's heads he wins, and tails i lose!
  • i'll pay his dues!
  • i'll shine his shoes!
  • give me some piracy
  • the piece of resistance!
at lou's diner
  • when the gang walk in, marty and george are at two tables next to each other. 3-D rapidly looks back and forth between them, confused
  • 3-D tries to read george's sci-fi comic upside down and slick has to turn it the right way for him
  • slick scribbles in george's notebook
  • slick says "hey biff, get a load of his life preserver! this dork thinks he's gonna drown!" and 3-D just starts cackling
  • 3-D puts mustard in george's cereal
  • when biff says "make like a tree and get outta here!" the boys say "haha, tree!" and "get outta here!" to each other at the same time, giggling
something about that boy
  • during the scene before the song, 3-D and slick are sitting across from each other at a lunch table
  • 3-D sees marty and his fists clench, and slick glares at marty like >:(
  • when marty's about to punch biff, the boys are in the background looking ready to Fight
  • during the "freeze frame" after he gets punched, biff just lays there with his legs in the air
  • when they're chasing marty he headbutts 3-D, who knocks into slick, and biff just keeps going
  • biff throws knives at marty. 3-D watches like :O!! and slick clutches his head, equally shocked
  • this one was obviously a mistake but 3-D knocked into biff on accident at the start of their verse because he wasn't looking
  • slick says "he's on some list!" and 3-D says "like he's a COMM-UN-IST!" very enunciated
  • biff says "i'll break him right in three!" and the boys go "three!?"
  • one of lorraine's friends pushes slick into a locker during the fight scene lmao
teach him a lesson
  • biff and the boys walk on stage. biff flexes at a group of students walking by and one of them squeals
  • 3-D takes off his glasses and shows he has crossed eyes, sticking his tongue out
  • biff tells them to "spread out" to look natural and they just t-pose
  • lorraine says "biff, can't you take a hint?" and biff replies "yeah, i'll take what i can get"
  • as the girls leave the stage, 3-D watches them, twisting his back all the way down
  • through the whole song, the boys constantly look back at biff to copy what he's doing
  • biff: "we wouldn't be caught dead at [the dance], would we?" 3-D: "yes!" slick: "no!"
  • the boys repeat biff's line "i'm the man he won't regret!" and then look very confused
  • biff says "i'll teach him a lesson i haven't learned yet" and 3-D goes "have learned?" and slick affirms "have learned!"
  • "i'll pay his dues, i'll shine his shoes!" and 3-D looks at biff's shoes like "???"
  • at the end of the song, biff does an evil laugh that devolves into choking, so the boys copy him and turn their own laughs into chokes
end of the show
  • when george punches biff, he falls with a giant thud and stays laid out on the ground like a starfish
  • then when the stage turns back to the dance he rotates with it, just laying there. it's very goofy
  • back in 1985, biff brings in george's books and calls them the "piece of resistance"
  • as george stands at the podium and talks about "you can accomplish anything if you just put your mind to it," biff mouths along with him and then nods to himself