10 Reasons to Drop Everything and Watch ‘Veronica Mars’

Screen shot 2013-04-06 at 12.28.11 AM.png

1. She is a heroine on par with Buffy. If you’ve been avoiding Veronica on the grounds that it couldn’t possibly be as good as Buffy, I would strongly urge you to check yourself before you Trebek yourself. What she lacks in physical strength she makes up for with tech savvy and sheer determination. Veronica is complicated; she’s stubborn, intelligent, fiercely loyal, distrusting, calculating, brutal, witty, courageous, unapologetic, and deeply empathetic. She is flawed. Equal parts caring and cut-throat. She solves crimes, and she snarks. She’s just a marshmallow.

Screen shot 2013-04-06 at 12.00.15 AM.png

Screen shot 2013-03-29 at 4.02.58 AM.png

2. It has the greatest non-romantic relationships. Be still, my shipper soul. While Logan/Veronica is my OTP of the century, it’s still not my favorite ship on the show. The father-daughter relationship between Keith and Veronica is more heartbreaking and heartwarming and dedicated and loving and perfect than anything else I’ve seen on TV. On top of that, you’ve got Veronica’s friendships with Wallace and Mac and Weevil and Meg, and I just want to smoosh all of their faces. The thing about Veronica is that she has these deeply ingrained (and totally justified) trust issues, so it’s hard for her to connect with people. So when she does, you know it means something.

Screen shot 2013-04-01 at 1.07.01 AM.png

3. And the greatest romantic relationship. Of course, Logan/Veronica is so great that it gets its own number on the list. The show begins with Veronica and Logan hating each other — and I don’t mean that they “hate” each other in the way that TV couples do. I mean, he bashes in her headlights with a crowbar and she plants a bong in his locker. But by the end of the first season, they’re 100% making  out. I don’t want to spoil anything else, so I’ll just say, “they don’t write songs about the ones that come easy.” (That is a real line of dialogue.)

Screen shot 2013-04-05 at 11.14.47 PM.png

4. It actually addresses victim blaming and rape culture. This is not a spoiler: in the first episode, Veronica reveals that she was drugged and raped at a party while her fellow students looked on, and when she went to the local authorities to report it the next day, they laughed in her face. Sound familiar? She spends the whole first season searching for the identity of her rapist, and the incident is rehashed and referenced throughout the entire run of the show. Unlike other shows, Veronica does not let rape or rape culture take a backseat to other issues; it puts them at the forefront. Later, in seasons 2 and 3, they push the proverbial envelope even further when Veronica deals with a serial rapist at Hearst College and the resulting clash of the slut-shaming frat brothers with the quasi-militant campus feminists. (Note that this show first aired almost 10 years ago — but these are issues we’re only now beginning to address in the mainstream.)

Screen shot 2013-04-06 at 12.17.59 AM.png

5. And racism. And classism. I’m not going to say that this show about a 16-year-old white girl presents the most sophisticated dialogue on racism and classism that exists. But what it does do is not shy away from these issues, and that puts it lightyears ahead of most of the other stuff on TV. The show takes place in the fictional town of Neptune, CA, which Veronica calls “a town without a middle class.” At Neptune High, it’s a constant battle between the privileged, mostly white 09ers and those who live in less affluent zip codes. (You’ll have to suspend your disbelief and just accept that the children of billionaires would attend public school with gangsters.) It is this tension that drives the show and fuels the majority of Veronica’s cases. And if you get nothing else out of it, know that it makes for some really compelling storytelling.

Screen shot 2013-03-29 at 4.08.36 AM.png

6. The guest stars will blow your mind. Leighton Meester accuses Adam Scott of statutory rape. Michael Cera and Alia Shawkat are hanging at Hearst College. So are Paul Rudd and Dianna Agron. Max Greenfield plays a charming young deputy. Charisma Carpenter and Alyson Hannigan have recurring roles. Joss Whedon himself pops in for a cameo. And then we have Krysten Ritter, Jessica Chastain, Steve Guttenberg, Aaron Paul, Aaron Ashmore, Armie Hammer, Jane Lynch… This is just the tip of the iceberg, y’all. Expect to livetweet “whAT OmG” every time the guest star credits roll.

Screen shot 2013-04-06 at 12.13.36 AM.png

7. Genuinely intriguing mysteries! The first season is dedicated to solving the murder of Veronica’s best friend and Neptune’s most notorious party girl, Lilly Kane (that’s Amanda Seyfried). And I was completely and totally surprised when I found out who it was, even though it made sense to me when I rewatched the season. The show will definitely keep you guessing, so if all you’re looking for is a case-of-the-week show, VMars will still satisfy. There are a few odd one-off episodes, but on the whole, the weekly cases are fun and engaging and difficult to figure out, as are the season-long ones.

Screen shot 2013-04-05 at 11.21.34 PM.png

8. This is the part where I talk about the actors. Did you know that there are people in this world who don’t like Kristen Bell? She brings so much subtlety and energy and fire to Veronica, who has quickly sprinted past every other role model in my life and taken the first place spot. Same goes for Enrico Colatoni as the conflicted Keith Mars. Jason Dohring’s psychotic jackass is as chilling as his blubbering bad boy is endearing, and he has these mannerisms that reduce me to incoherency and button smashing. Know that “WB teen drama” does not equal Secret Life of the American Teenager. These actors are hardcore.

9. “Vibes.” This might not be an important factor for you, but as someone who will listen exclusively to the OC soundtracks when the weather is nice, I definitely give soundtrack and tone a lot of weight, and the music and the general tone on this show tug at my li’l heartstrings in a way that few things can. The soundtrack is an even blend of early 2000s alternative / emo with classic rock, so in a given episode, you’ll get everyone from the Postal Service to Hall & Oates. Also, the color scheme is definitely worth nothing: jewel tones against dark backgrounds, oranges, blues, greens, yellows…You could show me a random screenshot from a random episode and I would be able to identify it as part of Veronica Mars. So when I’ve been away from the show for a while, it still leaves an impression on my daily life.

Screen shot 2013-04-11 at 2.52.46 AM

10. And now they’re getting a movie! Which you should know about by now. You’re reading this, so I assume you have regular access to the internet, yeah? Well, in case you get all of your news from your grandmother, let me be the first to tell you that VM creator Rob Thomas launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a movie, and it reached its goal in just a day. They’re filming it this summer. (I donated $35 and I’m really, really excited about it.) The show was cancelled after only three seasons, and it ends on a less than satisfying note. But now, after about 6 years off the air, we are going to find out what happened to Veronica and the gang. Do you not understand how exciting this is? (It’s really exciting, FYI.) And if you think I’m crazy, just watch the damn show already. You’ll get it.

Advertisements

About Taylor Brogan

Managing Editor - inconnu magazine. Tweets @thbrogan.

13 comments

  1. Yes to all of this. Multiple times over.

    Also, I still think that pizza looks nasty.

  2. You have got me intrigued.

    I shall Netflix it. (Lemme finish watching s1 of Dollhouse first)

    • Dollhouse is so good! Protip, though: don’t watch “Epitaph One” until you’ve finished season 2. The Epitaphs combine to make one super episode that’s essentially Dollhouse the Movie. Ugh, so good.

      But VMars is still the best. (Not on Netflix, unfortunately. I think the first two seasons are streaming on theWB.com?)

  3. lisa

    I love Veronica Mars and while the Secret Life of the American teenager is awful..the cast is great : Shailene Woodley will be soon the next Jennifer Lawrence (yep golden globes and oscars are expected) Daren Kagasoff will be soon the new tv hearthrob, Molly Ringwald, Ernie Hudson..well clearly the cast was NOT the problem however you can’t seriously compare to Veronica Mars who had just EVERYTHING : perfect cast, perfect writing, perfect dialogue, perfect storytelling..just PERFECT.

  4. (Spoilers ahead!) I would be really careful with saying that Veronica Mars addresses victim blaming and rape culture. I think it was good progress, especially with rapists always being portrayed as bad, and the absolute horror of the Sheriff telling Veronica to deal with it.

    However, there are a lot of things wrong with it.
    1. All the teenage main female characters are punished for their sexuality. (Veronica, Mac and Park – the main three female characters of the series – are all raped. Meg and Jackie are teen mothers. I would argue that Lilly is also raped.)
    2. I feel like Logan and Dick’s involvement in possessing the drugs and/or actually drugging the girls (Veronica and Madison) is not really addressed. Madison is sort of blamed for giving the drugs to Veronica, drugs that were meant for Madison herself, making her a fellow victim.
    3. “Clash of the slut-shaming frat brothers with the quasi-militant campus feminists” is also very, very wrong. The slut-shaming frat brothers (who hand out merchandise with, “Don’t get raped!”) should never have been compared to so-called “radical feminists”. Not only because women who loudly and vehemently want to defend women’s rights are often portrayed as annoying, emotional, crazy banshees, but because people who rape other people and people who protest about rape culture are not even remotely comparable.

    • I definitely agree that the show was a step in the right direction more so than a sprint to the finish line. The point I was really trying to make was that the show itself was SO ahead of its time. I also think that the campus rape storyline in season 3 was the most problematic, particularly as you pointed out with its portrayal of feminists as militant and scheming. Veronica is the “reasonable” feminist, while the women who loudly and openly protest the frats and the rapes are seen as extreme. So yes, that’s definitely an issue.

      I’m confused though about where you thought I was comparing rapists with people who complain about rape culture? I don’t think they’re at all comparable…I think it was just good that they showed that that sort of tension existed in the world?

      Also, yes, yes, yes to your second point. The fact that Veronica blamed Madison for her rape made me endlessly frustrated. Madison is terrible, but she was never trying to drug Veronica. Logan meanwhile WAS trying to drug Duncan. I think it was odd that Veronica was so quick to forgive him for that.

      • My problem is with that tension – with the writers for making it vocal feminists vs. frat boys (who – to me – were sort of allegorical of the powerful, wealthy males who enable rape culture). It felt very “Everybody is a little bit wrong and a little bit right” and I was here all, “There’s a violent, serial rapist here with multiple victims why are you portraying people who care about that as half right and half wrong?” Like, not that frat boys are evil, just that the feminists should have been written as right because they WERE right because aforementioned violent serial rapist with multiple victims.

  5. Yes, okay. I was unclear about what you were saying, but I completely agree. I agree with Veronica’s criticisms of the specific characters on the show, because duh fabricating stories about rape is wrong, but the message itself is so unnecessary and counterproductive and really gets in the way of making it a GOOD story. (I like to think, though, that it happened because the writers were trying to keep the mystery alive and give us something ~unexpected. A shitty message that hopefully came from a less than shitty place.)

  6. Janella

    Interesting list; Veronica Mars sounds like a pretty good show. I work at DISH with a few people who love Veronica Mars, and have been talking about its Kickstarter campaign, so I was thinking about checking out the show. After reading your list, I think I will. I can rent it from Blockbuster @Home through DISH, which has over 100,000 titles to choose from, so I can always find what I’m looking for. If Veronica Mars is as good as it sounds I’m sure I’ll enjoy it, too.

  7. Muffy

    VM was an awesome show. S3 wasn’t the strongest season, but the show still deserved an ending and a longer run. I was pissed that the show was cancelled, even with S3 being weak. I felt S4 could have corrected the S3 mistakes. The CW wanted to turn the show into something it was not. But enough people just didn’t embrace the awesome “Veronica Mars.”

  8. Nia Wesley

    I think that the “feminists” in S3 were just as wrong as the frat guys. At least two of them faked being raped even though they knew that 1 in 5 women gets raped and that there was a real serial rapist on campus. They were not just interfering with an open investigation, they were actively jeopardizing it (which is a serious crime). They were trying to pin the rapes on the fraternity instead of actually trying to find the serial rapist. Nobody even referenced that the frat guy that got an object jammed up his butt was the victim of rape (inanimate objects count). They were vandalizing the Dean’s car and office (that’s harassment).

    Veronica was the one in that situation that was completely right. She was just trying to get to the truth no matter who the culprit turned out to be. She was suspicious of the frat guys and disappointed in those women (they were more interested in taking down the Greek system than in exposing rape culture). I did agree with them that it was hate speech when that men’s paper wrote “maybe the blonde in the middle”.

    I think that Veronica blamed Madison for more than spitting the drug into her drink. Madison also vandalized her car, wrote “WHORE” on the front windshield and “Abel Koontz killed the wrong girl” on the back. And she played a part in spreading slut-shaming rumors about Veronica out of misguided jealousy and classist beliefs. And part of Veronica probably thinks, “Madison being mean (tampering with my drink) got me raped instead of her and yet she still acts horrible towards me.” We don’t know if Dick would’ve date raped Madison that night but we know that Veronica ended up being the scapegoat that saved Madison. Veronica probably felt like it was what would always happen for Madison, she got switched at birth only to end up getting the wealth and family that should’ve been Mac’s.

DON'T BE AN ASSHOLE

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: