Yep, I did it. I binge watched Veronica Mars. But this time, I had what some would refer to as a valid reason.
Some of you know that my day job is running my own PR company for authors. One of the clients I’m a PA for, Amber Lynn Natusch, has a new YA Crime Noir series coming out with Tor Teen in 2018. In discussing her new marketing strategy (all her previous work is adult, not YA), she suggested collecting Veronica Mars memes for sharing as her series is in a similar vein. She felt that reaching out to VM fans would be a good jumping point for building her new reader audience. Since I’d never seen VM, I confessed that the memes would be kind of lost on me as the references are nothing I would understand. We ended up settling on a plan for me to pull any VM memes I could find, and Amber would have to go through the file and pick out the good ones that VM fans would appreciate.
This wasn’t the first time Amber mentioned VM to me. She has been telling me for a while now that I would love it and should totally watch it. Her exact words were “Veronica Mars is my spirit animal.” Until chatting with Amber, I had no clue it was a “normal” show (I watch a lot of paranormal/supernatural scifi). I had no idea that it was about a teenage detective. And while we’re being honest, I wasn’t 100% sure I’d even like it.
Rather than blindly pulling memes for Amber to later sift through, I decided to finally give it a try. I figured it would be better for me to experience the show and, in a way, get to know the audience I was going to be trying to locate for her in the next year and a half.
After watching the series, the 12-minute short, and the movie, I totally get it. The main character isn’t perfect. She’s good at what she does, but like all teenage girls, she doesn’t always come out on top. She’s witty but not highbrow.
Pure snark and sass.
She lives surrounded by the height of California luxury, but she’s also content with her own lifestyle and doesn’t exactly spend her time pining for a different destiny. Despite the glamorous setting of the story, Veronica is easy for the audience to relate to from episode one….
Keep reading for my season-by-season thoughts. 😉
As I said, I really didn’t know what to expect going in. In the opening scene, she paints the picture of Neptune, California.
“This is my school. If you go here, either your parents are millionaires, or your parents work for millionaires. Neptune California, a town with no middle class.”
Once upon a time, her father was the Sheriff in Neptune. Although they weren’t millionaires, his job was social currency allowing her to run with the 09ers, the crowd named for the town’s zipcode where only the wealthiest of families reside. When her 09er best friend was murdered and her father arrested Lily’s software magnate father, the thanks he received came in the form of being thrown out of office by the 09er residents. Being set in high school, her social standing was knocked down a few pegs. More than a few. Like, all the way to the bottom. Now, she’s got an after school job working for her father’s private investigations agency, and a nearly non-existent circle of friends. However, the ones she makes are a colorful bunch.
I want to mention a moment that takes place about two minutes in to S01E01. She’s sleeping on her desk in class and the teacher wakes her up by calling on her to read a passage from the homework the night before. Without missing a beat, she responds by reciting the four lines from memory.
“Hope springs eternal in the human breast; Man never Is, but always to be blest: the soul, uneasy and confined from home, rests and expatiates in a life to come.“
“And what do you suppose Pope meant by that?”
“Thank you, Miss Mars for that succinct and somewhat inappropriate response. I think what Pope’s saying is that the thing that keeps us powering through life’s defeats is our faith in a better life yet to come.”
When I first watched this scene, I thought it was just put there to showcase Veronica’s blunt/sarcastic nature. After seeing the entire series, it’s most definitely a foreshadowing moment for the theme of the entire series. When the series opens, Veronica has already been through a lot. As the series plays out, she goes through a lot more. She always manages to pick herself up and keep going, sometimes with the help of her small but exceptional circle of friends.
What would a high school drama be without a tortured love story? VM has several for you to follow along with, including her ping-pong existence with Logan Echolls and Duncan Kane. Her relationship with Duncan is in the post-breakup chilly phase when the pilot episode opens. It’s okay though because I didn’t really like her with Duncan anyway. They feel like an odd couple. Like their personalities just don’t go well together.
When she and Logan start a thing, it’s hot and a little weird, but it works.
They make a great couple.
I love Logan.
I adore him.
He’s got just the right amount of sarcasm paired with
perfectly timed delivery and an odd kind of charisma.
A moment of adorableness….
Another moment of his adorableness…
I fully admit, Logan is a special brand of asshole when the series first starts. There are a lot of contributing factors, some you dont even get the full detail of until season three, but even that doesn’t excuse some of the shit he pulls. Regardless, he’s an easy character to fall in love with.
In season one, she also briefly dates one of the deputies at the Sheriff’s department. He’s twenty, she’s seventeen, and (I’m assuming due to the whole statutory rape thing) they’re relationship is booooooooring…. Glad it was over quickly. He’s sweet and all, but their relationship is uneventful at best.
I also adore Logan’s bestie Dick Casablancas.
He’s a total manwhore and I love him to pieces. lol
His friendship with Logan is one I adore too.
They have one moment when they’re playing a video game together. Dick makes some dirty ass comment (as usual), and Logan glances at him and says something along the lines of “You’re not too complicated, are you, Dick?” That pretty much sums him up. He’s got a one-track mind, and he does absolutely nothing to try presenting himself as anything else. That’s exactly why I like him. I don’t have a problem with manwhores. I have a problem with manwhores who lie and present themselves as something else. If a girl sleeps with a guy who says he’ll never call again, she can’t get mad at him for not calling. lol
And his shirts! Pay attention to what his shirts say when you watch/rewatch the show. It seems like he’s got a new one on in every scene and they’re all hilarious.
Another character I loved was Eli “Weevil” Nevarro.
This next bit speaks volumes on where my priorities lie when it comes to men, but I spent the better part of the first season kind of hoping they’d get together. But that wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense for the character. She’s supposed to be a do-gooder. Girl Scouts don’t date the leaders of motorcycle gangs. lol
Their friendship is cute. It’s flirty, but more based on a mutual respect which blossoms into loyalty over the years.
There are many instances where Weevil comes to Veronica’s rescue, and vice versa.
And, of course, her friendships with Mac and Wallace rank right up at the top as well. 🙂
The overall story arc in season one is probably my favorite out of all three TV seasons. Of the three, this season and the movie have the most crime noir feel to me. The big cases are darker than the other seasons. I will warn that there are a few episodes that feel very young in nature. If you’re an adult watching the show for the first time, remember that it starts out set in high school and there is going to be some high school bullshit drama that ends up making its way to the center spotlight from time to time. Stick with it. The rest of the show is totally worth it. But don’t skip episodes because you will definitely miss some important information you’ll need to understand episodes later.
This season had a great overall story arc with major twists thrown in regarding a few different previous story lines, but you don’t start seeing the twists until the last 3-4 episodes of the season. I guarantee no one who is watching for their first time through will guess any of them. I will warn, two of them seem very out-of-the-blue, but when everything is revealed, it all ties together perfectly. For example, one of the story threads has three clues thrown out for you throughout the season, but the clues seem completely insignificant until you know the big reveal. Because of this, you wont think they’re clues until you obsessively rewatch the season. lol
The season opens with the most confusing episode ever. lol Veronica’s relationship status has changed, and it takes the entire episode to explain how. Personally, I don’t love her choice. lol *runs to gag self with a spoon*
The big mystery in this season is the suspicious crash of a Neptune High bus carrying a handful of students.
The shit quickly hits the fan when something else happens that points the idiot Sheriff in Veronica’s direction. The crash leaves one survivor, and that one survivor throws a MASSIVE wrench into the gears of a few different story lines. Once revealed, shit goes sideways. It results in Duncan breaking up with Veronica again (yay!!! Pave the way for Logan, dammit! lol) and taking off again. Things just go all manner of weird quickly.
Although this season is not one of my favorite overall story arcs, it’s still really good. As I mentioned before, the plots twist HARD and you will not see it coming at all.
In addition to the bus crash story line, we also have the conclusion of the Lily Kane murder – the trial of Aaron Echolls. The case against him isn’t quite so open and shut as one would think it would be based on how the previous season wrapped up. I was worried that I was going to get bored with the revisited story line, but the writers kept it more than interesting.
Surprise, surprise. Turns out there is more to the Kendall Casablancas story as well. Things with her are not as they seem, and she, as expected, causes all kinds of trouble.
One of my favorite stunner moments of this season was Thumper’s death. It’s the first time you get a real clear vision of how far Weevil is willing to get to get street justice.
And last but not least, the anti-prom. One of the best Veronica-Logan moments of the series, I think. And it’s abruptly followed by one of the worst. lol
And we finally get a definitive answer regarding Veronica’s rape-rape-rape-notrape-rape. That’s not poking fun at the fact that she got raped, but the winding path that story line took to reach the conclusion was akin to that of a squirrel on crack. I mean really.
Ahhhhhh, college. lol And all the fun shit that comes with college.
I have to make a note here. Hearst College, the fictional school VM attends, is THE WORST PLACE ON THE PLANET. lol They have severely corrupt staff, murders every Tuesday, and date rape seems to be the official campus pass time. lol I would not recommend sending your children to this school. lol
So yeah, this season brought up a lot social issues for college-aged students, and it brings back an old issue that hits close to home for Veronica. Girls on the Hearst Campus are getting raped and they’re pointing fingers without proof. Things get messy with the investigation when Veronica is able to prove it wasn’t the frat all the victims were blaming.
This season I found it a little harder to like Veronica. There are moments in the show where her attitude really kind of sucks. And her dad goes a whole lot easier on her than she deserves sometimes.
All of the main characters miraculously ended up at the same college. I know you’re going to find this shocking, but Dick ends up joining a frat.
I kind of wish we had gotten more of Mac’s story line. It’s been two seasons since we learned she was swapped at birth. I honestly expected that at some point in the story, she’d return to that.
This season introduced Piz. While I like Piz, he should have remained in the friend zone. lol He’s sweet and everything, but I felt like he and VM really didn’t make that great of a couple. The fire she had with Logan is completely and totally absent between them.
Cancelled on a cliff hanger. Really? I am so glad I wasn’t watching this when it originally aired. You would have seen me go full-on window-licker crazy when the cancellation news broke. No network executive would have been safe from my wrath. lol Luckily, I watched in the age of streaming video, so I only had to wait as long as it took me to one-click the digital movie on Amazon.
Season 4 – 12-Minute Short…
Season four only ever made it as far as a 12-minute concept clip which was presented to the WB brass. Unfortunately, the shows poor rating performance for the first three seasons kept it from being picked up for the fourth season.
It’s not necessary to watch this as it’s not cannon to the rest of the series at all (I didn’t know this ahead of time), but I feel like it would have made a great season. It opens bouncing back and forth in time. Veronica is in the FBI and it bounces back and firth between her first assignment and her first day at the office. I love love LOVE Walton Goggins, and I imagine with him as her supervisor, the sarcasm would have been unparalleled. I can see the two of them having great screen chemistry together. Not necessarily romantic in nature, just working well off of one another.
Veronica Mars – The 2014 Movie…
Fast forward nine years and that brings us to the movie. Fans moved heaven and earth by opening their wallets and made the film a reality via crowdfunding on Kickstarter.
As I mentioned, I didn’t know that the movie and the “season four” weren’t tied together, I was a tad confused when the movie opened with Veronica interviewing at a big NYC law firm. Pay attention when she runs into Leo. They casually address this jump in plot direction when they’re catching up. It was a cute little nod to the die-hard fans out there. I’m sure, without addressing it, trolls would have ripped the movie apart over that online. lol
Initially, we see what appears to be a new Veronica. Calm, cool, collected. Frosty, even. Not the sarcastic hot head we’re used to at all. Then it flashes to a scene of her in the waiting room at the law firm interview. A dude sitting next to her holds up a pad with a cartoon pecker drawn on it. Her response?
Yep, still Veronica. And now Veronica is free of the network TV censorship leash. lol I lost my shit laughing over this. I was expecting the same ol’ PG-13 VM, and that’s just not the case. Even if the rest of this movie blew, this moment and the full-on belly laugh it caused would totally be worth it.
OH! There is a cameo starring Kristen Bell’s husband Dax Shepard as well. That scene also makes me fall over laughing.
The viewer quickly gets the theme of the VM movie. VM accomplished her lifelong goal of escaping Neptune only to find that after one night back in town, she thrives on the drama of it all. Regardless of the stigma that surrounds the profession, she’s good at being a PI. She’s not happy living the “normal” life and it’s apparent from the first scene. The further you get into the movie, and the more you see her internal struggle with deciding on a direction in life, you can help but wonder if the icy VM we were seeing in the opening scene wasn’t just depression as a byproduct of a snoozer existence. lol
She’s in a relationship with Piz again, but right after he hits the screen, you find out that they haven’t been together the whole time. He states (when talking to his boss) “We dated for a few months back in college and then for the last year.” But there is nothing, aside from her explanation of being in law school, about what VM was doing during the other eight years that passed.
It wasn’t Logan, I know that. BUT, Logan is back in the picture, and this time he’s the #1 suspect in the murder of his girlfriend. He calls Veronica, the first time they’ve spoken in nine years, to ask for help and that’s all it takes to get her on a plane back to Neptune.
By the way, just a little nugget to make your brain a little more wrinkly, this is what he looks like now with his shirt off:
Very important knowledge….
Ahem! I’m back.
As I mentioned under season one, the story arc for the movie is one of my favorites. It’s murder and murder always makes for good stories. The only wish I would have had is that the ending had been flushed out a bit more. It comes to kind of an abrupt halt. It’s good, it just felt like something was missing. It’s weird. It’s not like the story isn’t wrapped up, it just feels like you’re cruising along for something huge and then it’s just done. Like the solution came along a little too easily or something.
But, I will say, I loved the ending Veronica and Logan got. The story of Veronica Mars is left wide open in all respects.
Nice little reunion shot…
My favorite bonehead Dick Casablancas is back!
I’m happy to report he doesn’t appear to have grown as a person.
At all. lol
He’s still Dick.
My Final Thoughts on VM…
Loved it. I loved it enough that as soon as I was finished with my maiden binge watch, I forced my dad to watch the show. lol He’s a huge fan of all things noir and humorous, so I assured him he’d love it and pressed play. Less than a week later, he was finished with the series, and came to the same conclusion I did: There should have been more. I watched a great YouTube video that gives a great breakdown for why the show was cancelled (it was an odd fit with the superhero and supernatural networkmates on CW) and found out that the ratings plain and simply sucked. Like a Hoover. Approx 2mil per episode, which is super-low for a prime time show. I’m glad they came back and did the movie to wrap up story lines. However, the movie seemed like a great pilot for a new, more grown up series. Hint motherfucking hint, streaming networks. Netflix? Amazon? Hulu? Any of you streaming studios think this is a waste of resources??? I don’t. I think the fanbase PROVED that they’ll watch. I mean, they came up with $5.7million just to get it back for 97 minutes, sooooooo………
Play It Again, Dick…
The Veronica Mars creator, Rob Thomas, and Ryan Hansen (Dick Casablancas) teamed up and made a web series called Play It Again, Dick…. It’s on Amazon Instant Video and there are eight episodes. It’s a mockumentary type thing following Ryan Hansen as he tries to get a VM spinoff series made. The premise is Dick is all grown up and somehow ended up as a private eye. As he dives into trying to get everyone on board, everything gets more and more twisted. The humor is goofy as shit, but if you enjoyed Kings of Con, you’d probably love Play It Again, Dick…. Episode three in particular will make you spit out your coffee. You get a much different image of Keith Mars. lol
Also, the very last episode features this little music video featuring basically the entire cast of the show rockin’ out to No Mediocre by TI.