|veronica mars: "versatile toppings"
2.14 / Original air date 15 March, 2006
|Written by: Phil Klemmer
|Directed by: Sarah Anderson
NO-SPOILER DISCLAIMER: While this review does contain spoilers for this episode, I'm not into
revealing the big Veronica Mars mysteries in this review. You will not find anything about who killed Lilly Kane, or who
blew up the bus, or who was the college rapist. That just wouldn't be right. Those not in the
know on the big issues are safe here.
No words can describe how happy I am that the writers on Veronica
Mars decided to use some lesbians in an episode so I
have a legitimate excuse to rave about this show. For those of
you who are non-believers, or who just never got around to it (which seems to be most of the world), please email me
and I'd be happy to give you an essay-long treatise about why
you missed out on the best thing in television for a long,
long time. So
here I am, doing my part to trumpet the Veronica Mars
joy. Trust me, you WANT to be on this bandwagon, even if only belatedly now the series has ended.
Veronica (played by Kristin Bell, who moved on to Heroes) is no ordinary schoolgirl, but not because
she has any super powers. She's just a smart girl with drive,
ambition and an incredible capacity for logic. She also happens to
work part-time in her dad's detective agency. That came in handy
during season one when among many other things she helped solve
the murder of her best friend Lilly Kane.
The show is all about outcasts and alienation. It's about power
and how people abuse it, from high schoolers up to politicians
and millionaires. Then on a smaller level it's about families,
the ones we're born with and the ones we create. In the pilot
Veronica and Wallace quote from The
Outsiders, which is probably the best film analogy
I can draw. Take The Outsiders, cross it with
the some hard-boiled detective fiction , chuck in some Beverly Hills 90210,
add a streak of dark, dark humour and you pretty much have Veronica
Mars. Don't be mistaken, this is not a kids show and this is not Buffy, despite
being shown on the WB/CW and being set in a high school.
In the course of the show, Veronica deals with many
versions of the have and have nots in the upper-class city of
Neptune where she lives. In this episode from season two, the outcast and downtrodden
are the school's gay population. During what seems like a random
mugging, a guy from Neptune High has his wallet stolen. Far more
important than money though, the wallet contained a list of real
and screen names for the Neptune High gay and lesbian posting
board, and now he thinks someone is using the list to blackmail
the gay and lesbian students of Neptune High to the tune of $5000
each. To stay in the closet, they need to pay.
That's where Veronica comes in. She's hired by a few of the students
to find out who's blackmailing them before its too late. With
the help of her computer-savvy pal Mac (Tina Majorino), Veronica
figures out that the mugging really had nothing to do with the
blackmailings at all, it was just a weird coincidence. The culprit
is one of the girls on the posting board who, besides trying to
make some extra money for college, was basically trying to force
her girlfriend to out herself so that they didn't need to hide
any more. Amusingly enough, the lesbian couple turn out to be
Veronica tends to solve a small mystery like this every episode,
plus deal with the ongoing dramas of her on again, off again love
life with bad boy Logan Echolls (Jason Dohring) and picking
up all the clues she can to solve the season-wide mystery. In
season two this mystery is a bus crash which killed nine Neptune
High students and from which Veronica herself barely escaped.
So lesbians get to be the outsider-of-the-week. Veronica can't
resist helping the students who've been hard done by. That in
this case the culprit turns out to have motives that are not all
that horrible is the real surprise. In the world Veronica lives
in she battles every day of her life with people who want to take
her down, and sometimes she's forced to use less-than-honest methods
of her own just to stay ahead.
But despite some dubious choices,
she does have limits. You can't get the bad guy by becoming the
bad guy. That's what's so great about this character. She'll do
almost anything to solve a case or bring someone to justice, but
there are lines she won't cross. They usually have nothing to
do with what is or isn't legal, but she has an unswerving morality
of her own that's intriguing to watch as it develops.
Veronica Mars is not a show where you can really
jump in for an episode and jump out again, but the mystery-per-episode
format does help a little, and every small mystery has its purpose.
This story is about how difficult it is to keep secrets in a place
like Neptune. It's also about secrets that are worth keeping,
and ones that just get you in trouble for no good reason. At the
end of the episode the two outed lesbians have to deal with the
consequences. No more hiding, that's the message.
This is a sensational show, ready-made for anyone who thought
they'd never obsess about another TV show ever again. Even Buffy
didn't rate well to start with, but it went on to become a pop
culture phenomenon. Unfortunately the rest
of the world refused to wake up to Veronica Mars before
the Fox executives wielded the axe. We got three seasons though, which is a lot more than the Firefly fans got. Now I'm off to read some Veronica/Mac fanfiction.
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