Veronica Mars, I can’t shut up about Veronica Mars, and it’s all Williams fault. But I have to admit that at first I didn’t take to it, and that’s Williams fault as well, he as well cant shut up about it and gave it a lot of praise which it frankly deserved but had be thinking “go on, impress me”, when I sat down to watch the first episode.
It’s my belief that the show is best watched cold, without any preconceived ideas, because so much of the core of the show is best discovered slowly, by yourself as the layers slowly unwrap in front of you.
So if you have heard about Veronica Mars and thought it intriguing, don’t read further, go watch, its great.
Your still here? You must need more convincing, read on…
Veronica Mars is a teen drama, teen detective, neo-noir TV show. The title character is a 17 year old schoolgirl, whose father is a PI. A year ago her best friend Lilly Kane was brutally murdered, Veronica’s father, then Sheriff heavily suspected Lilys father Jake, a software billionaire beloved by the local community. Wait, I think Veronica can explain the rest better than me…
Over the course of the season we follow Veronica as she tries to unravel the mystery of Lilys death, and a whole lot more.
Now, Teen drama is a hard thing to get right, indeed those that get it right you’d probably balk at calling Teen dramas. What do I mean Teen Drama? Drama where core of cast is Teen. Simples.
It’s a hard needle to thread because for thirty something writers to connect with teen characters can sometimes be difficult, even harder for those characters to then be believable and engaging to a wide ranging audience. This is what Veronica Mars gets so right, by connecting with emotions and insights that are very age non-specific such as cynicism. And then because it’s Veronica Mars against the world (even against her father at times), we’re in. Veronica walks us through her world, were on her side, share her view of the world, her prejudices, her coloured view of people.
Because you engage with Veronica, you’ll gladly spend as much time in her company as you can, which means you’ll gladly spend time in the company of anyone she wants to spend time with. That’s Wallace’s cue, he’s something of a stereotype typical side-kick and ever reliable best friend, but the character still has depth and warmth despite the pigeon-holing. You might wonder how thats possible, and looking beyond the simple answer of “great writing”, we find one of the shows greatest tricks, the show gets away with putting characters in boxes because it’s not the show doing it, its Veronica. How we see characters is all about how Veronica sees them and who they are to Veronica, this allows characters to be cast as “reliable friend”, “trusting father” & “moody ex-boyfriend” without it being all the character is.
It works the other way too, Sheriff Lamb is introduced as something of a the pantomime villain from Veronicas point of view, and he knows this is how Veronica sees him and so he actively plays up to it when she’s around, but because it’s partly an act, partly Veronicas viewpoint, it doesn’t ring false or against character when we see Lamb actually doing some police work. All this allows the show to make certain characters slightly ridiculous without the characters being 1-note. And the sting Veronica feels when they step out of there predefined box and proves they are more, we feel the same guilt/shock that she does, because we shared it too, that’s genius.
Veronicas point of view sounds like a cheat, a cheap narrative trick, but it isn’t, because it isn’t a construct or some massive lie. In real life people, even open minded people like Veronica have prejudices and views of people that are coloured by events they might not know the full story of. And since the show is Veronicas point of view it’s only right that we share in that.
The show, especially the first season is about Veronica trying to get her world in order, to have everything make sense, but that’s easier said than done when tectonic plates keep shifting and people refuse to stay in their boxes. This quest for certainty is something most people can associate with and that’s what makes it easier than you expect to connect with a 17 year old schoolgirl.
Veronica Mars is like no other Drama i’d seen, it’s a unique blend of a number of elements, give it a go, it might surprise you. Hopefully now I’ve convinced you, if not but your still reading give William Gallaghers Cant Shut Up About Special a go.
If I have convinced you, links are at the bottom, your homework is to watch as much Veronica Mars as possible so next weeks follow up post makes sense to you.
Yes, there is a follow up coming because I can’t shut up about Veronica Mars.