Oh, Veronica Mars.
remember this track?
The Dandy Warhols, “We Used to Be Friends”
Okay, so I’ve been kind of absent from the blogosophere these past couple days, and, in full disclosure, I’m starting to look pasty and kind of crunchy like Kristen Stewart – except with facial expressions. I spent an absurd four days straight on my couch/in my bed, engrossed in the three seasons of UPN/The CW’s all-too-short Veronica Mars. That’s right – I watched all 64 episodes of Veronica Mars in the span of one long weekend. Needless to say, I was more or less a shut-in for those few days, but I remain unashamed. The show? Completely worth it.
I watched Veronica Mars off and on when it aired initially but never really regularly. And what a freaking shame. The show is one of the most brilliant pieces of small screen cinema I’ve ever seen. For those of you held captive beneath a rock for the last five years, Veronica Mars ran from late 2004 to mid 2007 and followed a female amateur private eye through the end of high school and the beginning of college. It was, by all CW estimations, a commercial failure – but it was a critical darling. And, within the first ten minutes of the pilot episode, I was utterly in love.
So, to kick off a brand new feature, Open Season, I’m writing an open letter to Veronica Mars‘ creator, Rob Thomas. Open Season will be an open letter to someone prominent in popular culture (or not, I suppose) about an issue that concerns or intrigues me. I’m maybe three years too late with this one, but I figure it’s never too late to write a love letter.
Cindy ‘Mac’ Mackenzie: Hey. Did anyone else hear there’s going to be a Matchbox Twenty reunion show?
Stosh ‘Piz’ Piznarski: So? Rob Thomas is a whore.
An Open Letter to Rob Thomas
Dear Rob Thomas,
First of all, can I just say – I am so glad you’re not in Matchbox Twenty. They suck. But that’s not really my point.
I just finished watching the second episode of that new USA original series Covert Affairs, and it’s kind of what I imagine Veronica Mars would have become if you’d gone the route you explored on the season 3 DVD. You know, except, yours would be better. Much better. And in the FBI. I mean, Piper Perabo even resembles Kristen Bell more or less, but you really managed to get it all right, even sans Logan and Keith.
That’s the thing: Reading the pretense of your show, and I seriously mean no offense, it doesn’t sound all that exciting. But you did it brilliantly. Even in that season 4 teaser. Covert Affairs is trite and a tad boring, but I like to keep it on in the background. Maybe I’ll start pretending Annie really is Veronica without the snark, and Auggie is like the blind (and more adorable) Piz. But enough about not your show.
(For Part 2 – click here)
Veronica Mars was a work of brilliance. Utter brilliance. Sure, it’s 2010, and your show’s been over for quite some time, but I’m still grieving. Over the weekend, I watched the show again. In succession. In its entirety. And TV these days is damn good. Really, there is a fair number of programs on that should be captivating critics’ attention, and it should really be capturing mine. Instead, I’m watching reruns of The Suite Life of Zack and Cody. And soon enough, I’m sure, I’ll be watching your series all over again.
VM was chocked full of all of things that make a series great. Classic, even. It had captivating plots, relatable (and realistic) characters, a killer soundtrack and enough quirk and sass to be magnificently charming. Sure, when you count up the points of intrigue, there are more murders, thefts, beatings, indiscretions and abuses than presumably occur in any quaint American town – even in Southern California. The big points weren’t plausible, certainly, but the show had heart. It was believable because the plot centered around characters we, as the audience, wanted to believe in. We wanted the protagonist and the people she cared for to succeed.
The characters were portrayed by such talented actors with a penchant for seeming exactly like people the audience knew. Except richer. And with famous parents. I mean, I don’t really know those people (Big’s kid notwithstanding), but I felt like I did. The writing was sharp and witty, and the characters were nobly flawed. I have to credit you – it takes quite an impressive writer and creator to turn the audience’s opinion of a character from extremely loathed to immensely loved. And it’s not as if I merely started to tolerate Logan Echolls (Jason Dohring). No, sir. I fell in love with Logan Echolls. I joined team LoVe – I’ve got it bad.
I’ve got this tendency to obsess. When I find something I enjoy in pop culture, I imbibe. I’m gluttonous, ravenous, in my consuming, which I suppose explains my Mars marathon. And, now that it’s all over – and again, might I add – I’m finally getting to the point of my letter. I’m not sure I can take this sitting down. I’ve so many questions left, and I’m maligned to find them so unanswered. Please understand – I don’t blame you. The network’s responsible, clearly. I mean, Pussycat Dolls Present? Really? Whose idea was that one? Fracking genius. But there’s so much left to know:
Did Keith win the election? Did the crooked Fitzpatricks get their comeuppance? What happens to Wallace after he betrays the Castle? Does Mac really stay with creepy (and totally unattractive – she should have stayed with the adorable Captain Planeteer Bronson) Max? How does Duncan’s Lilly turn out in the end? Can Weevil stay out of jail? What happened to Back Up? And, of course, the mother of all questions – Do Veronica and Logan finally get it right?
That last one’s likely the most plaguing. C’mon, Piz landing Veronica is adorable and all that jazz (and I have long appreciated Chris Lowell), but this is Logan. And there was that bit in the penultimate episode, “Weevils Wobble But They Don’t Go Down,” where Veronica so much as… wait. That was in “I Know What You’ll Do Next Summer.” I just wanted to keep the word “penultimate” in proper usage. Anyway. There’s that bit where Veronica admits she doesn’t feel that same heartwrenching quality with Piz that she felt for Logan.
Mac: So, Piz-neyland is the happiest place on Earth?
Veronica: Happy enough. There’s no roller coaster, but I think I can do without the adrenaline and nausea.
Veronica’s “for now” is implied, right? It’s clear that Logan, the thrill, the electric charisma, is the happiest place on earth. For Veronica. Most of the time. She knows it’s not over.
And the finale – that look. That look. Logan’s reformed! Logan’s sorry! Logan’s in love! I know you said on those season 3 extras that it was always Veronica and Logan, and that’s satisfying to my nerves and all, but can’t a girl just get the visual assurance? I know a tidy and convenient ending was never really your thing, but I even know how it could have properly ended. It should have been a touching but definite final scene, the doors to the elevator of the Neptune Grand closing on a great and passionate embrace between our two favorite characters.
This isn’t just a fawning love letter about your incredible talent. And, while I’m at it, might I just say – don’t listen to those who are hating on season 3. It featured some poignant moments and some hilarious guest appearances (Paul Rudd, say what!), and there were many a time when I laughed aloud. Alone and aloud. It was outstanding. I missed the old familiar faces, sure, but it was still damn good.
So, please. Bring it back. Please bring back Veronica Mars. Not in its same incarnation, and certainly not in that FBI format you were contemplating (I liked it, I did, but I need me some Logan and some Keith), but something in between. You’d mentioned in interviews the possibility of pitching it as catching up with the gang just as Veronica graduates Hearst, and I think that’d be fabulous. Three years, right? The show ended in 2007 with Veronica as a freshman, and, now, three years later, she’d just be done with college. So you’ll take a year or two in production? She took her time, y’know, she went to graduate school. It’s not too late! The film would be so impressive and entirely satisfying. Look at the legions of fans who are still pining for a better conclusion. Look at me, a 20-year-old college student spending long hours penning an opus to a show that ended three years ago. It’s on, Mr. Thomas. I’m optimistic about the probably success of the film, and I – and other fans – will take it in any form you can offer it to us. Low budget? Fine. TV miniseries? Great. Webisodes? Perfect.
I hope you’re actually reading this. I want an intended Veronica Mars conclusion more than almost anything in the world (except maybe a job after college). There’s still such a fan base for the show, and it’s something people fervently love. Give it another shot. Hell, I’ll make a pitch to Silver if you think it’ll do any good. Veronica Mars, as both a character and as a show, was, and I apologize for being a bit sappy here at the end, inspiring. Veronica wasn’t perfect, but that is what made her great. She was human and compassionate and thoughtful and brilliant and confused. She was the far cooler version of who I hope to be. You should, if nothing else, be proud of your work of television genius.
Thanks so much for the memories, and, please, keep working for the movie. I’ll keep blogging and crossing fingers and hoping and watching.
Coco, the girl with the nerve (in the dunce cap)
P.S. To make matters worse, Party Down loses too? Yet another show gone far, far too soon. But if I’d even touched on it, this would be a tome. Ken Marino! Ryan Hansen! Martin Starr! Also a show I grew to positively adore. The characters, the acting, the sharp writing – all too great, with the touches of what I loved about Veronica Mars. Quite the shame.
The fans have spoken. I hope Veronica Mars is next. Please right this wrong and make me – and so many others – happy.
P.P.S. Kristen Bell demanded to be called Smurfette when she was in elementary school? She’s quite the cool heroine. I tried to get people to call me Lady Coco for some time. But that was last year…
P.P.P.S. How can Secret Life of the American Teenager keep getting renewed? Can we talk about that too? No more Veronica Mars, but rampant pregnancy, thwarted abortion, Turning Japanese and Molly Ringwald? Unfathomable.