A Veronica Mars Interlude

Sailor Boy and I have been re-watching the second season of Veronica Mars. I have long maintained that the first season of VM is my favorite season of any television show. However, I did recently watch season one of Dexter. What do these two shows have in common? (Besides being smart, witty, expertly written and crafted, with compelling characters, luminous dialogue, and amazing pacing?)

They both started out as novels.

Veronica Mars was a novel that was never written. Rob Thomas wrote several YA novels before turning to television, and VM was, at one time, “untitled girl detective story.” I think part of the reason VM struggled to find its footing after that first season is because so much of it was designed for that first season story. The first season of Dexter follows the novel Darkly Dreaming Dexter. After the first season, I hear, it deviates from the rest of the novel series. (I don’t know. I haven’t seen it yet — don’t spoil it!)

It’s an interesting formula, and one I think works better with mysteries. Each episode of Dexter and VM is a mini-mystery, and the big mystery weaves through it all and occasionally interacts with the little one. So well done. I don’t think you could make an entire season of television out of the SSG books. However, I do think that novels, in general, are better suited to the TV or miniseries format than to film.

Anyway, back to Season two of VM. I do remember, when first watching it, how hard the writers were keeping us LoVe (that’s Logan and Veronica) fans on the hook. Their embittered past seemed to permeate every moment of their screentime, and it was magical! However, watching it again, I’m struck this time around and how Kristen Bell plays the love triangle. I don’t think I noticed how many of her reactions to Logan are motivated by her feelings for him. Her responses to Duncan are so incredibly tame and surface/cynical, by comparison.

It may be the reason I never bought her whole tearful “and we can never email or call each other again” act in “Donut Run.” I never, ever, ever got what she saw in Duncan. Yeah, he’s “nice” (though have we come down on the side of he slept with Kendall or not?) But I came up with a new theory last night. The reason she goes to these ridiculous, elaborate lengths to get Duncan out of town — rather than just letting him use his significant financial power to lawyer that baby right out of the Manning’s hands — is so she can have a guilt free way to get him out of her life. Duncan is a constant reminder of the “old” (pre-Lilly’s murder and life falling apart) Veronica. Until she gets rid of Duncan, and not in a way that means he’s hanging around like, oh, DUMPING him — she will not be free of her ties to her old life.

I do find it interesting that when she dreams of “what might have been” in the last episode of the season, where her father is sheriff and she’s an ’09er and things are grand, she is dating Logan and Duncan is being a jerk. Hmmmmm…

My point is… um, point? Right. My point is that it must be really hard to show a relationship wherein the two characters are not only in social positions that require them to keep their distance (i.e., ex lovers and friends of ex lover’s current lover), but also have so much anger and bitterness toward each other, and STILL manage to give off love vibes. And considering that I love that relationship so much, and it’s a TV show, and the actors involved are fabulous, and it still took me several watchings to “get it” — wow. Can you imagine if that tried to be a book?

Posted in diversions, TV, veronica mars

6 Responses to A Veronica Mars Interlude

  1. ILuvLA says:

    OK, gotta re-watch the first season now …

    Y’know, the last season didn’t live up to the rest of the series, but the last episode was such a return to greatness that I just about cried because the series was being canceled. OK, the last two or three episodes … When Veronica saw the portrait of Lily … Veronica leaving the polls, realizing that she has ruined her father’s life … There’s so much material there, it’s outright painful.

    Maybe RT could actually write a follow-on VM novel?

    (BTW, I’ve never seen a more realistic portrayal on TV of racial/economic tensions in California than in VM. Nobody else has been brave enough to touch it.)

    ILuvLA

  2. Liza says:

    I love Veronica Mars! I own all 3 seasons on dvd and still watch an episode a couple of times a month. I too wish RT would write a VM novel now.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Jennifer Estep said …
    I love me some Veronica Mars! Still need to read that book of essays … 🙂

    I’ve seen some talk about RT turning VM into a comic book (like Buffy), which I think would be awesome.

    I thought there was a lot going on in Season 2 (Jackie and Kendall, anyone?). To me, it wasn’t quite as good as the first season, mainly because I guessed who the killer was before the end. Although the last episode, where we got to see all of Beaver’s motivations and machinations, blew me away.

    I never bought the Duncan relationship either. The two actors just didn’t have any chemistry. Plus, Duncan treated Veronica like a jerk throughout. Like the subplot about the party where Veronica thought she was roofied and raped. Duncan never would have told her otherwise, if she hadn’t figured it out for herself.

    Logan started off as a jerk, but he really changed during the course of the show. He could still be a jerk at times, but you always knew how much he cared about Veronica. I love that scene in Weapons of Class Destruction where Logan and Veronica kiss outside the hotel. Best. Scene. Ever.

    Duncan was just so … bland in comparison.

    However, one thing that always bothered me about VM were the season finales. Season 1 her dad shows up to save her; season 2 it’s Logan; in season 3 it’s Parker (during the rapist plot). She’s such a strong character otherwise. I wanted Veronica to save herself in the end.

  4. Allison Brennan says:

    I love VM, both the first and second season. I probably like season two slightly more . . . primarily because of Logan and Veronica and I really, really, really didn’t like Duncan. He annoyed me to no end. My daughters (who watched it with me) didn’t understand why I didn’t like him (though they were Logan fans, too.) Season three could have been better, they made some bad writing choices I think (Veronica and Pizz? I don’t think so.) I loved the date rape plot line, but they messed it up near the end.

    Jennifer makes some great points about Veronica needing to save herself. She grew so much between season one and two.

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