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July 24, 2011

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Veronica Mars : Thoughts

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Previously on Can’t Shut Up About:-

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…

If I have convinced you … your homework is to watch as much Veronica Mars as possible so next weeks follow up post makes sense to you.

~ “Veronica Mars – An Introduction”

Last week I waffled on at you about Veronica Mars, telling you to go on, watch, it’s great. I also promised a follow up piece this week. So hopefully you’ve gone away, become a hermit and watched all 3 seasons in a week and you can now read this follow up piece with some understanding of what i’m talking about and without me spoiling anything for you. Yes, for the first time on Can’t Shut Up About i’m going beyond the basic introduction to tell you what I didn’t like and things the reasons I didn’t get into it when I first watched.

Before we begin, a couple of things. I’m going to try and keep details on a need to know basis wherever possible, but this post will contain spoilers for the show, so you’ve been warned. Most of what i’m gonna talk about is related to series 1, with only general mentions of series 2 & 3. Secondly, I want to preface all the below comments with despite all the complaints, minor gripes etc, I still think Veronica Mars is a great show, and for every minor thing I think it wrong with it, I know it got another ten massive things right. As long as thats received and understood, lets begin…

My first gripe with the shows general setup, and that is the concept of Neptune…

This is my school, if you go here your parents are either millionaires or your parents work for millionaires, Neptune, California, a town without the middle class.

~ Veronica Mars – Pilot Episode

It’s something WilliamLets Blame Everything on HimGallagher specifically praised in his Can’t Shut Up About Special, saying it was something he wished he wrote, and maybe i’m missing something but for me it just doesn’t ring true for me, and since the pilot opens with the above voice over from Veronica it put me out almost immediately.

But what do I mean by “doesn’t ring true”?, good question. As far as Neptune as a town goes, it makes sense, I guess it’s the thought of  kids from both groups going to the same school, why aren’t all the spoiled rich kids going to a private school like the OC’s ‘Harbor School’, especially if the Towns average resident is as ambitious and self-centred as portrayed. That Veronica and the kids from the second group should go to Neptune High makes complete sense, it’s just never evident why the first group does, it’s possible there is good explanation but the show never hints at it, so we’re left to wonder. That’s a bit of a problem for something so key to the show, which is laid out to early and so clearly and it almost derailed my viewing, if I wasn’t watching because of a recommendation and instead had just found it flicking channels, I probably would have switched over.

Moving beyond first impressions, I also have to take issue with the “without the middle class” part of the v/o above, as over the course of the season we see family’s living in houses of all shapes and sizes, we learn the Sheriff earns $50k a year which in my mind is a very middle class salary and in Series 2 & 3 we visit Hearst college, so close to Neptune, Veronica doesn’t want to go there. Hearts is a classic liberal college staffed by professors surely making very middle class money teaching very middle class kids.

Moving on now to a couple of issues, I now see are completely related to baggage I brought to the show upon first viewing, so these aren’t really gripes at the show but in a summary of why I didn’t immediately take to the show it would be wrong to leave them out. The Father/Daughter relationship between Veronica and Keith is a pillar of the show but on first viewing I thought the casting and the chemistry was all wrong, I was certain they had cast actors too close together in age to make a convincing Father/Daughter pair, it seemed to me the producers had been won over by the actors as individuals with no consideration of the group dynamic. I’ll now freely admit I was massively wrong, but I was wrong due to very understandable reasons, which when I realised shed light on just what a fickle thing a first impression of a show can be.

So, Enrico Colantoni the actor who plays Keith Mars is 17 years Kristen Bell’s (Veronica) senior, a perfectly normal age gap between parent and kid on a US TV show. But what I saw on screen was a pair of actors no more than 10 years apart in age. Why?, well in Enrico’s case i’d previously seen him in the sitcom “Just Shoot Me” as a photographer in his early thirties, and in Veronica Mars he doesn’t look to have aged much at all. Now in Kristen’s case, wait, I just have to check, it’s just us right?, you haven’t told anyone else about this place have you?, no?, good, where was I? Right, Kristen, well for me, a twenty-something, it was hard not to see the Beautiful twenty-something and therefore entirely appropriate object of a possible crush, instead of 17 year old school girl Veronica. So an early thirties father of an early twenties daughter obviously seemed odd and very typical Hollywood.

Finally, my biggest complaint, and this is a complaint, not just a gripe. Kristen Bell is excellent and entirely believable as cynical outcast and junior PI Veronica, she is also excellent and entirely believable as best friend of Lily Kane and very much member of the 09niner in-ground. Wait, this was supposed to be a complaint wasn’t it, well my complaint is that the show for me missed a golden opportunity in it’s first season to let a quite frankly jaw droppingly good actress in Bell play with what surely would have been a painful transition between the two. How does Veronica go from care free teenager leading the perfect life to outsider and crack private investigator? We see the reasons she has to undertake that transition in flashback, but not one flashback is spent on Veronica acquiring her skills from Keith, on first time she realised she had the patience to sit all night outside a Motel waiting to get the money shot of a cheating spouse. Possibly they had plans to, but could never work it in, but when you finish the first series and you know so much about Veronica, you may realise that there is a few rather large things you don’t know, which is a real shame.

Now it probably seems like i’m shining  a very bright light on what it is ultimately quite trivial things, I mean, I love the show now, so what is there to complain about?. Well, partly I knew that I good waffle on for 500-1000 words on them, and when you’re aim is to write 500-1000 words about TV and Film every week, then you’d be a bit silly to pass up a topic. But mainly my complaints are because, so much of the show is perfect, I wish it was all perfect.

Also, as I may have mentioned before, I can’t shut up about Veronica Mars.

Also, it’s my site, so get off my lawn!

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