The Lead-Up to Two Minutes In Heaven

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Warning! This entry contains spoilers! If you A) haven’t seen seasons I or III of Veronica Mars and B) intend to watch them some day and C) are upset by spoilers (I’m not), then read at your own risk.

If you look at the calendar on my blog, it shows that I took a full week off from blogging, Sunday December 9 through Saturday December 15. I completely missed National Blog Posting Every Day Month or whatever November is called; I was traveling and away from home for over half the month, and much of the time I was gone I didn’t have reliable internet access, so there was just no way I could have done that gig.

I decided, however, that I’d compensate by posting every single day for a week or ten days in December, and I thought December 5 through 15 would be ideal as those days (even though that’s actually 11 days). But I got distracted on December 8, and what distracted me was a sweater I started last spring and really want to finish before 2008 rolls around, and Veronica Mars.

Several weeks ago I got this coupon from Borders offering me 40% of an dvd boxed set. It occurred to me that I had never gotten around to watching Season III of Veronica Mars, and while I’d heard it sucked, I wanted to see the magnitude of suckage for myself. So I bought the boxed set, took it home, forgot about it for a while, and then decided what the hell, I should watch it. (Especially since I had this sweater I wanted to finish up, and I like to knit while I watch tv and vice versa. It’s a good way to make tv time productive, and to keep me from getting bored with rows of stockinette stitch.)

And the season sucked. It really, really sucked. The over-arching story lines providing continuity from episode to episode sucked; the plots of individual episodes often sucked; the character development sucked. OK, there were plenty of great performances: from the first moments of the show I really enjoyed seeing both Kristen Bell and Enrico Colantoni on screen, and I especially liked them together. But great performances can’t compensate for a crappy script.

And OK, there was still plenty of witty, intelligent, sparkling dialogue, but if I wanted to watch something with lively banter but ludicrous, unbelievable plots driven awkwardly along by stupid contrivances and the most inane inexplicable choices on the parts of the main characters, I would have made it through more than four episodes of The Golden Girls--or wait, was it Gilmore Girls? I swear I can hardly tell those two shows apart: they both feature some excessively close (to the point of being kind of grossly claustrophobic) relationship between a mother and daughter living in some insular, retiring (retirement?) community; they both have characters who are obsessed with sex and money in very cliched, banal ways; and they both require you to suspend entirely not only your disbelief but your rational wits and any knowledge you might have about human beings actually behave--though one about the old ladies sharing an apartment isn’t quite so bad on that front as the one about the 30-something single mom in New England.

But I digress.

So, VM3 sucked, and one of the worst things about it was who Veronica was with when the season ended. It wasn’t just that she wasn’t with Logan, it’s that Piz, the replacement boyfriend, was SO BORING that he made Duncan (who was so boring that he was kicked off the show as a way to placate the show’s fans, because they quite rightly HATED Duncan) seem like Fourth of July fireworks. Someone in casting or production of that show has a thing for bland boys.... I was trying to figure out who Piz would be in the Buffyverse. He wouldn’t be Riley, because Riley is at least hot, and Marc Blucas could convincingly deliver a comedic line like, “You’re in the thrall of the dark lord!” from the “Buffy vs. Dracula” episode. (I have a beef with Riley haters. I think there’s a reason Marc Blucas is the only one from the show, aside from SMG, to garner many roles in feature films, and the reason has to do with the fact that he’s talented, tall, attractive and affable.) He certainly wouldn’t be Xander, the romantic underdog, because although Xander is discussed as this kind of hapless schlub, he’s really funny, pretty insightful, and quite attractive too. Piz wouldn’t even be disposable love interests Scott Hope or Parker Abrams. Instead, he’d be Graham, Riley’s emotionless and forgettable sidekick in the Initiative.

And there are other reasons why it sucked, which I may develop into a paper someday, because they have to do with the ways teenagers do and don’t interact with adults, which is part of what I analyze in teen tv. But I won’t discuss that here. Instead, I’ll tell you that I kept watching it, a bit compulsively, wondering how it could possibly get worse, only to find out. Suffice it to say, that it sucked so bad, that I had to mitigate the nasty feeling of needing a shower it left me with, and the best way I could think of to do that was to watch Season 1 yet again.

And VM1 is still fabulous. That first season is so vastly superior to virtually all other television I’ve ever seen that I can forgive the crappy follow-ups. I especially like the Logan story--but then, who doesn’t?

Of course I HATED Logan Echolls the first few episodes--couldn’t understand why the show was subjecting me to this vile, vile character. At the end of the sixth episode, he walks into a closet full of belts and selects one, tests its strength. I thought, “Great! He’s going to hang himself! I will no longer have to watch this dreadful person fuck up everyone else’s life!” But turns out he was just choosing the belt his father would beat the crap out of him with, and that it was someone else in the Echolls family would who commit suicide.

But then you realize what a thorough asshole his dad his, and there’s the whole thing with his mother’s suicide, Logan’s conviction that she’s not really dead and his request that Veronica help him track her down because he needs to know she’s all right. By the time he realizes that his mother really did kill herself and collapses, heartbroken and sobbing, into Veronica’s arms, I wasn’t sure I liked this character, but I at least felt compassion for him and saw him as complex and human.

And then, there’s Episode 18, “Weapons of Class Destruction,” where Logan, all knight-in-puka-shells-ish, comes to rescue Veronica when the creepy camo-wearing, fertilizer-buying weirdo gets in her car and instructs her to drive to the Camelot Motel, all of which Logan overhears because she was on the phone with him when the guy got in the car. He punches the guy really hard in the face several times, and, upon discovering that the guy is an undercover FBI agent, still refuses to trust him, delivering the memorable line, "Dream on, Jump Street. I’m not leaving you alone with her.”

A few moments later, Veronica walks out of the motel room after talking to the FBI dude. Logan leans against the wall, asks “Are you OK?” She murmurs “Mm-hmm,” then kisses him quickly on the lips to say thanks before shaking her head and walking away--because after all, until a few weeks earlier, she LOATHED this guy so much she could barely stand to be near him.

And Logan grabs her arm, pulls her around to face him, and the two of them make out on the balcony of this seedy hotel while the music swells and the camera pulls away and circles around them in this sweeping romantic gesture. The very first time I saw it and half the times I’ve seen it since then, I stood up and clapped and shrieked in delight, because it was really sexy and completely unexpected and absolutely earned and ever so, ever so RIGHT. (Yes, the scene plays on all sorts of stereotypes and predictable fantasies. It's still a surprise, and it still works.)

Now, believe it or not, the point I want to make about this wonderful heterosexual kiss is related to what I wrote yesterday about a really moving gay sex scene. But once again I’ve already written a lot, and I don’t want this entry to be so long no one takes the time to read it in any detail. (I know what blog-readers sometimes do with really long entries, because I’m a blog reader myself and I occasionally do it too: we skim.) So you’ll have to check back again later for the continuation of this argument.

4 Comments

Two days of spoilers and teasers -- I'm on the edge of my chair!

By the way, I totally agree with you about Season 1 of Veronica Mars. And I wonder if, like Marc Blucas, Jason Dohring won't have an acting life after VM.

VM is like VD, by the third season you are ready for a cure.

Okay, I'm hooked on this series. Looking forward to part three...

I only watched VM3 once, in real time as it came out, which is a very different (and I think ultimately inferior) experience to watching it in more rapid succession on DVD. But my experience was that it was bad... until the last two (or was it three? or only one and a half?) episodes, where all of a sudden it was like the old VM was brought back from the grave. Just amazingly good.

I wonder if you saw that at all.

But yeah, VM1 is great -- up there with Buffy and Firefly and The Wire as tv just too good to be believed -- or, alas, in the case of VM, sustained.

SF

Hi Spike--apparently JD plays some wise ancient vampire in Moonlight, an Angel ripoff. I tried to watch an episode on the web but found it lugubrious and dull.

SO--funny joke. Wrong, because VM is not really anything like VD, but I laughed anyway.

SF--I did sort of see glimmers of the old VM at the very end of season 3--it was like they'd given up trying to make it WORK once they knew they were canceled and so relaxed and had a little more fun. But it was fleeting.... and there were things about the very final episode--for instance, the weird monologue from the creepy secret society guy about seeing his dad and his uncle cut these bodies up and stuff them in garbage bags, or seeing Wallace get shocked by that collar--that left a very bad taste in my mouth. But in late moments up until then, I did think, "Yes, THIS was what I LOVED about this show!"

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This page contains a single entry by Holly published on December 18, 2007 10:37 AM.

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