Thursday, May 27, 2010

Ronnie has three sidekicks.

You know what was a good show? Veronica Mars. This story, of a disgraced ex-rich girl who used her razor-sharp mind to solve crimes and mysteries, charging a tidy fee to her former friends and working pro-bono for the downtrodden, frequently approached perfection. Oh sure, the third season sucked, Veronica never had a compatible love interest, and the writers seemed to have little to no idea of how the legal system worked, but when it was working, which was more often than not, there was real clever writing, creative mysteries, and dynamite characterization. Ah, the characters. Keith Mars is one of my favorite supporting characters on TV ever, and Logan Echolls is a surprisingly in-depth examination of the “angry jerk” cliché. As for our hero, Veronica is a fiercely independent woman who don’t need no one’s help! I’m just kidding, actually, she’s almost constantly asking for “favors” to help her in her crime solving. But three in particular seem to have made it to actual sidekick status. Let’s take a look.


Wallace is a transfer student in the first season, and thus, the only person that doesn’t know Veronica is a social outcast. Veronica having no social status to worry about, she doesn’t think twice about standing up for him when he’s being bullied. It’s only logical that they become the best of friends. Wallace uses his position as an office assistant to help Veronica get various student records, and generally serves as her extra man whenever needed to check out a lead, provide a distraction, or drive the getaway car. He’s dedicated, smart, and funny. He’s also kind of a dork, with a fondness for remote-control airplanes and comic books, yet he‘s not a stereotyped TV dork. That’s why when one episode required him to be on the school basketball team, it didn’t seem like a stretch. Then an episode required him to be the best basketball player in school. Okay, fine. Sadly, I think the basketball thing was symptomatic of his general character decay. He lost his glasses, his nerdiness, and his personality, and become an intensely generic character. By the end of season 2, his sidekick role had been displaced by other characters, and in season 3, he was mostly wedged into annoying subplots involving his annoying roommate Piz and the increasingly less-likable Logan. And to compensate for the loss of any sort of personality, the writers inflated his basketball skills to insane proportions, to the point where he was being recruited by a pseudo Skull-and-Bones society in his first semester as a college freshman. Final proof that the writers really didn’t give a care about him: The episode where at the end he randomly goes to join the Peace Corps. Never hinted at before, never mentioned again.

I should also add that the premise of the series is that Veronica, who was once a spoiled, shallow rich girl, has fallen from grace and learned what really matters in life. So who are her romantic interests? A string of pretty rich cool white guys with whom she had absolutely zero chemistry. You know who she had good chemistry with? The handsome poor dorky black guy. Sadly, the Mars love life ran completely counter to the rest of the show. Her dad did date Wallace’s mom for a time, and they also had great chemistry. I can’t even remember why they broke up, but it was a crappy reason.


Weevil was introduced in the first episode as the leader of a gang of Hoodlums, the PCH Biker Gang. While they were indeed Hoodlums and petty thieves, they never seemed to aspire to much more than general jerkiness, and Weevil was known to come down hard on anyone in his gang who went too far with their criminal activities. This ended badly for him when the gang realized they could make a lot more money as drug dealers and mob lackeys, and demonstrated this notion by beating Weevil unmerciful. Weevil considers the formerly privileged Veronica to not be a real outsider like him, but he still grows to consider her a true friend, particularly when she clears his name of identity theft changes, and exchanges evidence incriminating his gang with a video humiliating the local law enforcement. His sidekick function mostly comes up when Veronica needs someone on the iffy side of the law to obtain information or evidence. He also got a vastly decreased role in season 3, but since the actor was in a nasty car crash that fucked him all up, that’s excusable.

Oh, and he and Veronica also have great chemistry, but not the dating kind, no matter what people on Internet say. Also, he was accused of three major crimes over the course of the show. One was accessory to murder, which he actually was guilty of, even if the guy he helped kill was a horrible murderer himself. But the other two were identity theft and document forgery. I’d be flattered if I were a motorcycle punk who had never aspired higher than convenience store robbery and folks were accusing me of such classy crimes.


Mac was introduced as the favor-of-the-week guest of a first season episode that required Veronica to know someone with computer skills. She was pretty awesome, though, and they brought her back a few times, and gave her a major recurring role in the 2nd season. In season 3, she was promoted to full-time cast member… Which is weird, since she was only in 10 episodes at all, the same number she was in in season 2. Well, whatever. She basically took over Wallace’s role as Veronica’s best friend, as computer skills are generally more useful than basketball skills. She did better than most in season 3, episode count notwithstanding. Her character wasn’t insanely derailed, and while her two relationship stories were stupid, they weren’t offensive, bang-your-face-into-the-wall stupid. What was offensive, bang-your-face-into-the-wall stupid was the second episode she appeared in, where it’s revealed that she was switched at birth, and she’s shown to have a lot more in common with her birth parents then the people who raised her from infancy, and the same goes for the person she was switched with. According to the writers of Veronica Mars, things like hobbies, interests, and fashion sense are genetically determined.

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