10 Things I Learned from Veronica Mars


It’s been hard to keep from being happy ever since Kristen Bell, Rob Thomas and friends announced that they would be moving forward with a film version of the teen detective cult classic Veronica Mars. While Veronica Mars was not widely watched when it was actually on the WB in the mid-aughts (all those years ago!), it was ferociously loved and has only grown in popularity since going off the air.

The adoration of the series isn’t based solely on the show’s writing, fun plots and interesting characters (though that is a big part of it) — it’s also that Veronica Mars is a character whose experiences, mistakes and successes are, in their own way, all teachable moments. Veronica Mars is an after school special for those of us who didn’t much care for school…or specials.

No doubt that Veronica is a worthy heroine and role model. She’s smart as whip, resourceful, resilient, funny and incredibly loyal, but she also has her share of flaws that she often needs to work around (in addition to her finer qualities, she’s judgmental, reactionary and often dishonest). While she may be an exceptional teen girl who moonlights for her private eye father, during the day she’s stuck going to a shitty high school and dealing with what all teenagers (and many adults) have to deal with on a daily basis.

Veronica is a teacher, her fans are her students and these are her top 10 lessons.

10. Always bring Backup.

Backup is the name of Veronica’s dog who has helped her in all sorts of situations. While I am talking mainly about Backup the four-legged companion here (because, lesson one, dogs make everything better), I’m also talking about back-up with a little b. Veronica loves to rush into situations on her own, but the fact of the matter is that things generally turn out for the best when she has a little bit of help from her many diversely talented friends. (See: Mac, Leo D’Amato, Parker and, no duh, Wallace.)

9. The hero is the one who stays.

The fact that Veronica’s mom is an absolute mess is made slightly better given that her father Keith is solid as a rock. Not only is he where Veronica picked up her detective how-to (and her sass), but he’s also there for her whenever she needs it. You know that saying “I’d walk through fire for you”? Keith literally walked through fire for her.

8. Never go out with anyone named Troy. Or Duncan.

Bad names. Bad news. They’re probably preppy drug dealers or your possible secret brother.

7. The only time it’s okay to go for a friend’s ex boyfriend is when the best friend is dead.

Though, in all honesty, I think that Lily (#RIP) would have been preeeeeeeeetty into it.

6. Harry Hamlin did it.

Seriously, you can blame him for anything you want. Try it.

5. Endear yourself to the head of a motorcycle gang.

As a matter of fact, try to make a group of friends that’s as eclectic as possible. Gang members, computer nerds, jocks and ghosts — take them all. Not only can they help you out of unexpected jams, but they will also broaden your horizons and make you a more well-rounded person.

Besides, who doesn’t want to know a Weevil?

4. Never accept a drink from someone who hates you.

Best case scenario, you’re taking a trip to the dentist (Veronica Mars speak for when someone spits in your beverage). Worst case scenario, your drink is laced with GHB.

3. Your most enthralling boyfriend is probably not your best boyfriend.

I know that everyone hates Piz and Veronica together and I get it. Veronica and Logan were, to borrow Logan’s phrase, epic. But they were also a very unhealthy couple. Not only does Logan have major anger management issues, but the pair could never get around the fact that Veronica couldn’t trust Logan and Logan repeatedly acted untrustworthy. While Piz might be the boring choice, he’s probably the dude that you — if you and Veronica were friends in real life — would advise her to be with. He’s funny, nice, gets along with her friends, is totally crazy for her and never smashes things or organizes a bum fight. Can everyone please give Piz a break?

2. …But your true love is probably the one who’s willing to go to jail for you.

Having said my piece about Piz, allow me to get honest. This is the Veronica and Logan show. Also, it’s fiction so it doesn’t really matter who would be better for her in real life. Veronica and Logan have heat that she and Piz will never have because Piz would never risk all for her like Logan would. Does protecting Veronica mean pissing off powerful mafiosos on several occasions? Fine, Logan will do it. Does being with her mean having his car windows shot out? No problem.

Perhaps my favorite Logan <3s Veronica moment of the whole series happens in season 3 when Logan discovers that his friend Mercer — whose innocence Logan previously defended — was actually a serial rapist who, after being caught by Veronica, violently attacks her in a dorm room. That Mercer goes to jail isn’t enough for Logan. No, he has to vandalize a cop car to intentionally get himself arrested so that he can get put into the same cell as Mercer and disperse his own Echolls brand of justice.

Again — psycho behavior for the real world, but swoon-worthy for the world of Neptune.

1. Your experiences can motivate you, but they don’t have to define you.

By the end of the pilot, you realize that Veronica has dealt with some major shit. Her best friend was murdered, her boyfriend broke up with her, her father was embroiled in a public scandal, her mother left, the entire school turned against her and, most earth shaking of all, she was date raped by someone she can’t identify. Awesomely, the way she addresses her sexual assault is the same way she addresses everything else — wryly and without mincing words.

Veronica knows that her past experiences have shaped her into the woman that she is now, but rather than being crushed by them, she uses them as motive to get even and (more importantly) get ahead. She openly addresses her rape, but never lets it hold her back, no matter how frustrated she gets and how much she gets slut-shamed by the people who used to be her friends.

Is there a way to put a value on having a teenage girl character on television blatantly discussing an experience that a lot of real life teen girls have been through and probably feel a misplaced sense of shame in admitting? I don’t think that there is.

Point being, Veronica is the best. I would say that her theme song should be Elton John’s “I’m Still Standing” except Veronica already has a theme song and that’s Hall & Oates’ “Private Eyes” as sung by Vinnie Van Lowe.

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