1.01 "Pilot"

Aired Sep 22, 2004

Roundtable Reviews

wyk: TV pilots are a really tricky thing. The showrunners have basically 20 or 40 minutes to set up the basic premise of the show, introduce the characters, and sell this little world that they have created — to the audience and, more importantly, to the programming execs who give the final yea or nay on picking up the show. (And after watching some of the pilots those programming geniuses have greenlighted over the years, you have to wonder, how many lines of coke do you have to snort in order to greenlight Father of the Pride? Yish.) If the crew and cast are lucky enough and talented enough, after all their hard work, the pilot might actually end up being, you know, barely adequate. And dare I say, not completely devoid of entertainment. And every once in a great while, if all the stars are in alignment, and their production office has good feng shui, the writing and the acting clicks so well from the very beginning, not only do you get all the basic exposition stuff, you also end up with a pilot that is so good that you just can't wait to see what happens next. Veronica Mars was one of those pilots.

alliterator: Or to paraphrase another film noir: there are eight million TV pilots in the Hollywood; this has been one of the best.

wyk: I don't know about you guys, but when I tuned in for the pilot, I didn't have any idea what to expect. I never saw any promos for the show because with the exception of Buffy, I didn't watch UPN. (And with the exception of VM, I still don't.) Besides the blurbs in the season preview editions of TV Guide and EW that named VM as one of the best new shows of the season, I had never heard about this show. But by the end of the show, I was hooked. The heavily buzzed-about Lost and Desperate Housewives had really good pilots too, but the VM pilot was by far my favorite pilot of the season. In fact, I was so instantly addicted that I watched that pilot like 4 or 5 times that first week. What?! Like I'm the only one who did that. [crickets chirping]

Inigo: *waves away the crickets* You're not. I tuned in based on what I read about the new shows. It sounded interesting. Its being on UPN meant nothing to me other than its being the home of latter-day Buffy. I too was hooked from the start.

persnicketier: As for me, I was flipping through the channels one Wednesday night (the pilot originally aired on a Wednesday), looking for something to watch. I don't watch much TV at all. Hardly anything interests me enough. I came to UPN and Veronica Mars was on. I had no idea this was Veronica Mars. I had never heard of it and literally had absolutely no clue at all what the premise of it was. I will always watch at least 10 minutes of a show to see what I think of it. I then usually give up out of sheer annoyance, repulsion, or disinterest. I had missed the first five minutes or so of the show (Wallace being cut down from the flagpole). But I figured out what happened quickly (I was still ecstatic when they showed it later on so I could finally see the first five minutes! Obsessed much? Not at all!). The dialogue totally grabbed me. Veronica was such a smart-mouth and I loved it! She didn't take anything from anyone at all! Not a vice principal and deputy, not the head of a biker gang, not the local sheriff, no one. And the flashbacks completely enthralled me. The whole story line, including back story, was mesmerizing. The writing amazed me and the actors were phenomenal. I couldn't believe how much was in this episode, but it was so incredible that it was seamless to have everything happen in an hour.

Polter-Cow: What the hell was this Veronica Mars show I was hearing about? Was she some sort of alien? No, it's a detective show. The hell? But the E! fall preview disc included in my Entertainment Weekly says it's getting really good buzz, and Kristen Bell is pretty hot, and TWoP is recapping it, so it can't hurt to check it out, right? Also, I would totally watch a show all about Chloe Sullivan anyway.

grim: It's embarrassing to admit it, but I really started watching the show because of one of these severely underused characters I tend to love so much: Chloe Sullivan from Smallville. When Veronica Mars was announced, endless comparisons were made between the title character and Chloe: both tiny blondes, both snarky, both investigators. And the best: VM was bound to lack a certain droopy alien, so I jumped right in and have never regretted it since.

healing fish: I'll admit right up front that I didn't expect much from this show, from what little (read: absolutely nothing) I'd heard of it. I mean, it's called Veronica Mars? Something about a blonde high school girl? Oookay. But like grim, I think I was done in by the Chloe Sullivan comparisons, as ill-fitting as they seem now. I started hearing from trustworthy people that someone who actually liked Chloe Sullivan had made a show all about her, and that was pretty much it for me. (And by the way, O Chloe, where art thou?)

Inigo: Then, of course, there was the other, inevitable comparison with a certain vampire slayer. A tiny blonde kickass heroine in high school, with a smart mouth and bearing a weight upon her narrow shoulders. It is a compliment to both shows that they share the same strengths — good writing, a talented cast, and the effortless blending of high school trauma with genre staples — only instead of gothic horror, we get the film noir of detective thrillers. And above all, wit. The less complimentary comparison is with Nancy Drew, which had none of the depth and complexity that we saw in the Veronica Mars pilot.

alliterator: I'll admit it: when I first saw the advertisement for Veronica Mars, I thought, "What? Who the hell thought that would be a good idea? It doesn't even have cool name." So I didn't watch the pilot. I read the recaplet on TWoP and saw that Couch Baron liked it. I missed the second episode and then saw Couch Baron had liked that as well, even though *gasp* Paris Hilton was in it. So I sat down the third week and watched it (which ironically turned out to be a rerun of the second episode, so I only missed the pilot). During the first break, they reran the pilot and I finally got a chance to see it. Let me just say this: it blew me the fuck away. I was amazed at how much was crammed into it. Exposition felt natural, the voice-overs were noirish, the tone was dark and depressing (just the way I like it), the characters were alive and I could see them in my mind, and for the first time since Angel was cancelled, I fell in love with a television show.

funky-donut: I, like alliterator, had never heard of Veronica Mars until I read Couch Baron's recap. I've also never seen Smallville, so the Chloe Sullivan comparisons he made had me thinking it was the same actress. Then I found out that Veronica Mars was actually played by the actress who was Flora on Deadwood, and well, I tuned in as soon as I could, which wasn't until the third episode. I was pretty much immediately hooked.

topanga: The pilot wasn't my first episode of Veronica Mars, but after finally watching it, I quickly went from being a casual viewer to a bona-fide obsessed fan.

wyk: Anyway, one of the things I love about the pilot is the way that Rob combines gut-busting laughter, gut-wrenching heartache, noir bleakness and unbreakable hope. Most shows are lucky if they can achieve one of those goals; the fact that Rob was able to achieve all four in just 42 minutes is simply astounding.

grim: The best thing for me about the pilot is Veronica herself: tough, no-nonsense, bitter, hurt Veronica, who decided to become active and rise over the people who teased and tormented her. I would have loved to have been able to watch that show at sixteen.

healing fish: So I watch, and I'm not totally disgusted. I like the girl; the story seems fun, if a bit cartoonish, and there's...a motorcycle gang? Uh huh.

Polter-Cow: For the first twenty minutes or so, I fought the urge to turn it off. Now, the very nature of a pilot allows for a certain amount of exposition. The easy way out is to start your story in a beginning, like Buffy does, and let the main character's introductions double as the audience's introductions. Often, if you try to do something else, the network has other ideas, and you end up with "The Train Job," in which you can actually see the Exposition Stick being passed from person to person. Veronica Mars skirts that pitfall by adopting the noir convention of voiceover and letting Veronica explain to the audience why something is rotten in the town of Neptune. Complete with flashback. After flashback. After flashback. I was being jerked around between the past and the present — and in an already flashback-heavy episode, we get Wallace flashbacks from, like, the previous night — and I was having trouble keeping up with all the swooshy transitions. Yes, I get it. You can do flashbacks, and you're not as inept at them as Tru Calling. Also, what's with the weird coloring and cinematography? Are you trying to be innovative? Innovation is scary and off-putting!

wyk: Even though Polter-Cow was turned off by the swooshy transition, weird colors, flashbacks, and the constant jumping back and forth in time, those are some of the things that got me interested in the show. I quickly realized that this wasn't the type of show that you could just watch in background. It was hard to keep up with what was going on, because so many things were thrown at you, but instead of finding it off-putting, I actually found it exciting. I was very impressed that the creators of the show weren't going to slow down the pace or dumb it down for the audience. After watching the pilot, I immediately rewound the tape, and watched it a second time just to catch all the details I missed.

healing fish: Also, what the hell is happening here? Who are all these people? Did they say something about a convenience store robbery? A stripper?

Polter-Cow: Plus, the show was so very high school. It wasn't grabbing me. Why should I care about these people? Her boyfriend broke up with her? Oh boo hoo.

healing fish: (Rewatching the pilot has been one of the best things about coming to love this show. There's so much I missed, so much that makes sense now, so many new reasons not only to love the show but to respect it.)

Polter-Cow: But oh, wait. Here are signs of life. A murder! I don't think the buzz really mentioned this murder thing, or if they did, they certainly didn't make a big deal about it. I can do murder.

healing fish: And then I hear my television emit these words: "Want to know how I lost my virginity? So do I." For half a second I can't breathe. For the rest of the hour I can't look away. "Good goddamn, that is some balls," I whisper intermittently to myself. (It's probably a good thing I watch alone.)

persnicketier: At every commercial I was dying to see what happened next. And by the end of the episode, I was already anxious for the next week.

topanga: I wanted to know why Logan was so angry and if Weevil was as much of a badass as he wanted everyone to believe. I wanted to know if Keith and Veronica would always be as close as they were in this episode and if she and Wallace would become good friends. Above all, I wanted to know who killed Lilly Kane, who raped Veronica, and what it would take for Veronica to be the happy and hopeful girl she once was. I was willing to watch the entire season just to find out.

persnicketier: For once, I found a TV show that didn't have me wanting to chuck things at the screen. How nice for a change! What, TV for intelligent viewers? Isn't that a fantasy like, you know, the tooth fairy? Apparently not. So I looked up info online to figure out what the heck I was watching (I was dying for any information) and saw all the rave reviews about it. That was nice, but I knew I was totally hooked, no matter what anyone else said. It was just nice that they all had such an accurate opinion.

Polter-Cow: The turning point for me, the moment when the show got its claws in me, is the same as it was for many others. "You want to know how I lost my virginity?" A pause. Let's hear it, Veronica. "So do I." Holy. Fucking. Shit. Is this supposed to be a joke? Should I be laughing? Oh my God. Wow. You can't do this on television. Can you? Damn.

Inigo: The tone was there from the start but nowhere better voiced than with Veronica's dull matter-of-factness about her rape. She's hardened herself, and the sets, the lighting, the script all lend themselves to the hard edge that exists between polite society and its underbelly. Even at the high school, the demarcation between the haves and the have-nots is used as a knife to twist.

healing fish: By the end of the episode, our heroine's best friend has been murdered, her mother has abandoned her, she's been driven into exile, and she's been raped. She's also been rescued from a group of rich white thugs by the aforementioned motorcycle gang in a scene so campy even the characters watching can't resist making Outsiders references.

Polter-Cow: From that point on, the episode really shakes off its typical high school garb to reveal the dark, twisted...garb underneath. In one fell swoop, Veronica takes down Logan and the sheriff and helps out her new friend Wallace. The confrontation between Weevil, Logan, and Veronica is a sort of microcosm of the corruption that runs rampant through the town. Veronica and her dad, the sweet father and daughter we first met discussing the merits of orange powder cheese, are now lying to each other. This show had teeth.

misskiwi: The absolute guts of the pilot is one of the things I love most about it, too. It's so risky and so much darker than just about anything else on television, and the execution is nearly flawless.

healing fish: And somehow, they've made me buy it, they've made me care, and they've made me consider bothering to watch next week. I don't know what to call that but brilliant. Maybe "shameless."

topanga: Jaw-dropping action overlying complex character development — that's the nature of this show and one of the reasons I love it so much. In the 44 short minutes of this pilot episode, I learned about the personalities and motivations of each of the main characters. There was a lot missing from everyone's story, much like the "T" on Wallace's body art. But everyone intrigued me, and everyone made me want to know them a lot better. I agree with you, healing fish: they made me buy it and they made me care.

wyk: Unlike Polter-Cow and healing fish, I was hooked on the show from the very beginning. From the opening sequence, when Veronica pulls out her knife to cut down a naked guy, I kind of got the feeling that this wasn't going to be the typical teeny-bopper high school show. By the second scene, when Veronica tells Ms. Murphy that "Life's a bitch, then you die," my cynical heart found a new TV best friend. Without Joss Whedon, I was wondering how I was going to fill up my snark quota. By the locker scene, my snark-o-meter was going off the charts. In those first few minutes, the writers and Kristen Bell created a smart, snarky, cynical, yet hopeful lead character, and I was hooked.

Polter-Cow: In the end, Veronica Mars embraces the fact that she is, in fact, a marshmallow. A mushy high school girl hidden within a hard, bitter exterior. The funny thing is, Veronica Mars has turned out to be the complete opposite.

funky-donut: It was just such an amazing, dark, funny, well-written, and well-acted hour of television. I'm still shocked it doesn't get better ratings. They just didn't pull any punches. (Well, other than the cock bong.) Flashback-Veronica just kept getting hit after hit and every single one made her stronger.

wyk: I'm a sucker for humor, especially snarky humor, and I love the way humor is incorporated into the pilot. Sometimes the humor is blatantly goofy (Keith's over-the-top dance), other times it's dark (who knew a taser could be so funny), and sometimes it's so subtle that you don't realize there's a joke unless you pay attention (Take backup). In addition to the ha-ha aspect of humor, the writers also explore a more serious side of humor. The characters use humor to both mask their pain (Veronica's snark as Logan smashes her car) and to cause pain to others (Logan snarks about Veronica's sluttiness). The great thing about the use of humor is that it allows the show to be dark without being bleak. Despite the fact that the show deals with such dark subject matter such as murder, rape, child abandonment, and really bad wigs, this episode was very entertaining. Instead of being dark for the sake of being dark and painful, Rob pulls off this amazing trick of using the darkness to create an underlying sense of hope. I love the line, "What powers us through life's defeats, is a better life yet to come" because it perfectly captures the essence of the show and of the main character. Instead of crumbling, wallowing and being all 6th-season Buffy, Rob and Kristen portray Veronica as the kickass heroine who keeps getting battered down, but refuses to break.

funky-donut: My favorite quote from this episode was Veronica's response to Mrs. Murphy: "Life's a bitch, and then you die." Happening only a few minutes into the very first episode, I think it perfectly captures what the tone of this show will be. Not only that, but it sums up our heroine's view on life since all the shit went down. Her best friend was murdered, she was ostracized, raped, her mom left town, etc., etc. Life's a bitch. Another of my favorite things from this episode is Veronica's banter with Weevil. They have great chemistry (of course, Kristen Bell could have chemistry with a cock bong), and what happens between them in this episode goes far toward establishing their relationship for the rest of the season.

misskiwi: I began reading the recaps at TWoP before I watched any of the series, but I was sold by page two of the pilot recap when Couch Baron complemented the show on the subtle and interesting look at Veronica's "dichotomous nature." I was intrigued by such intellectual praise, and the complexity and subtlety of the characterizations is still one of my favorite things about the pilot. The main characters get more layer and depth in this first forty minutes of the series than in entire seasons of lesser shows. And not only are the present-day incarnations of the characters fascinating, but we get to see them reflected in the events before and surrounding Lilly's death. It's a lot to handle, but they pull it off with room to spare.

wyk: And you can't talk about how great the show is without talking about the awesomeness that is Kristen Bell. Her ability to bring the snark, the tears, the toughness, and the heart is what ties the show together. Veronica Mars is a very tough character to portray because of the huge range of emotions that the character goes through, but somehow Kristen is able to nail every one of her scenes. That 20-second flashback scene when Veronica first sees Lilly's body is amazing. It happens so fast that I didn't notice the first few dozen times I watched it (yes, I said dozen), but if you watch it in slow motion, you can see the range of emotions that she goes through in those few seconds. She goes from shock, to utter terror, to complete emotional breakdown in 20 seconds flat. She shows more acting chops in those few seconds than some OTHer actors do during an entire season.

alliterator: And what about Veronica's hair? WHAT ABOUT THE HAIR?!

healing fish: We cannot let the hair go untrashed.

Polter-Cow: I liked the hair!

alliterator: Yeah, but you like Barry Manilow.

healing fish: I rest my case.

Polter-Cow: What? No I don't. What the hell are you talking about?

alliterator: Dude. Angel season 5, episode 4, "Hellbound":
ANGEL: There was one thing.
ANGEL: I liked your poems.
SPIKE: *glare* You like Barry Manilow.
It was a thing with the thing, you know?

funky-donut: *snatches away P-C's TV-Smarts street cred card* Okay, I missed it too, but so what?

Polter-Cow: Hey, I knew it was an Angel reference; I just had no idea why he was using it on me. You have to make sense, alliterator.

alliterator: Well, because you're the only one who liked Veronica's hair...and Angel was the only one who liked Spike's poetry...and...and...DAMN YOU! YOU WERE THE CHOSEN ONE!


healing fish: Shut up. Darth Vader does not scream like a pubescent girl. He just doesn't.

topanga: Polter-Cow is a girl. Check out his hot pink icon.

wyk: I know everyone always quotes her marshmallow line, but for me the most touching line of the night was her final "You are" when Keith asks her "Who's your daddy?" near the end of the show. The way she looks at him, and that crack in her voice as she says that line...awww. I love this father/daughter dynamic. Yes there are secrets and lies between these two, but there is also a lot of laughter and unconditional love.

misskiwi: I think in addition to the father/daughter dynamic they set up so well, it's the events behind Wallace's infamous marshmallow comment, rather than the comment itself, that's an important undercurrent to the episode. Over the course of the pilot the cynical, bitter, and closed-off Veronica who has been shunned by her peers finds a new niche for herself. One of the most underemphasized moments of the episode for me is when Veronica goes from telling Wallace to scram, to letting him sit with her, to offering to help him get the bikers off his back. Not only does she realize that she's not totally alone or friendless, but I think she finds it very rewarding to be able to help out a fellow classmate and to me it's a turning point for her.

funky-donut: I find it interesting to note that Veronica sits at a table directly facing the people that have made her an outcast. Many people in that situation (myself included) would probably sit as far away from their tormenters as possible. But no, Veronica chooses to sit as confrontationally as possible. Which leads me to the next thing I love about this episode: the genesis of Veronica and Wallace's friendship. Veronica says something about Keith, "When I woke up this morning, I had one person I could count on." She's referring to the fact that he's lied to her about his reasons for dropping the Kane case. I choose to look at that line another way: now she has two. By shunning the 09er culture of her school, she's gained herself a loyal and nonjudgmental friend in Wallace.

Inigo: The characters are new but it's already clear that they have Naked City type stories to tell. And then of course there is the central mystery — who killed Lilly Kane and why? Her death is the turning point for so many of the credited characters — Keith Mars, the disgraced ex-sheriff; Veronica; Duncan, the rich ex-boyfriend and Lilly's brother; and Logan, the "obligatory psychotic jackass" and Lilly's boyfriend. Their stories will no doubt be fleshed out as Veronica searches for the truth.

grim: The Lilly Kane murder case interested me on the level of a mystery fan: Duncan was in shock, so he must have seen something. Logan was painted as a total asshole, so it was obvious that he could have been neither murderer nor rapist. Oh yeah, Veronica's rape. That convinced me that this wouldn't be your typical nice teenager show.

alliterator: There are several scenes in which the pilot of Veronica Mars hooked me — not one single scene that I can point out or anything, but several that, in combination, turned me from a regular fan into a someone who designs two-dollar bills for save our show campaigns and helps make websites. The first was when Veronica pulls out a knife to cut Wallace down and one kid remarks, "You are a freak." I always love the outcast and the underdog — one of the reasons I was a huge Buffy fan. But this show took it to a whole new level — Veronica was the ultimate outcast, the ultimate loner. And yet, the show began with her gaining a new friend. Perhaps this was why it was the beginning — the beginning of a new school year and a new Veronica. The second was the "random" locker searches and the Clemmons heart inside Veronica's locker. This showed that whatever angsty seriousness and crushing depression the show would bring, it always brought the humor as well. Another reason I liked Buffy, whose witty quips and off-kilter humor are similar to Veronica Mars. The fourth...

Inigo: Counting is so not your strong point, it is, allit?

alliterator: What can I say? I'm a big Monty Python fan. The fourth — no, wait, amongst them was the rape flashbacks (yes, yes, a retread of everyone else, but hey, can you blame me?). There's no Buffy comparison here, no, I hadn't ever seen I thing like this on television. This seemed like the show was transcending a barrier, breaking out of the television screen and showing us a real-life event, something that had actually happened and they just captured it on tape for us to view, painfully and tearfully. The fifth was the jaunty juxtaposition of the hip music and tempo with Veronica's complicated plan to switch the tapes and the wackiness that was Inga the German receptionist yelling, "Ach, du lieber Gott. Ein feuer!" As Couch Baron put it, it sounded like it was from Monty Python and yet, here it was. And Veronica Mars was able to delicately balance it on the tightrope with the nerveracking rape scenes. How? How was this possible? The sixth was the ending. No hard-boiled detective, no saving the day for Veronica. She goes to the hotel and no one is there. And yet she still persists and insists that she will find her mother. She refuses sentimental gifts earlier in a flashback, but here she says that she is sentimental, that she does miss her mother so very much. She moved from a "teen detective" to a real, live character. Because, well, "Veronica Mars, she's marshmallow."

healing fish: I think the Veronica character got on my good side pretty quickly as well. She was juuust a hair from being a little too snide, and I rolled my eyes a little when she flawlessly recited the Pope, but she bit off her lines with such charm that I couldn't get annoyed at her. And the locker scene was almost funnier than it had a right to be, because it came at just the right time and was hit in exactly the right way. Like wyk says, this show throws a million things at you, but it gives you just enough time to catch your breath and keep you on your toes between lobs.

wyk: And on a completely different note: Damn! Percy is cut. And: Damn! Kristen has an itty-bitty waist. And: Damn! I love the props and camera departments for the "To Dad, Happy Birthday!! [heart] Veronica" photo in the background as full-of-suspicion Veronica breaks into the safe. But damn the props and editing departments for using the old case files that says Lilly was found in the ocean and for using a photo of the fired Jake 1.0.

topanga: Wallace had me at hello. Only it was more like, "Help me, please. I'm butt-naked and duct-taped to a flagpole. And I'm black. And, damn, my abs are cut (tm wyk). And I'm trying not to cry because these cruel kids at Neptune High would really never let me live this down. And the bastards who did this to me can't even spell 'snitch' right. That makes me look bad, you know? And a pretty blond girl is coming to cut me down. Mm, she smells good. I hope there's a lot of duct tape around my mid-section, if you know what I mean. And did I mention how cut my abs are?"

wyk: I was surprised when I read that Percy almost considered not accepting the part because of the flagpole scene. The racial implications of showing a black person being tied up to a flagpole didn't occur to me until I read on another board that one person immediately switched channels as soon they saw a kid being "lynched." The fact that they made it clear that the bikers did this to him for being a "snich" quickly establishes the fact that this was a personal vendetta, not a racial attack. To me it's more of a case of extreme high school cruelty, rather than a race issue. It's cruel that 1) someone would duct tape the naked, extremely well-cut, new guy to the flagpole and 2) no one else offered to help. The group of ethnically diverse kids just stood around and laughed and laughed and laughed. And if you look at the bust-a-gut-laughing reaction shots of some of the background extras, you have the wonder what kind of stage direction the director gave them. "Here's a naked black kid tied to the flagpole. Let the laughter commence." But given Percy's initial reluctance to do the scene, it would be interesting to hear from Rob whether or not he thought about the racial implications of that scene when he was writing and filming it (This is why we need DVD commentaries!). I was actually more surprised to hear Weevil refer to Wallace as a "skinny Negro" than by the flagpole scene. I admire the way the writers have depicted the underlying racism/classicism that exist in many high schools. Instead of making a "very special episode"/PSA about it, they just make it part of everyday high school life.

healing fish: Strangely enough, I didn't think to be bothered by the scene when I first saw it, but when I watched the pilot again it started to look...sketchier, and I can imagine how I would have felt if I had been sensitive to that without having seen the episode before. The show let us know that it clearly wasn't a race issue, but that doesn't make the image itself any less vicious and disturbing. In any case, it was a damned ballsy way to start out, for better or worse.

alliterator: Racial implications? I didn't find any when I first saw it, mainly because the crowd was ethnically diverse and because it was pretty clear (from the "snich") that he wasn't taped it because of his race. Though I do admit, I was sort of surprised by Weevil's "skinny Negro" comment, but I think it was more of a "Why are helping him?" than "Why are you helping him, he's black?"

topanga: Unlike the viewer who switched channels because of the opening scene, I was intrigued by the naked and well-defined black kid who was duct-taped to a flagpole. It did look like a lynching, but I agree that the diversity of the surrounding students and Wallace's uniquely spelled body art let me know right away that race wasn't a major factor. But, wyk, while I do think Weevil's "skinny Negro" comment was racially motivated, I didn't take it to be a racial slur. It was more of an acknowlegdement that Wallace is black, and I appreciated it. Rob didn't want to create an unrealistic, "color-blind" Neptune High where students pretend that everyone is the same race and everyone runs through the halls singing, "We're All the Same Color Underneath." I was more offended that he called Wallace skinny. Weevil, dude, did you check out Wallace's abs while you were wrapping tape around his...midsection? Rob established from the beginning that this show would take risks and wouldn't be bound by convention or political correctness.

funky-donut: Percy Daggs III is a talentless hack. He's also not hot, at all. *sits back, arms crossed*

alliterator: BLASHPHEMER!

healing fish: funky-donut has obviously lost her mind. Authorities will be alerted shortly.

topanga: Are you blind and deaf, funky-donut, or just plain stupid? While I agree that Percy's performance wasn't the strongest amongst the cast members, no one gave an Emmy award-winning performance in this debut episode. That's why it's called a pilot. The actors haven't quite gelled into their roles, and the writers haven't quite perfected the characters. Everyone involved with a pilot gets a free pass, in my book. Also, by the end of the pilot, Wallace had delivered the second-most memorable line of the episode: "You're a marshmallow, Veronica Mars. A Twinkie." And did you check out those abs? My bad. You must prefer beer guts and man-tits.

funky-donut: Heh. Yup, you got me. (You do know I was just trying to start a shitstorm by saying that, right, topanga? I quite like your TV boyfriend, and I think his abs are like whoa.)

topanga: I knew you were joking about my boy, funky-donut. But the bantering is fun. You like man-tits? Really?

funky-donut: No, not really. But my husband is...cuddly. Which is a euphemism for "has a beer gut," in case I wasn't obvious enough.

Polter-Cow: My money's on Kristen Bell being the weakest link in the acting chain. That "Go Pirates!" was so utterly lackluster, devoid of any real school spirit at all. Totally did not convince me Veronica felt the Pirate pride.

grim: No, it's Cliff. He's horrible — especially that screechy voice. And if he says tawdry ever again...

wyk: funky-donut, what are you smoking? Everyone knows that Jason, not Percy, is the most talentless, homeliest, most boring actor of the bunch.

Inigo: Guys! You know wyk? That girl is seriously whack. And succeeded in getting a rise out of me. Damn!

wyk: Ha! I knew that Logan comment would bring Inigo out of lurkdom. Inigo, I so played you. Sucker!

Inigo: Yeah, yeah...How sick am I that I loved Logan from the first moment I saw him? I can't figure it out. He's horrible to Veronica without provocation and then, with some provocation, he looks to terrorise her. But there is something about the way he refuses to back down in the face of Weevil and his biker gang that appeals. He's a bully but not a coward, and that's intriguing. And the actor has that sort of Spacey charisma; he draws my attention when he's on screen. If for no other reason, I'd tune in again for him. And again. And again.

funky-donut: I would also like to mention teh hottness that is Francis Capra, just to counterpoint the drooling over Jason Dohring that will be coming from the other side of the Atlantic.

grim: Not everyone from the other side of the Atlantic thinks that Jason is more drool-worthy than Francis. Ahem.

funky-donut: Oops, sorry, Grim. I mean England. You'd think I'd be smart enough to remember that whole big continent over there when I'm writing something like that, but, well, no.

grim: Don't worry, a lot of people tend to forget the pesky continent vaguely connected to good old Britain.

healing fish: Don't forget teh hottness that is Lamb. And Felix. And Deputy Sacks.

funky-donut: Wow, I didn't find any of those three hot in the first episode. I'm guessing you were joking, but I never know with you. Now, in real life...Michael and Brad are definitely the sex. Not just because they gave us interviews.

healing fish: No, I totally don't think Deputy Sacks is teh sex. It's all about the Clemmons.

geniusblonde: LOL, you guys sound like VMA — Veronica Mars Anonymous.

funky-donut: To address a point you raised, topanga: I agree, most of the performances in the pilot were a little off. Enrico...let's just be charitable and say that I started liking him a LOT more after the pilot. But who was never off? That's right, my girl-crush Kristen.

Inigo: Not that I'm showing my bias or anything but I don't think Jason's had an off acting moment either.

topanga: I don't think Jason and Kristen were off, but their characters weren't yet extensions of themselves, if that makes any sense. If you watch the last few seasons of The Golden Girls (a completely different show, but one of the best television series of all time), you'll see that the actors had become their characters. I never felt like any of them was acting. Every dialogue exchange or transition between emotions was seamless.

funky-donut: Inigo, you're right, JD is pretty much always on. But he isn't in as many scenes as KB. His percentage of VM time is waay lower than Kristen's. And yes, that was a challenge. Go!

misskiwi: Oh, you just know she'll pull the quality versus quantity argument.

Inigo: I did actually sit down and set out all the scenes JD was in, with timings. It's in the Logan thread on TWoP. What?

funky-donut: Heh. I should have known.

topanga: I agree that Kristen and JD showed great acting chops in the pilot, but I still don't see why people fell in love with Logan after those first few scenes. He was, without question, a rich, spoiled brat. [ducks]. I know I'm in the minority, but Duncan is the character that intrigued me the most (after Veronica, of course). Why did he break up with V? Why is he so passive and weird? Why is he still friends with an asshole like Logan? [ducks again].

Inigo: *ignores obvious baiting, but not before slapping topanga with a wet kipper* One of the more delightful surprises was the way some of the smaller characters were fleshed out in only moments of screen time: the wonderfully seedy lawyer with his fondness for tawdry cases, the brutal Sheriff Lamb with his unlooked-for advice to victims to "go see the wizard," the biker lieutenant who is quick to defend his boss. If even these characters can be made compelling in their brief appearances, it speaks volumes as to what the future holds.

grim: To highlight one of the minor characters: yay, Felix! Felix to me became the Guy of Gisburne of this show when he was stupid enough to go to Veronica's car just to get tasered. Felix obviously was the archetypical stupid right-hand man who would get kicked a lot; I was looking forward to it. As for his boss, Weevil made me giggle for the first time when he heartfeltly apologized for his sexualized comments to Veronica — because that's what these tough no-nonsense biker guys do.

alliterator: There were a few flaws — I couldn't tell all the 09ers apart to begin with (but it helped that I had seen a few episodes before the pilot). And Enrico Colantoni didn't seem a natural fit (he would later on, but in the beginning he just seemed weird to me, since I knew him from Just Shoot Me). But the good overwhelmingly overpowered the bad or confusing. The rape? Knew it was coming, but still was shocked. The murder captivated me and the mystery was well fleshed out and seemed like, you know, the writers actually knew what was going to happen (unlike some other shows coughLostcough). So I stuck around. And I have never regretted it once.

funky-donut: Because no one else has mentioned it, I have to share my love of the credits. I love the theme song so much that I often put it on repeat while I'm working on MI.net. I sing along, I do a little dance. I'm a dork, but I love it.

wyk: I loved the humor, Veronica, the writing, etc,. but the thing that I loved most during my first viewing was the closing credits. As soon as I saw Rob Thomas's name, I googled this show, just to find out if this was the same Rob Thomas who did Cupid, one of my all-time favorite shows. As soon as I found out that it was indeed the same Rob Thomas, my TV-loving heart got all giddy, and I couldn't wait to see what Rob was going to do next.

persnicketier: Trust me, it is hard to get me into a TV show. Very hard. And obsessed? Has never happened. So you know this show has to be great.

alliterator: And hey, you even took your screenname from a VM quote. Of course, that also probably means you didn't start posting until after episode two. Bad, persnick, bad.

Inigo: You can talk, you old I-only-watched-because-Couch-Baron-said-it-was-good you!

funky-donut: In conclusion? Veronica's plaid pants rock my world. Oh, and more cowbell.

Season 1

Season 2

Season 3

Season Overview