1.14 "Mars vs. Mars"

Aired Feb 15, 2005

Cultural References

Chess (Sports, Games and Toys)

Rooks, Bishop, Knight

In a funny move reminiscient of Lewis Carroll in Alice's second adventure Through the Looking-Glass, The Powers That Be have decided to give this episode some cute chess allusions by calling the principal guest characters Rooks, Bishop, and Knight, forcing me in turn to give you some information on the nature of this unique form of entertainment. Ahh, chess, the game of kings! Where the board becomes the battlefield, and the figures on it are nothing but players on the... No, wait, that's a massacred Shakespeare quote. Unfortunately, this writer wouldn't know chess from checkers, and her expertise on strategic war games is limited to a few parties of Monopoly, which is why she'll not pass the latter and go directly to jail instead. Checkmate!

"Don't Stand So Close to Me" (Music)

In a fitting presentation of the old Police classic, Carrie's classmates mockingly serenade her after she publicly alleges an affair between her and popular teacher Chuck Rooks. "Don't Stand So Close to Me," a No. 1 hit for the band in 1980, deals with a school teacher torn between temptation and taboo. It was written by singer Sting, who used to be a teacher before taking on his nom de plum and a far more illustrous career — much like Veronica Mars showrunner Rob Thomas, who has a certain track record of recycling this particular plot in his creations.

Spy fiction (Literature)

"Carrie's file. If you are caught with this, I will disavow any knowledge of you or your mission. You'll be on your own."
"Don't worry. I've got a cyanide capsule in a false tooth. If I'm caught, I'll do the honorable thing."
"Been a privilege knowing you, Mars."

To honor Wallace's unique espionage skills, he and Veronica reference various spy fiction clichés in their conversation, including denying the agent's affiliation, that the agent will only be able to rely on him/herself, carrying cyanide capsules in order to commit suicide upon capture so as to not betray secrets, and the extreme deadliness of the mission. Unfortunately, we cannot say which illustrious works of celluloid and paper these examples are referring to — well, we could, but then we would have to kill you.

Tattoo You (Music)
Sweet Valley High (Literature, TV)

"Are you interested in details, Veronica? Can I help enrich your fantasy life? He says "baby" a lot when he touches you. His sheets are black, silk. His mood music is side two of the Rolling Stones' Tattoo You. He'll tear up as he tells you the story of his ex-wife leaving him. You'll turn to jelly."
"Yeah, I have that same Sweet Valley High book."

The Rolling Stones weren't yet dead in 1981 when they released Tattoo You, unlike some of their later albums. Side one was rock songs, whereas side two was ballads. Some of them were a bit, well, bland — a bit like Mr. Rook — but all is forgiven with "Waiting for a Friend." Not having grown up in the United States, I really know nothing about the popular Sweet Valley High book series and its myriad spinoffs, so I'll just take Veronica's word that the story lines tend to deal with smarmy teachers seducing their teenage students and then trying to pay them for abortions when they get pregnant, instead of, say slumber parties and the like. Isn't it just neat how Veronica Mars teaches us non-US viewers about American youth culture?

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