2.07 "Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner"

Aired Nov 16, 2005

Roundtable Reviews

Polter-Cow: That. Was. Fucked. Up.

Like, I need someone to cuddle up with right now. And I don't want to turn all the lights on because I'm afraid of what I might see. That was some seriously creepy shit. Really, really bizarre, too. Like I expected some of it to turn out not to be real. Is this really the Neptune that was lurking beneath the surface the entirety of season one? I can't believe I thought this season was too sunny.

Inigo: Dear Rob and Diane, I know it's tacky and eighties but I want to sing to you: "You spin me right round, baby, right round, like a record baby, right round, right round." There are so many little tiny things going on in this episode that may or may not contribute to the bigger picture, that may or may not be significant, that may or may not be you leading us up the garden path of our own assumptions. As a viewer, I love you. As the sucker who sorts out the mysteries, I think I want to kill you. Or keel you. Has one of you got six fingers?

misskiwi: What an awesome follow up to last week's stellar episode! I laughed out loud and yelled "I LOVE THIS SHOW!" enough times to have been glad I watch VM in the privacy of my own home. They had me at "Previously, on Veronica Mars" the instant they showed two of the major plot points I really wanted to see continue: the contents of Meg's mysterious laptop and the fortunes (or lack thereof) of the Casablancas clan. I love this show. And Diane, you are a goddess.

grim squeaker: For me, this was almost an exhausting episode. I've never laughed out loud so often on VM before, but yet there were always scenes where I simultaneously cringed a little — Dick's little present for Kendall comes to mind here. And the last act actually killed me. Looking at all those notebooks neatly stacked in the closet, I honestly hoped that they weren't all Grace's, because if she had filled them all it would mean that she hardly ever got out of there. It left me rather nauseated, which makes "Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner" the second of Diane's episodes that does this to me — meaning this in the best way possible of course, since I was a great fan of "A Trip to the Dentist."

marks of love: I'm still struggling to find the words that approximate my incoherent squee over this episode. I'm not sure whether "Cheatty Cheatty Bang Bang" or "Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner" is my favourite of the season, but damn, why pick sides? I'm just going to accept that the Casablancas family drama and the Logan-Duncan-Veronica relationship both make me hyperventilate and look for woodland creatures to sacrifice to the TV gods, and move on. Oh, Diane. "I am your bitch" just doesn't do my your-bitch-ness justice.

Also, Inigo, I am now forced to listen to "You Spin Me Round." Thanks. Thanks a lot.

Inigo: Anytime, babe. Great song, eh? Or are you saying "I just can't get you out of my head"? Like it's one of those earworms where you just want to scream "Who let the dogs out"? Hey, what can I say? It's a small world after all.

funky-donut: Oh, you are pure evil. I am going "LA LA LA LA" in my head.

marks of love: Happily, "It's a small world after all" does nothing but amuse me in remembrance of the time my sister exited the boat on the wrong side at Disneyland's Small World ride. There were signs everywhere announcing the correct way to go, but my sister is rather determinedly oblivious, so she went her own way anyway, and got stranded on an island for her troubles. Good times, good times.

misskiwi: This week's mystery really got off on the wrong foot with me. When Duncan rushed through the story of what he had found in Meg's emails, I just didn't feel pulled in or get the urgency. I think it would have been more effective to have shown us Duncan reading the emails as he becomes gradually more concerned and horrifed, then cut after that to Veronica's reaction to him explaining what he'd found. Is it sad or awesome that I can actually picture all those shots in my head? Either the show is just that good to have such a distinctive quality, or I missed my calling as a director.

funky-donut: The major thing I thought at that point was that Duncan was hiding something. He kept saying things like "I read it in there somewhere," but I felt like he was lying. I thought he might have already known all those details and for some reason was trying to keep Veronica from figuring that out.

topanga: I agree. I'm starting not to believe the robotic/epileptic, sweet boyfriend persona he's been selling to Veronica (and viewers) all season. And I get the feeling he still has feelings for Meg: not only does he visit her at the hospital regularly, but he also knows her entire babysitting history. And he knows the ins and outs of her bedroom way too well—the vent as a hiding place and the monkey he straightened on the bed. And what was that letter he stole from Meg's vent?

Polter-Cow: I'm a little disappointed (I still think you're awesome, Diane! Your dialogue crackles!) that the babysitting escapades didn't lead to anything more. The focus on the divorced teacher who gets a date with Sacks suggests it's a setup for a future plotline, but my mouth still tastes like red herring. What was the purpose of the bizarre Mr. Fuller proposition and the headless drawing? And the drawing of the Woodman family as a reverse Echolls (the mother abuses, the father allows it) has to come into play later on, right? I might be happier with all this once we get the payoffs to these setups.

funky-donut: The impression I got from all that was that it just really illustrated how completely fucked up Neptune is. I mean, that doesn't mean those plotlines won't go somewhere (and I agree that the Goodman one probably will) but just...that stuff happens everywhere, all the time. Asshole dads hit on their teenage babysitters. Kids are messed up enough from the pressure parents put on them that they lash out at their babysitters by drawing pictures of them with their heads being pulled off. Etc.

09ers aren't exempt, is the point I'm getting at, that I think the show was getting at.

grim squeaker: Polter-Cow, I don't know if Fuller's line about joing him on the boat on weekends was all that random. I specifically wondered if he made the same offer to Meg, and if so, how she reacted to it? There seems so much that we don't know about Meg yet. It seems crazy that on this show, even comatose people get character development.

Inigo: The parallels between Logan and Rodney are clear to see and we will no doubt get more about Rodney and his mother in the future. It probably won't be what we think. However, and perhaps because I am paranoid about being misled, I think the more interesting family was the Fullers and, in particular, the parallels that can be drawn between them and the Kanes, and what that means for Duncan. Controlling mother who demands her children are perfect. Check. Father who is philandering. Check. A son who is, to all appearances, the model son. Check. The son's surface hides a dark maelstrom of suppressed emotion. Check.

Edwin Fuller = Duncan Kane?

I strongly feel there is a meaning behind the close parallels we see here. Edwin is polite to Veronica, but he doesn't open up. Duncan is loving towards Veronica, but he doesn’t open up. Veronica wonders where Edwin's wires are. We all have wondered the same about Duncan from time to time.

Edwin's picture is disturbing enough. He decapitates Veronica. He is a child and his resources are limited but there can be no doubt that he is expressing the desire to harm her. Duncan's resources are somewhat different. He could express such a desire in a way that would endanger Veronica. Should Veronica, and we, be taking Edwin's picture as a warning?

grim squeaker: Would that make Albert...Dick? Because I can somehow see that.

Polter-Cow: Someone on my flist mentioned the babysitting charges being parallel, and I didn't see it, but you all have come up with the comparisons independently, and it makes so much more sense now.

misskiwi: I actually wondered quite early on if Meg's little sister could be involved, but I sort of forgot about it as they kept focusing on the boys. The instant the book was opened and I saw the neat, clearly girlish handwriting in the book, I knew it was Meg's little sister. And how awesome is it that they had the foresight of this arc when we saw Meg's shy, cowering little sister way back in "Green-Eyed Monster"? I know there was speculation at the time that Grace had black eyes, but since Meg had specified in the emails that there was no physical abuse, I'm not so sure about that. And of course, Lizzie knew exactly what was in those emails that might cause Meg's parents to pull the plug on her. But did she want Duncan to find out? Or...no, it was Mac that gave him the flash drive. Hmm.

And hey, what do you know? Lamb showed a redeeming quality! Besides his smoking, neverending hotness, Inigo.

Inigo: Hey! I'm not that shallow! Shallow just draws me in.

funky-donut: OMG! We got backstory on Lamb! A little tiny bit! And even while he was being nice to Veronica, he still wasn't NICE. I'm calling it, though: the woobiefication of Lamb began tonight, at 9:42 PM.

marks of love: It's nice that Lamb has a new layer (that makes what? Two?), but I don't want to see his Childhood Trauma of Woe explored. Let it be subtle, a hint at cycles of authority abuse, and not the start of the woobiefication of a delightfully assholish secondary character. I am fine with him having, like, his first ever twinge of conscience, and maybe to start doing some things different, but like Cliff said: Lamb is mean. I know I shouldn't worry about this, given how spectacularly the show has managed to make characters like Lilly, Logan, and Aaron simultaneously sympathetic and despicable, but the way some people are talking I fear for the wizard-referring, Cook-blackmailing, investigation-closing jerkface that I know and love.

funky-donut: I absolutely adored the way he still couldn't bring himself to be civil to Veronica even when he believed her and had every intention of following through on her claims. I know he had to act like he was arresting them, but he could have given her a wink or a nod to let her know he was going to follow through on her accusations. But he just stared at her, impassively, and man oh man — my screen was sparking from the electricity. Damn, those two have some amazing fucking chemistry.

misskiwi: I'm sorry, Lamb wink at Veronica? To let her in on a plan, and not to torment her? What kind of crazy Bizarro world are you living in?

funky-donut: Hee. No, seriously, I was happy that he didn't, because it was totally in character for Lamb. I was saying "give a wink or a nod" as an example of something somebody else might do.

misskiwi: You're off the hook then. I agree, it was a perfect Lamb thing to do. I cheered when he re-entered Grace's bedroom. Am I the only one who finds it odd in the light of the revelation that Lamb (or "Woobie!" as I'm sure funky-donut is correct) was abused as a child that he treated Veronica so cruelly when she tried to report her rape?

grim squeaker: I think a very important point about the way Lamb treats Veronica when she reports the rape is that he really does believe that she is lying and just wants to set some 09er boys up. That still doesn't make his behavior excusable, but at least we don't have proof yet that he would treat someone he believed was raped in the same atrocious manner.

Polter-Cow: misskiwi, Lamb's line does not necessarily mean he was abused (and I hope he wasn't, because it's A) cliché and B) already been done well with Logan). All it means is that at one point in his life, the police came to investigate into some of his father's doings. We don't know what those doings were. But I think we have a clue as to what drove Lamb into law enforcement.

misskiwi: That makes more sense, Polter-Cow. I still think I might have been right in my first assumption, though. And if it makes you feel better, how often does this show and its fantastic, worth-a-sacrificial-goat-or-three crew resort to cliché or repeat a storyline between characters? Look at how many fucked-up families there are in Neptune (and fucked-up people, for that matter) and they're all fucked-up in unique and complex ways.

Polter-Cow: To paraphrase Aaron's man Tolstoy: all happy families are alike; each fucked-up family is fucked-up in its own way.

misskiwi: So...what I just said, only prefaced with a pretentious literature reference.

Polter-Cow: Even better: I haven't read the book!!

misskiwi: So you're pretentious and ignorant.

wyk: I love how Veronica doctored the Bachelor auction invite to have a photo of a topless, hunky Lamb.

persnicketier: And just WHERE did Veronica get that picture?

misskiwi: The Internet. I hear it occasionally contains pictures of naked people, if you look hard enough.

Inigo: Maybe Keith managed to get a shot of naked Lamb when he was changing out of his Bo Peep costume.

Polter-Cow: Woody is very, very intent on putting Keith in some sort of position of legal authority. He must have some ulterior motive. This incorporation business is going to be big trouble, I think. But I think this was a good episode for showing that for all that Neptune needs cleaning superficially, it could use a really good scrub-down underneath.

Inigo: I think this is potentially huge. Woody is literally looking to carve Neptune up along the dividing line already created by the tension in the town. Keith's reaction to Woody's description of the boundaries makes it pretty clear that he has earmarked 09er town as the new Neptune. This must exacerbate the them-us dynamic. It's almost as if he is creating a gated community for the haves. Why? And why Keith to police it? But then, ohh, the possibilities with Keith CoP of Neptune and Balboa's County Sheriff. Clash of the Taupe-uniformed ones.

I'm calling the connection between the Fullers and Boatloads of Fun Corp. In fact, I'm calling Woody and Boatloads of Fun Corp, too. Splitting up Neptune is so much worthier a mission than getting their kids the top spot in school athletics.

misskiwi: I completely agree that Woody's nefarious plan to divide Neptune along class lines is going to play a big role. (I don't know if you've heard, but class warfare is a bit of a theme this year. Don't worry if you missed it — the writers have played it really subtle.)

funky-donut: The scene with Logan and Duncan and Veronica in the beginning? With the awesome Couch Baron shout-out? Had me totally squirming in my seat. The awkward and the being totally busted by Kendall and the small world and the Endurance...I mean, there's no other word to use except for Awkward!

But Veronica was totally adorable in the beginning with The Big Lebowski. God, Kristen Bell totally rocks my world.

misskiwi: I'm glad that Veronica is finally helping Logan out, if only to guarantee us more snark and hilarity like Logan using the "Out of Order" sign as a red flag. And I'm glad that it turns out the witness from last week really was an imposter; the show's never switched actors on us yet and expected us to ignore it — Backup and the Shellies excepted — even for minor characters like Mrs. Fuller, so I'm glad they didn't start now.

funky-donut: I was really happy to see Mr. Pope again, and to see that he wasn't beaten down by adversity. I am a little confused by the timeline. His segment made me think that Big Dick's corporation meltdown just happened very recently, as did the segment with the lawyer about the trust funds, yet it feels like it's been many weeks since that happened in "Neptune Time."

misskiwi: I was glad to see a good, solid, informative follow-up to the Casblancases. I really like the complex family dynamic they've created, particularly with the introduction of the original Mrs. Casablancas. She has a competitive urge to be a better mother to her boys than Big Dick is a father, but only if it doesn't inconvenience her lifestyle in any way, shape, or form. Poor Beaver. How did he turn out so normal?

funky-donut: I'm not convinced he's gonna stay normal. That poor kid. My heart fucking broke for him when he was all, "I like Europe..." I hate his mom, and I'm still trying to figure out where I know her from. And no, it wasn't Glitter!

grim squeaker: I had expected Dick's and Beaver's mom to be not all that great, but she certainly surpassed all my expectations. It has been established in previous episodes that it has been at least several weeks since Big Dick's scam folded, right? And since it was all over the news, she must have known about it, but still she doesn't show up until her sons call her because they are out of money and then expects to be applauded for her motherly concern? Can I show her where to put that Mother of the Year award?

And while we are at the topics of Dick Sr.'s (ex-)wives, why exactly hasn't Kendall been caught up in the fraud investigation? Did she decide to rat him out? Or did Veronica just give the SEC a tip and not mention Kendall's involvement? Inquiring minds want to know.

misskiwi: Dear Duncan. If you were stupid enough to have slept with Kendall, you will heartily deserve whatever cruel and unusual punishement Veronica doles out. Love and kisses, misskiwi.

topanga: If he did anything with Kendall, it'll kill me. I've been a Veronica/Duncan 'shipper since the pilot, but now that they're actually together, Duncan has done nothing but disappoint me this season.

funky-donut: I can't decide whether Duncan accepted a blow job from Kendall or whether she just wanted Logan to think he did, but she very definitely made a "wiping my mouth because I just gave someone a blow job" move as she was walking out of Duncan's room.

misskiwi: The sleepover at Gia's was awesome and just goes to show how much comedy is Diane Ruggiero's strength. (Not to imply, of course, that she doesn't have many, many others, because she rocks. A lot.) It further served to reinforce Veronica's status as an outsider, even if she is dating one of the most eligible 09ers in Neptune. And how much she takes Wallace — one of the few people who seems to understand her and let her be herself — for granted.

topanga: Walllaaacccee!! Come baaaacccckkkk! Last week convinced me that I can enjoy an episode that doesn't include Wallace. And while I loved this week's episode, something was missing. Wallace was missing. Veronica felt it too. Wallace has always been a beacon of light for Veronica — her source for optimism and honesty and loyal friendship no matter what was happening in the world around her. Without Wallace, her only companionship is with a mysterious boyfriend who might still be in love with his ex and who might have gotten friendly with her ex's ex-playmate.

Her other option is Gia and her posse of squealing 09er girlfriends. Between comparing the size of each other's butts and being delighted when Dick crashes their slumber party, they succeed in reminding Veronica why her only 09er girlfriends ever were Lilly, and later Meg. And they almost succeed in making her puke.

Message to Rob: Veronica and I are jonesin' for some Wallace love.

grim squeaker: I would like to comment on the choice of music for the ending; a lot of people seem to have disliked "Run" by Air for this, but I loved it. The eerie, dreamlike quality of the song fit perfectly to illustrate the surreality of the scenes: Mr. Manning's screwed-up world view, where Veronica is a filthy whore while he, who locks up a small child, is a good person, and Lamb surprisingly taking side not with the powerful, but the weak, and at the same time probably admitting to having been in a similar situation to Little Grace once — and I doubt Lamb often admits that he could be weak or in a situation he cannot control. This is one of the three ending sequences for VM episodes that have left me stunned so far — "Clash of the Tritons" and "Normal is the Watchword" being the others — and in all three cases this is mostly due to the music, so kudos to the tracks chosen here.

misskiwi: I didn't really like it, but that could be just because it's not really my taste in music so it just stood out in an otherwise fantastic sequence. I love the endings to "Clash of the Tritons" and "Leave it to Beaver," but I also love both of those songs. Ooh, and "Ashes" in "Normal is the Watchword," which is quite possibly my favorite sequence of the show, ever.

Polter-Cow: The high-pitched synth was very jarring at first because I thought Josh Kramon had suddenly begun smoking crack. When I realized it was a song, I was more forgiving. I think it does set a very nice, creepy mood. I've listened to it several times now.

marks of love: I loved the interplay of the music and the action. It's not the kind of thing I would generally listen to on my own, but it was so intense and creepy and, well, perfect in that context. I also think it's great/significant that the song is by Air, since their song "La Femme d'Argent" is Rob's quintessential VM music.

Polter-Cow: I don't understand how in the motherfucking hell the writing staff is able to do all this. If you examine the first seven episodes of this season, structurally, looking at the number of interweaving plotlines and the attention paid to each...it blows the first season out of the fucking water. The first season was very much, "Here's a Mystery of the Week. Also, we will advance a couple plotlines." This season has been integrating the MOTW with the continuing plotlines (and honestly, I didn't think they could do it so much without it getting very contrived, but they've managed well so far (I kind of miss the random students asking for help, though)) so that everything is important. Every episode advances like seven plotlines. I love the hell out of it, but I'm really afraid it's making it more off-putting to newbies. I mean, I will take a stellar second season over no second season at all, but...I also want a stellar third season.

misskiwi: On the other hand, if you start pulling all sorts of stunts to get new viewers in, you're going to piss off a lot of the hardcore fans, who are going to post about it in large forums that shall remain nameless, and which posts may be read by important network personas. So it's really a double edged sword. I get where you're coming from, but...if we're going to be doomed regardless — and believe me, I have no desire to see VM in the recently-Arrested Development-littered graveyard — then it might as well be a good run, you know? Be the best you can be, and all that.

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