Cathy Belben (writer)
P-C: Was there anybody you wanted to get but you couldn't?
Cathy: Oh gosh. You mean in terms of an actor or a character that I wanted?
P-C: Right, right. Like you said, "We wanted Carrie Bishop but she couldn't do it."
Cathy: Oh, I don't know. I don't get too much say in the casting. I mean, certainly we joke around the table about who we want to play certain roles. Other than...I do get to go to casting sessions for minor characters when it's my episode that I'd written, which has only been two so far. I don't have a lot of say. My brother used to work for Henry Rollins.
Cathy: And in fact his sister-in-law is still down here. She's his assistant. And so I'm always pitching.
P-C: [well-if-we-can't-have-a-librarian voice] Let's get Henry Rollins on the show.
Cathy: I'll, like, raise my hand, "How about if Henry Rollins is the PE teacher? How about if Henry Rollins is the bus driver?"
[Editor's note: Awww, Cathy raises her hand. She is such a teacher.]
P-C: That would be pretty funny.
wyk: Well, they do have that karaoke bar.
Cathy: I would love to get Henry Rollins on just one episode in sort of a Joss Whedon or Kevin Smith type of role. Just a one-time shot where we don't make a big deal out of it. He just shows up and is there. But, you know, I have favorite actors. I don't know if I necessarily want to see them on Veronica Mars. Did you ever watch that show Life As We Know It?
wyk: Life As We Know It?
Cathy: It only lasted one season.
wyk: Was it from last season?
Cathy: It was in Seattle. It had Kelly Osbourne in it.
P-C: That's right, yeah.
Cathy: And D.B. Sweeney. Well, the main character in that show was an actor named Sean Faris. He's on a show called Reunion that I'm not sure if it has lasted.
P-C: I'm not certain whether it's still alive anymore.
Cathy: But, anyway, I think he has the right look for Veronica Mars. I'd love to cast him in something. I obviously don't have any control over that, but I think he's very handsome and he could make an interesting love interest for Veronica or someone. [all three start giggling like little school girls]
[Editor's note: Sadly, Reunion has indeed been cancelled. On the bright side, that puts Cathy one step closer to cutie-patootie Sean.]
wyk: So who does make the casting decisions?
Cathy: Rob. We have Danielle and Jenn, our other executive producers. The writers who wrote the script get to sit on the casting sessions and help make the decisions. Rob's pretty diplomatic about it. I think the casting is pretty interesting so far. It's very weird when someone like Christine Estabrook shows up in a little twelve-by-twelve room with you and you're like, [overexcited-couch-potato voice] "You're Mrs. Huber! You're buried. How can she..." You know what I mean?
P-C: Her character. Big difference.
Cathy: Yep, yep.
wyk: Did you watch Desperate Housewives?
Cathy: I rented the first season of it just recently and watched it.
P-C: Right, you're not supposed to know about it. That's TV.
Cathy: That's right. I caught up, and now I watch it on Sundays.
P-C: Going back to characters, this episode featured a wide variety of characters. How challenging is it to write for a show with so many characters? Especially when you have characters like Veronica, who we've seen a lot and we know a lot about. Corny, who we've seen very little and we know very little about. And—
Cathy: Douglas. I got to invent that.
P-C: Douglas. Oh, you invented his name?
Cathy: Well, he was in my scene. I was a teacher for so long I know that teachers often don't use...
P-C: Call, right, by their real name.
Cathy: Actually though, I had a student named Dick. It was a little bit difficult for me to call him Dick. But he was a lot like Dick Casablancas, you know. It was just kind of funny that his name was Dick. Anyways.
P-C: And finally, someone like Lamb, who we've seen a lot but we actually know very little about.
Cathy: Yeah, I always like to see...I have my own idea of what Lamb's backstory is.
P-C: Yeah, so do I. What's yours?
Cathy: Well, I'm not going to tell you.
P-C: It's okay if you can't tell us. It's an in-case-it-might-come-up thing.
Cathy: Well, because it might not come up.
P-C: It might not come up.
Cathy: I think that in episode seven, which is not this week's, but two weeks from now, you'll find out a little bit, a tiny, tiny bit more about Lamb's backstory. It's going to inform some of his decisions at the end of the episode.
[Editor's note: We did learn something! Lamb had a father! All this time, we thought he'd sprung full-formed from the head of Zeus.]
P-C: Ah, that's good. Everyone wants to know a little bit more about Lamb.
Cathy: Yeah...I have to be super careful what I say because I forget that I don't want to put myself...
P-C: Right, you don't want to spoil us.
Cathy: I don't want to spoil anything.
wyk: And you don't want to get fired.
Cathy: That's the main reason that I don't [chuckles]...And I don't want to spoil the show, but mostly I don't want...I have a deep, deep respect for Rob and what he's doing with the show and I want to maintain the integrity of everything that he's worked so hard to achieve. If I were to accidentally say something about the show that would reveal something or spoiled something that would be like, you know...That I personally, you know...
wyk: Ruined everything.
Cathy: ...offended him. That I hadn't had a regard for his creation. But, yeah, I have ideas about Lamb.
P-C: You also use different tiers of characters. With Veronica, there's so much character development already. And Corny, there's not very much background at all. Do you feel like you can add more to one and not to the other?
Cathy: I think we can add, and we will add, as it informs the story. I don't think we're gonna...at least I don't necessarily want to see our show become one where suddenly Veronica kind of fades, and we start learning everything about the background of a character like Corny. I'd like to see the show be about Veronica.
P-C: It's the name of the show.
Cathy: Yup. And I like it when we bring back a character like Corny. And maybe he is involved somehow in a story. Or we see Mandy again. Or Mr. Wu gets involved in a horrible rollercoaster accident or something, I don't know.
wyk: Poor Mr. Wu.
P-C: Is there an amusement park in Neptune that we don't know about?
Cathy: No. I think that it makes a story richer, but I don't think that's what the show's about. It's not like Lost, where we're gonna delve into everyone's background. I think people like the show because they want to see Veronica.
P-C: So there's been a lot of heated debate on the forum regarding your episode.
Cathy: Oh, yeah?
P-C: Yeah. Whether Alicia was justified in taking Wallace.
P-C: Who Jackie was referring to with her "Pick one of them."
P-C: Whether Jackie told the psychic about Lilly.
Cathy: [I'm-not-telling voice] Mmmmmm.
P-C: But really, what we want to know...
P-C: Veronica tells Keith that there's something that she needs him to hear, and he says, "If it's Live at Budokan, I already discovered it." Bob Dylan or Cheap Trick?
Cathy: [One Mississippi of dead silence. Two Mississippi of dead silence. Three Mississippi of dead silence.] Bob Dylan or Cheap Trick?
Cathy: Like me personally?
[Editor's note: Warning, warning, the joke is dying, dying.]
P-C: No, apparently, there were two Live at Budokans, and we don't know which one Keith was referring to.
Cathy: I have no idea.
P-C: Oh, is it a Phil thing?
Cathy: That was a Phil line, and I would have to ask him.
[Editor's note: Dearly beloved, we are here today to mourn the passing of P-C's attempt at humor...]
[P-C's reply: It was Inigo's joke! Blame her!]
Cathy: He's not within shouting distance. Well, I would think with Keith....hmm. Probably Bob Dylan.
P-C: I think that was our initial guess.
Cathy: Because I think he is a little too old to have really been into Cheap Trick. Cheap Trick was maybe more my era, like, the '80s.
P-C: Well, we know he likes Springsteen.
Cathy: Keith does?
wyk: From the pilot.
P-C: He mentions Springsteen in the pilot.
Cathy: He likes jazz too.
P-C: He does.
Cathy: I don't know.
P-C: Okay, we'll go with Bob Dylan. But since I got you here, let's get to the other questions. So what do you think about Alicia? Do you think she was justified in taking Wallace away? And again, don't spoil us if there are going to be things that we don't know about.
Cathy: Do I personally think that Alicia was justified?
Cathy: I'm not a mother, so it's hard for me to say how mothers decide to do things. But I think if she truly felt that she was protecting her son, that she was probably right to take him away, but I'm not sure she was right to keep the letters and things from him. I think kids, in most cases, their lives are only going to be enhanced by having more people in them, not fewer.
P-C: Well, the letters thing was actually something Rob was going to use for Lianne and Keith.
P-C: So...he just likes using his old ideas again.
Cathy: [chuckles] His ideas get recycled.
P-C: You got to recycle everything. Like, Wanda Varner, Jennings Crawford, just use the same names over and over and no one will know. There's a lot of debate...in the homecoming dance Jackie was saying, "Pick one of them." Did she mean Logan or Duncan, Logan or Wallace, Wallace and Mr. Wu?
Cathy: I'm not sure.
Cathy: I think maybe we were being intentionally ambiguous about that, but don't quote me on that.
P-C: You want to be intentionally ambiguous, because there's no answer.
Cathy: It sounds like I don't know what I'm talking about though. [chuckles] [Can-I-talk-to-you-in-my-office voice] "Well then, don't you read the scripts? Don't you watch your own show? Or you just sit in your office and Google all day?"
wyk: That's what I do.
wyk: Oh, sorry.
P-C: There's also been a lot of talk about the whole Lilly message from the psychic, and whether Jackie told her, or if the psychic was supposed to find out herself, or whether she was actually channeling Lilly. And again, if it's going to come back, we don't want you to spoil us. What's your insight into that?
wyk: Or have the writers decided?
Cathy: I think it's part of the punking.
P-C: You think so?
Cathy: Yeah. I don't think the psychic really spoke to Lilly. I don't think we'll go in that direction with the show. Although we do have a ghost.
P-C: Yeah, there was the ghost Lilly in the premiere, which was kind of spooky.
Cathy: Yeah. Just in my personal opinion, it was just part of the punking. It really wasn't Lilly communicating from beyond the grave.
P-C: Do you think Jackie was lying about it, because she said she didn't tell Sophie about Lilly. That's kind of our big debate, whether she was lying about that.
Cathy: I don't know. Good question.
P-C: Fair enough.
Cathy: I'm afraid to answer it because I might leak something. [laughs]
P-C: Right. That's totally all right.
Cathy: Now going back, you asked me what's the disadvantage of writing a story with six people.
Cathy: That's it. Because sometimes you can't remember what the entire story was.