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Veronica Mars, How do I love thee?

November 19th, 2007     by Stacey May Fowles     Comments

Why do they keep cancelling all the shows that portray the lives of young people somewhat accurately, and producing and renewing all of the shows that make young people look like shallow, fashion/boy/money-crazed privledged (all-white) idiots?

And why do I always discover these great shows after they’ve been cancelled?

Post book launch I went into novel postpartum, hiding away in my bedroom with the dog for a few days, which explains my week-long absence from the blog. Under advisment from our outstanding editor (who always has fantastic TV advice) I purchased the first season of Veronica Mars to facilitate my hibernation. Admittedly I’m a little late on the fascination, my only excuse being an obsession with Buffy and a skepitical reluctance to move on to a show described as “Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Raymond Chandler.” My skepticism was unfounded: the show is brilliant and refreshing, specifically because of its witty and wise teenage heroine and its frank (and painfully disturbing) exploration of teenage sexuality. As LA Weekly sums it up: “the hard-boiled dialogue comes from its teen protagonist’s mouth in a way that stabs any potential cutesiness in the heart with an ice pick.”

Veronica is the daughter of a disgraced sheriff, now private investigator, who has been labelled a social outcast due to the drama surrounding her father’s fall from grace. She spends a majority of the first season proving him right, while proving a variety of other things and solving a number of high-school crimes along the way. A majority of the sub-plots involve Veronica battling the rich, elite students who seek to humiliate her and other outcasts, and a majority of her victories involve calling out the boys on their slut vs. stud sexist dichotomies. She’s a class warrior in a way, dismantling the high school caste system and doing it with her brains, not her bod. All the while there’s that off-beat humour, dry wit and sarcasm that Whedon fans had come to love.

Cancelled after three seasons, Veronica Mars suffered from “post-Buffy” syndrome: always compared and never the victor over her blonde vampire slaying predecessor. But what is more problematic is this notion that viewers grew tired of the strong, teen, female warrior. All efforts were made by fans to “Save Veronica Mars” prior to cancellation, but it always seems to be a matter of critically-acclaimed meaning little in the face of ratings.

You wanna know what replaced Veronica Mars in the line-up? Pussycat Dolls Present. Yup.

I’ve only made it through season one of Veronica Mars and that wise editor I refered to before mentioned that some of the politics get a little problematic as the show progresses. I’ve heard there’s a group of stereotypical Women’s Studies students who are ridiculed, but I’ll wait to make my own analysis on that one. As I continue my romance with Veronica through seasons 2 and 3, I’ll keep you posted.

In the meantime, I ask you; where have the TV teen heroines gone? Have you some favorites from the past or present? And do you think the strong teen female lead is dead, or is she still alive (and cheering) somewhere on the idiot box?

Tags: film reel, in my opinion...

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