Strong female role models on television are few and far between and the very fact that Veronica Mars is no longer on television is an absolute tragedy. Kristen Bell stars as the heroic, charismatic, and wonderfully clever title character. The show set itself apart from other mysteries and dramas by featuring a young female lead who was fully capable of solving problems on her own. Veronica is an empowering character who is presented in a realistic fashion and it’s unfortunate that the show is no longer around. So, let’s breakdown exactly why this show was so perfect.
Premise – Season 1 surrounds the mystery of the death of Veronica’s friend Lily. Keith Mars (Veronica’s father) is a detective after losing his job as sheriff for accusing Lily’s parents of her murder. Veronica divides her time between school, solving Lily’s murder, and taking cases for classmates.
Veronica is always capable of solving the mystery on her own which is refreshing given that most television shows with female leads tend to revolve around the heroine being kidnap bait for a male lead to come along and save (okay, so she might have to be saved by a male character every once in awhile, but it doesn’t happen nearly as much as one would think). The beauty of Veronica Mars is that while there are some great male characters on the show, Kristen Bell exudes enough confidence to hold the show on her own.
Wallace – Veronica’s side-kick, Wallace is her informant in the principal’s office. Their friendship is genuine and touching to watch. It’s clear that Wallace would do anything to find information to help Veronica. What’s most impressive is that they are never involved romantically. A lesser show would have developed their chemistry into sexual tension that would blossom over time, but Veronica Mars was above that. The relationship between Veronica and Wallace is pure friendship and perfect.
Logan – Is there anyone who is as cool as Logan Echolls? No way. Logan is the ultimate bad boy rich kid who runs his mouth more than he should and no matter what, Veronica still loves him. Even when Logan has absolutely no hopes of coming out on top, he blindly charges into no win situations.
This isn’t to say that Logan is stupid. Far from it, in fact. It’s just that like so many other passionate anti-heroes, Logan acts with his emotions rather than his logic. Logan is smarter than most give him credit for as exemplified in my favorite exchange of dialog in the series:
Van Clemmons: Mr. Echolls, I was wondering if I could have a word?
Logan: Anthropomorphic. All yours, big guy.
Mac – Avid Napoleon Dynamite fans will recognize Veronica’s tech-savvy friend Mac as Deb (and I suppose that avid fans of movies that prominently feature seals will recognize her from the movie Andre). Mac’s first appearance in the episode “Like a Virgin,” presents Mac as an opportunist and while she isn’t evil, she is shown to have a nasty streak. The best episode that features Mac has to be “Silence of the Lamb.” I won’t spoil anything if you haven’t watched it, but be sure you do because it is the ultimate message for the disillusioned, out of place teen.
Theme – You know that this is one of the best themes ever.
Overall – There aren’t enough televisions shows that focus on the cleverness of a heroic high school female lead. Veronica Mars was a role model for teens and it’s a shame that the show didn’t last past three seasons because the void it has left in its wake hasn’t been filled since. Veronica was never a sexualized character, but she was also presented as feminine. It wouldn’t be fair to call her gender neutral because that would denote that she was somehow androgynous. She was never one to fall into gender roles which is why the storyline where Veronica tries to uncover who raped her at a party is such powerful story.
Veronica’s search never comes across as a victim searching for peace; the crime clearly affected Veronica, but she is unafraid and will uncover the truth at all costs. Her search for justice is powerful and a necessary step to solidify her as a heroic symbol of empowerment.
If you’ve never watched Veronica Mars, then you are missing out on a very important part of television history. Do yourself a favor and go check out season 1 today.