Beginnings · Friends · Life-Defining Moments · Writing

Confessions of a Marshmallow

Hello. My name is Jacinta, and I am a Marshmallow.

From its initial airing in 2004, I was in love with a TV show called Veronica Mars. Despite my hectic schedule, I always, without fail, made sure to be home for its airing, and took over the family living room to watch. But what was it about this teenage sleuth that had me so enthralled?

There were a lot of things that drew me to Veronica and her world.

First off, I’m a sucker for film noire. Not to mention I read a lot of Raymond Chandler-esque mysteries. I love the toughness, the grayscale morals, the toeing the line of right and wrong, but still knowing in the end that some form of justice – however questionable – would eventually be done.

As far as the actual show goes, the writing is witty and fun, and the romance secondary to the plot – though if you ask Piz versus Logan versus Duncan of most Marshmallows they’ll give you a passionate response. Veronica was – is – an awesome role model for young women seeking someone for whom love is an added bonus to knowing one’s self. Sure, she had her love life – but she also had friends, school, and interests outside of boys, shopping and makeup. That, for a girl like me who doesn’t exactly conform to those stereotypes, was refreshing. Even Rory Gilmore of Gilmore Girls had a certain feminine weakness that I always had trouble identifying with, even when I identified with her intelligence and occasional outcast status. Insofar as the Bechdel test goes, Veronica Mars knocks it out of the park.

Being a bit of a loner, I identified a lot with the Veronica, as well as the characters around her. The depth of the characters Rob Thomas created brought the world to life, and not only that, but made human, unlike so many other characters in so many other shows.

Veronica is tough, but isn’t invincible. She’s not feminine, but she doesn’t scorn all signs of femininity. She is outspoken, but also knows when to shut up (even if she doesn’t always do it when she should). She takes risks, but isn’t always successful. She hurts the people she loves, but she also loves them, and tries to understand the mistakes she’s made. She’s stubborn as all hell, but is self-reflective enough to not be stubborn always.

The same goes with all the secondary characters. Thomas built them as incomplete, just as he did with Veronica, so they could grow and change. Never did they become stagnant. They had histories all their own, did not appear from nothingness, and their stories influenced who they began as, and who they became. Tiny glimpses into their lives told us just enough to give them depth, and leave us wanting more.

Some examples of this include Mac, Duncan, Weevil, Wallace, and Logan, and extending from that, of course, her father, Sheriff Lamb, Maddison, and even Wallace’s mother. Everything is personal with Veronica, and so even every victim of every crime she investigates is fair game for Thomas’ storytelling prowess. Family history, like Mac and Maddison’s complex relationship (which I really, really want to hear more about in the movie, you have no idea), Duncan’s future, and his mental illness and relationship with Lily (ditto), Logan’s abuse, and his sisters’ parentage. Alicia’s relationship with Wallace’s father. Lamb’s involvement with an almost-minor. All these things built a society where people weren’t just characters, they were people. They existed outside of Veronica’s life, and so had stories of their own. This made VM truly remarkable. It made you question everyone, and, as a teenager, helped introduce you to a world greater than your own. Or at least, that’s what it did with me.

I’ve never been good at people. Even now, working in an office of all places where I have to deal with people every day, I’m horrible with dealing with people. As in, I was so bad with people when I was younger I thought I was mildly autistic. Though I know, too, that everyone has lives outside of their interaction with me – obviously – it’s hard for me sometimes to imagine what that’s like. This show helped me understand people a lot better, and understand how to interact with them. I’m still really bad at it, but this show helped me look past my comfort sphere – my giant hamster ball, if you will – and see the world in a different way. This helped my writing, too, for which I am even more grateful. Though it means I get sucked into character creation and tend to overanalyze things, it also means I’ve learned how to build a world of folks, rather than just a cast for my protagonists to act in.

In just a few short days, Veronica Mars the movie will be released in Toronto. My husband bought us tickets for the Thursday night premiere.

I’m so excited.

I’m proud to say I’m one of the Kickstarters. My laptop has my Mars Investigation sticker on it, and I’ll be wearing my official backer t-shirt to the premiere. My name is on the list beside thousands of others, and I’m so excited to see what Thomas and the cast have cooked up for the fans. I know it’s going to be amazing, because even if it were terrible it would be amazing. Unlike books turned into movies, this reviving of VM is a continuation, not an adaptation, and for that I’m thankful.  Of course Logan is in trouble. Of course Veronica will be dragged in to help. The only question now is how she’s going to get him out of it.

I regret it a little I couldn’t afford to next tier to get the signed poster or the box sets, since mine aren’t actually functioning anymore, but I’m looking forward to seeing the movie, and reading the books. I’m excited to receive my digital and hard copies, and my copy of the script.

What I’m most excited about, though, without a question, is seeing those characters back together again, looking through that fourth wall into the lives of those who helped me growing up, and made this loner and weirdo feel just a little less lonely and weird. These characters showed me my emotions, my dynamics, and my problems weren’t utterly worthless; that I wasn’t worthless. They kept me fighting when all I wanted to do was give up.

So thank you, Rob Thomas, Kristen Bell, and so many other actors, producers, production folks. You’ll may never read this, but I want to say thank you, because what you created affected my life profoundly, and I will forever be grateful that Veronica Mars was in my life. Even if this is the only movie, and we never hear from Veronica and co. again, this is a wonderful gift to all us fans who believed. We believed in Veronica, and, thanks to you, we believed in ourselves.

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