Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Oh. My. God.
Veronica Mars is the best thing on TV and here's why...

It's a high-school whodunnit about socio-economic class warfare - what's not to like? Where other shows deal with issues, Veronica Mars exposes the structure that creates social discord and personal dysfunction. In Neptune, CA, the rich get richer and the guilty go free. When justice does happen, it's messy, it's brutal and it breaks your heart.

The only other American show that dares to discuss capitalism on a structural level is
The Sopranos. Being an HBO show, The Sopranos is kinda allowed to do this - because it's High-Quality and Adult Themed. VM, meanwhile, is on the UPN for God's sake - it's pulpy and teenaged. I can't help feeling that this lack of permission is what makes it the more daring and, ultimately, the better show.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

HaHAHAahahahhaaahaaa!!! Veronica Mars!!!! The (snicker) BEst ShshShow Ever?!!! HAHHAHAHHAHAHAHHAAHAHAHHAa.
Hilarious! Even if you aren't being Ironic, the premise that this teen drama with all the pretension of a David Mamet Movie, is ironic in itself. Lemme guess, Buffy the Vampire Slayer Fan? Thought So. After so many of you desperately tried to tie together these glimmers of cognitive pseudo intellectual thought, into something of so called (Sub)Genius because one of the writers had a philosophy degree and not knowing what else to do with it regurgitated it back into a few episodes every once and awhile and YOU recognising these ideas, or even more sadly one of your friends did and then pointed it out to you. There really is NOTHING more hilarious than that EXCEPT attempting to be cutting edge by trying to intellectualise a show that has left leaning bent pointing out something as obvious as class structure.OOOOOOH, you really are on to something here. Nice going college boy.

Samuel said...

Ouch! Guilty on the Buffy count by the way. All good points and a welcome point of view but...

I hasten to add that this anonymous (i.e. chickenshit) poster doesn't really explain why VM is not infact (a) good (b) clever.

I'd have to say that if he (sounds like a he) took the time to watch the show (repeatedly) he would be (a) very entertained and (b) humbled by its complex, challenging and fundamental discussion of contemporary trends in capitalist society.

It's easy (and often fun) to laugh at a work of art because it's a *TV show* about an *attractive teenager*. It's easy hurl put downs from the sidelines while others fight the good fight in whatever way they can.

It's much harder to deal with the existence of things that challenge your one-dimensional worldview.

Oh and you're right! I did go college! I didn't learn much about politics, though, because I was constantly drunk.

Sniping aside, comments like this are very welcome on this blog and I thank the poster for his (or perhaps her, though I doubt it) input.

Samuel said...

I thought that comment deserved a more detailed analysis.

“HaHAHAahahahhaaahaaa!!! Veronica Mars!!!!”

Although, I’m beginning to wonder why.

“The (snicker)”

A yes, that’s what this comment is – snickering. The whole thing is really one long snicker at the expense of those of us who are willing to go out on a limb and engage with something in a meaningful way. Nothing wrong with that, though. The world needs its snickerers.

“BEst ShshShow Ever?!!! HAHHAHAHHAHAHAHHAAHAHAHHAa.”

Not sure I said “best show ever” but I do kinda feel that way at the moment. Let’s just say, “TV’s most compelling and intelligent whodunit”, for now.

“Hilarious! Even if you aren't being Ironic”

I don’t really “do” irony. No, I mean every word I say. Also, I’m not inferring anything from the subtext of the show – I’m really just pointing out the major themes of a show I happen to like a lot.

“the premise that this teen drama with all the pretension of a David Mamet Movie, is ironic in itself.”

This bit isn’t really grammatical, so it’s hard to know what you mean. Are you saying that you find it inherently funny that a TV show aimed at teenagers might try to be meaningful and intelligent? Are you uniformly opposed to the televisual medium or do you just hate young people?

“Lemme guess, Buffy the Vampire Slayer Fan? Thought So.”

Guilty of being a nerd, I’m afraid. For what it’s worth, I thought what was interesting about Buffy was the way it proposed a war against good and evil in which all the fighting takes place in the no-mans-land of ambiguity. I guess that jibes pretty well with my world view.

“After so many of you desperately tried to tie together these glimmers of cognitive pseudo intellectual thought, into something of so called (Sub)Genius because one of the writers had a philosophy degree and not knowing what else to do with it regurgitated it back into a few episodes every once and awhile and YOU recognising these ideas, or even more sadly one of your friends did and then pointed it out to you.”

You’re getting into the realms of incoherent rant here. I was never really into the intellectualisation of Buffy – not because I didn’t think it was a smart show but because I though that much of the righting on the subject was pretty trite and didn’t even do the show justice. As for intellectualising VM – as far as I know, I’m the only one doing it. All the things I’ve written about it come straight from my own fevered mind.

“ There really is NOTHING more hilarious than that EXCEPT attempting to be cutting edge by trying to intellectualise a show that has left leaning bent pointing out something as obvious as class structure.OOOOOOH, you really are on to something here. Nice going college boy. “

Is the existence of class structure really that obvious? We’re constantly reassured that class structure is irrelevant or non-existent in today’s world (especially in the US). Veronica Mars gives us some examples of how classic Marxist class analysis can be applied to contemporary situations.

What I really like about the show, though, is what it says about the possibilities for Justice under capitalism. I hope to write about this more in future. Hope this makes things a little clearer.

Samuel said...

This an email from my friend Sean aka Peanut Butter Boy (quoted with permission):

"i hate anonymous posters. everything ever is a laughable joke if you're above it all and nothing, even the made up name you use on the internet, is on the line."

jamfancy said...

Like "peanut-butter boy"?
sounds like anonymous did his job.
You don't need a name to put to the words if the words do their job...like making you sweat.
It's just a TV show, if you go out on a limb trying to explain that your reasons for liking it are deeper and more intellectual than the average "simple" folk, you'll just fall out of your tree.
It's like when people say they like reality shows for sociological reasons, but in reality they're just being lazy LIKE EVERYONE ELSE WHO WATCHES TV.

Samuel said...

"Like "peanut-butter boy"?"

Sean has always been called PBB, as long as I've known him. The only reason I didn't quote his surname is that I'm not 100% sure what it is (Elliott, perhaps?) Anyway, I quoted Sean with permission and he had no desire to remain even partially anonymous.

"sounds like anonymous did his job."

Posting inarticulate abuse on random people's blogs is a job now?

"You don't need a name to put to the words if the words do their job...like making you sweat."

I'm not sweating because I know I'm right and that I can prove it but, yeah, I'm glad that there are people out there who are prepared to challenge me on this stuff.

"It's just a TV show,"

Why is everyone so hung up on this idea that TV can't be great art or that great art can't happen within the confines of a popular genre? I'd consider "Watchmen" a great work of art and that's a super hero comic, for crying out loud! The play's the thing, you see.

"if you go out on a limb trying to explain that your reasons for liking it are deeper and more intellectual than the average "simple" folk, you'll just fall out of your tree."

I'm not trying to prove my intellectual superiority here, just trying to articulate my thoughts and feelings as clearly and honestly as I can. I'd counter that the random abuse posters of this world (gawd bless 'em) seem to by driven largely by insecurity.

"It's like when people say they like reality shows for sociological reasons, but in reality they're just being lazy LIKE EVERYONE ELSE WHO WATCHES TV."

Again, why does watching TV have to be a passive, mindless experience? I watch TV with an open, critically active mind. When I feel lazy, I RETRO-GAME. Sad but true.

jamfancy said...

TV shows have to pass through executives and advertisers who will allow only what they want to be seen and heard.
Writers for said TV shows are willing to allow their 'art' to be manipulated, censored and otherwise distorted by this. For money and/or fame. There is no other reason.

Books, movies, music CAN be produced with complete independence.

This is why watching television is a waste of time. Everyone knows this, no matter, what they choose to watch. Either they admit it and settle down and vegetate, or they desperately try to create a reason as to why they choose to sacrifice activity and independent thinking for an hour of what amounts to junk food.
You are definitely reside squarely the latter camp.
Look, you seem like an intelligent, well-read fellow. I'm just challenging you to be less accepting of advertising and ratings driven entertainment as a daily (and necessary)part of your life.

Samuel said...

These are very good points, of course, but also a little too trite and easy. I'm going to say say that Veronica Mars is proof that extremely interesting and genuinely provocative art CAN make it to the small screen, even in the most unlikely of circumstances (on the UPN!)

By the same token, I'd say that the vast majority of rock and electronic music released on independent record labels is utterly devoid of ideas and entirely pointless.

Often industrial independence masks aesthetic servitude. Just because something is logistically easier, doesn't mean that it's artisticaly superior. Quite the opposite, I reckon. As I've said before, it's the lack of PERMISSION that makes VM so special.

Watching TV *can* be thought-provoking and improving. Listening to indie rock *can* rot your mind.

Samuel said...

PLease direct your attention to this new post...

http://blogglebumcage.blogspot.com/2006/07/veronica-mars-versus-ipod-people-of.html