Marshmallows Betrayed: An Epic Space to Heal
SEASON 4 SPOILERS. My own feelings were not enough to help me process Veronica Mars season 4. (So. MANY. Feelings.) I needed my fellow burnt marshmallows to help me through. This is a tribute to all of the epic responses to death by street cleaning, so that you too can heal. Remember, you are not alone.
I searched high and low for the best articles, blog posts, reddit posts and tweets, so that we had one place we could come to when we really needed a place to vent and process. A place to come when people want to call you a fanatic fangirl. This isn’t about shipping. This is about investing our time and money into saving a show and the showrunner spitting in our faces. Feel free to comment if I missed any that spoke to you and I will update this article. Without the people who immediately reached out to me on twitter, I would have been lost. I’m looking at you @LovelyRita1967 and @weusedtobefans. (Among many others)
And now…A Message from Jason Dohring himself.
When I started season four, I had already seen that there was a #burntmarshmallow hashtag. I was prepared for the worst, but still not prepared in the least for how the season played out. The Veronica from the movie and books had disappeared and suddenly our favorite PI was angrier than when she was in high school. She was also suddenly drinking and doing drugs and sucking at her job. It was a lot to swallow, but I could have accepted it all if not for the last few minutes of the season.
After not sleeping for a couple nights, I realized I was going to have to write some shit about this. Thus, Exploding Marshmallows, Tyrion Lannister & Logan Echolls Get a Drink, and Veronica Mars & Meredith Grey Go for a Drink were born. Even after writing all that, I still felt like I had more to say and thankfully so did all of you. Let’s take a look at some of the best responses to an ultimate betrayal.
(Follow Karen on twitter Music In the Dark.) This takes us on a journey through why all of Rob’s arguments are absolute and complete shit and also discusses shows that have succesfully done what he apparently cannot. In her own words, it covers, “How Veronica Mars went from a nuanced show about a kick-ass female character to emotional torture porn that betrayed its fandom and broke their hearts.” It also discusses NOIR NOIR NOIR and how absurd Rob is about saying that goddamn word every two seconds. If you are raging against Rob right now, this is the piece for you. I may read it everyday for the rest of my life.
On red herrings, plot threads, characterization — and my criticisms/problems with S4, including and apart from *that* ending (spoilers and a lengthy post because I have feelings) by: Dreamballet
I love that this is written by a new viewer. They only started binging last year in anticipation of the Hulu revival and they still felt exactly the way we’ve been feeling. They are the target new audience. For some reason, Rob Thomas didn’t seem to think that the target new audience would binge the past seasons. We are nothing if not a tv binging culture. He missed the mark on thinking there would be this brand new fan base who would just start at season four. I also love that they deep dive into the plot/mystery issues.
Dreamballet says, “There are comments criticizing those who are upset about this season that insinuate that they’re simply whiny/entitled Logan and/or LoVe fans who don’t understand ~noir~ and that this show is about Veronica and Veronica alone due to its title, and that’s hard for me to idly accept. Even if the ending with Logan had not happened, I would have a long list of qualms with this season, and still would have disliked quite a bit of it.”
How Season 4 of Veronica Mars Failed its Protagonist by: Mae Abdulbaki
The title speaks for itself in this fantastic take on everything Rob got wrong. Adulbaki laments, “Revisiting characters at different stages in their lives is always a treat, but no one wants to watch a show where the protagonist is the same person later in life as she was in Season 1.” I absolutely agree. There’s things coming full circle and there’s character regression. I would argue that Veronica’s character was assassinated along with Logan.
Season 4 Parallels Post by: Cheshire Cat Strut
I have to warn you that this made me dive even deeper into MORE reasons to be aggressively angry. Though, I do think it is important that if you are going to be angry about something, you know EVERY detail you need to be angry about. That is what this post does. It dissects all the different ways Rob Thomas took our favorite things about the show and flushed it down the toilet. They also highlight one of the things that bothered me MOST about the show (until the last ten minutes) and that was:
“We hated that Logan brought ‘liquid X’ to Shelly’s party because he wanted to ‘have fun, go to a rave, dance’ and Veronica was dosed and victimized. Here Logan and Veronica take X from a stranger, go to a rave, and dance, and she spends the next morning vomiting.”
I found it ABSURDLY out of character for Logan and Veronica to take X for one million reasons.
THE JUNGIAN SHADOW: AN AUTOPSY by: Cheshire Cat Strut
Cheshire Cat is now beloved to me and she has so much more to say that is so important. ‘Writing the Pilot’ by William Rabkin discusses the pilot of Veronica Mars and everything that is wrong with it. It made me look at the show through a completely different lense. Rob Thomas doesn’t like to write the really rough parts. He puts them all in few second flash backs. He leaves giant holes where we don’t get to see important reactions.
As Cheshire says, “Rob sketched out intriguing characters, but left all the good scenes for fic authors. And in return, fic writers delivered the moment when Logan hears about Aaron’s death; Logan’s downward spiral after Veronica leaves; the first time Logan and Veronica make love; the events of the summer after season 1; Veronica’s nine years as a Neptune refugee. Gif-makers illustrated the parallels the show wouldn’t explore, and meta developed elaborate head-canons.”
An Entirely Too Long Post on How to Fix Veronica Mars by: Sinead O’Rebellion
I love lists. (Can you tell.) And this article makes a list on all of the things that should change to fix Veronica Mars. My personal favorites from the list, aside from the obvious, are fire Rob Thomas and hire a continuity coordinator. Of course, a continuity coordinator might be pointless if things like books and character growth are not canon. There’s also a great section on how lazy Rob is about details of past storylines and how little research he does. It is possible I’ve done more research on this article than Rob has on going back through past seasons.
A new tortured thought from me, is if Kristen Bell is such a mental health advocate….then why wouldn’t she fight for Veronica to go to therapy and get diagnosed with PTSD related depression and actually educate viewers on what to do after trauma in our lives? And then show us couple’s counseling. NO…..Nobody? Nothing? She has a psychology degree for fuck’s sake. I’ve been watching Madame Secretary and they nail the happy marriage/therapy stuff.
I would watch an entire season based around Logan and Veronica in couple’s counseling. I would watch an entire season on Logan in therapy. Shit, I would watch an entire season of Dick in therapy if it meant he would have some goddamn character growth. They should send him to The Good Place for the experiment.
Veronica Mars and the Case of the Overused Sexual Tension by: Kristin Devine
This fabulous post is the best explanation of Logan and Veronica and what made them great that I’ve ever read. She also makes a great case for how poisonous the constant “will they or won’t they” be together has been for Veronica Mars as a whole. It made season three incredibly frustrating. She also discusses why the show will have a hard time working without Logan. In Devine’s own words, “Even though Kristen Bell is both darling and talented, Jason Dohring is a huge part of why Veronica Mars worked as well as it did, and sadly I think we’re all about to get proof that that was the case.” I could read this eight times a day.
VM Tirade by: Happily Shanghaied
A Noir expert, Happily Shanghaied is ready to discuss in detail why this shit is NOT noir. I appreciate that, because I have not studied noir. Step by step, you get to see why this betrayed the framework of noir characters on top of everything else it betrayed. I also appreciated the discussion on how we were all preparing for Keith’s death. It felt like Rob was dead set on killing someone beloved and I felt bad that I was hoping it was Keith over Logan. Rob made us think Keith was going to die like 15 different times. Instead, he killed Logan like an afterthought. Who kills one of their main characters during the Epilogue? I’ll let Happily explain further, “It was a transparent way to ditch a beloved character the writer and star felt was holding the show back. And they didn’t even have the decency to do it in an interesting or heroic way.”
Veronica Mars Deserves Better by: GEORGI PRESECKY
“Stripping the show of its nostalgia” might just be what strips it of an audience,” Presecky notes, while dissecting one of Rob Thomas’s terrible interviews. She goes on to discuss all the ways he strips himself of an audience. One of her best points is, “To drastically alter the narrative of a show without even knowing whether there will be more episodes feels harsh and calculated in a way that a finale hasn’t since How I Met Your Mother.” I’ve been comparing the season finale to the HIMYM series finale as well. HIMYM betrayed it’s fans by waiting SO long for us to even get to meet the mother, but the way the SITCOM ends the whole thing was brutal. (I won’t spoil it for you.) Why show-runners want to throw a bomb on something beloved is beyond me.
Another tortured thought from me: I started to think about why the Gilmore Girl’s reboot sucked so much and one of the reasons was Lorelai and Rory seemed worse than stuck, they seemed MORE immature than when we left them. Lorelai was STILL NOT SURE if she wanted to be with Luke? I mean, Christ on a fucking cracker, it’s been decades. Shit or get off the pot. Rory is Logan’s side piece? THAT’S what we watched every class of school she ever took for? Anyway, I digress, Veronica WAS written like Eleanor. Constantly crabby. Mean to all her friends. Immature. Was it written that way? Or was Kristen so busy between The Good Place and Frozen that her line readings were especially asshole? Let’s hope Eleanor didn’t rub off an Anna from Frozen or Elsa might NOT be able to let it go.
I adore this article because it outlines how different this show is because it continued to exist based solely off of us fans. We PAID for the movie ourselves. It still had a cult following, much due to LoVe fans. This specific line is one of the most important sentence written about the topic: “A shipping fandom that spent over a decade thanking Thomas for creating a strong female lead, and pairing her with a man who loved her for her mind, has just discovered that it’s creator has been harboring a disdain for them, and wants to sever all associations. “Well, ain’t that a kick in the head.”
It definitely feels like Rob thought he didn’t need us anymore. Maybe, because Kristen has gotten so famous? Maybe, because he was THAT frustrated by what higher ups wouldn’t let him do? It will be interesting to see how any of his next projects do. He says he did this to save the show. Buddy, we saved your show. We did that.
Grief, Rage and What Rob Thomas Did Wrong with Veronica Mars That Ari Aster Does Right by: AbsolutelyIris
This focuses in on the destruction of the character of Veronica and ROBbing her of the grief she deserved to have time to experience. Iris does an excellent comparison to the movies by Ari Aster. (I haven’t seen them yet, but this makes me want to.) I’ll let Iris speak for herself, “By saying her grief is uninteresting, he’s brushing aside her humanity. Rob believes that a woman’s strength comes by how much she endures and swallows down, a harmful message to send to a largely female audience. In Rob Thomas’ world, Veronica’s strength comes from how much she suffers, and her brief glimpse into a happy future is taken away from her instantly. Instead of allowing Veronica the time and space to yell and shriek and be “weak,” he fast forwards to a stoic Veronica running away from Neptune.”
Treating Veronica’s grief like it isn’t important makes our grief feel like it isn’t important. But, if Rob has made anything clear lately, he does not give a fuck about us fans.
A Long Time Ago We Used to Be Friends by: itsmariawith2rs
I love that this post dives into why Leo’s character is so problematic. I think if Max Greenfield had not gotten famous, Leo wouldn’t even be a factor for Veronica, not to mention it is insane that he’s now with the FBI. The author points out, “Leo is also another prime example of the show’s fumbling with white privilege. Leo, a white man, literally failed UP. He was fired for mishandling evidence yet somehow managed to reenter law enforcement first with the San Diego PD in the movie then the FBI in season 4.” The post doesn’t only address Leo, it covers everything.
In my big response article, I didn’t really discuss the Rob Thomas stuff where he wants Veronica available sexually. I think I was just so shocked and horrified that I didn’t know how to respond. I’m not sure I have the right words now, but if you want to watch Kristen Bell have a ton of sex and the finale of a show feel complete and worth it…. Go watch House of Lies. Maybe, Rob watched that show and got jealous? He’s never gotten to have a show on HBO. Though, if he ever gets one, I will be terrified to watch. Then, we might actually have to SEE all the rapings and watch kid’s faces explode on a school bus.
So, through this process I found my FAVORITE fanfic writer’s weebly and her response on the final season and it is EVERYTHING. I agree with MLP that I love the trajectory for Wallace and Logan. Their character growth has been so satisfying and they feel like real live adults. When Logan suggested taking Veronica’s last name, I immediately thought of her fanfic, A Life Extraordinary. I may have to go back and read it and the prequel again to save my sanity.
One of the important points that MLP makes is about Veronica’s lack of character growth: “Her trajectory has been the opposite of Wallace and Logan’s. She seems stuck in the amber of her teen trauma, unable to move on. She hasn’t grown one step in 17 years and it doesn’t look good on her.” Her following rant about Veronica making fun of Logan going to therapy is so accurate that it hurts to read. After everything Logan had been through….and the trauma they shared together. Appalling. When I say there is better fanfic than what we got in season four, MLP’s fics are what I’m talking about, so check them out please.
On Veronica Mars, “Strong Female Protagonists,” and why male showrunners are obsessed with traumatizing young women by: Samantha Puc
Yes, why are show-runners obsessed with traumatizing young women? We have all seen shows where couple’s are married and…I know this is shocking….the shows are still interesting. Puc makes incredible points about what we’ve had to see characters like Buffy, Sansa, and Veronica endure, all in the name of feminism? Puc makes an excellent point with, “Repeated trauma certainly happens, to people of all genders, especially if they come from a marginalized group. But the fact that Veronica can’t experience even a full day’s worth of contentment says a lot more about Thomas and his ideas of how storytelling works than about trauma and how it functions in the world.”
Drama Not Trauma by: Roslyn Talusan
This article is essential reading outside of just the Veronica Mars universe. It discusses how, VM may have been cutting edge for its time in how it handled rape. However, under the lense of 2019, it leaves a lot to be desired. Talusan discusses an important book that I will now buy, Asking For It: The Alarming Rise of Rape Culture by: author Kate Harding. Veronica Mars invokes the very myths discussed in the book. Talusan explains with nuance:
“Veronica Mars deserves credit for paving the way for more accurate onscreen representations of sexual assault, but it’s time to acknowledge that the show has also irresponsibly sensationalized sexual violence. Instead of centering the humanity of victims to help create a culture that believe and supports survivors, the show invokes stereotypes about rape in the interest of spectacle.”
Cool ways Logan and Veronica could have been married and interesting:
- Logan could have gone MIA on a mission and we could have gotten cool flashbacks to what went on during his top secret life and she could have crossed continents to find him.
- Veronica could have decided to pursue a career with the FBI and ended up working a case that put her at odds with the legality of one of Logan’s missions, but they don’t know they are working against each other until it is too late.
- With Keith retiring, Veronica convinces Logan to retire from active duty and work with her at Mars Investigations. He is a Mars now, after all. Though, they didn’t expect their first case to be solving Trina’s murder.
- Logan and Clarence Weidman become partners after Logan retires from active duty, but Veronica hates that some of what they do is dangerously illegal. This also puts Logan back in touch with Duncan, but he doesn’t tell Veronica. She becomes an attorney and her and Cliff open a legal immigration office together.
- Mac goes missing in Istanbul and the entire gang will move heaven and earth to find her. Logan, Weevil, Wallace, Dick, Keith, Vinnie, Clarence, Maddy, and a team of female agents who the FBI assigned to the case.
Veronica Mars Season 4: How it Could Have Ended by: Tessa Maurer
I love reading about this season from fellow writer’s perspectives. Especially, when we are being told that we are hysterical fangirls or some nonsense. Look, we can all handle beloved character’s dying when it feels like it meant something. Maurer’s article discusses her journey with Veronica Mars, her thoughts on the death by street cleaning, and other ways they could have killed off Logan. In her words, “If you kill Logan, that should be a great mystery. THE great mystery, even. Veronica should become unhinged. She should search for his killer like she’s never searched for a killer before. It would be like a full-circle throwback to season 1.”
How do You Solve a Problem like Veronica (Mars) by: jenna maclaine
All of these articles are important and fantastic, but I just adore how this one breaks down how awful Veronica is to each character and how Kristen Bell should have stood up for Veronica. If anyone is a testament to the fact that happily married women can still be bad ass in their careers, it’s KB! I also adore Maclaine’s idea for how season 4 should have ended:
“Close up of Veronica lying on the her bed, screaming and crying because of the car bomb.
Pans out to a hotel room in Sedona.
Logan, rolls over in bed: Veronica, what’s wrong?
Veronica, shaken: I dreamed Rob Thomas blew you up.
Logan holds her: Rob Thomas is a whore. Go back to sleep.
Veronica Neptunes: An alternate Season 4 By: Jess (Not Me)
Short and sweet. This is a great take on what is causing Veronica to act this way. Feeling stagnant, jealousy, anxiety. They can work all of those things in and make them make sense, if they had her take some accountability. It explains her regression way better than the show itself does.
VMHQ Official Statement: By: The Librarians
This one made me cry again. This is the HQ that organized rewatches and fanfic challenges. These are some of the most dedicated and organized fans. Because of that, their response to season 4 is nuanced, thoughtful, and you can feel their hearts breaking just like yours. They call out how problematic her behavior was towards her loved ones, especially Weevil.
They talk about how every audience understands that characters have to die because of an actor needing to leave the show or the story itself, but this was not the ORIGINAL RUN OF THE SHOW. They say it best, “This happened after fans spent seven years campaigning to have their canceled show resurrected. This happened after fans funded a movie through Kickstarter in order to get their closure. This happened after fans spent another five years championing the franchise so we could spend more time with our favorite fictional people. This happened in the last ten minutes without any preparation or warning. It was not part of the plot. It was not a hero’s death. Logan Echolls was fridged to re-traumatize our heroine. It was an ignominious end for a beloved character.”
Another amazing point they made over at Veronica Mars HQ about the ending:
“It is nihilistic and, frankly, depressing. It is certainly NOT the story we need in our current social climate.”
That is what I had been thinking constantly. Why take something beloved and destroy it when we are all anxiety ridden from the shit going down EVERYWHERE around us. From this experience, I have learned that I am not the only one who considered this one of their depression shows.
I am not the only one who turned to this show when I was struggling in my own life. Rob Thomas took that away from us because he wanted to be edgy and throw a tantrum. I have watched 80% less television since finishing season four. I have realized I had put too much stock into a show being able to get my through rough times. I got a gym membership and prioritized writing and composing more than binging any show. I have always been a TV lover and it might sound extra dramatic, but I no longer trust investing in a show.
An Open Letter to Rob Thomas By: Samiflio
Eloquently written, Samiflio discusses how this is the MOST SELFISH decision in television history. Her backstory of how she connected to Veronica when she was younger during the aftermath of her father passing away broke my heart. Many of us are connected to Veronica through trauma. However, like Samiflio states, “I still feel the same connection to her character that I have always felt. But ten years has allowed me, and the rest of the audience, to mature. I wanted the same for Veronica.” We all wanted that for Veronica. We didn’t need perfection, we needed growth. Instead, we got regression. Instead, like this letter points out, they removed the heart of the show.
Real Talk: Did That Tragic Veronica Mars Twist Really Need to Happen by: Ariana Brockington
Dissecting all the ways Rob Thomas is wrong about everything is my new favorite hobby. Brockington does just that and makes her best points about the absurdity of claiming perfection is boring. Brockington asserts, “First of all, Veronica and the word “perfect” should never be in the same sentence together. As much as the audience knows about Veronica, there is nothing that happened in the fourth season or the entire series that would suggest anything in Veronica’s life, especially her relationship with Logan, is anywhere close to perfect.”
Was That Supposed to be Funny? by: best-laid-plaids
This made some interesting points about how extreme Rob Thomas went to show us that Logan’s arc was over. He’s perfect now, so nowhere to go from here. Apparently, once we’ve all gone to therapy and balanced out, we should naturally get blown up. The author wonders if this was all a big joke to Rob Thomas? I’ll let best-laid-plaids spell it out for you:
“Anyway, fans deserved better. All the characters deserved better. The fucking story deserved better, and goddamn Jason Dohring deserved better. This wasn’t deep, edgy, or subversive, except in the sense that it was mean and cynical. It immediately dispelled any and all trust the vast majority of fans had in both Rob Thomas and Kristen Bell, and, aside from making me incandescently mad, makes me just overwhelmingly sad. For Jason, who breathed life into this character, and for all the other non-Kristen actors (Francis Capra, Percy Daggs III, Enrico Colantoni in particular) who have just been shown that the characters they’ve worked on for fifteen years are unimportant and disposable, if it makes Rob chuckle.”
JASON DOHRING DESERVED BETTER
In my initial grief, one of the most heart breaking parts was knowing how much love and care Jason had put into creating and nurturing the character of Logan. How thoughtless to just throw that all away? Since then, I’ve read more and more about how callously Jason was treated about it on set. No one was there his last day of filming. No cake. No one to cry with. Unforgivable. He’s also seemingly been sent out to handle a lot of the press himself. They blew him up and left him to pick up the pieces.
So, it is hard to read what merahahah had in the notes at the bottom of the tweet, but Jason was teary eyed about no one being there his last day, so he left Rob a note and called Kristen on the phone. It’s like they were purposefully acting like it was no big deal. How did KB and RT convince themselves that this was a normal character death? Jason asked us all to watch Moonlight, which I will now be doing. He revealed that whenever he nailed a scene Rob joked that he’d have to leave town and would be like, “oh fuck.”
I wonder if Rob Thomas is just at home saying, “oh fuck” over and over again? It’s some sort of white, male privilege to gleefully destroy your own career and think we’d be along for the ride. Jason urged everyone to watch season 4 and just turn it off after the wedding. He also said that he has known for so long that he’s not as bummed anymore. That gives me hope. If he has gotten to a better place about it, surely I will be able to? Maybe? Moonlight here I come.
SILVERY RANTS: (THE BEST KIND OF RANTS)
Veronica Mars’ Shock Twist Betrayed its Themes, Fans, and Characters by: Rowan Kaiser
What I like about this article is Kaiser enjoyed the season and was not a LoVe shipper. They are totally fine with the idea of Logan getting killed off. However, even with all those factors in place, they still agree with us that it should not have been done like that. I’ve said this before, that there WAS a way to kill Logan off and not have us go apoplectic. I think it would have had to happen in season 5, but I think it could have been pulled off.
Kaiser puts it best, “Logan doesn’t make a “good” choice to help out, and die a hero. Nor does he make a “bad” choice, one that puts him in a place where death becomes at some level expected. He’s just kinda there when a bad thing happens.” I hate street cleaning as much as the next person, but death by street cleaning never occurred to me. Kaiser goes on to discuss many more reasons why this is all so fucked up and it is a great read.
Why the ending of the Veronica Mars revival was so shocking by: Constance Grady
What makes this take so special, is that Grady takes a huge walk down memory lane and the Television Without Pity boards. Talk about deaths I was devestated about. When TWOP was purchased and subsequently shut down, I was so distraught. I have every Veronica Mars recap from TWOP copy pasted into a google doc. Anyway, Grady talks us through how Rob Thomas has always leaned on his fans in the writer’s room. The fan relationship has always been different than every other show.
Of course, like all of us Grady grappled with why this death effected her so differently than other character’s demises. She realized, “I fell in love with it as a fan, and I still love it as a fan. And that means I want all the possible futures of its characters to keep unfolding inside of my head, forever and ever, as long as possible. Killing Logan closes off a huge number of those potential futures. That’s why this particular TV death hurts me. Veronica Mars is the last show that I loved like a fan and not like a critic, which means it’s the last show left that can hurt me quite like this.”
Let’s Talk About THAT Death in the Veronica Mars Finale by: Samantha Vincenty
I love that this article discusses Veronica having no friends anymore and being a terrible friend. More importantly, it discusses the absence of Mac. There were ways to make Wallace more important to the season. I read an example of perhaps his star basketball player dies in a bombing. There were DEFINITELY ways for Mac to be integral to the plot and I would love to know everything about her life now. Vincenty shares Tina Marjorino’s statement to TVline: “Majorino said she was asked back, and said no once she realized she’d be getting the Wallace treatment. “Mr. Thomas told me up front that his vision for Veronica Mars was going in a different direction and that Mac was not an integral part of this new path,” Majorino wrote, adding that “there was no room for my beloved hacker queen and, as conversations continued, that only became more clear.”
Who does that to a fabulous female character they’ve written? I guess we’re just lucky Rob didn’t blow her up too?
I think the best way to end Logan and Veronica was to have Logan break up with her for good. We could have still followed Logan’s story on the show, and occasionally due to work or personal reasons, he could have been brought into the main storyline. Have her finally go to real therapy to try and figure out why she sabotages the best things in her life. Finally, let her deal with it all. With Keith retiring, Logan breaking up with her, and her disdain for Wallace and Weevil…..she could still leave Neptune. Let us watch Logan get married and have a family with someone else. That would torture Veronica. If Rob Thomas wanted her single, he could have done that without blowing up Logan Echolls.
I hope that I included all of the best takes and I am happy to add more in. I keep thinking, if I just write one more thing about this, I’ll feel better. My fellow #burntmarshmallows, I still do not feel better. Maybe, I won’t ever feel better. Hopefully, I can help some of you feel better.
And with that, I have completed an epic piece about all your best reactions.