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Oh no, not again

Shades of Rod Stewart... Now all of *you* have the earworm too: Infatuation, la la.

And it's gratifying to see that those of you who are also infatuated seem to be experiencing similar phenomena(e? my Latin sucks). I imagine there are at least a few of you who will tolerate my incessant babble.

Er, just in case: what follows is spoilery for all of Season 1.

There really are thousands of things still milling about my brain cells, including who's at the door, what I think may happen next season, and why I'm fairly certain there's no V/D (hee. love that acronym) in the offing.

So get to the point already, you say. Yes, yes. I'm working on it. Here's the thing:

Today, a non-VM post on my flist reminded me that I wanted to babble a bit about Lianne Mars, UberBitch.

Watching the finale and squeeing into my notepad, I asked myself a question that many less than ecstsatic viewers and some who are like me and "loved it anyway" have asked: What was the point? Why didn't they tie off the Lianne loose ends and integrate her into the solution to the mystery?

I didn't tip to it while I was watching other than on some intuitive level, but the whole point really was that Lianne is a drunk, and we were shown just how not-the-perfect-mommy she is/was/will be in order that we'd understand just where Veronica's bizarrely rose-colored yet fatalistic sense of the universe comes from. Lianne and Lilly framed Veronica's cockeyed optimism perfectly, while Logan, Weevil, and Duncan acted out mirror images in Veronica's funhouse point of view on the world. We'll save the trio for another post, I think.

I can tell already, this *not* going to be terribly linear, folks. If you're looking for a well-formed essay on the meaning of Lianne Mars in VM Season 1, you'd probably better go find it elsewhere. It seems I'm going to ramble all over creation and back again. Feel free to bail at any time, no hard feelings at all.

There is sooooo much crappola that goes into living with an alcoholic parent, especially a functioning alcoholic parent.

Primary, of course, is skill at denial and dexterity with evasive maneuvers. Veronica Mars is a master of these. For all her Nancy Drew-ness, she told the truth when she told Logan "That's what I do". She hides -- until someone she cares about is honestly hurt by that denial. And she generally doesn't fix things until someone really is hurt, too. Once in a while, you get a chance to fix those hurts you cause out of your fear and hesitancy in real life, and Veronica got a shot at it when she called Alicia to come sit with Keith. Hubris, arrogance, insensitivity? Maybe. From where I sit, though, it's just another flavor of broken.

Lianne was but a walking, talking, stinkin' drunken bitch reminder to all of us that Veronica Mars is a 17-year-old almost-woman, not a superhero.

When Veronica kicked Lianne out of the house, she was facing up to reality, clearing away old cobwebs, and righting a wrong or five. Pretty easy to do when you've just accidentally found out who killed your best friend, discovered that your best friend wasn't *quite* who you thought she was, accused your boyfriend of killing same best friend, been captured and almost killed by a maniac, and nearly caused your father's death by leading him into an unnecessary trap.

All because you were too timid to face up to reality much, much sooner. Because you weren't a better friend. Because you wanted, oh so desperately, for that fairy tale image you'd developed of home and hearth pre-murder, to be true. Because you couldn't admit that you were not invincible.

When you reach that point with an alcoholic parent, when you've finally had enough, the descent to rock bottom is a scary one.

The only thing that matters to you is control, and you've lost it. Throw in a little rape reveal just for good measure, sublimate that worry that you might only be your mother's daughter, and then get a clue-by-four that the boy you've been fooling around with is yet again proving not to be what you wished he was, and you're gonna fall apart at the seams. But gracefully. Because *that's* what you're good at. That's what mama taught you: how to pretend that it's all okay, you're in control, and things are gonna be just fine. Even when they aren't. Because letting on means vulnerability, and you know where that leads, oh so very well.

Hrmmm. On a roll there.

See, that's the thing. This show isn't about Lilly's murder. It isn't about romantic relationships of any particular sort (though it *is* about relationships of every sort). It's about Veronica -- and yeah. I think she was pretty damned in character during the finale.

What's that line in Tara's speech to Willow, when they reconcile? Something about when it all falls apart? That. That's just what Veronica did/does. She does her damnedest to skip straight to the kissing. It's how literally living inside a lie for most of your life teaches you to do things. And it works, but only for a while.

Watch the farewell scene with Lilly again. You'll see what I mean.


( 23 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 17th, 2005 12:11 am (UTC)
I really liked this post--it wasn't nearly as rambling as you thought it was. :-) I think the Tara analogy--things falling apart and it taking work to put them all back together, but let's skip to the kissing--was spot on.

Lianne was but a walking, talking, stinkin' drunken bitch reminder to all of us that Veronica Mars is a 17-year-old almost-woman, not a superhero.

[nods] Most definitely. That's one of the things I love about this show--Veronica makes mistakes. Sometimes small ones, sometimes big ones, and she often repeats the same mistakes. She's still figuring things out.

It's so great to see you around more, Chris.
May. 17th, 2005 02:58 am (UTC)
It's pretty cool to be around more, too.

And hey, by fall, we'll have a bumper crop on board!

I really, really adore this show.
May. 17th, 2005 12:44 am (UTC)
I need a lighter to hold in the air and wave around to this post.

Seriously, this actually pinpoints the reason the finale works for me more and more the more I rewatch it, because I think Veronica kicking Lianne out may have been the capstone to the episode, not solving Lilly's murder. And right on with the way Veronica's actions are all about never showing the vulnerable side, because as the child of a functioning alcoholic, that's a survival skill.

May. 17th, 2005 02:16 am (UTC)
Both this and the essay make me like Veronica a bit more. I certainly don't dislike her - I just haven't particularly watched for her. I think part of me feels like I just don't get what makes her tick. (Huge Buffy fan. But that's an upcoming post: Veronica V. Buffy.)

But anyhow, the connection between the being strong/alcoholic&philandering&whatelse?mother didn't click for me until I read this. Very thought-provoking.
May. 17th, 2005 03:10 am (UTC)
Veronica makes me think. Big part of why I am so enamoured of the show. I *adore* Logan, mind you. But I think I'm in love with him at least partly because she's falling for him.

The pov is soooo subtle and well done in this show. Sigh.

May. 17th, 2005 02:05 pm (UTC)
The POV? Really? How so? I'm more of a fan of the actors and the dialogue.
May. 19th, 2005 02:32 am (UTC)
I'm sooooo rude. I didn't mean to ignore your query, and have actually spent quite a bit of time noodling it. Life kind of caught up with me, in truth. I am also bad at explaining this kind of thing on the fly. The concept sort of twists around in my brain in an abstract way and doesn't want to come out in sense-making paragraphs ;-)

It's kind of like this: the pov is sort of inside out. It's a variation on unreliable narrator, in a way.

There's the surface layer, wherein you get the title of the show, the presence of KB in nearly every scene, and the voice overs as an obvious presentation of the show's pov character.

Veronica tells us, straight out, that the show is about the death of Lilly Kane. She spells out for us what roles the other players have (all in relation to her and to Lilly), and she clues us in every week as to what "the truth" is on the MOTW plots.

But she's not really telling us "the truth" -- the truth is what we see for ourselves/read in between the lines. We're realizing things as she does, not learning them because she tells us. The finale really burst that one wide open for me. Veronica thinks it is (was?) all about Lilly's death, and that solving that mystery will set the world right on its axis again. But it's *not* all about Lilly's death, and in fact, the world was never right on its axis to begin with. It's tilted. And that's the part that I find really well done and very insidious. We *feel* the tilt. We hear what she tells us, but we feel/think about/notice what she shows us more.

I got a little off track with that, and I suspect I could yammer for a year and never really say this right. Some shows, really good shows, do this thing where the episode is about putting you right where the pov character is. Veronica can't tell us what she's like because she's 17 and to a greater or lesser extent, not self-aware. But every story she leads us through, every interaction she has, every cheesy MOTW plot --they put viewers right in the middle of her actual journey/world/paradigm. Maybe a better way to put what I'm talking about is to call it pov/plot integration?

It accomplishes things (achieves reactions?) that are difficult, especially in such a complex imagining. I could be projecting, of course, but the way folks react to Veronica as a bit of a cold fish? I'd say that's designed. Logan's the example that opened this discussion up. And this reply is about to get too long for the comment function. Damn.

Tell you what. If you're interested in more, I'll take up the Logan example in a post, and we can talk it through there. And if this is all just so much blah-blah, just smile and nod and slowly back away ;-)

May. 19th, 2005 02:08 pm (UTC)
you kidding? I'd love to hear more. I'm a little overwhelmed at the moment with stuff, so my commentary might be a little limited, but i will be an avid reader.
May. 17th, 2005 03:08 am (UTC)
Woot right back atcha.

Seriously, this actually pinpoints the reason the finale works for me more and more the more I rewatch it

::furious nods::

The more time passes, the more I adore it. I am such a gut-jumper that I instantly knew it was a fabulous ending (obTag: for me). I went in knowing it would either be Aaron with a side of Dark!Lilly, or that it would be something more 'sophisticated' a la Lianne. Once it was over, I knew it was near-perfect, but it may take me weeks to sort out the why and how of it.

because I think Veronica kicking Lianne out may have been the capstone to the episode, not solving Lilly's murder.

Hmm. Yeah, maybe. I was thinking more that Lianne getting the boot was the penultimate, with Lilly's farewell being the ultimate capper: V. finally saying goodbye to the fantasy that Lilly embodied. Fantasy about herself, her social life, her family...all kind of wrapped up in a fuzzy warm blankie, the way
my dogeared copy of Goodnight Moon is wrapped up. But perhaps goobye to Lilly was the seasonal cap, while Lianne was the ep cap? I'm not sure if that works or not...it'll take me weeks to figure out what I really mean.

And yeah -- the alcohol/substance commentaryis really running rampant through the show. I tend to notice those themes ;-) I'm not familiar with Rob Thomas's other work, but I wonder...
May. 17th, 2005 03:34 am (UTC)
Okay, so the finale party didn't work, but we SO need to get you down here to ATL for a Mars-a-thon, sweetie. C'mon, you know you want to. ;)

Fabulous post, too, especially how you examine what it's like for Veronica to live with an alcoholic parent. What strikes me most strongly about the episode is that Lianne's presence was necessary for the show to come full-circle from the pilot, which ends with Veronica vowing to find Lilly's killer and reunite her family. She accomplished both, but at very strong prices.
May. 17th, 2005 04:58 am (UTC)
You know, I really, really want to come down. Maybe in June, when the boys are gone, I can pull off a long weekend or something.
May. 18th, 2005 02:36 am (UTC)
Ooh, that works for me. I'm here whenever you've got the time. ;)
May. 17th, 2005 04:04 am (UTC)
Ooh, great insights.

That's what mama taught you: how to pretend that it's all okay, you're in control, and things are gonna be just fine.

That's Veronica. Denial!Girl. Throwing Lianne out was the only way to fix her family, that remaining family being her and Keith.
May. 17th, 2005 04:57 am (UTC)
It's a lovely loop -- and the beauty of it is that we really don't know how far out of the grip she's come, yet. There's another whole season ahead of us.

May. 17th, 2005 03:51 pm (UTC)
Excellent post. I hadn't really thought of how Lianne being an alcoholic affected Veronica's overall personality and psychology, but it makes a lot of sense. It all fits perfectly. She had so many illusions shattered throughout the season and the last few little "happy lies" cracking for her in the finale were a perfect end to the season. It will be very interesting to see how she progresses next season. There's more than enough fallout for everyone.
May. 17th, 2005 11:06 pm (UTC)
Nods. I'm currently caught up by tbe notion that this is as much of a fractured fairy tale as it is a mystery...

Someone pointed me to the fact that Rob Thomas has his very own website with real content on it today -- I'm diving in tonight to see what's there!
May. 19th, 2005 04:25 am (UTC)
I liked this post too.
May. 19th, 2005 11:57 am (UTC)

May. 22nd, 2005 04:35 am (UTC)
Commenting on this days later. Found you through wisteria_ and thoroughly enjoying your VM posts. It's late and I've gotten very little sleep the past two days so I suspect I will make very little sense here. Mostly just wanted to say what a great post this was and that I agree completely. I think part of the reason I find this show so addicting is that, as a child of an alcoholic, I can't help but feel drawn to Veronica.

I can definitely see the influence of having Lianne as a mother in everything that Veronica does. Plus, I find it interesting that Veronica's POV seems to suggest that Lianne's drinking only became a problem after Lilly's murder and, yet, from Logan's comment about Lianne's drinking in the first episode and other hints we can clearly see the truth. It's always been a problem and Veronica just wasn't acknowledging it.

On first viewing, the scenes at the beginning with Veronica and Lianne really bugged me. I think I described it to others as feeling as though something was "off" but, as I've rewatched and had time to think it over, those scenes say so much about Lianne's character and Veronica's similar traits. The difference being, of course, as we see at the end of the episode that Veronica is capable of facing up to reality while Lianne runs from it.

I'll also be interested to see how Veronica's acknowledgement of Lianne's problem and how it affects her will affect her in the future with Logan. Part of what draws me to the Veronica/Logan relationship is the very fact that Veronica finds herself drawn to someone with the same flaw as her mother, alcoholism. This is probably because I've seen the same pattern repeated over and over again in my family and with friends. The reality of Logan and Veronica is almost scary - which is probably why I prefer that pairing over the fairy tale Duncan/Veronica pairing or even the 'safe' Veronica/Deputy Leo pairing.

Hmmm, see now, I let myself get sidetracked by the Logan/Veronica thing. Anyway, basically saying... loved what you had to say and I agree with all of it. Veronica's lily white, blurred at the edges memories of the past are gone (pun intended) and, if the farewell scene with Lilly didn't show us that, the contrast of the two scenes with Lianne/Veronica in this episode certainly do.
May. 22nd, 2005 05:51 am (UTC)
Heh. I get easily sidetracked by V/L, too. But what really strikes me above is that I had the exact same reaction to the earlier scene (in the kitchen). It tied back to the snickerdoodles for me -- made me wonder how long it has been that Veronica was the person making the home and Lianne sort of along for the ride...

If I'm not way off base, there's more coming from RT on chemicals and issues resulting from.
May. 25th, 2005 08:33 pm (UTC)
that worry that you might only be your mother's daughter

Dear God. Until I read it stated flat out like that.. I hadn't really realized part of the reason she is soo happy when Keith tells her HE is her father. like obviously she happy because she loves Keith.. but the bigger picture is that this means she isn't the product of Lianne alone.. and she doesn't have to worry about being the child of an adulterous affair between a drunk and a man who would never ever accept her.
May. 26th, 2005 01:58 am (UTC)
Nods. There is *so* much depth to what's going on with her. Everytime you peel back a layer, there's another staring you in the face.

Sep. 13th, 2005 08:27 pm (UTC)
Very good points.
Came here very late by re-direction of monanotlisa. Thanks for your thoughts!
( 23 comments — Leave a comment )

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