Dear Veronica Mars,
First of all let me apologize for not re-watching you in a few years. After seeing the Veronica Mars Movie and embarking on a marathon viewing of the TV series that preceded it, I see what a mistake this was. Because you, Veronica Mars, are truly excellent.
I will say that you go off the rails a bit in the third season, but I understand. That was right after your original network merged with The WB to form the CW, and whoever was in the writers room was just not doing you justice. I confess that my re-watches usually sputter out somewhere in the third season for that reason. But even the problems that crop up then only serve to highlight how truly amazing you were before.
You were amazing, Veronica Mars, and you were exactly what I needed in high school. You gave me a heroine who was smart and strong and brave, yet also flawed. She was not perfect, nor was she some blank outline meant for teenage girls to project themselves onto. She was her own person. And who she was was not passive or meek or confused or in need of saving. She was bold and in your face. She was strong and tough. She saved herself. And she was not beloved; people hated her. And she made mistakes. She screwed up. Her trust issues were understandable but still unhealthy. The same things that made people drawn to her often pushed them away. She was a great character.
And most importantly, she was always the hero of her own story. She was not remarkable because of the people around her, or for the role she played in other people’s lives. She was remarkable for herself.
I don’t think I need to tell you how rare that is. In a world where female representation in film and television is abysmal, there are very few female characters like Veronica. And so while she would have still been an amazing, engaging, fascinating character even if she was only one of many well-rounded female characters on television, the fact that she was so unusual makes her all the more important, for me and every girl who fell in love with her.
But more than anything, Veronica Mars, I want to thank you for holding up over the years. Because I am not the same person I was in high school. When I go back to watch shows from that time in my life, I often find myself noticing how problematic they are. In almost every instance, something falls apart, just a little. Maybe I realize that all the characters are white. Maybe I realize that half the women are manic pixie dream girls. Maybe I recognize that a relationship that seemed romantic was actually very unhealthy.
Yet you, Veronica Mars, you hold up. All these years later, having been exposed to new ideas about class and capitalism and globalization and intersectional feminism and so many other ways of looking at the world, you still hold up.
You never shied away from the big issues. Class and inequality are glaring throughout, and there are no neat morals or cheap silver linings on that front. Then, not only are there multiple main characters of color, but the issue of race comes up, naturally and often. And those characters of color are not sidekicks. They don’t let themselves be. You don’t let them be. And even though you broadcast in the early 2000s when such things weren’t common on teen TV – and arguably still aren’t – gay characters not only appeared but were well rounded and sympathetic. And the way you treated sexual assault (at least until that awful third season) – I’ve never seen a television show do that. Never.
You are amazing Veronica Mars. You always will be. So I just wanted to say “thank you” for meaning so much to me as a teenager, and meaning even more now. I want to thank you for being so wonderful that I can still hold onto you all these years later. Thank you, to Rob Thomas who created you, to Kirsten Bell, Jason Dohering, Percy Daggs, Francis Capra, Enrico Colantini, Tina Majorino, and everyone else who brought you to life. Thank you, Veronica Mars.