Thursday, June 2, 2011

Ten Statements About....VERONICA MARS SEASON ONE, EPISODE SEVEN 'The Girl Next Door' (2004)

Don't be fooled by the cute dog, Veronica!  She's a Plot
Device wanting to lure you into A Very Special Episode!
"I look back on the past few days and wonder if things could've turned out differently. If I didn't meet the girl, if I hadn't initiated the case, if I hadn't interfered, would tonight be just another dull, quiet night in our apartment complex?.

1)'s that episode. You know the one where the series tries to impart on you a serious message on how tragic something is, and how we should intervene before the tragedy gets out of hand? This is that episode...kinda...and it's easily one of my least favorite (if not the least favorite) entries in the season, and the series as a whole.

2) The pain begins almost immediately with the initial introduction of Jessica Chastain's Sarah...she simply doesn't talk like a human being, as seeds are being dropped that lead us to The Big Tragic Thing We Should All Feel Bad About in the fourth act. It's not Chastain's fault--it's just that Sarah is not written as a person, but as a chapter in a position paper.

The good news?  This B Plot is a relief from the bilge we're
stuck with.  The bad news?  They just punked Mr. X....
3) Thankfully, we have a B plot that brings together two characters who haven't shared much screen time since episode two--Jason Dohring's Logan and Francis Capra's Weevil. The two play off each other expertly in a sub-plot involving a stuck up English Teacher played by Steven 'Mr. X' Williams. Although Logan's prominence in this B Plot points up how the creation of Sarah was not needed, given what is about to be revealed about Her Tragic Past.

4) Thankfully, scriptwriters Jed Seidel and Diane Ruggerio don't forget to advance the Lily Kane overarc a little--which results in, among other things, a somewhat intriguing moment that reveals a thing or two about Weevil.

5) But every time we return to the A Plot, everything falls apart. None of these characters involved in the main story act or sound like real people. Adam Kaufman's Andre, in particular, comes off as a capering villain in a children's book--which makes it obvious he's a big red herring.

6) Yep...if I broke into my next door neighbor's apartment to find it decorated with creepy-ass paintings and containing an dresser with one drawer open to reveal a gun, I'd be positive she was living with a Disturbed Individual, too. Stacking the deck against Andre, aren't we?

7) Jason Dohring may not be the greatest actor...but the way he enunciates lines like 'never underestimate the size of my cohones' is priceless.  Hell, he's responsible for my single favorite quote from Season One in a few episodes' time.

8)'s so weird seeing Bonita Friedricy acting all bubbly and happy in this episode after sitting through her just-drank-lemon-juice performances in five seasons of Chuck....

Two people, it turns out, who really loved Lily Kane if we're
to believe this episode...
9) The only reason Keith Mars' speech about 'these cases involving young girls often end badly' works is because Enrico Colantoni forces it to work through sheer willpower. In a lesser actor's hands, this speech would have been equally as unbearable as the dialogue from any of the other A Plot participants.

10) Okay...the fact that we figure out The Big Tragic Thing the moment Sarah's stepfather is introduced aside, there's no reason to create a whole new set of ill-formed characters when there are a number of characters already established who suffer from similar trauma. Granted, I get that Seidel and Ruggerio are trying to foreshadow some of the things Veronica is about to discover about herself...but it just. doesn't. work.

Overall....too earnest for its own good by far, and with not enough of the B Plot or Overarc to distract from its ickiness, this is a truly poor entry in the series.

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