Veronica Mars
M.A.D.

Episode Report Card
Couch Baron: A+ | 8 USERS: A+
YOU GRADE IT
Shall We Play A Game?

Before I get started, I want to address something that was mentioned on the boards. Someone counted me in with the people who think Teddy Dunn has been doing a poor job as Duncan. I don't hold that opinion at all, and I've said so here and here and here. I have commented several times that I don't know what's going on with the character, but that's not a slam on Dunn's acting -- and it's also a good thing since, in this genre, it's necessary to have a few real wild cards in terms of audience awareness of character motivations. I did pan his effort in the confrontation scene with Veronica in "Weapons Of Class Destruction," I'll admit, but for most of that scene he was merely mildly subpar; it was the very end -- with the pinched face and the quivering lip and the backing away from Veronica slowly to substitute for any kind of real expression of feeling -- that I found atrocious. But everyone's allowed an off episode, even if certain members of the main cast never end up needing it. What I'm saying is, I think Teddy Dunn, while not ready to put together an Emmy reel, is doing a job that ranges from sufficient to pretty good, and I hope the last two episodes will play out in such a way to validate more of his acting choices, which happened earlier in the season with the medication and blackout revelations. But lest you think it's all hugs and puppies from me these days, Alyson Hannigan? I gave you a warmup episode, but since you still appear to be Willow, how about casting a spell to make you, you know, not?

We open on a shot of a stuffed Garfield doll hanging inside the windshield of someone's Jeep. I loved Garfield when I was, like, ten. Then I grew up and moved on to more adult things. Like Calvin and Hobbes, for instance. I knew I was getting old when I started to identify with Dilbert. But if I ever look at For Better Or For Worse, euthanasia will be not only appropriate but encouraged. Anyway, there's a traffic snarl in the parking lot of Neptune High, caused by the apparent breakdown of our intrepid heroine's LeBaron. Might want to think about a product-placement fee for Season 2, Chrysler. I mean, with Daimler behind you, I think you might be able to scrape up a little something for a UPN show. Veronica's working under the hood of her car as idiots honk their horns. And speaking of idiots, Dick Casablancas strolls up with a younger kid whom we'll learn is his brother Beaver. I'd be sad that the older brother wasn't named Wally, were his actual name not so undeniably fitting. Also, there's another sense in which Dick goes with Beaver, and if you think the writers didn't think of that, you haven't been watching the show. That also applies if you think that they wouldn't go there because it's a little incestuous and creepy. And one last point about names: I dropped the moniker "Ugly Owen Wilson" for two reasons. One, as I implied earlier, there's just something very satisfying about calling this character "Dick." And two, I recently saw a current picture of the famous original, and I have to concede that the nickname "Ugly Owen Wilson" is now woefully redundant. I'd go with "Poor Man's Owen Wilson," but that's a lot longer than "Dick," and I'm still in the first minute here.

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Veronica Mars

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