Ask Rob Thomas Anything: Avoiding Tropes

In another video from the TV writer and showrunner, he shares one of his least favorite plot conveniences:

The Bill Pullman reference he makes is from Sleepless In Seattle (representative clip here). With regards to another set of cliches the Mars series avoided, Nolan Feeney praises the show’s complex depiction of inequality:

Race and class are often intertwined in [the show’s fictional town of] Neptune, but Veronica Mars often served as a good reminder that they’re not to be conflated. One of the series’ recurring conflicts is between the PCH Bike Club, a largely Latino motorcycle gang, and the obnoxious 09ers, rich kids from Neptune’s über-wealthy 90909 zip code, but the show never suggests only white kids can be rich kids and only minorities can be poor. Jackie Cook, a second-season addition played by Tessa Thompson, was both black and one of the richest girls in school. In one episode, while investigating a series of muggings, a classmate tips Veronica off that the culprit might be targeting the “coconuts”—Latino and Latina students criticized for being “brown on the outside, white on the [inside].” The PCH gang does engage in criminal activity, but their crimes are repeatedly contrasted against the transgressions of the rich, which are often worse. And in Season Two, it’s a rival gang made up of mostly working-class Irish-Catholics that’s dealing the hard drugs (to the parents of 09ers) and making people “disappear.” Veronica Mars didn’t entirely subvert stereotypes, but it usually tried to at least complicate and challenge them.

Arielle Duhaime-Ross adds that the series also took on rape in ways no other show had:

Exceptionally smart writing and acting aside, the date rape story-line is what made this particular teen drama different from all that ones that aired before it. Unlike most televised rape accounts, Veronica was no damsel in distress waiting to be rescued. She had agency and was given a voice that went deeper and was more honest than any of its predecessors. Throughout the television show, Veronica has nightmares about the night she was assaulted. Viewers also find out in the second season that Veronica has an STI as a result of her rape, making the assault all the more realistic. Needless to say, the teenager ends up developing a keen distrust of the men around her, affecting all her future relationships throughout the show. But despite getting laughed out of the police chief’s office when she comes forward about her ordeal, Veronica never loses sight of the fact that she is not to blame for her rape—and neither do the show’s viewers, who are treated to a dramatic story-line that is both realistic and empowering. For fans and haters alike, Veronica Mars remains the only American television series that successfully depicts the long-term effects of this type of sexual violence.

In our final video from Rob, he explains why he always wanted the character of Veronica to be written as a “porcupine”:

Rob Thomas is an American producer, director and screenwriter, best known for the TV series Veronica Mars and Party Down. A year ago, he launched one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns of all time in support of the Mars movie. (Our discussion thread of the innovative, Dish-like project is here.) The movie is now out in theaters and video-on-demand. Rob’s previous Ask Anything videos are here.

(Ask Anything Archive)