On Veronica Mars

"I Cannot Tell a Lie. And If You Believe That..."

By John Ramos

Do you value honesty in people? Does it bother you when people, including yourself, tell lies? Do you think the world would be a better place if people were more honest with each other?

It would take a very, for lack of a better word, honest person to answer “no” to those questions. yet if you were asked to describe the eponymous lead character of the television show Veronica Mars, while several complimentary words would no doubt spring to mind—strong, resourceful, witty—you’d probably admit that the less flattering description of “liar” fits her as well . . . or at least that she bends the truth very frequently. Not that she’s alone in that regard— in her noir world, almost every character we’re familiar with has told a whopper at one time or another. But the point is, from what I know of viewers’ opinions, including my own, we like Veronica. She’s a sympathetic character. So how can we reconcile our positive view of her (and other rather less-than-honest characters) with the realization that lying comes as easily to her as her impossibly sharp and acerbic comebacks?

On the brilliant and all-too-short-lived television show Arrested Development, one of the character Maeby’s most memorable lines came when she noted to herself, “Okay, now I’m just lying for no reason.” What makes that line real comedy is that very few people in truth or fiction actually do that. In Story, one of the definitive works on screenwriting, author Robert McKee tells us that true  …

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