On Veronica Mars

Daddy's Girl

By Joyce Millman

Like great tv series from Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Lost, Veronica Mars is a kaleidoscope for the imagination. It can be viewed as a coming-of-age drama, a private-eye spoof, a Southern california soap, or a mystery yarn. But when I lift the scope to my eye, what I see is a love story, about two people whose bond has withstood time, tragedy, and heartbreak–as well as potty-training, puberty, broken curfews, driving lessons, and college entrance exams. yes, Veronica Mars is the love story of a father and a daughter, and any teen romance pales in comparison.

Until you actually have kids, it’s hard to get your head around the bone-deep, scary-insane devotion and anxiety they can dredge up out of you. The writers of Veronica Mars, and actor Enrico colantoni, who plays Veronica’s father Keith Mars, perfectly convey the desperate humor of it all: parenthood gives you permission to fall madly in love with someone besides your spouse, but it wraps up this gift in a big box of shiny nightmares tied with knots of worry. “I’m thinking of getting you some sort of giant hamster ball, so you can roll everywhere in this protective sphere,” Keith wearily told Veronica after she survived one of her frequent brushes with danger. “Nobody likes a blonde in a hamster ball,” she snarked (“happy Go Lucky,” 2-21). heh. Kids.

Veronica and Keith’s relationship has been strengthened by shared ordeal. According to the backstory recounted in the series pilot, the Mars family–Keith, wife Lianne, and  …

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