In Praise of Logan: A Paean to Bad Boys
If you watch the first episode of Veronica Mars and then stop, the image above might more than surprise you; it might cause you to full-on crap yourself.
In the first season of Veronica Mars, we are presented with two film noir archteypes in Veronica's life. In traditional noir, these archetypes are called The Good Woman and the Femme Fatale. The Good Woman is traditionally the blond supportive housewife type, the woman who doesn't venture into the seedy underbelly of the city and thereby remains "pure" and "untainted" by the harsh realities that live there. The Femme Fatale is her doppelganger. A denizen of smoky bars, the moll of any number of gangsters or hitmen, she is danger in a fur coat. The Good Woman represents the "virginal" male stereotype of women while the Femme Fatale is naturally the "whore." But oftentimes in noir, the Good Woman ends up dead and the Femme Fatale redeems herself—just before she gets killed for her transgression into the world of light.
On Veronica, the archteypes play out in Veronica's love life as Duncan Kane, ultrarich heir to the Kane Software fortune and all-around mild-mannered guy, takes on the role of the Good Woman. Duncan is the calm, supportive boyfriend to Veronica's hard-boiled investigator. Cheerful and easy-going, he always does "what's right," even when it means sacrifice for himself.
Logan Echolls, the Femme Fatale (or what some people have termed the "Homme Horreur"), is the brash, bratty, spoiled son of a multimillion dollar movie star. As the poor little rich boy, Logan's sullen attitude and ferocious social behavior make him a constant loose cannon. In season 1, he commits various transgressions from organizing a series of bum fights to volunteering a large sum of his father's money to a homeless shelter in response to being made to do community service there.
The point of this is: Duncan is cute but boring; Logan is sexy and alluring.
Figure 1: Logan is sexy and alluring.
What is it about bad boys that we love? Logan's assholishness does tone itself down during the first season; when he discovers Veronica is still doggedly investigating Logan's girlfriend's murder the year before, something clicks in him. And their first kiss, on the balcony of the Camelot Motel in the wrong side of Neptune is more than hot; it combusts. It feels right.
There is something about the bad boy who makes good that we can't resist. Now, after two years, Logan is perched on the precipice of becoming The Good Woman, having been redeemed both by Veronica's love and the death of his parents. Duncan, on the other hand, having played out all his goodness, has escaped to Australia and can never return to the United States (*cheers*).
Figure 2: "Having an Orangina with You"
When you give someone a key, it means something. Veronica has the key to Logan's penthouse. This is what we in the writing business call a loaded metaphor. When it comes wrapped in a red bow, it means love.