10.04.2006

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.

5 comments:

  1. I could listen to you talk about Veronica Mars all day. Really.

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  2. I'd like to take the team Duncan side. While I think the Logan/Veronica dynamic is hot, it does seem a bit juvenile. (Think, Logan's "Our love is epic" bullshit from last season.) Veronica communicates with Duncan better than Logan. The "Donut Run" episode is a good example of that. Plus, I think all of Veronica's pent-up desire for Duncan (i.e. those naughty dreams) is way hotter than her actual expression with Logan.
    Plus, the whole Logan/Veronica dynamic always seems so brotherly--like in last night's ep. when they were both sitting on the bench on campus.
    What we really need is Veronica with a truly bad boy--like Weevil. That would be hot.
    Or, with a really dumb guy--like Leo. God I love Leo (and since Keith mentioned his name last night, does that mean he'll be in a future episode?). Damn, this show better have more than 13 this season.
    I've wrangled a whole 3 other people to watch with me. And ever since the Battlestar references last night, I think I'll be able to wrangle a couple more (before the show is canned). You think it'll get canned?

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  3. Orangina, or Izze? (That's more dumb joke than one-upping, by the way.)

    Great analysis.

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  4. Jeremy, although Duncan and Veronica had better communication with each other, they had NO passion. Tell me about a time when Duncan had a feeling. I can think of one. The near-to-last episode of season one when he—yes—has his Chinatown-like cry. That is all. Meg's in the hospital? Duncan recommends listening to Nelly. Veronica's in pain? Duncan walks away.

    Duncan also only made one choice in this whole show: and that was the impetus for the "Donut Run" episode, although even then it might have been Veronica's idea, because she made the promise to Meg. It was definitely Veronica's plan.

    Although Logan's "our love is epic" speech is a little juvenile, so are these characters: they are, after all, 18, and all 18-year-old loves are both epic and juvenile.

    Veronica and Weevil would be hot as evidenced by this exchange:

    Veronica: You here to confess? Is that your tail I see between your legs?
    Weevil: No, but I could see how you might get confused.

    Logan was the protector in the way that Duncan never could be, though. Interesting that there are shots of both Logan and Veronica in the Pieta pose bookending season two, but there are also equitable shots of Duncan sheilding Veronica (in "Normal Is the Watchword") and Logan sheilding Veronica (in "Not Pictured")...

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  5. Logan = Angel
    Duncan = Riley
    Weevil = Spike

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