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19 January 2007 @ 07:05 pm
Perhaps Veronica REALLY Hasn't Changed All That Much  
I've been thinking about Rob Thomas' consistent denials that Veronica has changed -- and we'll just set aside the fact that growth is actually good for a character for this discussion -- and something struck me the other night. He may be right for the most part.

Yes, she's much more apt to quip and rather inappropriately, but that can be said for most of the characters as the writing staff has clearly gone quip (and rather inappropriately) crazy. But changed overall? I'm thinking of the fact that while he watches the show (I'm sure), he already has in his mind how it's supposed to play out because he's written or read the script in all of its incarnations. Which leaves us with one glaring factor: The actor.

What if the difference that so many are noting and not appreciating can truly and mostly be lain at the door of Kristen Bell and her performance. Think of the snausage scene in Hot Dogs. I don't recall any reaction from viewers that gave Veronica a hard time for getting SO in this guy's face. Yeah, he was a jerk to Mandy, but Veronica had no business getting involved and humiliating that guy. Furthermore, she then ranted on Mandy's ass ... and again, there wasn't negative reaction to it.

I think the reason was that Bell gave undertones (and I recall discussion of it) that what Veronica was doing to snausage guy was what no one had done for her. She wasn't smug, she wasn't simpering while laying it on him. You could feel the barely repressed rage as she tore into him. This wasn't a joke. She wasn't trying to humiliate him, make light, amuse the audience. She was furious that such cockroach-like individuals were around and were giving other "nobodies" a hard time and getting laughs for it. But it wasn't about Mandy; she wasn't being selfless. It was all about Veronica and what she had been through, but we got that and understood because of the subtext and the layers of Bell's performance. And when she ragged on Mandy, it was painful and a bit cruel, but again -- it was Veronica's pain that was shining through because Veronica had taken a lot of crap too before becoming stronger. Again, we saw that because Bell layered the scene with vulnerability. We knew EXACTLY where Veronica was coming from.

However, from season two on, Bell has played Veronica as a smug, self-entitled, self-important, pretty, pretty princess. The attitude that she has brought to the role could really be the big difference in why so many now find Veronica insufferable. There is no heart. There is no vulnerability, nothing to show that when Veronica quips against people, is cruel and hurtful, it's not coming from a place of pain and anger inside of her. Veronica is above it all because that is how Bell has been playing her.

I don't deny that the writing could be helping. After all when she was cruel to the girl in season one about her father's mistress, Miss Dent called her on it and so the viewers were given that out to defend Veronica's cruelty. But again, there were scenes where we didn't get the out, but we still were on Veronica's side ... because Bell put us on Veronica's side.

I don't know. I'm not trying to cut Thomas any slack, anyone who knows me knows that I think very unhighly of him nowadays and have since Veronica's quest for "normalcy" in season two went absolutely nowhere. But, I wonder if in this, the actor is much more to blame than the creator.
Femme Fetale: [random]RT is a TOOL!slayervixen on January 20th, 2007 01:26 am (UTC)
You raise a valid point hun. I always said I felt during the S2 promotion that KB was trying to mould Veronica to be more like her, if that makes sense??

She doesn't seem to play her with the same air of vulnerability as Veronica a la S1, instead we get an arrogant little snotty cow who no longer roots for the underdog, she just makes a point of assuming the worst in everyone. KB plays Veronica alot LESS likeable I'd say...there's just, something, missing and I don't care what anyone says.

I'm really not sure what to think anymore but I hate KB and RT they are fucking shitheads, their arrogance both acting/writing wise is ultimately what caused the downward spiral for this show. Yes, I still love it and will watch it but I just feel that things won't be resolved cos its clear RT has had a set path since day one and no matter how much fandom is outraged he will NEVER change.
Arabian: ATttD - Sorryarabian on January 20th, 2007 02:03 am (UTC)
No, it does make sense in regards to KB and Veronica. I think that's exactly what she has done and that's the problem. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that who Kristen Bell is as a person is a problem, but that I believe that Bell is intrinsically a good person. A diva? Yeah, a bit of snooty bitch? Probably, but, intrinsically I believe she's a good person who does not break laws, make amoral, unethical decisions, expects the worst of people and treats them like accordingly. Veronica, while intrinsically a good person, by nature of all that has happened to her, DOES break laws, does make amoral, unethical decisions and certainly DOES expect the worst of people and treats them accordingly. In other words, how Kristen applies her own personal philosophy to her life simply CAN NOT jibe with how Veronica acts. And THAT is the problem.

The big problem is the lack of vulnerability, I believe 100%.

KB plays Veronica alot LESS likeable I'd say...there's just, something, missing

Yes. Because Veronica does many an unlikeable thing. By Bell playing her so in the right without the touch of vulnerability and that fighting spirit, it makes the unlikeable things she does that much worse ... because there's no vulnerability there. She's just unlikable with no motive, no subtext.

I wouldn't go as far as you did publickly about your feelings about La Bell and Rob Thomas, but, personally, I'm not particularly fond of either myself.

It's clear RT has had a set path since day one and no matter how much fandom is outraged he will NEVER change.

Which is why I fully and completely believe that Thomas should be let go. His vision no longer meshes with what the majority of his still-watching audience wants to see. Creative license is wonderful, but this is a business and pleasing the masses is the name of the game. He simply REFUSES to do so.
Femme Fetale: [vm]Be Cool Sodapop!slayervixen on January 20th, 2007 02:06 am (UTC)
Sorry but I've just lost patience with RT and KB I believe Kristen is a beautiful young girl but she's just not my sort of person. RT Bah don't get me started...the man is about as arrogant as a show creator could be and Joss Whedon he ain't.

deevee45deevee45 on January 20th, 2007 02:09 am (UTC)
In these few words: "without the touch of vulnerability and that fighting spirit, it makes the unlikeable things she does that much worse", you have summed up the thousands of message board postings about the problems with VM. You are right on.
Arabian: Fandom?arabian on January 20th, 2007 02:13 am (UTC)
It's sad, but true. The attitude with which La Bell (see, that's my form of insult, LOL!) imbues Veronica with is what I feel has most hurt the affection that many felt for her. And it is frustrating because she is so capable of doing it. Look at the final scene of 3.03 -- she was soooooooooo on, it was almost painfully good. And then she started to slip in the next few episodes and then by episode seven, it was back to hard-on smug, self-entitled, judgmental Veronica.

Sigh. It's so very, very frustrating.
deevee45deevee45 on January 20th, 2007 01:51 am (UTC)
Slayervixen, I agree with just about all of your points...but I don't understand why some in the fandom resort to name-calling and epithets that are so personal. RT and KB may be arrogant (God knows, I agree) and I believe KB's acting is the source of most of the problems I find in VM, but can we be civil in addressing them as we are in addressing each other?

Arabian, please feel free to delete if I'm out of line. I appreciate this fandom (it being my first), and you're one of the reasons--you're so insightful, and passionate, and right! But I guess the comment added here struck a nerve with me!
Femme Fetale: [act]Pretty Pretty Johnny.slayervixen on January 20th, 2007 02:00 am (UTC)
I'm sorry but both grate on my nerves. I won't apologise for what I've said cos I believe both are...sorry if you don't like that but its how I feel no point in lying or whatever. I'm not a hypocrite I just don't like either of them as people.
Arabian: Veronica's Porn Collectionarabian on January 20th, 2007 02:07 am (UTC)
I don't understand why some in the fandom resort to name-calling and epithets that are so personal.

I admit that privately in phone conversations with friends I've said as much or worse. I don't publicly because I just don't. But for many people I think it's a matter of letting out their frustrations because we love this show SOOO MUCH and two of the people (the most important in many ways) responsible for making us love it so in the first place are the ones who are ripping it to shreds before our eyes.

RT and KB may be arrogant (God knows, I agree)

Oh yeah!

and I believe KB's acting is the source of most of the problems I find in VM, but can we be civil in addressing them as we are in addressing each other?

I try to be as much as possible, but again, I understand where the frustration comes from. The extremely limited likelihood of Rob Thomas and especially Kristen Bell (who has said she doesn't go online) ever reading many of the comments made in personal livejournals is so very, very limited that it simply gives many a chance to vent that frustration in a forum that won't be read by those being lambasted.

Arabian, please feel free to delete if I'm out of line.

No, I understand your upset -- you know the rules on the Shack, I wanted to keep this because I wanted to offer up a reason as to why some resort to the "name-calling."

I appreciate this fandom (it being my first), and you're one of the reasons--you're so insightful, and passionate, and right!

Aww, thank you. That's very sweet of you!
Femme Fetale: [oc]Taylor Face.slayervixen on January 20th, 2007 02:10 am (UTC)
Sorry I've caused anarchy but y'know me, always honest. I love this show and I'm really frustrated by alot of aspects of it...feel free to delete my posts Jen. I wouldn't want to upset anyone
Arabian: Ryan/Taylor01arabian on January 20th, 2007 02:11 am (UTC)
Oh no, don't apologize. I understand exactly where you're coming from, and I get where deevee is too. It's a private journal, don't feel you need to apologize.
sowell: Doh!sowell on January 20th, 2007 01:52 am (UTC)
I'm apt to blame the writing more, but I do think KB's performance has fallen into a niche. The vulnerability doesn't come through any more, and it makes ALL the difference.
Arabian: Don't LIke Youarabian on January 20th, 2007 02:10 am (UTC)
I do know that the writing is to blame as well, but I think that if La Bell was playing the character with the vulnerability it would go a loooooooooong way to soothing the issues with Veronica. A layered, textured performance can save poor, uneven writing much more than the reverse. (Look at Logan/Jason in S2. There was some whu?! crap going on with Logan, but Jason imbued every moment with motive and that effort kept the character loved by many despite the stuff Logan was doing.) Kristen has the talent to do the same, but she has chosen not to.
Mia: Logan (singingrl)musing_mia on January 20th, 2007 04:06 am (UTC)
I wish I could care, but LaBell and RT have pretty much killed any love I had for the show and Veronica. I loved her in S1, but after LitB I couldn't stand her. Then the summer came, and KB was everywhere, and the hate was on. It was as if all the accolades went to her head and KB didn't feel the need to give any emotion to Veronica's scenes. KB seems so smug in her disdain for Logan that it colors Veronica's interactions with other characters. What I'm trying to say is that I agree with you. KB doesn't play Veronica the same. The vulnerability is gone. Veronica doesn't need anyone.

I've never been that enamored of RT because I always had the feeling he was a Whedon wannabe. And he's failed at that.

He may believe he's writing Veronica the same, but he shouldn't be. Veronica should change, evolve as she grows older and life changes. The fact that she isn't is disturbing.

Logan is the only reason I still watched the show, and they've made him so emo, I'm losing my respect for him.
Arabian: First Kissarabian on January 20th, 2007 04:15 am (UTC)
Aww, I still love Logan and enjoy aspects of the show, even Veronica when she's on. I just ... shakes my head at the combined arrogant idiocy of Thomas and La Bell.
Mia: Hammer_timemusing_mia on January 20th, 2007 04:33 am (UTC)
I love Logan too, but I don't want him to be Veronica's doormat. I enjoyed Wichita Linebacker because for the first time Logan wasn't taking Veronica's crap. He was snarky and bitchy, and I loved it. I want that guy back.

I think we all shake our heads and middle fingers at their idiocy.
Arabian: Little Boy Bluearabian on January 20th, 2007 04:38 am (UTC)
I don't want him to be Veronica's doormat -- I want them to be equal partners. Sigh, but no one involved (even our beloved Jason) seems to get that.
WeHo M.: VM - Avoidanceafrocurl on January 20th, 2007 05:29 am (UTC)
Given what you've said, I can't tell if I put the blame on KB or the way that we were supposed to view Veronica in S2.

If you think that Veronica "won" her battle to be like her own self, then I can see that selfless side of her falling away, being that she's a vindicated person who doesn't need to defend herself or other anymore.

If you think that previous point is shite, then well, there's something to be said for what happened to V in that summer between S1 and S2 that would have turned her off from her philanthropic tendencies because it only served to bite her in the ass.
Arabian: Veronicaarabian on January 20th, 2007 06:16 am (UTC)
Maybe I'm wrong, but Logan did a lot of crap in S2, but many were still so gaga over him and the difference was that Jason was still making us care. Kristen wasn't. But you know I'm anti-Bell, so ....
WeHo M.: VM - Touchedafrocurl on January 20th, 2007 01:41 pm (UTC)
Well, that's entirely possible. I'm just trying to think of something but you know I'll look for the good in just about any situation.
sweetumms33: Dicksweetumms33 on January 20th, 2007 05:14 pm (UTC)
I think there's also the aspect of her appearance. For all of S1 and good parts of S2, Veronica dressed comfortably. She was dressed like a girl on a mission, and her clothing was a reflection of her rebellion. As much as I LOVE the scene in S3 WL, watching KB's increasing ridiculous looking hair took away from the scene. She's just too done up, too perfect looking. Basically the "pretty pretty princess" you called her, arabian. There's nothing about her that says underdog anymore, so there's no excuse for her behavior.

To me, her appearance is directly connected to KB, who seems like a girl who likes to dress up. I have no problem with that, but it did change the character for me.
harper47harper47 on January 22nd, 2007 07:43 pm (UTC)
I wondered if you were going to comment on this interview. I read the interview, read about 5 or 6 pages of discussion on TWOP and well, have been busy at dance, etc. since then so I'm just now coming back to the subject.

Honestly, I was furious most of last season at both RT and KB. Part of it was huge disapointment in the arc and the way the season played out. Anyway, all that furious anger pretty much disappated over the summer and I must admit, I seldom feel anger over VM anymore. Every once in awhile it flares up, but for the most part, I don't. And sadly the reason is I guess I don't care as much anymore. I still watch and am hugely invested in Logan and Veronica's story. But the passion is kind of gone.

Re KB - I think that ultimately she feels, as an actress, that she has been there, done that and done it excellently as Veronica and now wants a different challenge. And honestly, I think alot of this stems from her background in theatre. You're always constantly moving on to the next thing in theatre and she probably feels she is ready for more challenges. So I think, sometimes, she gets lazy and phones it in.

We still get flashes of her original brilliance but I don't think she has the underlying drive and passion to succeed that motivated her in season 1. Plus she probably does have "people" around her now, that weren't there in the past, and she probably does feel like "someone". Is she an arrogant (love your pretty, pretty princess comments - hee!)actress who feels she's too good for VM now? I can't tell.

I don't like her very much as she has done nothing to impress me in her public moments. But, I do realize I'm not seeing all the story and I'm 100% on the Logan/Dohring team so I am probably a little prejudiced. Still I have seen some great acting from her this season (along with so-so moments).

Is Rob right? Frankly, I don't like RT very much and it's because I think he's horrible at interviews. Horrible! But those who meet him seem to like him so I just think he is defensive and a little prejudiced towards his creation. And that comes out in his interviews. He liked Duncan, he likes Piz. He loves Veronica. Does he even like his creation of Logan? Honestly I can't tell. Doesn't ever seem like it. Is he right about Veronica not changing? Certainly from his perception. He feels he (and the other writers)are writing Veronica the same. Is that true?

At this point, I'm kind of watching the show for Logan. (emotionwise) Acting wise, as long as they can continue to engage my interest, I'm there. But I think you make an excellent point.