Mark Watches ‘Veronica Mars’: S03E16 – Un-American Graffiti

In the sixteenth episode of the third season of Veronica Mars, the narrative takes a break after two huge and draining mysteries, and I like it. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Veronica Mars.

Trigger Warning: For racism and more specifically for Islamophobia

  • I don’t know how the show is going to end at this rate, given that there’s nothing introduced here that feels like another mystery arc, but I’m okay with that. After the previous two serialized stories, I love that “Un-American Graffiti” feels like the show is taking a breath of air before we head into the final four episodes.
  • That sentence is unfair. Why does this have to end?
  • Anyway, let’s talk about the three main stories in this episode. For the most part, I think that this episode addresses the kind of racism that Middle Eastern and Muslim people face… okay. It’s simplistic and at times reductive, but it’s not terrible or anything. It’s a neat story, and I’m glad that Veronica is so open and helpful throughout while dealing with the vandalism at the Krimani’s restaurant.
  • The dad… is a bit much at first. At first! I actually love that this episode is about his growth, though at the beginning, he came off as kind of a huge stereotype of Arab men. But Rashad actually changes over the course of “Un-American Graffiti,” which is great!
  • It’s also fascinating to me how the case goes from being relatively simply to unbelievably complex, and then is actually very simple again at the end. Initially, it doesn’t take Veronica all that much time to track down the yellow truck full of the kids who shot at the Krimanis with paintball guns. It all seems fairly cut and dry, too. The Krimanis are an easy target because they’re Arab Americans in a post-9/11 world. People despise them just for being here, despite that they’ve spent 20 years in this country. And really, that’s illogical behavior – rejecting the “American-ness” of a person on a whim that makes no sense – that the writers point out is devastating to people like this family. They’ve paid taxes, supported the community, and created a successful business since immigrating to the United States. It’s the LITERAL MANIFESTATION OF THE AMERICAN DREAM. But suddenly they’re terrorists?
  • Of course, trying to make sense of racism is never a fun exercise.
  • Anyway, things get ridiculously complicated when Veronica finally tracks down a possible culprit, only to find out that Rashad’s daughter, Amira, has fallen for a Jewish guy, and this was all a little too much for me. Really? Star-crossed lovers, one who’s Arab and one who is Jewish?
  • Here’s the thing. I talk about representation and stereotypes because this sort of behavior is a lot more pervasive than you might think. When you have a show that has a majority of white actors in it, the stories you tell when you have characters of color also matter. So, there have been no significant Arab characters on this show before, and in the first episode with them, one of them is a walking stereotype? (A really hot one at that HOLY SHIT HE’S SO HOT.) And despite that Rashad changes his views, he’s a stereotype, too. The episode does ultimately support the Krimanis and promote a message about tolerance and anti-racism, but not without being kind of uncomfortable in the process.
  • I admire that Rashad was able to look Derrick in the face, listen to his disgusting racism, and walk away without the desire to get even. I’d want to see that shitbag thrown in jail. And I think it’s wonderful that Sabirah uses Rashad’s moment of growth to also call him out on his hypocritical behavior with his daughter.
  • Which is why I am so confused why someone like Rashad WOULD CALL INS ON HIS FRIEND. You’re telling me that an Arab guy would forgive the violent, disgusting racist who vandalized his business, but he wouldn’t forgive Nasir? AND CALLING TO HAVE HIM DEPORTED?
  • NOPE
  • Because seriously, immigrant communities do not call INS on each other. It doesn’t happen.
  • BAH.
  • Anyway, let’s chat about Keith. Y’all, I’ve already said this a few times before, but I’m fine repeating it: It is an absolute mind-fuck to watch Keith do anything in that uniform. Like… it’s real! He’s really Sheriff!
  • But not without some difficultly. I love that the show analyzes what the experience is like for Keith to take over the job from someone who really wasn’t that good of a cop. The deputies and officers that Lamb left behind are lazy and complacent, except for Sacks. Sacks… I want to see more. He’s quietly conflicted throughout this episode, and I want to know why. I mean, Sacks is the only deputy who worked for both Lamb and Keith before, right?
  • After an underage kid is horribly injured upon stumbling out of a bar, Keith takes it upon himself to have the Sheriff’s Department canvas local businesses to make sure that drinks aren’t served to those under 21, but is discouraged to find out that not only is the local bar community unwilling to change, but his own officers flout direct orders. Of course, in the process, he finds out that Veronica made fake IDs for Wallace and Piz. Oh, lord, what an uncomfortable set of scenes. Why am I so devastated by Keith being disappointed in Veronica?
  • Because best father-daughter pair in history.
  • So where does Keith’s story go from here? I’m guessing THE ELECTIONS. Which he will win VICTORIOUSLY.
  • Meanwhile, Veronica spends a great deal of this episode avoiding another awkward confrontation, this time surrounding Logan’s invitation to Parker’s birthday party. At the same time, Wallace gives advice to Piz about his longstanding crush on Veronica, WHICH SHOULD HAVE MADE ME REALIZE WHAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN.
  • But no, I must remained unprepared at all times. I MUST.
  • Anyway, one of the hardest things about this journey for Veronica (and for me as an audience member) is seeing how different Logan is after Veronica. Mac is the first person to mention it when she says that she’s gotten to enjoy Logan’s presence in her life because he’s so sweet to Mac. But you can tell this gnaws at Veronica because… shit, y’all, that’s not at all the experience she had. Which isn’t to say it was all bad or anything like that! But those two depended on such a heavy level of sarcasm just to make it through the day that the scenes of them being tender and kind without reservation, irony, or cynicism were rare. It’s how they operated with one another.
  • So when Veronica sees Logan being genuinely sweet to Mac, it’s kind of crushing? Like… where did that come from?
  • I’d like to think that Logan’s change was due in part to examining his own flaws in his relationship with Veronica, but that’s speculation at best. I really don’t know why he acts as he does around Parker. I suppose it could also be due to the fact that Parker is simply a different person, and Logan is responding to this.
  • Max?
  • Max???
  • WITH MAC???
  • (I could have mis-read this and they’re not actually going to pursue each other. But… what???)
  • Can we talk about how great Wallace is? When he sees that Veronica is going to unknowingly feed Piz’s crush, he tells her the truth so that she doesn’t dig herself into a whole of awkward without knowing it.
  • This season has been in dire need of more Wallace, y’all.
  • And I really appreciated how straightforward Veronica was about how she felt because… I don’t know, you don’t often see that story being told. It’s honest, it’s real, and none of it feels malicious.
  • PIZ
  • AND
  • Caught by Logan, for the record, because of course. Hey, if Veronica had to get Logan’s face on a slice of cake, I’m fine with Logan catching Veronica kissing someone new.
  • Wow, this is so weird, but I’m fascinated to see where it goes.

The video for “Un-American Graffiti” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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