Mark Watches ‘Veronica Mars’: S03E17 – Debasement Tapes

In the seventeenth episode of the third season of Veronica Mars, Piz helps an idol who proves to be difficult and disappointing, and Veronica grows close to him in the process. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Veronica Mars.

Well, this was a neat episode!

  • Its placement in the season is strange because until the final scene, it’s entirely unconnected to pretty much any other narrative. Well, that’s not exactly true, as Piz and Veronica’s story relies on past flirting and on the dissolution of her relationship with Logan. But while I enjoyed this episode, it feels weird to know that we’re approaching the end of the show and there’s largely no serialized arc aside from the upcoming election for Sheriff.
  • BUT HOLY SHIT. PAUL RUDD. IN A REALLY GREAT ROLE. About music. That’s done well! I mean, I don’t often get to talk about music and what it means to me, but y’all, it is my life. (Part of me wishes I had kept up with those season-thematic playlists for Buffy because I came up with so many songs that fit narratives like a year after I finished the show.) And so I get this struggle that Piz goes through because sometimes, meeting your idol is one of the most crushing things in the universe.
  • Thankfully, most times it hasn’t been for me, but I have had a few experiences while working at Buzznet where I just wanted to never listen to someone’s music ever again because they were so awful.
  • One day I’ll write about the stories I have. They are… fun.
  • Wallace. WALLACE AND VERONICA HANGING OUT. I miss them so much, y’all, and I just… watching them interact is everything to me, and I wish there was more of it. They are such good friends to one another, and it’s fun watching Wallace match Veronica’s wit word for word.
  • But at least I’m given way more Mac in this episode, and I love it SO MUCH. It’s especially great because her experience sort of parallels Veronica’s in one sense (since she’s torn between dating Bronson and Max), but she’s still given her own story here that’s not similar at all. Plus, her helping Logan reminded me a lot of the first episode she was ever in, “Like a Virgin.” I always like when a show with a larger cast pairs up two people who haven’t interacted much, so I already liked “Debasement Tapes” because of that. Logan respects Mac a lot, and I know that’s why he eventually risks asking her about Veronica’s relationship with Piz. He clearly hasn’t moved on entirely. (Though where was Parker in this episode?) Bless Mac for shutting down the conversation and Logan’s question about whether or not Veronica was faithful for the whole relationship. MAC + VERONICA = TRUE FRIENDSHIP.
  • But apparently Mac + Bronson is not. WHOMP WHOMP. Which doesn’t mean that Mac is going to rush into Max’s arms either. She enjoys him, but I don’t know that there’s a powerful romantic spark there.
  • Dick is… he’s Dick Casablancas in this episode. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen a more consistently written and acted character in my entire life. He’s seriously exactly the same character in every one of his appearances.
  • Logan’s story aside from what he talks to Mac about is… really weird? Like, his business plan is terribly misogynistic, and Mac sorta touched on that, but then after he did all that work, his professor just refuses to let him finish? It’s all so abrupt, especially since we’d never seen this professor before, nor did we ever see a scene showing us how Logan behaved in that class. That being said, the professor probably was furious that Logan was being… Logan? I don’t know, IT’S WEIRD.
  • I do like that after the previous episode finally introduced the Piz/Veronica relationship, this episode focuses on Piz a lot more than the past ones. For the most part, while Veronica helps Piz with Desmond’s missing tapes, the two try to avoid addressing the fact that in their post-kiss world, everything is awkward. And I’m glad that Piz does eventually bring it up because I’d rather that these two talk this shit out than let fester beneath the surface.
  • But the writers also make “Debasement Tapes” about the difficulty that Desmond has faced after his band partner and friend passed. That’s a heavy shadow to live in, you know? To always be associated with something you did ages ago, to not feel like you have the freedom to branch out. And so Desmond drowns himself in alcohol and prescription drugs and he stops caring.
  • So I love that it’s Piz, who is often more optimistic than most of the characters on this show, is the one who fights through the weight of cynicism he faces as he realizes who Desmond really is. He’s the one (with Veronica’s help!) who gets Desmond to move beyond his work in My Pretty Pony and validate his own music instead.
  • It’s cheesy, sure, but I don’t have a problem with things working. It works. It makes sense that there wasn’t a malicious reason why the backing tapes were gone, especially given how high Desmond was. And it makes sense that after Veronica spends so much time with Piz, she sees him for being a genuinely nice guy. Not a Nice Guy, you know? He’s a good person, and she puts her hand in his to signify that she’s willing to give this a try.
  • SO.
  • I mean, I didn’t see it coming until about 10 seconds before it happened. And in the meantime, I was excited that Leo had returned to the show, and it was made clear that this wasn’t a one time thing! LEO. LEO IS BACK. And so was Danny Boyd? That was surprising, too. I admit that until the ending, Keith’s story was straightforward. He and Leo solved a case! Except nope, Vinnie is the one who nabs the bad guys, AND INADVERTENTLY HELPED HIS OWN CAMPAIGN. Vinnie Van Lowe versus Keith Mars in the upcoming election… complete with an endorsement from Keith.
  • OH MY GOD.

The video for “Debasement Tapes” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

Mark Links Stuff

– If you would like to support this website and keep Mark Does Stuff running, I’ve put up a detailed post explaining how you can!
– Please check out the All Mark Watches videos for past shows/season are now archived there!
– My Master Schedule is updated for the near and distant future for most projects, so please check it often. My next three Double Features will be: Baccano!, The Middleman, and Band of Brothers.
– I will be at quite a few conventions and will be hosting events throughout the US, Canada, and Europe in 2014, so check my Tour Dates / Appearances page often to see if I’m coming to your city!
– Inspired by last year’s impromptu event in London, I am taking Mark in the Park on the road! You can see all currently planned dates and pitch your own city here.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
This entry was posted in Veronica Mars and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.