YMMV: Veronica Mars

  • Accidental Innuendo: In a rare serious example, after the season 2 finale many fans thought Cassidy had raped Mac. He hadn't, and the writers never meant to imply that, but the scene, dialogue, and the fact he had raped Veronica threw people off.
    • This isn't helped when a line by Parker in Season 3 implies that she, Veronica and Mac are all survivors of sexual assaults.
  • Anvilicious: "There's Got To Be A Morning After Pill" rather bizarrely ends with dead serious narration of a Bible verse about forgiveness. Then again, it's read by a Preacher, so yeah.
  • Arc Fatigue: The trial of Aaron Echolls in season 2, which only served to drag out the wrapping up of a story that got plenty of closure at the last season's end, to the point that people started wondering if the show was trying to make us suspect he wasn't the killer.
    • The Hearst Rapist is basically a standard mystery of the week story stretched out to half a season.
  • Badass Decay: Logan, Weevil, Logan, Sheriff Lamb, and Logan.
    • In Weevil's case it could be argued that he didn't so much decay, as grow up, and become a responsible adult, realizing that his old ways of behaving did not lead to great job security. Too bad it doesn't last long.
  • Better on DVD: Especially season three, if only because the Aerie Girls and obnoxious CW teases where nowhere to be found.
  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment: Courtney Taylor-Taylor's cameo. If you don't recognize him as part of The Dandy Warhols (who did the show's theme song), it's weird as hell to see the show pause for a couple minutes so we can watch some random guy at karaoke night singing "Love Hurts."
    • Also in the same vein, Britt Daniel of the band Spoon also flirtatiously sings "Veronica" by Elvis Costello to the titular character. The only way that Spoon or Daniel relate to the series at all is because they have a single song on the official soundtrack for the show ("I Turn My Camera On").
  • Broken Base: Many fans believe seasonal rot set in at one point, but no one can agree on which season - and many others enjoyed all three seasons.
    • The reveal in the season 2 finale that Cassidy raped Veronica. Is it a satisfying twist to the story, or a clumsy retcon that kills the flow of the scene?
  • Complete Monster:
    • Mercer Hayes from season 3 stands out as one of the vilest rapists in the setting whose crimes are not treated as backstory. He selects college girls with his accomplice who sets it up for him to drug random girls at the local parties, creating a panic on the campus. He rapes the girls in their dorm bedrooms and shaves their heads afterwards just to humiliate them further. His reasoning for his depraved activities amounts to "getting into a girl's pants the normal way takes too long" and he doesn't see his accomplice as anything but a useful tool, beating him when the guy starts to worry that they'll be caught for their crimes.
    • Stu "Cobb" Cobbler, the Big Bad of the movie, was a drug dealer in Neptune High. After graduation he gets invited onto a boat party by a group of friends for his supply, but when Susan Knight starts to overdose he lies to the others that it's nothing to worry about. When Susan dies the others panic and he advises them to dispose of the corpse. He then uses this information to blackmail Gia, Luke and Carrie for ten years. Gia Goodman, the girl he lusted after in high school, is forced to have sex with him whenever he wants and live in an apartment without any blinds or curtains so he can ogle her all day from across the street. When Carrie breaks down, he murders her in her own home and uses Gia to frame Carrie's boyfriend Logan Echolls for the murder in a state with the death penalty. When Gia finally confesses all of it to Veronica, he snipes Gia through the window without a flicker of remorse or regret and tries to murder Veronica to cover it all up.
  • Creator's Pet: Dick can come off as this, as he never receives any comeuppance for his part in Veronica's rape, even a decade later in the movie. In the web series "Play it again, Dick," which focuses on Ryan Hansen trying to create a Dick Casablancas spin-off, Kristen Bell outright states "Rob always had a blind spot for Dick."
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: The pilot goes a wee bit overboard in dumping the weight of the world on Veronica. Thankfully, it lightens up a bit aftewards.
    • The movie can suffer from this. As one fan put it, "Every minor and secondary character I've ever really grown to like has turned out evil, dead, or both."
  • Designated Villain: Sheriff Don Lamb can come across like this. While certainly a deeply unpleasant man who has done some shocking things (dismissing Veronica's rape in the pilot may as well have been stabbing a puppy),he is not the type the writers are clearly trying to show him as. The fact that people seem far more comfortable putting their trust in a teenage girl and rarely, if ever, actually report crimes kind of makes the argument for incompetence difficult. He never really asked for the job but came into it when Keith was forced to resign for chasing a lead (which later turned out to be wrong anyway) and that he is likely just trying to keep his job (seeing Keith fired was probably a sobering lesson in the virtues of not upsetting the apple cart). This, combined with his backstory of parental abuse, as well as the fact that he seems to be at least somewhat liked and a good boss to his men, can make one far more sympathetic to him than the writers had probably intended. The 2014 movie remedied this by replacing him with his older brother Dan Lamb, who was noticeably more venal and corrupt.
  • Die for Our Ship: Anyone who dares to get in the way of Logan/Veronica. Duncan, Leo, Hannah, Piz and Parker all got the brunt of this.
  • Draco in Leather Pants:
    • Sheriff Donald Lamb.
    • The writers did intend for Cassidy to be a likable character up until the climactic scene in "Not Pictured", however. And interestingly, the scene in which he is revealed to be evil is even a Shirtless Scene.
  • Drinking Game: If you're watching on DVD, take a shot every time Veronica asks someone for a favor. Seeing as it usually occurs at least Once an Episode...
  • Fan-Preferred Couple:
    • Veronica and whomever she wasn't with at the time. She's with Duncan? The fans wanted Veronica/Logan. She's with Logan? The fans wanted Duncan back. Not to mention those who wanted her to get together with Weevil or Wallace.
    • Mac and Cassidy were quite popular too, before and after the Season 2 finale.
    • In the run-up to the movie, Lo Ve (Logan/Veronica) emerged pretty clearly as the fan favourite. As mentioned above, it was probably helped along by the fact that Veronica/Piz was canon when the movie opened and Duncan is nowhere to be found.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Mac, Cassidy, and Logan are all extremely popular among the fandom, due primarily to the former two being the Fan-Preferred Couple and the latter being a prime source of hilarious one-liners.
  • Fan Wank: The reason for why Sheriff Lamb was killed off was never officially stated by actor Michael Muhney, Rob Thomas, and the rest of the writers. As such, two theories have persisted as the reason for such a controversial move: 1. Writer Revolt as far as Rob Thomas and the writers being appalled by fans liking the character or 2. Michael Muhney was caught leaking spoilers to fans of the show, leading to CW ordering him fired.
    • And more fuel was added to the fire when he was fired from The Young and the Restless in 2014 for groping a co-star.
  • Foe Yay: Logan/Weevil, Veronica/Lamb, Keith/Lamb, Kendall/Cassidy (which edges on text in "The Quick and The Wed"). Technically text with Veronica and Cassidy, on his part at least, what with the rape and all.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • In the penultimate episode of season 2, Weevil jokes to Cassidy (who is helping him with algebra, long story): "If this is your idea of terms I'll understand? I'm going to kill you. Or myself. It's a toss up." One episode later, Cassidy commits suicide.
    • Dick manages to give two painful FAMs in one episode ("Ain't No Magic Mountain High Enough"), first by being Cassidy's brother and ripping into Jackie, because she's Terrence's daughter. Second, he mocks Mac and Cassidy by asking her "You gonna pop his cherry? 'Cause you gotta take it easy. Don't go busting out any tricks, you don't want to spook him. Just take it gentle and slow," not knowing about the sexual abuse Cassidy has suffered. And inflicted.
    • Season 1's "Like A Virgin" features someone pretending to be Veronica sending an email to Duncan, saying she had VD when they were dating. Late in season 2 it is revealed Veronica has chlamydia... which she contracted being raped by Beaver, on the same night she slept with Duncan. It sucks to be Veronica.
    • Also in "Like A Virgin", the plot becomes darker when you realise just how bad Meg's parents really would have taken it.
    • There's the rather odd discussion of Chlamydia/Crazy Bitchy Teacher between Veronica, Gia and Dick, which is a bit uncomfortable to watch given Veronica got chlamydia being raped by Dick's brother, who got it being molested by Gia's father.
  • Growing the Beard: The first couple of episodes of the series were extremely hit or miss, in particular the show's second episode which feature a network mandated guest-appearance by Paris Hilton. It wasn't until episode six ("Return of the Kane") that the show truly found its footing.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • A couple of incredibly creepy ones from "A Trip to the Dentist" given that episode's later Retcon Beaver being told to "suit up, you don't know where [Veronica]'s been," is very ironic, given he gave her the STD and Veronica's "You're here!" to Duncan when he finds her, given that Cassidy just raped her.
    • Dick picking on Jackie when her dad is suspected of the bus crash.
    • Lamb's callous attitude towards rape, after Michael Muhney was fired from The Young and the Restless for groping a co-star.
    • In the movie, Dick's claim that his marijuana stash is legally prescribed for chronic depression is less funny when you take his delayed breakdown over Cassidy's suicide near the end of Season 3 into account: despite his flippant demeanor and attempts to make a joke about it, it's quite likely he really is still suffering from depression ten years later.
    • Again in the movie, Veronica taunts Gia for having a rich, secretly gay fiancÚ while carrying on an affair with their mutual best friend, Cobb, whom Veronica refers to as Gia's "lap dog". Knowing that Luke wants to preserve his beard by marrying Gia so as not to hinder his political career, Veronica tries to rattle Gia by asking what it is she's getting out of the arrangement. Later, it turns out that Cobb has actually been blackmailing Gia for sex on demand and controlling most aspects of her life ever since Susan's death. Marriage to a gay friend probably seems appealing because, after nine years of Cobb's control, Gia must be so traumatised that a sexless marriage is the thing she wants from Luke.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • When Veronica and Duncan overhear Logan and Kendall having sex Veronica utters the line "Attempt to outmoan them."
    • Adam Scott plays a teacher attempting to seduce Veronica. Bell would later be cast as a love interest for Scott on Party Down.
    • You could also say any time Veronica uses a taser.
    • Logan's "Please say "High School English Teacher". Please say "High School English teacher"" Considering Jason Dohring's latest role...
      • In similar fashion, Logan saying he avoids places with stained glass and pretending to be burned when placing his hand on a Bible becomes funnier when you realize he later played a vampire.
    • Leighton Meester as "the gossip queen of Neptune High." Also her character's last name is Bishop.
    • Katie LeClerc's first television appearance ever is in the episode where it's revealed that Mac was Switched at Birth.
    • In the episode "Driver Ed", Wallace claims he got the idea a reporter might be posing as a high school student from the movie Never Been Kissed. Cress Williams, who appeared in the movie, would show up an episode later as Wallace's long-lost father.
    • Duncan is last seen in Australia with his daughter that he abducted. In 2013, a similar case surfaced with a girl living with her mother who had abducted her being found in Australia.
    • If the show was made now, Veronica's mock obsession with ponies would come off rather differently.
    • Veronica tells Meg she could believe birds braided her hair like a Disney princess. Kristen Bell would later play one of those herself.
  • Ho Yay:
    • For examples that can also cross into Foe Yay depending on your interpretation; Logan/Weevil, Logan/Duncan, Logan/Lamb.
    • Logan/Dick in Season 3
  • Idiot Plot:
    • Season one ends with Veronica finding the tapes that implicate Aaron Echolls and then, rather than immediately going to one of the many state troopers who would certainly have been present in the house, since the governor was attending a party there, she drives away all by herself except for the full-grown man she somehow managed to avoid noticing hiding in the backseat of her Chrysler LeBaron. (The entire last third of that episode was more like a horror movie than a detective show, complete with a Made of Iron Big Bad.)
    • In the third season finale, she singlehandedly went after a very powerful organization with absolutely no regard for the consequences. She doesn't even check for security while breaking into their mansion headquarters so of course she gets caught on tape. When another character states she just made some powerful enemies, she just handwaves it away with "It wouldn't be the first time." No, you idiot: This time you pissed off the kind of people who can make you disappear and the fact that this is America isn't going to save you. At the end of the episode, the head of the organization states quite clearly to a shocked Veronica (who literally thought she had won) that he's decided to make her life a living Hell because he knows she's responsible. He does.
  • Internet Backdraft: Piz is going to be in the movie, and it's implied he's still in a relationship with Veronica. The response has not been pleasant. It's made worse by the fact that Duncan isn't in the movie.
    • The movie reveals that they only got back together a few years prior to the events of the movie starting.And he breaks up with her anyway because she refuses to come back to him in favour of Logan.
  • Iron Woobie: No person should go through as much crap as Veronica does, and the majority of people would have some kind of breakdown - but no. She'll move on with a plan and a quip, and try and help people.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Logan might just be the personification of this trope.
    • Less on the "jerk" side, and more the "complete psychopath" side, there is Cassidy, a true testimony to the power of a Freudian Excuse.
    • Hell, even Dick starts to fall into this in season 3.
    • Veronica herself may be an unintentional example. While she is put through a truly gobsmacking amount of suffering (see Woobie for further details), she can be manipulative, inconsiderate, single-minded and just plain unpleasant to a lot of the people she meets (just look at the way she talks to Tim Foyle in the season three opening, even if he's a bit obnoxious himself). In fact, she seems to see nothing wrong with using friends and various other people for her schemes. The only thing that redeems her is that she uses her skills for good and does have a genuine desire to help people. She's still a good character but it's difficult not to wish the writers had a greater sense of awareness about her personality.
  • Les Yay: Veronica/Lilly, Veronica/Meg, Veronica/Parker.
  • Like You Would Really Do It:
    • Who really fell for it when they pretended they killed off Keith in the season 2 finale?
    • Wallace getting shot with blanks the episode before.
    • In a non-lethal variant, like a network TV show would have its main character having committed incest, no matter how unintentionally.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Veronica (obviously) and many, many others, including Logan and Cassidy.
  • Mainstream Obscurity: The series was frequently mentioned in the context of "The fact that this show is struggling is proof that humanity is in trouble," yet its ratings were always mediocre. It frequently made lists of "The Best Shows You're Not Watching," but no one really got the hint.
  • Misaimed Fandom: Sheriff Donald Lamb.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Many fans thought the revelation of Dick's role in Veronica's rape served as this for him. The show didn't seem to think so.
    • The pilot featured Sheriff Lamb crossing the horizon towards the end of the episode via the reveal of what happened the morning Veronica attempted to report being sexually assaulted.
  • Narm: Mercer's Motive Rant, which happens completely out of the blue for no reason other than it's the end of the storyline and they needed to talk about his motivation somehow. And even then, it's incredibly simplistic after the mysteries of seasons one and two.
    • Jake Kane bellowing Veronica's name in the series finale, giving about the same performance as John Lithgow's "For free!" in Santa Claus The Movie. Then again, anytime he gets angry is this. His yelling in certain episodes are Narm-worthy.
  • Narm Charm: Logan and Veronica's "epic" conversation in "Look Who's Stalking," which is saved by being completely believable as two teenagers' idea of what a romantic conversation is. Plus, Logan was drunk.
    • When the "epic" speech is repeated by Logan and Veronica at the end of the movie, it seems quite a lot like they're Lampshading this, indulging in a bit of nostalgic irony for that teenage romantic ideal, now that they're finally in a grown-up relationship together.
  • Narrowed It Down to the Guy I Recognize:
    • For the TV show - c'mon, obviously Harry Hamlin, Steve Guttenberg (though he didn't actually do it), and, of course, James Jordan's return to the show with a wig and fake beard.
    • For the movie - Inverted. Cobb is one of the few characters in the film who won't be familiar to fans of the series.
  • Relationship Writing Fumble: Keith and Alicia's relationship just sort of...fades, with her not appearing through almost all of season 2, then showing up in the finale with no mention of it. Then she's gone completely in season 3, and Keith is clearly single. It's easy to Fan Wank that they weren't able to get past the reveal about Wallace's father, but would it have been asking too much to see them break up onscreen?
  • Replacement Scrappy: Fans of Duncan feel Piz is this, even more so since Piz is in the movie and Duncan is not.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
    • Over the course of season 2, fans grew to accept Jackie. Character Development certainly helped.
    • Parker got redeemed with the second half of season three given how her brief relationship with Logan won fans for the character, given how Parker brought out the good side of Logan.
  • The Scrappy: Duncan, Jackie, Hannah, Parker, and Piz. A grand total of ONE of these doesn't fall under Die for Our Ship.
    • It also doesn't help Piz's case that his musical background and love of Guitar Hero make him seem like a self-insert for Rob Thomas.
    • Piz was hated so badly by the fandom that even his actor has said during an interview, "Everybody fucking hates Piz."
  • Seasonal Rot: The third season departs completely from the format of the rest of the show, with the last third featuring stand-alone episodes. It also didn't help that the show spent the first third doing a rape mystery that utterly danced around Veronica being raped and how Sheriff Lamb refused to believe her, or that the second mystery was pretty much solved by most fans as far as the killer, leading to weeks of drawing out an arc that everyone else had figured out. And then came five more episodes of aimless standalone stories. Veronica turning into a smug, self-righteous jerk-ass didn't help, nor did the arbitrary breaking up of the Veronica/Logan pairing, the lack of fall-out from season two's ending, and Sheriff Lamb being killed off in anti-climatic fashion.
  • Shipping: Veronica and Logan, Logan and Weevil, and Logan and Sheriff Lamb
  • Special Effect Failure: The show has some of the most obvious pieces of Driving a Desk since the '80s.
    • The crew seems to have forgotten that Parker was supposed to be wearing a wig after a couple episodes.
    • The burning of Logan's home in Rats Saw God. What were the special effects group thinking?
  • Squick: Veronica's immediate reaction when she realizes that she and her ex-boyfriend Duncan might be siblings. Her running narrative even stops mid-epiphany for a Vomit Discretion Shot.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • The Hearst Rapist storyline: fans where anxiously awaiting this storyline since it would have meant that there would finally be a confrontation between Veronica and Sheriff Lamb over his treatment of Veronica when she tried to report being raped, especially after the season two finale revealed that Veronica had indeed been raped after all. What could have been an epic showdown that had been built up since day one of the show (as well as a way to flesh out the character of Sheriff Lamb) got ignored save for a single, by-the-by line of dialogue where Lamb told Veronica that he still did not believe that she had been sexually assaulted. Plus, rather than the varied and interesting pool of suspects in seasons one and two, all we get are a bunch of interchangeable and equally unlikable randy college guys, making it pretty hard to care about who the rapist is. Tying in to that, after the complex motivations of the season 2 culprit, it's rather a letdown when the entire motivation of the rapist is "Because I want to." Then again, he's probably one of those folks who just wants to see the world burn.
    • Lamb's death also counts; some fans think he should have died during the denouement of the Hearst Rapist storyline, possibly being killed by the rapist's accomplice, the nerdy RA after arriving on campus to help Veronica arrest the rapist. Instead, Lamb was completely absent in said episode (having essentially slept through the entire unmasking of the rapist at his home) and was killed off several episodes later, in a lame collateral damage death in the second mystery arc).
    • The revelation that Lamb had been abused as a child in the same manner that Veronica suspects Meg's sister is looked like the start of some serious Character Development. Lamb even lets Veronica and Duncan go and seems seriously unhinged by what he saw going on. And yet he is back to being the writer's go to bad guy next episode and the issue is never once brought up again even when Veronica is trying to rescue Duncan's daughter so she will be spared similar treatment.
      • Tying into this, nothing more is heard about Grace, and for all we know she's still stuck in that closet at the end of the series.
    • Very little is done with Keith losing his trust in Veronica in "Donut Run." Probably justified since he really loves her that much but it still could've been developed better.
    • Mac never interacts with any of her real family again.
  • Vindicated by History: While critically acclaimed, it never got a huge audience leading to cancellation (which is usually chalked up to simple bad luck. The show's first two seasons aired during UPN's dying days, when not having a flagship Star Trek series essentially left it cut adrift, and its third aired on the equally troubled first year of the CW's existence. It would be difficult for any show to build momentum under those circumstances, regardless of how good it is.) Through reruns and the publicity from the Kickstarter project, it's gotten another look and is now considered one of the greatest teen dramas of all time.
  • Wangst: Veronica and Piz going on and on about being separated for three months while doing their internships like it's the hardest thing any couple in history has ever gone through.
  • What an Idiot: Veronica herself in the film: She really should have made sure that the supposedly unused frequency she listens to her bug on had not been taken by any stations during the nine years she was away. Her failure to do so results in Gia being killed. Nice Job Breaking It, Hero.
    • One wonders why she keeps confronting suspected murderers in person, alone.
  • Why Would Anyone Take Him Back?: Veronica and Duncan. Veronica and Logan too.
  • The Woobie:
    • Mac, Logan, and arguably Veronica herself. Subverted with Cassidy... Kinda.
    • As of the movie, Gia. Her father is revealed to be a pedophile & promptly dies in an explosion, she gets hooked on drugs, her friend overdoses, and then she spends a decade as the sex slave to the creepy Big Bad. Then gets murdered.