When I was a kid, Nancy Drew was my favorite sleuth, if not my hero. I’m not unique in that. Scratch many female mystery readers and writers, and you’re likely to find it was Nancy who led them into their lives of crime.
I know Nancy Drew inspired a lot of us. But she was more than inspirational for me. I wasn’t being raised in a household that believed in independent women. Though others were caught up in the women’s movement, in my family, we were enshrining the beliefs of an earlier century. I was always told that women were supposed to be submissive to men, that we should hide our intelligence and capabilities or it would threaten them. Even then I wondered why we should want men who folded that easily, but as a little girl I feared I might be alone in that belief.
If my parents had read the books they were buying, they would have banned them from our house as a subversive. Because they didn’t, I was able to cling to another view of life. For me, Nancy’s self-confidence and deductive savvy weren’t merely inspiring, they were like water in the desert to someone dying of intellectual thirst.
I’ve been grateful to her shining example all these years because she helped me to become the woman I am today.
Yeah, yeah, I know this was a show from, not merely years, but nearly a decade ago. What can I say? I don’t have much time for TV, and I’ve missed loads of good shows. In the spirit of full honesty, though, I must confess that I did know about Veronica Mars when it was on. Most mystery folks watched it then, and many of them raved about it.
I gave it a try once, but its teenage protagonist meant it contained two elements that tend to drive me away from movies and TV shows: I hate it when what we’re supposed to accept as smart aleck teens characters who are actually being played by actors zeroing in on thirty — I always think that makes them seem unbelievably savvy about life, and I often find I can’t sustain that much disbelief; and, the other thing I don't like about teen shows in general is that we invariably have to watch commercials for zit products. Been there long ago--don't need to go back.
But recently, on a whim, I recorded a few episodes. Then, weeks later, on a stormy Sunday when there was nothing else to watch, I gave the show another try, this time catching the pilot, which I never saw. Boy, was I wrong! Oh, sure, the actors are too old to their parts to my mind, but it has so much else going for it, I’ve found I can overlook that.
I didn’t know that Veronica believed herself to be raped in the first episode. What a bold story choice. And since Veronica keeps her ugly secret close and moves forward so courageously, that makes me admire her even more. She’s as confident and smart as Nancy Drew, only she’s working in a tougher world. I also didn’t know that it makes such a statement on the haves versus the have-nots, which is even truer today than when the show was made.
I’m not sorry I didn’t see all these episodes before, however. Because now, thanks to Pivot TV running all the episodes, I can create my own Veronica Mars marathons. And thanks to my DVR, I can skip the zit commercials.
Do you like Veronica Mars? Are there any TV shows that you've missed until later?