One of the more popular tropes of fandom today is when people break down into teams along the romantic fault lines in whatever it is they're watching, the most famous case being the “Twilight” movies and their “Team Jacob” and “Team Edward” camps.
Before Jacob and Edward divided fans, though, there was Logan and Piz, and this weekend, “Veronica Mars” will once again be able to pick sides in what I feel like is a very smart and canny nod to the way fans feel. Rob Thomas could easily have done a full reset between the end of the show and the start of the film, and he could have simply left Chris Lowell's character Piz out of things completely if he'd wanted.
If you didn't watch the show and you didn't read my guide to everything you need to know about the show to enjoy the movie that we published yesterday, I'm sure you're asking yourself “Why does he keep using the word Piz like it's someone's name?” Ah, but it was. In the third season of the show, the series shifted from high school to college, and Lowell played Stosh “Piz” Piznarski, his last name a tribute to the guy who directed the pilot episode of the show. There was a vocal percentage of fans who rejected the character completely, and those fans had to feel somewhat let down when they heard that Powell, currently featured on the excellent comedy series “Enlisted,” was back for the movie.
With Logan, I think it's more complicated than just whether or not fans like the character. I think Jason Dohring made Logan Echolls very interesting when he played the part, perfectly capturing the various warring influences at work inside the character. He and Kristen Bell had great chemistry together, just as strong when they were fighting as when they were dating, and Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggerio took full advantage of that chemistry over the course of the show.
In all honesty, I don't really want Veronica Mars to end up with either of them permanently. Logan's got enough baggage that I don't think he would be good for her in the long run, and Piz just can't offer her full support to be who she is. My real problem with all the team stuff is that I don't feel like “Veronica Mars” is really a series about the character's romantic life. She has her own purpose in this world, and she's so single-minded about pursuing what she sees as justice that it seems reductive to define her by which man is in her life.
In person, there's a very funny energy between Lowell and Dohring, and they seemed happy to talk about the tension between their characters and how it felt to step back into what seemed like it was finished. We talked about the way television fans engage on a different level than people who love movies, and they both seemed really grateful to have ben allowed to go back to Neptune one more time.
And as far as which team they're on? I think this image (courtesy of Kevin Parry from the Paley Center For Media) from last night's PaleyFest reunion event, moderated by our own Alan Sepinwall, sort of says it all.
“Veronica Mars” is available via iTunes, Ultraviolet, and in theaters today.