Thursday, March 20, 2014

At Anorak: We Used to Be Friends: Five Reasons Why Veronica Mars (2014) is Much More Than "Fan Service."

My new article is up at Anorak.  Titled "We Used to Be Friends: Why Veronica Mars (2014) is Much More Than "Fan Service," it concerns a mystery worthy of Veronica Mars herself. 

Why are so many critics of the film using the term "fan service" in regards to it?

Is "fan service" actually code for...something else?  And if so, what?

"HERE’S a challenge for the intrepid researcher: Go to Google and search for five or so reviews of the Veronica Mars (2014) movie from the mainstream press that don’t include the following term: “fan service.”
For the uninitiated in such things, fan service is a descriptor widely understood to mean the act of “giving the fans exactly what they want,” and for some reason, it is being applied to Veronica Marson a remarkably consistent, nay universal basis.
Have all media writers just discovered this term at once?
If so, can we look forward to the idea of “fan service” also being applied as an adjective to upcoming major geek releases such as Godzilla, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and Star Wars Episode VII?
Or, more insidiously, is the term “fan service” being applied regularly only to Veronica Marsbecause the film was funded the crowd-source way, by Kickstarter?
The real question here is this: does the fact that fans of the TV series (2004 – 2007) paid for the movie’s budget mean that Veronica Mar is less of a real — and therefore less worthy — of a film than any other?
It seems that in this case, “fan service” is actually a code term utilized to diminish or slight the Rob Thomas film and to transmit (through stealth means…) the notion that Veronica Mars is less legitimate a movie than one that, by contrast, a studio has paid  hundreds millions of dollars to support.
You know, real movies like the The Lone Ranger (2013) or R.I.P.D.(2013)
Of course, this notion of Veronica Mars being somehow illegitimate is patently absurd. And the idea of Veronica Mars as drooling, empty-headed “fan service” can be negated simply by a close analysis of the film itself.

In that light, here are five reasons why that Veronica Mars is no mere “fan service” film.


  1. It's exactly what the media does. It places everything in a neat little box. They discover words like "gravitas" and other hot words or phrases and use them to the point where we no longer want to use them or they are considered cliché.

    And of course that is why people read here at your site. You unravel all of those clichés and stale ideas that are passed around like the same story for the AP.

    It's gross really. It's the same reason it's maddening to hear these same critics and writers call the classics cheesy or campy.

    They can't see anything beyond those catch words. Sad really. Keep up the great writing.

  2. SFF:

    You speak wise words about the media, my friend.

    And ones that carry insight.

    You're right -- it's sort of like high school all over again, with everyone suddenly using the same word or phrase. But nobody really getting what it means.

    It is gross, as you say, and like you, I tire of reading journalists write the words" cheesy" or "campy" without any real knowledge of what those terms actually mean, or when they ought to be applied.

    Thank you for the kind words about my writing, my friend. You also work over-time to unravel the cliches and stale ideas, and bring fresh eyes to genre material.

    All my best,

  3. John excellent analysis of the legitimacy of this fan funded Veronica Mars film. I find the critics snob factor of such a wonderful film just reveals that they truly do not love films, just finding their defined flaw to tear it down. It is ignorance of the basic storytelling of film no matter where the funding is from or the influence of fans.



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