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Maggie Hollander Headshot

Here's to a Night Out With Veronica Mars, The Hero Within

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Friday on Video on Demand and in theaters across the country, the crowd-funded Veronica Mars movie will finally be available for all fans to see. Three seasons, one $5.7 million Kickstarter campaign, and a South By South West premiere later, it seems Ms. Mars is a long way from her humble beginnings on The WB. What exactly got her there? Well, this is one fans opinion.

For the record, I'm not a "super fan." I didn't donate to the campaign in its beginnings, and I didn't watch the show when it was on the air. After being introduced to the now-cult classic in high school when I became friends with a few diehard fans, I was initially perplexed, mostly because I started watching in the middle of a season and had no idea what was going on. But it didn't take long for me to get hooked, and eventually I started from the pilot and worked my way through the series in its proper viewing order.

I'd sort of forgotten about the show when the Kickstarter suddenly put V-Mars in the spotlight once again, so I did the only logical thing: binge-watched all three seasons in a row. And then I remembered why Veronica is so great: she's one of us.

Veronica Mars (played by Kristen Bell) was a hero, but a hero we could see ourselves being. The easy way to categorize her is as a "modern-day Nancy Drew," but that doesn't really do her 2000s high school crime-fighting lifestyle justice.

Several factors made Veronica Mars a unique TV heroine for her time. To begin with, Veronica isn't a model. Of course Ms. Bell is a stunning actress, but she's also someone you could easily see walking down the street fairly unnoticed if she wanted to be. Veronica has a quirky sense of humor, incredibly funny but also not pretending to be stand-up comedian every night. Veronica also isn't a genius. She's very intelligent, but she's not programming computers on the side -- luckily, she's got her friend Mac for that.

Another aspect of the show was Veronica's almost Robin Hood-like nature, a stealing from the rich to give to the poor attitude, even if it didn't always align with the plot. But what was interesting about Ms. Mars was that in regards to the rich kids she claimed to loath, she in fact used to be one of them. She bridged the gap between the two very separate economic groups and was able to show the good in members of both sides of the high school war.

None of that really matters, though. What made Veronica truly special to me was that she was human. Sometimes, Veronica needed to be rescued. And yes, sometimes it was by her love interest. But other times it was her dad, or her friends.

Veronica cried. Veronica got hurt, physically and emotionally. She didn't pretend that wasn't a part of life, but she was driven to do something about it -- not just for revenge, but for answers. To make the bad parts matter. To solve the mystery. To right wrongs.

There's a lot of discussion these days (and really, my entire lifetime) about female role models in TV and film. There are plenty out there -- Hermione Granger from Harry Potter, Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games (both based on books, mind you) -- that are wonderful, but also have powers and skills well beyond the norm. At a time when The OC was telling girls to be skinny and fall in love on the beach, Veronica was the type of hero we could all look inside ourselves and find if we tried hard enough.

Next weekend, I won't be rushing to the theaters to catch the flick on the big screen the night it's released. I'll get there eventually, but to begin with I'll check out Veronica Mars on the couch at home. That's where our journey began together, anyways. All I can hope for is that now that we're both in adulthood, Veronica Mars can show me how to find that hero inside once again, to conquer any obstacles in my way while also remembering to be my powerful, vulnerable, funny, smart, awkward, and amazing self.