Watchin’ the Detectives

I could use some of Veronica’s “pixie spy magic” this week. Wait. Let’s think positively. I have pixie spy magic this week. (I think I can. I think I can.)

In the morning I head to Boston, MA with a rag-tag band of colleagues for the Popular Culture Association national conference. I am excited because I love this conference so much and the location ain’t no flophouse. I’m also crazy tired because my paper has turned into a bit of a mystery that is taking many hours of pacing and sleuthing (read: revising) to solve.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been doing much reading about girl detectives for my paper on Nancy Drew post-9/11. I’ve also been thinking about the portrayal of the teen female murder vic in Veronica Mars and The Killing. Someone needed to put an APB out on the point, though. By thinking, what I mean is I have had this paper on the back burner of my mind for six months, hoping that a thesis–a point–would boil out of all the observations I have about the relationship between the victims, the detectives, and the camera in these two TV shows. No such luck; I was afraid my paper was turning into a bum steer. Finally, however, after giving my notes a shakedown, I found a point I can live with (for now).

In a nutshell, my paper argues that through the presentation of the girls’ bodies within the investigation and videos, and through the relationships between the detective and the victim, Veronica Mars gives the teen girl more agency than The Killing while also portraying a more successful grieving process. Through Lilly’s participation in her own murder investigation (via hallucinations/fantasies) and through Veronica’s role as detective and foil, the show demonstrates a more nuanced approach to the sexy teen girl’s demise while also demonstrating a greater willingness to acknowledge and cope with violence than The Killing. While target audience is certainly a factor here, I think what the shows most clearly demonstrate is that the teen audience is more willing to deal with the sexuality and the death of a teenage girl than an adult one, so that the latter ends up obscuring the girl’s body and the role she played in her own demise by being unable to cope.  I also include what I think are lovely descriptions of corpses. Or stiffs, rather.

I’m excited to hear the other papers on my panel (I’m on a girlhood panel in the Adolescence in Film & Television division). So, now that everything’s on the level, time for  the case of finding cool things to do on a very short trip to Boston. Maybe I’ll wander into a gin joint or speakeasy or something.

There is not enough VM on YouTube. So enjoy this:

2 thoughts on “Watchin’ the Detectives

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