Comrade Veronica Mars

Christopher Hayes looks at the class politics of my new obsession, Veronica Mars, in In These Times.


Progressives have an annoying habit when it comes to pop culture. Anytime they fall for a particular TV show, movie or Top 40 hit, they proceed to spend inordinate amounts of time and mental energy convincing themselves that while most of what the corporate media produces is reactionary crap, this particular product is actually subversive, laced with a cutting critique of capitalism, patriarchy or the Bush administration.

I mention this only because I’m about to do the exact same thing. But of course, in this case, it’s really, really true: My current television obsession, UPN’s “Veronica Mars” (Tuesdays at 8 p.m. CST), is the single most compelling exploration of class anxiety and class friction on the little or big screen today. Its setting, the fictional southern California town of Neptune, is a prophetic vision of the Two Americas we are in the process of becoming—a “town without a middle class,” as Veronica calls it in the pilot episode’s opening moments, where “your parents are either millionaires or your parents work for millionaires.”