[WARNING: We'll be discussing major spoilers and plot points from the Veronica Mars movie. Proceed with caution.]
A dude with the name Stosh Piznarski was never going to have an easy time.
As a season 3 addition to the Veronica Mars universe, Chris Lowell played the sarcastic, manic radio host whom we all came to know as “Piz,” and it was fine. He was fine. He didn’t inspire, but he didn’t harm either. He just existed. It was college and Wallace (Percy Daggs III) needed a roommate. Why not make him part of the gang? We didn’t even blame him when he fell for Veronica (Kristen Bell) — because, really, who wouldn’t? He was like a little awkward puppy vying for the gorgeous, confident sleuth’s attention. She wasn’t supposed to even notice him. Not when the brooding, charismatic, and wholly undeniable Logan (Jason Dohring) was around. But, she did. And poor, pathetic Piz had the misfortune of committing the ultimate sin: He got in the way of Logan and Veronica’s epic, continent-spanning, life-ruining LoVe. That is something a true Marshmallow could never forgive.
Plus, the series ended infuriatingly ambiguously. Reason would suggest that she stayed with Piz, but the shipper brain is a crafty thing. There have to be some others out there who assumed that she eventually got back with Logan.
Predictably, when word got out that the movie would pick up with Piz and Veronica back together, the fans raged. I was right there with them. How could they do that us? How could they not know that all we want to see is Veronica and Logan make out again (and banter and smolder and whatnot). At least $3 million of that Kickstarter money was probably shipper cash. Even Lowell understood his place as the “lesser” boyfriend so poignantly that he was truly shocked there was a role for him. At Thursday’s PaleyFest reunion, he even said: “Honestly, I got this email from Rob, I knew about the Kickstarter video, and I legitimately had come to a place where I was ready to accept that I would not be in the film.”
You can imagine how surprised I was to find out that, eight years later, Piz is just fantastic and probably, controversially, the right choice for Ms. Mars.
[SECOND WARNING: Major Veronica Mars movie spoilers below]
In the movie, we meet up with Piz at his office. He works at This American Life. Ira Glass stops by to chat him up. His hair is better, his clothes are better, and he’s got something else — the confidence of an adult. A man. He is a hipster-lite dream guy, and Veronica’s got him. They snark and sass with each other and have clearly made a life together since they decided to start dating again. He’s likely been there through massive, life-changing decisions not least of which was her (off-screen) choice to deny her lifelong passion by eschewing the FBI, transferring to a different school, and picking the law as a career. You get the sense that their life is neither boring, nor passionless. It just sounds nice.
He even lets Veronica go back to Neptune to help Logan when everyone suspects that her ex has murdered his pop star girlfriend. What a champ! Has he seen Logan lately? What guy would do that? Someone who trusts his longtime love, apparently.
And it all works out fine at first. Sure, Veronica might passively pine for Logan throughout the first half of the movie, but she knows she’s in a relationship. V.Mars does not cheat. You even kind of suspect that she thinks she’s made the right choice. Logan might have calmed down, but he’s still violent and volatile.
It wasn’t till Piz was finally in the same space as Veronica and Logan that I started to care. When he arrives at Veronica’s 10-year high school reunion, she’s nowhere to be found. She’s out back, talking with Logan. Had this happened in season 3, there’s no doubt I would have been annoyed that Piz was about to interrupt this moment. But now I wanted him to interrupt. I wanted him to go out and get his girlfriend and just smile — no insults or witticisms needed. Piz has won after all. He and Veronica have a life together, they have fun together, and they can laugh and joke along when their sex tape starts playing for all to see at the reunion. His dancing at Gia’s (Krysten Ritter) after-party was just icing. Amazing, psychotic, charmingly silly icing. These two are perfect together.
Logan might still look great. He might be the first one to jump in and throw some punches when that sex tape gets going. But Logan isn’t her life. Logan is just nostalgia.
Alas, Veronica pushes Piz’s understanding ways too far. She delays her return to New York time and time again as she descends back into her obsessions (Logan and her investigative work). The final straw comes when Piz realizes that she would not be coming back to meet his parents, who’d flown to the city just to meet her. He breaks up with her over a cell phone, on the chaotic Manhattan streets as his parents linger in the background — fresh out of a cab, suitcases in tow, and waiting to find out when they’d be meeting this girl whom their son has been dating. “That loyalty, or friendship, or whatever it is that made you have to stay in Neptune…I wish that same feeling made you get on the plane,” he says, perfectly. “I have to go let my mother off the hook. She’s very concerned that her blow-out is going to flatten before you get here.” Exit: Piz.
Poorly played, Veronica.
I will admit that it was exciting to see Veronica and Logan hook up, once more, for old-times sake. That chemistry is definitely still there. But LoVe is not love. She picked the wrong guy.
It’s a common story, really. Everyone knew an alluring high school or college bad boy and their goofy, but nice counterpart who paled in comparison. Hopefully everyone even had a chance to have both types of guys pine after them. But high school and college end and so does the fascination with the dreamy but troubled one. Piz might have started out the underdog, but he’s also the guy who grew into himself and ended up on top. Because…minor dating inconveniences in an otherwise extremely privileged life build personality, probably. Logan just stayed Logan. In other (pop culture) words, at 20, the quiet beauties like Troy Dyer or Jordan Catalano might be your guy, but at 30, Michael Grates and Brian Krawkow are suddenly not only the more rational options, but probably the better one all around. Sorry, I’m old.
Anyway, I’m sure Piz is already dating someone awesome. As for Veronica and Logan? It’s not the worst thing, but it’ll never reach the swoony heights that it did nearly a decade ago. But that’s OK — we’ll always have this:
PopWatchers and Marshmallows, alike, what do you think? Are you Team Piz or Team Logan? Any other converts?
Note: A previous version of this article states that Veronica and Piz have been together since college. We regret the error.