Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Faux Indie Rock Guy

With Veronica Mars ending its run, I'm left mulling over why the depiction of the Indie Rock Guy rang false. Some of it can be chalked up to the acting. Chris Lowell as Piz never made an indelible impression and had nowhere near the chemistry with the title character as Logan, played by Jason Dohring.

But the bigger problem was that Piz was made into the Indie Rock Guy by people who are definitely not Indie Rock Guys. First, he didn't look the part. Jack Black and Todd Louiso in High Fidelity looked like they had been hired for the film straight from actual hole-in-the-wall record stores. A patron at the library where I work looked like he came fresh from Indie Rock central casting: scrawny, clothes just hanging on his lanky frame, slightly greasy hair falling into his eyes, big black glasses. Piz just looked like a generic college student.

More importantly, he didn't sound like an Indie Rock Guy. One recent episode had Piz spouting minutia about a fictitious band, but he never sounded convincing about the real thing. He was giddy about lining up a summer internship with Pitchfork Media's New York headquarters, but Pitchfork is based in Chicago. He sneared at someone's enthusiasm for Matchbox 20 and expressed self-contempt for quoting John Mayer lyrics to his girlfriend, but he should have been quoting, for example, Bright Eyes or the Magnetic Fields, instead. It's as if the writers only know who Indie Rock Guy Guy should hate without any real knowledge of who he should love. In other words, it came across as a persona to slap onto a generic character to make him less generic.

On the other hand, Douglas Coupland's indie rock bona fides are so much a part of him that he used Smiths and New Order song titles as titles for his own works.

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