Veronica Mars versus Emily Thorne: Similarities and Differences

In the two TV series, Revenge and Veronica Mars, there are several noir elements in common, as well as some noticeable differences between the two.

In both of the TV series, there is a protagonist, “with an individual set of moral values, situated in a corrupted society” and also, the actions of the protagonist are justified by: either a need to take revenge for an unjust treatment or the need to expose the truth to bring justice in society. Then there are the commonalities in the characterization of the female characters as intelligent/smart, tech-savvy and brave. And sorry Strauss and Howe, these female protagonists are pretty “hardboiled”, and they are nowhere near being, “obedient to the  law/authority”. If the law/authority is corrupted (which is the case in these millennial noirs), and does not justly serve the people, these youngsters are ready to topple it. With their intelligence, bravery and sound knowledge of the modern technologies, these young millennials are determined to put their lives at risks and be a “private eye”, to expose the harsh realities of the society. Relating these representations of the millennials to the real life, I could not help but to think of Invisible Children as an example. Despite the controversies surrounding how their resources are spent or how the fact is represented, the group so efficiently uses the potential of the modern technologies: social media and digital tools expose gruesome truth about Joseph Kony by sharing their footages/images to the world, within few days.

Yet another similarity between the two shows is that the stories linger on the uncertainty of the past. Does Veronica Mars’s father falsely accuse Dunkin’s father? Is Veronica Mars raped? Is Emily Thorne’s father, an innocent man or does he bury some secrets with him? Does Emily Thorne really know what kind of man her father is? These uncertainties intensify the suspense element in the millennial noir, and also they leave the reliability of the single-point-of-view narrative, questionable in the two TV series.

But unlike in Revenge, wherein the classical noir element of femme fatale is on the surface, in Veronica Mars it is subordinated. Though both the characters are beautiful and desirable, Emily Thorne comes much closer to representing a potential femme fatale than tomboyish Veronica Mars. Unlike Veronica Mars who most of the times dresses pretty simple and neat (as in not fleshy and fancy); Emily Thorne is more feminized and glamorized. It becomes clear that the show emphasizes on her beauty and sexuality, as she consciously uses them as a tool to get closer to the Greysons.


 Image Emily Thorn, the innocent beauty

Veronica Mars, the tomboy


2 comments on “Veronica Mars versus Emily Thorne: Similarities and Differences

  1. Sinead says:

    Your point about the characterizations of the two women and their femininity is interesting; have you considered, however, the changes that each woman made to become this noirish figure? Veronica used to embody many attributes of stereotypical femininity, until she was outcasted, raped, and seriously disillusioned. Conversely, Emily used to embody less of this typical female beauty; she was obviously still a beautiful woman but she was not trying to fit into this society and this role of the perfect socialite. Similarly to Veronica, Emily’s style and looks change after she finds out the truth about the world (or rather the truth behind her father’s “crimes”). I find it interesting that traditional femininity, or lack thereof, can represent such different things for these two women.

  2. roofofworld says:

    Thank you for your comment, Sinead. Yes, you raised an interesting point about how tragedies in their lives forced/made them reconstruct their images. They seem using -at their advantages- two differing characteristics of feminism – be it Veronica’s casual and carefree attitude or Emily Thorn’s beauty and elegance.

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