Veronica Mars/Debasement Tapes
Debasement Tapes is the seventeenth episode of the third season of Veronica Mars, and the sixty-first episode overall. A washed up rock star comes to down under the management of Piz, but when a set of tapes critical to his performance go missing, Veronica is called in to hunt them down.
Starring: Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars), Jason Dohring (Logan Echolls), Percy Daggs III (Wallace Fennel), Ryan Hansen (Richard "Dick" Casablancas), Julie Gonzalo (Parker Lee (credit only)), Chris Lowell (Stosh "Piz" Piznarski), Tina Majorino (Cindy "Mac" Mackenzie), Michael Muhney (Sheriff Don Lamb (credit only)), Francis Capra (Eli "Weevil" Navarro (credit only))
Special Guest Star: Paul Rudd (Desmond Fellows)
Guest Starring: Ken Marino (Vinnie Van Lowe), Max Greenfield (Leo D'Amato), Adam Rose (Max), Michael Mitchell (Bronson Pope), Lindsey McKeon (Trish Vaughn), Suzanne Cryer (Prof. Grace Schaffer), Tayler Sheridan (Danny Boyd)
Co-Starring: Brandon Hillock (Deputy Sacks), David Magidoff (Jeff Ratner), Jason Weissbrod (Arnold), Kurt David Anderson (Business Nerd), Norman Large (Business Prof.), Dustin Hess (Spaghetti Server), Abby Miller (Blonde Female Caller), David Douglas (Vincent), Alain Uy (Marty), Lee Ann Kim (Anchor Person), Jeremy Glazer (George), Loren Freeman (Danny Cleaver)
Uncredited: Rob Thomas (Johnny Scopes)
Famed rock star Desmond Fellows is coming to Hearst in order to perform a benefit concert as "My Pretty Pony" after a DJ on the radio station swore on air, bringing down hefty FCC fines which would effectively close down the station. The honor of being his guide in Neptune has been bestowed upon Piz, who is completely oblivious to Veronica's less than forthcoming attitude about whether or not their kiss was a good idea. He offers her a ticket to the concert, but she says she'll think about it. Later on, at the Neptune Grand, Piz meets with Fellows, who also finds a half-naked woman in his suite bedroom. He turns her down and she storms off, but after she's gone all of the backing tapes with the deceased member of the band's performances are missing from his backpack.
It turns out that Piz isn't so oblivious after all and admits that he knows the Veronica thought their encounter at the party was a mistake. Despite this crushing blow to his ego, Piz calls in Veronica to find Fellows' tapes before the concert date. Fellows has figured out as much that the woman from his bedroom stole the tapes, but he doesn't know who "BlackCat70" was, he only has a picture of "BlackCat80." While Veronica gets to work on a Chinese symbol she saw in a chat transcript with the woman, Piz desperately attempts to manage Fellows without him disillusioning any more people about their idol.
Meanwhile, at the sheriff's department, former deputy Leo D'Amato returns to inform Keith that one of the stock guys at the warehouse he works security at seems to be casing the place. He also recalls seeing Danny Boyd, a known Fitzpatrick flunky, is new on the cleaning staff and once he voiced his concern he was fired. Keith takes the tip to heart and promises to get a tap on Boyd's phone. Back at Hearst, Veronica and Piz meet with two Chinese students before their class to discern that the Chinese character means "Grace." This also happens to be the name of the woman from before and the teacher of their Chinese class (who is in the room when they crack the meaning). Veronica tries to guilt her into telling her where the drugs and tapes are, but she's convincingly innocent enough that Veronica and Piz move on to the "Semites for the Savior" religious group who is in opposition to Fellows' performance.
During the lull in the investigation, Piz tries to steer his idol back towards writing songs instead of playing the same decade old songs over and over again, but a commercial which showed part of a music video with his late partner sends him off to the lame party someone called in about on the radio. Piz arrives at the party just in time to find an incredibly drunk Fellows skinny dipping in the ocean, which quickly gets broken up by Sachs. Fellows is arrested, where he winds up getting into an argument with Keith over the validity of The Beatles as a rock band until Piz and Veronica show up.
The two follow up on the "Semites for the Savior" lead, which leads them to notorious Neptune Grand bellboy Jeff Ratner. Ratner denies having anything to do with the theft because the hotel's robes are white, not blue. Veronica apologizes (he doesn't accept, as usual) and the two run back to see Desmond and his robe. Of course, the most crucial clue was right under their noses the entire time: No one stole the tapes, Desmond just grabbed the wrong bag. The tapes should be in the hands of Danny Cleaver in Los Angeles. Veronica and Piz drive down to Danny's house, pick up the tapes and wind up listening to the CD of new demos while flipping through a book of new lyrics on their way back.
During their borderline uncomfortable drive back to down, Keith and Leo are staked out at Leo's place of business where they spot Vinnie Van Lowe aiding a robbery. Or so it seems, until he locks the real culprits inside the warehouse. He infiltrated the gang after getting word from the boss that something shady was going down and called the sheriff's department right after Keith did.
Veronica and Piz wind up getting to the venue on time, but they tell Desmond over the phone that they're hopelessly stuck in traffic and that he should go on with some new songs. Despite being a spineless, washed-up has-been rock star, Desmond actually goes on stage with the new songs and doesn't do a single old song.
Meanwhile, Logan employs Mac to start a website for his business proposal, which leads Mac to call in Max and realize that she's probably better suited with the nerd than Bronson. She breaks up with him in the end and gets with Max. Despite all the hard work they put in, the professor for the course shuts Logan down during his presentation.
- Special Election: Although Keith was running unopposed for a large part of his stint as acting sheriff, Vinnie Van Lowe is throwing his hat into the ring for the election. This does not bode well for Keith, who unknowingly endorsed Vinnie's candidacy when commenting on his help in the arrest of the thieves.
Behind the Scenes
Allusions and References
- Barbara Eden: Barbara Eden is perhaps most famous as the title character, Jeannie, from I Dream of Jeannie, the 1960s sitcom about an astronaut who discovers a genie that falls in love and marries him.
- Desmond: Anyone ever tell you, you look like a feisty young Barbara Eden?
- Ghost Ride the Whip: Logan gets his idea for his business proposal from Dick submitting a video to a website where he "ghost rides the whip." Ghost riding is a phenomenon popularized in 2006 by E-40 on his song "Tell Me When to Go." The idea behind ghost riding is that the driver and passengers put the car into neutral, get out and dance around it while the car still rolls ahead. This has lead to some injury and property damage due to out of control cars and getting too close to the wheels as it rolls on, like Dick did.
- Dick: Dude, that's me. Ghost ride the whip!
- Veronica: I mean, the Bronson Parmesan is good for me, but—ooh!—the Maxuccine looks awfully tempting.
- Mac: I'll need Red Bull and licorice.
- Caller #3: I'm calling from Semites for the Savior. We want everyone to know that this man makes songs that mock our religious beliefs.
Desmond: You're a Jewish group and your initials are S.S.?
Caller #3: We encourage everyone to pray with us that he cancels the show and—
Desmond: Nazi gonna happen.
- Dick: I'm an ass expert.
Logan: Yes, except for the expert part.
- Max: See, the point of the Internet is to make money off stupid people.