Veronica Mars/Un-American Graffiti
Un-American Graffiti is the sixteenth episode of the third season of Veronica Mars, and the sixtieth episode overall. Veronica attempts to avoid going to Parker's birthday party by taking on a vandalism and hate crime case. While she tracks down the person who spraypainted "Terrorist" on the Arab owned restaurant, Keith cracks down on underage drinking.
Starring: Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars), Jason Dohring (Logan Echolls), Percy Daggs III (Wallace Fennel), Ryan Hansen (Richard "Dick" Casablancas), Julie Gonzalo (Parker Lee), Chris Lowell (Stosh "Piz" Piznarski), Tina Majorino (Cindy "Mac" Mackenzie), Michael Muhney (Sheriff Don Lamb (credit only)), Francis Capra (Eli "Weevil" Navarro (credit only))
Guest Starring: Anthony Azizi (Rashad Krimani), Carole Raphelle Davis (Sabirah Krimani), Tracey Needham (Kathleen Barry (credit only)), Jack McGee (Mr. Murphy), KC Clyde (Deputy Gills), Azita Ghanizada (Amira Krimani), Haaz Sleiman (Nasir Ben Hafayid), Adam Rose (Max), Cole Williams (Derrick Karr), Eric Ladin (Derrick's Brother), Fred Stoller (One-Hour-Photo Clerk)
Co-Starring: Brandon Hillock (Deputy Sacks), Monica Allgeier (Miranda Apfel), Bart Fletcher (Jimmy/Kid at Bar), Cameron Meyer (Mrs. Hillis Honors AD), Tyler Foden (Ronald), Kunal Sharma (Brett), George Griffin (Stoner), Duane Daniels (Van Clemmons), David Giuntoli (Sneed Batman Guy), Robert Sudduth (Jason Cohen), Amy Main (Hot Myspace Girl #1), Christina Ulloa (Hot Myspace Girl #2), Brian Casey (Rock-A-Billy Loser), Chet Grissom (INS Agent)
A woman looking for Keith comes into his office, apparently unaware of his new status as defacto sheriff. The middle-eastern woman is the owner of Babylon Gardens, a restaurant which Veronica and her father often frequent. In the latest act of racism against middle easterners, her business was vandalized by someone who broke out their windows and spraypainted "Terrorist" on the door. Although the Mars Investigations office is shut down for the conceivable future, Veronica decides to help her out anyway. She stakes out the restaurant and has a brief encounter with Amira, who is still unhappy about some of Veronica's high school exploits. She leaves and tells her father about Veronica, who asks her to go home so that he can take care of the business. Just as they're talking, several people dressed in black in a yellow truck drive by and shoot them all with paintball guns. Even though the license plate was removed, Veronica caught a glimpse of a bumper sticker indicating that the owner has a student at Neptune Middle School. She goes forward on the investigation.
Meanwhile, across town, an incredibly drunk man is sent packing by the bartender and is struck by a car in a hit-and-run. Keith arrives on the scene to talk with the bartender, who sold alcohol to a minor with an obvious fake ID. He implies that the bartender shares some of the blame for why the kid won't be able to walk anymore. He gets information from Veronica that all of the campus-area bars are lax on making sure they aren't serving underage drinkers and decides to crack down on them, much to the dismay of the deputies.
The next day, Veronica pays a visit to the honors class at Neptune Middle under the ruse of doing a survey for her criminology class. The poll asks students (including a particularly obnoxious one who doesn't believe a girl could be in the FBI) first if they or a family member own B.B. or pellet guns, then if someone they know owns a paintball gun. When the numbers don't narrow down to one person, she asks who has a "big yellow pick-up truck," which tips off the teacher that the poll might not be quite what she expected. Veronica follows the one hand, a young Arab boy, to his home where she finds the truck and a couple of kids playing video games. She sneaks in, grabs a gun and shoots both the TV and the boy from the classroom. She confronts him, but he says that they had nothing to do with the vandalism. He shows her a video of the night before and their assault of everyone, not just Arabs. She accepts their defense and puts them to work on cleaning up their carnage. While they clean, Veronica sets up hidden cameras at Babylon Gardens to catch the real perpetrators.
Back to the bar crawl, none of the deputies issued any citations, which Keith finds highly suspect considering the information Veronica gave him. While he's questioning them, Veronica watches the surveillance video for Babylon Gardens and finds one suspicious guy skulking about with a shirt reading "Sneed Batmen." She tries to get Mac to help her with the phrase, but winds up getting roped into agreeing to go to Parker's birthday party. She goes off to get reinforcements from Piz and Wallace, but just as they agree to be her wingmen, she spots the Sneed Batmen shirt and runs off. She gets the name "Jason Cohen" from a member of the softball team.
Jason Cohen lives at the Zeta Epsilon house, a Jewish fraternity. When Veronica pulls up, she sees a flash go off in the trees and, with the aid of her binoculars, a man in the tree next to a window. A woman screams, he stumbles out of the tree, hops on his bike and rides away. When two people open the door, Veronica finds Jason and Amira. Amira explains that the man in the tree was Nasir, a man who she was arranged to marry, but she's more interested in her Jewish boyfriend Jason. Nasir hopes to take the pictures to her father and have her disowned as retribution. There's only two one-hour photo places in town that are open so late, so Veronica goes to the closest one.
At the drug store, Veronica poses as Nasir's girlfriend to pick the photographs up before he can get them. She walks away with the full photographs, but Nasir does manage to come away with a couple of the half-developed proofs. Her father only needs half of the picture to decide that this is why they have been targeted and that the vandals must be from either the Jewish or Arab communities.
Meanwhile, across town, Wallace is trying to get Piz into the game, so to speak, by being hustled by a woman playing pool in a bar. As this is going on, Keith is in the back office of "The Brig" with a particularly hostile bartender who suggests that if the police don't back off of his customers, he's not going to buy an especially high number of police raffle tickets this year. He turns this threat into a bribe, but Keith isn't in the mood for the bartender's insinuations and finds Wallace and Piz drinking at the bar. They hand over their IDs, which were made for them by Veronica.
The next morning, Keith confronts his daughter about Wallace and Piz (even though he does give something of a backhanded compliment, saying that her fakes were leagues better than any of the others he confiscated). She broods for a moment but is called into service by Sabirah, whose restaurant has been vandalized again. Veronica caught the offender's face on camera plus he took the Arabic scroll with a tracer stitched inside, making him easier to find. She discovers the scroll in a trash can and the perpetrator driving a beat up van. He starts shouting about the restaurant being a terrorist front, but his wheelchair bound brother tries to calm him down. The source of his vitriol is a political cartoon showing soldiers going into Iraq and coming out in coffins, which was apparently being handed out by Nasir at the mall. Veronica goes back to Babylon Gardens and explains the situation; Derrick's brother was shot in Iraq and the flier set him off. Instead of pressing charges, Rashad asks to meet the vandal.
Keith isn't quite done with Wallace and Piz yet, however. He comes to their dorm room (which has been adorned with the cover of the latest Lampoon, showing a cartoon Keith yelling at two students with their faces pasted over the cartoon bodies) and hands them two obviously fake IDs, featuring Jon Bon Jovi and The Notorious B.I.G. as the pictures. He sends them to the campus bars and has them drink non-alcoholic beer at the bar when the lazy deputy from before does a random check. He barely looks at any of them, only stopping briefly at Wallace and Piz, before ending his search and leaving. In the morning, Keith fires the deputies who didn't bother to check IDs.
The Krimanis are taken by Veronica to meet Derrick at his home so that the two can engage in a dialogue instead of carting him off to prison in retaliation. Despite an impassioned speech, Derrick doesn't care what he has to say, but he decides not to report him to the police after all. He also decides that perhaps Amira can date a Jewish boy and that he doesn't need to support Nasir anymore. Because the cartoon pissed him off, he calls INS on Nasir and has him deported due to his expired student visa.
With all of the investigations at a close, Veronica has no choice but to face Parker's party. She shares an elevator with Dick and winds up trying to calm her nerves with a flask of whatever alcohol Dick had on him. She struggles with digging in and preparing for battle as a single person at the party, but winds up dismissed by both Mac and Wallace. But, Dick winds up worse for wear and gets stuck in the ice machine room by the girls he was trying to nail from MySpace. Veronica tries to use Piz as a "break glass in case of emergency" go-to guy, Wallace informs her that Piz does, in fact, have a thing for her and she needs to put him out of his misery already. She tries to break them off as "just friends" on the balcony, but he kisses her before she can get the rest out. He starts to leave and, just when she catches and kisses him, the elevator doors open and Logan sees the entire thing.
- Neptune Sheriffs: Several of the Neptune deputy sheriffs are fired by Keith for disobeying his orders and not checking the obviously fake IDs that he gave Wallace and Piz. Considering that there is a special election for the new sheriff position coming up, this may damage Keith's chances for legitimate election.
- 1x06 - Return of the Kane: During Veronica's junior year of high school, there was a student government election in which the resident fighter for the school's less advantages, Wanda Varner, ran for president on the platform of abolishing pirate points. She argued that pirate points were a system created strictly for the rich 09ers. Eventually, she lost the race because Madison Sinclair rigged the vote so that Duncan Kane would win and preserve the status quo, but he decided to expand the system to include the rest of the school's population.
- Amira: Yeah, like since my senior year when you made my pirate points worthless.
- 3x09 - Spit & Eggs: The fake IDs made for Piz and Wallace were rewards for helping Veronica on a case earlier in the semester. The two, plus Mac, were called into duty to help Veronica test everyone's alcohol for traces of GHB so that they could prevent another rape. Their plot ended with the discovery of Mercer and his accomplice as the rapists, who very nearly had another victim if it weren't for Veronica's involvement.
- Keith: I guess I don't have to ask where you got these.
- 1x08 - Like a Virgin: Max described the basic elements of Mac's "mystery of the week" appearance. She set up a professional looking website which allowed people to take a sexual purity test, which bid them to describe their sexual tendencies. She then sold the results of these tests to students who requested them for $10 each. She bought a car with the profits.
- Max: That's great, an online purity test.
- 3x11 - Poughkeepsie, Tramps and Thieves: Max's friends hired a prostitute to meet with him at a comic book convention in hopes that getting him laid would loosen him up. Although he was convinced that he was in love with her, she wound up scamming him out of most of his money, even after he bought her out of the prostitution game.
- Max: Seriously, did my friends hire you?
Behind the Scenes
Allusions and References
- American Graffiti: The title of this episode refers to the 1973 George Lucas directed film American Grafitti. The movie is about a group of Californian teenagers on the last night of the summer vacation which followed their high school graduation. The vignettes of the teenagers are connected by a radio show by Wolfman Jack, a popular radio DJ at the time.
- Gears of War: The video game that the four boys are playing before Veronica shoots their TV with a paintball gun is "Gears of War," a third-person shooter set in a post-apocalyptic future on the XBox 360.
- Towelie: Towelie is a cartoon character on South Park created by Matt Stone and Trey Parker to be the worst character imaginable. He doesn't do much of anything other than get high and give incredibly obvious, obtuse remarks, much like the young man playing video games.
- Veronica: Keep up, Towelie.
- Pulp Fiction: Much of the scene where Veronica threatens the boys with a paintgun is pulled directly from the film Pulp Fiction where Samuel L. Jackson pumps three boys for information by threatening at gunpoint. At one point, after Brett has said "what" several times, Jules Winnfield points his gun at him in the arm and shouts "Say 'what' again! Say 'what' I dare you! I double-dare you motherfucker!"
- Veronica: Say "what" again, I dare ya!
- I Know What You Did Last Summer: Mac gives the entire plot to the teen slasher film I Know What You Did Last Summer in a single sentence. The entire movie is about a group of teenagers who accidentally run over a fisherman, but speed off without helping him. One by one, they all start to die by the hand of a mysterious man with a giant hook.
- Mac: We ran over that fisherman and promised to take the secret to our graves?
- She's All That: The second movie reference that Mac gives to Logan is the plot for She's All That, a modernized adaptation of Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw. The movie is about a popular soccer player whose girlfriend dumps him, leading him to bet his friends that he could turn the nerdiest girl in school, played by Rachel Leigh Cook, into a replacement for his old girlfriend. Despite the false pretenses, he winds up falling in love with the nerd.
- Mac: You bet your friends you could turn me into a super-hot prom date as a joke, but you ended up falling in love with me?
- The Room: Actor/producer/director/screenwriter Tommy Wiseau's cult masterpiece about three people in a terrible relationship. Piz doesn't mention the movie by name, but does reference the fact that people throw spoons at the screen whenever a stock photograph of a spoon appears in the background. The Room is widely considered to be the "successor" to Rocky Horror Picture Show on the midnight movie circuit.
- Piz: It's like the new Rocky Horror, at one point people throw plastic spoons at the screen.
- Yo La Tengo: Yo La Tengo is an indie rock band from New Jersey that has been performing as a band for over 20 years. The name of the band comes from a famous baseball story from 1962. The center fielder, Richie Ashburn, and shortstop, Elio Chacón, were nearly about to collide when Ashburn shouted "I've got it" in Spanish ("¡Yo la tengo!"). Chacón backed off and Ashburn positioned him for a catch, but he was mowed down by Frank Thomas, the Mets left fielder, who didn't understand Spanish.
- Wallace: I thought you were going to Yo Yo Taco on Sunday?
- Casablanca: The last lines of Casablanca are spoken by Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine, the American expatriate owner of a night club in Morocco. After allowing Ilsa Lund and her husband to escape and continue their resistance movement against the Nazis, he says to his piano player Louis, "Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."
- Dick: What's that line about the beginning of some kind of friendship?
- The Big Lebowski: Yet another Big Lebowski reference in season three is Dick's quotation of "The Dude" from the film on his MySpace page. In the movie, Jeff Bridges can frequently be seen saying that quote and using it as the foundation for his pacifist, slacker philosophy.
- Dick: "The Dude abides." I don't know about you, but I take comfort in that.
- Veronica: Your fly's open.
Dick: I know. Party ritual.