As details of the “Veronica Mars” movie started to become public last year, one thing above all warmed the hearts of a certain segment of Marshmallows.
Piz was back. And he was holding hands with Veronica.
That small-but-huge detail is a victory for the nice guys of the world — the actual nice guys, not the self-described, in-quotes “nice guys” who trash any and every woman who doesn’t fall into bed with them on account of their niceness. Stosh Piznarski would never roll like that.
Piz and Veronica (Pizonica? VeroniPiz? Piz-Mars-ski?) don’t have a cutesy cognomen like LoVe, and I’ll grant up front that the electricity that often popped off the screen in scenes between Kristen Bell and Jason Dohring wasn’t always there between Bell and Chris Lowell. Then again, after all the Sturm und Drang of her relationship with Logan, Veronica clearly welcomed the more even keel presented by the new guy in her life. Her friends did too: Wallace is like the captain of Team Piz, and Mac likes him a lot too.
What makes Piz more than just a rebound guy, though, indistinguishable from the dozens of bland, forgettable characters destined to be ‘ship-wrecked, is that he has an actual personality. He’s awkward, yes, and self-deprecating to a fault at times, and several other things endemic to classic TV Nice Guys. But he’s also funny, smart and not afraid to stand up for what he wants.
Piz is no Ducky, is what I’m saying, and for that we can all be grateful to both Lowell and the “Veronica Mars” writers. Consider Season 3’s “Un-American Graffiti,” in which Veronica tells him they’re “just friends.” He kisses her anyway, while saying “Just friends, I get it.” Shocked — but not unhappy — she returns the favor.
It’s here that I should admit to perhaps identifying with the character a little too closely at times. I have felt — all of us have probably felt — like Piz at one point or another in our lives, which is part of what makes him so relatable. Was it a surprise to learn that almost a decade removed from their first meeting, he and Veronica are still a thing? Frankly, yes. And for all anyone knows at this point, they may not last — a call from Logan, after all, is what draws Veronica back to Neptune in the movie.
Still, the fact that both Veronica and the show and movie treated Piz with respect is almost victory enough. “You’re a good guy, Piznarski,” Veronica tells him in Season 3’s “Debasement Tapes.” Coming from her, that is truly high praise.
Lastly, consider this: Piz appeared in just 11 episodes of “Veronica Mars,” all in Season 3, as they met while moving into Hearst College. Yet here we are eight years later, still talking about him. That is a guy who is built to last.