I am well aware that "certain people" = spectralbovine. I've garnered quite a reputation for being defensive of Rob, and I make no apologies for it. I correspond with the guy. I like him. We talk about music and video games and how damn cute his baby is. It is only natural for me to be irrationally sensitive when people talk shit about him and his work. Me, personally. The fandom proper have their own reasons.
I've also, however, garnered quite a reputation for disallowing criticism of the show, which is patently untrue. Witness this very post, which explains all that was wrong with how the Veronica/Duncan relationship was portrayed this season. Then look at my response, which was not, "Shut up, you fucking hater," but, "Thank you." It's not criticism that bugs me; it's the prevailing tone.
I know I've been more positive about this season than, seemingly, most of the fandom, but to paint me as someone who doesn't want the fandom to criticize the show ignores the fact that I criticize the show all the fucking time. (As a side note: so does Couch Baron, and I agree with his criticisms most of the time.)
So now, let's go back and revisit
2.1: Normal Is the Watchword
You know, in retrospect, this episode was probably really disjointed and uneven in ways...
And then Meg was a total bitch the whole time. Which felt weird...
[Note: in retrospect, I didn't like this episode as much as later ones, and I was baffled by its being singled out for the writing awards.]
2.2: Driver Ed
As much as I'm glad to get more Meg in the future...[okay, there's this huge chunk where I complain about the cop-out of Meg surviving]
Oh, hold on! I was just bitching, so let me bitch again:...[okay, there's an entire paragraph where I bitch about the Veronica/Duncan sex]
Fuck it all, let's keep bitching: Jackie sucks....[okay, there's an entire paragraph where I bitch about the awkward introduction of Jackie]
I think I'm done bitching. Wait, hold on! Keith's sex-ometer? Stupid. There. Now I'm done.
So, my show is back. Kind of. It's not exactly the same show I knew and loved, but I think the elements are there. I don't want to become one of those bitter people bitching about the decline of the show and how good it used to be! At least not this early, for Christ's sake. I am...cautiously optimistic? I want an episode to blow me away, and soon.
[Note: in retrospect, I would have rather Meg died in the bus crash because I didn't like the whole comababy storyline.]
2.3: Cheatty Cheatty Bang Bang
Let me first just get the one piece of bitching out of the way: the Courtney Taylor-Taylor karaoke scene, though thankfully free of wacky editing, went on way too long. We don't need to linger on him for two whole minutes; he's not important to the fucking plot. I liked the reaction shot to the other couple, though, and the thematic appropriateness of the song.
I HATE JACKIE SO MUCH OMG JUST DIE ALREADY PRIDE AND PREJUDICE HAS NEVER BEEN 600 FUCKING PAGES YOU STUPID BITCH.
2.4: Green-Eyed Monster
But I still hate Jackie and want her to die a lot. Even more now that she's fucking with Wallace's mojo. Where is his pimp juice, huh? Did she drink it all? You can do so much better, Wallace. SO MUCH BETTER. EVEN FUCKING SHELLY POMROY WOULD BE A STEP UP.
Mac's cameo was far too short, and fairly pointless. I expected Veronica to be able to get into Meg's files, but oh, let's just wake Mac up in the middle of the night for a favor. Hope you guys kept in touch over the summer.
2.5: Blast from the Past
...I understand the complaint about there being no direction this season. Because there are so many plotlines going on at the same time, we keep shifting from one to the other (what happened to the Casablancases? we have no idea, and it doesn't take a full-fledged appearance to at least keep us apprised of the situation). The bus crash mystery is being addressed in every episode, but the Felix murder? No one cares, apparently. The Neptune civil war finally got some lip service in this episode after being such a major theme of the premiere. We've also now got the Terrence Cook blackmail plot. So I can see why people would be a little frustrated with all the writers have on their plate. I do trust them to resolve everything properly, but it might feel really weirdly paced, and you never know if they'll run out of room for all they have planned, you know? And I think this is something that feels amplified by the weekly break between episodes: if you were watching this on DVD, you probably wouldn't be as hyperaware of the shifting attention paid to various plotlines.
2.6: Rat Saw God
The Argentinian diplomat's son thing was kind of out of left field, and it was weird because I just saw the whole diplomatic immunity thing on Smallville last week.
I don't know how this episode will hold up as...an episode. Stand-alone-wise. It seemed to exist to advance about seventeen separate storylines. Only time will tell.
2.7: Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner
I'm a little disappointed (I still think you're awesome, Diane! Your dialogue crackles!) that the babysitting escapades didn't lead to anything more. The focus on the divorced teacher who gets a date with Sacks suggests it's a setup for a future plotline, but my mouth still tastes like red herring. What was the purpose of the bizarre Mr. Fuller proposition and the headless drawing? And the drawing of the Woodman family as a reverse Echolls (the mother abuses, the father allows it) has to come into play later on, right? I might be happier with all this once we get the payoffs to these setups.
So. The Big Reveal. What does it all mean? Clearly, we now know that Lizzie was not exaggerating about her parents pulling the plug. But the question is, how the fuck did Meg turn out so goddamn normal? [and there's a whole rest of the paragraph wondering where the hell this abuse thing came from]
2.8: Ahoy, Mateys!
And I'm not one of those people who's continually bitching about Veronica's treatment of Logan because they so belong together omg, but a little "Thank you for saving me from a permanent green clover" would not have gone amiss before the "WHAT THE FUCK IS YOUR PROBLEM?!" Which was warranted, yes, but so was a little gratitude.
2.9: My Mother, the Fiend
Well. I have mixed feelings about this episode. I mean, it didn't suck, and it was good, but it felt weird to me, and I think it's actually because it felt too much like season one. Digging into the past, learning about Lianne...I mean, don't you have more pressing issues to deal with, Veronica?
I don't even want to think about how nonsensical it all seems, though. That he's been keeping this giant secret about his superior all this time, waiting for the right time to strike. All a little too convenient, you might say.
Much like...a lot of pieces of the puzzle. I hope Rob knows what he's doing and doesn't end up with an unwieldy retcon on his hands because all of the filling in backstory here was so obviously stuff he hadn't thought of in season one. The Jake/Lianne/Celeste pregnancy scandal totally would have come up otherwise. And the rumor/suspension thing should have come up in her initial "Do you remember how my mom was prom queen?" investigations. And now what, was Lianne really popular and nice or was she a total rumor-spreading bee-yotch?
I can't believe people were right about that. Rob Thomas and Co. seem to have completely reworked their idea of Meg's character over the summer. I hope there was some sort of catalyst or we see some revealing flashbacks because...WTF? The comatose girl's gotten more character development than Jackie, Gia, Hector, Thumper, and Bootsy combined.
2.10: One Angry Veronica
[Dude. Just read the entire fucking post, and if you still think my love for the show and correspondence with Rob cloud my ability to criticize the show...there's just no helping you.]
2.11: Donut Run
There's that kind of clunky zoom-in on Veronica right before the reveal.
I'm not sure what to think of the whole Veronica/Duncan thing. After the last episode, Veronica seemed pretty upset at Duncan, and to have them all lovey-dovey in this episode was rather strange. And I was certain the writers were dropping hints that Duncan had a stronger relationship with Meg than he had or has with Veronica, so his "I love you, I've always loved you" rang false to me.
One thing that bugged me was that apparently Wallace had determined to stay in Chicago for good, and he wouldn't have come back to Neptune if I Didn't Know What You Did Last Winter.
2.12: Rashard and Wallace Go to White Castle
It makes the extremely awkward setups ("Hi! I am a random deputy who will randomly give you access to a random club in the future! Now, back to your regularly scheduled episode.") that much more annoying.
Which made me dislike the fakeout a little because I even found her behavior at the frat party perfectly within reason. I want to see when the three of them hatched this little plan and how they sorted out their issues enough to work together, because...yeah.
You know, if that's all Super Huge Deputy was going to do, we really could have lived without his scene last week. We're accustomed to the fact that the deputies are nice to Veronica and do her favors. I would have bought an extra line of retroactive exposition in return from him this episode. Oh, well. Got to explain things to the non-obsessives.
Speaking of non-obsessives: very clunky VMVO about Veronica still considering herself the bus crash target.
There wasn't enough Keith/Veronica fallout...
Interesting note: Hector is totally having second thoughts. I mean, this should be pretty obvious, because the actor who plays him has been overacting all season.
[Note: I wasn't nearly negative enough to satisfy certain people. Oops.]
Am I a big bubbling fountain of vitriol? No. Do I cling to a basic love of the show, give the writers the benefit of the doubt, wait to see where the story takes me, choose to emphasize the good points over the bad, and foster an environment where criticism is welcome but not the default stance? Yes.