Brow Beat

Why Veronica Mars Makes So Many References to The Big Lebowski

Last week, Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas gave Vulture a rundown of the key pop-culture influences on his beloved TV show, which is now also a movie. One item on the list: The Big Lebowski. “Hardcore Veronica Mars fans might know that we were trying to sneak all of The Big Lebowski into” the show, he said. “We were just going line by line.” He wasn’t kidding:

Why go through all the trouble of making so many Lebowski references? (Thanks to Mars Investigations for helping us find them.) Veronica Mars owes more to the Dude than just the stray quotation here and there. Like Lebowski, Veronica Mars is the story of a semi-accidental private detective who tries to crack cases in southern California. Veronica is a more dedicated P.I. than the Dude, but she obviously feels some kinship with him. And Thomas clearly sees a kinship between his work and the Coens: Veronica Mars combines high school TV drama tropes with film noir, much as the Coens mixed noir with stoner comedy and their own idiosyncratic set of influences. The Lebowski references really tie the show together.

For the Veronica Mars movie, Thomas borrows from another Coen noir, Blood Simple, as he also explained to Vulture. And while the movie doesn’t quote Lebowski at all—unless we missed something—its SoCal milieu feels very Lebowski-ish. Maybe the corrupt sheriff (Jerry O’Connell) should have told Veronica that he’s got a nice, quiet little beach community and she should stay the hell out of Neptune. But that’s just, like, our opinion, man.