In Praise of Chris Lowell

I saw Veronica Mars twice this weekend, and I’m completely obsessed with Enlisted right now, so I think that it’s time to talk about how truly adorable and talented Chris Lowell is. Even if Piz is the most ridiculously out of place character in the entire run of Veronica Mars, but I’ll get to that. It’s hard not to be charmed by Lowell’s smirk and floppy hair.



I first became really aware of Chris Lowell when he played Dell, the adorable single father assistant on Private Practice, who had a strident overpowering love for Audra MacDonald’s Naomi. What I always liked in general about Private Practice was the way it took the similar tropes of it’s parent series Grey’s Anatomy and made them a lot better by handing them off to more likable characters. This made Private Practice an easier show to swallow and good deal more shallow, but honestly? I’m not looking at a prime time soap about the love lives of impossibly good looking medical professionals for emotional complexity. Dell’s love for Naomi was similar to George’s love for Meredith, in that she was aware of it and it made her uncomfortable, but not like it, in that you rarely if ever wanted to smack either of them in the face. Of course, once Dell died in a fire, and Naomi half adopted his daughter, she got pretty insufferable for a while. (Remember when she tried to force her daughter to get an abortion? That episode was the worst. But Audra still killed it.)

Next (not in his career just in my level of awareness) came Piz. I actually like Piz, he gets a lot of Veronica Mars fan hate because he’s an obstacle to Logan and Veronica’s relationship, but I don’t mind that he’s that. Characters can be an obstacle to the main couple and still be great. (Let’s go back to Grey’s Anatomy, and talk about McVet. I mean right? Or Brooke Davis, or Jake on Scandal.) The problem is that Piz is really only an obstacle to Veronica and Logan’s relationship. He’s also there to give Wallace someone to pal around with, since season 3 focused more on Veronica and Mac’s friendship, but he’s probably the most blatant example of Veronica Mars changing itself to fit into The WB’s formula, when it was retooled for the new CW. Piz worked at the campus radio station and wanted to be a serious broadcaster, liked indie rock a whole lot, and this would have been fine, again, if this had been used at all for the plot. But Piz’s reporting chops never helped Veronica solve a case, in fact he might be the only character on the show who never had anything to do with the mysteries. Even Duncan Kane, for all of his milquetoast boring-ness was at least kind of crazy, related to the show’s initial murder victim and the father of another’s child. Duncan was dull, but he was dull functionally. Piz was fun to spend time with, but didn’t make sense to the plot. This leaves him the job that was once Wallace’s, (make everyone be normal for a night) and to be a punching bag for Logan.

But now there’s Enlisted, and OMG EVERYONE WATCH ENLISTED AND GET REALLY ANGRY IF FOX CANCELS IT BECAUSE IT IS GREAT! The show centers on 3 brothers who were raised as army brats and are all now stationed in Florida with The Rear Detachment Unit, who support the army families left behind. Oldest brother Pete is a returned hero from Afghanistan, youngest Randy is an incompetent but enthusiastic soldier and middle brother Derrick is sarcastic and disdainful but couldn’t cut it in college so it was the army or oblivion. Guess which one Lowell plays? If Piz had been more like Derrick, I doubt he’d be as villified. Derrick is currently dating the bartender at the place where the unit hangs out, and rooming with his little brother.

Anyway, I’m just sort of into the guy right now, and I wanted to write about his parts here. And also, just pimp Enlisted, because seriously, it’s really good.

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