Tube Talk: Tuesday nights full of Logans on CW

To some, the CW’s Tuesday night lineup of The Gilmore Girls and Veronica Mars makes perfect sense since both shows have female leads who are smart and incredibly quick with a quip. To others, Tuesday nights are all about the Logans—Huntzberger and Echolls.

You have to wonder if CW programming executives even realized pairing these shows would mean a night of back-to-back Logans. Be it by accident or divine intervention, Tuesday nights are now a whole lot of fun.

Matt Czuchry plays Rory’s boyfriend, the spoiled, rich, charmingly smirky recent college graduate Logan Huntzberger on The Gilmore Girls, while on Veronica Mars Jason Dohring plays Veronica’s boyfriend, Logan Echolls, a spoiled, rich, newly-orphaned, charmingly smirky college boy. Both have suffered under domineering fathers. Huntzberger is constantly pressured by his businessman father into living up to the family name, while Echolls can’t escape the looming shadow of his murdered murderer/movie star father and can’t live down the Echolls name.

Both Logans have to be quick-witted to hold their own—let alone get a word in edgewise—against the women in their lives. Viewers also want them to be worthy of Rory and Veronica, but the boys often do stupid things (Huntzberger playing the field after a fight with Rory, assuming they’d broken up but never bothering to tell her they had; Echolls telling Veronica he’s at a lecture when he’s really at an illegal on-campus casino—like anyone can lie to Veronica without her finding out).

On paper, they sound a lot alike, but these Logans are very different characters. Czuchry’s Huntzberger often comes across as an incredibly wealthy version of Leave it To Beaver’s Eddie Haskell. A happy-go-lucky party boy with his friends, he knows how to make a good impression with Rory’s elitist grandparents. Dohring’s Echolls is a petulant bad boy using sarcasm to mask his pain.

Huntzberger has to deal with his controlling father’s unrealistic expectations—ordering him to take a job in London against his will, and his mother telling Rory she’s not good enough for him. Last season, a lot of viewers disliked how Logan brought out Rory’s selfish side. But now that he’s working in London, Rory’s back to being Rory again.

Echolls’ actress-mother (apparently) committed suicide, his abusive actor-father had an affair with Logan’s high school sweetheart before killing her, and then later Logan was framed for killing a gang member. Little wonder Veronica’s dad isn’t quite ready to trust his daughter’s heart to Logan.

I’m not sure if it’s because of the writing or the acting, but Echolls is my favorite Logan. There’s a vulnerability under the arrogance that’s lacking in the more free-spirited Huntzberger.

Apparently, someone at CW realized the powerful combination they have in these shows. Czuchry recently guest-starred on Veronica Mars as Logan Echolls’ would-be half-brother. The actors seemed to enjoy playing off one another, with Czuchry toning down his own Logan-ness, yet retaining just enough smirkitude for viewers to believe the two might actually be related.

If you haven’t yet given The Gilmore Girls and Veronica Mars a chance, it’s not too late to start.

Programming note

The Gilmore Girls airs Tuesdays at 7 p.m. on CW (channel 14 on cable) and Veronica Mars airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on CW.

Paula Hendrickson is a regular contributor to Emmy magazine and Variety, and has been published in numerous national publications including American Bungalow, SatelliteORBIT and TVGuide.

From the Nov. 15-21, 2006, issue

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