"Debasement Tapes"
Written by John Enbom; directed by Dan Etheridge

At the Mars residence, Veronica and Wallace watch The Women for Wallace’s film studies class and Veronica tries to nonchalantly ask if Piz has said anything about Parker’s party (see “Un-American Graffiti”). Wallace tells her to let him down easy and be honest, which Veronica interprets to mean that Piz has gotten mushy. Keith arrives home and announces that there have been two fewer burglaries a month since he became acting sheriff. Plus, the registration deadline for the next election is Monday, and so far, Keith is running unopposed. At Hearst’s radio station, Trish (see “Wichita Linebacker”) quizzes Piz and another guy on a band called My Pretty Pony. Piz is triumphant, and at the food court, he tells Veronica that Desmond Fellows of My Pretty Pony is visiting Hearst, and Piz gets to be his tour guide. He explains that one of the station’s DJs swore on the air, so Desmond is coming to play for a fundraiser to pay off the fines. Johnny Scopes, the other member of the band, is dead, but Desmond has his backing tapes and plays the songs along with the tapes. Piz asks if Veronica wants tickets to the show, but she tries to get away before things can get too awkward. Logan and Dick are in business class, and when Logan is called on to present his business plan, he asks to give it on Monday instead. Piz and Jeff (last seen in “Postgame Mortem”) show Desmond (played by the lovely Paul Rudd) to his room at the Neptune Grand, where Desmond is only interested in drinking. Instead of tipping Jeff, he autographs a napkin, but Jeff doesn’t know who he is.

Desmond heads into his bedroom only to find a half-naked woman in his bed. They’ve been e-mailing each other, but Desmond was under the impression that she was younger than she is. Minutes later, Desmond suggests to Piz that they go to Mexico and have some fun, since the show is cancelled - his backing tapes are missing, and they’ve been replaced with a blue bathrobe. At the food court, Mac tries to decide between two dishes; Veronica thinks the situation is a metaphor for her inability to choose between Bronson and Max. Mac says it’s not her fault that Max keeps calling her, adding, “You gave up bad boy but keep asking for samples of good boy.” As if to illustrate the point, Veronica gets a call from Piz, which gives her a chance to apologize for her behavior at the party. She says they should just be friends, but Piz has already figured that out. He just needs her help. Veronica heads to the Neptune Grand, where she winds up in an elevator with Logan, who wants to know why Veronica was staying in Wallace’s room in “Of Vice and Men.” She promises that it had nothing to do with Piz, but the matter isn’t helped much when the doors open and Piz is there waiting for Veronica. Veronica meets Desmond, who starts flirting before telling her that he confused two women on the Internet. She pulls up his IMs with the woman who was in his room and notices that she used a Chinese symbol. Piz notes that he knows a couple of guys who take Chinese, so they can ask them what it means. Desmond tells Veronica that besides the tapes, there were a bunch of pills in his bag. Elsewhere in the hotel, as Dick plays around on his computer, Logan laments having to put together his whole business plan before Monday. He notices that Dick is watching a video of himself dancing next to a car and having his foot run over. This gives Logan an idea.

Mac and Bronson return to her dorm room after playing Ultimate Frisbee (which she hated), and Mac is promptly summoned to the food court, where Logan asks her to help him set up an interactive website called Grade My A%$. She requests Red Bull and licorice. Desmond does Piz’s radio show and comes close to necessitating another swearing-related fundraiser. Someone calls in from a group called Semites for the Savior and blasts Desmond for making songs that mock Christianity. Desmond notes the irony that the group’s initials are S.S. The caller wants the show to be cancelled, but Desmond tells him that it’s canceling itself. Another caller invites Desmond to a party, but after the show, Desmond wants to go back to the hotel. Leo (last seen in “One Angry Veronica”) stops by the sheriff’s department to tell Keith that while he’s been doing security work at a sporting-goods store, he’s noticed that one of the employees has been acting weird and may be planning to rob the place. Said suspicious guy is Danny Boyd (last seen in “Of Vice and Men”), and Leo’s boss didn’t take him seriously when he mentioned that something was going on. Keith replies that he knows a judge who might let him tap Danny’s phone. Back at Hearst, Veronica and Piz discuss Desmond on their way to meet the two guys Piz knows who are taking Chinese. The guys translate the symbol as the word “grace,” attracting the attention of their professor, Professor Schaffer, who happens to be the woman from Desmond’s hotel room. Veronica asks her to return Desmond’s things, but she claims that she didn’t take anything. She seems to be telling the truth, as she’s worried when she hears that Desmond could die without the medication in his bag.

On their way across campus, Veronica and Piz spot a flier advertising a “stop Desmond Fellows” meeting Semites for the Savior are holding. Mac and Logan work on the website at the Neptune Grand, with some so-called helpful advice from Dick, who isn’t as welcome as he’d thought, despite his theory that a butt expert would be the best person to help out. Piz returns to Desmond’s suite and tells him that they found his groupie but not the tapes. Desmond ad-libs a song about finding the tapes, then starts to get ready to party as Piz drills him on whether or not he still writes songs. He tries to convince Desmond to stay in and work on a song, offering to get him his guitar. Desmond agrees to stay put and goes back to watching the news, where he sees a “where are they now” segment on My Pretty Pony (complete with a video of Desmond with Johnny Scopes, played by series creator Rob Thomas). Desmond heads to the party and runs into Dick, who is impressed by all of the girls Desmond has slept with but doesn’t know who he is. Piz returns with the guitar, but of course, Desmond isn’t there. At the food court, Veronica and Wallace talk about Piz; Veronica notes that he’s acting normal, like nothing ever happened. At the Neptune Grand, Mac finishes setting up Logan’s website, but he wants information on income models. This requires Mac to call Max. Piz gets to the party just as Desmond announces that everyone is going skinny-dipping. They all head to the beach, where Desmond is the only person to get in the water before Sacks arrives. Desmond is taken to the sheriff’s department, where he and Keith get into a heated conversation about music and Keith loses respect for Desmond for not liking the Beatles.

At the Neptune Grand, Max helps out with the website and flirts with Mac. “There’s got to be someone that’ll pay to see this hot nerd-on-nerd action,” Logan remarks. Veronica and Piz crash the Semites for the Savior meeting, which is also attended by Jeff. Jeff tells them he doesn’t have the tapes, then reveals that the robe in the bag wasn’t even from the Neptune Grand, since it was blue and Neptune Grand robes are white. Veronica has to apologize to Jeff for accusing him of taking the tapes, but he won’t accept her apology. Piz and Veronica head back to the Neptune Grand, where Veronica looks at the bag and realizes that it’s not Desmond’s - he accidentally took someone else’s bag at the airport. She and Piz drive out to the address of the guy who really owns the bag and trade for Desmond’s, which has everything in it. In the car on the way back to Neptune, Piz and Veronica bond over music. Piz says he’s glad he got up the nerve to call Veronica, who wonders why he wouldn’t have called her. They both acknowledge that things could have been awkward and laugh over how they’re not (even though they kind of are). Veronica spots a CD labeled “new crap” in Desmond’s bag and she and Piz start listening to it, liking what they hear. Keith and Leo stake out the sporting-goods store, where they see Danny and some other guys leaving with a box full of guns. They soon realize that one of the men is Vinnie (wearing a fake mustache). Keith calls Sacks for backup, then sees Vinnie lock the guys in the store. Sacks calls back to let Keith know that someone has already called in a robbery at the store. Keith and Leo approach Vinnie, who explains that the owner thought something fishy was going on and hired Vinnie to infiltrate the group.

Trish gets nervous that Piz isn’t at the show yet, and Desmond gets nervous as well when Piz calls to say that he and Veronica are stuck in traffic and won’t arrive in time. Piz suggests that Desmond play some of his new songs. Veronica and Piz are, of course, right outside the show venue, and they head inside to hear Desmond play a set of new songs, which the crowd loves. After the show, Piz comes clean to Desmond, who is now happy. At the Neptune Grand, the website is finished and Max invites Mac to have breakfast with him in the morning, but she asks for a rain check. Logan seems to think she’s in denial. Professor Schaffer visits Desmond backstage and he invites her out for a drink. In the morning, Mac admires her website handiwork and Logan asks her what’s going on with Piz and Veronica. Mac tells him Veronica is trying to let Piz down easy, then tells him they’re not talking about Veronica’s love life anymore. Logan starts to write her a check but she asks for a 50 percent stake in his website instead. She then heads to the food court to meet Bronson and proceeds to break up with him. Logan presents his website to his business class, but his professor isn’t amused and stops his presentation. Keith calls Leo to his office to ask him to come back to the sheriff’s department. Leo agrees and gives Veronica the news on his way out. Vinnie arrives and gives his own news - after all of the good feedback he’s gotten for helping to foil the robbery, he’s decided to run for sheriff.

THE TITLE IS A PLAY ON...: The Bob Dylan album The Basement Tapes.

MEMORABLE QUOTES: Veronica: (re: Piz) “How would you interpret his mood?”
Wallace: “You want me to have this talk? Am I a 12-year-old girl?”
Veronica: “No. But you’re drinking Fresca and watching Joan Crawford movies.”

Desmond: “How old are you, Monica?”
Veronica: “11.”

Caller: “Dude, you suck.”
Desmond: “Oh, hey, thanks a lot, man. So what’s your question?”
Caller: “You scrounge money off the memory of your dead partner. How do you live with yourself?”
Desmond: “Well, I drink heavily and I abuse drugs.”

Dick: “I’m an a%$ expert.”
Logan: “Yes, except for the ‘expert’ part.”

Dick: “Drew Barrymore.”
Desmond: “Yeah.”
Dick: “Rose McGowan.”
Desmond: “Ooh. Yes.”
Dick: “Jennifer Love Hewitt.”
Desmond: “Twice.”
Dick: “Dude, you are my idol. Who are you?”

Wallace: “I was hoping we could follow it up with a cuteness countdown of the Baldwin brothers.”
Veronica: “I hope we’re still friends after I taser you.”

Veronica: “That, to me, is a thing that makes you go, ‘Hmm.’”
Jeff: “What’s the thing that makes you go away?”

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