If you're a fan of creator and showrunner Rob Thomas' iZombie, there's a good chance that you're also a Marshmallow — that is, a devout follower of Thomas' cult classic teen noir Veronica Mars, which starred Kristen Bell in the titular role as a cynical high school sleuth with an arsenal of rapid-fire quips, which aired on UPN (and then the CW) from 2004-2007.
In iZombie's second season's most recently aired episode, titled "Real Dead Housewife of Seattle," crime-buster and medical examiner Liv Moore (played by Rose McIver), who is secretly a zombie, dropped the biggest Veronica Mars Easter egg the show has seen to date — and while recappers and critics have been going gaga over Thomas' nod to iZombies and Marshmallows alike — it's definitely not the first one and probably won't be the last.
The Easter egg itself was an allusion to the Veronica Mars theme song, a catchy, faux-'90s retro number by the Dandy Warhols that underscored the beginning of each episode. In iZombie's third episode of its sophomore season, Liv finds an old dress that used to belong to her former(ish) best friend, Peyton (Aly Michalka), who disappeared from their apartment in Seattle after discovering Liv's penchant for brains. When a new friend asks about the dress, Liv replies, "That belongs to someone. A long time ago, we used to be friends."
Thomas' CW-based iZombie (based on the Vertigo comic iZOMBIE, created by Chris Roberson and Mike Allred), which debuted its first season in March of this year, drew comparisons for some of its certain Mars-like qualities from the get-go: McIver's Liv is reminiscent of Mars' Veronica, from their blonde coifs to their propensity for solving crimes to authorial implementations, like narrative voice-overs. However, since iZombie's premiere, the show has more or less broken apart from the shadow of its predecessor.
Despite the long haul to recognize iZombie's originality and uniqueness as a show, Thomas' small salutes to his TV cult classic are usually met with delight — and are the opposite of few and far between, especially through the use of stunt casting. Ryan Hansen, who played the eternal frat-bro Dick Casablancas on Mars, has made a cameo in season 1 as Carson McCombs, a professional snowboarder sponsored by the villainous energy drink conglomerate Max Rager, as well as Percy Daggs III, who played the lovable Wallace Fennel, Veronica's best friend, did a stint as a tech entrepreneur named Sean. Adam Rose, who played the tech geek Max, also made an appearance as a hipster dog-lover on the undead dramedy's season 2.
Spoiler alert: Daggs and Rose's characters turn out to be the eventual perps — a nice twist on their sweet-demeanored characters in Veronica Mars).
Even Dick's dad, Richard Casablancas, Sr. (David Starzyk) stopped by for "Real Dead Housewife" — even though his character wasn't exactly long for this world in the episode. Lastly, the voice actor Daran Norris, who played Mars' recurring Cliff McCormack, a sleazy public defender with a heart of gold, showed up in the iZombie universe in the inaugural pilot.
While the Dandy Warhols line in "Real Dead Housewife" might seem like the pinnacle of Thomas' meta-fictive scavenger hunt, it wouldn't be surprising if fans of Thomas' work haven't seen the last of his Marshmallow props.
Check out the promo for the next episode of the CW's iZombie, which is set to air on Tuesday, Oct. 27.