It all began for me one night while I was watching the episode 'An Echolls Family Christmas' (1x10). This episode contains a scene in which Veronica visits Logan in his poolhouse. Veronica's visit is obviously unexpected, and Logan comments, off the cuff, as he so often does:
LOGAN: This is why I suggested attack dogs. But no, my mother wanted an alpaca.
Now, many believe that Logan was merely joking when he implied that Lynn Echolls has an alpaca. After all, the character of Logan is well known for making snarky comments which may not necessarily be 100% true. However, Logan's predisposition for sarcasm isn't proof that Lynn doesn't really have an alpaca. The statement is ambiguous at best. Is the Echolls' alpaca a myth or a reality? Or, like Bigfoot, does it occupy a place between both fact and fiction, where it's very existence is open to debate? This is the question I set out to answer, and thus began The Great Echolls' Alpaca Quest.
When discussing the existence of the Echolls' alpaca, it's first necessary to consider the plausibility of such a creature. When I first suggested the idea to Veronica Mars fans, many felt that the purchase of an alpaca was, in fact, keeping with Lynn Echolls' somewhat flaky personality (as can be seen by the fact that Lynn's favorite "animal" was a mermaid (1x13 'Lord of the Bling')). In fact, one fan, maybedarkpink, found the idea so plausible that she wrote a drabble based upon the presupposition that the Echolls did, indeed, own an alpaca. However, it's a well-known fact that fan opinion does not equal canon. And even if the existence of the Echolls' alpaca were to become a common feature within the fanfiction community, it would still be merely 'fanon' and not actual fact.
We must then turn to the text of the show to try to spot actual canon proof of the presence (or absence) of the Echolls' family alpaca. The first 'sighting' I found was in the episode 'A Trip To The Dentist' (1x21). This episode contains a scene at the Echolls' house where Logan and Veronica walk from the main Echolls' house to the poolhouse, passing the pool as they go. Although the lighting in this scene is dark, a shape highly suggestive of the head and neck of an alpaca can be seen in the water:
(Please forgive the highly-technical scientific labels of the images. They're present for scientific analysis and may not be comprehensible to the simple layman without an advanced degree in Alpaca Sighting.)
You'll notice the shadow in the water which appears, indeed, to be the silhouette of an alpaca. However, some would debate that it is, in fact, the Loch Ness Monster. A picture of the Loch Ness Monster lurking in the water (in this case Loch Ness) is below for your convenience:
This brings up the debate: Is there really an alpaca in the Echolls' pool, or does the Loch Ness Monster merely reside there while on vacation from Scotland? I would argue that since the picture of the Loch Ness Monster above is a proven hoax, that it would erroneous to draw parallel between it and the picture from the Echolls' pool. Also, the shadow in the Echolls' pool seems to clearly have two ears that protrude from its head - a distinctly mammalian feature. Reptiles, as the Loch Ness Monster is purported to be, have ears which consist of holes in the side of the head. I would argue then that the creature in the Echolls' pool is clearly not the Loch Ness Monster. However, further evidence is needed to prove that it is, in fact, an alpaca.
The second 'alpaca sighting' occurs in the episode 'M.A.D.' (1x20). In this episode there is, again, a scene at the Echolls' house in which Veronica and Logan make out like the hot, horny teenagers they are. However, upon closer examination of this scene, I noticed something very suggestive:
It's clear that there's something white and furry in the Echolls' house, although given Aaron's penchant for bad interior decorating, it's possible that it's merely an ottoman. However, earlier in that same scene we can catch another glimpse of the potential alpaca:
This picture shows the head of the creature which, when combined with the rear, gives strong indications that it is, in fact, the fabled Echolls' alpaca.
At this point in the investigation, I was feeling quite heartened. Even more so, when I blew up a background scene of the Echolls' yard in 'Lord of the Bling' (1x13) and found this:
Unfortunately, my elation was short-lived, as another 'Alpaca Watcher' pointed out to me that this is, in fact, a vicuña (Vicugna vicugna) which, while it is another South American member of the camelid family with a silly-sounding name, is not technically an alpaca (Lama pacos).
Slightly disheartened that I had not actually proven the existence of the Echolls' alpaca, I went back to the source material and soon enough I found some hopeful evidence in the background of 'An Echolls Family Christmas' (1x10), the same scene in fact where Logan mentions the alpaca's existence in the first place!
While not much more than the ears are visible, Alpaca experts agree that this is certainly not another rogue vicuña. Fortified with yet another sighting, I went through all the scenes that occurred at the Echolls' home and found the following other potential sightings:
From 'Lord of the Bling' (1x13):
From 'M.A.D.' (1x20):
From 'An Echolls Family Christmas' (1x10) yet again:
It seemed that my case was nearly proven!
However, then disaster struck again. One of my fellow Alpaca Watchers pointed out (very astutely) that I had merely manipped alpaca heads into given screencaptures. Very badly, in fact, using MS Paint (the official graphics program of cracked-out randomness). It seemed that the evidence of the Echolls' alpaca was not so abundant as I had hoped.
Fortunately, there was still hope. Because, while there was no explicit alpaca onscreen in 'Return of the Kane' (1x06), there was what appeared to be a fenced enclosure, perfect for housing an alpaca:
This picture is much subtler, so I had one friend request that I stick in an alpaca just to clarify matters, as she was highly confused. Unfortunately, I was too lazy to resize that day, but it does give us some indication as to what it would look like if the Echolls' owned a Godzilla-sized alpaca:
AIIIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! Look out! It's going to eat Logan for breakfast and then squish Aaron flat under its hooves! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!
So, is the Echolls' alpaca fact or fiction? I leave it for you to decide. However, if the creature does, in fact, exist, its theorized appearance is thus:
(It's also theorized that Logan learned lame pick-up lines from said alpaca.)
The question remains for you all to ponder: Alpaca or no? Perhaps S2 will solve this great mystery. However, one thing can be said for certain: I should never, ever be allowed near MS Paint again.
Thank you for your consideration.
ETA: Just for thoroughness' sake, if you want to use The Great Echolls' Alpaca Hunt, whether in images or concept, please ask me first. I'm happy to spread the alpaca!love, really, and I'll gladly grant permission in almost all cases, but I do like to keep track of my insanity, you know? Alpacas are serious busness, dammit! :P Thanks to all of you who have read and commented, and especially to all my fellow alpaca hunters who have kindly contacted me and continued to spread the alpaca!love.