June 1, 1998
Yes, it's been a while since I updated. Frankly,
not much is going on. I had planned to wait until
the new episodes to do an update, but now it seems that
MTV is waiting until late June, so I decided not to.
April 12, 1998
For those of you who don't give a damn, the next section
is politics. If you want Daria comments, scroll down.
For you Clinton supporters out there, here's a news story
you likely haven't yet heard.
About six weeks ago, Clinton made a request to create a new privilege
of executive secrecy. On matters having nothing to do with national
What does he want? Simple. (1), that he may delegate, and need not
take responsibility for, asserting executive privilege; (2) that the
first lady is a federal official who may make that claim for herself
against criminal investigators; and (3) that his claimed immunity
from investigation covers personal wrongdoing.
Is this the action of someone working hard for the well-being of the
nation in the face of great opposition? Is something wrong with this
What's worse is that the legal argument here are being held in
secret. The last president to claim executive privilege did it
in open court, the grand jury was polled in open court, and the decision
was publicized immediately. What's different here? This matter is
tied to criminal proceedings, and there's a rule called 6(e) that
would require the media to leave during portions of the hearings.
The current judge, Norma Holloway Johnson, claims that occasionally
clearing the media would be "too disruptive."
Who else wants these debates kept secret? The independent counsel
has been urging the court to release documents - prepared by the White
House lawyers - detailing the president's claim. Who wants it secret?
Who else. Clinton.
Forget sex scandals, forget lying and evasion, now he's just plain
going after our basic right to have a voice in major decisions. Look
at what he's asking: Immunity to all laws of this nation for as long
as he holds office. His wife -- un-elected, un-appointed, and not
subject to any fitness review by Congress or the FBI -- is a government
official immune to criminal investigation. And the ability to give
anyone the power to claim executive privilege with no consequences
to Clinton. Think about this one. He could give Saddam the ability
to claim executive privilege to protect his Palaces from US inspection.
Farfetched claim, but within the rules of what he wants.
For those who wonder, I'm a Libertarian.
Finally, to Daria.
I have been rating this season on one set of standards,
while they've been created on another. Perhaps unfortunately, I thought
Daria would be treated as more than "just a sitcom." After all, first
season did things most sitcoms don't ever think of doing. But there
are several standard sitcom tactics that I just hate, which is why
I can't stand most of the shows on TV.
For example, in first season, there was a slow evolution of the characters.
This generally happens with first season shows, as the writers and
actors "find" their characters. However, the SPIN magazine quote lead
me to believe this was planned, not accidental. Continuity of characters?
Wow. Unfortunately, this hasn't happened second season. Perhaps it's
simply because less of the episodes have been written by Glenn Eichler
and Anne Bernsetien. Between the two of them, they wrote eight of
the original thirteen episodes, compared with two of the second season
seven. Writers with less experience of the show generally won't have
the same grasp of the characters (although Peter Gaffney wrote "I
Don't", which is probably the top second season episode). Instead,
second season seems to be playing by normal sitcom rules: Need a gag?
It's okay, let's change the character and say it happened while no
one was watching.
Just look at "Quinn the Brain" vs "I Don't." In the former, Daria
dresses up to be nearly as cute as Quinn. In the latter, the dressmaker
can't even get the dress to fit properly. Did Daria have plastic surgery
in there somewhere? Personally, I take the "I Don't" interpretation
as correct. Dr. Shar's comments in Too Cute are nearly everything
we have to go on. She does get asked to model in "This Year's Model,"
but then the Twiggy look was making a comeback, and the scouts may
have been wanting her for that rather than "traditional" beauty standards.
In other words, they ignored the previous episodes so they could get
in a gag: Daria dressing up as Quinn. Of course, at the end of the
episode, everything goes back to normal so that next show we can have
a running gag about not getting the same dress.
This isn't the only example, just the most obvious one, and this sort
of thing is something I absolutely can't stand. Sure, it's harder
to write consistent character-driven humour. But they managed to do
it first season, so it's not an impossible task.
This doesn't mean the show isn't worth watching any more.
It is still funny, for the most part. It's just that the writers have
shown they could make it so much more than "just a sitcom" if they
wanted to. Having giving us a hint of the show's full potential, they
instead seem to be catering to the masses. Okay, so it's there to
make money, fine. That doesn't mean it has to be mainstream mediocrity.
First season showed the levels of humour that could make this show
a success in the mainstream despite its good points. Why not cater
to a niche market? It's virtually untapped, especially in the realm
of television, and you don't even have to abandon the mainstream.
Just cater the commercials to a different crowd. It's not like there's
not enough of them every half hour to pay for a couple shows (this
may be necessary due to MTV's choice of programs - the few people
watch supporting the rest, but it's still obnoxious).
However, can you really enjoy the show when you know that it could
be - and was - so much better? That little education poem I had up
a few weeks back shows what I think of "pretty good," especially when
there's a chance for "great."