The author of "Groped by an Angel" was Jonathan Greenberg.
This was his first episode and he showed a much better grasp of the
characters than some of the writers with more seniority. It was a
bit shallow, but nevertheless decent, and would have rated fairly
good if not for a comment Daria makes near the end (which I'll cover
in a bit).
Minor characters everywhere, again. This time they don't detract
too much from the story, but on the whole they don't really add much
either. Joey, Jeffy, and Jamie have been arrested, are violent, and
are not bright. No surprise. Charles and Ashley-Amber were amusing,
although the scene with Ashley-Amber and Brittany in the mall was
totally pointless. The band was used okay, even if the real reason
they were there was to give Quinn a way to destroy the bullhorn.
Brittany was actually used well this episode, something we haven't
seen in a while. From her "eep" at Mr. O'Neill to "What
did they call me?" to believing Kevin and trying to use the bullhorn
as a hat... perhaps her finest half-hour. Oh, for the non-US audience,
C students are considered honor roll at some US public schools.
I'm not joking.
Sandi was really catty this episode, and to be honest the fighting
between her and Quinn does get tiresome. Tiffany was okay, but no
major goody lines from her. Stacy was played up a bit, highlighting
once again her insecurity. Most interesting from her was a brief spurt
of original (but not very deep or even complete) thought and that
she'd abandon Sandi and Tiffany to listen to Quinn's guardian angel
Guess I better hit on the one Tom mention. I do wonder how much time
Jane and Tom have been spending together. The last couple episodes
have shown Jane using Daria as her backup person, but she was hanging
out with Daria in "Legends of the Mall." Not enough info.
Some of the more useless scenes could have made room for this. This
is also the only episode so far where Tom has been mentioned but there
was no fight involved between him and Jane.
Which pretty much leaves the Morgendorffers. Jake is still the running
gag of the family, and seems like he could use some lithium or something.
Not much can be said there.
Helen is, well, Helen. Spends her time playing with laws and is convinced
she's spiritual. This is probably a remnant of her hippy days, but
like a lot of ex-hippies, there's not really much trace left of it.
Her telling Daria to respect Quinn's beliefs, after reading the book
with the cats-with-wings stories, is a bit much, but Helen's never
put as much time into her parenting skills as she has into her work.
Quinn is as shallow as ever, and her reaction at the end illustrates
what harm there is her believing there's something looking out for
her (one of Helen's more clueless lines).
Daria functioned well for almost all of this episode. Her hard-core
cynicism at the start was exactly what I'd expect from her. Even her
attempt to comfort Quinn at the end is understandable; they are sisters,
and besides, a moping Quinn has to be even more obnoxious than a typical
Quinn is. Daria does say she'd need really compelling evidence (she's
obviously an agnostic; again, no surprise) and rightly says she can't
prove there isn't something out there. (Which is the nature of negative
arguments; they can't be proven. It's like the IPU theory. You could
claim that there's Invisible Pink Unicorns running around on your
desk, and there's not a thing anyone else could do to prove that there
aren't.) Daria's comment about "treating others the way you want
to be treated" is weak, but there really isn't enough time (or
depth) to the episode for her to explain the shortcomings with it,
and Quinn wouldn't understand them anyway, so it works.
My problem comes with her saying "I think what makes sense is
to believe whatever makes you feel best." This is dangerously
close to Hedonism, and Daria is more than intelligent enough to recognize
the problems with that philosophy, and knows Quinn well enough to
know that she isn't. Between Quinn's narcissism and her attention
seeking behavior, this is really a potentially harmful thing for Daria
to say. Daria doesn't like Quinn's behavior, after all, and this comment
can do nothing but reinforce it. It should have been left out.