Just a quick update to let everyone know I'm still around. I'm working
on the fourth-season roundup and then I've got a series-to-date Rambling
to write, and after that this section will probably slow down for
a while. I'm still updating the rest of the page, and have a few more
things to add that should appear pretty soon, and a couple that probably
won't show up for a month or two.
I'm now at the point where I don't need to low-priority the fanfic,
so there's no need to hold back on those submissions now.
Okay, I'm finally getting to "Is It Fall Yet?" The movie is about
three episodes in length, so this'll probably be pretty long.
I want to start with a couple of quick hits. First off is the humor;
it's back. It's certainly not as prevalent as a lot of first season,
but there's considerably more humor than "Dye! Dye! My Darling," which
is a good sign for fifth season.
Next is Kevin and Brittany. Like the rest of the season, they've been
overused, and the only possible purposes they served in this movie
were as a cheap laugh (in which case it didn't work) or as a baseline
to emphasize the growth/change in the other characters. Even Mack
insults their intelligence, and sadly a couple of high-school kids
not being able to make correct change isn't an exaggeration.
The band was pretty peripheral to the story. Trent got to ask one
of his good questions, but other than that they're just a vehicle
for Daria and Jane to get together.
Jodie and Mack were pretty much the way we've seen them all series,
although Mack probably gets more lines in the movie than most of the
seasons. Jodie's reaction to Daria's "Tom's here with me" is, of course,
most interesting. We haven't seen her totally flustered before.
Guess I may as well mention it here, but Ted's parade picture of Tom
and Daria didn't seem to make the yearbook, unless Jane and Daria
didn't buy them.
The Fashion Club was another group meant for laughs and emphasis.
Tiffany did get one of the best scenes (and lines) in the movie. Her
delivery on "This toaster is really shiny" was excellent, and I was
expecting the "Stacy, ew" to be more of a running gag than it turned
out to be. Sandi and Stacy were more of the same as well, except for
the end. The balance of power in the club is finally starting to shift.
We finally meet Tom's family. We don't really get anything about his
father, his mother seems decent enough, but there's more than a bit
of chill between Tom and Elsie. Tom's comment to Elsie about her "faux
jadedness" may hint at some of the trouble Tom and Daria are going
to end up having, especially when you add Elsie's remark about Tom's
"quasi-rebelliousness". Elsie seemed to like Daria at their first
meeting, but wasn't pretty blasé at their second meeting.
Mr. O'Neill was himself, although I'm surprised we never saw Ms. Barch
outside of the intro. His early question to Quinn was probably the
most interesting; he seems far more interested in his student's private
lives than their academic ones. He really should have become a social
worker instead of a teacher, although the two have become very hard
to tell apart. There's that Progressive Theory thing again.
Mr. DeMartino was also played well. He does seem like the kind of
camp counselor that would appeal to kids wanting to run around and
hike and play games. One interesting thing to watch is at the end,
when Mr. O'Neill comments that he may have done more harm than good,
and Mr. DeMartino hugs him, saying "Thank you, Timothy! You've reawakened
my hunger to enlighten!" I don't know if this one was intentional
or not, but considering earlier comments made about Mr. DeMartino
and his students, Mr. O'Neill may well have done a lot more harm than
good... Still, Mr. DeMartino's speech to the campers at the end was
one of the camp highlights.
Jake is definitely the least developed character of the family Morgendorffer.
He was gullible all along, but I don't think he was quite as bad during
first season as he's become lately. That he was finally able to make
a joke is a hopeful sign that he won't be left behind.
Helen was incredibly pushy, but she usually is. Her not giving Daria
a bribe for the camp counselor job may have been meant as indication
of how serious she was about it. She is worried about Daria, but she's
also unable to accept Daria's "I'm not miserable. I'm just not like
them" fully. She and Daria are both strong willed, and this is a very
likely source of future conflict between the two. Her shock at hearing
the ticket price was great, even though they could probably afford
it (at the cost of a family vacation), but she's very used to making
excuses by now. They definitely move in a different world than the
Sloanes. And I can certainly see Helen bragging to her mother and
sisters about how her daughter (no, the other daughter) is
going out with an upper-class guy, and no thanks but you won't have
to help pay for the wedding, and you'll never guess what country club
it's being held at...
Quinn finally realizes she has a brain under all that bounce. It remains
to be see what's left after all those years of attacking it with hairspray,
but given her reaction to David this should have a lasting impact
on her. She's still not deep, well not unless compared to the Fashion
Club, and as David points out, it's only so she can get into a party
school. Given this summer, she'll probably make it into Pepper Hill,
but anything beyond that seems doubtful. Quinn going to Daria for
relationship advice would seem about as internally likely as a glass
hammer, but on the subject of depth Daria's certainly the best one
Quinn would have to talk to. Her answer to Mr. DeMartino's question
about Manifest Destiny was obviously meant to bring the show "full
circle" as it were, but the implications there just don't work well.
Quinn is more like Daria than she was, but the only way she could
have become less so would be to actually get that lobotomy.
Might as well go with Jane next. She starts the summer understandably
angry with Daria. Then she gets to find out what the art world is
really like, and isn't pleased. She'll certainly still be wanting
to make it on her own as an artist, but this experience might change
how she decides to go about this, in which case is was a very valuable
preview for her.
The main plot with Jane was Allison, and if anything it shows that
Jane isn't as sure of herself as the image she projects suggests.
This isn't the only time we've seen this, but it hasn't been emphasized
quite this much before. Daria seems to be a stabilizing, anchoring
influence on her. Which brings to mind her reaction when Daria finally
calls her. She's very excited at first, but then doesn't want her
to come up. Her resistance isn't that stiff, but that she'd decline
at all after such boredom would make it seem that she's either still
angry or at least still wants to be.
Tom is a pretty major character in the movie, and he's obviously
going to be seen a lot next season (which probably means less school-focused
episodes and scenes). He is certainly the guy on the show most compatible
with Daria; intelligent, literate, educated, and a good sense of humor
("They weren't able to match up our telltale birthmarks until now").
However, his relationship skills are a mixed bag, as we've seen over
the last season and again here. He was certainly correct about Daria
looking for an out, and he was willing to apologize when he was wrong
(not asking her about the ball), but he's also got a bit of a talent
for less-than-tactful remarks ("It's not like you're Jane") at bad
times. He does have persistence on his side (to some extent; he did
pretty much give up on Jane when he "got bored"), which he's likely
going to need, but he doesn't seem to understand Daria very well yet.
He knows she's antisocial, and has some idea why, but everything we've
seen from "I Loathe a Parade" on between them show he doesn't have
a great understanding of her, despite having known her for several
months. This will change as they go out more, but even if this wasn't
a TV show (i.e. stable relationship == boring) it's obvious they're
going to have trouble.
Which saves, as usual, the best for last. I'll cover her scenes
with Link first. It appears that little conscience she doesn't have
is still bothering her. Her reaching out to Link might be plausible,
but we don't have the key bit of history (namely, her own camp experience,
as shown in the Masochist's Memories section of The Daria Diaries)
to give a better excuse than "cause we need character development."
This just doesn't work very well when Daria is at the same time pulling
away from both Jane and Tom and had been attempting to totally isolate
herself, not without something else being involved. I also wouldn't
have expected a lame "I had a friend like you" line from her, and
the whole "if she didn't keep things bottled up" speech didn't sit
well. The rest of the camp is pretty much as would be expected, her
trying to get out unscathed and not die of boredom, but the Link mini-plot
seemed a bit tacked on.
And Daria is pulling away from Jane. She tries to talk to Jane while
they're both in town, but doesn't call her until the summer is almost
over, even though she has the phone number. Their fight in the bar
is one of two important scenes they get together. What I found most
interesting was Jane's complaint "You wanted to go out with him regardless
of what it did to our friendship!" considering how she had been treating
Daria when she first met Tom. Daria shouldn't have believed her okay
line, but Jane's being unfair in placing all the blame on Daria like
this. Their fight is basically resolved by the end of this episode,
which is a bit of a stretch. Not too much of one, since Daria does
accept the blame and is trying to make it work, and by the end of
the summer Jane is willing as well. It is a bit abrupt, but introspection
isn't the easiest thing to do on screen.
Daria's relationship with Tom doesn't get off to a good start. I can
certainly understand why Daria wouldn't want to deal with her classmates
(where did that whole brother thing come from, anyway?), but if they're
both interested in things like Fellini movies there's probably much
more interesting things they could be doing than going out for pizza.
Sitting and talking is certainly going to be on their "interesting
things to do" list, but there's no real reason to do it in a pizza
parlor instead of somewhere else. Daria's first meeting with Tom's
family doesn't go very well, and they do seem a bit uncertain to make
of her and her not going to Fielding. One of the more interesting
points in the entire movie (although it's more emphasized in these
early scenes) is that Daria is still resisting telling Tom she likes
him or calling him her boyfriend. She never does work herself up to
doing so, which at least fits her earlier character.
Her big fight with Tom leaves blame on both sides, but Daria is self-aware
enough to know and admit what she's doing. She's as passive-aggressive
as we've ever seen in this scene, which is going to be where Tom's
persistence (and patience) is going to come in next season. This is
another somewhat abrupt reconciliation, for basically the same reasons
as the other. There's almost no way this won't be the main story thread
running through fifth season. There's a certain amount of danger in
this, as I can see numerous ways for this to be done badly, and there's
one thing in specific I'm really dreading seeing covered in an episode.
If it was just Glenn and Anne I wouldn't be worried about it, but
as long as Sam and Chris are still on staff... and believe me, you
will hear about it if it happens.
The movie was pretty good. As a drama, it doesn't match "Dye! Dye!
My Darling" which was far more tightly written. There were just too
many trivial themes running through the movie that were avoided in
the episode to let it match up. On the other hand, it does give us
a partial return to the Daria style humor, which is definitely a plus.
It was certainly better than most of fourth season, and is hopefully
an indication of what we can expect from fifth.