June 30, 2001
Well, that was it for regular episodes. We've still got a movie left, but it seems that won't be out until the end of the year. My Ramblings are probably going to be pretty sparse between now and then, but I've still got stuff to add to the page. I'll mostly be working on alter-egos and getting the merchandise section updated, but I also want to get my minor and one-time character pages going.
Let's start the episode with Mr. O'Neill. That man is another one who's good at saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. Sure he means well, but heck, you can say the same about people like Stalin. They've got the same problem, too, the way they go about things. Mr. O'Neill doesn't have people killed, but he tends to be the karmic equivalent of being slowly flayed to death with scented bootlaces. He's the sort of person that should never be allowed to teach children, but I bet he'd never be able to find an alternate career.
Tom doesn't appear much in this episode. He's more notable for what he doesn't do than what he does. He puts up with yet another one of Daria's little bitch fests without getting upset, and he's even willing to joke with her later. Mostly, however, he's just out of town.
Quinn is another minor player this episode. It takes her favorite
snacks being threatened for her to be willing to do a minor chore
around the house. She (and Daria) seem to have been very spoiled as
far as this goes, which is slightly unusual in a household where both
parents work. She does manage to show some actual empathy and thoughtfulness
at the end of the episode, but other than that her interesting performance
is confined to the flashback scenes.
Jake is his usual volatile self, but he actually gets a decent line for once. Only after messing up it a couple times first, of course. He certainly seems to have had some bad employment experiences, but that just makes it less likely he'd have accepted that dot com job back in "Sappy Anniversary". Given his temper, though, it's really not surprising that he's stormed out of the house at some point. I wouldn't be surprised if he's done it more than once. Helen and Jake didn't remember the fight at first, so Jake spending a night in a hotel must have happened fairly often.
Helen had to be pretty confused after that first fight with Daria. Daria does place a high value on honesty, and Helen should know that by now, but she didn't know what Daria was talking about. We actually don't see much new from Helen this episode. She's been shown to have some understanding with Daria as far back as "Write Where it Hurts", if not further.
Jane isn't present too much in this episode, but her brief appearances are very important. She's confirmed as the person Daria trusts the most, although that's not a surprise. Her reaction to being hugged by Daria is pretty much perfect, sort of a "what the hell is going on?" look.
Daria is the big star of the show. Her name's on the front, so that's
as it should be, especially for a series finalé. I want to start with
young Daria. She's definitely very bright for a six year old, and
the flashbacks generated a lot of comments about how much she was
like various fans. Young Daria's reaction isn't exactly uncommon,
a lot of kids are like that. Something a lot of adults don't seem
to understand is that to a lot of kids that age adults are a lot more
interesting than other kids. In my experience, most kids that age
are more interested in adults than in other kids. Even young Quinn
seemed to be more concerned with the adult's opinions than the other
kids (although that changed somewhere along the way, as it often does).
Daria probably didn't have much to do with decorating her room, a
clown light switch doesn't seem even a six year old Daria's choice.
There were a lot of good references this episode. They managed to tie Daria's early childhood to the early days of the series and the end of the series to the beginning.
I do have two big problems with the episode. One was the blackout
introduction, which seemed totally unnecessary to me. It didn't really
add any tension; there is a movie still to come after all.
Overall, a solid end to the series. Not much of a lead-in to the movie, but from the rumors of the way season 5 was picked up by MTV that's not surprising. It was a good dramatic episode, with some nice characterization on Daria, but not much humor.
I want to end with a quote I find very appropriate. It's from Calvin and Hobbes, spoken by Calvin, which I find rather suitable for a number of reasons.
"I wish I had more friends, but people are such jerks. If you can just get most people to ignore you and leave you alone you're doing good. If you can find even one person you really like, you're lucky. And if that person can also stand you, you're really lucky."
Daria is, indeed, very lucky.