Archived Ramblings

March 25, 1998


A couple more things to say, one about last episode, one about the season as a whole.

In case you haven't noticed, I haven't been too pleased by second season. I realized one of the reasons why today.
The first episode I saw was "Cafe Disaffecto." This rather set my expectations for the rest of the series in certain ways. The important one here is that Daria was able to twist situations to her advantage. No matter how bad or stupid the thing happening, she ended up ahead. This happened consistently throughout first season: forced into a self-esteem class, she's able to embarrass Quinn; at a stupid, boring party she's able to embarrass Quinn and get some cash (to say nothing of the sock); forced into an extra-curricular activity, she gets her extra-curricular credit, starts a riot, and gets away with it; stuck with a baby-sitting job to avoid "family counselling night," she earns some cash and gets an A paper. See the common thread here?
Now look at second season:
The painting she collaborated on is stolen, modified, and displayed, so she defaces it. She doesn't get punished, but she doesn't come out ahead, either. They should have restored the original poem to embarrass Mrs. Li in front of the school board, or even better yet, replace the painting with another. Say, one of Mrs. Li as a Crusader, tossing babies onto lances...
Stuck on a school field trip - which her parents are helping with - she leaves. Again, she doesn't really come out ahead. She and Jane got some extra sleep out of it, but that's about it.
Quinn blows a fuse and gets called a genius, so Daria gets her to stop. Again, no gain, just a return to the Status Quo (although I'd call having to dress up like Quinn a big negative for her).
Stuck being a bridesmaid at a relative's wedding, she meets her aunt and leaves early. Again, she didn't really gain much, if anything.
Stuck doing a film project, she tapes 'a day in the life of Quinn,' which makes Quinn even more popular. This was bad. She didn't even get any cash out of it, and she lost an opportunity to totally embarrass Quinn.
In fact, the one show in second season that comes close is "That Was Then, This is Dumb." At least she gets some major dirt on her parents here, even though it did cost her twenty bucks.

Still, see what I mean? Has love turned Daria into some sentimental drifter who's willing to take what comes? Has she totally lost her ability to manipulate people? Frankly, seeing her turn the tables on all sorts of common bullshit was one of the best parts of the show, and the lack of it in second season is taking it's toll.

This other complaint is about Trent. Specifically, how he was used in "Monster." As I said in the episode summary, he was used gratuitously. I know this isn't a drama, but there was no real reason for him to be there. He didn't advance the plot, he didn't advance a sub-plot, and it didn't really advance the Daria/Trent theme. Tossing him in for a couple cheap laughs (or attempts at cheap laughs anyway) isn't a good idea. Tossing anything in for a cheap laugh generally isn't a good idea. If he's used, he should be there for a better reason than to appeal to the Trent-worshiping fans.


March 24, 1998


A pretty good episode. Certainly one of the funnies ones (it was written by the person who wrote "Malled," btw). Unfortunately, I wasn't too fond of the ending. But on with the show, so to speak.

The character development in this one wasn't too extensive, but it was good. Mr. O'Neill has finally remembered their names correctly (and seemingly permanently), and his doting over Daria and her ideas shows that she's clearly his favourite student. This, of course, makes the whole plot of "Quinn the Brain" even less likely, but I don't mind that at all.
At the start of the episode, I was slightly worried that it was trying to be another "Cafe Disaffecto." One of Daria's nasty comments triggers a class project from Mr. O'Neill; where have we seen that before? Luckily, it took a different route. This is one plot device we may see fairly often, simply because of the characters. Mr. O'Neill will listen favourably to anything Daria says while not noticing the sarcasm, and Daria won't stop being sarcastic. I just hope they don't over-use this one...

Jake, Jodie, and Mack all got bit parts again, mostly reinforcing what we've already seen. An episode or three that concentrates on specific "support" characters could be very interesting.

I thought the Daria/Quinn dream sequence was a bit over the top, but my opinion there is influenced because it was used so recently (and so poorly) in another episode. At least Daria nightmaring herself into Quinn's outfit is more rational than the poor excuse they had last time. However, I don't see Daria letting Quinn off that lightly. She owes Quinn big time for "The Big House" (Okay, bad pun, but still true), not to mention just about everything that's happened since. Daria didn't even get any money out of her! Now, passing up a chance to totally embarrass her for cash I could see, but out of kindness? After the crap she pulls all the time? Hopefully this gets rid of the last of Daria's kind feelings (feeling anyway) for her sister. For a while, anyway. Quinn needs a good humiliation.

It was a good show, and I think second season is getting better. Unfortunately, the writers haven't shown us any "Pinch Sitter" endings yet. First season, especially the finale, got our expectations up. It was a bit of a slow start, but perhaps they'll be living up to them anyway. (Of course, that'll cause problems for next season...)

Oh, one more thing. "Tanked in a Tutu" reminded me I haven't got the SSW listings up at the moment. I'll put them back up, with the second season ones, when I get a chance.



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