Archived Ramblings

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 security.
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 picture?
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."



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