Archived Ramblings



That state teacher's convention was meant to be a parody of the US education system, but unfortunately this is no longer possible thanks the nature of the US education system. The whole "failure is success" (with the unspoken corollary "success is failure") line is too close to the things actually advocated by the Progressive Theory of education, which has been in control of the public education system since the mid '50s. This kind of Orwellian doublespeak is so common in teacher's education courses that it's simply impossible to parody the system, as even accurate portrayals of the system are beyond parody. Reading the sort of things it takes to get a teaching certificate is metaparody of a sort, and Mr. O'Neill is just too accurate.

I think this is, on the whole, one of the better episodes this season. Daria, at least, is in character, and it's about time she got one of her Classic endings.
Kevin and Brittany were way overused this episode, and this season in general. They're one-joke characters, and they just plain don't wear well in scenes lacking Daria or Jane. I mean, even the other cheerleaders are contemptuous of Brittany's intellect. There's only so much you can do with that.
Trent and Tom were handled well this episode, although Tom didn't really have a purpose here, except perhaps to slightly reinforce his attraction to nonconformists. This somewhat ties in with "A Tree Grows in Lawdale" and Kevin's bout of conforming to nonconformity. Is Tom just rebelling against his family, or is there really something more there?
Jodie's scene with her parents is an extension on "Gifted" and it looks like Jodie's getting very weary, and that's at least starting to parlay itself into depression. Although we've seen very little indication of what her relationship with Mack is like, the little cuddling-in-class scene shows she's probably relying on him for emotional support quite a bit.

Jane going valley girl... oh deary, deary me. I think Daria's scream sums that one up. It's really hard to believe her seriously picking this as her assignment.
She remarks that she finds it easy to fit in, and in some ways she is correct. After all, to fit in all you have to do is shut off your brain and let the peer group make your decisions for you. All this requires is no morals, no shame, and no thinking. Jane's exhibited the first before in "See Jane Run" and it took a confrontation with Daria to set her straight. The second is also required to be an individual. The latter is something Jane's also done before, although only in a way, as she's thrown herself into her paintings to distract herself. However, she's not good enough at it to be popular, as her little daydream shows. Daria knew this wasn't going to work.

Daria's reaction to Jane's new outfit, while perfectly appropriate, doesn't quite mesh with the rest of the series. Between "Through a Lens Darkly" and "Quinn the Brain" Daria doesn't have much right left to criticize on this, although at least in "Quinn the Brain" it was for a very short-term, definite goal.


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