I'm finally reaching the final stretch here. All the episode summaries
and base annotations are up, and after I finish my first-brush Rambling
on episodes and some character updates I can focus on some other things,
like fixing up my links and credits sections.
I've received a grand total of one annotation so far. Now that I've
to the whole season up, there's no reason not to start sending those
I've got most of the third season alter-egos (thanks to Martin of
Outpost Daria), but not all of them, and none of fourth yet. If anyone
out there has video captures, let me know.
"I Loathe a Parade" is one of the episodes that started
to catch my attention with this show again. Unfortunately, it doesn't
work nearly as well in series as it does stand-alone.
It starts off excellent, with Daria's dosage of cynicism and sarcasm
coming off well, as does Helen and Quinn's distraction and Jake's
emergency. It unfortunately doesn't stay excellent, but I'll be getting
How could Daria not know about Homecoming? She still goes to school,
and Jane had a date specifically for it. These things are uber-hyped
by schools, there's really no way Daria could have missed hearing
about it, especially with a semi-friend like Jodie. The only real
possibility here is that she's repressing out of self-defense...
Kevin, Brittany, and the Fashion Club were all overused, but probably
unavoidable considering. Unfortunately, this brings up one of the
regular problems of this season, trying to do too much in too little
time. There's only twenty minutes per show, there's just plain not
enough time to focus on three different groups of minor characters
in addition to the main plot. The old one main and one subplot structure
had some good reasoning behind it. If there are going to be episodes
about minor (not Daria or Jane, really) characters, they need to have
just one group per show, like how "Lane Miserables" did
There are some more problems with the minor character presentations.
Upchuck didn't have much point this episode except being beat up by
the cops (note the theme that's been through the entire series relating
to cops; taking bribes, doughnut jokes, back-country hicks, brutality),
although I do wonder how he managed to get girls to ride with him
in the parade, especially considering his treatment in "Jake
of Hearts." The Fashion Club scene was a partial remake of the
"Malled" scene which I think handled it better. The only
real good point there (including the excuse for getting Daria up there,
which was rather thin) was Tad's fight with Sandi.
This leads into the note that Tad and Tricia have been reprogrammed...
Understandable, I suppose, but it would have been refreshing to see
some hint of their night with Daria and Jane remaining.
Jodie and Mack are harder to justly comment on. We don't see enough
of them to know if this sensitivity about their race is justified
or not, but there's really no evidence to support it. Jodie is the
single most active student at the school, knows basically everyone,
is good looking and popular, and is probably going to be valedictorian.
She seems a natural choice for Homecoming Queen. She's also got Michele
for a mother... Mack is captain of the football team and Jodie's boyfriend,
so that seems another obvious choice. Not knowing their race, if presented
with those descriptions, I'd be assuming they'd win.
How can I not mention Ted's short appearance? (Spoiler following)
Knowing the end of the season, this is a little time-bomb that's been
planted. Expect an episode early to mid fifth season, just after Daria
and Jane have finally reconciled, wherein yearbooks come out. This
is going to be especially troublesome considering Jane's comments
to Tom about going out with her just to get to Daria. If they skip
it, it's going to leave a huge hole in the continuity, and if they
address it they'll almost certainly fall into soap opera or grand
guignol territory. (End spoiler)
Of course, the meat of the episode is Tom and Daria. There are some
interesting small touches going on, like Tom crouching down to talk
to Tad (something very few adults would bother with, indicating that
Tom is either very good with children or is very bad with children
but thinks he's very good with them). Considering the hostility Daria
has shown to Tom up to this point, it's hard to understand why he'd
invite himself along with her, much less try to draw her out like
that. At best he's just a slightly less obnoxious person of the type
Daria got fed up with in "The Misery Chick", assuming that
her lack of ostentatious presentations of happiness means she isn't.
Tom, whatever his strengths, has still been deeply conditioned by
our Professional Smile culture, and doesn't seem to see that it's
artificial, not inherent. Most of his "share the moment"
related lines are based on this misunderstanding, and it's slightly
puzzling not to see him set straight.
Daria's behavior at the beginning of the episode is great; sarcastic,
drives off obnoxious family members, gets a bribe. Her reaction to
most of the parade is pretty good, but it does start to change at
the end. Between her staring wide-eyed at a fire and looking utterly
dejected after being splashed with paint, I think we see more non-anger
emotion on her face in this episode than we have in the entire series
up till now. The Daria at the end of the episode is far closer to
the Daria of "Speedtrapped" than the fist season Daria at
the beginning. The transition over the course of the episode just
doesn't work well, and is probably supposed to indicate how Tom can
"draw her out of her shell" which is a really bad thing
to use on this show.
This is going to tie in with the writer a bit. Dan Vebber's other
Daria episode was decent, but not spectacular. He's a relative latecomer
to the series, so his lack of grasp on the early characterizations
is somewhat explainable. Unfortunately, he's also done some writing
for Buffy, The Vampire Slayer, and it shows. Between the standard
TV convention of any vehicle that tips over catching fire and the
earlier ("Jake of Hearts") return-to-start his TV background
is obvious. I haven't watched many episodes of Buffy (I didn't like
it, which is probably not going to sit well with many fans, as I've
seen a fairly large crossover audience), but this episode certainly
seems to carry a lot of the flavor of that series into it. And if
I wanted Buffy, I'd watch Buffy.
On to "Of Human Bonding." This was an Anne Bernstein episode,
but definitely not her best. It wasn't bad, it just wasn't as good
as her normal work. The Fashion Club plot was far too much of the
episode for the everything-stays-the-same outcome, and Daria had one
major drop of character.
I'll start with the Fashion Club scenes. The were pretty much just
time filler, but there were a couple interesting points to touch on.
The "you can each invite one friend over" bit highlighted
that Daria actually has a friend, whereas Quinn's friends can better
be described as slightly more than acquaintances. If any of the girls
is a real friend to Quinn it's Stacy, but Quinn doesn't seem to like
Stacy that much.
You'd think someone would have complained about that overdone paint
job Sandi did on Helen, but oh well. And Helen's marriage problems
are still going strong. It even sounds like Eric is flirting with
her, at least on occasion (and remember that brief song attempt in
"Daria!"?) so this might be an interesting plot for next
Aside from the question of what Sandi's condition is, that's pretty
much it for the Fashion Club time. The only other interesting bit
was Stacy beating the bejeezus out of her pillow. There may be a lot
of suppressed rage in that poor girl.
Jake and Daria were, for the most part, in character and done well
this episode. Jake's brief period of backbone regarding the clubs
was amusing, but his constant complaining about his father gets tired
quick (especially when accompanied by flashbacks). His talk with Daria
that first night was excellent Jake, however.
Daria's been showing some new interests this season. Although she's
had bones and such in her room since the beginning, we've seen her
interest in "medical oddities" more this season. A medical
career in her future, perhaps?
The other season trend with Daria is an increase in the number of
suicide jokes she's been making. They've popped up from time to time
all series, but they seem to be rather more common this season than
any other. This does make sense of a sort, since she's still in a
semi-war state with Tom, but could be overdone really easily.
Most of Daria's behavior this episode was great, especially her "unmanageable
bag of hot air" comment. The big exception here was the thought
voice-over on the plane, where she called her father a hero. If she
was being sarcastic that'd be one thing, but it didn't sound like
it, and he hasn't really done anything heroic except to stay married
to Helen for twenty some years (recall Amy's comment to him in "I
Don't"). Considering Daria's respect for intelligence and Jake's
marked lack of display of it, this line just sticks out as not fitting.
Not the worst episode this season, but that's not saying much.