Archived Ramblings

March 25, 2001


I won't blame this delay on MTV, just the new writer. We've really seen this episode before, and not that long ago, so I wasn't much in the mood to watch it yet again to get the usual quotes.

Might as well start with the Fashion Club. They've certainly mellowed out rather quickly, perhaps as a hangover from "Fat Like Me." Sandi has regained some of her dominance, but certainly isn't in dictatorial control. Tiffany seems to have recovered from whatever problem she's had for the past two seasons. Quinn's pretty much like she was before, only friendlier to Sandi. Best part of the subplot was Stacy's line about the stuff in the garbage can. About all this subplot does is reinforce the idea that the Fashion Club isn't as popular as it thinks. That and make me wonder what Stacy's going to be when (if) she grows up.

Jake was his old mercurial self, although this interest in show tunes is a part of him we haven't seen before (and likely won't again). Helen's paranoia is sudden-onset. At the end of "Is It Fall Yet?" she was positively cooing over Daria kissing Tom, now she's blaspheming and dropping things. She's always trusted Daria more than Quinn, why the change? I'd think she wouldn't be near as worried about her little stoic handling her emotions as she would be about flighty little Quinn. Oh well, Daria's her oldest daughter, reason may not be getting a look in.

Mr. O'Neill was his usual bumbling self. Mrs. Barch's brief appearance was little more than a set up for a joke, but it gave us a couple good lines. Kevin and Brittany's appearance was pretty pointless, and it's rather sad that the writer stooped to bodily function jokes. Jodie was there, although basically as the supportive-aquaintance-with-three-lines.

Jane wasn't involved in this episode much. It's rather strange to go from "we could be deconstructing that Croatian comedy" to "What do I know about literature?" but she does. Jane's been around books and Daria's stories for quite a while now. And surely she can tell what she likes and what isn't. It'd be hard to spend a lot of time with Daria without picking up something or other about literature, just like Daria's probably picked up quite a bit about art from Jane. Of course, Jane's main purpose in this episode was to get Daria to talk to Tom.

Tom was, well, Tom this episode. He handled things fairly well, although his argument with Daria didn't show all that much maturity (on either side). He seems to enjoy rubbing things in Daria's face, too. He should have dropped the eating crow joke a bit sooner.

What the hell has happened to Daria, though? She was a whiny little snot this episode. That's not a new thing (the same stupid-argument/fight-with-Tom/realize-mistake/apologize scenario happened a couple episodes ago), but she really got on my nerves this episode (even more than has been usual lately). I can't see why Tom would stick with this relationship this much if this is at all typical of Daria's behavior during this time.
I had a lot of problems with her this episode, obviously. She seems to have lost all self-confidence, so I have to wonder what happened to "I don't have low self-esteem. I have low esteem for everyone else." Just like I hated that timid crap in "Speedtrapped." This is the girl that forged her Principal's signature on a letter asking a mercenary group to come to the school to recruit. She's not timid or reluctant to do things she wants to do.
She also shows a serious lapse of judgment here. She's cynical, intelligent, and aware enough to realize that her story is likely to be rejected several times before it's ever accepted. "Musings" also doesn't sound like the kind of magazine that would appreciate a good flesh eating virus story, so why in the world would she submit one there? (The only Musings magazine I've found so far is a high-school magazine in Maryland and a defunct pagan web-zine, but the imaginary one certainly doesn't sound like the right place to start.)

It's obvious that a major theme of this season is "Daria being drawn out of her shell" and I'm not liking the way they're going about it. Two of the first five rely on the same basic scenario, and neither was particularly well done. The scenario itself isn't interesting enough to warrant the multiple uses, and I really hope we don't see the same thing happen another two or three times before the movie. The other two episodes so far that focus on Daria are variations on the shell theme, one with Tom yet again, the other with a one-timer character providing the pull. If this pattern keeps up, the series as a whole will offer a totally different message than it did during first season, and it is starting to look like the whole series was set up to undermine that point. I hope that isn't the case, but they don't have much time left to change direction.


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