Archived Ramblings



I know, a new episode tomorrow and I'm just now putting this up. Unfortunately MTV's inability to tell time was shown more blatantly than usual last week and I was unable to get a complete tape of the episode before Saturday.
Speaking of new episodes, MTV's had the clip for next week up on their site for a while. The one sentence blurb describes the episode as Daria entering a writing contest, but you couldn't tell that from the clip (or from the commercial previews). Right now it's pretty much up in the air what the episode will actually be about.

On to "Camp Fear." This was written by the same guy who wrote "Groped by an Angel." It shows. Both episodes suffer from a major fault: setting up an opportunity to offer some real character insight and totally passing it up for a cheap message. This episode also suffers from the (now typical) attempt to do too much in too little time. Four threads in twenty minutes just isn't going to work.

We've got Helen and Jake and their relationship. Okay, nothing new here. No point to having them this episode, they did the same thing they always do (fight and make up) and the time could have better served the other plot lines.

Jane, Trent and the Spiral were okay. Spiral is always pretty funny to watch, but they're a low-dose entertainment. I can see them getting tired quickly, so it's a good thing they weren't overdone. Trent's little artistic crisis was handled decently, although the couple they ran into were rather overdone. Not unwrapping the cheese for their sandwiches? Jane was definitely shown off to the best effect this episode, teasing both Daria and her brother while supporting them at the same time.

Quinn was, well, Quinn. This was another plot we could have done without. Fashion Clones and the three Bs was taking things too far. It was probably meant to highlight Quinn's current relationships, but that was hardly necessary for the audience, and it doesn't seem to have made any real impact on Quinn. If she hadn't been carried away reminiscing she'd have guarded her tongue better and never mentioned Alex, so what is she going to get out of this? Be more careful around Sandi?

Which leaves Daria and Amelia. Daria's the only one seeing things clearly this episode other than Jane. Jane realizes what's wrong with her brother and his band, Daria sees the past as it was, not in some idealized haze. Good start, and a great opportunity to explore why she's the way she is. One that's totally passed up by the end of the episode, of course. We get a couple of stories about bad camp experiences and a couple flashbacks, but that's it. Okay, so maybe this was meant as a filler episode instead of a development episode. It was pretty funny, up until the end (rather like "Groped by an Angel" again).
I need to talk about Amelia here for a bit. She's one of those conformist nonconformists that are all over the place (and are MTV's target audience). Daria's perfectly correct about her being a follower who congratulates herself on not being a follower. These people can be very obnoxious, and Daria obviously finds her so. The first thing Daria says when she sees Amelia is "speaking of unpleasant memories." Daria talks to her, okay, but Daria talks to Brittany when spoken to. We see nothing at all to indicate that Daria's ever been the least bit friendly towards Amelia, including the reminiscing scene. All of which combines to make that last scene between the two rather unbelievable.
That talk ruined what would have otherwise been a good episode. Amelia getting up and telling off the entire camp, using Daria's own words, after being prompted by Daria to be an individual? Everyone gleefully following the shift in speakers? That by itself would have been wonderfully ironic. Instead we once again see Daria basically apologizing for being correct. What message is being pushed here? Lie to people to be their friend? Don't let them know what you really think of them, or risk (as Quinn did) losing their friendship? If you want to walk your own path it's better to lead sheep than ignore them for others who happen to be going your way? Of course, Daria could have developed her opinion on friendship from watching Quinn, which would explain a lot.
That manages to bring a bit of unintended irony to the ending, as Daria's comment about seeking enlightenment from idiots takes on a new barb, but it's not enough to save the episode. The message makes it fail as filler, so it's a bit out of luck.

All in all, an amusing episode with a message ending that manages to drag the whole thing down with it, complete with a wasted opportunity.


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