Archived Ramblings

May 26, 2001


The mid season slump is over. We should see a straight run through to the end of the season, then hit another slump while we wait for the movie. We don't know much about Monday's episode yet, except that Charles is appearing in a magic act and Jane is going to get rather aggressive about finding a new date (and end up with someone who dresses like he's in the 50's).

On to "One J at a Time" and let's start with the easy ones. The three Js were, well, themselves. Eager to please Quinn but, through no fault of their own, unable to do so. Most interesting bits here were the look on Jeffy's face when Quinn mentioned the cemetery plots and Jamie's attempted comment when Quinn said listening is important. I get the feeling that Jamie would be a halfway decent guy if he was given the chance (and this goes back at least as far as "Write Where it Hurts").
The Fashion Club is just like it was, with Sandi back at the helm. Not really much to say about Sandi or Tiffany except that Sandi seems to be a WNBA fan. Stacy, however, had some good scenes. We see again that she and Quinn are a bit closer to each other than any other pairing in the club. This is something that will hopefully be played out/tied up in the last few episodes and movies; Quinn could be a good influence on her. We may have seen some of that this episode, actually, if Stacy's hesitation about the magic eight ball means anything.
Quinn seems to have totally lost her mind again. After her talk of compatibility and studying dating as her occupation (during "Is It Fall Yet?") she sure doesn't seem to know anything about it. She's been around Daria for sixteen or so years now, and she isn't stupid. You'd think she'd be able to recognize that kind of behavior from Daria, and not fall for everything.

Jane isn't in this episode much. More of a "she's still here" appearance than anything. Finding out that Tom never met her parents was about all we get on her, and that is quite a point. She was dating Tom for, what? A year? And he never once met her folks. Jane's folks do roam rather more than the Morgendorffers, but still.

Speaking of the Morgendorffers, Jake is the biggest goof around. Still. It's too late in the season to expect him to get any character growth at all. After "Jake of Hearts" we could have expected something, but it hasn't shown up. This guy's definitely having a mid-life crisis and trying to recapture his youth. Now if he'd only realize he's a parent now...
Helen seems to have calmed down a bit. Maybe her case load hasn't been as heavy lately. Aside from the unnecessary suing UNICEF side-plot, I only have one real problem with her performance this episode, and I'll be covering that later. Her motherly side is finally gaining on her lawyer side, but since we had some new writers this episode there's no way to predict how much of it will stick around.

For new writers they got Daria down very well. Snippy, sarcastic, manipulative. The comfort-food bit wasn't something that's really been shown before, and it doesn't seem much more than a "they aren't as different as" piece, but other than that she was handled very well.

Tom... poor Tom. Things start off well enough. He sends Daria a first-edition book. I didn't get the title for sure, but if it was Death and Fame then a fine quality 1st edition would run about $25. About the right range for a teen guy sending a no-reason gift to his girlfriend. Tom's family may be rich, but we have no idea what kind of cash he has. Some rich families are pretty light on the allowance, so his parents may be trying to teach him the value of a dollar. Then again, look at what he drives... He's even quick to pick up on what Daria's doing to Quinn and play along.
There's a problem here, however. Tom wanting to get along with Jake, okay. Helping him catch a squirrel, okay. During the middle of dinner? Um... Singing "Whomp, there it is" with (of all people) Jeffy? Please. That's bad enough, but then there's Daria's reaction to it. Or rather, there isn't. This manages to resurrect my oldest complaint about the show, the incessant male-bashing. Tom was, for a while, something of an exception to it. He wasn't good at relationships, but he wasn't a total dork. The show's heavy enough on the stereotypes and parodies that just that was enough to end my complaint. Now that he is just another dork who's expected to do "guy things" it's back.

There's only really one more problem I had with this episode. Helen's little talk with Quinn pulled us back to "Groped by an Angel" territory. Quinn is again told that she should do whatever makes her happy. Now, this is MTV. Hedonism is good is a message I can see them pushing. I just hate to think what this sort of thing is going to turn Quinn into. She's already been Keg Queen, imagine her coed years...

Over all it's pretty funny, and this is probably the best performance for Daria we've seen this season. Unfortunately it's tied down with a couple major problems. It's surprising they'd pull in a couple new authors this late in the show, but it's a decent introduction.


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