Archived Ramblings

June 2, 2001


Anyone think Jane's wearing that snood a bit too tight? But that's for later.

I'll start with the subplot. This part of the story was wholly believable, and showed some exploration of a character that's been pretty flat before now. To take the simpler (no pun intended) matters first, we seen Tiffany and Quinn in their shallow forms. Not that Tiffany has any others, so far as we've seen. They're at their manipulative best (by which I mean most typical) with their combination of obvliviousness and desire to learn how to cry on demand.
Sandi insults the other members yet again, and gets metaphorically slapped in the face yet again. Even Stacy's undermining her power now, there must be plans for some sort of major showdown in the last few episodes or the movie. With all the trouble she's had this past season there's no way she can hold dominion over the club for another year. Since we won't be seeing stories from their senior year they'll need to wrap this up soon.
Stacy got another moment. She's been developed enough these last couple seasons that it seems pretty sure we'll have some sort of moment with here before the fade to black too. I think she's the first of the four to show curiosity for something besides fashion. A curiosity strong enough to override her dependence on the opinion of the Fashion Club and to get her to associate with Charles and even conspire against Sandi.

Speaking of which, it'd be interesting to know how much of that plan was from Charles and how much was from Stacy. Since the episode there's been an increased interest in Charles fanfic, so I dare say we'll see something on the subject before long, but we won't see it in canon. Did Stacy just pick the target, or did she help with the planning?

Charles finally got a good appearance. I've always thought there was more to that guy than hormones. Not that he stopped playing lady-killer with Stacy, but at least he toned it down. The interest in magic is right in line with the rest of his character, and as he's progressed to stage style escape tricks he's put a lot of practice in. Makes me curious to see what he's going to be after graduation. He certainly doesn't lack for self-confidence, getting teachers to help with his cons.
I think that bit about his mermaid dream qualifies as too much information, however. The episode was written by Anne Bernstein, and I'd be surprised if she didn't know the symbolism of the mermaid. It works both as a comment on Charles' established character and some misleading foreshadowing for the episode. It's also an interesting hint towards Charles' relation with Stacy. If it's meant as a hint, we'll see those two together more in the last few episodes.

I want to touch on the teachers for a moment. Ms. Li was her usual self, not much to say there except I wouldn't be surprised if the students gave her a present after graduation. Say, a little round furry cap with a spike on.
Ms. Barch seemed totally out of place this episode. Her appearance on stage wasn't dramatically necessary and it didn't advance the humor. Her shtick gets old quick, really, and didn't really fit the scene.
Mr. DeMartino the con man. He's always willing to make some extra money, even if it means cheating his fellow teachers. He was "in" on Charles' scam, was he in on the magic act? We didn't see anything definite either way.

Tom really gets to show off his sense of humor this episode. I'm not sure I can forgive him for starting that "what'd I say" running gag, but at least it shows the three are (mostly) comfortable about the subject. His relationship with Daria seems to be working better than his relationship with Jane did. They may be in a rut, but at least he's willing to try other things if Daria wants to. Not that chain restaurants are a big change.

Daria has Nathan pegged from the start. After some initial attempts to make Jane see sense, she shuts up and lets Jane find out for herself. This is quite a change for her. She's also still not totally comfortable with her relationship with Tom. She worried about being in a rut right away, but when they tried something new it didn't last long. Swing dancing is a bit outside her scope, so I can understand why she wouldn't join in, but that just begs the question of what Jane was doing at the time.

Jane, after all, hasn't been known to swing dance. Not exactly something you can pick up quick after a couple of fox-trot lessons. Her behavior this episode was pretty extreme, but I can't say it was out of character. We've seen her throw herself into things she normally wouldn't do before, but this is a bit beyond all the others. Wearing the forties fashion to school seemed over the top. The rest of it certainly fits in her "fun" category, but why to school? (Oddest part of that is no one mentioning it besides Daria. I'd expect at least the Fashion Club to pick up on it.)
She also seems somewhat lonely this episode. She's hanging around with Daria and Tom, but this is the most aggressively we've ever seen her go after a relationship. Bobby "Big head" came to her, as did Tom and even more so Alison. Nathan she practically chased down. Besides not going into the retro fad 24/7, I would have expected her to start worrying about him when he ran off to fix his hair in the middle of a kiss. Especially coming hot on the heels of his rather heated attack on the "post khaki's ad" posers. The real question there is how much of the self-blinding was due to loneliness and how much was due to simply contrariness. With Daria and Tom's first reaction she may well have set out to prove them wrong.

Overall this is a funny episode with some good character development among the underused background folk. The main plot is good, but shows a worrying tendency in Daria's best friend. Speculation on "what if Jane hadn't met Daria" (rather than "what if Daria hadn't met Jane") is likely to increase in fanfic because of this. It will be interesting to see if Jane develops another real relationship before the show ends.


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