Archived Ramblings

June 9, 2001


There seems to be some scheduling confusion over the last couple episodes. Different guides give different answers, so we're going to have to wait and see which episode is which. I think "Boxing Daria" will be #512, but we don't have enough information about either to really say.

To deal with the quick bits first, the Fashion Club didn't get much real play in "Aunt Nauseam". Tiffany and Kevin seem to be competing for the title of Stupidest Cartoon Character Ever. Sandi was her old vindictive self. Stacy was sweet again. The entire subplot seemed to be there solely to highlight Quinn and the main plot.

Jane got a line. Why Daria talked to Jane rather than Tom was explained in the episode, so there really isn't anything left here.

Jake's still stuck as his hopeless self. He runs off to avoid the crossfire, but only manages to give Helen and Rita something more to fight over.

What is up with Tom? One episode shows him willing to drop his date to go bowling (or chase squirrels) and now he's more patient than Saint Peter. The guy gets a door closed in his face in the middle of a word and doesn't mind. I guess the guys on this show are only allowed to fall into one of three categories: total idiot (Kevin), hopeless goof (Jake) or willing to take anything a woman cares to dish out (Mr. O'Neill, um, I mean Tom). Not, of course, that they can't fit into multiple categories there. So yeah, the old complaint. Still.
Why Tom is willing to put up with this sort of thing from Daria needs to be covered a little more explicitly on the show. "My Night with Daria" is supposed to be about Daria dealing with relationship issues, so that's probably where it'll be addressed mostly. A good place for it too, since the movie's going to be (in some manner) about going off to college.

Erin never actually appeared, but she was part of the episode. And she certainly seems to have some major emotional problems. Helen's comment about Rita's parenting skills probably wasn't very far off the mark. (Brian seems to fit the fourth category of male on the show: total jerk/creep/sleezeball.)

Speaking of Rita... what is up with her? She is definitely not well educated (divorce case to the Supreme Court?) and we've seen no real indication of what she does for a living. In fact, Helen's implied that she's never really held a steady job. Makes me suspect that "mother" is supporting her still, which would certainly get Helen upset.

A quick aside concerning the Barksdale family, but they certainly seem to be well off. If Mrs. Barksdale can afford to pay for the weddings and send Erin off to a spa in Switzerland for a week they can't be hurting.

Amy gets to make another appearance, probably her last unless she shows up in the movie. She's there partly to help Daria's relationship, mostly to show that Daria's more mature than she seems to think. What'll probably be taken as most interesting is Amy's reaction to Daria's room. Either she's heard all about it or has seen it before. And from her comments she's talked to Daria about Tom before, so there's more contact between them than we've seen on screen.
I do wonder which "weird Russian novels" she read. I'm thinking the Strugatsky brothers' novels, since those are about as weird as Russian novels get. Wonder if she and Daria swap booklists.

Helen was an ambitious, competitive kid? What a surprise, although I do wonder how she made it from that to hippy and back. She certainly is easily talked into things by her family. Still, she was willing to make a peace offering at the end, even if she didn't really think it through first (baking cookies?).

As far as birth order goes, I'm guessing that Helen was oldest and Rita youngest. From their comments, Rita certainly seemed to be treated as the baby of the family, and Helen was the driven, ambitious one (sounds a lot like Jodie, actually).

Quinn was pretty much back to her dense mode again. Even people who haven't seen nor read "Gone with the Wind" should be able to recognize that line. She did show quite a bit of self-restraint there, giving Daria a backhanded compliment right after looking like she wanted to slap her.
Quinn realized she actually likes her sister a while ago, and it's finally sinking in that Daria's about to leave for college. Helen hasn't exactly been giving her a promising example of what a sisterly relationship will be like after high-school. Quinn was trying to be nice, but she didn't really know how to go about it. Offering Daria carrot juice and talking about her hair? She may like her sister, but she doesn't know her very well.
She also tried to seek solace in the Fashion Club. They aren't much, as friends go (and even Quinn has realized this before), but they're what she's got. Makes me think she's let Sandi remain in control of the Fashion Club because she's more concerned with keeping what she has than trying to run anything. Quinn, despite her constant dating, seems to have bigger relationship issues than Daria does. New ones, ones that involve more than someone buying her dinner, seem to be something she avoids even more than Daria.
Quinn seems to have a comfortable relationship with all her relations. She actually seems somewhat close (or perhaps most comfortable) with Erin. That's probably natural, since they seem fairly similar, in a shallow, clotheshorse sort of way. It's not a deep relationship (Erin, why are you crying?) but Quinn seems to have major trouble with those, in or out of the family.

Might as well get this out of the way. Daria does have some connection with Amy, but there isn't much of one. Daria certainly considers (or, considered) Amy the most balanced of the three Barksdale sisters, but that isn't saying much. Daria probably talks to Amy, but obviously doesn't do it much. Amy knew she was dating, but hey, it's been almost a year now and Amy could have heard that from Helen. Moreover, Amy didn't know Tom's name, and it's not like there's been a lot of different names to remember. Out of Daria's extended family, she certainly seems most comfortable with Amy, but we haven't seen her extended family much at all.
In contrast, Daria doesn't seem to have any relationship at all with Rita. The two don't really even speak together on screen. Almost like her relationship with Erin. Which makes her reaction to Erin's divorce look rather disproportionate, especially considering her earlier "I Don't" opinions of Erin.
Daria's willing to humor Jake. Not in his more extreme experimental cooking efforts, but in pretty much everything else. She does feel something for Helen, but it's hard to tell exactly what. They really don't seem to have all that close a relationship for the most part, but there are the exceptions.
Daria's definitely getting along better with her sister these days. Part of it is Quinn actually put some effort into something besides clothes and dating, but Daria's become a bit more relaxed on the whole as well.

This whole episode was basically about relationships. The Civil War references were packed in hard and heavy, but the main purpose of this episode was probably a setup for the season finale, which seems to also be about relationships. The episode feels pretty rushed, but there's the usual case of trying to do too much in too little time. Some good lines, but not a laugh riot. Solid episode, but not a classic.


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