Tuesday, January 15, 2013



Daria and Jane are made to make a documentary about Quinn for a school assignment, assuming that her shallowness will provide an interesting look into an empty psyche, only to learn that there's much more behind her well-groomed facade.

Previous: That Was Then, This is Dumb

Equality is something that Daria (Tracy Grandstaff) strives for in her household, and while she would never want to destroy Quinn (Wendy Hoopes) so fully that she was unable to function, she does want to bring her down a notch in order to even out the treatment that both of them receive from others. Instead Daria realizes that there's maybe more to her baby sister than she lets on, and while she is loathe to admit it, there's a chance that Quinn could really become something someday.

Daria, Quinn, and Helen (Hoopes) each have different reactions to the idea of documenting Quinn's life, with Daria's ultimate goal to be the exposure of Quinn's less fortunate features, Quinn's desire to use this as an opportunity to propagate the idea of her flawlessness, while Helen's main concern is that her daughter will be made a fool of. In voicing her suspicions Helen manages to convince Daria to go easy on Quinn, stating that not even she lives up to her own standards of the world all the time, and in questioning Daria's motivations she makes her wonder if perhaps her video is too cruel. Daria and Jane (Hoopes) justify their actions by stating that Quinn "creates her own context," but in the end they still choose to take out the largely negative material in order to protect Quinn's feelings. Daria's relationship with her sister, much like Helen's with her own, is very strained, but there is a sense of loyalty between them that keeps them from completely destroying one another. Should Daria and Quinn ever go through with their more cruel notions, they're likely to end up bitterly hating one another much like Helen does with both Amy and Rita, but these two appear to be on a different path that promises the possibility of change in their future.

Quinn's vanity gets the better of her, and she presents a very fake facade to the cameras, determined to appear as though she's always made up, even getting out of bed, and hoping to solidify her identity as a perfect example of tireless beauty. At one point she notices that Daria's camera is zooming in on her face, making her worry that one of her imperfections has been caught on tape, leading to much of the insane vanity that Daria and Jane covet in their footage. The thing that makes Quinn's story interesting is the moment that she displays a deeper level to herself, worried that she might sound stupid in the video and stating that everyone needs to be good at something, and maybe being popular and attractive is all that she's good at. Quinn may not always be the nicest of people, but she is, to a point, aware of her faults and looking to improve who she is as a person.

Jake (Julián Rebolledo) watches his old home movies, excited to get a glimpse into his happy childhood, and through the footage remembers that he was largely miserable for most of his young life. The issue is that his unhappy childhood has already been a sticking point, as seen during the event so "the Teachings of Don Jake," and for him only to now realize that he lead a neglected life is to ignore the issues he has with his father.

In the end Quinn becomes more popular than ever because of the video, despite the original intent to put her in her place. The problem, however, is that Quinn was still presented in a largely negative light, and for her peers to rally around her as though she's an example of how to act is simply strange. If anything it would make sense that the other students would turn against Quinn, or assume that Daria and Jane had some kind of vendetta against her and turn instead against the two of them, but the ending, as it is, just doesn't ring true.

Grandstaff has really found the perfect voice for Daria, but the brief snippets shown of a young Daria interacting with her infant sister, are somewhat cringe-worthy. Despite the fact that Grandstaff still voices the younger version of her character, it appears that voicing her in her youth is not the actress' strongest point.

Eric Fogel directs a fairly solid episode, and one of the interesting things shown through this story is the styles that Daria and Jane take to making their movie. Jane, at first, chooses to mount the camera in a tree, convinced that in catching passers-by through the camera they can get the tree's objective point of view on the people around them, displaying her love of people watching and interest in the psychological motivations of those around her. Daria, instead, chooses a more structured approach, writing a script and looking to have Jane act it out, only instead to have Jane mock the dialogue and refuse to perform. The two of them then come together and attempt to work something out using puppets and claymation, techniques that don't pan out to their expected results, eventually leading them to seek out the documentary-style of their final project. It seems as though their failed attempts really highlight their creative styles, and it's an interesting montage when viewed with the intention of understanding their individual approaches to situations.

Written by Neena Beber, there is a good focus on the rivalry between the Morgendorffer sisters, with Jake's old home movies proving that Daria has always begrudged Quinn's existence in her life, a rivalry that continues on due to their differing views of the world. Their relationship is greatly summed up as Daria catches Quinn raiding her closet, stating that the Fashion Club is having a "fashion-don'ts costume gala" and she had planned on dressing as Daria. The role of inattentive and ineffective adults in Daria's life is here filled by Mr. O'Neill (Marc Thompson), who takes Daria's musing that people would rather watch a movie than read a book as a suggestion for a class assignment, unresponsive to her protests that that's not at all what she had wanted. Daria's relationships with those around her are played upon very well in this episode, and it plays true to who they all are.

Daria talks a big game, but in the end her love for her sister outweighs her annoyance with her, and the likelihood of their eventual friendship grows greater with every episode. In the past it's been hinted that Quinn may one day take over the Fashion Club, and her growing popularity here is proof of concept.

Next: The New Kid


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