What can one say about Andrea? Especially when she’s had so little to say herself. Her total number of lines in the entire series could be counted without taking your shoes off. She is, perhaps, a necessary extreme on the show – one who’s even more outcast than the outcasts who star in it. There have been a number of stories that included her, as an antagonist, as an addition to Daria and Jane’s little group, or, like the show, as a cameo.
The story that most seems to capture the true Andrea, and therefore the winner of the Best of Andrea award…
There’s a lot more going on in this story than just Andrea. The other, equally important plotline concerns Quinn and Sandi going head to head for presidency of the Fashion Club, which is interesting enough, but the real intrigue of the story is our glimpse at Andrea.
Kara took on an impossible task for this one. To begin with, she has Daria reaching out to someone else, seeking friendship. How weird is that? But Kara makes it work. Her reasoning seems to be that if we the fans are so interested in Andrea, it was only a matter of time before Daria likewise took notice of this strange girl in the background. That certainly makes sense.
I can’t help but think about “Is It Fall Yet?” where Daria attempts to reach out to Link. That right there is evidence that Daria, aloof and closed-off as she is, isn’t above trying to get to know another person. This time, though, her motive is more simple curiosity than concern for someone’s well-being. Another parallel is that she’s once again flying solo on this quest – Jane seems uninterested, and probably for good reason. Jane mentions at the beginning of the story that she once had an “Andrea Encounter” and probably walked away from it with a pretty good idea that Andrea just wasn’t interested in making friends.
But while Jane and Andrea only seem to have odd hairstyles and black clothes in common, Daria at least has her writing. One of the few things we do know about Andrea is that she writes disturbing poems, and, of course, Daria has her own twisted way with words. Is that really enough, though? Turns out it almost is… but not quite.
In the end, this isn’t a feel-good story. Daria and Andrea don’t drop their walls and reveal their tortured inner souls. Andrea doesn’t get together with Jane and Daria over a pizza and join their gang. There is no dramatic revelation, no epiphany. Andrea is who she is, a girl trapped within walls of her own making that are a mile thick. One gets the idea that she leaves the story with a bit more respect and understanding for Daria, and the reverse may also be true, but that’s as far as it goes, and they go their separate ways.
And really, it’s best that way. To end it on a more upbeat note would almost seem a betrayal of character. Andrea is dark, pessimistic, and enigmatic. Her story should be the same way.
“Andrea Speaks” is part five of a series called “The Driven Wild Universe” and can be found at Outpost-Daria here