One of the most popular things to do with Daria is have her grow up and move on. Daria’s future career has ranged from newspaper columnist to submarine captain. She’s married Trent, or Tom, or even Jane. Sometimes she lives in Lawndale, sometimes in Europe, sometimes in Outer Space. There’s a lot of variety in these stories. But there’s one that I liked better than any of the others.
The Award for the Best Future Story goes to…
The best thing about this series is the balance it achieves between plausibility and oddity for the sake of humor. The first thing that threw me was Sandi Griffin as principal of Lawndale High – it’s highly unlikely that Sandi would go to college and major in education, or do anything else that might get her instated as principal, but all that aside, it makes for great plot and opportunities for humor. Besides, there’s some explanation offered eventually.
As for the rest of the gang, Daria is teaching at Lawndale, much to her chagrin. Even more to her chagrin, she’s sharing an apartment with Quinn, who’s running Morgendorffer Consulting (and doing a far better job than Jake). Daria has a casual relationship with Mack going (Mack’s the coach of the Lawndale Lions). Jane is living with Daria and Quinn, and she is (of course) an artist – on the side, when she’s not teaching fingerpainting to elementary-school kids. Much of the faculty at Lawndale is still there.
All of this we learn almost right away. One of the great things about this series is the stuff that we don’t learn right away, such as: Where’s Kevin? What happened to the three J’s? Stacy? Andrea? Jodie? Trent? Some of their futures we eventually learn, others we don’t – yet. And it all has the ring of believability. It’s not hard to imagine that Stacy would end up in a bad relationship that sapped what remained of her self-esteem. It’s not hard to imagine that Brittany would… but go read it.
In any event, the first story deals primarily with Daria’s depression at her life, which is not what she imagined it would be. She’s essentially going through mid-life crisis at the age of 30. She’s not a writer, like she imagined – instead, she’s teaching Tricia Gupty about the Civil War. On the other side of the fence now, she’s beginning to have some understanding of what her teachers went through trying to educate a bunch of morons who didn’t even want to be educated. What’s a woman to do?
Well, without giving too much away, let’s just say that by the end, Daria is back, and ready to warp receptive young minds to her likings. And that’s just the first story.
Unlike I’ve done in other reviews, I’m not going to do a play-by-play of the other stories in this set. A lot of the entertainment value in these “Future” stories is learning what becomes of our beloved characters, so I won’t give anything else away. Just know that the remaining chapters are equally as well-written, funny, and entertaining as the first.
The challenge in stories such as these is to have the characters jump ahead ten or twenty years, with all the associated growth and changes that such a thing implies, and keep them essentially who they are. Robert does this very well, and he writes well to boot. The best part is, he’s still doing it – part IV came out just as I was making my selection for this award. We can bet there’s more to come shortly.
See into the future here