“Depth Takes A Holiday”. You know the great thing about this episode? It means that no matter how oddball a story we come up with, we can claim it makes sense in the Daria universe because of that one episode where all the rules got thrown out the window. Now we can write about wormholes behind Chinese restaurants, parallel universes, strange psychic events, and other inexplicable sick-sad phenomena, and it’s all considered canon.
Many authors have chosen to take Daria boldly where none have gone before. Here’s the one who won the Impossible Situations Award…
“THROUGH A CLOSET, DARKLY”
There are infinite universes, with infinite possibilities – except that Kevin seems to be a moron in any of them. But that’s not the point.
A mysterious dimensional gateway in Trent’s closet leads our heroines into a strange new world, one in which Aunt Amy is married to Vince Lane, Monique and Trent have a tight, healthy relationship, and Jane and Daria like to suck face. We learn this in the first ten minutes. Further surprises yet to come.
What’s so great about this story? Aside from the fact that we’re all just a little curious about how else we might have turned out had the cards been played a little differently, this is just a damn fun story to read. It gets confusing from time to time, trying to figure out which dimension you’re in at the moment, but this actually helps the mood of the piece. Daria and Jane are confused out of their minds, and the reader shares a little in that.
The trick to a story such as this is to expose our familiar characters to a situation that could simply never happen, and have them deal with it in a way that we can relate to them. Daria is lost in a world turned upside-down, where every assumption she makes is likely to be wrong and those she thought she knew are not who they seem. But herein lies the value of this work, which is that we still see the people we knew in the people they are in another world. Read that last sentence again and it might make more sense.
Jane and Daria are thrown off their stride a bit by the sudden change in scenery, but they’re survivors in either universe, and it’s nothing compared to the confusion they inspire in others. Poor Tom may never recover. Quinn will likely be able to move on, but only because she assumed Daria was weird to begin with.
The story also features an unlikely hero, for it is Monique who comes in to save the day. Mr. Taylor took a lot more liberties with her character, but (a) he’s hardly the first to do so, (b) she’s not that well-developed (as a character) to begin with, and (c) who’s to say she’s not a brilliant scientist? In any event, after alternate versions of Jane and Daria have run amok in both universes for a while, perhaps things won’t be all sewed up into a neat little package at the end even if they do switch back…
This story is set up for a sequel. As much as I enjoyed it, I earnestly hope there isn’t one. Somehow it’s far more satisfying for all these little loose ends to just stay loose. After an experience like this, things are going to stay weird for a while, and it’s best that we leave it at that.
Step through the Closet at Outpost Daria here