Mike's Delayed Reaction Review-#307 (3-27), "Daria!"

MDRR #307 (3-27) – Those production numbers are screwy!

Character Voices - Overall, the singing voices were well done. They were inconsistent at times, but that was expected since it is probably hard enough to maintain the regular speaking voices of some of the characters. Special recognition goes to Wendy Hoopes who did a great job maintaining speaking and singing voices for Jane, Helen and Quinn without any major difficulties. I can only imagine how difficult it may have been for one person to sing parts for two characters singing in chorus.

Memories - Despite what you may think about this episode, it did produce a lot of memorable lines and lyrics. Some of my favorites include Kevin's X-Files rant (which did grind the episode to a brief screeching halt, unfortunately), Jane's comment about living in a post apocalyptic town, Helen's "Doesn't anyone in this town wear pants," and Jake's confusion of the words daughter and sister. I'm sure there are many more, I just don't want to make this too long.

Sticking It To The Theme - The change of theme music during the opening credits and commercial bumpers was a nice touch. It'll be hard to tell whether this change will be constant for season three, but it would be a vast improvement over some of the butchered versions of the Daria theme heard during season two.

Imitation Is The Highest Form of Flattery - A couple of not so subtle references were thrown into this episode. The first is a parody of the opening sequence of The Brady Bunch at the end of the first song, which didn't really fit at all. The second was a reference to Speed Racer during Jake's mad rush to get home, which was more appropriate but probably unnecessary. The references should be used sparingly (but not never used), or Daria could run the risk of becoming another cheap rip-off of The Simpsons.

Song List - Due to the odd nature of this episode, I decided to throw all of my loyal readers for a bit of a loop by going down each song and giving some more specific comments.

1) In The Burbs - Not a bad intro, but the hurricane (which supposedly was why

everyone was singing) was barely even mentioned.

2) Blew Away - Some veiled reference to our present presidential scandal,

probably not. But this song wasn't too interesting.

3) Obsession - Good showcase of the talents of Wendy Hoopes for singing as

Helen and Quinn. This song dragged on a little bit too long.

4) Gah Gah Dammit - The highlight of all of the songs, IMO. Jake was

CHARACTERIZED (didn't think I'd use that word, did you) perfectly - "flying

off the handle."

5) They Must Be Worried - Somber, but still managed to be irreverent (Quinn

probably is thinking about shoes right now).

6) Manly - What was with that funny dancing during this song? The song itself

made a lot of sense - Jake probably is fed up. BTW, I would have thought that

Trent would be a better singer.

7) Wet Rain Storm - Wasn't bad, wasn't really good, either. I am glad that they

didn't resort to the hurricane cliche of "wow, it's eerily calm, the storm is

over- oh no, it's only the eye."

I would have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by this episode (I put my big red 'F' stamp away about five minutes into the show). To be brutally honest, I was expecting a complete suckfest. I have to give credit to the writers of this episode for being extremely original and for doing pretty much what they damned well pleased even if it ends up not working 100% (does anyone really think that this episode gets made if Daria was a major network program? I really doubt it). It is easier to be comfortable with Daria if it's creators and writers are willing and able to have some fun with the show once in a while. The episode did drag a bit at times and some of the songs were either boring or didn't make a whole lot of sense but was enjoyable. Another major problem with this episode is that, unless you really love one of the songs (and I mean REALLY love), Daria! has little if any re-watch potential. I only say this because when I went back and viewed the tape of this episode, I got really bored, really fast.

The Bottom Line - Not too bad, better than expected, but will probably be painful to watch after the second or third viewing.

Grade: B

Daria as a Whole, Gratuitous Cussing - Someone really enjoys saying the word ‘dammit,’ since it was over used in this episode and has been used before on a couple occasions (especially Don Jake). I don't really have a problem with it, but it just seems it was hard to maintain that TV-PG rating with all of the violent swearing.

Next Week - Ready for takeoff. Contacts!

Copyright © 1999 Mike Quinn [All Rights Reserved].

Daria and all related characters are © 1999 MTV Networks, Inc.