Mike's Delayed Reaction Review-#301 (3-28), "Through a Lens Darkly"

MDRR #301 (3-28)

More Sisterly Love - Quinn and Daria are both almost constantly looking for ways to gain an advantage over each other. Quinn briefly has one such opportunity when Daria goes to her for her opinion in this episode. However, she turned out not to be able to withstand Dariaís over-analysis of her contact lens "problem," like whether sheís being hypocritical or not. The little duel of this conversation ended up a stalemate with Daria giving Quinn a headache and Quinn making Daria run away screaming.

Reverse Psychology - Helen probably thinks that one of the reasons that Daria isnít more popular is her glasses (personally, I donít think that Daria is too unpopular, but thatís beside the point). I can also see that it appears that Helen has finally found the perfect excuse to push Daria into getting contact lensí- itíll keep her from hitting any stray dogs while driving. Helen proceeds to use some convoluted fast-talk to try to convince Daria about the benefits of contacts (like avoiding the Ďbrainí stereotype associated with glasses). Her efforts were unnecessary, since Daria decided to try it anyway when Helen seemed just about ready to give up. Sometimes things work out despite your best efforts.

Am I Too Vain? - Vanity seems to be one of the major themes of this episode. Daria was nervous about getting contact lenses because she felt that she would be considered a hypocrite because she did something that says she cares about her appearance. But deep down inside, she may have wanted to try contacts. However, she was afraid of how othersí might react. She seemed to be unwilling to admit this, even to herself. The call to Aunt Amy almost seemed like an attempt to get someone to tell her not to ditch her glasses- she wanted validation of her fear. There was really no good reason for Daria not to get contacts (there was no social reason, anyway), since she seemed to be the only person who had any problem with the change (almost everyone else was either indifferent or reacted positively to Daria without glasses).

You May Join The Human Race, After All - Daria is getting a little softer. Thatís not necessarily a bad thing. The best example of Dariaís emerging humanity is when she admits to Jane that she isnít wearing her contacts or her glasses. Daria responded to Janeís "why no glasses?" with "sheer vanity." Jane first thinks that itís a cynical, wise-ass response and even asks for the Ďrealí reason. When Daria doesnít respond, Jane lights up, realizing that Daria does have some similar traits to the rest of civilization. She does have to move slowly, though- sheís not quite ready for lipstick, yet.

Hey Ein-steen - I could almost see the light bulb over Kevinís head when he was told that glasses make you smarter. The strange this is that, for some reason, it almost seemed to work for Brittany. She did know exactly what to say to Daria in the bathroom. Brittany seems to be smarter than weíve been led to believe, or at least she has some hidden talents that tend to pop up when she most needs them.

This episode was great. We get a glimpse into an internal struggle for Daria that seems simple on the surface but is truly complex. She is the ONLY person that has any problem with her using contacts and she doesnít understand why others have nothing against it. She comes to realize that it is alright to be a little vain once and a while- it is perfectly normal. In the end, she still feels that her glasses define her and sets her apart from everyone else. The only thing that is important is that she is happy, no matter what anyone else thinks. If that means she wears glasses, so be it.

The Bottom Line - A well written, character driven episode that gets its point across well - that itís OK to be vain as long as you donít go overboard and are happy.

Grade: A-

Daria as a Whole #1, Sicker and Sadder - The Sick Sad World trailers seem to be getting more and more twisted. Severed Pianist? (The story wasnít really sick or sad- but it was good for a really cheap laugh). It will be tough to keep topping these very funny throw away lines.

Daria as a Whole #2, Running Gag, Stopped In Its Tracks - Wen Daria used line "theyíre for driving" twice followed by "then why are you wearing them now?" in a relatively short period of time, I was prepared for the worst. How many times can they force that line into the show unnecessarily. Thankfully, the line wasnít used again and another running gag travesty was avoided.

Daria as a Whole #3, Fueling the Romantic Fire - It seems that someone is teasing those whom canít wait to see Trent and Daria hook up. Trentís appearance was gratuitous and really served no other purpose, except to tease some of the fans.

Next Week - Against her better judgement, Daria volunteers to read for some old folks.

Copyright © 1999 Mike Quinn [All Rights Reserved].

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