Mike's Delayed Reaction Review-#304 (3-31), "Daria Dance Party"

MDRR #304 (3-31) Go Gonzaga!

Dancing Rivals - The bitter battle for control of the fashion club continues as a subplot in this episode. Sandi convinces Quinn to volunteer to be the head of the dance activities because she equates volunteering with being used based on her own experience, which can be true but isnít necessarily true. After saying how great a job Quinn can do (with a hint of sarcasm, of course), she does everything in her power to undermine Quinnís efforts. Tiffany and Staci are just pawns in this whole struggle for power with no real influence over the outcome. Tiffany is just an ass kisser or "yes man" who agrees with anyone who is making almost any comment. Staci, on the other hand, wants to support Quinn but is afraid of Sandi causing her bodily harm (she couldnít even handle Sandiís evil eye). It will be interesting to see how this turns out.

More Conflict - Kevin and Brittany also get into some minor skirmishes in this episode. The mere mention of a dance is what caused it because of a bad situation that occurred at a previous event. Exactly what those circumstances were really isnít important. Brittany made a scene with the "itís over" speech, more or less, as a show for Kevinís benefit, almost like a plea for him to prove himself worthy. Kevin eventually responds by going to the dance and winning back her love. Their relation ship is cyclic (with a high frequency), one minute they canít be separated, the next they donít want to even be near one another. Dariaís comment was right on target- this species mates for life.

Passing the Buck - One thing that Quinn is good at is redirecting her responsibilities to those around her. This is what she tried to do to Daria and ultimately did to Jane through a bribe. Daria didnít bite; she either has fallen victim to this sort of manipulation before or knows enough about her sister not to get involved. However, Jane was a willing party and did want to exert some control over Lawndale and make this dance her own. Apparently, she did a fine job and created a memorable night for all despite not receiving any recognition for doing so. Quinn promptly took the recognition and praise when she realized that the night was a success.

Insecure Men - Both Jake and Mr. OíNiell have an opportunity to show how Ďmanlyí they are. First, Jake puts a lot of himself into his mashed potato sculptures. He goes from angry at the girl who stood him up, to happy about getting more potatoes, to confused about what was going on, in a matter of seconds. This is overly volatile, even for Jake and her seems to be getting more outrageous every time we see him. Mr. OíNiell obsesses over the small talk he will engage with the love of his life, which ultimately wasnít necessary. His whole role seemed to be a lot of set up for not much payoff (some of his preparation could have been cut out without any serious problems).

Daria Dance Party was the first time that an episode that didnít feature Daria prominently was successful. This episode centered more on some of the internal personal struggles that are present at Lawndale. Most of the subplots were cleverly concluded, I especially liked the unexpected snowstorm after Sandi and company was locked outside in their bathing suits. Daria and Jane ended up not gaining much directly from the experience (see their "math" at the end of the episode) but compared to how some of the other characters fared, they did alright. This was a solid episode.

 

The Bottom Line - I am not in favor of dances of any kind. However, they can result in many amusing situations like this one did.

Grade: A-

Daria as a Whole #1, Fight! Ė Joey, Jeffy and Jamie seem to be getting complacent about their relationship with Quinn. They opt for Sandiís party and then have to be reminded to fight for her honor. Way back when they first met her they would fight anyone to protect her.

Daria as a Whole #2, Speed Bump on the Way to Love- Daria seemed to appreciate those two guys they met at the dance based on their conversation. Both her and Jane were interested until their lineage was revealed.

Daria as a Whole #3, Alter Ego (Current Events Division)- I usually donít comment about the alter egos shown with the credits because they arenít episode specific. However, when the one with Miss Barch embracing the commander-in-chief came up, I literally fell out of the chair in which I was sitting.

Next Week - Dariaís confronted with the in-crowd, in magazine reporter form.

Copyright © 1999 Mike Quinn [All Rights Reserved].

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