Mike's Delayed Reaction Review-#305 (3-32), "The Lost Girls"

MDRR #305 (3-32)

Secrecy? Yeah Right - Wasnít the whole point of Val coming to visit the contest winner to see things from their point of view? If everyone knows that sheís there, the purpose of her visit is defeated. Miss Li and Mr. OíNiell seemed to be responsible for some of the leaks. Miss Li is more interested in recognition for the school and herself and made some changes that day that said, at the very least, that something was happening. Val isnít blameless, either, since her office confirmed to the local news that Val was there (she wasnít too upset that they didnít listen to her). She also seemed like the type who likes living in the spotlight. Her visit was one of the worst kept secrets in Lawndale history.

The Poseur, Outside of Its Natural Habitat - Val seems to be one of those people to avoid at all costs. Excuse me for sounding similar, but she doesnít quite get it, whatever it is. Despite talking about how cool Daria is, she is oblivious to almost everything that Daria does. She didnít realize that Daria was trying to poke holes through everything she stands for, Daria tells her that she "sucks the energy out of youth culture" and she compliments her on how smart a thing that was to say. She seems a bit too self absorbed to be running a major magazine.

Taking Advantage of a Bad Situation - I admire Janeís approach to dealing with Val, even if she wasnít going to benefit directly from it. Her mission was to make Valís trip to Lawndale part of a bigger project by having Daria do a return visit to see Valís point of view in New York. She succeeded in subliminally planting the idea and then proceeded to plug away until Val relented, without even knowing what was happening. Unfortunately, Daria missed this opportunity (and the possibility of a sequel) by sabotaging all of Janeís hard work.

Respect My Authority! - Sandi doesnít take too kindly to popular strangers infringing on her turf, which was how she interpreted Valís presence. She was quick to criticize Val, to make herself feel big. Sandi was easily threatened, since Val didnít care one way or the other about anyone at Lawndale. Almost by extension, Sandi was taking a shot at Quinn, since we all know that she resents Quinnís presence.

Buzzwords of the Week - Jiggy? Whack? Edgy? This episode is chock-full of funny buzzwords that have no real meaning. Even when Val describes Ďedgyí, it didnít make any sense (which was the joke, I know). These are all words that some tragically un-hip people use to make themselves feel hip, and therefore more important.

Poisoning the Pie - It took a lot of effort on Dariaís part to get the attention of Val. In reality, Daria just kept pushing buttons until she got a reaction. Val is insecure about her age but she also doesnít seem to be able to handle any real problems. Dariaís advice was the proverbial Ďstraw that broke the camelís back,í Val is too concerned with trying to be young that she is ignoring the Ď30-something without (looked more like 40-something to me)í and living in a fantasy world.

Part of the Problem - I just realized that Iíve used Val fifteen times so far. Geez, itís contagious. I guess I should take my Valium.

This episode raised a red flag in my mind almost immediately: it seemed to be turning into another fashion club-esque episode. Fortunately, that didnít happen and instead we got a look at the shallow nature of an individual whom canít let go of the past or canít cope with growing older. Val was completely over the top and I donít see how anyone like that could exist (there are people who have some of her traits, but thatís different). However, I think I can also see another trend that was pushed into the background by Val. That would be Dariaís general bitterness toward anything that could be remotely perceived as popular. She seems to be in the business of sabotaging anything that falls into that category. Iím not defending Val or her cronies (and I think Daria was right about them, by the way), but Daria should at least lighten up a little and realize that everyoneís not going to think her way all of the time. Itís not wrong for her to be critical and cynical, but she shouldnít have to go overboard to dispense her criticism, which is the impression that I got here. Daria didnít have to throw away a trip to New York and could have went without changing the way she thinks of Val (she even could have gotten in some more of those subtle barbs sheís fond of). If I were to offer Daria some advice, I would say "stop sucking all the fun out of life and live a little."

The Bottom Line - Iím still not sure if I liked this one or not, but without Val, this episode would be just another unedgy cog of this jiggy series (whatever that means).

Grade: B-

Final Val Count: 22

Next Week - Strap yourself in for repeats of season three and be on the lookout for the ĎDelayed Reaction Halftime ReportÔ .í New episodes in at least six weeks! Woo-hoo!

Copyright © 1999 Mike Quinn [All Rights Reserved].

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