Mike's Delayed Reaction Review-#403 (4-42), "A Tree Grows in Lawndale"

MDRR #403 (4-42)

Boxhead Rebellion - How Kevin leads any team to any victory is one of the mysteries of the universe Lawndale is in. For someone in a leadership role, even as insignificant as captain of a high school football, he has a knack for poor decision making. He took Daria and Jane's word that wearing a leather jacket necessitates riding a bike and then he was peer pressured into doing a wheelie by the three J's, whom he must outrank on some level.

Loveless - Why exactly can't Kevin and Brittany continue to go steady in this episode? I'm not quite sure they even knew why. The simple explanation is that those who don't play football don't date cheerleaders. However, Kevin was never kicked off the team. They don't usually do that to injured players, even ones that hurt themselves. This subplot did provide some of the funnier moments, especially Brittany's comment about going out "until graduation" and their inevitable reunion.

Very Interesting - I get the feeling that Daria and Jane unintentionally (maybe it was intentional) conducting a small experiment on Kevin by sort of convincing him the get a moped. At the very least, they felt a little responsible for his injury because they did try to get everything back to normal by getting Kevin to lecture about "safety." (which, BTW, was Tom's idea - how can you not like this guy)

Where's Val When You Need Her? - I think some evil spirit was unleashed by the destruction of the Tommy Sherman tree. I counted sixteen mentions of Tommy Sherman's name (not to mention several more implicit references to him and numerous shots of what was left of the tree), most of which came during the ill-conceived bathroom exorcism scene.

Courage for Dummies - For the "traumatic" experience that Kevin just went through, he showed some real courage and, dare I say, maturity. He did try to make some good come from his own stupidity and took the responsibility somewhat seriously. Now, he still didn't completely understand what the message was, but he did get something through to those third graders. But I think they understood that they should be like him, but not too much like him.

Loser Town? - I'll admit that I was a high school football player (an offensive lineman, one of the smart ones), but I'm stupefied by the reaction the whole town had to one or two losses. I realize that high school football is big business in a lot of places, but let's be realistic, even the best of teams are going to lose once in a while (my senior year, we had one of the best teams in school history and we lost twice). It's hard to believe anyone would believe that a couple of football games could drive property values down immediately. That brings me to my next point....

Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh! - Jake was in classic form in this episode, by going off in a rage over a seemingly trivial situation. They have to move because some "80 year old guy" says the local high school is for losers. My favorite parts were when he was pushed into asking if they lived on a fault line and his yelling at the little kid on the phone.

Stop the Bleeding - Miss Li tried to get the team back on track by hiring that ringer. On second thought, letís not go there.

Guilty by Association - Finally, Iím still a bit unsure of why all of Lawndale High is ostracized. For once, the Fashion Club had a point - they donít even play football. Even Artie, the biggest loser weíve seen in a long time, was scoring off of Lawndale (admittedly, that scene was overplayed on purpose to make the point of how "loserly" Lawndale had become - even the biggest loser was looking down on them). I know the reason was to show how much Kevin was affecting the whole town by sulking, but it still was laid a bit too thick.

Iíd have to say that this whole episode has left me confused. Iím not quite sure what to think of it. The whole thing jumped around, sort of haphazardly, from one place to another and there was too much to keep track of. Other than that, I donít quite know if we ever really needed an episode about Kevin, but that doesnít really bother me too much. And I probably couldíve done with out some of Janeís "youíre going to hell" jokes.

Grade: B-

Daria as a Whole, Alter-Ego of the Week - This week, Iíll go with Mount Fashionmore.

Copyright © 2000 Mike Quinn [All Rights Reserved].

"Daria" and all related characters are © 1997-2000 MTV Networks, Inc.