Mike's Delayed Reaction Review-#407 (4-46), "Of Human Bonding"

MDRR #407 (4-46)

Seminaaaaaa... <snore> - We don't exactly have a detailed job description for Jake other than he's a consultant (usually, when he talks about his projects, he sounds like an amateur inventor). But assuming he has some sort of business background, an entrepreneur's convention seems appropriate (come to think of it, it could also fit the inventor motif). But just going to the seminar with Helen provided the chance to, ahem, "get the spice back in their marriage." That is, until Eric called Helen back to work.

Boyz & Guyz - It was fairly obvious to me that Quinn would pick Stacy as her friend to have over (because Tiffany is too slow and to make Sandi jealous). After the all but predictable sequence where Quinn ends up inviting all of them, the rivalry intensified. The whole slumber party had a "been there, done that" feel to it. Without going into any of the details, I felt like I'd seen it before, but not really. The one new twist, having Helen there, was somewhat refreshing. Despite Quinn's expected embarrassment, Helen did "help" her with the comments about frequent scowling.

The Lesser of Two Evils - Helen couldn't go to the seminar and Daria didn't want to... until the prospect of being anywhere near her lovely sister's plans came up. The chance of maybe having to listen to a few nonsensical rants about Maddog must have seemed like paradise by comparison.

Deep Thoughts - What Daria and Jake were thinking en route to the conference provides some insight into their thought processes and feelings. Jake's thoughts were uncharacteristically deep and much more coherent than usual. He knows his anger at his father is misplaced energy at this point and won't help any and that he should concentrate on being the best that he could be (though, he probably won't). Daria's thoughts came as sort of a mild surprise to me. I can see her thinking that Jake is "afraid to be afraid," but I would never expect her to see Jake as a "hero." She respects him, looks up to him and probably identifies with him better than Helen, but "hero" seems a little strong.

Jerry Larry Carload - I think that was his name, but I'm not too good with names. He seemed like a real jerk and a fraud (a successful fraud, but still a fraud). He seemed to ignore or insult just about everyone, including his chum Andrew (who came off sort of jerky himself). He's probably successful only by charming people into financing whatever he's doing and stepping over anyone getting in the way (like the Danish guy).

An Affair to Consider? - How upset is Helen with her marriage? Putting aside the fact that so far this is something for the "lingering story lines that have gone nowhere" file, she seems to be having some major problems here. Why else would she ask the fashion club and Quinn's fan club for advice (and I hope Quinn eventually realized that Helen was talking about herself)? She seems to love Jake but isn't in love with him (and the relationship is no longer "hot").

Food for Thought - Maybe this is nothing, but wasn't it just a little suspicious that Eric needed Helen to work until Jake left? Hmmmmmm...

Something Positive - At least Jake got over his fear of heights. Not just that, he did get a chance to get to know and bond with his "lonely" daughter at that museum. Their relationship does go beyond sitting at the table and reading the newspaper together.

As far as Jake episodes go, this was pretty good. Serious and funny, without getting wacky, unlike Jake of Hearts (granted, Jake is probably hard to write for, because the character is so stereotypical). The irony of this episode is that while Jake was gaining ground in his relationship with his daughter, he was losing ground with his wife (both through no fault of his own). Overall, this episode will probably seem to get stronger over time. I don't think anyone will disagree that Of Human Bonding was overshadowed by I Loathe a Parade.

Grade: B+

Daria as a Whole #1, Alter Ego of the Week - I'll go with Jake as the Fatman.

Daria as a Whole #2, Jane-less-ness - About the time Jane's Addition originally aired, I had a conversation with someone whom shall remain nameless (OK, it was Kara) about the fact that, besides Daria, Jane is the only other character that has appeared in every episode. I think this is the closest it has ever been to having Jane completely absent (which is something that I probably wouldn't like too much).

Copyright © 2000 Mike Quinn [All Rights Reserved].

This episode of "Daria" is © 1997-2000 MTV Networks, Inc.