Mike's Delayed Reaction Review-#413 (4-52), "Dye! Dye! My Darling"

MDRR #413 (4-52)

Tiger Lady - The show opens up with Jane staring down a tiger at the zoo (Lawndale has a zoo?). She was looking for a way to reinvent herself as the "tiger lady." As part of this new image, she wanted to dye her hair with blond stripes. So far, so good, but here comes the problem - she forces Daria to do the job, even over Dariaís very vocal objections. To compound the problem, she makes Daria listen to a series of fearful accusations while doing it and then tries to drop the subject with a "donít worry about it" after Daria got upset (quite justifiably upset and maybe a tad bit nasty). Then, to cap off all the fun, after telling Daria that she imagined the whole thing, Jane went nuts after the striping process, as everyone probably expected, went horribly wrong. Jane, herself, even knew it was a big mistake to give Daria the job - Daria told her multiple times that she didnít want to help because she was very likely to mess it up and was afraid that she would - but, on some level, she wanted to cause a commotion that would lead to getting to what was the real problem that was bothering her (she admitted as much later on in the episode). Daria just had the misfortune of being there when Jane decided to start confronting the problems. Daria was only part of what was upsetting Jane, not the whole thing. In essence, Daria was the dog, and Jane was kicking her.

Voice of Reason - If you want to take all that "guardian angel" jazz from a few episodes back a step further (I know Groped by an Angel must seem like ancient history at this point), Trent is kind of almost acting as a patrolman over the whole situation with Daria, Jane and Tom. His most active role, obviously, is with Jane since it seems that he has always been her protector by default, anyway. After all, he did do a good job of cheering Jane up after all the unpleasantness. Heís also had a knack lately for very precise insight on the situation, mainly with things that others realized didnít want to admit. In Fire!, he made sure Daria acknowledged Tomís attention to her and in this episode, he called Jane on her unjustified anger at Daria for messing up her hair.

Wrong Moves, Kids! - After the smoke started to settle from all the bad vibes created by the hair dye, and, after Jane had avoided pretty much everyone for a while, the fire seemed to get a new spark. When Daria finally caught up with Jane, it didnít take long before Jane went right back to hinting around about a possible thing between Daria and Tom (which led to one of the most memorable lines Daria has ever uttered, which Iíll get to later). Then after Daria spent some energy diffusing that bomb, she walked right into a minefield when she got home and Tom was there, waiting for her. Why exactly was he there? He wanted to talk? I guess weíll never know exactly what he was thinking, but itís not hard to guess. Though he did seem to be curious as to why "everyone" was mad at him. Daria pretty much spelled it out for him. He was causing her to fight with the best friend sheís ever had. Then when Tom added that he was getting bored Jane and that it was no oneís fault, Daria rightly pointed out that she couldnít stab her friend in the back, despite any feelings she might have, and then, well, letís just say Iím glad I wasnít drinking anything when I saw that because I would have spit it out all over the place. The first kiss was all Tom, but the second one was more than mutual - she must have liked it a little bit.

Non Sequitur of the Week - Remember when Daria called Helenís office and didnít actually talk to her because she was busy. Helen was yelling at someone about his or her eighty year old motherís wedding. If you think thatís crazy (and I do), and to give you a little insight as to how screwed up my family is, my own grandmother got married not much before her eightieth birthday. Letís just say itís a real long story.

Tell It to the Judge - Daria did the right thing by telling Jane about the "kiss." She might not have picked the best time for it, but itís not like there would ever really be a "good" time for that news. Of course, this makes Jane go directly to Tom for an explanation. He took the blame for the whole thing nobly, but he also didnít seem like he was going to come forward with any of this information on his own (though, in his defense, Daria might have told Jane before he had a chance to). Tom and Jane realized that they were going down this road a while ago, but just didnít say it out loud. Jane, especially, seemed torn and confused by everything that happened. She doesnít want Tom to date Daria, but then she tells him to "give her a chance." Sheís not quite sure she knows what she wants and she is a little insecure about what the immediate future holds.

Help Me - Helen was preoccupied with her big case a lot more than she usually is, she was talking to no one for a while there. However, I think this over-over enthusiasm for her work was used to showcase just how important her family is to her when Daria finally got up the courage to go see her. Daria wanted Helenís advice and guidance and support from the very beginning, but wasnít sure if it was a good idea. Good thing Helen showed that it was. Behind her cool cynical demeanor, Daria realizes that her mother is looking out for her best interests, even if it doesnít always seem that way, and that Helen will be there to help. As for the little talk they had, Helen gave her honest advice and perspective - we are never truly in control over most situations, we just tell ourselves that we are to make it through the day without going insane. She also noted that it was a lousy situation that wasnít Dariaís fault (which was already well established).

Didja Notice? - A couple of things I noticed the second time watching this episode that kind of felt like subtle foreshadowing. Actually, I found a bunch of them, but Iíll only mention two that had to do with the big kiss scene. The first one, when Daria walked in on Tom and Jane smooching, Jane said "you had to learn about kissing sometime," and she sure did. The second one Iíll mention, after Daria caught up with Jane after the bad dye job, their conversation got a little ugly and Daria said, "can you picture me making out with anyone?" (which is also that memorable line I was talking about). It seems that we all did, about a minute later.

First, Whew! Boy that was a lot of ground to cover (and I still left out some minor stuff). Second, Whoa! Iím still not really sure I believe I saw what I did. When I started watching Daria, I never thought I would see anything like this. Now that I have, is it a good or bad thing? I canít really answer that for anyone, but I can say this, the ride has been and will be a wild (and probably interesting) one. Also, I donít really buy that Daria is being turned into a soap opera by this story arc, but I can see how it would ruffle some feathers of fans of the show, whom have been fans since the beginning. Daria (the show, not the character) had seemed to stand against a lot of this stuff, look at any time Daria and Jane had made fun of the fashion Club for proof of that. While I can understand why this would turn people off, a simple love triangle isnít even slightly racy enough for the tamest soap out there. That being said, letís get a little bit back to some of the things of this episode. I get the sense that Daria is in denial about something, or at least she doesnít want to acknowledge what was happening. Her feelings about it have been the least pronounced of anyone involved and she doesnít really want to talk about it with Jane or Tom. What she is hiding, if anything, isnít really clear yet, but it centers around two things. She doesnít want to hurt Jane - who has been her best friend - and she isnít sure how much she likes Tom back (the thought of liking him at all seems to be scary to her). Also, she has been more noticeably nervous in these last two episodes than all of the others put together (she was repeating herself and talking fast at some key moments). As for Jane, she has gotten stressed out by the whole thing to the point where she is hardly any where near "unflappable" anymore. This is a side of her that weíve hardly, if ever, seen of her before, and is out of character for her, but then again sheís never been in a situation quite like this one before, either. And for Daria and Janeís friendship to survive they need to be away from each other for a while, even if only to calm down, because they arenít sure what they should feel (as evidenced by their last conversation). But just like Fire!, we had another "dual" ending, with the huge question mark being what will result from Tomís phone call to Daria at the end. In that sense, this was the perfect set up for what might happen in the upcoming movie.

Grade: A little less conditional A-

Daria as a Whole #1, Alter-Ego of the Week - Iíll go with Jesse in a bottle, because most of them sucked and there were less to begin with because of the movie promo.

Daria as a Whole #2, The Grades Are In - Taking a quick look at my grades for season four, they end up with an "Episode Point Average" for the entire season of about 3.4, which blows away the composite grades of both season two (3.07) and season three (3.19) and even rivals my biased grades for season one (3.43). Season four (so far) was definitely better, in my opinion, than seasons two or three, and even though it may have not had as many episodes that jump out as classics, its bad episodes were far better. Consistency does mean a lot.

Daria as a Whole #3, Not Over Yet - This episode confirms to me that Is It Fall Yet? Is supposed to be part of season four. So it seems weíre getting sixteen of seventeen episodes this year.

Daria as a Whole #4, Thanks, Thanks and Thanks Again - Iíd like to thank you all again for making these reviews worth doing. I look forward to the movie and season five. Also, be on the look out for the "Season Four Wrap Up," sometime after the movie.



Copyright © 2000 Mike Quinn [All Rights Reserved].

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