|Daria as Barbarella.|
Meanwhile, Quinn begins to feel the burn of Sandi's jealousy. Not as much changes for her just yet, but she is also a girl in transition, and there is just so many times that she can put up a front of ignorance before her facade begins to crumble.
Helen and Jake begin to address the flaws in their marriage in the most awkward way possible. Because it's Helen and Jake, and nothing about their relationship is not a little bit awkward.
Here is the episode list for season 4.
|Title||MTV's original airdate||Production code||Ep #|
|"Partner's Complaint"||February 25, 2000||401||41|
|Daria and Jodie partner up for a budgeting project, as do Jane and Brittany, because Daria is being distant towards Jane. After unsuccessfully trying to get a prospective loan from the bank, Jodie gets mad at Daria for criticizing her for successfully using her father's reputation to snare the loan, which makes Daria realize that she's being too hard on her friends.|
|"Antisocial Climbers"||March 3, 2000||402||42|
|Mr. O'Neill arranges for a school-wide wilderness trip that ends in disaster when Mr. O'Neill suffers from asthma, Ms. Li plans to videotape the event for a television network, Joey, Jeffy, and Jamie bring Quinn's cute knick-knacks instead of the survival gear, Ms. Barch loses Mr. O'Neill, and Daria and Jane end up lost after Mr. DeMartino falls off a cliff. Meanwhile, Jake and Helen rent a cabin in the woods to rekindle their waning romance.|
|"A Tree Grows in Lawndale"||March 10, 2000||403||43|
|After Kevin crashes his motorcycle into the Tommy Sherman Memorial Tree, he starts feeling sorry for himself, and as a result, the football team start to ruin the reputation of Lawndale High (and, by proxy, the town) by losing every game. Tom's plan to have Kevin become a safety lecturer helps get things back to relatively normal.|
|"Murder, She Snored"||March 17, 2000||404||44|
|In this dream-based episode, Mr. DeMartino accuses Kevin and his football teammates of cheating on a history test and Daria jokes that she'll kill him, but the joke turns all too real when Daria is accused of murdering Kevin.|
|"The F Word"||March 31, 2000||405||45|
|Mr. O'Neill, after attending a teaching seminar, tells his students to try something they are certain to fail at, in order to achieve personal growth. Daria, Jodie, and Mack fail (therefore succeeding), but Brittany and Kevin succeed and therefore fail – Brittany's uncool attitude gets her alienated from her fellow cheerleaders and Kevin manages to get kicked off the football team. Jane faces the oddest "failure" when she is quickly embraced by the popular students at Lawndale and has to decide if she's going to return to her roots.|
This episode has been re-named Fail for some re-runs on The N.
|"I Loathe a Parade"||April 7, 2000||406||46|
|While going to the store to get toilet paper for Jake (who spends the entire episode sitting on the toilet reading a teen magazine), Daria gets lost in the homecoming parade, where she meets several people from past episodes, including Daria's old yearbook-editing classmate Ted Dewitt-Clinton from "The New Kid", the Gupty Family (who and their son, Tad, have a minor role here) from "Pinch Sitter", and most of all Tom—who shares a bizarre journey with Daria through the event's insanity as they try to find Jane.|
|"Of Human Bonding"||April 14, 2000||407||47|
|Daria goes to a marketing conference with Jake while Helen stays home and gets a makeover from Quinn and her Fashion Club.|
|"Psycho Therapy"||June 28, 2000||408||48|
|Helen receives an assignment from her law firm to determine if she has the makings of a partner, so she takes the family for a weekend therapy session. Meanwhile, Jane sets up a webcam show in her house.|
|"Mart of Darkness"||July 5, 2000||409||49|
|Tom accidentally eats Jane's art supplies (gummi bears) and she talks Daria into going to a new large wholesale store, where Mr. DeMartino gets into a fight with a free sample clerk, Trent and Jesse can't decide what they want to buy, and Daria and Jane discover an embarrassing secret about one of Lawndale High's students. Meanwhile, Kevin's father pressures Mr. O'Neill into letting him pass due to his stature as a jock.|
|"Legends of the Mall"||July 12, 2000||410||50|
|Quinn and the Fashion Club get lost coming home from the mall and Jake, Daria, and Trent try to look for them, all the while telling three scary stories:|
|"Groped by an Angel"||July 19, 2000||411||51|
|Quinn believes she has a guardian angel after several strange things happen to her. Meanwhile, Brittany's father and stepmother throw a party for her, celebrating her managing a "C-" average the previous semester.|
|"Fire!"||July 26, 2000||412||52|
|After Jake accidentally sets the kitchen on fire, the Morgendorffers stay at a local hotel where Quinn meets a bellhop named Bobby whose supposed "uncle" works at the hotel. Meanwhile, Daria (unhappy at the idea of sharing the hotel room with Quinn) goes to stay at Jane's. During the stay, it begins to become clear that Daria and Tom have a connection, which is deepening the rift in the relationship between Jane and Tom. Trent makes Daria realize that Tom has feelings for her, and Daria struggles with the fact that the feelings may be mutual.|
|"Dye! Dye! My Darling"||August 2, 2000||413||53|
|Jane talks a reluctant Daria into letting her put tiger stripes in Jane's hair, who botches the job making Jane think Daria did it intentionally to split up her and Tom, although Jane realizes it wasn't intentional and forgives Daria the next day. However, that night Tom and Daria talk about what's going on between them in his car and the two suddenly kiss. A guilt-ridden Daria confesses all to Jane the next morning, who confronts Tom leading to the two amicably breaking up. Later, Daria and Jane discuss the situation and decide to put their friendship on hold although both hope they can work through what's happened. At the end of episode, as Daria mopes in her room, she gets a call from Tom...|
Let's get down to it.
The "silly" episodes
So the sillier episodes as mentioned are: "Legends of the Mall" and "Murder she Snored". The first is a cute story where several characters impart their versions of Lawndale lore. These urban legends
This was a fun little episode where we got to see certain characters in a more fantastical setting, but without the "what the hell is going on" aspect that "Depth" had in the prior season.
|In his dreams|
The crime is still blamed and Daria who is sentenced to electrocution.
Oh! And there's this really fun Charlie's Angel's sequence with the fashion club. "Up Chuck's Angels". Sandi constantly asks Quinn when she's going to leave for a movie contract so Tiffany can take her place.
Anyway, of course when Daria wakes up the next day, the whole cheating thing is solved. While these episodes lacked character development, save for Sandi bullying Quinn, they were a good sidebar to the story. And again, their execution worked given the context.
Speaking of Sandi and Quinn...
God save the Quinn
As I mentioned above, Sandi finally finds the right time to pounce and ostracize Quinn in the way she's been wanting to for the past two seasons.
|I would play the hell out of this video game.|
Later, in "Legends of the Mall", the girls blame Quinn when Jake's car breaks down and they are told to take the bus back from the mall.
But these are all later episodes. The real zinger begins earlier on in the season.
When the rest of the fashion club realizes that Quinn is the reason they don't have necessities, Sandi immediately cites a "rule" in the fashion club doctrine which would oust Quinn for her mistake. Stacey starts to argue on Quinn's behalf. After all, Stacey has never heard of this caveat, but with a stern look in her direction, Sandi wins. The three girls give Quinn the silent treatment while she scrambles to impress them with gifts from the cute clothes that she brought with her.
Ouch. Stacey clearly enjoys Quinn's alienation and groveling. Great friends, that girl has.
And while we are on the subject of bullying, in "Mart of Darkness", Jane and Daria chase down an evasive mart at a Costco like store only to find out that it's their goth classmate Andrea. Now, we've seen Andrea throughout the series, but she rarely speaks. Once she is heard making a snarky comment, another time she reads poetry at a coffee house, but Andrea is mostly that goth girl in the background of several school scenes. When Daria and Jane finally catch up with her, she relents that she was avoiding them because she was afraid they if they found out she was working at the mart, they would cut her down like they do "everyone else". So to Andrea, Daria and Jane are bullies. How interesting. The girls don't do their worst though. They ask Andrea for directions and keep her secret. Maybe learning that their comments have an impact on Andrea's emotional state gave them pause. Maybe they just don't mind Andrea like the do some of the more annoying Lawndalers.
Helen and Jake
|Learning to communicate.|
Several times through out this season, Helen implies that she doesn't feel that Jake makes enough of an effort anymore. This is all quite sad, because Jake clearly is oblivious to her feelings. He also cares a great deal about her.
In "Psycho Therapy" Helen is made to take her whole family on a retreat to a counseling spa in order to see if she has the qualities to be a partner in her law firm. A therapist asserts that she has control issues while in a meeting with Jake. Of course, her personality allows her the promotion, because lawyers should have control issues, right? But she and Jake clearly have issues, issues.
In "Fire" Jake accidentally sets fire to part of the house forcing the family into a hotel while repairs are made. At first he and Helen argue as soon as they hit the hotel room. But just as soon as this happens, they embrace and have sex. This seems to be the way all of their fights end. However, the nice thing about this episode is that the time in the hotel allows them to relax. They seem to reconnect in some way. Their relationship isn't perfect, but this is what works for them.
Daria and Quinn
There isn't as much sisterly bonding as will come in the next few posts. In fact, in "Fire", Quinn insults Daria by telling the fashion club that her sister is the hotel maid, prompting her to stay with the Lanes. "Groped by an Angel", Daria does actually give her sister an honest answer regarding her spiritual beliefs. She informs her that she sees pretty convincing evidence that there is no higher power looking out for anyone. When Quinn is depressed by her answer, she amends that she hasn't seen any evidence that there is not a higher power either.
As we know, Daria is pretty unrelenting in her honesty. To make such a statement in order to comfort Quinn of all people is a pretty big deal.
Daria does have an odd bonding moment with Jake though when he takes her to a marketing conference as his plus one. While on the plane, Jake stresses that he should be using this time to get to know his daughter, while Daria confesses that in spite of all of Jake's insecurities she wants to tell him that he is a hero. She doesn't, but it's still awfully sweet.
Daria and Jane
Here's the biggie of this season. Daria and Jane's friendship suffered a blip when Jane began seriously seeing Tom Sloane at the end of season 3. Jane is still dating Tom during season 4, and Daria is still annoyed.
In fact, an argument about Tom prompts Daria to work with Jodie on a class project, while Jane works with Brittany. This isn't really a bad thing. Jodie is actually a fantastic foil for Daria. She is just as intelligent if not more so than Daria, and a lot more socially well adjusted. However, Jodie eventually drops her father's name in order to get favor in their project. Daria rebukes her for this, only to come back later and relent that she was being unfair to Jodie. Jodie forgives her, but it is also pointed out that the only reason Daria is even working with her is because she is mad at Jane. Which is true.
Now, I failed to mention this confession that Daria makes during "Psycho Therapy":
"I'm so defensive that I actively work to make people not like me, so I don't feel bad when they do." Of course we know this, but for her to admit it is interesting. Perhaps Jane's moving away from Daria emotionally is causing her to act cold to her friend, making it easy for Jane to dislike her.
However, Jane's relationship with Tom is unevenly matched. Her laid back artist lifestyle doesn't fit with his personality, and the two argue. At one point, he runs into Daria in a crowd while looking for Jane. Daria tries to lose him, but he follows her complaining a bit about Jane's flakiness. Why would you complain to your girlfriend's best friend about her?
In spite of her unpleasantness towards him, Daria challenges Tom intellectually causing him to seek her out for conversation more and more. Jane picks up on this. So does Trent. He even tells Daria that Tom is interested in her, but either Daria is too oblivious to realize this, or her opinion of herself is so low that she doesn't believe it.
In "Dye, Dye, My Darling", Jane strong arms Daria into dying tiger stripes into her hair. "The Lady or the Tiger? Now you can have both." Daria insists that Quinn would be a better candidate for this job, but Jane won't hear of it. Of course, when the hair turns out horribly, Jane accuses Daria of trying to make her look bad so that she can steal Tom. Eventually she apologizes after Trent points out that asking Daria for cosmetic help was something Jane should have known was a bad idea. Perhaps Jane was just looking to pick a fight. However, Jane asks Daria if she and Tom have ever made out. Daria replies, "Can you imagine me making out with anyone? Ever?"
|Daria pays a visit from the "Bad Idea Bears".|
But later on that night, Tom comes to Daria's house to complain about a fight with Jane- and they kiss.
While Daria gives a flat, "damn", to express her disappointment with herself, a second kiss occurs.
Confused and torn, she seeks out Helen for advice. Funny. I would have thought that Aunt Amy would have been her first call, but in the words of Betty Draper-Francis (of Mad Men), sometimes a girl needs her mother. Helen is a good listener, but she doesn't do anything to advise against a relationship with Tom. I half wonder if Helen is just so thrilled to see her daughter interested in anyone. She does urge a confession to Jane.
The next day, in front of their lockers, Daria draws a crowd and admits that she is a big skank and did in fact kiss Jane's boyfriend. Sigh.
My problem with Tom
I have no issue with a romantic interest for Daria. In fact I like the idea at this point. Here is the issue. Before the kiss, Daria yells at Tom, accusing him of ruining the one good and true friendship she has ever had. He goes on the defensive asking what he has to do with her anger. Well, duh, Tom. Throughout the season, Tom gravitates towards Daria. You can see his feelings changing and growing, but what kind of person would go for his girlfriend's socially inept best friend when he finds their relationship on the rocks?
I felt that he knew exactly what he was doing, even if flirting with Daria began as a way to lighten the mood. However, the minute things were going south with Jane, he should have been hands off her friend. Instead he pursues Daria and feigns ignorance as to why she should be upset that he wants to dump Jane for her. It's called, "friendship" asshole. It's called being loyal to people you love. Perhaps if Tom knew this, he might have some friends from his fancy prep school instead of hawking his soon to be ex's best friend.
The whole idea of Daria ending up with Jane's ex plays out well over the fall special, which I will eventually post about. However, Tom is just sort of a manipulative, yet flat character. Daria is a girl in transition. If she were to risk a relationship with the most important ally she has ever had, Tom should have been worth risking it for. And he just wasn't