"Guy," Mall Executives, Scizzor Wizzard Employee, Doo-Dad Shop Employees
"Rock & Roll" Randy
Thanks to an inadvertent suggestion from Daria, Mrs. Bennett takes Daria's Economics class on a field trip to the area's new mega-mall, the Mall of the Millennium, in order to study supply-and-demand in action.
Quinn has discovered what amounts to the Holy Grail of shopping: the Mall of the Millennium, a super-mall that has every store you can think of (and some that you can't). Unfortunately for Quinn, it's over 100 miles away, which is reason enough for Helen and Jake to balk at driving her there (not to mention the fact that she's done more than enough shopping for the quarter). Daria's amusement at Quinn not being able to travel to her own personal Mecca is cancelled out by cosmic irony, however, as her Economics class makes a field trip to the mall to study supply and demand in action. The trip itself is no picnic -- Kevin and Brittany's antics, Upchuck's come-ons, and Brittany's cheap perfume all conspire to make Daria violently carsick -- but when they get to the mall and meet with its executives, Jane's curiosity reveals that the executives are secretly using them as a focus group. In exchange for their silence, the sleazy suits give each student a gift certificate; Daria is ready to refuse to accept it, but gives in when she sees that all of the other students (even Jodie) have "taken the money and run." After the meeting, Mrs. Bennett gives the kids their assignments. Among them are Kevin and Brittany's goal to study shrinkage, aka shoplifting -- which Kevin demonstrates handily by five-fingering a trinket for Brittany -- and Daria and Jane's observations of traffic patterns at the food court. When they arrive, they find Quinn and the Fashion Club, who skipped school to go to the mall (two offenses by Quinn, who still doesn't have permission from Helen and Jake). Daria strikes a deal with Quinn: in exchange for her silence, Quinn and her friends give them a ride home, and Quinn does the chores around the house for a month. Afterwards, Daria and Jane decide to see what their gift certificates will get them. They use Jane's certificate for the Scizzor Wizzard in a unique way: they drive the employees crazy until they give Jane the cash for the certificate in order to get rid of her. Daria doesn't fare as well at the Doo-Dad Shop, as she's unlucky enough to be their 10,000th customer, entitling her to a ton of free doo-dads (aka crap). That evening, after dinner, Quinn uncharacteristically clears the table and offers to bring their parents some coffee. That's when they spring their surprise: they offer to take Quinn and Daria to the Mall of the Millennium. Unsurprisingly, both girls are not enthused.
Historical & Cultural References:
- Lester and Lauren Gupty, seen on the mall tram, are not officially introduced until "Pinch Sitter" (#108), and would not show up again until "I Loathe a Parade" (#406).
- "Rock & Roll" Randy, seen on the mall tram, is not officially introduced until "The Big House" (#110), and would also show up in various future episodes as a non-speaking background character.
- This episode marks the first "power struggle" between Quinn and Sandi ("Maybe Quinn should be president." "I could never replace you, Sandi.").
- "Guy" (the boy that drove Daria, Jane, and the Fashion Club home) would appear in later episodes as a background character.
- "It smells like..." "Teen spirit?" -- A reference to the Nirvana song "Smells Like Teen Spirit." It became a huge hit in the early 1990s, propelling the obscure group (and grunge rock in general) into the national spotlight.
- "Playing that John Lennon song backwards." -- The first reference is to John Lennon's smash hit "Imagine." The second is to the common claim that playing a record backwards reveals hidden lyrics... which also ties into the Beatles, as some people claim that playing a particular Beatles tune backwards reveals the phrase "Paul is dead" (referring to Paul McCartney).
- "Sitting in the back of the bus." -- Since the end of the American Civil War in 1865, blacks were treated as second-class citizens, and were (among other things) required to sit at the backs of buses to make room for white passengers. This practice was challenged in 1955 by civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks; her arrest in Montgomery, Alabama, and the subsequent boycotting of buses by blacks, lead to the eventual end of this practice, and was the first significant victory of the civil rights movement.
- Jodie's reference to Dr. King refers to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who fought for the civil rights of blacks in the 1960s.
- The Mall of the Millennium is probably a pun on the Mall of America in Minnesota, which claims to be the world's largest shopping mall.
- Fuzzy Wuzzy Wee Bits, and Mrs. Bennett's obsession with them, are a pun on Ty's Beanie Babies collectable plush toys and the craze over them.
- Jane's statement when the tram arrives at the front of the mall (and Daria pukes onto the pavement) translates into English as "Welcome to the Mall of the Millennium."
Quinn - It's not a mall, it's a super mall! The Mall of the Millennium. Shop there forever!
Daria - If you play that John Lennon song backwards, it says, "Imagine all the people, browsing in a mall." Isn't that weird?
Quinn - How will I hold my head up in the Fashion Club?
Daria - A traction pulley?
Kevin - All right! Field trip! (leans over to Daria) Where are we going, man?
Daria - The field.
Kevin - Cool.
Daria - I'm sorry, Mrs. Bennett. I can't go to the mall. I have a skin condition.
Mrs. Bennett - What are you talking about, Daria?
Daria - If I'm in an enclosed space for too long, I get hives.
Mrs. Bennett - But you're in an enclosed space now.
Daria - Yes... and I'm really itchy?
Jane - These hives get bad, Mrs. Bennett, I've seen them. They drip with puss.
(class reacts with revulsion and Daria glares at Jane)
Jane - Just trying to help.
Jane - I didn't know you got car sick.
Daria - I don't, usually. It's the fumes. It smells like... it smells like...
Jane - Teen spirit?
Daria - Cheap perfume.
Jane - Brittany must be working up a sweat.
Daria - I think I'm going to be sick.
Jane - Um, could it possibly wait?
(tram stops at front of Mall, accompanied by various "ooohs!" and "aaahs!" as passengers begin exiting the tram)
Daria - I know I'm going to be sick.
(she then doubles over and vomits onto the pavement, with Jane looking on dispassionately)
Jane - Bienvenidos a la Mall of the Millennium.
Mrs. Bennett - Everyone, we'll walk down R Moss, and turn right at Q Canary. Please keep the flow, people, please keep the flow.
Brittany - Who would ever guess there'd be so many colors? The person who thought them all up must be a genius.
Jane - Yeah, and we haven't even gotten to puke green yet. (glances at Daria, who still looks queasy) Oh, yeah.
(at the food court, Daria and Jane stand and observe the crowd)
Jane - Traffic patterns at the food concessions.
Daria - Hmm. I've noticed a pattern. People walk in looking hungry.
Jane - And leave, stuffing their face.
Daria - Assignment completed.
Jane - Now, for extra credit, let's experience the traffic pattern for ourselves.
Daria - Well. What an unexpected opportunity for sibling bonding.
Quinn - I'm going to be sick.
Jane - Is that, like, a family thing?
Delayed Reaction Review
How Big is Too Big?
How big do the malls have to be these days? In my area we have a mall that is like the Mall of the Millennium (at King of Prussia) and I have visited it on numerous occasions and I don't see the appeal of these huge malls (King of Prussia is so big that some stores have multiple locations in various places throughout the mall). I got lost and couldn't find anything that might have remotely interested me since there were too many stores.
Even though Ms. Li wasn't in this episode, it shows that she may be losing her grip on Lawndale High. I don't know of any principal that would allow or approve of a school trip to a mall (well maybe the one in Washington D.C. ;). It would be worse for her authority, if she didn't even know where they were going on the trip.
Bus Ride from Hell:
Who said getting there is half the fun? Once they got on the bus almost every annoyance that could happen, did happen. Kevin singing "99 bottles of beer on the wall," UpChuck harassing the female class members and Brittany's working up a "sweat" and her lame cheer could make anyone want to be sick.
Kevin Getting Beat On:
For the first time we see some trouble in football-land (but not much). Most of the bus ride Brittany is either ordering Kevin to stop something or she was hitting him. Of course, they were making out, too; but there could be trouble in the future (that statement is a little biased).
OK, I'll admit that a lot of this episode doesn't make much sense but that is why I liked it. There was a good plot in there even if it wasn't very obvious (conflict: going to the mall; solution: getting away with "Guy"). I'm not surprised that Daria and Quinn didn't want to go back to the "Super Mall" (Jake and Helen probably didn't know that either of them was there). I would agree with Daria and not want to go even once.
Daria as a Whole:
The scene at the food court (start of Act III) with Quinn and the Fashion Club discussing their "community service" is the first situation of its kind (but definitely not the last). Quinn has a "good" idea and Sandi gives her a backhanded compliment. Sandi suggests her own impeachment (yeah right) and Quinn says that she couldn't replace her. Ladies, begin the hostilities.
Copyright © 1998 Mike Quinn [All Rights Reserved]. Used with permission. The views presented here are those of the author, and may or may not necessarily be those of Outpost Daria Reborn.