Jordana ("The Shark Lady")
Daria and Jane reluctantly join other students in the sophomore and freshman classes on a field trip to a painball range, where they are supposed to study first-hand the effects of warfare on human culture.
Mr. DeMartino informs his class that they, along with Mr. O'Neill's and Ms. Barch's classes (and Ms. Li), will be taking a field trip to Jim's Paintballing Jungle, ostensibly to study how warfare affects all aspects of human culture. When a request is made for parent volunteers, the Morgendorffer sisters are in rare agreement: no telling Helen or Jake about the trip. Helen finds out anyway, though, when she innocently asks Quinn about her new anti-helmet-hair hairdo and she cracks under the "pressure"; fortunately for the girls, Helen shows only a token interest in going, but seems to back down. The bus trip to the paintball range is eventful, with Kevin getting smacked by Brittany for a insensitive comment, the Fashion Club vowing not to shoot each other, and Daria and Jane spotting signs for a roadside attraction called "The Great White Shark" that Jane seems to think holds more promise than paintballing. Daria is reluctant, but quickly relents when the buses arrive at the range and are greeted by Helen and Jake (who were convinced to attend by Mr. O'Neill). After a pep talk by Jim himself, the group splits into two teams, one lead by Mr. DeMartino and the other by Mr. O'Neill and Ms. Barch. As the games begin (with Brittany showing a surprising flair for tactical warfare), Daria and Jane each get themselves taken out early, and together they head out to see the Great White Shark. At the range, each group garners its own share of casualties -- Brittany takes out Kevin and Mr. DeMartino, while the Fashion Club mistakenly opens fire on each other -- before the whole outing is rained out. To pass the time, the kids start partying in a shelter nicknamed the "Hanoi Hilton," while the adults attempt to bond in various tents. As such, Jake and Mr. DeMartino wind up getting drunk and swapping childhood horror stories, Helen and Ms. Li wind up in a clash of personalities, and Mr. O'Neill tries to comfort a bitter Ms. Barch, who eventually warms up to him and they... well, bond. Meanwhile, Daria and Jane arrive at the Great White Shark, only to find that the "shark" is actually just a tooth, with the woman running the attraction spinning them a story lifted right out of the plot of the movie Jaws (she even lets slip a reference to Richard Dreyfuss as the girls leave). The girls rejoin the group just as the rain lets up, and as the buses pull out, three people are left behind: Sandi, whose attempts to get the better of Quinn get her nothing but an impromptu mud bath; and Helen and Jake, victims of a stolen distributor cap (courtesy of Ms. Li).
Historical & Cultural References:
- The title of the episode is a pun on the 1978 film The Deer Hunter, which starred Robert DeNiro and Christopher Walken as friends trying to survive Vietnam.
- Many references to, and parodies of, Vietnam-themed films are scattered throughout the episode, including 1986's Platoon (Sandi running to catch up but getting left behind) and 1979's Apocalypse Now (Daria's thoughts while walking through the woods, and Jake moaning "The horror... the horror...").
- As Daria indicated, the story spun by Jordana "The Shark Lady" is indeed the plot of the 1975 film Jaws, which starred Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss, and Robert Shaw as a trio hunting down a great white shark that's attacking the residents of a New England island resort community.
- The "Hanoi Hilton" was a Vietnamese prison, originally built by the French in 1901. During the Vietnam War, it was used to house American P.O.W.s from August 1964 to March 1973. It was reportedly the most brutal of the North Vietnamese prison camps.
I would love to see the list of rejected field trip ideas from Lawndale High. While paintball can be fun, this trip is like a glorified day long gym class. I wonder what they passed on; a day of miniature golf, a day at the beach, or maybe a trip down to the local train station to examine the effects of putting pennies on the tracks.
It was funny to see who ended up stuck with each other in the rain storm. It was odd that Miss Li would even talk to Helen (because of the events of "Arts 'N Crass"), let alone joke with her a little. Jake and Mr. DeMartino are like kindred military school spirits who have been trounced upon for their entire lives. The most unusual pairing was Ms. Barch and Mr. O'Neill. He inadvertently broke through her bitter exterior, and then she proceeded to drain his energy.
Well, at least it was Daria and Jane's stupid thing to do. This was a case of heightened expectations more than anything (for Jane, at least). Jane thought that "seeing the great white" would be more interesting, but it was stupid. All they saw was a tooth, but they did get a much needed nap.
Now we know what Brittany is thinking about during cheerleading practice: how to command an effective attack and ambush. The big question is how she will use this newly discovered talent.
Daria summed up this episode better than I could ever: it was stupid. There was no reason for me to even care what happens. Nothing really adds up... everyone is acting weird (which isn't a problem in itself)... it seemed as if paintball brought out the worst in the students of Lawndale. It wasn't the fact that this episode wasn't centered around Daria, it just was too confusing for me to get comfortable with it.
Daria as a Whole:
Tiffany shows her true colors as a "bandwagon jumper" for the first time in this episode. She is on the side of whomever is present at the time (Sandi or Quinn). I guess she wants to make sure she will always be on the "winning" side.
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.