"Rock & Roll" Randy
A visit by friends from their counter-culture past cause Helen and Jake to question the choices they made in life, while Daria and Jane join Trent and Jesse on a trip to a local flea market.
Willow and Coyote Yeager, two of Helen and Jake's friends from their hippie days, arrive with their son Ethan for a weekend visit. Daria can't stand the thought of being part of a Woodstock revival, so she decides to spend the weekend at Jane's house, but not before she pays Quinn $20 to dig up some dirt on their parents. At Jane's, Trent and Jesse are going through a bunch of vinyl LPs, which they plan to sell at the weekend flea market. Jane, naturally, decides to invite herself and Daria along, despite the fact that they have to be up at 6:00 A.M. The Yeagers' visit doesn't go as smoothly as hoped, because while Quinn is frustrated at her lack of success in hitting on an uninterested Ethan (who seems to be something of a male Daria), Helen and Jake are constantly reminded of how they've "sold out" when compared to Willow and Coyote (who've seemingly never abandoned their hippie-era ideals). Both she and Jake decide to regain some of those ideals, with Helen making bread and starting a compost heap and Jake growing a beard. At the flea market, Daria and Jane aren't having much luck selling the LPs, and the snoozing Trent and Jesse (who stayed up all night rather than get up early) aren't any help at all. Upchuck, who's attending the market with the hope of finding some rare collectable items, gives them some impromptu salesmanship lessons, but his main usefulness comes when the foursome decide to get some burgers and sodas. This proves to be a mistake, because while Jane and Jesse hunt down some burgers (and Jane sees first-hand just how vapid Jesse is) and Daria and Trent get sodas, Upchuck abandons the booth in search of girlie magazines. When the foursome finds him and drags him back to the booth, they discover that the booth has been ransacked and almost all of the LPs stolen (save for three copies of Boston's debut album). Meanwhile, Helen and Jake make a startling discovery: while they've been trying to be more like the Yeagers, the Yeagers have grown tired of their hippie ways and want to be more like them. Helen and Jake are more than happy to help, with Helen giving Willow an electric bread maker and Jake giving Coyote impromptu lessons in golf and ruthless business management. When Daria returns, Helen tries to punish her for skipping out on dinner with the family, but she backs down when Daria starts to interrogate her about an embarrassing incident from her college days (which Quinn learned from Ethan when she finally convinced him to take her out for lunch). As the Yeagers leave, Jake declares that he's going to stop living in the past as of right now... and decides to give all his old vinyl LPs to Daria.
Historical & Cultural References:
- Daria referring to the Yeagers' VW Beetle as a time machine -- beyond the fact that it's old -- could be a sly reference to the 1985 film Back to the Future, which starred Michael J. Fox as a teenager who is propelled back in time to 1955 and inadvertently prevents his parents from meeting. The time machine in question was built out of a DeLorean Motor Company DMC-12 sports car.
- The Yeagers' dog is named after Timothy Leary (1920-1996), the well-known "LSD guru" of the 1960s who later became an enthusiastic supporter of the computer revolution.
- "People with funny outfits who talk about peace and love and stuff" is a reference both to hippies and, as Daria points out, fans of the 1966 TV series Star Trek and its many spin-offs. The term "Trekkies" is usually used to refer to the more obsessive end of the fandom, people who tend to attend conventions dressed in costumes from the series.
- Steal This Book is the famous book by Abbie Hoffman (1936-1989) that described how to "beat the system" and survive in the America of the early 1970s.
- The album that Daria is holding at the flea market is the debut album by the Velvet Underground. The "banana" cover was designed by pop artist Andy Warhol (1928-1987).
- During the scene where Daria is staring at the sleeping Trent, astute viewers have noticed that Trent opens his eyes when Jane finishes teasing Daria about "the crush." Was this a mistake? Not according to writer Anne D. Bernstein, who confirmed in an interview that this was deliberate, and that Trent had indeed caught on to Daria's crush on him.
Keeping Up With The Joneses:
Helen and Jake tried so hard to look like they hadn't changed from their hippie days. Of course, they were well aware that they had changed and possibly had turned into "the man" and grew away from the lifestyle. The ironic twist is that the Yeagers were the ones that had really become uncomfortable with whom they were, and turned into aggressive capitalists.
The Flea Market, It's All a Rich Tapestry:
Well one thing is straight here: if Trent didn't know about the crush before, no matter how oblivious he is, he now has some idea that something is going on, because Daria "is gonna wait." (Maybe they'll live a life of voluntary simplicity in that secluded mountain shack...) While we're here, what is the deal with Upchuck? Right, he's the joker. Daria and Jane must feel like a "puke" magnet, because everywhere they go, he shows up. The advice was not useful, but he was trained for free.
Sleep, That's Where I'm a TV Critic:
There seems to be a mini-theme in this episode involving sleep. There was Trent and Jesse staying up all night just to fall asleep at the flea market. Then, Ethan said that "he thought it was lunch time" and is going back to sleep. I don't quite know the significance of it. Maybe it has something to do with a commentary on the tired aspects of the hippie lifestyle. :) (In my best Seinfeld voice) What's the deal, I'd like to know?
Quinn, Quinn, Quinn:
Quinn tries push her scrawny little butt into everything in this episode. With the possibility of a reward, getting information to influence her parents, and meeting Ethan, her date wasn't so important anymore (she got Stacy to fill in; must be some sort of food-chain-of-command within the Fashion Club). She remained the annoying little complement seeker that she is most of the time.
On re-watching, this episode wasn't as bad as I originally thought. Sure, the "blast from the past" thing was interesting, especially the fact that Helen and Jake changed so completely (or radically) in such a short period of time (the meat didn't make Jake aggressive, however). Besides, anything that takes a crack at Trekkies can't be that bad.
B- (this episode got the largest increase gradewise of any)
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.