It's the six-month anniversary of Daria and Tom's first date, and while Daria claims that she and Tom aren't into those kinds of things, Quinn's shower of gifts from her many male admirers makes Daria start to suspect that Tom may be taking her for granted.
When Quinn receives a bunch of flowers and gifts, she informs Daria that it's a sign of how much a guy cares, and after pestering her about her upcoming six-month anniversary with Tom, Daria starts to wonder whether Tom is taking her for granted. This assumption is reinforced when Daria and Tom get together and he'd rather just hang out than go out and do something, saying that "normal dates" are for people with no imagination. When Jane reveals during a heart-to-heart talk that Tom did some romantic things with her (like pony rides and fancy Italian dinners), Daria becomes even more convinced. When Tom stops by and asks Daria if she'd like to go for a walk -- after Quinn tries unsuccessfully to jog Tom's memory -- they end up sitting in the park, where Tom finds that Daria's mad at him but, naturally, stubbornly refuses to tell him why. He walks away rather than engage in a no-win argument, leaving Daria angry and upset (more at herself than at Tom). Meanwhile, Jake gets involved in Buzzdome.com, an Internet dot-com startup that's looking for fresh blood. He knows squat about the Internet, but figures he'd get in on the ground floor and make a killing on the initial stock offering. Turns out he missed the stock offering, but Noah Barkman, Buzzdome's 24-year-old president, convinces him to stay on. Jake finds himself increasingly over his head, but in true Jake fashion, he plows ahead enthusiastically, determined to make a go of it. Unfortunately, his success is short-lived when his laptop computer crashes and takes his presentation with it. His subsequent presentation shows just how little he knows about the Internet game, but the experience isn't a total loss: Noah hires Jake as a consultant, to act as a one-man focus group for the market segment that's utterly confused about the Internet experience. At school, Daria mopes around with Jane, kicking herself about her argument with Tom, but when she sees others doing equally stupid things in the name of romance, she resolves (with a little nudge from Jane) to patch things up. At Tom's house, Daria reveals to him how she was upset that he didn't remember their anniversary, and how -- in totally non-Daria fashion -- she found herself actually caring about that fact. Tom reassures her that he does care for her, and explains that he only did those things with Jane after his relationship with her started fizzling out; he did romantic things to hide the fact that he no longer felt romantic. In the end, both he and Daria end up not celebrating their non-anniversary over a box of Quinn's chocolates.
Historical & Cultural References:
- Quinn's comments about "kissing [Tom] behind your best friend's back," "the Fashion Club Blushathon," and "the instance of sleazy backstabbing" are references to the events in "Dye! Dye! My Darling" (#413).
- Jake's pitiful "Edgy?" when he attempts to save his bombing presentation refers to "The Lost Girls" (#305), where he pleads with Val to explain to him exactly what the word means. He still doesn't know, from the looks of things...
- Helen's mention of Corporal Ellenbogen refers to "Jake of Hearts" (#309), where we learned that the corporal-with-one-thumb taught young Cadet Morgendorffer how to shave (as Jake's father, "Mad Dog," had a razor phobia).
- Jane glues pottery shards to the wall with the Stickmata 5000, the infamous glue gun that repaired the Tank (and freaked Daria out) in "Road Worrier" (#111).
- "The theme to The Poseidon Adventure" -- The song "The Morning After" by Maureen McGovern, which won the 1972 Academy Award for Best Original Song.
- "Always let your conscience be your guide" (aborted mid-sentence by Daria) -- Jiminy Cricket's sound advice to Pinocchio, from Disney's 1940 animated feature Pinocchio (based on the Carlo Collodi story).
- "The day JFK was shot" -- President John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, on November 23, 1963. It was a traumatic event that forever affected American culture and politics, and is a defining moment for the "Baby Boomer" generation (much as the Challenger disaster in January 1986 and the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001 were to subsequent generations).
- The subplot about Buzzdome.com refers to scores of similar all-flash-no-substance Internet startups that went belly-up (usually after their overpriced stock offerings) in the "Great Dot-Com Bubble Burst" of 2000-2001.
- Jake's wax sculture of a Hobbit is from J.R.R. Tolkein's The Lord of the Rings saga, which was brought to life on the screen as a trilogy of films (2001's The Fellowship of the Ring, 2002's The Two Towers, and 2003's The Return of the King) by director Peter Jackson.
- Loads of computer terms: the Linux and FreeBSD operating systems, Macromedia's Flash animation software for web browsers, Apple's Hypercard technology, MP3 music files, and Sun's Java programming language.
Quinn - Well, I remember that your first date was the same day I started my split-end refusing regimen, unless you don't count from the first date but instead from the time you kissed him behind your best friend's back while she was still going out with him, which I believe was the night of the Fashion Club Blushathon finals.
Daria - And to think, Mom and Dad only have the day JFK was shot.
Jake - "Feeling boxed in? Leading corrugated cardboard manufacturer seeks senior VP of sales and marketing?" Damn it, Helen, I'm a man with my own business. I'll never work for somebody else again! Never, do you hear me?! And shame on you for suggesting it. Shame, Helen, shame...
Helen - Jake, I'm so sorry.
Jake - Hey, look at this one! "Kick-ass I-startup, superjazzed about expansion, seeks visionary dot-com expert for media leadership position." Where do I sign up?!
Helen - Jake, you don't know a thing about the Internet.
Jake - (sarcastic) Oh, but I'm an expert on cardboard!
Daria - He treats me more like a piece of furniture than his girlfriend. I know I shouldn't care whether or not he gives me presents or remembers our anniversary, but I think I do. And then I hate myself for caring. I can't say anything because then he'll know I care, and it won't be the same as if he thought of it himself and, oh, God, listen to me.
Jake - Hey, can I ask you something?
Sameer - I'm the idea guy.
Jake - What exactly does this company... do?
Sameer - We provide tools to help other Internet start-ups maximize their potential and expand the virtual marketplace.
(pause as Jake attempts to understand; he's nowhere close)
Sameer - Listen, Jake, I get paid big money to sit around and daydream. I'm not about to rock the boat.
Jake - I'm really going to wow 'em at work tomorrow! Oh, look, I'm receiving some sort of message in code. (laptop screen shows random characters being displayed) Looks technical. This is exciting!
Daria - You're leaning on the keyboard again.
Helen - Daria, sometimes we may think we're ready for something and it won't change anything but we're really not and it changes everything and in the rush to grow up we sometime forget how precious are the fleeting years before adulthood's cares...
Daria - It's not about sex.
Helen - Thank God! I mean, "Oh, I see."
Barkman - Thanks, Nora. Now Jake is going to wow us with his new plan for increasing our visibility in the marketplace.
(Nora sits while Jake stands at the head of the table)
Jake - Increasing visibility is a good thing, and it will surely make us more... visible. To do that we should, uh... develop our strategy and strategize our development. Implement solutions and solutionize implementations. Aggressively.
(the room is silent)
Jake - (last-ditch effort) Edgy?
Barkman - Jake, I hate to say this, but you're just spouting a bunch of buzzwords. You're not paradigm-shifting. You're all sizzle and no steak.
Jake - But I did have steak... and charts and graphs and animated dollar bills that danced around and sang songs. I was almost finished and then... my screen froze. Damn computer! It ate everything! Big, fat, smug, damn, stupid, crappy piece of crappy crap! (starts sobbing)
Daria - Boy, jump down someone's throat, refuse to tell them why, and suddenly they stop calling you.
Jane - Well, at least Tom can't accuse you of trying to spoil the mystery.
Daria - Oh, God. This is like that scene in Pinocchio when he discovers he's growing ears like the rest of the donkeys.
Jane - Well, then, stop being an ass and go talk to Tom.
(Daria sighs and starts to leave, bowing to the inevitable)
Jane - And always let your conscience be your...
Daria - Oh, shut up!
Tom - Hey... if you're not going to leave a flaming bag of dog crap on the doorstep, at least come in.
Daria - Well, can't resist an invitation like that.
Daria - So I admit I've been kind of sensitive lately. And, um, a little...
Tom - Distant? Cranky? Childish?
Daria - Yes, thank you so much for all the adjectives.
Delayed Reaction Review
Circling the Wagon:
Helen sent a not-so-subtle clue to Jake that he should get out and do something by circling the want ads. He gets all flustered and goes through the whole "I can't work for anyone else after I've had my own business" rant. I guess that's understandable, but he did seem more interested in the "media leadership position" than working in the box factory. Ultimately, it didn't work out (which was less than unexpected, but the reasons why it didn't work out are all of the fun anyway) and Helen realized how much she missed him, even though he thinks he's a "failure."
Flowers by Quinn:
Quinn had another small role in this episode, but she did show a new trait: a genuine care for her sister, even if it was a tad misguided. She did help Daria determine it was her six-month anniversary and tried to jog Tom's memory about it. It wasn't much, but it was a move in the right direction.
No Fuss, No Muss:
Some of Quinn's help was to tell Daria how that if a guy forgets something like an anniversary, that he's taking her for granted (her theory, not mine, but it's not without merit). That really got Daria's attention; she figured that, on some level, that kind of stuff might mean something to her and that Tom seemed to be too "comfortable" with her. It was made worse when Jane revealed to her that he did take her some places (but she did an admirable job of backpedaling after seeing Daria's reaction to that). All of these thoughts were gnawing at Daria (as evidenced by her little "daydream"), especially when Tom gave his reasons for his "fun dates" (like reading greeting cards aloud).
This episode was ahead of the curve on one thing: the realization that a lot of dot-coms out there don't really do much. It seems like all they did at Buzzdome was sit around all day spouting out meaningless buzz phrases, like "diversified synergy" (which makes the reason for Jake's dismissal so ironic), and worrying about buying six thousand dollar coffee tables. All of the people there didn't seem to have real job descriptions, they just did whatever. The funniest part of the whole thing was when Jake asked Sameer what exactly they do and he replied, "I get paid a whole lot of money to sit around all day and day dream. I'm not about to rock the boat" (or something like that). Now that was priceless.
Take a Hike:
Daria and Tom's little walk didn't start off on the right foot (maybe it was the left foot, heh heh). He pretty much told her the only reason he came to see her was that he had nothing better to do. He kept going with the comfortable thing and expressing that he liked not having to worry about impressing her. Of course, that was exactly what was bothering her. He topped it off by not having a clue what the problem was (I probably wouldn't have figured it out at first either, OK, I'm probably just as dense). The thing was, she wanted to tell him but was afraid that would be problematic. Of course, we all know the way it should have been done.
A new trend that is either troubling or awesome, depending on how you look at it, is Daria's recent penchant for going to Helen for advice. And yet again, Helen comes up with some killer advice. The material things aren't nearly as important as the feelings, and if the feelings are there, the material things take care of themselves. Oh, and don't forget to not get your hopes up too high (you'd be surprised how much that can help).
Phrase of the Week:
I couldn't not put the "crappy piece of crappy crap" in here somewhere. Next time some gadget doesn't work for me, that's what I'm going to call it.
Just Part of the Job:
Jake was so out of place at Buzzdome that it wasn't funny. Though, I'd have to say that he seemed to do his best to not let everyone else know that. Jake gets very frustrated by things that either don't go his way immediately or things that he doesn't entirely understand. However, he acclimated himself to his new environment nicely. He ended up multitasking like an old pro on that presentation, until his laptop froze and he lost everything (remember kids: save early and often) and went on another coffee induced rampage (his whole "staying late at work" scene was great). Then his explanation of what happened to his work was the icing on the cake. At least he got a consultant gig and his father is still dead.
No, this has nothing to do with Jake's Java patch. Daria finally confessed to Tom what the problem was and he did his best to solve it. The funny thing was that she realized that there never really was a problem. Which was something she realized when she felt as though she was turning into "all the other donkeys." In effect, no harm, no foul.
First of all, there were two very different stories going on here. That is no big deal by itself, but the one that was supposed to be the "A" story (based on the title "Sappy Anniversary") was totally overshadowed by the "B" story, both in time spent and overall positive impact on me (to me, anyway; I guess they couldn't think up of a punny title for Jake's subplot). Jake went through a bit more "Homerization" here, but I can't say it is a disappointment anymore. I've conceded that Jake will never change too significantly, so I've decided just to ride that wave and enjoy all of his shenanigans. As for the main plot of Daria and Tom's relationship, it struck a personal nerve/chord. Of course, I'm not going into any details, but let's just say that I've seen some parallels between my situation and Daria and Tom's. This episode just reminded me of that, even though the similarities were nothing specific. Quite frankly, that part of this episode made me a little uncomfortable and insecure (and this comes through a little in the grade). I don't really know what I should think about it, but this wasn't a bad episode.
Daria as a Whole, So Rude:
I still don't like Jane's proclivity in season five for calling Daria, "Morgendorffer." I understand that she's probably upset about the whole "love triangle" thing, but it still irks me.
Copyright © 2001 Mike Quinn [All Rights Reserved]. Used with permission. The views presented in this review are those of the author, and may or may not necessarily be those of Outpost Daria Reborn.