In my first essay, I concentrated on the Daria character alone, as befitting the star of the series. My second essay wasn't an essay per se, just appliance of some of remarks of Sigmund Freud to the show. And my third essay was on several of families of Lawndale (the ones we could wholly see, per se). Now, in my fourth essay, I'll talk about various relationships in Lawndale (not necessarily just M/F ones).
The relationships in Lawndale, by Bacner ()
Daria and Jane. The main relationship when it comes to friendships. As a matter of fact, barring Kevin/Brittany/Mack/Jodie square, (more about that later) Daria + Jane are the only same-sex relationship. In other cases, wherever you look, you find a boy and a girl. That raises a number of questions, for example: do not the show’s “designers” understand the relationships at all? For some reason, they’re having trouble showing a clear, un-sex-related, friendship.
Don't get me wrong. Compared to some of the “naughtier” fanfic (like Gystex42’s “The Passion Club), the original series is pretty much sex-free. Certainly, it has no more sex than any other kid show (which is none). But! At the same time, whenever you look, there’s a couple. Kevin and Brittany, Mack and Jodie, O’Neill and Barch. Heck, even Li and DeMartino could probably fit each other – certainly, they’ve proven to be each other’s match in “Lucky Strike”, when DeMartino proved to be the only one who could tie-down Li’s rampant financial plotting (what is it with this woman?).
Naturally, “just friendship” of Daria and Jane looks bizarre in this situation. Then, “Is It Fall Yet?” brings, however briefly, the topic of alternative sexual lifestyles in the shape of Allison. I must admit, when that came forth, I was pretty much surprised. Admittedly, I had my suspicion about that male modeller – Claude when I saw him in the co-respective episode, but compared with loud-and-clear Allison, that was nothing. After that, I've really taken a re-look of Daria and Jane after I wrote my first essay.
Daria. Despite what I've said about her in my first essay, and her pretty up-cutting sarcasm, she’s pretty much an “old-fashioned” girl. There’s a possibility that she gets shy easily, and probably doesn't feel too comfortable or content around the opposite sex. In Galen Hardesty’s “At the Beach”, Daria willingly (and semi-bitterly) discusses that matter with Helen. Apparently, there are only a small number of boys who consider her attractive (at high school beauty is often skin deep and people are judged by their clothes). They're Ted DeWitt-Clinton, Charles Ruttheimer III (Upchuck) and Michael Jordan Mackenzie (Mack). Mack is currently with Jodie (more about that later), so he’s out of the running (theoretically at least).
Upchuck… where did he come from? The guy’s got rampant libido. He literally hits on every female, including Ms. Barch. Or maybe not. Basically, the guy’s got no appealing feature whatsoever, and it’s only natural that fanfic writers find some hidden talent in him. Personally, I think that things are simpler… yet not as simple as the show’s writers want us to think. I believe, that Upchuck is a human satyr. For the uninitiated, satyrs were followers of the Greek god of wine, interested in wine and women. Currently, Upchuck is well immersed in the latter w – women. I wouldn't be surprised, if, as the time goes, he’ll go, he’ll get involved with alcohol as well. And as for the satyr’s half-goat shape, well, Upchuck is horny enough for that part as well.
Finally Ted DeWitt-Clinton. Now he is weird. He’s home-taught. However, his parents are weird too, even by “Daria” standards. Basically, at one or other point of time, Ted had no more social skills that Daria, since obviously his parents are anti-social (but in a different way from Daria). However, Ted doesn’t have Daria’s scruples when it comes to socializing, and he quickly fits-in with the rest of student body of LH, leaving Daria feeling sort of bitter, despite whatever lack of romantic feeling was going-on around here.
Now for Jane. If Daria’s an “old-fashioned girl” in the sexual matters (in fact, she may dress that way because she feels kind of shy in the aforementioned matters), then Jane has the power to become a sexual dynamo – all the potential is there. Jane is the youngest in a family of seven, has a sister who’s a single mother of two-four kids, has a brother who gets married-divorced all the time, and still lives with a brother who probably is free with sexual matters all the time. And there’s something about her tomboy stance that just hints at the possible naughtiness. Also, unlike Daria, Jane isn’t beyond flirting; in fact discounting her Yenta act between Daria and Trent (she obviously enjoys the discomfort of Daria upon seeing Trent), she’s also not above scoring with a cute guy. The guy’s identity doesn't matter: Evan from the track team, Guy Fawkes’ Day from the Holiday Island, “Bobby Big-head” from Brittany’s party…
And then comes Allison, and the viewers (along with Jane) suddenly see the possibilities for fanfic. That’s the viewers, of course; Jane has a vastly opposite view of that matter. Obviously, she’s been caught completely unexpectedly with Allison’s offer of sex – a situation probably not-too-unexpected in real life too. Maybe that’s why she picked-up Tom – to shake herself free of the belief that she could be gay or bisexual. After all, Allison did mention something about signals…
However, Tom and Jane didn't work-out. Or, Tom and Daria, for that matter. I will not get into these two in this essay, basically point-out that while neither of those formulas proved to be a winner, the formula “Daria-Jane” seems to be not a loser. As a result, that can really make a person wonder, what’s up doc.
Jake and Helen. Again, I have talked about it in my first essay. However, that essay had been mainly about Daria. Jake and Helen were mentioned in passing, only as parts of Morgendorffer-Barksdale family merge. Now, as a couple. Surprisingly, relatively few fanfics take-up the matter of Jake-and-Helen meeting up. And those that do, always agree that the romance never passed-up smoothly. Invisigoth Gypsy, for example, suggested that the pair had even split up for a while – and as a result, little Daria came to be… Seriously though, obviously that Jake and Helen interconnection is quite off, despite the fact that it is working. Then again, so do a lot of others things in “Daria”-verse.
Let’s look at them separately. Jake – loud, not-the-brightest book in the library, a bit of a klutz. Helen – active, boisterous, not very good with social skills. In fact, for all of Helen’s critisms of Daria, Helen reminds from time to time of Daria herself, neither being much of conversationalists. The difference is that Helen got an active life, and Daria a passive one.
As for Jake… well, he obviously takes after his mother.
So, how does this relationship works? Well, for one thing that we learned in “Antisocial Climbers”, Jake and Helen really enjoy sex with each others. We’ll not go into details here. For another thing – the couple probably lived together for twenty to thirty years. Since they hadn't fallen in the past, they may not about to now. Plus, Helen’s too workaholic to have a sexual life on the side, and Jake’s… not the best catch, even in Lawndale pool. So, Jake and Helen may be just a couple of strangers, thrown together by fate, unwilling to go apart. Better to face old age and “the mysterious beyond” with somebody, no matter how ill-fitting (if people were like cogs) that somebody is, than alone.
Therefore, Daria and Quinn shouldn’t worry. Whatever is written in Kara Wild’s “DW” series, Jake and Helen are most likely to go into old age together. They may or may not love each other, but they are clearly fond of each other, or at least comfortable with each other (and don’t forget the sex). That’s, coincidentally, how many families in Middle Ages worked. The husband and wife may or may not love each other, but they wouldn't part ways without some pretty good external or internal reason (and keep in mind that in early Middle Ages at least the morales and customs were about as firm as in the 1970s – the institution of marriage was respected about as much. Ergo: everything new is well-forgotten old).
Daria and Trent. One of the most troublesome points in the whole “Daria”-verse: do Daria and Trent have a relationship or not? “Shippers” and “anti-shippers” probably have a jolly time every time they're discussing this matter. And where do I stand?
Barring what I've written about Daria/Jane have an alternative sexual lifestyle in the future, Daria/Trent just doesn't seem to have any chemistry. I mean, in a relationship, especially amongst teens/young adults, you got to have mutual attraction. Here we’ve got a teenage girl’s crush on an older guy (pretty ordinary experience) on one hand, and total indifference or oblivion on the other.
Well, indifference may be too strong a word. There’s no way Trent can be that oblivious. He’s a musician (at least technically), and probably has had his share of romantic adventures in his short career. Admittedly, they would most probably fall under X-rated ones, but I’m pretty sure that Trent would be more experienced in the matters of the heart than Daria (heck, Quinn is probably more experienced in that area than Daria). Consequently, if Trent has felt anything towards Daria, he would’ve probably made his feelings known. However, he was either indifferent to Daria’s crush on him, or just played it cool, knowing that Daria would eventually get over him (and she did in “Lane Miserables”). If that is so, then Trent is a very decent guy (for a slacker). In real life, Daria’s teenage crush could’ve been far unhappier for Daria (and possibly Jane and Trent).
Finally, parting word of opinion to D & T shippers. Say
what you want, but a relationship where one side constantly blushes and can’t
say a coherent word, and the other side just produces blanks while looking at
the first side, is not the stuff long-lasting relationships are made from. In
this area, “Daria’s” plot-writers were absolutely correct, letting Daria-Trent
non-relationship whittle away into nothing by the end of season 4. That’s how
it done in real life, folks, if not faster!
Quinn and Sandi. I believe that I have pretty much covered the FC dynamics in the essay #3. Obviously, Quinn and Sandi are on an equal footing, and both probably would like to clear each other of the field, to strengthen-up her own footing. However, a couple of points should be added.
Firstly, Sandi is probably insecure about herself because of
Linda’s actions. In C.E. Foreman’s “To Helen Back” there are some hints that
Linda Griffin and Daria Morgendorffer may be just a bit similar. Adding that I
believe that Daria isn’t too different from her mother (maybe that’s why the
pair of them too often clashes), then it is only logical to suppose that
Quinn’s insecurity about herself comes from the older Morgendorffer women too.
Consequently, both Sandi and Quinn are feeling sort of paradoxically: they're
leaders, unsure of themselves. Or more correctly – they’re leaders, not knowing
what it means. Both of them have decided that being good-looking and fashionable
is the only way to succeed in life, and act so. However, there are differences
too. For one thing, the Morgendorffer women are smarter than their Griffin
contemporaries and so Quinn, slowly but steadily, is climbing towards the
realization that looks alone can't pave her life; she got to have back-up in
the brain department as well. (Or maybe she’s got a crush on her tutor Dave,
and wants to be smart to impress him – that could have happened too.) Sandi,
however, doesn't have that kind of support, and so she’ll probably lose the
battle of the brains and status. In “Is It College Yet?” we see that Stacy (the
underdog of the FC) is slowly but surely turning upon her former leader. And –
the FC did break-up, though Daria and Jane had somewhat already revitalized it
in “Fat like Me.” Therefore, I predict that Sandi and Quinn will go their separate
ways after they graduate – they’re just not similar enough to do any same
thing. For Quinn, fashion and open popularity is just a phase, while for Sandi,
that is pretty much a style of living.
Trent and Jesse (the Mystik spiral). Besides those two, the Mystik Spiral also includes Nicholas Campbell and Max Tyler. Which one is the bald one, I have no idea.
Well, what to say about them? Trent, for a start, is a slacker, but he’s also the Spiral’s leader – and that makes him probably the smartest one. Jesse is just barely smarter than Tiffany Blum-Deckler, and the other two are temporary characters at best, though that may differ in various fan fiction.
As a result, the Mystik Spiral (at least in my opinion) is a
sort of a “ship of fools”, an assemblage of guys who don't want to be “part of
the machine”, but have no clue what to do exactly about that. Naturally,
various authors elaborate on that part, showing (Trent, at least, sometimes
together with Jane), as something like neo-hippies, followers of dreams, rather
than caring about their careers. Well, after reading Arthur Miller’s “Death of
a Salesman”, I'm somewhat sceptical that chasing dreams and desires is such a
good idea, but hey – I may be wrong. Still, the reality is out there, and it
cannot be denied. And the reality states: MS will also pass – in all probability
– just like Daria’s crush on Trent did. And that’ll happen because the
band members will go discouraged with their music (it’s not totally bad, but
it’s not star material good either), and will just settle into some sort of
official career, like working at the Mall, or something like that. Admittedly,
Trent is a member of a bohemian family, but still, that doesn't mean that MS
will survive to see another four years (in real life). Trent… will most likely
be a street-side musician or something else entirely. Jesse and the guys…
probably something like that as well.
Barch and O’Neill. These two are the fun ones. A bitter divorcee, and a “sensitive new-age man”. I’m planning to talk about them more openly in another essay, but here are the main lines of this couple.
Barch hates men. Not just specific men, like Upchuck the juvenile satyr or Kevin “QB” Thomson, but all men. Admittedly, her husband left her for his secretary, but does this makes it reasonable for her to lash-out on all men, including the male students? That makes it very doubtful for me. I certainly don't enjoy the possibility of meeting such a Barch in real life, and certainly not in a position of power. Personally, I would advise a trip to a sanatorium, and some therapy for the science teacher of LH, although with Angela “security first” Li that’s highly doubtful.
O’Neill is like Jake Morgendorffer – highly emotional. Obviously, the man has his sense of anger and fury surgically removed or something, for that guy’s your standard wet blanket. Dr. Quinn once suggested in one of his “Delayed reviews” that Ms. Li had found him on a street corner. I can certainly imagine him standing on some street corner, as a street preacher, talking about Christian forgiveness, or a similar topic. In short, not a good choice for handling rowdy (and sometimes smart) kids either.
As a couple, Barch and O’Neill make, or rather – fulfill, the reverse-of-roles couple, an often guest in various comedies. Anton Chehov, for example, often used such an imagery. In a nutshell, Barch despite all of her man-hating words and attitudes, is probably very lonely and depraved of sex. O’Neill, most probable, isn't Casanova material either. (I'm not talking about fanfics that may suggest that O’Neill is a ladies’ man or Barch is gayer than Allison.) Consequently, Barch is biologically (for lack of a better word) attracted to O’Neill, who’s probably none-too-repulsed either by his fate. Consequently (not unlike the Morgendorffers) we’ve got the Opposites Attract or Two Lonely Hearts situation, that’ll probably last to infinity and beyond.
Brittany and Kevin, Jodie and Mack. One cannot imagine one without the other. Each of these duos looks like a meeting of soul-mates, and there’s a kind-of nasty, un-relationship-related suspicion in my soul. That suspicion talks about political correctness.
It has long since come to my attention, that the North American
culture is in deep fear (if not to say – phobia) of racism, Nazism, fascism,
communism and so forth and hencewith. As a result, everywhere where it is
possible, racial diversity comes forth. In the movie “Mystery Men” (completely
unrelated to “Daria”) we’ve got an interracial marriage, completely unnecessary
for the promotion of the plot, and here we’ve got two idiots of Caucasian race,
contrasting against two of the smartest students in school, both of whom are
Afro-American. In other words, if this was a movie, Kevin & Brittany would
be comic relief, Mack & Jodie – two of main secondary characters. Naturally,
that state of matters makes me a little bit suspicious – there is no way no how
that such idiocy that Kevin and Brittany show can exist in real world. True,
Brittany’s family is disbalanced to say the least, with a stepmother that's
more of an older sister than a mother, and a father, who’s more of a satyr than
Upchuck. Also true, that Kevin seems to be hopelessly spoilt by his parents and
school administration, who are only interested in his athletic performance, but
neither that nor reasons stated before for Brittany give me allowance to believe
Kevin and Brittany can really be so dim and sex-driven and exist in a place
that’s not designed for slow learners. (Then again, considering the fine
members of LH teaching stuff…) Therefore, I’m extremely reluctant to dwell upon
this subject and move to the last couple.
Jane and Jesse. The couple that isn’t. Show me anywhere in the original series that Jane is interested in Jesse – and I'll admit my mistake in this in writing. Jane shows less interest in Jesse than Jesse shows in her, and Trent shows in Daria. Consider, that Jesse is about Trent’s age, and Jane is Daria’s age, and so any relationship before Jane & Jesse would be, or rather – could be like Daria’s & Trent’s. But… as I said before, Jane is no Daria. She’s quite bold and outspoken, and isn’t above sharing her opinion with others. And so, if Jane was interested in Jesse, then she would’ve made it known loud and clear. (And then Daria would probably not be above doing it for her the same Yenta way that Jane did it for her and Trent, no?) Since nothing like that happens, I’m forced to decided that those fanfic writers who put Jane and Jesse together (like Invisigoth Gypsy) did at least partially because of symmetry: Jane & Jesse – Daria & Trent. Four friends, four lovers… Cool and neat. Real life isn't like that, to my regret.
Epilogue. This has been a summarizing essay of the most prominent couples of Lawndale (or the ones with fuller info about them). Furthermore, this is only my opinion, and as I said before, if you think I’m wrong, write to me via e-mail, and prove me wrong. Until that happens, however, my views will remain as they were listed above.