Mr. O'Neill organizes an overnight camping trip in the woods, inspired by their current assignment. Daria and Jane anticipate the worst, which turns out to be a wise move when the group gets stranded by a snowstorm with no provisions.
Inspired by their current assignment, Mr. O'Neill passes around a sign-up sheet for an overnight field trip to the woods. Naturally, Daria and Jane decline to participate in what they're sure will be yet another school-sponsored fiasco, but Daria changes her mind when she's convinced (aka "bribed") into going by Helen, who wants the weekend alone with Jake to "put some spice back into their marriage." The outing is a disaster from the get-go, from Quinn's plethora of fashion camping equipment to Mr. O'Neill's allergies to Ms. Li's obsession with recording the outing to get a lucrative endorsement. Even Kevin and Brittany can't avoid mishaps, as Brittany is repeatedly stung by bees that were hiding in the bouquet of flowers Kevin picked for her. And if all that weren't enough, a blizzard (surprise!) hampers their progress. When they finally reach the mountain cabin (minus Mr. O'Neill, who went back down to search for his extra inhaler), it is discovered that they have no supplies thanks to Joey, Jeffy and Jamie, who left them behind in order to carry Quinn's belongings... a situation that gets Quinn kicked out of the Fashion Club (temporarily). Daria and Jane tag along with Mr. DeMartino to search for food, and are abruptly left on their own when he falls off a cliff. It looks as though it might be the end, as the girls struggle through the blizzard to find their way back, when they stumble across the cabin where Helen and Jake were attempting to juice up their marriage. (Things weren't going quite as they had hoped; Mr. DeMartino's unexpected arrival was like a gift from Heaven.) In the end, the Morgendorffers return home together, Mr. O'Neill (who got lost) is found, and everyone returns home... except for Kevin, who accidentally got left behind at the cabin.
Mr. O'Neill - Class, in my hands, I hold a piece of paper which has the potential to open up a world of positive experiences.
Daria - Mandatory home-schooling legislation?
Jane - I had a bad experience on that hill with the Girl Scouts. We kept marching and singing and marching and singing about some freak named John Jacob Jingleheimer somebody.
Daria - You were a Girl Scout?
Jane - Not after the deprogramming.
Daria - My refusal to attend this field trip is based on moral and ethical objections so intrinsic...
Helen - $30.
Daria - $50.
Helen - Done.
Daria - Of course, this $50 merely buys my participation in the field trip. For an additional $20, I could be convinced not to tell Quinn about this arrangement.
Helen - I gave you life, Daria; I can take it away. (leaves)
Daria - (resigned voice) $50 should do it.
Ms. Barch - (loads bags into bus luggage bay) Hurry up, girls. You don't want to get left behind.
Jane - You mean it's an option?
Ms. Li - Don't you worry, girls. We'll reach base camp long before any inclement weather should arrive.
Daria - Thank you, Principal Donner.
Ms. Li - Don't worry, girls. We'll have no problem reaching base camp before dark, as long as there are no more surprises.
(snow starts falling)
Daria - (deadpan) Surprise.
Jane - Is it bad if I can't feel my feet?
Daria - That depends. How much do you enjoy walking?
Daria - Well, this is interesting. We're isolated in a freak storm with no supplies and no way of contacting the outside world.
Jane - Yeah, but look on the bright side: we're going to see a lynching.
(students advance further)
Quinn - What?!!
Daria - I say she gets voted out of the Fashion Club and seeks her revenge from a book depository with a crossbow.
Jane - Really? I say she stays in and becomes their leader, unintentionally bringing about the apocalypse.
Sandi - And who thinks Quinn should be allowed to stay in the Fashion Club?
(Stacy and Tiffany remain silent)
Quinn - Ooh!
Jane - (hands $50 to Daria) It's not the money that hurts; it's having that damn apocalypse postponed again.
Jane - Hey, nice scarf.
Daria - (walking out the door) Look, it converts into a noose.
Jane - Handy.
Daria - Listen, I'm sorry I gave you all that crap about your boyfriend.
Jane - Well, I'm sorry I embarrassed you all those times in front of my brother.
Daria - I feel like we should say more.
Jane - I know. That was kind of pathetic.
Daria - Um... I'm sorry my parents didn't stop at one child.
Jane - I'm sorry they added those ugly blue M&M's. (pause) Better?
Daria - I've made my peace.
At Whom Should We Really Be Mad?
Quinn or her fan club. It's true that she manipulates the Three J's into doing almost anything and they tend not to think too clearly around her, but they should shoulder some of the blame for forgetting the supplies. Mack, who's probably already had more face time than in all of season three, seems to be the only one that even gets close to being mad at the Three J's. I'm not defending Quinn for valuing her loads of unnecessary gear over food and water, but if those guys even thought about it for a second, there might not have been a problem.
Can It Be?
Did the standoff between Sandi and Quinn finally boil over into life changing occurrences? Yeah, if by "life changing" you mean "for a couple or minutes." Sandi temporarily had Quinn kicked out of the Fashion Club for a stupid skin care "charge" (as opposed to having a large part in stranding them without supplies). However, the expulsion became short lived when Quinn started bribing Sandi by giving her stuff. At least she didn't join the cheerleading squad while waiting to be reinstated.
What Was the Point? #1:
Did anyone else think that the Sick, Sad World promo was somewhat gratuitous? It didn't even really comment on any part of this episode and put an awkward pause in the scene it was in.
Made Up Word of the Week:
"halternative" I thought that one was funny.
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that one of the reasons that Helen and Jake are still married is the fact that they communicate on completely different levels. This is how I would try to explain the inconsistency in their attempts at intimacy in this episode. It's almost as if they can't even talk to each other without an interpretation or a diversion, like Mr. DeMartino (BTW, charades has to be one of my least favorite games of any kind). The scene where Jake brings in the "snow turkey" is representative. When Helen asks him about being intimate, he gets whiny and asks if they'd not already "done that."
I know I just commented on the sanity of Lawndale's faculty last week with some comments about Mrs. Bennett's relative normalcy, but this episode shows just how nuts the rest of them really are. Ms. Li is nothing if not consistent: she's always looking to make a quick buck for lavish security, even if it puts her students in jeopardy. Mr. DeMartino was obviously on a half hearted suicide mission. He seems too afraid to live and too scared to die. Ms. Barch, for as tough as she tries to be, folded fairly quickly in an adverse situation. Finally, Mr. O'Neill, who knows he has some sort of asthma (or else he wouldn't have an inhaler), goes on a hike in the woods, with a lot of pollen. No wonder these kids don't learn much.
I wonder exactly what Daria and Jane might have been thinking while they were braving the elements. While it isn't the best idea to be wandering around in the woods in the middle of a blizzard, and they were in danger, I think they both knew that things would more than likely work out somehow. This is sort of shown through how they tried to "make peace" with each other before meeting their maker. After the appropriate apologies related to each other's love lives, come the more wise ass remarks about being an only child and blue M&Ms.
What was the point, #2...
of leaving Kevin stranded in the woods, forgotten by the bus? It's not like we haven't seen that ending before. Let's see if there's a pattern: there was Sandi, left at the paintball range in "The Daria Hunter;" Kevin, stuck in the car with Brittany in "Fair Enough;" the Fashion Club, locked outside in "Daria Dance Party;" and, well, you get the picture.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, this episode isn't particularly bad when viewed independently from the rest of Daria-dom, but when coupled with the fact that there have been a bunch of episodes with very similar scenarios played out in entirely different venues, "Antisocial Climbers" loses some of its luster. Maybe I should just learn to accept a filler episode here and there but, at the very least, an effort should be made to fill the filler episode with something different. That being said, I'll have to admit that "Antisocial Climbers" is probably one of the stronger episodes of this ilk, if only for some of the funny one-liners and most of the Helen and Jake subplot. The only other point I'd like to make is that some of the outcomes and occurrences were a bit too easy to predict.
The Final Verdict:
"The Daria Hunter" on the side of a mountain, but a little bit better.
Daria as a Whole #1, Alter-Ego of the Week:
This week I'm declaring a tie between Jodie as Jimi Hendrix (because it was good) and Jane as a Green Beret holding a gun (because it was appropriate).
Daria as a Whole #2, Writer Watch:
According to the credits, this episode was written by Jill Cargerman, a new addition to the Daria writer's club. I'd have to say that this comes as a bit of a surprise, since this episode seemed to have "written by Peggy Nicoll" written (chuckle) all over it.
Daria as a Whole #3, Miscellaneous:
It seems that Quinn has changed her shirt for good... If I'm not mistaken, this is the first time there has been a flashback sequence that used clips from past episodes.
Copyright © 2000 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.