Episode Guide

Mart of Darkness
Episode #409 - July 5, 2000
Written by Rachelle Romberg

Song List Entries For This Episode
Oops! List Entries For This Episode
Transcript For This Episode
"Psycho Therapy" (#408)
"Legends of the Mall" (#410)

Regular: Daria, Quinn, Jane, Trent, Tom, Brittany, Kevin, Sandi, Stacy, Tiffany, Joey, Jeffy, Jamie, Jesse, Andrea, Ms. Barch, Mr. DeMartino, Ms. Li, Mr. O'Neill

Guest: Doug Thompson, Charlene Thompson, Mrs. Johannsen

Non-Speaking: Jodie, Mack, Mrs. Bennett, Ms. Morris, Angie, Lisa, Robert, "Rock & Roll" Randy

Summary: Daria needs bootlaces, Jane needs Gummi Bears for an art project, Kevin and Brittany need barbeque sauce, and the Fashion Club needs sunscreen. All of these needs converge at Payday, Lawndale's new discount warehouse store.

Full Synopsis: Several completely disparate events find many familiar faces winding up at Payday, Lawndale's new discount warehouse store: Jane needs a new supply of Gummi Bears for her sculpture because Tom inadvertantly chowed down on her supply; Daria needs a new bootlace because Quinn stole hers to replace the purse string she broke; Kevin and Brittany need to get barbeque sauce for the Lawndale High cookout being held at the Thompson house; the Fashion Club needs sunscreen; and Trent and Jesse just happen to be going there, with Tom tagging along and hoping for the opportunity to make amends with Jane. At the barbeque, Mr. O'Neill (at Ms. Li's urging) tries talking to Mr. Thompson about Kevin's grades, but all Mr. Thompson is interested in doing is pressuring Mr. O'Neill into passing Kevin along, bad grades or no. Things eventually deteriorate into a brawl when Ms. Barch comes to Mr. O'Neill's defense after Mr. Thompson tries to rough him up. At Payday, Daria and Jane find the items they need and unexpectedly run into Andrea, whose parents made her take a job there as a stock clerk. (She expects Daria and Jane to cut her down "like they always do," but they reassure Andrea that "they never saw her," which elevates them a notch or two in her eyes.) Tom doesn't find Jane, but he does get driven to distraction by Trent's and Jesse's much-too-laid-back attitudes. The whole sordid affair is topped off by a power outage caused by Mr. DeMartino's struggle with a security guard over free food samples, causing them all to be trapped in the store until power can be restored.

Interesting Tidbits
Historical & Cultural References:
  • The title of the episode is a pun on the Joseph Conrad novel Heart of Darkness (which formed the basis of the 1979 movie Apocalypse Now, starring Marlon Brando and Martin Sheen).
  • Payday is a pun on popular warehouse stores such as Costco and Sam's Club, and isn't far off the mark in the types of items they sell (such as giant jars of pickles and gallon jugs of barbeque sauce).
  • One of the items sold at Payday, "The Immaculate Confection," is a pun on the Immaculate Conception, the Roman Catholic doctrine which asserts that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was preseved by God from the stain of original sin at the time of her conception.
  • This is the only episode in which Helen and Jake do not appear at all (they're in every other episode in some capacity).
Memorable Quotes
Coming soon!
Mike Quinn's
Delayed Reaction Review

Contrivance #1: That would be Daria not wearing her boots. If she had them on, Quinn would never have been able to take her bootlace and there wouldn't be any need to go get a new one.

I Wish I Never Met Them: I'll agree with Ms. Barch and say that I didn't really like the Thompsons either. They seemed a little dumb and very petty. And it's not hard to see how Kevin decided that football is his top priority. Actually, it's a wonder he's turned out as good as he has; at least he seems pleasant.

Contrivance #2: That would be the lack of barbecue sauce. If they had some, Kevin would never have been sent to get it and he and Brittany would never have gotten lost while looking for it.

The Honeymoon is Over: It seems that Jane and Tom are way past the part of the relationship where they can't ever get mad at each other (TMI: which is only theoretical in my world). It seems that all they've been doing lately is fighting, but is either one of them to blame? Jane seems to like having conflict, and sometimes goes out of her way to create some of it. She's not doing anything big to start fights with Tom, they're more like "sins of omission" (like the gummy-bears here and Jane-cam in "Psycho Therapy").

Contrivance #3: That would be Jesse and Trent, who just happened to be going to PayDay, giving Tom the opportunity to tag along.

He Fell Off the Cheese Log into the Grease River: Mr. DeMartino has gone so insane that Ms. Li won't even let him eat anything in front of anyone. It's justified, considering that he couldn't stay away from those cheese logs. As for the cheese logs, the lady at that free sample stand didn't mind lying to people to get them to try one. Finally, as for Mr. DeMartino and Mrs. Johannsen's little competition, well, I can't think about what happened there, not right now.

Contrivance #4: That would be Quinn running out of sunscreen, which made the Fashion Club go to our (not so) favorite megastore.

Chase of the Bigger Outcast: I think Daria and Jane possibly found a new ally in Andrea. The comment I'd like to make about this new-found lessening of hostilities is that the three of them finally looked past any preconceived notions they had about each other. Daria and Jane saw Andrea as a planet further out in the high school solar system -- the Pluto to their Neptune -- whereas Andrea saw Daria and Jane as the pseudo-outcasts who complain a lot but don't really have it that bad. Now, they seem to be closer to being on the same page.

Contrivance #5: That would be Mr. DeMartino's final act of insanity that caused the power to go out and, in effect, trap all the people in the store that were brought there by all of the other contrivances.

This episode was kind of like one of those bulk stores: there are a lot of oversized, debatably under-priced products that aren't that interesting or even useful. There were so many things going on that it was hard to get settled in with any one of them. Also it felt like whomever was driving this vehicle needed a roadmap; nothing really had any direction and everything was going around in circles.

Grade: B-

Daria as a Whole #1, Alter-Ego of the Week: I'll go with Speed Skater Quinn.

Daria as a Whole #2, It Starting to Get to Me: The problems with this episode are endemic of the problems with the whole season. There was too many "Daria Cliches," like Stacy not showing any backbone, Kevin and Brittany being dumb (and overexposed), etc. Also, there have been far too many gratuitous references to and appearances by very peripheral characters (Mrs. Johannsen has been in two episodes in a row). So far, the good in each episode has far outshined these problems (thus the relatively high grades), but if these things keep showing up, and there's nothing to suggest that they won't, the episodes better be good... very good. Otherwise...

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.