Episode Guide

Camp Fear
Episode #504 - March 12, 2001
Written by Jonathan Greenberg

Song List Entries For This Episode
Oops! List Entries For This Episode
Transcript For This Episode
"Fat Like Me" (#503)
"The Story of D" (#505)

Regular: Daria, Quinn, Helen, Jake, Jane, Trent, Jesse

Guest: Nicholas Campbell, Max Tyler, Skip Stevens, Amelia, Tracy, Cindy, Tatijiana, Billy, Bobby, Benjy, Mr. Potts, Earl, Barbara

Non-Speaking: None

Summary: Daria and Quinn attend a weekend reunion at their old summer camp, Camp Grizzly. While Quinn is looking forward to reconnecting with old acquaintences, Daria wishes she were somewhere else, as she has nothing but bad memories of the place and her fellow campers.

Full Synopsis: Both Daria and Quinn receive invitations to attend a reunion at Camp Grizzly, the summer camp that both girls had attended years ago. Daria, naturally, wants nothing to do with it -- she has plenty of bad memories about the place -- but Helen convinces her by saying that if she doesn't want to go, she can help them with a weekend of garage cleaning. Daria is offered a ride to the camp by Jane and Trent, the latter experiencing creative burnout and is thinking of breaking up the band; a day trip to the country just might give him the inspiration he needs. Unfortunately, they have to bring Quinn as well, who naturally complains non-stop during the drive there. At the camp, Quinn (who had them drop her off out of sight of the others) meets up with three of her old friends from camp, while Daria experiences a bittersweet reunion with Amelia, a fellow camper, and Skip Stevens, the self-proclaimed "camper's camper" (read: obnoxious dictator). After being mistaken by Skip for people from a rival camp, Jane and Trent take off for a country adventure, and boy, do they ever get one: they meet a country bumpkin couple who makes their own snacks. Jane doesn't want to have anything to do with it, but Trent inexplicably accepts their invitation to their house, thinking that he can get some inspiration from these people. Meanwhile, the campers endure Skip's over-the-top enthusiasm during a nature hike and a cookout, while Daria ignores the festivities and does her own thing. Amelia decides to hang out with Daria, but soon regrets it when Daria's sarcastic and cynical nature causes her to toss out some caustic commentary on Skip, the whole camp experience in general, and, finally, Amelia herself, whom she accuses of being a blind follower. Upset and hurt, Amelia accuses Daria of being a bitter person who doesn't like anyone, a charge that hits very close to home. (Speaking of which, Jake and Helen are busy all this time, cleaning out the garage and arguing about how Helen's constant need to work keeps interfering with their plans. They make up, however, when Jake finds a sexy nightgown that Helen had hidden for one of their trips.) Back at the camp, Quinn manages to alienate her old friends by accidentally revealing that she had snuck off with one of her friend's dates back when they were at camp, and Daria finds herself the object of unwanted admiration when Amelia makes a heartfelt speech about standing up to Skip's dictatorial ways and doing your own thing. Angry and embarrassed, Skip appeals to the camp director, who points out the blindingly obvious: it's just a summer camp, and he shouldn't make it the sole focus of his life. Daria and Amelia patch things up just as Jane and Trent arrive. Having bombed out with the old couple, Trent finds some consolation in joining Jane to tease Daria about her "secret popularity," and during the drive home, Trent, after reflecting on the events of the day, finally gets his inspiration back. Jane mentions that they seem to be forgetting something, and Daria informs them that Quinn found another ride home... with Skip.

Interesting Tidbits
Historical & Cultural References:
  • The title of the episode is a pun on Cape Fear, a 1962 film starring Gregory Peck and Robert Mitchum (remade in 1991 with Robert De Niro and Nick Nolte).
  • The book that Daria is reading is Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy.
  • Two Daria fans have been animated into this episode: Erin Mills (aka Shallow15), winner of the MTV Daria Website Trivia Contest, and Michelle Klein-Häss (aka MsGeek), webmistress of Lawndale Commons and author of several Daria articles for TOON magazine. In the image shown below, Michelle is the heavyset girl standing next to Ameila, and Erin is the blonde boy with glasses in the foreground.

Memorable Quotes
(coming soon)
Mike Quinn's
Delayed Reaction Review

Camp Reunion? I've never actually gone to summer camp. My dad was sent to one when he was a kid, and has called it "the worst summer of [his] life" and vowed never to send his children to camp. Anyway, I don't really know anything about summer camps, but I find it hard to believe that they really have camp reunions. Camp seems to be an almost universally despised concept; I wouldn't think that anyone would want to be reminded of his or her time there. At least it seemed that way for the Grizzly alums -- none of them seemed too thrilled to be there.

Downward Spiral: Trent seriously needed some time away from his bandmates. They were caught in one of those bickering fights that they apparently have every so often (even though we haven't seen much of it on screen). Trent only needed to get away from them for a while; the problem was that he had to be a focus group for backwoods snack food entrepreneurs (and unwittingly bring Jane along for the torture). Of course, they weren't really that helpful, and their "country wisdom" didn't really apply -- Trent should have fought the dip more.

Funny Word of the Week: I think I'll go with echolalia. I like the way that sounds, echolalia.

The More Things Change... Quinn seemed to genuinely look forward to the camp reunion as a way to recapture the innocence of her youth. Ironically enough, her pre-Lawndale, middle school days seem to be almost identical to her present situation, even down to the similarities in her circles of friends. In my opinion, Quinn's camp friends being just like her regular friends was the lamest part of this episode, but it does showcase her uniqueness. She seems to be irreplacable (now that would have made things more bearable -- Quinn coming face to face with her replacement -- but it also would have increased the lameness factor).

Gah! Cleaning the Garage! Jake and Helen ended up cleaning the garage while the girls were at camp -- without any provocation! Anyway, all of Helen and Jake's scenes were retreads of everything we've ever seen of them. Helen is busy, Jake feels neglected. He gets mad, she says she was going to surprise him, he ends up getting distracted by something shiny. This episode could've done without all of this "new" interaction.

Skip-it, Skip-it: Resident Big-Man-on-Camp, Skip Stevens, was, in a word, pathetic. He was obviously way too caught up in all of the camp stuff. Whatever the traumatic event in his childhood was (if there was one), he became the pseudo-dictator of Camp Grizzly. And -- surprise, surprise -- the campers hardly liked him. And you know this guy is weird if he can out-talk Quinn.

Funny Word of the Week: I think I'll go with echolalia. I like the way that sounds, echolalia.

Country Bumpkins: Trent and Jane's junk food fixated captors were more or less blank slates. I thought I had formed more of an opinion on them; I guess I didn't.

Amelia: Amelia was almost an interesting character. She sort of fell into the same trap that Quinn did: her memories of camp seemed somewhat removed from reality. But she was still sort of leechy and the opposite of Daria, in the sense that she was the ultimate joiner. Daria did inadvertently break this pattern by being mean to her. She did end up standing up to Skip, but maybe she was just trying to suck up to Daria. Then again, all of her compliments of Daria were backhanded. I don't know, this one confused me, too.

"Camp Fear" just didn't do it for me. The flashback scenes were insignificant (and I expected more revealing memories), the parallels between Quinn's old friends and new friends were lame, Trent and Jane's little adventure was pointless, and Helen and Jake's problems are old news. This one's pretty much a snoozer.

Grade: C+

Daria as a Whole #1, Funny Word of the Week: I think I'll go with echolalia. I like the way that sounds, echolalia.

Daria as a Whole #2, Where is Springf... er, Lawndale: I was going to go on a little bit about what clues we have here to Lawndale's location, but that would be as pointless as the rest of this episode.

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.