When Quinn accidentally double-books a date, she convinces Daria to cover her babysitting job for the night. However, nothing could prepare Daria for dealing with Tad and Tricia Gupty, who are so sweet and wholesome it's sickening.
Mr. DeMartino's history class is studying the effects of cults on human behavior, with term papers on the subject due by the end of the week. Daria has bigger problems than that, though, as Quinn is pestering her to take over her Saturday night babysitting job (she booked a date for the night without realizing it). Daria is prepared to refuse, until Helen reminds them of the couples workshop being held at their house that night; the decision is easy after that. Quinn, meanwhile, lets it slip that she blew off her babysitting job to go on a date, causing Helen to book an appointment for her with Helen's time management consultant. Quinn is reluctant at first, but dives into the concept head first when she sees the fashionable teen life planners that are available. When Saturday night rolls around, Daria and Quinn head off for their perspective appointments: Quinn with her date to Chez Pierre, and Daria to the Guptys to babysit. Arriving at the Guptys, Daria discovers that they're a family that's so sweet it's sickening, with the children even moreso. They don't watch television (it rots your brain), they don't eat junk food (it rots your teeth), and they don't question authority (it rots your obedience). After several hours of this, Daria can stand it no longer and calls Jane to bail her out. When Jane finally arrives, she and Daria get to work on "deprogramming" the kids. Thanks to some straight talk, classic fairy tales (told as only Daria and Jane can), and a disabled parental lockout on the cable box, both kids start on the road to independent thought. Meanwhile, Quinn's date with Skyler seems to be going well -- he's scoring high on her "date rating system" -- but falls apart at the end of the night when Skyler finds out that she was only dating him because his parents own a boat (she planned on dumping him come wintertime for his best friend, whose parents own a ski house). And at school, Daria gets an "A" on her history paper: "A Real-Life Experiment in Mind Control Deprogramming: My Night at the Guptys."
Historical & Cultural References:
- Lester and Lauren Gupty were first seen riding the tram at the Mall of the Millennium in "Malled" (#105), though neither was identified as such. The Gupty family would not be seen again until "I Loathe a Parade" (#406).
- The historical event Mr. DeMartino describes in the opening scene is the 1978 mass suicide of the Reverend Jim Jones and all 1,000 members of his People's Temple cult in Jonestown, Guyana. The event was chronicled in a 1980 TV miniseries, Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones, starring Powers Boothe as Jones.
- The Gupty vocabulary word of the day, "indemnification," means "to shelter away from harm, damage, or loss"... something that most definitely applies to how the Guptys raise their children.
Mr. DeMartino - Can anyone give me another example of a group using coercive techniques such as peer pressure, chanting, and social isolation to achieve control over its members? Brittany?
Brittany - Cheerleading?
Mr. DeMartino - Ah, Brittany. Sometimes, despite a complete lack of insight, you stumble upon an interesting answer.
Quinn - You're the only person I can trust to do this, Ronnie. I can tell by your eyes...
Ronnie - Really?
Quinn - Yeah! They're so... sincere!
Ronnie - Well...
Quinn - And your face, it's very... honest! You're so nice, and dependable, and...
Ronnie - Nice? Sincere? (sighs) You're never gonna go out with me, are you?
Quinn - No.
Quinn - People are so weird!
Daria - Some are weird. Some are just astonishingly self-centered and deceitful.
(Helen enters carrying folded laundry; she sets the basket down on the bed and holds up a baby-tee that looks too small for a Barbie doll)
Helen - Oh, no, the laundry shrank your shirt.
Quinn - No, they didn't.
Helen - I can't have another fiasco like last Saturday night. Think of how it must have felt when those three boys all showed up here at the same time!
Quinn - It felt great!
Helen - I meant for them.
Daria - Hi, Mrs. Kewpie.
Mrs. Gupty - What?
Daria - (quickly recovers) Mrs. Gupty!
Tricia - We're supposed to be discussing current events.
Daria - I have a headache. Is that current enough for you?
Tad - But too much TV is bad for you.
Tricia - It can turn you into a zombie, Daria.
Daria - Well, that'll make three of us.
Tricia - Sugar is bad.
Tad - Sugar rots your teeth.
Tricia - Sugar makes you hyper.
Tad - Hitler ate sugar.
Tad - Can I exfoliate your skin?
Daria - Quinn lets you do that?
Tad - Quinn doesn't need it.
Tricia - This is fun! You're my favorite baby-sitter, Daria.
Tad - Me, too!
Daria - Just don't tell your parents we let you stay up late.
Tad - Do we look stupid or something?
Daria - So much progress in one night.
Tad and Tricia (VO) - (singing) I am cool and that is it, and everyone else is full of, full of, full of...
Mrs. Gupty (VO) - Tad!
Mr. Gupty (VO) - Tricia!
Delayed Reaction Review
Do they still have party lines in Lawndale? Of course, I'm kidding, but did all those people have to be on the line? Mr. or Mrs. Gupty alone would have been good enough. I can also buy Quinn wanting to listen in to make sure Daria didn't say anything too abrasive and to diffuse the situation if she did. The extra fee was more than fair but I would have asked for $20 for more than five minutes with the Kewpies, I mean Guptys.
The Gupty kids made a lot of progress and it all started when they were asked: "What if two adults tell you the exact opposite things?" Tad and Tricia became those little devils that their father was talking about. The best parts of the transformation were the "do we look stupid" line and the very end of the episode. The mind deprogramming worked to a tee and I don't know where what Daria and Jane did would be considered illegal (maybe just unethical).
Quinn can be overly honest at times; her priorities in this episode (the ones she told Deena Decker) are an example of this that describe her perfectly ("dating, shopping, bouncy hair, school"). Her honesty rubbed off on Helen a little bit. Hey, Jake seems like a good guy, I guess he isn't "spicy" enough any more.
Brittany probably has fallen into interesting conclusions "with a complete lack of insight" more than most people. Cheerleading is exactly like a cult when you think of it in the way Mr. DeMartino described it (use of peer pressure, chanting, social isolation). People are so weird.
This is a great episode that introduced the much talked about "pinch sitter" mode which has been talked about a lot on this group. "Pinch Sitter" definitely has had the best ending of any episode yet ("I am cool and that is it and everyone else is full of... full of..."). Daria handled the baby-sitting job well and made a potentially negative situation into a positive experience.
Daria as a Whole #1:
Is there a Sick, Sad World network in Lawndale? Every time Daria or Jane turns on a TV it is on. Do we always look into their lives at the same time of the day? C'mon! :)
Daria as a Whole #2:
Without Trent even appearing, Daria's crush-on-an-older-guy shows. This happened when "grandma" (Jane) gets to the Gupty's, and Daria has "Pippi Longstocking" hair. Of course, Jane wants to show this new and unusual hair style to Trent and Daria shuts the door real quick to avoid it. Someone doesn't want to be embarrassed in front of someone she "appreciates."
Copyright © 1998 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.