When Jake accidentally sets fire to the kitchen, the Morgendorffers stay in a hotel until repairs are made. Daria elects to stay at Jane's, where she gets to know Tom better, causing Jane to suspect that there's more going on than meets the eye.
When Jake accidentally sets the kitchen on fire while attempting to make some warm milk, the family has to stay in a hotel for two weeks while repairs are made. Jake and Helen immediately take advantage of the opportunity to rekindle the romance in their marriage, and Quinn revels in the attention being lavished on her by bellboy Bobby, but both she and Daria balk at having to share a room. Conceding the room to Quinn, Daria goes to stay at Jane's house, where she finds herself smack in the middle of Jane and Tom's relationship problems. Jane puts Daria up in Penny's old room, where Daria starts finding herself getting more attention from Tom, to Jane's annoyance. Daria senses the tension and volunteers to return to the hotel, but changes her mind when Quinn invites the Fashion Club to the room; Jane, despite being wary, doesn't have the heart to refuse. As Quinn and the Fashion Club enjoy Bobby's constant attention, Sandi plants a seed of doubt in Quinn's head by suggesting that perhaps Bobby is actually stalking Quinn. Quinn, of course, denies it, and attempts to talk to her parents about it, but Helen and Jake are too wrapped up in enjoying themselves to pay much attention. After Tom and Daria get wrapped up in another intellectual conversation, Jane confronts Daria about her suspicions. Daria denies that there's anything going on between her and Tom, and tells her that she has no interest in him. A seed of doubt is planted in her head, however, after Trent also discusses the situation with her. Helen and Jake's good time is interrupted by the hotel detectives, who are holding Quinn after finding that Bobby has been stalking Quinn by charging the Morgendorffers for merchandise and then deleting the transactions from the computer. Quinn is mortified... she almost dated a "computer geek." As the Morgendorffers drive away from the hotel, Daria stares out the window, lost in thought... wondering, perhaps, if Jane and Trent were right all along.
Historical & Cultural References:
- "Say, wasn't there a song like...?" The song that Jake was trying to remember was "Burning Down the House" by the Talking Heads.
- "Get on board the sole train." This line is a pun on Soul Train, the 1971 dance/music TV show with an African American focus that is still going strong today.
- "I'm not my sister's beeper!" This line is a pun on a line from the Biblical story of Cain and Abel. "And the Lord said unto Cain, 'Where is Abel thy brother?' And he said, 'I know not. Am I my brother's keeper?'" (Genesis 4:9)
- Stephen Crane's 1895 novel The Red Badge of Courage tells the story of a young man and the horrors he experiences in war.
- The Cowardly Lion is a character in L. Frank Baum's 1900 book The Wizard of Oz. In the 1939 film version, the Lion (played by Bert Lahr) sings "If I only had the noive" (nerve) when he's discovered by Dorothy (Judy Garland), the Scarecrow (Ray Bolger), and the Tin Woodsman (Jack Haley).
- Niccolo Machiavelli's 1512 novel The Prince is considered a true classic of political literature, outlining how power should be taken and maintained, for the benefit of all, without any moral considerations getting in the way.
- Quinn mentions three classic TV cop shows that featured women in prominent roles: The Mod Squad (Peggy Lipton as Julie Barnes), Britain's The Avengers (Diana Rigg as Emma Peel), and Cagney & Lacey (Sharon Gless and Tyne Daly as the title characters).
- The hotel where the Morgendorffers stay is called Le Grande Hotel.
- The name of the French restaurant where Bobby was going to take Quinn, "C'est La Veal," is a pun on the French phrase c'est la vie ("such is life").
Pardon Me While I Burst Into Flames:
Now we know another thing that happens when Jake has too much caffeine: he starts fires. What I thought was most interesting about the whole thing was how they all reacted: they were all kind of panicky, except for Daria. The most enjoyable part of it for me was when Jake answered Helen's rhetorical "what were you thinking?" But the fire itself caused enough damage to put the Morgendorffers in a hotel for two weeks, which, of course, ended up starting many more figurative fires. A couple more points of interest, as far as Helen and Jake are concerned. First, they seem to only be capable of relating well on a physical level, which seems odd to me since they've been married for so long (not that couples married that long can't relate well that way, it's just that this is the only way that Helen and Jake do). Also, they seemed to really need a break from their everyday lives, and their little "trip" allowed them some of that chance to get away and relax (maybe too relaxed), at least for a while.
Tom's First Fatal Mistake:
That would be mentioning to Jane that Daria left him a message on his answering machine. He has to be aware of most of the things Jane is concerend about in their relationship (at least, he should be aware of them). A much more tactful way to ask Jane about going to that film festival would have been, "Hey, I heard about this, you want to go?" He could even throw in a "maybe Daria would like to go with us" without causing too much trouble.
We Didn't Start the Fire:
One of those figurative fires that was started had a whole lot to do with Daria staying at the Lanes. Jane knows that her relationship with Tom is on the rocks and, after finding out about Daria and Tom's private communications, she knew that Daria would complicate things even more. Daria even knew that she was causing some tension after Tom's second mistake (even though she "played dumb"), which we'll get to in a second, and she didn't want to stay a second night if she didn't have to. Jane obviously wanted Daria out of there also: you could see the disappointment in her face when Daria was forced to ask to stay longer. Jane was kind of caught here, she had to help Daria avoid the hell that is the Fashion Club, but at the same time, she knew this could hurt her.
Tom's Second Fatal Mistake:
That would be not wanting to go out for pizza after Daria decided not to accompany them. He might as well have told Jane to her face that he'd rather hang out with Daria. One of Jane and Tom's biggest problems seems to be that they don't communicate very well. But the way Tom acted was very insensitive, whether he meant it to be or not. At least these mistakes are showing that Tom isn't perfect.
Every Breath You Take...
Bobby certainly seemed to be "watching" Quinn. He started out by sweet-talking her and then getting her stuff, and then he showed up just about every place she was. She didn't even consider that he was stalking her until Sandi pointed it out, whether out of concern or jealousy. The oddest part to me was the crime that Bobby was committing. It seemed to be a whole lot of effort to go to for potentially no payoff. He wasn't getting the stuff he was charging and then deleting, and Quinn probably would've forgotten about him about five minutes after she left the hotel.
Tom's Third and Fourth Fatal Mistakes:
Here's the easy one. The third mistake was when Tom went to talk to Daria instead of Jane, whatever his reasons were. The topper, and the fourth mistake, was when he kept going on with "morgue talk" after Jane arrived to get him (of course, Daria kept going too, but she wouldn't have had the chance if Tom didn't keep it up).
I Can See Clearly Now:
Trent is a little more perceptive than I could imagine, even though that "guys can tell" stuff seemed like a load of hogwash to me (because I never have a clue about any of this stuff). He caught on to something that Jane had already realized: Tom is somehow interested in Daria (he wouldn't want to talk to her so much if he weren't). Trent was also right about another thing: Daria knows, too, but she doesn't (or didn't) want to admit it. She reacted very defensively to Trent when he confronted her with this, but she should listen to him: whatever started isn't really her fault (unless she's hiding something that we don't know about).
There was a lot of stuff that went down in this episode, so much that I'm not too sure I can give them all justice in something as short as this review. First, it is obvious that Jane feels that she and Tom are having difficulty. Why else would she be so quick to get angry at Daria for "monopolizing his time?" It definitely started way before any of the events in this episode. A series of big questions arises from all of this. First, how does Tom's new-found interest in Daria fit into the puzzle? Is it a cause for some of Tom and Jane's problems, or is it the result of them? Second, do we even know what kind of interest he has in Daria? Is he attracted to her romantically? Does he just want someone to talk about history or literature or whatever with him? Is she just another friend to him? The problems that pose these questions end up causing even more hardships, like the tension between Daria and Jane that was unlike any they had ever seen before. (They also seemed to have less in common with each other, which troubles me because it kind of flies in the face of almost four years of shows, but I digress.) If I had to try to figure out this whole mess, I'd say that Jane has suffered a bit from a case of "getting what she wished for." Tom and Daria didn't get along at first and Jane didn't like that, and now that they do get along, she still doesn't like it because it's threatening her relationship (I'm sure she didn't expect them to get so chummy; she wouldn't have pushed Daria to try if she did). As for Tom, he seems to want to be able to combine the things he likes about Daria and Jane into one person. He wants the best of both worlds: Daria's knowledge on things that interest him, and Jane's zest for life. I don't think he's trying to hurt anyone, even if that's what ends up happening. Daria has kind of gotten caught in the middle of all of this. She doesn't quite know how to deal with it because she's never been in this position before, and she may also feel something for Tom as well (she seemed to enjoy talking to him; that's bound to create some feelings). The episode itself seemed to have two endings: one with Jane and Daria's last conversation, and the other with Daria forlorn look out the window (which felt like it had "to be continued" written all over it). In the end, this episode was just one big question mark. There is no way anyone can figure out where this is going to go, because there are so many possibilities. As long as it goes somewhere.
Grade (on this episode on its own):
Grade (in regards to what may happen later):
Daria as a Whole, Alter-Ego of the Week:
Being a fan of The Price is Right, I can't not go with Jesse as Bob Barker standing next to the Big Wheel (I get the feeling this one was used before, though).
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.