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  • The Teachings of Don Jake

    Written by: Glenn Eichler
    Directed by: Karen Disher
    First Aired: July 14, 1997

    Cast | Quotes

    Stressed out over bills and, of course, the rampant spending of Congress, Jake pops a capillary in his eye. Helen suggests a family camping trip to relax, and I think we can all spot the gaping logical flaw in *that* plan. Daria laments all this to Jane, who has it no better. She and Trent are being sent by their parents as goodwill ambassadors to the Lane family reunion. (shudder!)

    The outdoor experience gets off to a rocky start (at least it wasn't a skeleton). Daria is her typically blasť self, but Quinn can't seem to get her brain around the fact that there's no phone. Helen's just happy to have toilet paper. At the same moment on their flight, Jane and Trent try to strategize, but only succeed in offending Aunt Bernice and her hat (coincidence? you be the judge!).

    As he sets up camp, Jake has a brief catharsis regarding his father, "Mad Dog" Morgendorffer, much to the amusement of his daughters. Meanwhile, stranded at a shall we say rustic airport, the black sheep delegation is forced to walk to the reunion.

    Later, as the Morgendorffers tell spooky stories - ranging from an (almost) erotic vampire tale to a gruesome spin on the classic "Hansel and Gretel" - the Lanes are living one. Jane lays some b.s. on one well-meaning but clueless aunt while Trent bellies up to the bar with fellow "rotten bum" Uncle Max. Sleeping arrangements are less-than-ideal for all parties, though Jane and Trent seem to have it just a bit worse.

    The next morning, Daria and Quinn are awakened to a delicious helping of wild berries. Jane and Trent have a hard enough time just being awakened at all. After the Morgendorffers' meal, a simple nature hike becomes an analysis session and then a super freakout as the family's psychotropic breakfast begins to take effect. Having wisely avoided the berries, Daria is the only one left sane (when is she not?) and uses Helen's contraband cell phone to call for emergency medical evac.

    Safely returned to their respective homes, Daria and Jane compare notes. Nothing special, so Daria brings her dad the mail, wherein a $15,000 helicopter bill begins the vicious ocular cycle again . . .

    Reflections, observations, crap like that
    At the time this episode first aired, I had only seen "Pinch Sitter" once. If I had watched that episode enough to memorize it, then Jane's conversation with her ditzy great aunt would have had a different meaning for me. You see, I thought Jane was lying to "Aunt Mary" (as I call her, after my own clueless great aunt) not only about the activities of her siblings, but about their very existences. Just listen to those names! But, as established in "Pinch Sitter", Jane does have a sister named Summer, making the detective story, and all others, appear to be true. In fact, The Daria Diaries confirms all of this. All things considered, though, I think I liked it better when I thought she was lying.

    I love the fact that, after Helen passes out, Quinn doesn't call for her dad, but for Daria. In a time of crisis, Quinn seeks help from the one member of the family she knows she can count on. We (or at least I) see other examples of this hidden admiration in "Too Cute", "The Misery Chick", and - to a lesser extent - "Daria!" - the musical.

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