|Depth Takes a Holiday|
|Original Airdate||March 10th, 1999|
|Special Guest Voices||???|
|Written By||Sam Johnson|
Warning: The following may contain plot or ending details.
Daria and Jane encounter the living embodiments of popular holidays, who have entered Lawndale through a dimensional wormhole in the back of the Good Time Chinese restaurant. The holidays, who appear to be and act like human teenagers, are in conflict because some of them wish to start a band (The Holidays) in Lawndale, while others are trying to get the renegade holidays to return to their home universe (Holiday Island, home of Holiday Island High School).
Reputation of the Episode
For the longest time, many Daria fans considered "Depth Takes a Holiday" as one of the worst episodes ever written. The bulk of the complaints come from the "off-canon" nature of the episode, where there is no disclaimer of any kind that this is a dream or some figment of Daria's imagination. It is one of only two Daria episodes that a number of fans view as non-canonical, the other being the equally silly "Daria!" - and "Depth" is the one that's more often dumped.
However, there is a growing segment of the fandom that appreciates "Depth Takes a Holiday" for its creativity and general wackiness. "Depth Takes a Holiday" might have been found on a list of the bottom ten episodes a few years ago; fans today would place it somewhat higher.
The title can also be interpreted as the series taking a break, in that it diverted far from its standard plot lines for an episode. "Depth" representing Daria herself, and "holiday" meaning "to get away from things for a break".
- Since Cupid and St Patrick's Day are pointing to direct and presently-occuring problems caused by the Holidays being on Earth, this episode has to take place sometime during the autumn, before October 31st. (Notably, all three of the escapee holidays take place within a two-month space of each other) This would fit with the assumption that Daria Series 3 and Series 4 take place during Daria's junior year at Lawndale High School, placing this early S3 episode early in the academic year.
- The holidays are described as "holiday spirits" by Daria.
- The backgrounds used for Lawndale High School have clearly been reused for the Holiday Island High School. The locker design is the same except that the lockers are now colored blue, and murals of ocean waves have been added to the formerly bare purple walls.
- The band that Halloween, Christmas, and Guy Fawkes Day wish to start is described as having a "hiphop-punk-electronica vibe" by Cupid.
- UK fans are often amused (or annoyed) at Guy Fawkes Day, since they call the Fifth of November Bonfire Night instead. The St Patrick's Day/Guy Fawkes conflict is also several generations out of date, and St Patrick's Day is celebrated across Britain (as an excuse to get drunk).
- The episode's title is derived from the 1934 film Death Takes a Holiday.
- When asked who the bulk of Holiday Island students are, Cupid replies "Bunch of saint's days. Who can keep track?". Valentine's Day is itself a saint's day, which he (read: the writers) seems to have forgotten. Saint Patrick's Day seems to have forgotten too...
- This is the only episode in which Daria admits her feelings for Trent. This was accomplished by Cupid's interrogation.
- Helen and Jake are not only having a more vicious argument than normal at the end - and in front of their daughters - they manage to naturally overpower Cupid's love bullets with the might of their antipathy. This is one of the more depressing depictions of their marriage but, due to it happening in this episode, it tends to get overlooked by fans and later episodes both.
Depth Takes A Holiday and fanfiction
Initially, if fanfic writers touched on this episode it was so they could erase it from existence. "A Desperately Needed Ending (to "Depth Takes a Holiday")", written by Kara Wild the month after the episode aired, is a prime example: Daria hallucinated the whole thing due to food poisoning. Explaining the fic away as a hallucination, dream, or story by Daria would pop up time and again. Otherwise, writers would ignore this episode ever happened.
Over time, fanfic writers fond of alternate universe stories, fantasy/science fiction, or simply bizarre tales have used this episode as an in-canon springboard for their work. Starting with "Illusions" by The Angst Guy, the wormhole to Holiday Island became an "Architect Gate" in a number of fics, retconned into being a wormhole device by ancient aliens that could lead to any time and place. (Others have simply had it be a wormhole) A few of this odder fics will have Daria characters mention the events of this story ("Box to the Future" by Smijey) - other fanfics will imply or show that the characters were either mind-wipped or have convinced themselves it was all a dream/hallucination.
Other writers have simply used the concept for the purposes of humour, such as Smijey's "The War on Christmas", Halloween Visit by legendeld, Angelinhel's A Day (un)Like Any Other and thatLONERchick's "Will Ye Go Lassie, Go?". You will very rarely see the Holidays themselves in a serious or semi-serious story that springboards off this episode, exceptions being Dennis's "Last Dance" and Angst Guy's unfinished JÖRMUNGANDR and surreal adventure story "A Hard Days' Night" - the latter taking place simultaneously with the episode and developing the holiday idea further with the personification of 'bad days' like Friday the Thirteenth.
Writers of alternate universe series have outright avoided making AUs of this episode until 2011, when both "God Save The Esteem" (played straight) and then gender-flip AU Not So Different (left ambigious) did versions of it.
- "The Holidays Take a Holiday," on the Daria Fandom Blog II (a possible explanation for the episode)
- "Saint Patrick's Day, Sort Of," on DFB2
- "The Other Saint Patrick's Day, Sort Of," on DFB2
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