This Year's Model

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This Year's Model
Production Number 106
Original Airdate April 7, 1997
Special Guest Voices
Written By Glenn Eichler
Laura Kightlinger
Directed By Karen Disher

“This Year's Model” was the sixth episode of the first season of Daria.

Plot Summary

In Lawndale High, principal Mrs. Li interrupts English class to enthusiastically announce the visit of representatives from Amazon Modelling Agency, searching for potential models among the students. Both Daria and Jane protest and object to their presence, stating the disadvantages of a shallow profession with a limited future, and at the same time hinting of the possible money the school is being offered for the visit. Later, Jodie arguments that they don't have to be against everything.

The next day, or later that day, during Economics class, as Mrs. Bennett is explaining the marketing strategy of the fashion industry, the two fashion representatives, Claude and Romonica DeGregory, appear and shamelessly laugh at the teacher. They then try to woe and sign up students for a complementary modelling class. Brittany falls under the spell, but they are less successful with Daria and Jane.

Later that day, during dinner at the Morgendorffer’s, a very upset Daria relates the day events to her parents, stressing the dishonesty of the whole situation, with both Helen and Jake agreeing with her. When Quinn enthusiastically announces that she has been chosen to the moddeling class, both parents try to dissuade her, stating that modelling is not a good choice for a profession, and only a timely call from Romonica has Helen accept Quinn doing one term in the modelling class. As the later leaves the kitchen, Helen asks (and eventually bribes) Daria to keep an eye on her sister.

The modelling class is held at the school auditorium and includes the four fashion club members and a red-haired, slightly plump girl (used as a decoy). Romonica and Claude first coach the female students on how they must walk and what sentiments they should project. They then invite Kevin and the 3 J's to help out, asking them to remove their shirts and have the girls rub their chests. Quinn backs down, clearly not at ease, but the other girls oblige. Brittany, watching from the audience with Jane, Daria and Trent, has a crying fit watching Kevin on stage (and also for not having been chosen to the class). However, when Mrs. Li enters and sees the scene, she immediately stops it and ends the class.

Later that night, the Morgendorffers discuss the day events, with Quinn enthusiastically thinking she’ll be chosen for the modelling contract, despite her parent’s warning that she might not win and refusing to allow further participation.

The next day, again at the auditorium, as Mrs. Li is going to announce the winner for the modelling contract (after warning the students that modelling has nothing to do with sex, to the amusement of some of the present), she is interrupted by General Buck Conroy, mercenary and editor of Brutal Mercenary Magazine, looking for potential recruits. He answers a surprised Mrs. Li that it had been her to call him, showing her an invitation, and even ends in the television.

That night, at the Morgendorffers, while Jake laments the lack of ethics on school, all learn that Kevin had gotten the modelling contract. Later, Daria is shown in her room reading Brutal Mercenary Magazine (effectively implying she's the one to have called Conroy). And, in the last scene, Kevin is shown during a photo session in the modelling agency, clearly having no idea what to do during it.


Among the Daria fan community, the ending of this episode may be one of the most controversial non-supernatural endings of the series history. It is often especially contrasted with the more "realistic" ending of the similarly themed Fizz Ed.

Daria's Reading Material

Daria is reading Henry David Thoreau's Walden in the kitchen in the scene immediately following the class in the auditorium. This is for a school assignment: the opening scene has Mr. O'Neill trying (unsuccessfully) to engage Brittany Taylor in a discussion of whether Thoreau's retreat "to live deliberately" is a withdrawal from life or an attempt to understand its essentials. Walden is also referred to obliquely at the end of the episode, when her father exclaims in shock at the news of a scandal on the local news, "Does no one have any ethics anymore?" Daria replies, "Only you and Thoreau, Dad." After agreeing with his daughter, Jake goes off because he remember he has to "call that baby formula guy," presumably a reference to the ongoing Nestlé baby formula scandal.

“This Year's Model” and Fanfic

In response to one of John Lane's remarks, Romonica DeGregory invites Daria, along with Quinn, to participate in the onstage class in the story, "New Model Year" by Richard Lobinske

External Links

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Preceded by
Malled (105)
Daria Episodes
"This Year's Model," Season 1, Episode 6
Succeeded by
The Lab Brat