This Year's Model
“This Year's Model” was the sixth episode of the first season of Daria.
|This Year's Model|
|Original Airdate||April 7, 1997|
|Special Guest Voices|
|Written By||Glenn Eichler|
|Directed By||Karen Disher|
At Lawndale High, principal Angela Li interrupts English class to enthusiastically announce the visit of representatives from Amazon Modeling Agency, who are 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 argues with Daria and Jane, saying that they don't have to be against everything.
The next day, or possibly later that day, the two fashion representatives, Claude and Romonica DeGregory, appear during Economics class and shamelessly laugh at Mrs. Bennett, who had been explaining the marketing strategy of the fashion industry (though they later give her unsolicited fashion advice). They then try to convince students to sign up for a complementary modeling class. Brittany agrees right away, 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's 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 modeling is not a good choice for a profession, and only a timely call from Romonica convinces Helen to let Quinn attend the free modeling class. As Quinn leaves the kitchen, Helen asks (and eventually bribes) Daria to keep an eye on her sister.
The modeling class is held at the school auditorium and includes the four Fashion Club members and a red-haired, slightly plump girl (whom Romonica calls 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 modeling contract, despite her parent’s warnings that they hadn't agreed on further participation and that she might not win (a thought inconceivable to Quinn).
The next day, again at the auditorium, as Mrs. Li is going to announce the winner for the modeling contract (after warning the students that modeling has nothing to do with sex, to the amusement of some of those 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 contact him, showing her an invitation with her name, and he ends up on television as a result.
That night, at the Morgendorffers, while Jake laments the lack of ethics on school, the family learns that Kevin, of all people, had gotten the modeling contract. Later, Daria is shown in her room reading Brutal Mercenary Magazine (implying that she was the one to have mailed Conroy). In the final scene, Kevin is shown during a photo session in the modeling agency, clearly having no idea what to do.
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
- The Daria Fandom Blog, March 2007 archive. The DFG was maintained by CINCGREEN and Greybird. The entry for Saturday, April 7, 2007, is “Barbizon and Banality: A Look at ‘This Year’s Model’”
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