Melody Powers

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Jane's version of Daria as Melody Powers, by Richard Lobinske.

Melody Powers is a fictional spy character developed by Daria Morgendorffer and included in stories featured in the episodes "Cafe Disaffecto" and "The Old and the Beautiful." The stories involving the character appear to be set either during or after the Cold War, in which Melody Powers is a CIA special agent who uses sex appeal and bloody brutality to fight Communists. What little we know of Daria's writing indicates that her Melody Powers stories are rather over-the-top with death and violence, almost parodying the genre of spy fiction that is akin to the James Bond franchise. Daria displays no antagonism toward Communism or Russians otherwise, leading one to wonder if her Melody Powers tales are a sort of metafic.

Melody Powers in canon[edit]

"Cafe Disaffecto"[edit]

In the episode Cafe Disaffecto, Daria presents her short story of Melody Powers to the new student coffee house and Mr. O'Neill. The name of Daria's story is titled "Where The Future Takes Us", which tales Melody Powers taking on a series of suspected Communists. This includes the character Tonio, a suspected Brazilian Communist who Melody Powers seduces and later assassinates in Rio de Janeiro. The transcript of Daria's story is as follows:

Daria: As students standing at the dawn of a brand new century, we face certain choices. How do we prepare for the future? Melody Powers knew how she was going to prepare, as she checked the fit one more time on her tooled leather shoulder holster. She thought about all the communists she would be taking out tonight.

(view of bored crowd becoming interested)

Daria: Melody harbored no illusions about unilaterally stemming the resurging red tide. "But," she reflected with a grim smile, "what special agent could resist the opportunity to fill a few Bolshevik cemeteries?"

(view of Mr. O'Neill at the stage wing, looking shocked, worried or frightened)

(time passes; fade back to Daria on stage)

Daria: As Melody sun-bathed on the Rio beach, she looked back upon the past few days with a certain quiet satisfaction: twelve dead Russians, five dead Chinese, three or four dead Cubans. The world was once again safe for democracy, she reflected while watching Tonio's exquisite chest rise and fall with his light snoring.

(brief view of Brittany and Kevin at a table; Brittany is very attentive to story, Kevin has a black eye)

Daria: Safe for democracy, or almost safe. Melody brushed some errant grains of sand off her fingers, tied her top back on, and reached into her beach bag. Tonio heard nothing, and that was a pity, because he would never hear anything again. "So long, Tonio," she thought as she calmly stood up. "I could have loved you, if you weren't as red as the blood stain now spreading across the sand."

(Mr. O'Neill hides face in hands)

Daria: Melody walked calmly away toward the hotel. There'd be a message there from HQ, no doubt. She hoped she had time to shower.

(the audience is silent for a moment; then, Kevin jumps up and cheers, followed by the rest of the audience)

"The Old and the Beautiful"[edit]

In the episode "The Old and the Beautiful", Daria continues her writing and story building with Melody Powers when she finishes reading a story she wrote for Mrs. Blaine at the Better Days Retirement Home. The story involves three rendezvous, or meetings Melody Powers has with Communists she plans to assassinate. The first is with Team Algiers, which ends in a violent, explosive death. The next is with the character Edouard, who ultimately suffers the same fate. The story ends with the character Misha's death in which the explosives Melody Powers used were... well... too explosive. The transcript of that story is as follows:

(at the nursing home)

Daria: "Melody Powers sighed as she began picking what was left of Misha out of her hair. She'd look into less aggressive explosives back at H.Q. after her rendezvous with Team Algiers and the intriguing Edouard. 'I hope he's the strong, silent type,' she thought, flicking away one of Misha's molars. 'I've already had one man go to pieces on me today.'"

(Mrs. Blaine smiles, which Daria returns)

Melody Powers in fanfiction[edit]

Another concept of Melody in 1/8 scale, by Richard Lobinske

Having Daria write Melody Powers stories has become a staple in fanfiction writing. In Richard Lobinske's Last Summer and Falling Into College stories, Daria published a total of four Melody Powers stories with an action pulp magazine called Literature in Action. Daria has a Melody Powers story published in "Prayers for a SAINT" that causes unexpected problems. A few fanfics have Daria become the famed author of Melody Powers novels ("Of Lifestyle Choices and Definitions of Success," by Wyvern337), which might result in Daria attracting the most unusual fans ("It's a Wonderful Life, Not," by Thomas Mikkelsen). The Melody Powers meme is so pervasive that Daria writes these stories in various alternate universes like the (John Lane series by Richard Lobinske, even when Daria is no longer Daria but Darren ("Café Ineffective," by Bacner).

A possible (hilarious) reason why Daria writes Melody Powers stories is offered in Thomas Mikkelsen's "Sibling Rivalry." That Daria might be quite touchy about her Melody Powers works is considered in E. A. Smith's "So Long As Men Can Breathe" and Renfield's "Malice of Absence."

Fanfic writers occasionally try their hand at writing Melody Powers stories as they imagine Daria would do them. This has become an interesting sub-subgenre. Galen Hardesty probably gave the best rendition with "Blood Oath of Patriots" and "Blood Oath of Patriots II: By Any Other Name." Mystik Slacker's "Melody Powers in 'Butcher, Baker, Cancer-stick Maker'" and Wyvern337's "Academic Imprisonment" are also excellent, and Mahna Mahna's "The Last Words Heard" has a perfectly wicked ending. Other tales in this vein worth reading include Bob Marley's ficlet, "Melody's End."

Sometimes in fanfiction, Melody is written as a self-insertion or Mary Sue of Daria herself (Wyvern337's "Academic Imprisonment"). Melody might even be Daria in disguise (e.g., "Alias: Melody Powers," by Kendra Steiner; "Melody Powers a.k.a. Daria Morgendorffer," by James Scanlan). Mystik Slacker's True Cynicism tales have Daria make a shocking discovery that leads her into a life not unlike Melody's. (This also happens in "Prayers for a SAINT.")

In a few stories, Melody is a real person in the Dariaverse or somehow is brought to life therein. This might prove to be calamitous for all concerned (e.g., "Illusions: The Unswerving Punctuality of—," by CharlieGirl and et alia; "Daria vs. Melody Powers" by S.C.).

External Links[edit]