Is It College Yet?
|Is It College Yet?|
|Original Airdate||January 21, 2002|
|Special Guest Voices|
|Written By|| Glenn Eichler |
"Is It College Yet?" is the second Daria TV movie. Subsequent airing and its DVD release only provided it in an edited form. The movie shows the characters of Daria Morgendorffer's class as they approach their high-school graduation and look toward college.
The movie is roughly equivalent to three "normal length" episodes.
Warning: The following may contain plot or ending details.
Jane wants to go to Boston Fine Arts College (BFAC), but the pressure of doing an art portfolio for them makes it too difficult to produce any good art. Daria is between Bromwell (where Tom Sloane will be going pursuant to the family tradition), and Raft College. Trent doesn't want Jane to go to college at all.
The social class rift between Tom and Daria becomes increasingly obvious. Jodie attempts to convince her parents that, rather than going to Crestmore (a prestigious, if somewhat racially homogeneous, university her parents believe is her best option), she would be better suited to attend Turner (her father's alma mater with a more diverse student population), while Mack finds out he needs to win a scholarship to get into Vance University. Quinn takes a job at Governors Park and meeting Lindy, a college student with a drinking problem. Stacy makes a wish that comes true, to the chagrin of Sandi, and she attempts to reverse the wish with amusing results. Kevin gets some bad news about his future, and worries how it will affect his relationship with Brittany. Mr. O'Neill's attempts to calm down Ms. Barch on the fifth anniversary of her divorce makes Ms. Barch believe he's asking to marry her. Mr. DeMartino attempts to clear up the situation, with mixed results.
Daria and Tom Sloane break up at the movie's end, when she points out -- and Tom doesn't dispute -- that they've both lost interest in the relationship. The two decide to remain friends. Daria gets into Raft College instead of Bromwell, and convinces Jane to apply to BFAC, where Jane is accepted. Both girls plan to continue their friendship as time and schoolwork allow, and the movie ends on a high note with their toast to the future.
As noted in a review by Slate columnist Emily Russbaum, who praised the film for being "a sharply funny exploration of social class... [homing] in on the elitism of the United States college system", the film shows the characters going off to very different paths after graduation based on their economic prospects ("unlike, say, the characters on [Beverly Hills] 90210").
- Daria and Tom are growing apart because the economic gulf, and the different views on their college paths because of it, are something Daria can't handle and Tom doesn't appear to fully grasp. One argument happens when Tom is lamenting her Bromwell objection and ignores (until calledon it) that she did get into Raft. Daria herself seems to suffer a 'class cringe' from the constant Bromwell talk, despairing over the failure and the lack of prospects she will have, compared to Tom, until Helen points out that Raft is an excellent school.
- Tom and Jodie, the richest members of the cast, are the ones going to highly elite colleges (though Jodie decides against Crestmore). Tom is assisted by family ties to the college, which gives him a great advantage - he got a 45 minute interview (the film indicates this is an oddly long time) and is stunned to hear Daria only got a 15 minute interview, then sounds embarrassed. He's also the only character who isn't worrying about college, as he knows he's getting into Bromwell. If Jodie goes to Crestmore, she will be rubbing shoulders with future politicians and business leaders who "literally are running the country"; her father tells her this would make the rest of her life much easier.
- Andrew Landon states that he went to Turner because, as a black student in the early-to-mid 60s, he "had to" go to a 'black' college, and that this gave him less options in life than somewhere more elite could have.
- Daria can't rely on the family ties Tom has with her Bromwell application, a source of frustration, and she spends part of the film believing it's a failure to get into Raft because it's not the highly touted Bromwell. Helen remarks that some applicants have "certain edge over the rest of us", and Jake has a brief outburst against perceived Bromwell snobbery when Daria is rejected. However, to Jane, Daria is the snob with the extra advantages: she has a family who are around and assumes college is for her, while Jane has no real support and clearly views college as 'not for her'. She comes up with an excuse to not apply to BFAC and she gets defensive about her decision, accusing Daria of being elitist and assuming everyone has to go to college to be successful.
- Mack's family can only afford to send him to a state university, even though it doesn't have the courses he wants. He is only able to get into Vance, his preferred college, through a scholarship. Meanwhil, the cost of college is also never mentioned as an issue by the upper-middle class Morgendorffers.
- Kevin is (rightly) worried that Brittany's going to dump him because she's going to college and he isn't; suddenly, he's 'lower' down the social tentpole than she is.
(The show also shows that the cheerleaders, due to their academic record, can only get into Great Prairie State University.)
This has been released on DVD twice, and both times it had a number of small cuts (usually brief lines) - the full version has only ever been seen on television. The cuts mainly have extra jokes, and aren't noticeable at all if you weren't previously aware of them.
The exceptions are:
- Sandi deliberately bringing up that Stacy can't get a date on her birthday but she could, starting off the events that will lead to her being 'cursed'
- Further dialogue at Bromwell with Professor Woods, where it's made clearer that Daria's frozen out of the conversation and Tom feels he doesn't need to think about other colleges.
- The revelation that the cheerleaders are all going to the same college because it's the only one that will accept their bad grades
- Andrew Landon waving away the idea of Jodie having a breakdown and trying to tempt Mack by pointing out Crestmore is nearer to Vance than Turner.
Most seriously, an entire Tom and Daria scene is missing: they agree to meet for a date and she then abruptly decides to cancel a few seconds later. This is crucial build up for the end of their relationship. A transcript of it is:
- (Daria typing at her computer when the cordless telephone rings; she stops to answer it)
- Daria - Hello.
- Tom - Hey, Daria. Up to anything?
- Daria - Just my usual nefarious tricks, and I'm working on a short story. Or at least it was twenty pages ago.
- Tom - Want to take a break and go to the Hitchcock Festival? Rope is playing. I thought a film about bumping off your Ivy-League classmate would help us get in the spirit for next year.
- Daria - Hmm. I'll admit, a good murder movie never fails to cheer me up.
- Tom - How about we meet there? It'll save me some time if I don't have to swing by your place on the way.
- Daria - Sure.
- Tom - Great! See you inside at seven-thirty. (he turns off telephone)
- (Daria shuts off phone and resumes typing; after a couple seconds, she stops and picks up telephone, hitting a speed-dial; back to split screen with Tom as he answers on first ring)
- Tom - Hello.
- Daria - On second thought, I really shouldn't leave my protagonist all alone just after her eyeballs have burst. How about later in the week?
- Tom - Um, okay. Give me a call when you're free.
- Daria - Okay, bye. (she hangs up and split screen ends as she resumes typing)
This takes place in the last month or so of Daria's final year. However, students start applying for colleges much earlier in their final year. Logically the events from this story should be occuring in and around earlier episodes, but the characters act like everything is taking place in a shorter time.
A poster on the wall of Lindy's apartment says "Cyber Doo 2001 Film and Multimedia". This explicitly places the story during 2001 or 2002... when "I Don't", set two years before, explicitly placed itself in 1998. The events of "Sappy Anniversary", however, make less sense if set in autumn 2000!
This is the last-ever episode of Daria, bringing to an end the official canon.
Like "Is It Fall Yet?", the movie opens with a fantasy title sequence and a newly commissioned song by Splendora (about college being a pain in the ass). The sequence shows various iconic images of college life in America (and pisstakes thereof) throughout the 20th century, with the images given the appropriate "film quality" and characters wearing period costumes.
The various colleges the characters talk about being interested in have obvious parallels with real-life schools. Raft College, for example, is likely Tufts, a prestigious school on the outskirts of Boston, while Bromwell is probably Yale, given its distance from Boston and location of New Town (New Haven). Crestmore (described by Mack as "the dream of dreams") may be Harvard or a school of comparable quality in another part of the country, such as Stanford.
The state Lawndale is in has two state universities, one just called "State University" and another called Lawndale State University. (State universities are the cheaper, state-funded places in America's college system)
Some fans believe that IICY? presents state universities in an overly bad light, presenting private universities as inherently better: Mack says the state university doesn't have a business school, Jane is disparaging of their art departments, Great Prairie State is presented as rubbish. However, "State University" and Lawndale State both reject Brittany and Jane because their grades aren't up to spec, and BFAC is presumed to be based on "MassArt", a publicly-funded university (so presumably BFAC is publicly-funded as well).
In "A Tree Grows in Lawndale", Brittany said theirs was an "eternal love that would last until graduation"...
Daria says that Jane told her State and Lawndale State's art departments "couldn't even draw Spunky". This references "The Daria Diaries", where the very dodgy "Jacques Picasso Art Correspondence School" would enroll you if you could copy a picture of Spunky the dog. Jane had applied for a laugh, drawing lots of mutated Spunkies.
Quinn has seen the horror film Thinner (but doesn't know why a lose-weight curse is supposed to be scary).
Daria's graduating class includes Cindy, a character that was part of Quinn's year. Since the character was visually based on show producer Cindy Brolsma, this may be a tip of the hat by the animators.
Lawndale High has a tradition of handing out the Dian Fossey Award to students who excel academically but don't contribute much to "student life". Ms. Li either does not like giving this award out at all or simply disliked having to give an award to Daria (hence her backhanded "in the face of near-total misanthropy" comment); either way, Li says she's "forced" to give out such an award. It's not specified what forces Li to do this.
In Daria's speech at the end if this episode, we learn a little bit about her guiding philosophy, a loosely connected set of ideas that has kept her grounded, kept her Daria, in spite of her changing personality and changing circumstances.
A number of magazines, newspapers, and websites in America reviewed the film on its release, as well as the show itself. (Transcripts and links can be found on Outpost Daria, archived by the Wayback Machine) The responses were positive:
- G.J. Donnelly for TV Guide Online expressed that he was already missing the show and credited it for being an intelligent, feminist work, but said the film was a worthy sendoff. He stated the plotlines for Daria and Quinn showed them handling difficult situations maturely, and in regards to the film as a whole "this animated film approaches the teenage experience much more realistically than shows like Dawson's Creek."
- Bill Desowitz for Animation Magazine noted MTV was closing down its animation studio but Daria should do well in syndication (it did subsequently end up on Noggin / The N for several years) and interviewed Glenn Eichler over the series' finale. Glenn said the series had run as long as it could and that Daria's emotional journey had already ended; he also referred to the show as being a sitcom. Animation Magazine called it "one of TV's wittiest animated sitcoms".
- Emily Nussbaum for Slate lamented the end of the show and praised both its humour, its willingness to target the counter-culture just as much (if not worse) as the mainstream for pretentiousness and target Daria itself, and for being in "the right place at the right time" for the audience. The film itself was praised for its attention to class divisions and for showing the Lawndale students going off to completely different lives, some of them uncertain or troubled. "It's remarkable to have a TV show end on such an ambiguous, even downbeat, note."
In promotion of the film, "Daria" appeared on the CBS Early Show for an interview.
The "Future Egos"
In place of the usual Alter Ego images, the credits show tongue-in-cheek versions of the character's futures. Some of these seem plausible, while others are very silly indeed. They were created as jokes and are not meant to be the 'real' futures, though a number of fanfics - such as "Ghosts of Christmas Future" by Crusading Saint, "Could Someone Turn Down the Sun? by The Angst Guy and "The Alter-Ego Chronicles" by The Excellent S - have taken them literally.
- Mystik Spiral (bar Trent) as a church choir
- Andrea as a swimsuit model (and thinner)
- Quinn as a business executive
- Tom as an aging shut-in in a nursing home (this is a disturbingly grim ego!)
- Jodie as owner of Landon Towers Casino & Resort ("Casino & Resort" is cut off in the DVD)
- Sandi as a madam running Griffin Escorts
- Jake and Helen retired at a mountain cabin, both hooked out to a valium drip
- Mack and Kevin as the owners and mascots for the Bro & QB ice-cream company
- Lindy and Alison as a couple, raising adopted children at a farm
- Tiffany running a psychic call line (in the DVD the "1-800-555-PSYK" number is cut off)
- DeMartino as a very happy mailman
- Brittany as an actress in slasher films
- Barch running a shotgun wedding chapel
- Trent as a bald, pudgy US Senator in the year 2041, involved in a Family Opportunity Act
- O'Neill playing Peter Pan in a theatre
- Stacy as a NASCAR racer
- Ms Li as a psychotic cat lady holed up in her house (this one isn't included in the DVD version)
- Upchuck as a rich fashion designer
- Daria and Jane as the hosts for a breakfast show, Good Mornings With Daria and Jane
In the original broadcast, the songs Drive by Incubus and Time To Go by Supergrass played over the credits, which had the apt lyrics "whatever the future brings I will be there" and "thanks to everyone for everything you've done but now it's time to go" (the last being the final part). In the DVD version, a specially done, melancholy instrumental song was played over the top.
Is It College Yet? and Fanfic
Alternate Universe Versions of Is It College Yet?
In Kara Wild's Driven Wild Universe episode 22, Tomorrow Never Knows, Tom and Jane never broke up, so it is Jane, rather than Daria, who accompanies Tom and his mother on the trip to Bromwell. Jane declares that it is "[t]o support Tom, who would otherwise be stuck discussing charity fundraisers every minute he and his mother were alone. Plus, Kay Sloane hates me." The trip is, predictably, a disaster, with Jane suggesting to Professor Woods that the Freshman Sobriety Center could be set on fire "as a controlled, dramatic art piece." Ultimately, Jane and Tom do break up, deciding that they get along better as friends.
Transcript of Is It College Yet? (includes sections removed in later showings and on the commercial DVD)
| Preceded by
Boxing Daria (513)
| Daria Episodes
Is It College Yet?
(Second Daria movie;
No official episode number assigned)
| Succeeded by |