Monday, February 14, 2011

Dear Valentine: You're Standing On My Neck

Here's a little story:  When I was in college and my sister Elise had just started high school, we spent a lot of time just the two of us.  We watched a lot of movies and TV together, and one of the shows that we started to watch very regularly was Daria, the five-season originally-MTV animated satire of high school life starring the too-smart-for-her-own-good, sarcastic, self-imposed loner and the people that surround her at school and home.  Twice nightly on most evenings we could be found watching Daria while we did homework or played Minesweeper or ate snacks with friends and family.  We were annoyed that The N would pathetically air "edited" versions of the barely PG-rated show (while allowing other practically propagandistic and pornographic shows like Degrassi to air completely unaltered).  We seriously loved this show, and probably saw almost every episode at least three times.  We related to the characters and situations, and were invested in the lives of the citizens of Lawndale.
We didn't even realize how much it was influencing our sense of humor and catchphrases we started to use daily, and how much it brought us closer together.  (See the following clip for a relevant example, point of interest about :59-1:10).

Also here, from a later point in the same episode:

It had a pretty devoted following of fans online, and there were even a couple of DVD releases of the TV movies that took place between seasons.

Fast-forward several years.  Elise and I are both married and Daria had long since stopped airing regularly, but last summer the powers that be finally saw fit to release the well-loved show on DVD.  The entire series, including the two movies were included on one eight-disc set, and many months later, after numerous gentle (and not quite so gentle) nudges and reminders, The Wife gave it to me for Christmas, sneakily disguised underneath a false bottom of a box containing another gift!  O, the cleverness!  Julie had seen a few of the first episodes when Elise received it for her birthday earlier in the year, and admittedly the start of the show is pretty rough (the animation, writing and characters vastly improve as the show goes on), but now was the time to really instruct her in the ways of Daria.
Fast-forward again several weeks.  Last Tuesday, we watched the final moments of the Daria saga, and we celebrated by eating frozen lasagna (a dinnterime staple in the Morgendorffer household).

It was great to take the journey with her and relive all the memories I made so many years ago.  Daria is still clever but secretly insecure and a little sad, Jane is still artistic, composed and confident, Quinn is still hilarious and not as shallow as she lets on, Helen and Jake are still crazy but really do love their daughters, and Trent is still hopelessly unmotivated but also still hopelessly cool.  I am proud to say that Julie became quite invested in the characters as time went on, and especially throughout the last couple seasons, she gasped and grumbled, laughed and shook her fist.  We now often quote parts of it together, and still laugh about things we watched weeks ago.
There were even a couple of times as we watched that I admit I felt a little misty, probably due mostly to memories of watching with Elise, but I'm so glad I can now share the experience with my wife.  We love to introduce each other to shows that we love, and it's even better when the other actually likes it (I'm now quite a fan of Battlestar Galactica and Firefly, for example, while Julie has taken to The Twilight Zone and even Survivor--Luckily we already had LOST in common).

And I guess this means this is my official Valentine's Day post too, which seems kind of fitting for some reason.  Well, I love Valentine's Day more than I ever have, now that I have a Valentine to share it with.  I love you so, Wife!

So, for now, and forever, you're standing on my neck.  What a beautiful sentiment.