Is It College Yet?
|Is It College Yet?|
|Created by||Glenn Eichler
Susie Lewis Lynn
|Written by||Glenn Eichler
|Directed by||Karen Disher|
Alvaro J. Gonzalez
|Theme music composer||Splendora (theme: "College Try")|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Producer(s)||Cindy E. Brolsma
|Running time||75 min (original) / 66 min (DVD edit)|
|Production company(s)||MTV Studios|
|Original release||January 21, 2002|
Is It College Yet? is the second of two movie-length installments featured in MTV's animated series Daria. The first music video for "Breaking Up the Girl" by Garbage premiered as part of the film, featuring a Daria montage, and the song was promoted as the "theme song" for College; the song used to open the film was Splendora's last ever song "College Try (Gives Me Blisters)".
The two telemovies, Is It Fall Yet? and Is It College Yet?, chronicled, respectively, the summer hiatus between the school years of seasons four and five, and the end of high school for the characters. The second also served as the show's finale.
Is It College Yet? was produced in lieu of an abbreviated, six-episode sixth season requested by MTV. Series creator Glenn Eichler had planned to wrap the show with the fifth season finale "Boxing Daria", believing that there was no more story to tell. Eichler agreed to write Is It College Yet? in order to have a true series finale for Daria.
Graduation time is fast approaching for the Lawndale High senior class, which can mean only one thing: students worrying about being accepted at the colleges of their choice. For Daria, it's a choice between the uppercrust Ivy league Bromwell University, where Tom has also applied, or her second choice, Raft College in Boston. Jane, meanwhile, is torn between Boston Fine Arts College (prestigious, but difficult to get into), one of the local universities, or, finally, just eschewing college altogether and going it alone with her art. Mack wants to attend Vance University, but can't unless he can get a scholarship, and overstressed Jodie is torn between the college she wants to attend -- the predominantly African-American Turner University -- and Crestmore University, a prestigious college that her parents (her father in particular) are angling for her to attend, as it would be an impressive notch on her resume.
Daria's experiences with Bromwell don't exactly fill her with confidence, mainly because she experiences first-hand just how well-connected the Sloanes are to the university when she accompanies Tom and his mother on a weekend college tour. Tom's interview goes smoothly as he relates anecdotes about Bromwell that he got from his relatives, but Daria's self-consciousness almost sabotages her interview. They then encounter a professor who's a friend of the family and agree to meet him for breakfast the next morning, despite the fact that they'll have little time to spare to get to Boston. A late start, a traffic snarl-up, and a rainstorm all conspire to get them to Raft College too late for Daria's interview, which doesn't please her at all. At home, Daria relates her frustrations to Helen (who tries to help but can't) and Jake (who's pushing her to apply to Middleton College but mistakenly thinks she's going to military school); shortly thereafter, she receives an acceptance package from Raft, and a letter from Bromwell stating that she's been put on a waiting list. Daria relays this news to Tom, who tells her that he got into Bromwell. Fuming over what she believes to be upper-class privilege winning out over academic ability, she gets into an argument with Tom, who says precisely the wrong thing, causing Daria to grow annoyed and hang up on him. After a suitable amount of grovelling and apologizing, Tom offers to have his parents write Bromwell a letter of recommendation for Daria, which she refuses... at first.
Jane, meanwhile, is struggling with decisions of her own. She wants to go to Boston Fine Arts College, but BFAC's requirements are tough, so she applies to Lawndale State and State University. When both schools turn her down, she starts to wonder whether attending college is the thing for her after all, a position that's endorsed and encouraged by Trent. Daria makes several attempts to convince Jane to get off her butt and put together a portfolio for BFAC (who, unlike the other schools, actually wanted to see a sample of her work), but Jane is adamant in her decision to skip college. However, Daria is equally adamant in her desire to get Jane to change her mind, so she strikes up a deal: if Jane agrees to send her portfolio to BFAC, she'll have Tom's parents write that letter of recommendation for her. They agree, and proceed to wait for the results.
Jodie also finds herself on the horns of a dilemma regarding college. She wants to take a break from being the "perfect little Jodie doll" and attend Turner University, a mostly African-American college where she can feel free to relax and be herself. Her parents, however, want her to put a particularly impressive notch on her resume by going to the prestigious Crestmore University. Unfortunately, she can't bring herself to stand up to them, which makes her miserable. Mack, unable to stand seeing her like this, goes to Andrew Landon's office for a sit-down and explains the situation to him, hoping to get him to change his mind. When he and Michele confront Jodie, she confirms that it's true. Though they still would like her to attend Crestmore, they realize that her desires and well-being have to take precedence, and they allow her to go to Turner. (Well, Michele gave in first; Andrew required some convincing, with the help of a nasty glare and an elbow to the ribs.) Mack then relays his good news: he got the scholarship to Vance University. Though they'll be further apart than they would if Jodie was going to Crestmore, they appear to be closer than ever, especially when Jodie tells Mack how lucky she is to have a guy like him.
Brittany, amazingly enough, is also going to college (at Great Prairie State University), along with the rest of the cheerleading squad. Her good mood is dampened somewhat by Kevin's odd behavior: he won't say where he's going to college, and he keeps asking Brittany for reassurance that they'll still be a couple no matter what. Kevin's obviously hiding something, but Brittany doesn't know what.
The oft-stormy romance between Ms. Barch and Mr. O'Neill takes a very weird turn when, while consoling her on the fifth anniversary of her divorce, she mistakes his words of comfort for a marriage proposal... and accepts! He's flustered, but being who he is, he has a hard time dissuading her. Help comes from an unexpected source: Mr. DeMartino, who doesn't want to see O'Neill chained to "the she-devil who walks among us." He pokes and prods O'Neill into standing up to Barch and telling her that the proposal was a mistake, but all he gets for his trouble is a black eye.
The consequences of out-of-control shopping have finally caught up with Quinn, who is forced by Helen and Jake to get a part-time job in order to pay off a ridiculously high credit card bill. After a Fashion Club meeting at the Governor's Park restaurant, she decides to take a job there as a hostess. There, she meets Lindy, a college student who's also working as a hostess, and they immediately hit it off. Lindy invites Quinn to a party she's holding, where Quinn finds that college-level parties are rather different than the ones she's used to attending. She also discovers that Lindy likes alcoholic beverages... a lot. She gets her first hint of this at the party, then a bigger hint when they go to the movies and Lindy keeps taking drinks out of a hip flask. She's nicely marinated by the time the movie is over, but when Quinn suggests that she take a cab instead of driving home, she ignores her advice and goes clubbing instead. The biggest hint of all that Lindy has a drinking problem is when she's caught drinking a little "hair of the dog that bit her" at work. This causes her to screw up on the job, which gets her fired (after attempting to get Quinn to take the fall). Quinn is disappointed, but there's nothing she can do to save Lindy's job... and, worse yet, she doesn't know how to handle her friend's problem.
Daria's and Quinn's worlds end up colliding in a most unusual way. Daria finally hears from Bromwell: the freshman class is full. Strangely, she's not very disappointed by the news. When she and Tom get together for pizza to talk about the news, she proceeds to drop a bombshell on him: she wants to break up with him. Tom is confused, naturally, but Daria has some pretty solid arguments behind her: they'll be going to school far from each other, they're both heading in opposite directions socially, and they were both starting to get bored with each other. Tom initially objects, but ultimately finds that he can't really argue with her reasoning. Depressed and miserable, Daria is joined by a kindred spirit in that department: Quinn, who still doesn't know how to handle the situation with Lindy. When she expresses her surprise at Daria's breakup with Tom, Daria reminds her that she's always believed that honesty was the best way to go. This inspires Quinn to use the same approach with Lindy, but it's not exactly a rousing success: Lindy continues to deny she has a problem, then throws Quinn out of her house.
To ease Daria's pain over the breakup, Jane drags Daria to Jodie's graduation party. There, Daria has to explain to the curious that she and Tom have broken up, and Jane drops her own little bit of news: she got accepted into Boston Fine Arts College (though she'll have to start mid-year, since she applied too late for fall classes). This instantly lifts Daria's mood, because with her attending Raft and Jane at BFAC, they'll be able to get together more often, not to mention keep their friendship strong. Jane is also happy for another reason, in that her disagreement with Trent is now over. He had accused her of being a sellout when she finally decided to apply to BFAC, but finally admitted to her that he was actually afraid of losing her and being alone. She reassured him that she's not going to let him off the hook as her brother, then asked him to represent the Lane clan at her graduation, which he accepts.
Oddly enough, friendship is also at the core of a Fashion Club situation. Earlier, at the Fashion Club meeting at Governor's Park that also doubled as Stacy's birthday party, Sandi was acting like her usual snotty self. When it came time to blow out her candle, Stacy made a secret wish that Sandi would shut up. Soon afterwards, Sandi came down with laryngitis, and poor Stacy thought that she had done it to her! Feeling guilty as sin, Stacy attempted to "lift the curse" through some noxious potion (containing cayenne pepper, cooking oil, and "some big, long name") she obtained through the Internet, but got the glasses mixed up and ended up serving it to Tiffany (who went into a fit of choking and coughing). Now, at the party, Stacy is relieved to find that Sandi has finally gotten her voice back. When Sandi gives her a list of things to do to make it up to her, however, Stacy works up the nerve to tell Sandi that it's unfair to make her do all this for something she probably wasn't responsible for in the first place. Sandi then threatens her standing in the Fashion Club, and is shocked when Stacy, rather than backing down, decides to take a cue from Quinn and go on sabbatical. When follow-the-crowd Tiffany also decides to take a break from the club, Sandi sees the writing on the wall and, rather than lose face, announces that she is going to take one as well... the cumulative effect of which is the dissolution of the Fashion Club. Rather than split them apart, however, they find that they're closer friends than ever, now that they don't have the pressures, in-fighting, and competition associated with the club hanging over their heads, and they decide to get together to discuss what to do with all their newfound free time.
(The biggest surprise of all, however, involves Lawndale's would-be Lothario, Upchuck. After getting absolutely nowhere with the ladies of Lawndale High for three years, Lady Luck finally smiles on him when he lays his sleazy pick-up moves on Andrea... and she accepts! Given the lack of natural disasters or an appearance by the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, it's a pretty safe bet that it was Meant To Be...)
Daria's and Quinn's situations also get resolved shortly thereafter. Tom meets Daria outside her house on the last day of school, and she reassures him that their breakup has nothing to do with him personally; in fact, she tells him that he's a great guy, and that she's glad to have gone out with him. They resolve to stay friends and keep in contact while at school. Quinn also gets a surprise visit from Lindy, who apologizes for the way she treated her. She knows that Quinn was only being concerned, and though she still won't admit to having a problem, she still wants to remain friends, and they agree to get together again soon.
Graduation itself is a whirlwind of adventure. For starters, Brittany discovers just why Kevin has been acting so strangely: he flunked, and has to repeat his senior year at Lawndale High. She agrees to remain his girlfriend, but the crossed fingers behind her back suggest otherwise. Mr. O'Neill, with more prodding from Mr. DeMartino, confronts Ms. Barch, who -- rather than being angry -- is actually "intrigued by his newfound backbone," and makes up (and out) with him, much to DeMartino's chagrin. Jodie gives a stock, non-threatening valedictorian speech, then Ms. Li makes a surprise announcement: Daria has also received an award, recognizing her academic achievements ("in the face of near-total misanthropy"). She accepts the award by first telling everyone how much she thinks high school sucks, but ends the speech with a bunch of (mostly) meaningless yet nice-sounding phrases that draw applause from the crowd.
Afterwards, Daria and Jane meet for pizza as usual, and they muse on what they'll find once they arrive at college and begin a new era in their lives.
During the end credits, various "alter ego" renderings (more detailed than at the end of the regular episodes) depict possible future careers and scenarios for nearly all of the series' characters. These are:
- The 3 members of Mystik Spiral- Jesse, Nick and Max in a church choir.
- Andrea becoming a model.
- Quinn becoming a raging business woman like her mother.
- Tom becoming a sickly, recluse Howard Hughes-like billionaire.
- Jodie becoming the founder and owner of an exclusive resort and casino.
- Sandi running her own escort service.
- Helen and Jake happily retired in a lakeside house.
- Mack and Kevin starting an ice cream company called "Bro & QB's".
- Lindy as a lesbian adopting her own multi racial family with Alison from Is It Fall Yet?.
- Tiffany becoming a psychic with a crystal ball and tarot cards.
- Mr. DeMartino becoming a postman.
- Brittany becoming a scream queen.
- Ms. Barch becoming minister of a Vegas style chapel.
- Joey, Jeffy and Jamie hosting their own MTV show called JRL.
- Trent becoming a Senator.
- Mr. O'Neil starring in a theatre production of Peter Pan.
- Stacey becoming a NASCAR driver.
- Upchuck becoming a successful fashion designer.
- Daria and Jane hosting their own talk show together.
An edited version of this TV-movie was cablecast by MTV in reruns, which cut several minutes from the original broadcast version. Both DVD releases (the original single-disc release and the Complete Animated Series release) include this edited version, not the original.
In a review of the movie and the show in general, Slate reporter Emily Nussbaum said Is It College Yet? was "a bit of a classic" for showing its "sharply funny exploration of social class... the high-schoolers head off to very different paths in life, based on their economic prospects — unlike, say, the characters on 90210."
- Breaking Up the Girl (trade ad) in USA: Hits magazine. 2001-12-01.
- "Is It College Yet?". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2010-05-13.
- Desowitz, Bill. "Daria Ends Successful Run on MTV with Second TV Movie", Web.Archive.com of Animation Magazine, Jan. 18, 2002. Reprinted at Outpost Daria: "In the Media".
- Quinn, Mike. "Episode Guide: Is It College Yet? - Interesting Tidbits: Miscellaneous", Outpost Daria, 2002
- Nussbaum, Emily. "Requiem for Daria: Daria slips into the Ghost World of great high-school drama", Slate.com, January 21, 2002