In my first installment of this blog series, I briefly mentioned how Daria Morgendorffer adopts a metal persona to mask her sympathetic nature, but most importantly, her persona is used to decipher the genuine people from the wolves. Daria is granted a true friend, but her younger sister is not so lucky. Quinn Morgendorffer baths in the sea of temporary satisfaction, which blinds her from recognizing her own potential. But take a second look! Love her or hate her, Quinn is the most intricate character on the show since she is caught in an agonizing paradox.
Quinn’s strongest potential is her “light.” This characteristic is very difficult to describe since it’s based on one’s spirits, but I’ll give it a shot. People are just naturally drawn to Quinn, especially male peers like trio Joey, Jeffy, and Jamie. They follow her around like devoted servants to their queen. They’re easily excited if Quinn speaks one word to them. Some of you can argue that her beauty and social status attract so much attention, but this claim raises another question. If physical appearance and social prestigious are the only ingredients to gaining admirers, then why do girls like Sandy, Stacie, Tiffany, and Brittany receive less praise then Quinn? The answer is clear. Quinn has a natural charm about her. Of course, this develops trust issues within her which creates the first stage to Quinn’s paradox.
Even though Quinn is the most desirable girl in Lawndale, she is extremely cautious when selecting a mate. Notice in the episode “The Big House,” Quinn is being punished for breaking curfew yet tries to escape it by convincing her parents that she’s in love with a guy who remains nameless. This means, Quinn thrives in the praise she absorbs from her many nameless, male counterparts yet has not made a strong connection with them. Therefore most of the time, her many dates remain nameless since their names are not worth remembering. Actually toward the very end of this episode, Quinn pays more attention to her sister (even though it’s catty rivalry) than her suitor. She says coldly, “Tommy, go away.” Then she adds, “You’re two hours late, jerk!” After Quinn writes Tommy off, she immediately addresses Daria and never mentions him again. His is now thrown in the nameless category. Quinn does not trust Tommy, and just like the other boys in her life, Tommy cannot be her long-term romantic partner.
Although in the first feature film “Is it Fall Yet,” there is one gentleman that Quinn did consider for her boyfriend. His name is David Sorensen, and he is hired to tutor Quinn for her college entrance exams. While exploring history, Quinn made a mental connection with David. Unfortunately, David is not romantically interested in her. He countered her feelings with one key phrase, “look at the brain-dead people you hang out with.” Let’s take a moment and examine what he meant by this harsh comment.
Quinn’s “best friend” is Sandi Griffin, even though Quinn is in an abusive relationship with Sandy. These two girls are glued back-to-back when they can’t stand the sight of each other. They are friends for one reason; Quinn and Sandy click on an intellectual level. Both understand the pros and cons of social construction at Lawndale High and choose to compromise themselves just to conform to an intangible image of a high school celebrity. They’re both intuitive and persuasive, yet Sandy’s intelligence is paired up with disgusting jealousy.
Sandy knows that Quinn radiates with natural appeal. Therefore, Sandy thinks her position as Queen-bee is being challenged. Sandy quickly learns that she cannot compete against Quinn, so she strategically hires Quinn as her right-hand woman. Sandy becomes Quinn’s puppet master! After all, Quinn cannot surpass Sandy if Sandy is in control of her. Sandy’s jealousy has made her stagnant, which also made the people around her stagnant. For this reason, she is a dangerous friend. While other students pursue their dreams and grow mentally and spiritually, Sandi will just be Sandi. Sandi is well aware of her limitations, which are slowly transferring onto Quinn. However, it’s apparent in the episode “The Daria Hunter” that Quinn is too strong to stay at Sandi’s level.
At the very end of this episode, Lawndale students participate in paintball war. Once the game of blood ended, Sandi is left on the battlefield. Sandi moaned for someone, anyone to recognize her absence yet no one did. Sandi’s last image is of Quinn turning forward as the bus drove the students into the sunset. This powerful metaphor represents all the students moving onto new stages in life (especially Quinn) while Sandi remains Sandi. Sandi is a lone Queen of Lawndale with no followers and no goals, but let’s get back on topic. This blog is about Quinn after all.
David Sorensen said, “Look at the brain-dead people you hang out with” because he recognizes that Quinn hides her true self, which weakened her potential. He realizes that Quinn does not even trust her own merits and that’s why she associates herself with people like Sandy who does nothing, but put her down. In Davids eyes, it is impossible for him to see himself in a relationship Quinn. And here’s the full circle of Quinn’s paradox. Quinn wants to have strong relationships with people like David, but her fear of rejection has convinced her to settle with the shallow people who flock to her. Quinn is convinced that one-dimensional friends and suitors are slightly better than being alone. With that said, Quinn does have someone that’s she can be 100 percent herself with, and that’s her sister Daria.
To no surprise, Quinn matures at end of the series and it is apparent in the second movie “Is it College Yet?” In this movie, she decides to retire from the Fashion Club and explore her individuality. I predict that in her journey, she will come to be the person she’s meant to be.