Sunday, December 13, 2009

A History of Violence, Part 2

Several characters in Daria display an aggressive streak. Janet Barch beats the tar out of Mr. DeMartino about three or four times ("The New Kid," "The Daria Hunter," Is It College Yet?, and in The Daria Database), plus whales on an unfortunate disk jockey in a roller-hockey game ("The Big House"), but even she runs a distant second to Brittany Taylor.

Brit's mean streak surfaces with little warning and sometimes with little provocation. Childish teasing, a tasteless come-on, or a similar poor choice of words is usually all it takes. The most startling display of hair-trigger violence on her part did not appear in the first or second seasons of the show. It came during the interval between the fourth and fifth seasons, in Is It Fall Yet?

When the Dopey Duo are working as lifeguards over the summer before their senior year, Kevin unwisely pokes fun at Brittany's green-tinted (chlorine-dyed) hair. She boils over in seconds, stomps Kevin's foot, then chases him around the swimming pool in full view of adults and children, murder in her eyes. When she catches up to him, she re-stomps his injured foot much harder than the first time, shoves him into the pool, dives in after him, and then hammers him with her fists from behind, focusing on the back of his head. It's brutal. Once again, visual evidence of the event helps one to appreciate its full flavor, so I took the liberty of stitching the scene together in one large image for educational viewing.

Does it end there? It seems unlikely. In "Fat Like Me," mistakenly believing Kevin is unfaithful, Brittany shrilly snarls: "Ooh, I can't believe Kevvy cheated on me with Angie! Wait till I get my hands on him!" (See her expression in the image above left.) Yikes! You can feel Kevin's pain, and she hasn't even hit him yet.

At least Brittany doesn't beat up women, though she has no compunctions about face-offs with them if she suspects they are trying to steal her boyfriend ("This Year's Model," "The Lab Brat," etc.). It makes one wonder how Upchuck survived being her lab partner in "The Lab Brat." By rights, he should be in a shallow grave. Maybe she feared he had other copies of that incriminating photo. Who knows. (He does get popped by Brittany in The Daria Database, as seen at lower left.)

Other writers have taken the bad-ass Brittany concept and run with it. We have Crazy Nutso's "True Blue," an eye-popper that now (like Nemo Blank's version of Brittany in "Ring Toss") doesn't seem so far-fetched. Read the notes at the bottom of "True Blue," by the way. I've played with the idea, too, in a comedy/fantasy fic and a post-canon tale. I recall there are other violent Brittany stories, but can't pinpoint them. Maybe someone else can refresh our collective memory. Wasn't there an Iron Chef, too, about Brittany beating people up in bar fights?

Kinda wonder how the bad-ass Brittany thing got started. I bet it had something to do with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, then took on a life of its own. She is a ferocious wild child, even if she does have a pink bunny backpack and smells like baby powder. (Thanks again to UU and Pinhead for the image at upper right. You r0OoL!!!!!)

Comments? Corrections? Arguments? Thoughts or rants? Let's see 'em. And more fanfiction, too.


Roland 'Jim' Lowery said...

She beats up Daria one and a half times in my Daria: Hunter - Suited for Crime.

But to be fair, everyone else was being pretty violent at the time, too.

Oh, and about the violence around the pool in IIFY?, she was also clearly flaunting the No Running rule! Violent and disrespectful!

minx said...

oooh I could of used violent Brit as a basis of a death in Reaped... hmmm I did say I was going to do a few one shots :)

The Angst Guy said...

The way she's drawn, Brittany does offer a one-second warning that she is about to attack: her arms come up, tight with tension, fists clenched, and are held out to her sides with the forearms horizontal to the ground. Her head lowers so that her neck is covered (I read somewhere that in the animal kingdom this is a common instinctive fighting stance, to protect the throat), and she crouches, ready to run or spring. She can leap something like 6-8 feet from a standing start, and much more with a running start ("Monster,"The Daria Hunter"). That kick in "The Daria Hunter" strongly implies she's practiced some form of martial arts (not karate), or is just a natural at it (a frightening thought).

At this point, it is impossible to reason with her and the best thing to do (as Kevin clearly foresees in that sequence from IIFY?) is to run for it. Pity she's she's faster, though. All that running gets you is that you die tired.

The Angst Guy said...

What I'm sayin' is, she's frickin' awesome.

Roland 'Jim' Lowery said...

For a future spouse abuser, sure.

Anonymous said...

And then there's the flashback she has in 'Stacy Rowe, Seeker' where she reminisces about dropping the 3 J's into a carcass processor and canning them into dog food. And, of course, there's the scene where she kills Kevin with toxic butterflies.

The Angst Guy said...

And then there's the flashback she has in 'Stacy Rowe, Seeker' where she reminisces about dropping the 3 J's into a carcass processor and canning them into dog food. And, of course, there's the scene where she kills Kevin with toxic butterflies.

Did I say she was awesome? She's even awesomer than awesome. The Three Js should have been turned into dog food long ago.

Anonymous said...

I had her be a...sniper, I think (or maybe I'm misremembering) in Mart of the Dead. (And she was also Buck Conroy's niece, to explain where she got fighting power).