What if Daria and Jane had met fifteen years earlier? What if Jane had been adopted? What if Quinn wasn't embarrassed by her own intelligence? What if Daria was more outgoing? What would Lawndale High be like?
Daria (and associated characters and locations) is copyright © 1997-2000 MTV Networks
This story is copyright © 2001 Mystik Slacker (email@example.com) and has been written for personal enjoyment. No infringement of the above rights is intended.
Intro. Not the usual Daria intro, go straight to:
A silhouetted figure in black walks on against a gray backdrop, at the left side of the screen. It's an adult male. He speaks in a voice oddly reminiscent of Rod Serling.
NARRATOR: There is a theory, more science fiction than fact, that from every decision both possible results spring forth into parallel universes. In one, you step off a curb without looking, and are struck by a car. In the other, you look first, and a safe falls on you while you watch the cars go by. In the end, entropy wins anyway.
The narrator walks to the other side of the gray screen, as a silhouetted safe falls where he was just standing and embeds itself in the ground.
NARRATOR: There is a branch of science, known as Chaos, that studies systems where a small change in inputs can have substantial changes in outputs. Weather is one such system, and researchers joke about the Butterfly Effect: where an insect flapping its wings on one continent is the cause of a storm on another several weeks later.
A silhouetted butterfly begins to flap around the narrator's head. He ducks and swipes ineffectually at it, while continuing to talk.
NARRATOR: Goddamn literal animators! (beat) Consider one Daria Morgendorffer, a cynical high school student, who copes with the inane antics of her so-called peers by hiding within a shell of sarcasm and intellect. Her friend Jane Lane, similarly alienated from the mainstream, pursues personal excellence in art, and harbors a secret fear that she craves popularity and acceptance. Neither accepts the tenets of conventional wisdom as a basis for their self-image, and neither fears to lead life on their own terms. But, by standing apart from their world, neither has a substantial effect on their surroundings.
The butterfly lands on the narrator's head. He swats it, hard, but misses, hitting himself, and it flutters off.
NARRATOR: Ouch! That hurt. (beat) Daria and Jane first met when they were sixteen, and their personalities and worldviews were already solidly formed by years of parental and peer conditioning. But what if they'd met fifteen years earlier, and the knowledge that they weren't alone against the world had shaped them from the beginning? That is our butterfly, not this pesky animated shadow, and the storm that results will reshape the Lawndale that you thought you knew. Or it would, if this wasn't a parallel universe.
The butterfly flutters off-screen, and the narrator turns and walks off in the other direction, shaking his head, and muttering.
Title slide: 'Daria, in "The Butterfly Storm"':
Establishing Shot: Exterior. Trackside Apartments - Day.
The apartment building is a simple, two story, wooden structure. Apartments on the second level are reached by an exterior wooden walkway, with a set of stairs at each end of the building. The building's roof overhangs the walkway, providing limited shelter from the weather. To the left of the building is a vacant lot, apparently used as a dumping ground for junk too large to be taken in the regular trash collection. Cars park on the street in front of the building. None of the cars look expensive, and several sit without wheels, raised on concrete blocks. The sun shines down brightly from a cloudless sky.
A small, gumdrop-shaped hatchback car, in lime green, pulls up and parks (yes, it's an AMC Gremlin). A thirtyish Jake and Helen Morgendorffer step out of the car. Jake reaches in the back and removes a car seat containing the infant Daria, identified only by the green blanket wrapping her against the fall chill. Helen heads up the stairs, while Jake struggles with the car seat.
Superimposed title: Age 1, Fifteen Years Before Lawndale
HELEN: Jake, don't take all day. I have at least five hours of homework to get through after dinner. My God!
Jake looks up at Helen from the bottom of the stairs.
JAKE: What is it honey? Have we been robbed? I knew this neighborhood wasn't safe! Get away from the door, they might still be inside! I'll go call the police!
Helen looks down at Jake with a patient, but long-suffering sigh.
HELEN: Jake, calm down, we haven't been robbed. Actually, quite the opposite, someone left a baby on the doorstep.
JAKE: Oh, is that all. (beat, then in a rising voice) A what?
Jake hurries up the stairs, as Helen bends down and picks up a bundle, and we see our first view of the infant Jane. She's wrapped in a red blanket, and a cloisonne pin in the shape of a butterfly both pins the blanket closed and holds a note against it. Holding the baby, Helen unlocks the door and enters the apartment, followed by Jake.
Interior. Old Apartment.
The apartment has a small main room, combining living room and dining area, with a small counter against one wall serving as a kitchen. Three doors open to the rear, through one can be seen a futon bed, through the second a crib, and through the third a very tiny bathroom. A decrepit couch, slumped at one end, and a small table with two chairs, are the only furniture in the room.
Helen sits on the couch, and unwraps Jane, checking to make sure that she's unharmed from her stay outdoors. Jane, dressed only in a diaper, gurgles and smiles.
HELEN: Well, she looks okay, and she's been washed recently.
She sets Jane down on the floor on her blanket, as she turns to the note. Meanwhile Jake has extricated Daria from the car seat, and places her on the floor also. Daria, also wearing only a diaper, sits up, and stares at Jane. Jane looks around, then crawls over to Daria. The two look at each other, then lean on opposite sides of Jakes leg and appear to fall asleep.
HELEN: (reading the note) Dear Mr. and Ms. Morgendorffer, we've seen you playing with your baby in the park. You seem to be good parents, and we hope you can take care of our baby, Jane. We can't afford another child, and from what we've heard of the adoption process we're afraid to put her through that. Yours, A & V.
JAKE: (sentimental) That's so nice, someone thinks we're good parents. Helen, look at the girls, they're sleeping on my leg!
HELEN: (softly, so as not to wake the girls) So they are. They seem to get along. (beat) You know, Jake, we've been waiting until I graduate to have another child, but it would be good for Daria to have someone to play with. (she hesitates) Do you think we could adopt her?
JAKE: (doubtful, also softly) I don't know Hon, we can barely afford food for the three of us. And we were going to put Daria in daycare soon, so I could work full time. We can't afford to do that for two kids.
HELEN: (softly) Amy had offered to watch Daria. The main reason I turned her down was because daycare would expose Daria to other children. She'd probably be happy to watch both of them.
JAKE: (softly) That would work, and the extra money should cover more food. But can we adopt her? We're not exactly the successful, affluent parents adoption agencies look for, are we?
HELEN: (softly) I have some contacts from that internship I did with Social Services last year. I think I can manage the paperwork, especially since I'm about to graduate, and next year we'll be better off financially. But do you really want to do this? While I'm in school, and even afterwards, you're going to be handling most of the parenting.
Jake reaches over, and puts his arm around Helen's shoulders.
JAKE: (softly) Twin girls? How could I resist.
Interior. Old Apartment - Day.
The apartment is much the same as before, except that a television and two chairs have joined the couch, and a couple of paintings of rural scenes hang on the walls. The second bedroom now has a pair of twin beds, and the crib is next to the parents' futon.
Superimposed title: Age 3, Thirteen Years Before Lawndale
Helen sits at the table, working on some papers. An infant Quinn, dressed in a pink t-shirt and diaper, chews on the corner of The Cat in the Hat. Jane, in a red t-shirt and black shorts, is drawing on the wall with a crayon. Other drawings attest to a recurring behavior. Daria, about three years old, wearing a green t-shirt and black shorts, with glasses, walks over and takes the book away.
Quinn starts to cry. Helen glances up, and then returns to her work, speaking without looking at Daria.
HELEN: Daria, give that book back to your sister. Can't you learn to share?
Daria clutches the book to her chest, unspeaking, with a sullen look. Jane stops drawing and looks at Daria, then up at Helen.
JANE: No! Daria book! Quinn not eat!
HELEN: What? (looks over and sees the ragged edge of the book) Oh, maybe Quinn is too young for books still.
Helen looks around, and finds a toy, abandoned behind the couch. She picks it up and gives it to Quinn, who happily starts chewing on it. Helen returns to the table. Daria sits down and begins to look at the book.
Interior. Old Apartment - Day.
The old couch has been replaced with the sectional sofa we know from the Morgendorffer house in Lawndale, and the table has been replaced by the familiar kitchen table, now with five chairs. Other small tables, lamps, and knick-knacks give the room a crowded look. In the second bedroom, a set of bunk beds and a third bed can be seen. The door is open to the landing outside their second-floor apartment, and the sun shines brightly through the door. Three children's bicycles lean against the railing outside the door.
Jane and Daria, age 10, are sitting in the apartment. Daria is reading; Jane is drawing in a sketchbook. Both are dressed in shorts and t-shirts, and are wearing heavy shoes or light boots.
Superimposed title: Age 10, Six Years Before Lawndale
QUINN: (off screen, and distant) Give that back! It's mine!
Daria stands up, and walks to the door.
DARIA: Jane, Quinn's in trouble. It's Tony and his gang.
Jane looks up, and puts down the sketchbook.
JANE: Again? When is she going to learn not to play in Tony's junkyard?
DARIA: This looks bad. He took her Barbie, and she's not backing down.
Jane stands up, and walks over to the door. As she walks to the door there's a scream from outside.
DARIA: He hit her!
JANE: Don't just stand there, do something!
Jane goes to run out the door, but Daria stops her.
DARIA: There's five of them, and two of us. We need a plan. Here's what we'll do.
Fade out and back in.
Exterior. Junkyard - Day.
The junkyard is a lot filled with discarded furniture, washing machines, tires, and similar large objects. It's more of a rubbish heap than a junkyard, and no fence separates it from the street or the adjacent apartment building.
An eight-year old Quinn sits on the ground, crying, with a bruise on her left cheek. Tony, a boy about ten, stands over her, holding a doll in his left hand. Four other boys stand around, watching.
TONY: I've told you this is our stuff. Now you have to pay a toll. I think I'll keep this (he holds up the doll).
JANE: (off screen) If I knew you liked to play with dolls, I'd have given you my old ones Tony.
Tony turns, to see Daria and Jane standing a few feet away. Both look angry, and have their hands clenched in fists. The other boys turn as well.
TONY: (superior tone) What are you doing here? This is our yard.
DARIA: And I love what you've done with it. (colder) We've come to take our sister home.
TONY: Well, you can't have her. She has to pay for trespassing.
Jane glares at Tony with a hard look in her eyes.
JANE: (flat) I don't think you heard her correctly. Quinn's leaving. Now.
Tony looks at his gang, and then at the two of them.
TONY: You think the two of you can take her from us?
JANE: Do you need to hide behind your friends? Or can't you handle one girl by yourself? I'll take you on, one on one.
Tony looks at his friends, then back to Daria.
TONY: What about her?
JANE: She'll stay out of it, as long as it's just us two.
TONY: Okay, I'll fight you. If I win, Quinn stays here and helps us move stuff. (to the other boys) Clear some room.
The gang draws back, and Daria walks over to stand by Quinn. Tony throws the doll onto a pile of junk, and turns to Jane.
TONY: Okay, come and get me.
As he speaks, he pulls a small knife, probably a table knife, but a sharp one, from his pocket.
JANE: Tony, Tony, Tony, you're so predictable. You can't even face one little girl without having to cheat. Do you really need a knife to deal with me?
TONY: (smug) You didn't say no weapons.
Jane opens her hand, and a length of bicycle chain drops to hang from it. A flick of her wrist, and it's looped once about her hand. She steps forward, swinging her arm, and hits Tony's right arm with the chain. He drops the knife, more in surprise than anything else, and Jane steps forward dropping the chain.
JANE: But I don't like knives. And I don't need a weapon to deal with a little shit like you.
Tony is just looking up from his hand, as Jane kicks him, hard, between the legs. He folds up with a small shriek. His friends start to step forward. As they do, Daria takes a step away from Quinn, and opens her own hand. Another bicycle chain drops down. The other boys look at her.
DARIA: Leave them to finish it. That was what Tony agreed to.
One of the boys, Brian, looks at Tony on the ground, and smiles.
BRIAN: Okay, if Tony can't beat a girl, he's got no place telling us what to do. But you keep out of it.
Daria nods, and steps back to Quinn. The other boys relax, and go back to watching the fight. Jane is proceeding to pummel the prone Tony, who doesn't seem to be making much of an attempt to defend himself. This goes on for a while, until Tony, bleeding from a cut lip, and with bruises on his face surrenders.
TONY: Okay! I give up! Take Quinn and get out of here!
Jane steps back, panting from exertion. Tony lies on the ground, trying to sit, but barely pushing himself above a prone position. Daria walks over.
DARIA: (friendly tone) So, Tony, couldn't even handle one little girl?
TONY: (fearful) Stay back! You promised, one on one!
DARIA: Actually, Jane promised that, I didn't. However, I'll stick by her agreement, as long as your friends stick by yours.
Jane walks over and picks up the doll, then returns to Quinn and helps her up, handing the doll to her. Quinn looks at her, wide-eyed.
JANE: C'mon sis, time to go home.
BRIAN: Hey Jane!
Jane turns to him.
BRIAN: Um, you fight pretty good, for a girl. You want to be in our gang?
JANE: No. (she looks around at the boys) But you can be in ours if you want.
Brian looks at the others, who nod.
DARIA: (to Jane, under her breath) Our gang? What gang?
JANE: (also under her breath) The best way to keep this from happening again is to have them on our side. Tony won't do anything with the others backing us.
DARIA: (under her breath) Almost true, but we should get him on our side too, just to be safe.
JANE: (to Tony) Hey Tony!
Tony looks up from the ground, fearful.
JANE: You fought pretty well. Want to be in the gang too?
TONY: Uh, yeah, sure. What's it called?
Jane looks blank.
DARIA: The Junkyard Dogs. (to Jane) We need to get Quinn home and cleaned up before Dad gets home for dinner.
JANE: Yeah. (to Brian) See you guys tomorrow, after school?
BRIAN: Sure. We'll be here.
The three girls walk off. Tony remains sitting, as if he still doesn't believe what just happened.
QUINN: (off screen) You were really great, guys. I didn't know you had a gang. Can I join?
Exterior. Street Fair - Day.
The five Morgendorffers are browsing through a street fair, with tables and racks of merchandise interspersed with food booths and other diversions. Jake is wearing shorts and a Hawaiian shirt, and carrying a camera. He looks every inch the tourist. Helen is more conservatively dressed, in slacks and a t-shirt. Daria, Quinn, and Jane are dressed in t-shirts (in their signature colors) and jeans. Daria wears her usual black glasses. Quinn holds a large shopping bag in one hand.
Superimposed title: Age 14, Two Years Before Lawndale
Quinn, age 12, moves from table to table, picking up jewelry and trinkets, holding them up and comparing them against her skin color. Daria and Jane appear to be looking also, but not seriously shopping.
QUINN: No, that's too dark. (beat) Too light.
DARIA: (to Jane) Maybe if she just bought one, and dyed her skin to match, we'd get out of here sooner. I want to see the museum before it closes.
JANE: (to Daria) Fat chance. She can keep this up for hours. (beat) At least she's enjoying herself, we had our fun yesterday.
DARIA: Yeah, and then watching Mom and Dad eat at a real Japanese restaurant was the perfect end to a good day. I'll never forget dad's face when I told him that tako meant octopus.
JANE: Neither will he; I got it on film.
QUINN: (excited) Oh, this is perfect! Mom, look at this!
HELEN: That is nice, Quinn, but you don't have that much money left.
QUINN: Aww, Mom, I'll never find one like this again. Please? Dad? I'll do dishes for a week! (beat) A month?
JAKE: How much is it? (looks at the tag) Yikes! Two hundred dollars? Quinn, we can't afford that, this vacation's nearly bankrupt us as it is!
HELEN: (irritated) Jake, quit worrying about the money. Quinn's right, we won't have this chance again.
Daria looks annoyed at Quinn manipulating the parents once again, but doesn't speak.
JANE: Mom, Quinn's already got the leather coat you bought her earlier. Are you going to be able to afford Daria's new glasses if you buy that pendant?
Helen looks flustered.
HELEN: Oh, I almost forgot. (to Quinn) I'm sorry honey, but I did promise your sister a new pair of glasses for school. If you really want this, we can return the coat.
QUINN: Mo-om! I need that coat! Winter's going to be here soon, and my old coat is so last year!
HELEN: Well, dear, that's your choice. One or the other.
QUINN: Oh, all right. (puts the pendent down) Daria, you did promise I could help you pick out more stylish frames this time, right?
DARIA: (sighs) Yes, Quinn, I'll listen to your advice, but I have final say in what I get.
QUINN: That's fine, you have good taste, you just need a little push sometimes.
Interior. Morgendorffer House Living Room - Day.
It's the Lawndale house we are familiar with, except that a painting of Jane's hangs on the wall behind the couch. It's her usual bleak style, although nobody is obviously dying in it. The three girls sit on the sofa, and Jake can be seen in the kitchen, apparently getting ready to leave for work.
All three are wearing tops similar to Quinn's from the fourth season, with butterfly patterns on the front. Daria wears her usual skirt, and some stylish black boots (not her Doc Martens). Daria's glasses are similar to her usual ones, with round lenses and black frames, but the frame is thinner, less obvious (similar to Aunt Amy's glasses in Through a Lens Darkly). The overall effect is less intimidating than the Daria we normally see. Jane has black jeans, and running shoes. Quinn wears her usual jeans and shoes.
Superimposed Title: Age 16, Lawndale: The Beginning
JAKE: (distant) Are you three almost ready? We need to leave in a couple of minutes. You don't want to be late for your first day in a new school, do you?
DARIA: Is that an option?
JANE: Why so down sis? This'll be fun.
DARIA: Fun? A new building full of mindless cattle, who won't even know enough to get out of my way. I fail to see any fun in that.
JANE: Look, nothing can be as bad as Highland. You'll see; you can join the school paper this time, without those two idiots to distract you. I'm going to go out for the cheerleading squad.
QUINN: And I'll find the popular crowd, and teach them fashion!
DARIA: I'm sure they'll thank you for your charity. (turning to Jane) Why would you want to be a cheerleader, anyway? The track team I could see, but cheerleading?
JANE: Nah, running's something I do for fun. Joining a team would make it feel like work. But cheerleading, now that's the way to get people to accept you. If I take it carefully, I can probably be squad captain next year. Especially with Quinn's help with fashion tips, and yours for strategy.
DARIA: If you want to be accepted for your appearance, that's certainly a plan.
JANE: You just don't get it, do you? Once you get them to talk to you, they'll accept you for who you are. Appearance is just what gets your foot in the door. It's no different from how we got Tony and his gang to accept us because of one fight. They turned into friends eventually.
DARIA: I don't consider convincing them to accept us because you were good at brawling to be an accomplishment. It was just the only solution I could think of at the time. There was probably a non-violent approach that I overlooked.
JANE: It worked. Nobody argues with success. This will work too.
QUINN: Jane's right, Daria. It's not like she's lying to them or anything. Aren't you the one who always says "attack where the enemy is weakest"? That's what she's doing.
DARIA: Quinn, there's something surreal about you quoting Sun-tzu as an authority on popularity.
QUINN: Well, that Sunny Sue person knows what she's talking about.
Jane and Daria chuckle.
QUINN: What? What did I say now? (beat) C'mon guys, tell me!
DARIA: (smiling) I think I'll let you figure it out on your own. Ask me in a week if you still don't know. (mildly teasing tone) You know my methods, Watson, apply them!
QUINN: (frustrated) Ohh! You're such a pain!
Jake enters from the kitchen.
JAKE: Come on girls, we're going to be late.
Exterior. Lawndale High - Day.
The Lexus pulls up in front of the school, and the three girls pile out. Various other students mill about in front of the school.
JAKE: Bye girls, have a good day.
Jake pulls away, as Quinn spots Sandi, Stacy, and Tiffany and moves over to them.
QUINN: Hi, my name's Quinn! I'm new here. Great clothes, where do you shop?
Cut to: Daria and Jane.
Daria's looking a little intimidated by the crowd, but Jane looks eagerly around.
JANE: There, I'm going to go talk to the blonde in the cheerleader uniform. You talk to that serious girl with the books. She can probably tell you who runs the paper. We'll meet in the cafeteria at lunchtime and compare notes, okay?
DARIA: Okay. (ironic tone) I love it when a plan comes together.
JANE: Oh, lighten up. This'll be fun, you'll see.
Jane walks off, and Daria heads for "the serious girl", Jodie Landon.
DARIA: Um, hi, I'm Daria.
JODIE: Hi Daria, I'm Jodie. You're new, aren't you?
DARIA: How can you tell? It's because they haven't branded me yet, isn't it?
JODIE: The only scars you'll get here are mental ones. No, I'm on the student council, and I have to keep track of people because I'm campaigning for reelection in a couple of weeks. How about you, do you do any school activities?
DARIA: Well, I was thinking of joining the school paper. I write.
JODIE: That's great, c'mon, I'll introduce you to the editor before homeroom.
Cut to: Brittany, twirling her hair vacantly, as Jane walks up.
JANE: Hi, you're a cheerleader, aren't you? I'm Jane.
BRITTANY: (perky) Hi Jane, how did you know?
JANE: It's on my passport.
BRITTANY: (puzzled) That I'm a cheerleader?
Jane rolls her eyes.
JANE: No, my name. I knew you were a cheerleader from your uniform.
Brittany looks down, and light dawns, albeit dimly.
BRITTANY: (introspective) Oh, that makes sense. (perky again) I'm Brittany! Do you know how I know?
JANE: It's on your passport?
Brittany holds out her arm, and shows Jane a bracelet.
BRITTANY: My Kevvy gave me this, see the writing?
JANE: (reading) To Babe, love Kevvy. (beat) But it doesn't say "Brittany".
BRITTANY: (looking at the bracelet) Oh, you're right. That's what he calls me. But I am Brittany.
JANE: I'll take your word for it.
BRITTANY: (perky) Thanks! That's very nice for someone I just met.
JANE: I'm a nice person. (beat) Say, I was thinking of becoming a cheerleader. Are there any spots free on the squad?
BRITTANY: (pensive) No... but we can always use an alternate. And you'd probably get to perform at a few games, someone's always getting injured. We have problems with pyramids.
JANE: And anything else with multiple syllables, I'll bet.
BRITTANY: (serious) Oh no, we can do cartwheels just fine. Anyway, we have practice after school, come and show us what you can do. As long as you do cheers okay, you can be an alternate. I'm captain of the squad, and it's my decision.
Jane smiles at this news.
JANE: You don't know how happy you just made me.
BRITTANY: (happy) Gee, that's great!
Interlude (a video montage with music):
Infant Daria and Jane, sleeping on Jakes leg.
Jane, age 10, beating up Tony.
Quinn, age 12, holding jewelry up to her neck.
Jane and Brittany, talking.
Interior. School Cafeteria
The school cafeteria is as usual, a large room with a dozen or so bench-like tables. Scattered students eat in small groups. Daria and Jodie are sitting together at one table.
DARIA: I wonder what happened to Jane? She was supposed to meet me here for lunch.
JODIE: Who's Jane?
DARIA: Sorry, I forgot you haven't met her. Jane's my sister.
JODIE: Her class may have let out late, some of the teachers aren't very good at time management and run late to cover all the material.
DARIA: Making us suffer for their incompetence?
JODIE: Of course, would you expect anything else from high school?
DARIA: No, but I have this nagging voice that tells me the world can't possibly be as badly organized as I think it is. I keep telling Mom she's wrong, but she doesn't stop.
JODIE: You aren't wrong, trust me, I'm on the student government, and most people don't see half of the stupidity. (beat) Hey, there's a new girl in a shirt like yours, but she doesn't look anything like you.
Daria looks over where Jodie's pointing, and waves.
DARIA: (loud, but not shouting) Jane! Over here! (to Jodie, normal voice) Yep, that's her. You should see the third sister, she doesn't look like either of us. Redhead, with high cheekbones. Born to be a model, but don't tell her I said so.
Jane walks up and sits down.
JANE: Hey sis, introduce me.
DARIA: I already did, too bad you missed it. (beat) This is Jodie, student councilor and reasonably cynical observer of the high school scene.
JANE: Hey Jodie, nice to meet a fellow cynic.
JODIE: Hi Jane, I'm not a cynic, I'm a realist.
DARIA: Is there a difference?
ALL THREE: (loudly) No!
They chuckle, as students at other tables look their way.
JODIE: So, are you two twins? You look the same age, but not alike.
Daria glances at Jane, waiting for her to respond.
JANE: (lowered voice) Well, I don't advertise it, but Daria seems to trust you, so I suppose I can tell you. I'm adopted.
JODIE: (apologetic) Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to pry.
JANE: No apology necessary, if I didn't want to tell you, I wouldn't have.
DARIA: We usually claim to be fraternal twins; different eggs, same birth.
JANE: Or there's the hospital mix-up story, we've used that a few times. It's fun to watch people compare us to Quinn and try to guess which is the real sister.
JODIE: Quinn would be the proto-model?
DARIA: That's her. How about you, any siblings?
JODIE: Two, my sister Rachel is in junior high, and Evan's still a baby.
DARIA: So, Jane, how's your day so far?
JANE: Pretty good, I'll be on the cheerleading squad as an alternate if I can manage practice after school.
JODIE: You're trying out for cheerleading? Have you met Brittany yet?
JANE: Yep, not the sharpest pencil in the case, but she seems nice enough.
JODIE: That's her in a nutshell. She's one of the few genuinely nice people I've ever met.
JANE: So, how'd she get to be captain of the squad?
JODIE: The others aren't interested in anything beyond their appearance and date schedule. Brittany's the glue the holds them together. She's not bright, but she's organized and watches the details.
JANE: There's Quinn, by the door.
Jane casually points towards the door, and Jodie looks over that way.
DARIA: Maybe we could hide under the table.
JODIE: No need to worry, she's with the Fashion Club, they won't come over here.
JANE: Huh, why not?
JODIE: They avoid "brains" like the plague, and if you're sitting with me, you must be "brains" too.
Jane and Daria exchange a speculative look.
DARIA: And would this be because they're not very bright?
JODIE: Hard to tell, they don't think about anything other than clothes or boys.
JANE: Well, that could describe a lot of high school girls I've known.
JODIE: No, I mean that they don't think about ANYTHING other than clothes or boys. I'm not sure how they find their way to school in the morning. It must be instinct.
DARIA: Oh. (looks at Jane) There's a wolf among the sheep.
JANE: Yep, Quinn's going to have fun.
JODIE: I take it Quinn's not that shallow?
DARIA: Oh, she's shallow all right, but smart. She could be an honor student if she wanted, she just doesn't care for academics. She puts her brain to work on being the center of her universe, and she's very good at it.
JODIE: You don't approve?
DARIA: I hate to see her waste her potential.
JANE: Daria keeps poking Quinn to do better in school, and Quinn keeps prodding Daria to pay more attention to her appearance and social skills. Between the two of them they make a complete person.
DARIA: Gee, thanks Jane. What does that make you?
JANE: (smirks) The spare.
JODIE: You know, I thought I was cynical, but you two have me beat.
JANE: Thanks, it's a gift.
DARIA: One we'd return if we could figure out where it came from.
JODIE: Well, on that note I think I'll be leaving. I've a student council meeting after school to prepare for. Catch you guys at lunch tomorrow?
JANE: Sounds good to me.
Exterior. Athletic Field - Day.
The usual crowd of cheerleaders we know (Brittany, Lisa, Angie, Nikki, and several others) sit on a bench at the side of the field, watching. Jane, dressed in a uniform, walks off the field towards them.
JANE: So, how did I do?
Brittany looks to the other girls, they nod. Brittany jumps up.
BRITTANY: (happy, beyond her usual perkiness) That was great Jane! You'll make a wonderful cheerleader.
JANE: (deadpan) I'm so excited. (normal voice) So, what comes next?
BRITTANY: Well, we finished the basic practice before you got here, now we need to practice the pyramid. You can watch, and see how we do it, and maybe we can try one with you, if we don't have any serious problems.
JANE: Okay by me. Pyramid away.
The other girls run out on the field, and start assembling into a pyramid. As they finish the second tier, before Brittany can get into place on the top, the whole assembly falls to one side.
ANGIE: (rubbing her elbow) Oww! That hurts!
BRITTANY: (concerned) Are you okay?
ANGIE: Yeah, but I took some skin off my elbow.
Brittany looks at her arm.
BRITTANY: (decisive) I think we're through for today. You need to get that taken care of, and we can't practice it without you. We'll do this again tomorrow, okay everybody?
The others nod, or respond affirmatively, then head for the building. As the cheerleaders file off, Brittany walks over to Jane.
BRITTANY: Sorry Jane, guess that's it for today.
JANE: You weren't kidding about having problems. Does this happen often?
BRITTANY: About half the time. Nikki's legs aren't strong enough to be on the bottom.
JANE: So put her higher up.
BRITTANY: We tried that, it's worse, she's afraid of heights. She got sick all over Lisa last time.
JANE: Um, why is she a cheerleader at all?
BRITTANY: She's fine on the ground, and both her sisters were on the squad. We have to keep her if we can. (downbeat) But we may have to give up the pyramid this year.
JANE: I saw some strength training machines in the gym, why not have her build up her leg muscles if that's the problem?
Brittany twirls her hair around her finger absent-mindedly, while she thinks. Then she smiles.
BRITTANY: (perky) That's it Jane! Why didn't I think of that?
Jane seems about to say something, and then hesitates as if she's changed her mind.
JANE: Sometimes a new person sees things that other people missed.
BRITTANY: This is great! Thanks Jane! I've got to find Nikki before she leaves; she can start training today! Bye!
Jane watches Brittany run off, then smiles and walks slowly after her towards the gym.
Interior. Pizza Place - Evening.
Quinn is sitting in a booth with Sandi, Stacy, and Tiffany. Stacy holds a notepad, and is taking notes.
SANDI: I call this meeting of the Fashion Club to order. Stacy, was there anything from the last meeting we needed to carry over?
Stacy flips back several pages in her notebook, and reads to herself.
STACY: Uh, we deferred consideration of Brooke's application for membership again, for the twenty-third time.
SANDI: Make it twenty-four. (beat) On to new business: We have a new applicant, Quinn Morgendorffer. You've all had a chance to discuss your areas of expertise with her, does anyone want to raise objections to her application for membership?
STACY and TIFFANY: No, Sandi.
SANDI: Okay, one of you needs to sponsor her application, Stacy?
STACY: Me? But you're the one who invited her to join.
SANDI: (archly) Stacy, is there a problem?
Stacy hunches her shoulders, and draws back from Sandi.
STACY: (quickly) No Sandi. I move we approve Quinn's application.
SANDI: Are you going to second Stacy's motion?
TIFFANY: (puzzled) Stacy isn't moving, she's right here.
Sandi appears to be grinding her teeth.
SANDI: Tiffany, dear, Stacy just sponsored Quinn for membership, you need to second the motion so we can pass it.
TIFFANY: Oh, but you invited Quinn to the meeting, doesn't that make her a member?
SANDI: (through clenched teeth) No, Tiffany, it doesn't. I'm the president. I'm not allowed to sponsor new members, only to approve or deny applications that have been seconded.
SANDI: So, are you going to second the motion?
TIFFANY: What motion?
SANDI: Just... Say... I... Second... The... Motion!
TIFFANY: You second the motion? I thought I was supposed to say that?
SANDI: Stacy, record that Tiffany seconds the motion.
STACY: But Sandi...
SANDI: (yells) JUST DO IT!
Stacy flinches, and writes.
STACY: Right, Tiffany seconds the motion to approve Quinn's application for membership. Is that okay?
SANDI: Yes, that's fine. (beat) So, I, the president, confirm this motion for approval. There, we're done. Welcome to the club, Quinn.
QUINN: Thanks, Sandi. I'm happy to be part of the club, what can I do to help?
SANDI: Well, we have a vacancy for the vice president's position. It's largely ceremonial, but you would have to write reports on trends, and photograph fashion disasters for discussion at meetings, and a few other things.
QUINN: I could do that.
SANDI: Great, I nominate Quinn for vice president, will someone second the motion? (she looks at Stacy)
STACY: (quickly) I second it!
SANDI: (rushed) Good, all opposed? None. All in favor? Unanimous. Record it, Stacy.
TIFFANY: Um, do you want me to say anything?
SANDI: No, Tiffany, you've said enough.
TIFFANY: Thanks, Sandi, I'm happy to do my part for the club.
Sandi puts her elbows on the table, and leans her head into her hands.
SANDI: Oh, I have such a headache.
STACY: I have some aspirin in my purse. Do you want a couple?
Sandi looks up at Quinn, ignoring Stacy's question.
SANDI: Quinn, do you have any suggestions for discussion topics at our next meeting?
QUINN: How about, skirts versus shorts for casual wear?
SANDI: That sounds interesting. Everyone come prepared next time to discuss which you think is best, and why.
TIFFANY: Skirts are best.
SANDI: Not now, Tiffany, next time.
TIFFANY: Oh. Okay.
SANDI: I move we adjourn.
QUINN: I second the motion.
SANDI: Thank you.
Interior. The Zon.
Daria and Jane are in the Zon, a bar/club. Various other people mill about, and a stage is set up at one end of the room. There are instruments on the stage, and a "Mystik Spiral" banner above it, but no musicians are in view.
DARIA: I see the nightlife in this 'burb is as cutting edge as the school system.
JANE: It's early yet, wait 'till the band starts playing.
DARIA: They were supposed to start two hours ago. Do you really expect much from a band named "Mystik Spiral"?
JANE: Well, no, but how bad can it be?
DARIA: If they open with Stairway to Heaven, Freebird, or anything by the Doors, I'm leaving.
JANE: Heaven forbid. I told you, they only play original music. Let's get something to drink.
The two walk over to the bar.
JANE: Two colas, diet.
The bartender delivers them, and Jane pays. While they're standing there, a tall, thin, twenty-ish man walks up to the bar, it's Trent Lane.
TRENT: Hey Dan, four beers.
JANE: That's quite a thirst you've got.
DARIA: Why not order a pitcher?
JANE: Unless you want to hold one in each hand.
DARIA: And you've got four arms.
TRENT: (chuckles) You chicks are weird. (cough) I don't remember seeing you here before, have you seen the Spiral play somewhere else?
JANE: We haven't even seen them play here, they seem to be late.
WOMANS VOICE: (off screen) That's because the lead singer forgot he had a gig tonight.
The two girls look up as a gaunt woman, dressed in black, walks up next to Trent. It's Monique.
TRENT: Hey, Monique, that's not fair. I didn't forget; I was just working on a song.
MONIQUE: And you'd still be working on it if I hadn't dropped in to see why you were an hour late.
TRENT: Do you know how hard it is to think of something that rhymes with pomegranate?
DARIA: Can it?
DARIA: "Can it" rhymes with pomegranate. Why is this so hard?
Trent gets a far-away look in his eyes.
TRENT: Oh. My love is like a pomegranate, beneath my shell, I want to can it. Oh man, I've got to find Jesse.
He wanders away with a distracted air.
DARIA: My love is like a pomegranate? I've got a bad feeling about tonight's entertainment. Maybe a garage band rendition of Freebird wouldn't be so bad after all.
MONIQUE: I have to apologize for my boyfriend. He doesn't mean to be rude, he just forgets other people exist when he's composing. He also forgets to eat, sleep, and come in out of the rain.
JANE: Not to be rude myself, but if he's that oblivious why are you still with him?
MONIQUE: He's quite considerate when he's not composing. (beat) At least he is until a week of no sleep catches up with him and he goes catatonic. It does make for a rocky relationship. Anyway, I'm Monique. The zombie who just left was Trent. Who are you two?
JANE: I'm Jane Morgendorffer, and this is my sister Daria. Is the band going to play eventually, or is this a form of performance art?
Monique laughs, and grabs one of the beers Trent left on the bar.
MONIQUE: Good one. Want a beer? Trent won't remember he got these for the band until after they're warm.
DARIA: We're underage. By about five years.
MONIQUE: I won't tell if you don't. Nobody cares. The mayor's brother owns the joint.
JANE: Thanks, but I think we'll stick with the colas.
MONIQUE: That's cool, too. Hey, performance art, that reminds me. (leaning over the bar) Dan, did I promise to do something the other night?
Dan, the bartender, walks over.
DAN: Yeah, the poster, don't you remember?
MONIQUE: I knew it was something like that. Damn, when do you need it?
DAN: Friday night, so I can get it to the print shop Saturday before they close. Are you backing out?
MONIQUE: No, I'll do it, somehow.
Dan walks off. Jane looks at Monique with interest.
JANE: What's this about a poster?
MONIQUE: I promised to draw a poster for his "battle of the bands" contest. I must have been really drunk. I hate drawing, but nobody else is any good at all, and at least I can remember what perspective is supposed to look like.
JANE: Hey, I'm an artist. I could do it.
MONIQUE: Uh, no offense Jane, but cute animals aren't what he's looking for.
Jane is slightly annoyed.
JANE: I do NOT draw cute animals. (beat) Unless they're being disemboweled.
MONIQUE: Well, that seems like the right spirit. Are you really any good? I don't want to let Dan down.
DARIA: Do you have anything to draw on?
MONIQUE: Hey Dan! Give me something I can draw on.
Dan hands her a sheet of light cardboard, with mild circular indentations. It looks like it came out of a box of bottles. Jane pulls out a pen, and starts to sketch.
Fade out and back in.
Jane is holding a rough sketch, in pen, of two opposing lines of musicians, holding guitars like rifles, with various bodies lying on the ground.
JANE: I was thinking something like this, only in paint.
MONIQUE: Wow! Name your price girl, this is GOOD!
JANE: It's free. I just want to put my signature on it.
MONIQUE: I think we can do better than that. Can you get it to me by Friday?
JANE: I can get it to you tomorrow. What words do you want on it?
MONIQUE: Hey Dan. Jane's going to do the poster, how does this look.
Dan walks over, and Monique shows him the sketch.
DAN: Whoa, that's perfect. How much?
Jane starts to speak, but Monique overrides her.
MONIQUE: Free colas for Jane and her sister Daria, until the next contest.
DAN: (Looking at Jane) That's all?
JANE: We drink a lot of cola.
DAN: Nobody drinks that much. It's a deal.
He reaches over the bar, and he and Jane shake hands. Afterwards, he goes off to deal with another customer.
MONIQUE: When can I have it tomorrow?
JANE: As soon as I get through with practice, I'll drop it off here.
JANE: I'm an alternate for the cheerleader squad.
Monique seems incredulous.
MONIQUE: Don't take this the wrong way, but why is someone with your talent wasting time as a cheerleader?
DARIA: It's part of her plot to take over the school.
MONIQUE: Lawndale High? Why would anyone want to?
Jane seems briefly at a loss for worlds.
JANE: Because it's there? (shrugs) It's a way to get to know people.
MONIQUE: I dunno, I'd think you'd want people to know who you really are, not have some false impression of you as the bouncy, cheering, type.
DARIA: My point exactly.
Quinn and the other FC'ers are walking down the hall between classes. Various other students are milling about.
QUINN: Oh, guys, do you mind a detour? I need to find something in the library.
SANDI: Not at all Quinn, are you looking for a fashion book?
QUINN: No, my sister gave me a challenge, and I have to see if I can figure it out.
The four enter the library, and Quinn walks up to the librarian, a thin man in his late twenties, dressed in a sport coat and tie.
LIBRARIAN: Yes, ladies, can I help you?
QUINN: I'm looking for a book by someone named "Sunny Sue" or something like that. It's got something to do with armies.
The librarian looks puzzled, and then laughs.
LIBRARIAN: Oh, Sun-tzu's The Art of War. That's in the business section.
The librarian points the direction, and the four head over to the stacks.
TIFFANY: Eww, Quinn, war is bad. All that baggy olive clothing is so unfashionable!
SANDI: Are you planning to invade something?
QUINN: No Sandi, like I told you, it's to prove to my sister she can't fool me.
SANDI: Well, how did you know who to ask if you don't know anything about war? Are you some kind of Brain?
QUINN: Well, duh, Sandi, everyone knows to ask a librarian about books.
It's apparent from the expression on Sandi's face that not everyone knows this. Sandi stops.
SANDI: (superior) Well, Quinn, I have to say that war and fashion don't mix. Until you get over this strange interest, I think you need to be alone. You can find us in the cafeteria at lunchtime if you're feeling better by then. (to the others) Let's go.
Sandi turns and walks away, and the other two follow her, although Stacy looks torn, glancing back at Quinn mournfully as she walks away. Quinn stands there with an annoyed look, and then goes back to looking for the book.
Interior. School Paper Room.
A typical Lawndale High room, equipped with a few tables, covered by scattered papers, with chairs. A few students mill about, working on various things.
Daria is sitting at one table, reading a copy of the school paper. Jodie enters, looking upset. She walks up to Daria, and speaks angrily.
JODIE: (angry, hurt) How could you do this to me? I thought you were my friend!
Daria looks up from the paper, surprised and taken aback by the outburst.
DARIA: Huh? Do what to you?
JODIE: Don't play dumb! This is your name on the editorial!
Jodie throws down a copy of the paper, open to an inner page. Meanwhile, the other students are backing away, giving the two of them room.
DARIA: Yeah, but that's not about you. It's about the school administration.
JODIE: And what about this? (she points to a paragraph and reads) "The failure of the student council to take even the simplest action to protest the administration's ban on the use of personal music systems in study hall only serves to highlight the council's disinterest in the student body it supposedly represents." I'm a member of that council, how is this not about me?
DARIA: Well, put that way, yes it is about you, but only as a member of the council. It's nothing personal.
JODIE: Well, I take it personally when someone says I don't care! I've been representing the interests of the students of this school for a year! You've been here a couple of days and you have the gall to criticize how we do our jobs! Come down out of your ivory tower and put your actions where your words are, and we'll see how easy you think it is to get anything done around here!
Daria stands up. She's trying to be patient, but it's apparent that Jodie's anger is getting to her. The other students find reasons to leave the room, eventually leaving the two of them alone.
DARIA: Look, the facts are pretty straightforward. Ms. Li bans personal stereos, with no reason, when they've been allowed in past years. Nobody questions it. Nobody. I've heard a dozen students in the halls griping about it. How can you claim to represent them if you're letting her do it without any challenge?
Jodie seems to have run out of steam, and settles down to a more normal speaking voice. But there's still an edge of irritation to her voice.
JODIE: Don't you think we thought about it? We spent an entire meeting discussing it, which you'd know if you bothered to come to it before writing editorials about us. What do you want us to do, send her a letter? (switches to an ingratiating voice) "Please Ms. Li, be nice and give us our music back." (returning to her normal voice) What good would that do? How would you fix it?
DARIA: (finally irritated) I don't know, but I'd do SOMETHING! I wouldn't just sit on my ass and whine about how powerless I was!
JODIE: (returns to yelling) Well, if you think it's so easy, why aren't you running for student council? Get your hands dirty for a change, instead of being an armchair quarterback!
Jodie turns and storms out of the room, slamming the door behind her. Daria looks after her with a regretful expression.
Exterior. Athletic Field - Day.
The cheerleaders, including Jane, are walking off the field, looking as if they've just finished strenuous exercise. Brittany and Jane are walking together, and Angie comes up to them.
ANGIE: Hey Jane, I saw a poster for a battle of the bands, and it looked like your signature on it. Did you do that?
Jane perks up.
JANE: Yeah, that's mine. What did you think?
ANGIE: It was pretty disgusting. What's all that blood have to do with music?
JANE: (a little defensive) It's a metaphor. Battle of the bands, bloody musicians, see?
ANGIE: No, I don't see. What I see are dead people and your name.
Lisa and Nikki walk up while Angie is speaking.
LISA: Yeah, Jane, Angie's right. Something like that could reflect badly on us. We're cheerleaders, we're supposed to be positive role models. We can't do that if you go around being such a downer.
Jane's growing more and more outraged, but struggles to remain calm.
JANE: It's a freakin' club poster. It doesn't have anything to do with cheerleading. And who's going to know that the artist is a cheerleader anyway?
ANGIE: We know, and other people know who you are too.
Angie and the others turn and walk off in a huff, leaving Jane with Brittany.
JANE: I really like how they're accepting me for being myself. (to Brittany) So, what do you think about it?
BRITTANY: (not as perky as usual) Um, well they do have a point. But there's nothing in the rules that says you have to be upbeat when you're not at a game or representing the school. (beat) Couldn't you have drawn bunnies or something?
JANE: No, Brittany, I couldn't. I'm an artist. I have to draw what I feel.
BRITTANY: (perky) Well, if that's what makes you happy, then you should draw it the way you want. They'll get over it.
Interior. Pizza Place - Evening.
Quinn is sitting alone in a booth, with a soft drink. She's reading The Art of War, and looking up periodically. She appears to see something off screen, and quickly puts the book into her backpack, as Stacy walks up.
QUINN: Hi Stacy!
STACY: Hi Quinn, what did you want to talk to me about?
Stacy sits down.
QUINN: Does Sandi know you came here to meet me?
STACY: No, she has to baby-sit her brothers tonight.
QUINN: Good. Look, Sandi's really getting on my nerves. Anytime you or Tiffany try to do anything on your own initiative, she stomps on you. And she's constantly accusing me of being a brain just because I'm willing to answer questions in class.
STACY: Well, that's how she is.
QUINN: Doesn't the way she treats you bother you?
STACY: Of course it does, I'm not made of stone. Even if my ideas are stupid, I'd like to at least try one occasionally.
QUINN: Your ideas aren't stupid, they're just not Sandi's. Remember yesterday when she said we should shop in pairs to make sure we always had an unbiased opinion? You said the same thing two weeks ago, and she said it was a bad idea because you wouldn't be able to buy a good item you saw on sale when you were at the mall with your parents.
STACY: Yeah, I know.
QUINN: So why didn't you say something?
STACY: She'd just pretend not to remember it. I don't need to get yelled at any more. Anyway, what's your point?
QUINN: My point is that she only gets away with this because she's the president. If she wasn't, she wouldn't be able to tell you what to do.
STACY: And if it snowed ice cream Tiffany really would be fat, instead of just thinking she is. So what? It'll never happen.
QUINN: The bylaws say that a majority of club members can force a vote for president if we vote no-confidence in the current one. If you, Tiffany, and I held a vote we could elect one of us.
STACY: You want to be president?
QUINN: I'd be happy to have you or me as president. It doesn't matter which.
STACY: No thanks, I don't want it. But you'd never get Tiffany to go along. She always does what Sandi tells her to do.
QUINN: So do you, usually, and you're talking to me. Let me worry about Tiffany. If I can get her to help, are you in?
Stacy hesitates, and thinks for a while.
STACY: Um, okay. But Tiffany has to vote first. I'm not going to do it all by myself and have Sandi blame me when Tiffany backs down.
QUINN: (confident) No problem. Just cast your vote when the time comes, and it will all work out fine.
Cut to: The doorway, as Jane and Daria enter.
DARIA: There's Quinn, quick grab a booth before she sees us.
JANE: Ah, she's busy plotting with Stacy. We're safe.
Jane and Daria walk over to a booth, behind Quinn where she can't see them, and sit down.
DARIA: So, I filed my papers today.
JANE: Papers? Are you finally having dad committed?
DARIA: Tempting, but no, I need someone to burn dinner so I don't have to. He's safe, for now.
JANE: So, what papers?
DARIA: I'm running for student councilor.
Jane looks at Daria, wide-eyed and speechless.
DARIA: Hmm, that was an even better reaction than I'd expected.
JANE: Where's my sister, and how did you steal her face?
DARIA: Music to my ears. (beat) Aren't you going to ask why?
JANE: I'm still waiting for the four horsemen to arrive, it must be the apocalypse. (beat) Okay, you're going to be insufferable until I ask. Why are you running for student councilor? You hate the very thought of politics.
DARIA: Jodie's mad at me for criticizing her and the other councilors for not doing anything about the personal stereo ban. She pointed out that I was being an ivory tower intellectual by complaining that they didn't do anything, without having any intention of doing anything myself. She's right.
JANE: You're a reporter. Pointing out the failings of elected officials is doing something, and it's something you can do effectively. Even if you get elected, you don't have the people skills to effectively negotiate some kind of solution to a problem like that.
DARIA: Thanks for your support.
JANE: I'm your sister. Honesty is what you get from me, not support for a mad charge at some windmill. Rein up, Dona Quixote, you aren't that kind of dragon slayer.
DARIA: (annoyed) Well, I'm going to do it. And if I get elected I'll figure out how to do the job. Jodie's opinion matters to me, and I don't want her to think I'm unwilling to take my own advice.
JANE: Ah, I see. Well, since I became a cheerleader to gain acceptance, I can hardly tell you it's a bad idea for you to do something similar. Even if it is.
DARIA: And how is the quest for peer approval going?
JANE: Badly. They saw the poster, and now they're all mad at me for being a "downer", whatever the hell that is.
DARIA: Jane, what do you expect from people who consider selecting what to wear on their dates Saturday night a major social problem?
JANE: Hey, I accept them despite their complete lack of depth, why can't they accept me for having some?
DARIA: I think you just answered that question. If you really accepted them, you'd accept their lack of depth too. You wouldn't be accepting them "despite it."
JANE: Um. Damn, you're making sense again.
DARIA: And speaking of the two-dimensional, isn't that them now?
Cut to: The door, as Lisa, Angie, and Nikki enter.
They look over and see Jane, then pointedly turn and head for a table on the opposite side of the room.
Cut to: Daria and Jane.
JANE: And they told me they weren't going to go out for pizza tonight! Those bitches!
DARIA: Jane, getting angry with them for being who they are isn't going to solve anything.
JANE: I know. (downbeat) I'm just so damned frustrated. I put weeks into getting to know them, and just when I think they like me, this happens. I'd have sworn Brittany was my friend.
DARIA: I don't see Brittany over there. Was she on your case about the poster too?
JANE: Well, no. She was actually supportive now that I think about it, although she wasn't willing to say that they were wrong, just that I shouldn't care if they were upset.
DARIA: Surprisingly sound advice.
Interlude II (a video montage with music):
Daria, Jane, and Jodie talking in the cafeteria.
Quinn and Sandi having words in the library.
Jodie accusing Daria in the school paper room.
Jane, being left behind by the other cheerleaders on the field.
Interior. Sandi's Bedroom - Day.
The four members of the fashion club sit in a circle on the floor, with copies of Waif magazine and a variety of cosmetics scattered around. Stacy holds a notepad and pen, and is taking notes.
SANDI: Well, that concludes our eyeliner comparison for today. We need to get some more free samples from the mall before we can continue. Stacy, I think it's your turn.
STACY: (looking up from her notes) But Sandi, I did it two weeks ago, isn't it your turn?
SANDI: (haughty) Stacy, are you suggesting I made a mistake in the schedule?
QUINN: (cutting in quickly before Stacy can respond) But she's right, Sandi, all three have us have picked up samples since the last time you did. It is your turn.
Tiffany watches the exchange between the two of them like a spectator at a tennis match, turning back and forth as they speak. Stacy seems to be trying to sink into the wall behind her.
SANDI: Quinn, honey, are you suggesting that I'm losing my memory? I picked up samples just before Tiffany did. Isn't that right Tiffany?
TIFFANY: Um, I guess, Sandi, but I thought...
SANDI: (quickly cutting her off) See, Tiffany agrees with me. But if you're so concerned, Quinn, you can do it this time instead of Stacy.
QUINN: Sandi, Tiffany wasn't agreeing with you. You should let her finish. What were you going to say, Tiffany?
TIFFANY: (confused) About what?
Quinn looks frustrated.
QUINN: Never mind. (beat) Sandi, intimidating people when they're trying to be honest is no way to lead. I move for a vote of no confidence in the president, second?
SANDI: (outraged) What? You can't do that!
STACY: But Sandi, it's in the bylaws. (flips to the beginning of her pad, and reads) "A motion to vote on the competence of an officer is always in order". You said that yourself.
Sandi glares at Stacy, who tries to fold herself into as small a target as possible.
QUINN: Tiffany, are you going to second the motion?
SANDI: (glaring at Tiffany) Well, Tiffany, is this some kind of conspiracy? Do you think I'm doing a bad job? Do you really think Quinn can do any better?
Tiffany's looking more and more doubtful as Sandi speaks.
TIFFANY: Well, no Sandi, but you do keep cutting us off when we speak.
SANDI: (insincere) I'm sorry, it's just that I'm impatient to get on to more interesting things than this administrative stuff. I'll try to be more careful in the future, is that okay?
Tiffany looks relieved.
TIFFANY: Oh, that's okay then.
QUINN: (outraged) What? Okay? You aren't going to second my motion just because she promised to be nice? Do you really think that she'll remember that promise any better than she remembered whose turn it was to get samples?
TIFFANY: (confused) But, she promised.
Sandi looks triumphant.
SANDI: So, Quinn, it seems we made a mistake in asking you to join us. You're more concerned with power than fashion. It probably comes from reading those war books in the library. I'm afraid that, as president, I'm going to have to revoke your membership.
Quinn looks like she's ready to go for Sandi's throat, but she stands up and walks for the door, speaking over her shoulder.
QUINN: Fine. I'll be damned if I'm going to associate with you and your sycophants any longer! I don't need you to know what real fashion is, and I don't need this club to be popular!
Quinn walks out, slamming the door behind her.
TIFFANY: What's a sycophant?
SANDI: It means follower, and you're both good sycophants, she's just jealous that you're better at it than her.
Stacy, behind Sandi's back, looks outraged, but returns to her usual quiet self before Sandi can look at her.
SANDI: (to Stacy) Record in the minutes that Quinn resigned.
STACY: (meekly) Yes, Sandi.
Interior. School Hallway.
Open on a close-up of a poster on a bulletin board. It's a sketch of a group of students being crushed under a giant rubber stamp labeled "student council". Beneath the picture are the words "End the rubber-stamp council, give students a voice in the school, elect Daria Morgendorffer Student Councilor next Tuesday".
A hand reaches up, grabs the top of the poster, and pulls down sharply, tearing a strip out of the middle. Pull back to show that the hand belongs to Jodie, and she's not happy.
JODIE: (angry) Damn her! This mudslinging is no way to run an election! I thought she cared about the truth, but it sure doesn't look that way!
Jodie turns and walks off, leaving the torn poster on the board.
Cut to: Daria and Jane, walking down the hallway.
Jane looks over at the board and sees the torn poster.
JANE: There's another one.
Daria takes off her pack, and pulls out a poster and a staple gun, putting a new one up over the old one.
DARIA: I made lots of extras. They can't refute me, so I expected them to try to suppress me.
JANE: Don't you think calling them a rubber stamp for one incident is a little on the extreme side?
DARIA: No, it's one incident in the first month. How many more would it be by the end of the year? I think the council showed its true character, thankfully before the election, rather than later when we couldn't do anything about it.
Daria puts away the staple gun, and the two continue down the hallway.
Interior. Mall Food Court.
Quinn is sitting at a table, drinking a soft drink and reading the Art of War. Stacy walks up.
STACY: Hi, Quinn, can I join you?
Quinn looks up in surprise, and then looks around, but she doesn't attempt to hide the book.
QUINN: Sure, Stacy, but aren't you afraid someone will see you with me?
STACY: No. I've really had enough. After you left, Sandi called us "good sycophants". I can't believe she'd say something like that, after all we've done for her!
QUINN: I doubt she knows what it means.
STACY: Well I know, and I'm hardly a brain, and even if she doesn't know it should have been plain from the way you used the word that it wasn't a compliment.
Quinn looks guilty.
QUINN: Uh, yeah. I'm sorry Stacy, I didn't mean to call you that. I was just so angry at Tiffany.
STACY: Yeah, I know. I did try to warn you. Tiffany's not the dependable sort.
QUINN: I should have paid more attention to you. (downbeat) I guess I'm not really much better than Sandi.
STACY: (smiling, amused) Well, if you recognize that, you're better than her already.
Quinn seems relieved, and smiles back.
STACY: What are you going to do now? (nodding at the book) Armed revolution?
QUINN: No, one of Sun-tzu's main points is that direct conflict is the last resort of someone who's failed to win by thinking ahead. Besides, Sandi isn't worth the effort. I don't know what I'm going to do. I want to do something involving fashion, but I'm not going to set up another club. I don't know anyone else in school who knows enough about it to make that worth the effort.
STACY: So... (she hesitates, then diffidently) I had an idea.
QUINN: (interested) Yeah?
STACY: Your sister wrote that editorial about stereos in study hall didn't she?
QUINN: She did, not that it accomplished anything.
STACY: Of course not, you can't beat Ms. Li with words. But you can do other things.
QUINN: Like what?
STACY: Well, I was thinking I'd like to write a series of articles for the school paper on fashion. So we could get more people to look better.
Quinn looks at Stacy, impressed.
QUINN: (excited) Stacy, that's a great idea! Why haven't you done this before?
STACY: I suggested it to Sandi, but she thought it was a bad idea.
QUINN: I've seen Sandi's idea of writing, it would be a bad idea for her. So, do it.
STACY: Well, I was wondering if you'd be my co-author. I'm not sure I can do this on my own.
QUINN: Stacy, I'm really honored. I think you could do it on your own, but I'll be glad to be your co-author. What about Sandi?
STACY: I think she'll figure out I've resigned when I don't show up for any meetings.
QUINN: You're resigning?
STACY: I have to, or she'd throw me out for "conduct unbecoming a member of the club", that's in the bylaws too, and she can define just about anything as unbecoming if she wants an excuse to get rid of me.
QUINN: Oh. Well, let's go find my sister and ask her how we go about writing for the paper.
The two stand up, and Quinn puts her book away.
Exterior. Athletic field - Day.
Brittany is alone, doing some warm-up exercises, as Jane walks up. Jane is dressed in her usual clothes (black jeans and red butterfly top).
BRITTANY: (perky) Hi Jane, you should hurry up and get dressed, the others will be out soon.
JANE: (brusque) No. I just came by to tell you that I'm quitting. It's been a week, and the others won't even talk to me. I don't need this.
Brittany stands up.
BRITTANY: (thoughtful) Oh, has it been a whole week? I'm sorry.
JANE: You don't need to be sorry; it's not your fault. I should have realized that I just wasn't cut out to be a cheerleader.
BRITTANY: (serious) I'm the squad captain. It's my fault if there's a problem on the squad. It's like Captain Picard on the Enterprise.
JANE: It's not a problem you can fix. I just wasn't born to be unrelentingly cheerful, and the others can't understand someone who isn't.
BRITTANY: (doubtful) I suppose.
JANE: You know, it's funny.
BRITTANY: You know a joke about cheerleaders?
JANE: No, not that kind of funny. (beat) When I first met you, I thought you were a shallow person, because you were only interested in cheerleading. But you're not, you're just doing something you enjoy and that you're very good at. I think I was the shallow one, for thinking I could take a short cut to being popular.
Brittany twirls her hair about her finger, as she thinks about this statement.
BRITTANY: Oh. (beat) I don't think you're shallow. You think about lots of things I don't understand, but you never act like that makes you better than anyone. Um, did the people you made the poster for like it?
JANE: (surprised by the sudden change of topic) The poster? Yeah. Dan, the manager of the club, liked it so much he gave my sister and I free colas for three months.
BRITTANY: So, even if you're not popular as a cheerleader, it sounds like you're popular somewhere else. Isn't that just as good?
JANE: Yes, it is. Thanks Brittany. I'm going to miss working with you, that was the only part of this I enjoyed.
Brittany grabs Jane in a sudden hug. Jane, surprised, tries to pull away.
BRITTANY: (emotional) Oh Jane! I'll miss you too! Don't forget me when you're gone!
JANE: (strained) I'm not going that far, Brittany. Uh, can you let go?
Brittany releases Jane, who steps quickly back. Brittany looks sad. Jane turns to leave.
JANE: Take care, Brittany, I'll see you around.
BRITTANY: (quietly) Goodbye Jane.
Interior. School Paper Room - Day.
Daria is sitting at a desk, absent-mindedly chewing the tip of a pencil while staring at a blank pad of paper. Jodie enters and stands across from her. Other students begin to put some distance between themselves and the pair.
JODIE: (friendly) Hey, Daria, can I talk to you?
DARIA: (without looking up, uninviting) It's a free country.
JODIE: I wanted to congratulate you on being elected to the council. I may not approve of the way you campaigned, but what matters is that you cared enough to try, and that you succeeded.
DARIA: Gee, your support overwhelms me.
Jodie sighs, this is harder than she expected.
JODIE: (less friendly, more direct) Well, I'm not exactly thrilled by the prospect of working with you either, but if we're going to accomplish anything, we need to work together.
Daria sighs, and looks up at Jodie.
DARIA: (reluctant, but not unfriendly) I suppose. We might as well start with the school board's latest brainstorm: requiring school uniforms. I'm trying to write an editorial about it, but I'm not sure how to attack it effectively.
Jodie smiles, and pulls up a chair, sitting down across from Daria. The other students go back to work.
JODIE: Yes, this is going to be a difficult one to stop.
DARIA: It shouldn't be that difficult; nobody wants uniforms.
JODIE: What does that have to do with it? The school board thinks we'll pay more attention in class if we're not distracted by fashion. Parents like the idea because it costs less than buying different outfits for different days of the week. Nobody cares what the students think.
Daria looks at her, annoyed by this pessimistic view.
DARIA: So, are you saying that there's nothing we can do?
JODIE: No. What I'm saying is that we have to deal with the school board and the parents, not the students.
Daria considers this, and nods.
DARIA: Makes sense. How do we do that?
JODIE: We start by showing them how much the students are upset by it. There's a school board meeting next week, if we organize a student protest they'll see that they're creating as much of a distraction as what they're trying to avoid.
DARIA: That doesn't seem like it would be enough. A protest is a short-term distraction; they're trying to eliminate an ongoing one.
JODIE: No, this will just plant some doubt in the minds of the board members who aren't fully committed to the idea. We'll need to follow up at the PTA meeting the week after, to convince the parents to oppose the board. That will require getting parents who wouldn't normally attend to go to the meeting, as well as organizing a protest and having someone speak at the meeting. If we had more time, we could write letters and editorials for the town paper. As it is, we'll need to get the students to talk to their parents.
A faint smile flits across Daria's face, her earlier hostility forgotten in the excitement of planning their strategy.
DARIA: I don't know; that's not normal behavior for high school students.
JODIE: True, let's worry about that later. The protest is easier.
DARIA: How do we organize a protest?
JODIE: We set a place and time, and then we need to motivate the students to come. You can do that with your editorials. Once they're there, getting them to make noise is easy. The council has access to the school's portable PA equipment, and we can use art supplies to make signs.
DARIA: Okay, if we tell them that the school board is taking away their right to choose their own clothing they should be motivated to attend the protest. I can get Jane to work on signs. But will this really make a difference?
JODIE: If we can influence a few people, it may be enough. Issues like this are never unanimous. This was probably started by one board member, and it's supported by a few vocal parents. If we can convince enough of the others that it's a bad idea, they'll kill it for us.
DARIA: This sounds like it will work. (beat) It's nice to be working with you.
Interior. The Zon - Night.
The club is crowded, there's barely standing room. A few tables are set up around the edges of the room, but most of the floor is open. Monique holds down a table. Trent is sitting with her. There's one empty chair.
Jane walks up to the table. She's wearing her usual outfit (red top, black jeans), but she has the butterfly pin from scene 1 pinned on over the embroidered butterfly.
JANE: Hey, is this a private party, or can anyone join?
MONIQUE: Hey, Jane, have a seat. Where's your other half?
JANE: Plotting the downfall of the school board. You've heard about the plan for school uniforms?
MONIQUE: Yeah. Bummer. Hope she wins.
JANE: She will. Daria never learned how to lose.
TRENT: Hey Jane, nice butterfly, where'd you get it?
Jane looks at the cloisonne pin on her shirt.
JANE: This? Old family heirloom, why?
TRENT: Oh, it looks like my mothers work, but maybe she was copying an older style.
JANE: Probably, I've had it since long before we moved to Lawndale.
MONIQUE: Trent, shouldn't you go get the band ready? You're on in ten minutes.
TRENT: That soon? I guess we should get ready.
Trent stands up, he and Monique kiss, and he walks off into the crowd.
JANE: Does he ever prepare for a gig?
MONIQUE: Not noticeably, but he's been worrying about this one for days, it's just not visible unless you know him.
JANE: I guess telling different kinds of coma apart is a learned skill.
MONIQUE: Yes, it is.
Brittany walks up beside Jane. She's wearing a short blue dress with a yellow belt, rather than the blue and yellow cheerleaders uniform. She's seriously overdressed for the Zon.
BRITTANY: (perky) Hi Jane! (looking at Monique, all in black, a bit doubtfully) Who's your friend?
Jane jumps up, surprised and happy.
JANE: (quickly) Brittany! What brings you here? This is Monique. Monique, Brittany. Hey, have a seat!
As she stops for breath, Monique smiles and gestures Brittany to a chair.
MONIQUE: Hi Brittany, pull up a chair. I'd been saving that one for Daria, but she's not coming after all.
Brittany and Jane both sit back down.
JANE: So, what brings you here?
BRITTANY: Well, I wanted to see what was more important to you than cheerleading.
JANE: It was painting the poster that was more important, this is just fun. Where's Kevin?
BRITTANY: (annoyed) Off with the team, celebrating their win this afternoon. He was supposed to take me to Chez Pierre tonight, but apparently drinking with his friends is more important. He never showed up.
MONIQUE: Sounds like a loser.
BRITTANY: (serious) Oh, no, we won today. That's why they're celebrating.
Monique rolls her eyes, and Jane smiles.
Fade out and back in.
The three are still sitting at the table. Various empty beer bottles and cola cups litter the table. All three appear to be having a good time, although it's obvious they've been there a long time, and are getting tired.
BRITTANY: (tiredly) Has anybody won yet?
MONIQUE: One more pair of sets, and we'll see if Mystik Spiral is first or second. (beat) I need to stay until the band leaves, but you two can leave if you want. I appreciate the company, but don't feel you need to stay to the end.
JANE: (tired, but still interested) Nope. Now you've got me wondering who wins. I can't believe I care about a band I've only heard once before.
BRITTANY: (pointedly, but friendly) It's not the band, it's the guy without a shirt.
JANE: I also can't believe I told you that I had a crush on Jesse.
MONIQUE: Your secret is safe with us.
JANE: Thanks. And I thought I needed to be a cheerleader to make friends. You guys are the best.
Exterior. Chez Pierre - Night.
The restaurant is a lone building by the side of the road in a lightly wooded area. It's late, and the restaurant is dark, even the parking lot lights are off. The exterior of the building is illuminated solely by the moon, and the occasional passing car.
One car pulls up in the gravel parking lot beside the building, and a door opens.
VOICE: (off screen, inside car) Are you sure you want to get out here? It looks closed.
Kevin climbs, or more accurately falls, out of the car. He sways drunkenly. He's still wearing his football uniform.
KEVIN: (slurred) No man, it's cool. It's not that late, she'll be waiting for me inside.
VOICE: (off screen, inside car, also slurred) Okay dude, later.
An arm reaches out and closes the door, and the car speeds off, leaving Kevin in the dark. He turns, and weaves towards the side of the building facing the parking lot, where the main door is located at the top of a small set of steps.
KEVIN: (to himself) Man, they should turn some lights on. I wonder if there was a power failure or something.
He staggers up to the door, and appears baffled when it proves to be locked. He starts to pound on the doors.
KEVIN: (loudly) Hey! Let me in! Are you deaf? I know you French guys are, like, supposed to hate your customers, but really! Hey! I'm the QB! We won! Let me in!
Kevin stops pounding as an animal growl sounds from behind him. He slowly turns around, and the camera pulls back to show two large Doberman guard dogs at the foot of the steps, growling at him.
KEVIN: (uncertain) Uh, nice doggies?
The camera pans away, to the front of the building. Pounding sounds resume.
KEVIN: (off screen, nervous) Hey! Let me in!
The dogs bark, sharply, and the sound of feet running rapidly across the gravel of the parking lot can be heard.
KEVIN: (off screen, nervous, fading in the distance) Down boys! Ouch! QB in distress!
Exterior. Town hall - Night.
Daria and Jodie stand on the sidewalk outside the town hall. A small group of students is standing nearby. Jodie holds a portable megaphone.
Jane, Quinn and Stacy walk up carrying signs. There are more signs than there are students. The signs bear statements like "Help, I'm being oppressed" and "What right do you have to take our rights?".
JANE: So, when are the others coming?
Jodie looks at the small crowd for a short time before answering.
JODIE: (depressed) What others? This is everyone.
JANE: You're kidding? I was expecting a larger turnout.
She turns, and sets down the signs she was carrying. Quinn and Stacy pile theirs atop hers. A few of the waiting students walk over and pick up signs, then go back to standing listlessly in front of the town hall.
DARIA: You're not the only one. I guess most students just don't care about their rights.
JODIE: Now you see the level of apathy the student council has to contend with. None of the students seem to care what the administration does. They'll gripe about it, sure, but spend some of their precious time to fix it? Never.
DARIA: No wonder you're a cynic.
JODIE: It's still worth trying. You were right about that. At least some people cared.
DARIA: I'm just surprised that it was so few.
QUINN: Why are you surprised? What do you think students care about? You should have put this in terms they understand.
Daria, Jodie, and Jane turn to look at Quinn and Stacy.
DARIA: Like what?
STACY: Like fashion. Uniforms are unfashionable.
QUINN: Stacy's right. Also, when you talk about vague things like rights, people don't pay attention. If you had put it in terms of the school taking away their ability to express themselves with their clothing, then you would have had their attention.
Daria considers this.
DARIA: As much as it pains me to say it, you may be correct. But I'm not sure how to write an editorial about personal expression. It's not exactly something with which I'm very familiar.
QUINN: No, but you can write about freedom of choice. And Stacy and I can write about the fashion stuff in our column. We still have the PTA meeting next Friday. We'll have two columns out before then.
Interior. Chez Pierre - Night.
Quinn and Joey sit at a dining table. Quinn is wearing an elegant dress, and Joey looks uncomfortable in a suit.
JOEY: Wow, Quinn, I can't believe you're taking me to Chez Pierre.
QUINN: Well, I said I would, if you could get the papers. Did you?
JOEY: Yeah, but if Dad finds out they're missing he's gonna kill me. He's not supposed to bring official stuff home from town hall. He'd be in real trouble if anyone knew he did some of his work at home.
QUINN: I don't need to take them, I just need to read them. You'll have them back in his office before he knows they were gone, and nobody will ever know where I got my information.
Joey looks around the dining room nervously, and then hands Quinn a small stack of stapled papers.
Quinn quickly skims through the papers. When she's done, she takes a small note pad out of her purse and flips back through the papers, writing occasionally on her pad. When she's done, she returns the papers to Joey.
QUINN: There, see how easy that was. Now, what do you want for dinner?
Interior. Morgendorffer Kitchen - Night.
Quinn is sitting at the table reading some papers. Jake is bustling around in the kitchen cooking something.
QUINN: Dad, is there a way to find out information about a company?
JAKE: Sure honey, if they sell stock they have to file reports with the government. Are you working on an economics project, or just curious?
QUINN: It's for a fashion article I'm writing for the school paper. Can you show me how to find out everything about one company?
JAKE: That's easy. As soon as dinner's over, we can go upstairs and use my computer.
Interior. Pizza place - Night.
Sandi, Tiffany and Brooke are sitting in a booth. Sandi is holding a copy of the school paper.
SANDI: Hey, did you guys see the fashion column in the paper?
TIFFANY: Yeah, what did you think?
SANDI: It's pretty good, Stacy and Quinn are right that uniforms will be very unfashionable. We should do something too.
BROOKE: What can we do?
SANDI: We have those photos we were taking of student fashions. If we made duplicates and pasted some uniforms over the new copies, we could do a before and after montage for the bulletin board. That would show people just how bad uniforms would look.
TIFFANY: We can do that.
BROOKE: Yeah, there is a uniform catalog in the library we could use. (beat) Y'know, my father knows the editor of the town paper; maybe we could get them to print a copy of our montage.
SANDI: Good idea. Maybe they could reprint Stacy and Quinn's article too.
TIFFANY: Why would you want to do that, Sandi? Stacy isn't part of the club any more.
SANDI: She never actually quit, and what she's saying in the article is very important. If we can help spread the message, we should. After all, us fashionable people are the ones who will suffer the most if the school has uniforms.
Interior. School Art Room.
Jane is painting signs. A pile of blank signs and small boards for signposts stands nearby. Brittany and several Cheerleaders enter the room.
BRITTANY: (perky ) Hi Jane, we came to help!
Jane looks up, surprised.
JANE: I can certainly use the help, but why?
BRITTANY: Stacy was telling us about the uniforms.
LISA: Yeah, if people are forced to wear uniforms they're going to be upset at the school.
ANGIE: And if they're upset, they're not going to have school spirit and they may not come to the football games.
BRITTANY: We don't want that to happen. She said that if we get people to protest, then maybe we wouldn't have school uniforms. We've had lots of experience painting signs for games, so we thought we could help you paint signs.
JANE: Great, grab a brush and start painting.
Exterior. Lawndale High - Night.
A large mob of students mills about in front of the school, waving signs bearing legends like "Uniform clothing makes uniform minds" and "Freedom of expression: not just for adults". Cars arrive and park in the school lot, and a steady stream of parents enters the school.
Daria and Jodie are standing at the edge of the crowd, which has taken on a life of it's own. Jane walks over to stand with them. All three are just watching the crowd.
JODIE: Wow. I've never seen the student body turn out like this.
DARIA: Quinn was certainly right to appeal to them on an esthetic and social level. It didn't hurt that the town paper reprinted her fashion columns either.
Quinn walks up as Daria is speaking, accompanied by Stacy.
QUINN: Thanks, Daria. The Fashion Club's montage helped too, I wish I'd thought of that.
JODIE: Unfortunately, we haven't been able to get a speaker on the agenda, which is going to limit our ability to reach the parents. I think Ms. Li blocked it somehow.
QUINN: Not to worry, Stacy got us on. I'm going to present the student perspective on fashion. Ms. Li didn't try to block it because Stacy used her name, and she wasn't associated with the first protest.
JODIE: That's brilliant, we can just switch one of us.
QUINN: Nope, they wouldn't allow that. The slot is for the author of the fashion column. Besides, I know what needs to be said. I've been listening to your planning sessions all week.
DARIA: But Quinn, public speaking is an art. Jodie would do a much more effective job.
QUINN: Maybe, but she won't have any effect if they don't let her talk. Besides, I've got a secret weapon.
QUINN: Well, if I told you it wouldn't be secret, would it? (Quinn smiles) You keep telling me to use my intelligence, so I did. That word has more than one meaning.
Quinn, followed by Stacy, walks off towards the front door. Daria looks puzzled, and then a look of understanding appears on her face.
JODIE: We've got to stop her! This is our only chance, we can't let an amateur wreck it.
DARIA: (to Jane, in a motherly voice) Our little girl is all grown up. I'm so proud.
Jane looks at Daria as if she's lost her mind. Jodie turns to look also, but with less skepticism.
JANE: Huh? (suspicious) What do you know that I don't?
DARIA: I don't know exactly what she's going to do, but I think I know her general approach. She knows what she's doing. Let's go watch.
Daria heads off after Quinn, followed by Jane and Jodie.
JANE: Well? Spill!
DARIA: Watch and learn, grasshopper. Watch and learn.
Interior. Lawndale High Auditorium.
A speaker's podium is set up on one side of the stage, and a table for the moderator is on the other side. Both podium and table have a microphone for the PA system. Mr. DeMartino is acting as moderator. Quinn sits in the front row, with Stacy and other speakers. Various parents act as volunteer ushers, directing the incoming horde to seats. The auditorium is quite full, and Daria, Jodie, and Jane end up seated near the back. Jake and Helen wave to them from the middle of the auditorium.
Stacy hands a note to an usher, who carries it to Mr. DeMartino. He reads it, and nods in their direction. After watching the door for a while longer, he speaks, in a much calmer than usual voice, over the PA system.
DEMARTINO: Okay folks, we'll be starting shortly, please find a seat so the people behind you can be seated before we begin. It's a very full house tonight.
People make for seats, and the rush from the doors slows to a trickle.
DEMARTINO: As I'm sure you're all aware, our main item of business tonight is the proposal from the school board to require uniforms for Junior High and High School students starting after Christmas break. This has generated quite a lot of discussion around town and in the school and town papers. Our first scheduled speaker tonight is the author of the fashion column for the school paper, Stacy Rowe, to give us the student perspective. However, Stacy has asked that her co-author, Quinn Morgendorffer speak in her place. Quinn, come on up.
Ms. Li, seated in the first row, jumps up and yells.
MS LI: Objection! The agenda lists Stacy, not Quinn! You can't change speakers!
Mr. DeMartino looks at Ms. Li, and smiles.
DEMARTINO: Angela, this isn't a trial. I'm the chairperson, and if I don't see anything wrong with the other author of the column presenting instead of the one listed on the agenda, that's my decision. Now SIT DOWN and next time follow proper procedure if you want to speak.
Ms. Li, sits down with a look of outrage, muttering under her breath. Quinn walks up to the podium and pulls out some note cards, which she consults as she speaks.
QUINN: Ladies and gentlemen, parents, teachers, and students. You've all read the articles written by Stacy and me, either in the school paper or reprinted by the town paper. I won't bore you by repeating the arguments we made there in detail. It's enough to say that we, and many students as you could see from the crowd outside, believe that limiting our creativity in dress would have a stifling effect on us in other ways as well. High School is when we find out who we are, not just academically, but as individuals, and what could be more individual than the appearance we choose to present to the world?
Quinn stops, and sips from a glass of water, to let the audience consider that point.
QUINN: However, there's another aspect to this that you are not aware of. According to the minutes of last week's school board meeting, the vendor for the school uniforms has already been selected.
A man, seated next to Ms. Li, jumps up and yells.
MAN: Those sessions are closed! We don't publish minutes! You can't know that!
Mr. DeMartino slams his gavel on the table, and the crack echoes through the room like a gunshot.
DEMARTINO: Mr. Saunders, I don't care if you are a member of the school board. This meeting will be held according to proper protocol. If you speak again without being recognized first, I will have you removed. Please continue, Ms. Morgendorffer.
QUINN: Thank you. Yes, the minutes are kept private, and it was quite difficult convincing a member of the board, who wishes to remain anonymous, to let me read them. But I did. As evidence, let me note that the original proposal to have school uniforms was made by Mr. Saunders, and supported by a report on clothing-related school disturbances submitted by Ms. Li. A report, let me add, that appears to be a complete fabrication, as I have been unable to find witnesses to confirm any of the reported incidents.
Ms. Li stands up rapidly, and Mr. DeMartino raises his gavel. She sinks back into her seat.
QUINN: But that wasn't what I wanted to bring to your attention. The interesting fact is that the clothing manufacturer, Midland Uniform Company, is a publicly traded but family-controlled business. The family that controls it includes Mr. Saunders' brother-in-law. I suggest that the motive for school uniforms has more to do with the company's recent slip in profits, due to the decline in youth sports leagues, as described in their annual SEC filing, than it has to do with any concern over our academic performance.
Several people in the front row jump up and start yelling simultaneously, but they are drowned out by the uproar that comes from the rest of the room, as everyone begins to talk. Mr. DeMartino slams his gavel several times, but it has no effect. He finally gives up and just waits for the uproar to die on it's own. Quinn stands at the podium, smiling serenely in approval at the chaos.
Cut to: Daria, Jane and Jodie in the back.
JANE: How did she learn that? And how did you know?
JODIE: Who cares? She's done it. There's no way the proposal will survive this. What's more, the next time someone suggests it, they'll be accused of owning a clothing company. This issue is dead for years, thanks to Quinn.
DARIA: The other meaning of "intelligence" that Quinn mentioned is covertly learned information. The last chapter of the book she's been reading lately stresses the need to gather intelligence on your opponent before engaging them. Once I realized that, I knew she had to have learned something. But how she did is a mystery. We'll just have to ask her.
JANE: She won't tell us. Payback for all those times we withheld information.
DARIA: Probably, but who cares. She did it. (yells) Go Quinn!
Other students hear her, and start chanting Quinn's name. Quinn, on the stage, basks in the attention.
Exterior. Lawndale High - Night.
Outside the school, after the meeting, people mill about, talking to each other, before they head for their cars to go home. The Morgendorffers are standing together, along with Stacy and Jodie.
JODIE: Quinn, I have to apologize. I didn't think you were going to do a good job. But even without your secret weapon, you were doing fine. You have a talent for public speaking.
QUINN: Thanks Jodie, but it's really not that hard. You just need to be clear about what you want to say and remember that the audience only understands simple statements. I've had years of practice dealing with people like that. Here comes a prime example.
Sandi, Tiffany and Brooke walk up.
SANDI: Hi Quinn, you were great in there.
QUINN: Gee, thanks Sandi, I really liked the montage you guys did. That helped alot.
SANDI: We were wondering if you and Stacy would like to rejoin the club? It's obvious that you really do care about fashion. You can both have your old jobs back.
QUINN: Well Sandi, I still object to the way you were treating the others.
SANDI: I'll try to do better, but I can't promise that I'll be any different. However, with you and Brooke in the club, you can always tell me when I'm doing it, and I'll stop. Please?
Quinn looks at Stacy, who nods.
QUINN: Okay, we'll give it a try. If things haven't improved we can always quit again later.
Quinn and the other fashion club members walk away together. Jane turns to Daria.
JANE: Quinn's newfound intellectualism didn't last long, did it?
DARIA: I suspect it's here to stay, even if it's not always visible. Sandi had better watch her back. (turns to Jodie) You'll probably see Quinn on the student council next year instead of me.
JODIE: You've only been on the council two weeks and already you're planning to quit?
DARIA: I'll finish my term, but I don't expect to be back next year. I don't think I'm cut out for politics. I'm better suited to writing news than making it. Besides, one Morgendorffer on the council will be enough, and it's pretty clear where Quinn's interests lie.
JODIE: Yes, I suspect one will be more than enough.
Fade out and back in on: Gray Screen.
Our silhouetted narrator sits on the silhouette of the safe, still embedded in the ground. The butterfly flits about overhead, ignored. As we fade in, the narrator looks up and speaks in the Rod Serling voice.
NARRATOR: Oh, it's you. Haven't you left yet? It's over. I have nothing more to say... (cough) (in a different voice) Damn, I can't keep up this fake voice.
DIRECTOR: (off screen) Cut! That's not your line! Lights!
The lights come on, and we see the narrator is Jake Morgendorffer, and the butterfly is a fake one, suspended from overhead on a string. Daria stands on a stepladder, behind the gray backdrop, wearing her green jacket and bouncing the butterfly up and down. She stops as the lights come on.
DARIA: Again? How many takes is this going to require? I'm supposed to be meeting Jane for pizza.
DIRECTOR: (off screen) I give up. Print it. This had better be chaotic enough for the producer. Where did they find the hack that wrote this, anyway?
Daria climbs down the ladder, and Jake stands up and walks off stage to meet her.
JAKE: Hey, kiddo, need a ride?
DARIA: Don't call me kiddo; my agent can beat up your agent. (beat) But I'll take the ride. I just missed the bus.
The two walk off.
The credits roll.
Chaos - The concept of chaos is an important part of modern scientific thought. The intro butchers it badly (but that's typical of television coverage of science in general). For an excellent non-technical discussion of chaos, and its importance, see the book Chaos: Making a New Science, by James Gleick. The introduction to the book is also my source for the term Butterfly Effect, from which the title was derived. The title refers to both the impact of the three Morgendorffer siblings on Lawndale High, and to the "large results from small causes" mentioned in the intro, in the sense of the different behavior of the girls from their TV series incarnations.
The parallel worlds hypothesis mentioned in the intro is a common theme in Science Fiction, and it sometimes even breaks into mainstream fiction (the movie Sliding Doors, for example, is based on a decision point going both ways and follows two alternate plots through the movie). There's another SF concept in use here as well, one that more often shows up in time travel stories than in ones about parallel worlds. That concept is the idea that history has a "normal path" and that disruptions caused by an anomalous event will die out over time, and history will revert to "normal" at some point in the future. As you can see from the end of the story, with Jane rejecting popularity for art and a small circle of friends, Quinn accepting a subordinate role in return for acceptance, and Daria giving up on trying to help others, at least directly, I'm suggesting that despite superficial changes in the personalities of the three girls, their underlying natures aren't really that different from the ones we are used to. However, the end situation is not identical to the "real" Daria universe, just similar. That's Chaos for you...there actually are chaotic systems that are almost, but not quite, cyclic.
Jane - Her craving for popularity and acceptance, but not at the cost of her ideals, was explored in the second season episode See Jane Run. Her fear that she is really a conformist at heart appears in the fourth season episode The F Word, when she tries out for a place on the cheerleading squad. In both cases, she reverts to her usual self rather than compromise principles that matter to her (friendship in the former, her cynical outlook in the latter). Except for the fact that she starts with the assumption that she wants to be popular, I don't think her character here is much different than it is in the TV show. I've used Jane as a catalyst for the relationship between the two other girls, but she herself is less affected by the change. Of course, having Daria for a sister means she's had to look elsewhere for friends, hence her relationships with Brittany and Monique.
Daria - Her character, here, is similar to the "real" one, except that she's more engaged with other people. She may still despise the average student, but she's willing to work with them on the paper, and put her writing skills to use for their good. She's also more concerned with Jodie's opinion, something that in the TV show didn't occur until Partner's Complaint in the fourth season, when she knew Jodie much better. I see this as being due to having Jane on her side through childhood, blocking Quinn's attempts to monopolize their parents, and pushing her to come out of her shell. Additionally, since Jane is her sister, she, too, needs to look elsewhere for a friend. Daria is also less resentful of Quinn, because Quinn has been less successful at manipulating their parents, thus improving their relationship as sisters.
Quinn - Her difference is the largest, at least on the surface. She's not at all ashamed of being smart, and more open about her desire for power, as opposed to the TV Quinn who tries to get her way by manipulating people. Underneath, I don't see her as that different. She still craves attention, and she's capable of being manipulative (her trading a dinner date for access to the school board minutes, for example). I see this as a result of having Jane block some of her attempts at manipulation; she's needed to deal with Daria directly, and thus become comfortable using her brain. She's also used to being more open, because attempts at subterfuge failed her in the past.
Quinn's age - Quinn is a year and a half younger than Daria. If Jane was adopted when Daria was one year old, Helen would already have been pregnant. I'm presuming that Helen either became pregnant after they were already committed to adopting Jane, or that Helen was too busy to notice initially that she was pregnant. Quinn could also be a little younger here than in the TV series. However, Quinn was certainly born sooner than Helen and Jake planned (accidents happen), and I'm assuming that her unanticipated birth, coupled with the cost of raising three children while repaying Helen's law school loans, kept the family living modestly for some time, hence the use of the same small apartment for at least ten years.
Those two idiots - The character of Daria originally appeared on Beavis and Butthead, set in Highland, Texas, hence Jane's comment about not being distracted from the school paper.
Sun-tzu - Sun-tzu (literally Master Sun), wrote The Art of War, perhaps the earliest surviving text on military strategy and tactics, and certainly the most widely read, sometime before 320 BC. The most likely "Master Sun" was a Chinese General named Sun Wu, who lived around 500 BC. The text is still studied today, in business schools as well as military ones. The full quote, from Chapter 6, Weak Points and Strong Points, is: "Avoid the enemy's strong points and strike where he is weak." We know Daria reads philosophy (Sartre, in Lane Miserables) and political theory (Machiavelli, in Fire!). It's a short step from those to Sun-tzu. There are several English translations of The Art of War. I used the Roger Ames translation, published by Doubleday as Sun-tzu: The Art of Warfare in 1993.
Well, we have a vacancy for the Vice President's position. It's largely ceremonial... - The description comes nearly directly from Sandi's description of the position in the Daria Diaries (Pocket Books, 1998).
Jane and Trent - They didn't discover that they were related, but the pieces of the puzzle are all there, and will probably fall into place eventually. I don't presently have any plans to write a sequel where that happens, but who knows...