Disclaimer: Daria and associated characters are owned by MTV. This is fan fiction written for entertainment only. No money or other negotiable currency or goods have been exchanged.

This is the second First Summer story and occurs during the summer between seasons 2 and 3.

Richard Lobinske

Leading By Example

(Opening Credits)

(Exterior view of pizza place. Cut to side view of Daria and Jane seated at a booth with a slice and a drink in front of each)

Daria - Hell is other people's deluded self-image.

Jane - Another fulfilling day in public relations land?

Daria - Talk about feeling the bad kind of dirty.

Jane - They're trying to compromise your ideals that much?

Daria - It seems like it. The only saving grace is that a lot of my actual writing never makes it to the final press releases.

Jane - So…this is a good thing?

Daria - I don't apply enough positive spin, so Julie edits until there's almost nothing left.

Jane - So your humiliation is hidden from all. A good thing.

Numerous Squeaky Female Voices (VO) - Give me a P - I - Z -Z - A! Go pizza!

(Daria and Jane pivot to face the door)

Daria - What the hell was that?

(A large group of cheerleaders in a mix of uniforms, led by Brittany, enter the pizza place and all the boys turn to stare at them. Standing behind Brittany is Nadine, a slightly taller blonde wearing a red and white uniform. Next is Cheri, a brunette in a black and orange uniform, who is shorter than Brittany and more prominently endowed. Fourth among the lead girls is Tasha, a black girl with shoulder-length hair wearing a green and yellow uniform)

Jane - They've found the rest of Brittany's litter.

Brittany (To the other cheerleaders) - They even know how to make cheeseless pizza here!

Nadine - Wow. No wonder they moved the State Cheerleading Camp to Lawndale this year.

Cheri - You're so lucky.

Tasha - Can they open a store by my high school?

(Nadine points to Daria and Jane)

Nadine - Eww. Are they safe?

Brittany - Nadine, don't worry; that's Daria and Jane. They're just a couple of (whispers) um, less popular girls.

Cheri - Oh.

Tasha - So that's what they look like.

Daria - Proof positive that a dozen girls can share a single brain cell…and still give it weekends off.

(A boy leans over back of the booth above Daria to gawk at the cheerleaders. Daria slides to the side and looks at him in annoyance)

Daria - Do you mind?

Boy - Not at all; you can stay there.

(Daria frowns at him. Cut to the Fashion Club, Sandi, Quinn, Stacy and Tiffany, seated at a booth and unhappy that nobody is looking at them)

(Exterior view of Morgendorffer house. Cut to dining room with Daria, Helen and Jake seated at table for dinner. Jake and Daria are reading the paper. Quinn enters and stops at end of kitchen counter)

Quinn - Nothing for me tonight, thanks.

Helen - Quinn. You know it's not healthy to skip meals.

(Daria lowers her paper)

Daria - I bet she secretly ate a pork rib sandwich before coming down here.

Quinn - Ew, Daria. Don't even joke like that. Mom, I've got two dinner dates tonight, so I won't technically be skipping dinner.

Helen - Oh, well, that's okay then.

(Daria tilts head quizzically)

Daria - From the viewpoint of the conservation of mass/energy; how do you eat two dinners and not gain weight?

Quinn - It's all about portion control. The waiters at Chez Pierre and Governor's Park all know to serve tiny portions with my dinner.

Daria (Sarcastic) - Therefore preserving your ladylike physique.

Quinn - Exactly.

Daria - Let me guess, the guys still pay full price for your meals.

Quinn - Duh. Of course they do, otherwise they'd feel left out. Jeez, Daria. You have so much to learn about dating. Later, gotta go!

(Quinn dashes out of the house)

Daria - Or hopefully never learn.

Helen - That's a subject it wouldn't hurt for you to pick up a few pointers on.

Daria - What? Manipulating guys the way Quinn does?

Helen - Well, um, that's not exactly what I meant.

Daria - Or learning to attract guys with the intellectual capacity of a bug in a pheromone trap?

Helen (sighs) - Someday, you'll meet a boy that you'll want to attract the attention of.

(Daria blushes)

Daria - Um, yeah. Right. Someday. Oh, look at the time. I promised Jane I'd go over tonight. Big movie night. Big movie night.

(Daria gets up from table and Helen watches her leave)

Helen - Jake, was she blushing? (Pause) Jake? (Pause) Jake!

(Jake jumps as he wakes up)

Jake - Corporal! I thought you said to use my toothbrush.

Helen (Tired and nauseated) - Jake.

(View of Daria walking down sidewalk)

Daria - That was close. (Pause) Though I sometimes wish I could get Trent's attention…just not that way.

(View of Daria's face, image quickly fades to Daria, dressed as Quinn, facing Trent)

Daria - Could you get me a soda?

Trent - Sure, Daria.

(Trent moves uncharacteristically fast out of view, followed by a crash. Quick fade back to Daria's face as she's walking)

Daria - Absolutely not that way.

(Cut to a shot of Kevin's jeep weaving down the street. Zoom in to show that Tasha is in the passenger seat and they are attempting to make out while driving)

Kevin - Don't worry, babe.

Tasha - But won't Brittany be mad?

Kevin - Who's gonna tell her?

(Cut to Daria as she watches the jeep drive by)

Daria - But then, there is something to be said for not attracting guys.

(Cut to a blue sedan driving down the street, and then inside the car to show Cheri driving and Brittany in the passenger seat)

Brittany - Cheri, I can't believe he's out with Tasha. I know he had to go this way! Ooooh, when I get my hands on him.

Cheri - QB's can be so high maintenance.

Brittany - His dad's a contractor, not a mechanic.

Cheri - Um, right. Hey, why don't we ask that girl if she's seen him?

(View of Daria walking on sidewalk and Cheri's car stopping next to her with Brittany leaning out of the window, twirling her hair)

Brittany - Hi, Daria!

Daria - Hi, Brittany.

Brittany - Uh, have you seen Kevin?

(Daria points down road)

Daria - He was going that way, but seemed to be having trouble keeping his car straight.

(Brittany looks relieved)

Brittany - Oh, then he probably only had a few beers. Thanks, Daria. (She faces Cheri) Let's go.

(Cheri and Brittany drive away)

Daria - I really hope Brittany and Kevin never breed.

(Cut to interior of car as Cheri looks in rear-view mirror)

Cheri - Those boots are kinda cute.

Brittany - You can't be serious!

Cheri - Maybe not.

(Cheri looks at Daria once again in the rear view mirror)


(Exterior view of Lawndale Mall. Cut to Daria and Jane walking inside the mall)

Daria - This place gives me the creeps.

Jane - Come on, the mall's supposed to be the natural habitat of teen girls.

Daria - Then just call me Unnatural Girl.

Jane - It's not that far inside, and I promise we'll head straight back out.

Daria - Couldn't you get your painting supplies at that place over on Dega Street?

Jane - Lawndale Community College cut a deal with MallArt to carry all leisure study class required supplies at reduced prices.

Daria - You mean gave them a kickback.

Jane - Deal, kickback, who cares? Do you know how expensive oil paints like cobalt blue or cadmium red can get?

Daria - They charge different prices for different colors?

Jane - You betcha. They say it's because of the pigments used, but I think it's a racket to get us to pay more for heavily used colors.

(A football bounces off of Daria's head, knocking her glasses to the floor)

Daria - Dammit! Who forgot to restrain their kid?

(Daria picks up her glasses and puts them back on)

Jane - Methinks it came from them.

(Jane points. Cut to a group of football players led by Kevin jogging down the mall, tossing footballs back and forth. Each wears a jersey emblazoned "Famous Guy's QB Camp")

Daria - Great, a dozen Kevins. Now that's a reason to outlaw human cloning.

QB #1 - Hey, babe! Toss the ball back.

Jane (Smirking) - I bet you never thought you'd be called that.

(The other quarterbacks look at QB #1 funny. Kevin goes over to him and puts a hand on his shoulder)

Kevin (Giving advice) - You're new at this stuff. That's not a babe, that's Daria. She's a brain.

(Kevin points to the Fashion Club walking by)

Kevin - Those are babes.

(The quarterbacks ogle the Fashion Club. All of them smile back)

QB #1 - Oops, thanks man. (To Daria) Hey brain! Toss the ball back.

QB #2 - Better, dude.

(Daria looks at them in frustration before trying to throw the ball back. It falls short and bounces)

Kevin - That's okay, Daria. We know brains suck at sports. You did the best you could.

Daria - Why, thank you for the pep talk, Kevin.

Kevin - Sure, any time.

Numerous Squeaky Female Voices (Distant VO) - Give me a C - A - S - H - M - A -N - S! Go Cashman's!

Quarterbacks - Cheerleaders!

(Kevin waves arm and points toward Cashman's)

Kevin - This way, men! Hut!

(The quarterbacks sprint down the mall toward the cheerleaders. The Fashion Club appear annoyed that they are no longer getting attention)

Daria - I think we just saw the beginnings of the high school moron mating ritual.

(Jane holds her stomach)

Jane - You know, I don't think I want to be around for the rest of it. Wanna go to Dega Street?

Daria - What about the rigged prices here?

Jane - The cost is too high.

(Morgendorffer living room. Quinn, Sandi, Stacy and Tiffany are seated on the sofas when Daria enters through the front door)

Sandi - Those cheerleaders have been showing up at every popular place in town. They're an insult to good fashion in our town and must be stopped.

Tiffany - Yeah, stopped.

Stacy - I know, and all the cute guys keep looking at them.

Quinn - Maybe we can fight back by going where the cheerleaders are and wear the most popular, latest fashions - to be an example of what's really cute.

Tiffany - Good idea, Quinn.

Stacy - Yeah! Guys should be looking at us.

(Sandi starts to say something to Quinn, but notices Daria going up the stairs)

Sandi - Uh, Quinn, I didn't know that girl was still here. Can't they send her home for the summer or something?

Quinn - Well, um, everyone thought it would help her more to stay here. You know, maybe staying with normal people will help her adjust and learn to dress herself better.

Stacy - That is so unselfish.

Tiffany - She can only improve.

Sandi - Okay, back to business. I move that we wear the most popular, latest fashions and show up wherever those cheerleaders are, as examples of what's really cute.

Quinn - Didn't I just say that?

Sandi - All in favor?

(All four raise their hands. Sandi holds up a copy of Waif)

Sandi - Thank you, everyone. Now, to plan our shopping expedition, using the latest "What's Hot and What's Not for Summer" guide.

(Cut to Daria's room as she enters)

Daria - Cheerleaders, quarterbacks and fashion zombies. All prancing around like brainless peacocks for attention. At least in here, I can get a break. Think I'll call it an early night.

(Cut to a view of Daria tossing and turning in her sleep. The image blurs and fades to an exterior view of "post-apocalypse" Lawndale High. Cut to inside a classroom with Daria moving carefully into it. Instead of her skirt, she wears military pants tucked into her boots, and her green jacket has been cut down to a vest. Cartridge belts cross her chest, there is a machete on her belt, and she carries a shotgun. She hears a sound and spins, shotgun at the ready. Mr. DeMartino rises from behind the teacher's desk. Daria breathes a sigh of relief)

Daria - Mr. DeMartino. I'm glad to see you. I never thought brains would become so desirable around here, though it's still in a form I find unappealing.

(Mr. DeMartino slowly advances. As he gets closer, Daria can see that his face is sunken and lifeless)

Mr. DeMartino (Slow monotone, but one grayish eye still bulges when her speaks) - I want to eat your brain.

(Daria looks surprised and then disappointed)

Daria - Damn, they got to you.

(Daria fires the shotgun and advances. She pulls out the machete and swings it down out of view. After a pause, she puts it back in its sheath)

Daria - I'm sorry, you're one of the few people I hate doing that to.

(Ms. Barch, also a zombie, approaches Daria from behind, swinging a table leg. Daria spins and fires just as the table leg hits her head. She staggers and pulls the machete, swinging it down out of view. Daria stumbles back, drops the machete and falls to the ground. Cut to a view of her from above as she wakes up. The shadows in the room are long and Daria scrambles up quickly)

Daria - Dammit! It's almost dark.

(Cut to a fast series of views of Daria moving through Lawndale High, finally running across the football field, just at it is becoming night. She skids to a stop and looks around in despair. Zoom out to show the field surrounded by the zombie cheerleaders and football players, all advancing upon her and led by the Fashion Club)

Zombies - Brains, brains, brains.

Daria - Figures, I'm the last meal for the brainless masses in this godforsaken town.

(Daria pulls rounds from her ammo belts and fills the magazine on the shotgun. She slowly pivots with gun ready as the zombies continue their advance. Cut to Daria abruptly waking up in her room)

Daria - Ugh! Now I can't even get a break here.


(Interior view of Julie Levin's office. She's seated at her desk reading papers while Daria types at her workstation)

Julie - This is a great background analysis on the merger.

Daria - It wasn't much different from doing a research paper.

Julie - Well, yeah, and you did an excellent job.

Daria - So some of the things you learn in school can be used in real life?

Julie (Grins) - Only when you don't expect it. I bet your teachers like reading your essays.

Daria - Well, not always.

Julie - I don't mean their reaction to the subject, I mean I bet they like to read an essay that looks like it was written in English.

Daria (Hopeful) - Oh. In that case, does this mean I can get out of writing press releases?

Julie - At least for now, doing these background reports seems to fit your…writing style…better.

Daria - And save you a lot of rewrite time.

Julie - That, too.

(Pizza place interior. Daria and Jane are seated at a booth. Filling the remainder of the room is a gaggle of cheerleaders and boys fawning over them)

Jane - So you get to write term papers all summer.

Daria - You've got it.

Jane - And this is an improvement?

Daria - Let's put this it this way: imagine going from a job where all of your paintings get retouched to be 'positive'…to a job where, although you can't choose the subject, it doesn't get painted over.

Jane (Gulps) - When you put it that way, I get your point. But with what I'm seeing now, I think I'd rather gouge my eyes out with a palette knife.

Daria - I can't argue with that.

(The same boy leans over the back of their booth to stare at the cheerleaders. Daria leans to the side and looks up at him before putting her hand over his face and pushing his head back over the booth)

Boy - Hey! You're blocking my view!

Daria - Hey, you're drooling on my food.

(The Fashion Club enters wearing new fashionable and very attractive outfits. The boys' attention immediately changes to them)

Sandi (To cheerleaders) - This is what boys really want to see.

Nadine - Who the hell are you?

Sandi - Sandi Griffin, President of the Fashion Club.

Nadine - You four look like a nice set of Barbie dolls. (She smirks) But boys also like girls that are a bit more alive.

Tasha - Want to show them a few moves?

(Brittany frowns at the Fashion Club)

Brittany - Okay girls, pom-pom bounces!

(The girls jump up and down waving pom-poms. The boys turn and their heads follow the cheerleaders' motion)

Sandi - Runway.

(The Fashion Club strike poses and do a fashion show runway walk in front of the cheerleaders, drawing the boys' attention again)

Brittany - High kicks! Go!

(The cheerleaders line up and execute high kicks that blatantly show off their legs. The boys' attention is drawn back to them)

(Sandi, Stacy and Tiffany look in frustration at the cheerleaders and the attention the boys are giving them. Quinn steps forward and winks at the three J's.)

Quinn - Jeffy, Joey, Jimmy, could one of you please get me a soda with a tiny slice of lemon?

Joey - Sure, Quinn!

Jeffy - I'll do it!

Jamie - Let me! It's Jamie.

(The Three J's stumble and crash against each other as they work their way to the order window. The other boys look first at them, and then at who caused them to act like that. After a few seconds, the cheerleaders stop as they realize that the boys' attention has been diverted. The rest of the Fashion Club walk up and pose next to Quinn. Sandi allows herself a quick glare at her)

(The quarterbacks enter and stand between the cheerleaders and the Fashion Club, dumbfounded)

Brittany - Hi, Kevie!

(The quarterbacks and other boys look at Brittany and the cheerleaders)

(Stacy innocently smiles and waves)

Stacy - Hi guys.

(Both groups of males look at the Fashion Club. Pan around the other booths. All of the other girls {Burnout Girl, Dawn, Andrea and other regulars} are looking disgusted and irritated at the display. Daria rubs her forehead and looks down at her half-eaten slice. She sighs with the realization that she no longer has an appetite for it. Daria gets up and stands between the Fashion Club and the Cheerleaders. Jane leans forward with her chin resting on her hand)

Daria - Enough already.

(All eyes turn to Daria. She points to Skyler and Corey)

Daria - Do you really want to attract guys without a lot of muscles, Brittany?

(Brittany twirls her hair and thinks. Daria points to a pair of quarterbacks)

Daria - Sandi. Do you want to attract someone who thinks a good night out is a pair of TV dinners and the Pigskin Channel in surround-sound?

(Sandi turns her head half away. The boys begin to fidget. Daria brings Sandi and Brittany close together)

Daria (Whispers) - Think of what being seen with them chasing you will do to your popularity.

(Brittany stops twirling her hair and her eyes shift side to side. Sandi straightens and also looks side to side)

Daria - Brittany, Sandi, how about a deal?

Brittany - Um, what kind of deal?

Sandi - Uh, maybe.

Daria - Brittany, the cheerleaders get the QB's. Sandi, the Fashion Club gets the other popular boys.

(Brittany and Sandi stare at each other. The assembled boys look at each other and at the girls. Badly out of synchronization, they shrug in confusion)

Daria - Deal?

Nadine - Brittany, we are supposed to be dating only football players.

Tasha - We're the best cheerleaders in the state; we should be dating quarterbacks.

Tiffany - Football players…summer…sweat…eww.

Stacy - Yuck! That's right.

Daria - Deal?

(Brittany and Sandi reluctantly shake hands)

Daria - Good. Now please go to your respective admirers.

(The cheerleaders and the quarterbacks begin to mingle, while the Fashion Club and the popular boys in the room begin to mingle also. The remaining girls look relieved that the standoff has ended. There is a noticeable empty space around Daria as she returns to her booth. Jane places a hand on Daria's forehead)

Jane - Are you feverish?

Daria - No, desperate.

Jane - You just talked them back into the status quo.

Daria - Please don't remind me. But it had to be done, even if I feel sick for doing it.

Jane - Huh?

Daria - God, I used some of what I learned in the PR office: damage control.

Jane - That must've hurt, but why? I'd thought you'd be happy watching them self-destruct.

Daria - Jane, I'm looking at a perfectly good piece of pizza I have no stomach for. That was only after a short exposure.

Jane - I wouldn't say perfectly good; there is "Booth Back Boy" drool on it.

Daria - Okay, a not-so-good slice. But think, what kind of damage could happen to us from long-term exposure?

(Jane looks down at the slice she's raising to her mouth. She stops and slowly sets it down)

Jane - Come to think of it, I'm not hungry anymore, either.

(Jane's room. She and Daria are seated on the bed watching television. Jane has the remote in her hand, channel surfing)

Jane - So it looks like your little speech worked. It's been a week and Lawndale is no longer being bombarded by bouncing bursts or Waif's hot clothes of the hour.

Daria - More important, our pizza intake has returned to normal. Now aren't you glad I sacrificed my self-esteem to keep our pizza place from becoming uninhabitable?

Jane - My stomach thanks you from the bottom of its heart.

Television Announcer (VO) - As we go to our next break here at Channel Four News, let's watch one of the cheerleader squads in action.

Cheri (VO) - This is for the girls who know how to do what needs to be done.

Jane - Whoa, I guess you did set an example. In more ways than one.

Daria - I don't believe it.

(Cut to television screen showing a group of cheerleaders doing a routine. Their uniforms have an orange top and a black skirt. Each also wears black, form-fitting, calf-length laced boots)

(Closing Credits)

Thanks to Louise Lobinske, Ipswichfan, Mr. Orange, Kristen Bealer and for beta reading.

June 2005