"Is this going to require any sort of parent-teacher conference, and if so is this the sort of thing my assistant can handle?"
Daria's mom. Lawyer and aspiring partner for the firm of Vitale, Davis, Horowitz, Riordan, Schrecter, Schrecter, and Schrecter.
Helen is without a doubt the real power in the Morgendorffer family, assuming the role of the Supermom able to do it all. There are, of course, some areas in which she skimps a bit, notably dinner (they have frozen lasagna almost every night) and in paying real attention to her daughters. Her technique of raising them relies heavily on bribery, blackmail, and veiled threats of humiliation. Although this sounds pretty awful, it's tempered by the fact that Helen really only wants what's best for her kids and makes herself available for those occasions when they really need her.
She devotes tremendous energy to her work, and seems to be constantly fielding calls on her cell phone even in the small hours of the morning. She is even slow to leave the office when a hurricane approaches. It has been indicated that her primary focus at the firm is corporate law. She is definitely not a divorce lawyer. Due to her dedication, she has been told she's on the fast track for partnership, though whether she will ever achieve that is yet to be seen.
Helen's relationship with her siblings is combative at best, particularly with her sister Rita. Helen feels (with some justification) that Rita has been favored by their mother all her life. It's unclear which is the older sister - they are close in age. She also has a younger sister Amy.
In her youth, Helen was a flower child, presumably as part of her rebelling against her family. Her first sexual experience was with a stunt driver, though no details are known (she seems to have regrets about it). Perhaps because of this, she is paranoid about Daria jumping into a physical relationship before she's ready - oddly, she doesn't seem to have the same concerns about Quinn. She lived in a group home with friends Coyote and Willow Yeager (among other people) and once spent a night in jail in Boulder for punching out a cop (August of 1969, to be exact).
Helen attended college at Middleton, as did Jake - presumably, they met there. Helen has said that Middleton wasn't her first or even her second choice for a college, but since she applied at the height of the Baby Boom, competition was fierce and she had to take what she could get.
Having missed out on the chance to get in at the ground floor, Helen spends a good deal of energy trying to bond with her daughters in what little time she can spare. Occasionally she succeeds, but the attempt more often backfires and she usually ends up humiliating her daughters instead. After a while, she learns to be able to deal with Daria's sarcasm, and even fires a shot back from time to time.
Helen's marriage is not exactly made in Heaven - she and Jake do love each other, but don't communicate very well. Helen began seeing an intimacy counselor at one time, but rather than try to fit it in to both her and Jake's schedules, she went alone and filled him in later. They definitely have no problem with sexual intimacy, and seem to enjoy chasing each other around.
On their first anniversary, Helen gave Jake a leather-bound edition of Das Kapital. Jake gave her a homemade candle that was brown and ugly, which got further distorted when he dropped it in the hot tub. Helen kept the candle anyway, but Jake didn't recognize it years down the road - it actually scared him.
A pivotal moment in Helen's relationship with her family occurs at the Quiet Ivy retreat, where she comes to the conclusion (during a group therapy session) that she's completely screwed up as a mother and everyone hates her. Daria is able to set things straight and restores Helen's faith in herself - a favor that Helen later returns when Daria faces a major crisis of her own.