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First off, let me say that I love the TV show just the way it is, and
have tried to be as true as possible to it here, keeping the general
style and plotline in the direction the show's writers seem to have
their minds set on. You won't find the start of any outrageous story
arcs, new major characters or departures in style from the "Daria" we
all know and love. Please let me know how close I got. (And if you're
from MTV, I should mention I'd love to do this for a living.)

(...la la LA la la...)

Daria in "No Picnic"
Written by C.E. Forman (ceforman@worldnet.att.net)

BEGIN ACT 1.

(Open on a black screen with only the red "5:59" display of a clock radio
visible. After a few blinks of the colon, the time changes to 6:00, and
the alarm emits a loud buzzing. A bedside lamp clicks on, and a dark-
skinned hand bats sleepily at the alarm until it switches to the radio.)

DEEJAY: GOOOOOOOOD MORNING, LAWNDAAAAAALLLE!!

(The hand slaps at the clock radio some more, but fails to strike any
controls.)

DEEJAY: That's right, it's a beautiful Monday morning, and what better way
to kick it off than with a #1 single from this beautiful 80s pop
quartet, courtesy of Lawndale's #1 source for 80s retro, WRET!

(MUSIC: "Manic Monday", by the Bangles, I couldn't resist. It's been awhile
since my last music-backed montage -- "Weighting to Exhale", wasn't it? -- so
as the song plays, we see Jodie Landon...)

...slowly lift her head from the covers, rub sleepily at her eyes, stretching
a little.
...crawl out of bed in her nightgown.
...cross to a closet, off-screen, and toss her nightgown onto her bed.
...hasten downstairs, wearing her tennis gear.
...with her father Andrew at the breakfast table, trying to eat and scribble
furiously at schoolwork at the same time.
...rushing out the Landons' front door with her backpack and tennis racket.
...lunging after a serve on the school tennis court, returning it, several
rebounds like this.
...washing up in the girls' shower, in a cloud of steam and soap suds.
...in the locker room, dressed in her usual attire, buttoning the top button
of her blouse before grabbing her stuff and dashing off again.
...running out the front doors of Lawndale High, down the sidewalk.
...in front of the Lawndale Elementary School, in a crossing-guard's cap and
vest, holding up a litle stop-sign, waving grade-school kids across the
street. (Maybe toss in the Gupty kids or the boys from the library in
"See Jane Run" here.)
...hurrying through the halls of Lawndale High, to homeroom.

(Kill the music, Ms Li intercepts her from her office.)

LI: Ms Landon?

(Jodie stops, turns.)

LI: The Booster Society has just called an emergency meeting, we need you.

JODIE: Again?

LI: (Angry, though not at Jodie.) Yes. Seems our treasurer has made quite
a number of errors balancing the account ledger, and we're shorter on
funding than we realized. We're meeting to decide the best course of
action... *after* replacing the treasurer, of course.

JODIE: I'm sorry, Ms Li, but we're having a review session in econ that I
really need to go to.

LI: I've already spoken to Mrs Bennett, you're excused.

JODIE: (Not thrilled.) Great.

LI: (Beckons her into her office.) Come along, now. The others are waiting.

(Jodie spots Daria and Jane passing down the hall together.)

JODIE: (To Ms Li.) Be right there. (Calls.) Daria?

DARIA: (To Jane.) Just keep walking. Slowly. She can sense fear.

JODIE: (Runs up.) Daria, I can't make it to the econ review today, could
you take notes for me?

DARIA: If I must.

JODIE: (Hand to Daria's shoulder, grateful and relieved.) Thanks! Can't
talk, gotta run! (Back into Ms Li's office.)

JANE: Whoa. You got off easy that time.

DARIA: (To Jane, sardonic.) Yeah. And I was just about to ask her if I
could join drama club.

(Bell rings.)

JUMP-CUT TO:

INT.: COMPUTER LAB.

(Mr O'Neill is having class in the computer lab, with each student at a
separate workstation. Daria and Jane sit in the second row. Kevin and
Brittany are in front, with Upchuck, who's most likely working on an
assignment for another class, since he's not in English with Daria.)

O'NEILL: Writing workshops can be a great way to improve your own skills
by helping others! So when you're finished, be sure to have at
least three classmates peruse your work and make suggestions.

DARIA: (To Jane.) That's the biggest challenge for me.

JANE: Accepting constructive criticism from others?

DARIA: Finding three classmates who can understand the things I write.

JODIE: (Arrives late, in a bit of a huff, sits down next to Daria. Mutters
to herself.) Damn Booster Society, they can never make up their minds
about anything. (To Daria.) What's going on?

DARIA: We're watching our creative talents languish.

JANE: C'mon, join us, it's fun.

JODIE: Do you have those notes from econ?

DARIA: (Lifts backpack onto her lap from beneath the desk, digs them out.)
Here, this is everything she told us.

JODIE: Thanks, I'll photocopy these and get them back to you. (Manages a
faint smile.) This week's been hell, and it's only Monday.

JANE: (Hands Jodie something from her own backpack.) And here, this is what
she drew on the board while she was talking.

(Close-up, it's one of Mrs Bennett's jumbled football diagrams. Jodie turns
it one way, then another, as she examines it, then finally puts it aside and
takes out her writing assignment. Her attempts to work quietly are thwarted
by constant interruptions:)

BRITTANY: Mr O'Neill? How do you spell "irregardless"?

O'NEILL: (Thinks.) Let me see, that would be... I-R-R...

DARIA: (Leans forward, whispers to her.) You don't. It's not a real word.

BRITTANY: (Awed.) Wow! I know a word that doesn't even exist!

UPCHUCK: (Looking at something on his screen.) Oooh, *yeah* baby! (Leans
back, bumping Jodie's monitor so she has to straighten it.)

KEVIN: (One finger poking slowly at the keyboard, he has to look at it
constantly.) Man! Typing's *hard*!

DARIA: Everything is hard in Kevin's mind.

JANE: What mind?

JODIE: (Shoves her keyboard away, irritated.) I can't concentrate!

DARIA: That's okay, I don't think we're learning anything anyway. (Sideways
eyes at Upchuck, as a JPEG appears on his computer screen. It shows
a naked woman lying seductively on a bed, her hands and arms covering
her privates so MTV can still air it.) Some of us are not-learning
more than others.

UPCHUCK: Look at her, Daria, doesn't she look *feisty*?

DARIA: She looks naked. (Sighs.) It's a digitized picture, Upchuck.

UPCHUCK: True, true. But a mere glimpse of this voluptuous, virtual vixen
is all that is necessary to bring my wildest fantasies to life.
(Repeatedly arches his eyebrows at her.) As is a glimpse of *you*,
my sweet!

DARIA: (Sardonic.) And that's as close as you'll ever get, Upchuck.

UPCHUCK: (Undaunted, continues surfing the net, sings quietly to himself.)
"Smooth operator... Smoooooooooth operatorrrrr..."

KEVIN: (Wipes sweat from his brow, looks up from typing, sees the picture.)
Whoa! Cool! (Points.) Check it out, Babe!

(Brittany looks, then angrily slaps Kevin.)

KEVIN: Hey, what's wrong, Babe?

(Brittany crosses her arms, pouts, won't talk to him. Jodie continues
her struggle for concentration. Cut to a full shot from the back of the
classroom. Several computer-beeps sound, everyone's screen turns black
with a small message-box in the center. Upchuck moans as his latest
infatuation blinks out of his life.)

STUDENTS' REACTIONS: Hey! / What the heck? / Mr O'Neill, my machine just
crashed! / Aww, *man*! / Mine too! / I don't think
I saved. / etc.

O'NEILL: (Comes back, looks at several students' screens.) Oh no, the
network must've gone down again.

DARIA: Good, now we're all not-learing at the same rate. (Pulls out Alvin
Toffler's "Future Shock", reads.)

[Did/does this happen all the time at *your* school's computer room?
It sure as hell did with mine!]

O'NEILL: (To the intercom on the wall, hits the button.) Ms Li? (Kind of
pitiful, childlike plea.) The network crashed again, could you
send one of the technicians down?

LI: (Like she's getting sick of this problem, or possibly just Mr O'Neill's
whining.) Yes, Mr O'Neill, I'll send someone down right away.

O'NEILL: Thank you, Ms Li. (But she's already severed the connection before
he gets off the first word.)

BRITTANY: (Raises hand, all bubbly.) Mr O'Neill, Mr O'Neill!

O'NEILL: Yes, Brittany?

BRITTANY: (Tilts her head to one side, hair-twirl.) While we're waiting, do
you mind if we do a cheer?

O'NEILL: (Wants to be encouraging.) Umm, sure Brittany. Go ahead!

(Brittany stands up in front of the class with her pom-poms.)

BRITTANY: Okay, everybody, let's see some of that Lawndale spirit! (Chants.)
Let's... Shift to the *left*! (Swings pom-poms to the right.)
Shift to the *right*! (Swings pom-poms left.)
Page up! (Raises them over her head.)
Page down! (Bends over with poms touching her toes.)
Byte, byte, *byte*! (Raises one, then the other, then both.)
Coooooom-PUTER!! (Shakes the pom-poms, jumps up and down.)
Yaaayyyy!!

KEVIN: (Jumps up, fists raised.) Yeahhh! Go, Babe!

O'NEILL: Er... that was... very good, Brittany!

BRITTANY: Thanks! (Sits down again.)

JODIE: (Shakes her head in frustration.) I'm wasting my time here.

JANE: (To Daria.) Now she's catching on.

(Sound of bell ringing.)

O'NEILL: Oh dear, our time's up. I guess you'll all have to finish this
assignment on your own time.

(Jodie's frown deepens. She doesn't *have* "her own time".)

CUT TO:

INT.: MS BARCH'S SCIENCE CLASS.

JODIE: (She and Daria share a bench, recall.) Hey Daria, I have to come up
with a slogan for the Diversity Fair this weekend, but I can't think
of anything. Can you help me out?

DARIA: Hmm... (Thinks a moment.) How about "Difference Makes a Difference"?

JODIE: Wow, that's *perfect*! Thanks so much! (She looks a mite jealous
that Daria came up with that so easily.)

DARIA: No biggie. (And it isn't, to her.)

BARCH: (Handing back papers.) And once again, students, we have a tie
for the best lab report -- Jodie Landon and Daria Morgendorffer.

JODIE: (To Daria, graciously.) Hey, congratulations.

DARIA: (Indifferent.) Eh.

BARCH: Excellent work, girls. (Now she glares at the males.) Perhaps if
you *men* tried taking your minds off ways to seduce your female
classmates and rob them of their virtue at a ripe and tender age,
you'd be able to *apply* yourselves better! Right, *Kevin*?!

KEVIN: Umm--

BARCH: (Snaps.) One more syllable and you'll be scrubbing test tubes,
maggot!

(Kevin shuts his mouth. The bell rings, and students start to get up.)

BARCH: (Bitter.) Fine, class. Walk out. *Leave* me. Just like *HIM*.

(Everybody sits back down. Ms Barch smiles just a bit.)

BARCH: Don't forget tomorrow's big test on evolutionary theory. (Her gaze
sweeps from one male student to the next.) Some of you have *plenty*
to learn about evolving.

(MUSIC: "High Roller", Crystal Method.)

CUT TO:

INT.: LANDON RESIDENCE, DINING ROOM. EVENING.

(Our second dinner with the Landons. Rachel feeds baby Evan, looking none
too pleased.)

RACHEL: I'm *so* glad they have that teachers' inservice thing tomorrow.

[They had these occasionally when I was in school. Do they still, or am I
just living in the past? We never did find out what they were, but I always
suspected the teachers got together and did what Mr O'Neill and Ms Barch did
in the teachers' lounge in "Accept No Substitutes".]

ANDREW: How are the grades, Jodie?

JODIE: They're fine.

MICHELE: Just "fine"?

ANDREW: (To Jodie.) Did you fill out those job applications yet?

JODIE: (Unhappy.) Not yet...

ANDREW: Don't wait until the last minute, if you want work this summer.

RACHEL: (Unsuccessful.) Mom, Evan won't eat his peas.

MICHELE: (Her attention's on Jodie.) Exactly. All the other kids will be
looking for work too. You should get a head start.

ANDREW: You can't just come out of school with nothing but a degree and some
extracurricular activities. Employers want experience, you have to
start now. I got my first job washing dishes when I was twelve, and
look at me now.

JODIE: (She's heard this before.) Dad, I know.

MICHELE: (Now she brings Rachel in.) You're almost twelve, Rachel. You're
old enough to be thinking about a summer job, too.

RACHEL: (Pouts.) You wouldn't be saying that if I was still the youngest.

ANDREW: And how are your grades, Rachel? How'd the reading test go?

RACHEL: (Leave-me-alone demeanor.) I passed.

MICHELE: Just "passed"?

ANDREW: Why don't you try to get better grades like your sister, Rachel?

RACHEL: Because I'm *not* her?

(Jodie feels sorry for Rachel but is glad the Inquisition has passed away
from her. Rach lifts another spoonful to Evan, who spits up all over her
hand. Rachel makes a disgusted sound.)

CUT TO:

EXT.: MORGENDORFFER RESIDENCE. EVENING.

QUINN'S VOICE: (Mid-obsession.) ...and her vest was like two *weeks* out of
style, can you believe it??

CUT TO:

INT.: KITCHEN.

(Dinner, as usual. Jake's got the paper, as usual.)

QUINN: (Still at it.) If you ask me, clothes should have an expiration date
on them like food, so the less fashion-conscious people know when to
stop wearing them. I'm gonna write a letter to some fashion designers
and suggest that. Maybe they'll mention my name in "Waif"!

DARIA: (Sardonic.) Gee, I hope you're not aiming too high.

HELEN: Quinn, honey, I really think you spend too much time on clothes and
shopping.

QUINN: That reminds me, Cashman's has a new teen credit card, can I apply
for one?

HELEN: (Firm "no".) You have two full closets already, sweetie, you don't
need any more outfits.

QUINN: (Like Helen just signed her life away.) But I *have* to stay in
vogue, mother! If Daria wanted new clothes you'd let *her* get some!

DARIA: That reminds me-- (Subdued imitation of a perky Quinn.) --I saw
this really cute pair of mud jeans down at the mall...

QUINN: MO-OOMMMMM!! Daria doesn't *need* clothes! She never goes anywhere
where she hasta look good, she's not even in any clubs!

DARIA: For your information, Quinn, I'm now a card-carrying member of the
Isolated Recluse Society.

JAKE: (Looks up from paper, pleased, missing the sarcasm.) Wow, that's
great, kiddo!

HELEN: Jake... (Shakes her head, why bother.)

(The phone rings, Helen answers.)

HELEN: Hello? (Pleasant smile.) Yes, just a moment, Jodie.

(She hands the cordless to Daria, who takes it into the other room.)

QUINN: (Holds up her glass, studies its contents.) Is this skim milk?
It better be.

CUT TO:

INT.: MORGENDORFFERS' LIVING ROOM / INT.: JODIE'S BEDROOM.

(Split the screen. Daria's on the couch, Jodie's at her desk in her room.)

DARIA: No. N-O. I am not joining the Boosters.

JODIE: (Begs.) Please? You're good at math, and we really need a new
treasurer.

DARIA: You're good at math, too.

JODIE: I don't have *time*, Daria! I'm already director of publicity.

DARIA: Oh, I see. So you ask *me*. I have no life, so I'm always free to
serve whatever extracurricular whim you might need filled?

JODIE: (A bit harshly.) Fine, just... forget I even asked.

(She hangs up.)

DARIA: Okay then. (Dials another number.)

(Split-screen, Daria and Jane.)

JANE: Yo.

DARIA: Now I know why you're content with that C average...

CUT TO:

INT.: LANDON RESIDENCE, JODIE'S ROOM.

(Jodie switches her stereo back on -- MUSIC: "Velvet Rope" by Janet Jackson
-- her expression conveying more than a little annoyance with Daria. She
plunges back into the textbook she's studying. There's a knock, and Andrew
and Michele enter.)

MICHELE: (Switches off the music so they can talk.) Busy week?

JODIE: (Thought voice-over, sarcastic.) Actually, this is my vacation.
(Out loud.) I've got two tests tomorrow that I'm not ready for.

ANDREW: (Reassures her.) You'll do fine. (Looks at her trophy case along
one wall, filled with awards, photos and certificates, some going
as far back as grade school. Possibly a young Jodie in a ballet
outfit.) You always come through, why should this time be any
different?

(Such thinly-veiled pressure to maintain her current track record doesn't
make Jodie feel better.)

MICHELE: We're not trying to burden you, Jodie, we're just trying to look out
for what's in your best interest.

JODIE: (Thought VO.) Then just leave me the hell alone so I can study.
(Out loud.) I know you are.

ANDREW: (Hands on his daughter's shoulders.) We remember how hard it was
for us to get into a good school, land good jobs. We just want to
help you.

MICHELE: Your father graduated at the top of his class, and look at him
today.

JODIE: (Thought VO.) Pressuring his daughter to follow him into perfection?

ANDREW: You're got a bright future, Jodie. You're smart, pretty, talented,
you're a shoo-in for class valedictorian.

JODIE: (Confesses.) I'm not so sure anymore. (Pause.) Not since Daria
Morgendorffer moved here. She's so smart... she makes it look so
easy.

ANDREW: (Fond smile.) Believe me, honey, she has to work just as hard as
you do, if not harder.

CUT TO:

INT.: DARIA'S ROOM.

(Daria's sitting on her bed watching TV, no schoolwork in sight.)

ANNOUNCER: First off on tonight's edition of "Sick, Sad World"...!

CUT TO:

INT.: JODIE'S ROOM.

JODIE: (Still talking to her parents.) I'm thinking of taking over as
treasurer for the Booster Society.

ANDREW: (Joking.) 'Atta girl, just slaughter her on extracurricular
activities!

MICHELE: (Amused, but disapproves.) Andrew... (To Jodie.) That doesn't
mean you shouldn't be a friend to Daria.

ANDREW: Exactly, you can be her friend and still be the top student in your
class. You know you can do anything you want to.

JODIE: Really? (Scan for hypocrisy.) Does that mean I can stay home and
sleep in tomorrow?

ANDREW: No. We're having a family get-together with the Morgendorffers.
(Beat.) Now get your coat, or we'll be late.

JODIE: Late?

ANDREW: Rotary Club, I've mentioned it at least three times. They've got
that keynote speaker I told you about--

JODIE: (Interrupts.) Dad, I really can't tonight. Any other night--

ANDREW: (Firmly.) This isn't "any other night", this is your opportunity,
don't pass it up. Just think, you could be the first African-
American sophomore to make Rotary Student of the Month, isn't that
important to you?

JODIE: (Resigned, accepts defeat.) I guess.

ANDREW: You "guess"?

RACHEL: (Appears in doorway, she's been listening.) Can I come?

MICHELE: Honey, you're really not old enough for something like this.

RACHEL: That's not fair, Jodie gets to do *everything*!

MICHELE: (Tries to console her.) Well I'm not going either, Rachel. You
can stay and help me with Evan.

RACHEL: Oh, *great*. (Pouts.)

ANDREW: (To Michele.) You're sure you don't mind that *I'm* taking her?

MICHELE: No, really. It's *okay*. (But she says it like it really isn't.)

CUT TO:

INT.: DARIA'S ROOM.

(MUSIC: "High & Dry", Radiohead.)

(Series of dissolves. Time passes as Daria reads, watches TV, writes at her
desk, stares at the ceiling, etc. Toward the end, she looks a little guilty
for not helping Jodie when she's right, she *does* have plenty of free time.)

CUT TO:

EXT.: ROAD. NIGHT.

(MUSIC: "So Far, So Good", Duke Ellington. [I see Andrew as something of a
jazz enthusiast.])

(Andrew and Jodie in the car, driving back. Jodie's got her book and is
trying desperately to get some studying done. Cut to rear shot of the car
as it disappears over the horizon.)

CUT TO:

EXT.: LANDON RESIDENCE. EARLY MORNING, TUESDAY.

CUT TO:

INT.: JODIE'S BEDROOM.

(Close-up of Jodie's clock radio, the "5:59" switches to "6:00" again.)

DEEJAY: GOOOOOOOOD MORNING, LAWNDAAAAAALLLE!!

(This time Jodie grabs it and flings it against the wall. Pause, then she
gasps, sits bolt-upright in bed, panic-stricken.)

CUT TO:

INT.: DINING ROOM.

(Andrew is having breakfast. Tennis gear in hand, Jodie runs past the
table.)

ANDREW: Jodie? Don't you want breakfast?

JODIE: Dad, I don't have time this morning. (She's out.)

CUT TO:

EXT.: LAWNDALE HIGH, TENNIS COURT.

(The stress of not being ready for the test is wrecking Jodie's
concentration. A number of easy returns get by her.)

CUT TO:

INT.: MS DEFOE'S CLASSROOM.

(Homeroom. Jodie in a last-minute cram session, fraught with interruptions:)

STUDENT: Jodie? (Puts a stack of papers on the notebook she's trying to
read.) Here are the senior wills for the yearbook, Mr D says we
need them edited by the end of next week.

ANOTHER STUDENT: Jodie? Sorry to bother you, but the French Club can't
decide on a place for the field trip. We're half-and-half
-- Playhouse 99 or Chez Pierre. They want you to cast the
deciding vote.

AND ANOTHER: Jodie? I can't find my copy of the minutes from the last
Student Council meeting, could you make me a copy of yours?

(Frustrated, unable to concentrate, Jodie throws down her book.)

CUT TO:

INT.: MS BARCH'S CLASSROOM.

BARCH: (Finishes passing out tests.) Once again I'd like to remind everyone
that this test is 15% of your final grade. Except for the *males*,
whose final grades have already long since been determined.

JODIE: (Brow furrows in dismay, whispers.) Oh no. No no no...

BARCH: (Whacks a ruler loudly on her desk.) Shut up, Mack!

MACK: (Startled, protests.) I didn't say anything.

BARCH: (That's exactly what she wanted.) Shut *UP*, Mack!!

(The class goes to work on the test, Daria glancing briefly over at Jodie,
noticing her unusual behavior. Close-up of the clock on the wall. Time-
passing dissolve, the hands move to about 30 minutes later. Back to the
class. Daria puts her test aside, goes to the front of the room. Jodie
continues to fret.)

DARIA: Excuse me. I'm finished, can I go to my locker and get a book?

BARCH: Certainly, Daria. You just read quietly while the rest of these
brain-dead cretins strain to comprehend.

(Jodie knows this doesn't apply to her, but feels stupid and hurt
nonetheless. Ms Barch hands Daria one of those big hall-passes some
teachers use. Once Daria's out, Ms Barch locks onto someone in the back.)

BARCH: Shut up, Upchuck!!

(Jodie stews for a little while longer, then suddenly notices -- quick
zoom-in -- Daria's completed exam, face-up on her now-unoccupied half of
the lab desk. Her eyes shift from her own test to Daria's as she clearly
weighs a dilemma -- the guilt of failing the test and having her father find
out versus the guilt of getting the answers dishonestly, possibly getting
caught in the process. Little beads of sweat on her forehead. Finally
she... begins filling in blanks on her own test, at a rate that tells us in
no uncertain terms which option she's chosen. We could tell even if her
eyes *weren't* still tilted sidelong at Daria's exam.)

(...la la LA la la...)

(COMMERCIAL LEAD-IN: Jodie talking to Daria in the hallway.)

END ACT 1.

(COMMERCIAL: My current pet peeve with commercials are the ones for diapers,
that show bare baby butts, and then the mom like runs her hand along it.
I just can't help thinking somewhere out there there's some sicko pedophile
sitting poised with the remote, ready to tape these so that when he's in the
mood he can dim the lights, play the tape and imagine he's... *Brrr-r-r-r*,
I don't even wanna *think* about it! Diaper-commercial makers: Has this
ever even *occurred* to you?! Or maybe... maybe *they're* the real sickos,
showing naked kiddies the only way that's still legal!! Eh? EH??)

BEGIN ACT 2.

RETURN TO:

INT.: LAWNDALE HIGH, HALLWAY.

(MUSIC: "Open Up", Leftfield.)

(Still shot of the entrance to the girls' and boys' restrooms.)

CUT TO:

INT.: GIRLS' RESTROOM.

(All three stalls are occupied. Daria leans against the wall, arms crossed,
impatiently.)

(Cut to inside one of the stalls, where Jodie leans against the door, eyes
closed, feeling absolutely rotten. She covers her eyes with one hand.)

(Back outside the stall. The first bell rings. Daria sighs, goes to one,
knocks.)

DARIA: Excuse me. I'm going to be late for class.

(Back inside. Jodie starts at Daria's voice, and also at realizing how long
she's been standing in here. She flushes the toilet so Daria won't think
anything's wrong, and comes out.)

DARIA: (Realizes.) Oh, it's you. What did you think of the science test?

(Wordlessly, Jodie pushes past Daria, unable to even look at her. Daria
watches, her expression unreadable. Andrea emerges from one of the other
stalls, along with a small cloud of cigarette smoke.)

CUT TO:

EXT.: FOOTBALL STADIUM. AFTERNOON.

(Close-up of a United States and Lawndale Lions flag, flapping in tandem in
a strong wind. Trivial detail: The Lions flag is positioned higher on the
pole than the U.S. flag, Ms Li's doing, no doubt. Cut to the field below,
where the Lawndale Lions are running some plays. A few people watch from the
stands. Joining them is Jodie, who trudges over from where the band has been
practicing. She has on her uniform [as seen in "Rain on Your Parade"] and
carries her trombone which she places in its case, in the front row of the
stands near the cheerleaders. Dead leaves blow, scattered by the wind.)

(Cut to the team on the field. The ball is snapped to Kevin, who fades back.
Off-screen sounds, grunts and players colliding with each other. Two of the
defense players break across the line of scrimmage, toward Kevin, who manages
to stay on his feet, jumping and dodging them before turning and heading back
up the field.)

BRITTANY: (Squealing encouragement for her Kevvie.) *YEAH*!! GO, BABE!
(Jumps up and down, shaking her pompoms.)

(Encouraged, Kevin puts on even more steam.)

MACK: (Yells.) *No*, Kevin! The *other* way, the *OTHER* WAY!!

KEVIN: (Close-up, he realizes this.) Ohyeah. Thanks, Mack Daddy! (He
makes a U-turn and heads back up the field, only to be clobbered by
defense.)

(Coach Gibson [It's in the "Diaries".] bloes his whistle and rushes over from
the sidelines, along with Brittany. The other players clear out. Kevin lies
sprawled on the ground on his back.)

BRITTANY: (Horrified shriek.) Babe, are you *okay*?!

KEVIN: Hey Babe. Yeah, I'm cool.

COACH: (Yells.) Christ, Thompson! What the hell was *that*!?

KEVIN: Oh, sorry coach. I got like, confused.

COACH: *This* is why Oakwood creamed our asses last week, people!! Let's do
it *again*!!

MACK: (Puts one foot up on Kevin's chest, looks down at him, glares.) And
I know I've told you this a billion times, but don't call me "Mack
Daddy", okay?

KEVIN: (As if it's news to him.) Umm, sure. (Removes his helmet, rubs the
back of his skull.) Ow, my head.

(Cut to Jodie in the front row of the stands, trying to do some homework.
It's obvious she'd rather not be here, with the wind blowing at the papers
in her hands.)

BRITTANY: (Comes over, digs in her pink rabbit purse thing, produces a
brush.) This wind is just *messing* with my hair! (Straightens
it as best she can, puts the brush away.) Okay, gang, let's try
it again from the top!

(The cheerleaders climb into a pyramid formation, Brittany at the top.)

CHEERLEADER #1: (I'm thinking the one smacking Upchuck in the "Database"
photo.) Hey, howcome *you* always get to be on top?

CHEERLEADER #2: (Aside.) Hafta ask Kevin.

BRITTANY: (Glares down at her.) I heard that! And *I'm* the head
cheerleader, *that's* why! Whoaaa-- (Loses her balance, and the
whole thing topples over.)

CHEERLEADER #3: Then howcome *I* always have to be at the bottom holding
everybody else up?

CHEERLEADER #4: Yeah, I swear some of you are putting on weight!

(The cheerleaders argue amongst themselves. Jodie's frown deepens, she
fights back the urge to yell at them to shut up.)

COACH'S VOICE: Okay, hit the showers, men!

(Mack comes over to Jodie, removes his helmet.)

MACK: Hey.

JODIE: (Without much enthusiasm.) Hi.

(A particularly strong gust of wind snatches Jodie's papers out of her
grasp.)

JODIE: Damn!

(She and Mack grab for them, but one set gets away and blows onto the field.)

KEVIN: I'll get it!

(Kevin chases after her notes, but the wind keeps them just out of his reach.
Finally he lunges, tackling it.)

KEVIN: *Yeah*! Got it! (He brings it back.) Here ya go, Jodie.

(Jodie takes it. It's all crumpled and torn, covered with dirt and grass
stains from Kevin's tackle. Obviously Jodie will have to redo whatever's
on it before she can hand it in. Mack turns to Jodie, shaking his head
at Kevin.)

JODIE: (Weary.) Thanks, Kevin. (She smoothes it out as best she can.)

KEVIN: No prob. (Spots Brittany.) Hey, Babe! Wanna get some pizza?

MACK: (Concern, sits beside Jodie.) Hey, what's wrong?

JODIE: (Reluctant to share.) Nothing, just... rotten day.

MACK: Heh, I understand. C'mon, I'll walk you home. (He tries to put his
arm around Jodie, but she pulls away.)

JODIE: (Stands.) No that's okay. I think I'd rather walk by myself.

(Mack appears hurt as Jodie heads out of the stadium.)

KEVIN: (Comes up with Brittany.) Hey, you guys wanna-- (Sees Jodie's gone.)
Whoa, what happened? Strike out, Mack Daddy?

(Angrily, Mack shoves Kevin, knocking him over.)

(MUSIC: "Push It", Garbage.)

CUT TO:

INT.: LANDON RESIDENCE, DINING ROOM. EVENING.

(Dinner.)

MICHELE: Jodie? You're acting like something's bothering you.

ANDREW: Anything you want to tell us about?

(Jodie just shakes her head, which of course only makes them more concerned.)

ANDREW: (Probes.) Something wrong at school? Your friends?

MICHELE: You and Michael didn't have a fight, did you?

JODIE: No.

ANDREW: How come you haven't invited him over lately? I *like* Michael.

JODIE: (Noncommital.) Yeah, he's okay.

MICHELE: Just "okay"? He's nice, handsome, intelligent...

ANDREW: He's captain of the football team, what more could you hope for?

JODIE: I dunno. (Thought VO.) Somebody I actually have *feelings* for?

CUT TO:

EXT.: MORGENDORFFER RESIDENCE. LATE EVENING.

CUT TO:

INT.: LIVING ROOM.

(Jake, Helen and Daria recline on the various furnishings. Quinn enters,
down the stairs.)

QUINN: Mom? Since the teachers have that thing tomorrow, could you drive me
to the salon? I need to get a manicure, it's been awhile.

HELEN: Now Quinn, I've mentioned this at least three times, tomorrow we're
meeting Andrew and Michele for a family outing in the park, your
father's idea. You girls are coming too.

DARIA: (Uses her thumb as a bookmark in the "Tess of the D'Ubervilles"
she's reading.) The Landons? You're not gonna tick them off like
last time, are you?

JAKE: That reminds me, I've gotta get the grill cleaned up...

HELEN: (In denial.) What are you talking about, Daria? We never upset them.

JAKE: Actually Helen, I'm pretty sure we did...

HELEN: (Futile attempt at reassuring herself.) No, it couldn't be...

DARIA: Can Jane come too?

HELEN: (Glad for the topic-change.) I don't see why not. Just don't ignore
Jodie, she's your friend too.

DARIA: Jodie's everyone's friend. She'll be fine, she can make friends with
the trees.

HELEN: (Frowns.) That's not very nice, Daria. I like Jodie, she's a very
nice girl. It wouldn't hurt *you* to be more outgoing like her.

DARIA: (Deadpan.) And if Jodie jumped off a bridge, would I do that too?

QUINN: (Own little world.) I should probably get a pedicure too, so I can
wear those new sandals.

HELEN: (Irritation.) Quinn, were you listening? You're coming with us.

QUINN: But... MO-OOMMMMM!! (Daria moves her mouth too, mocking Quinn as
she whines.)

HELEN: You're welcome to bring a friend along too, if you'd like.

QUINN: Umm, no, that won't be necessary.

DARIA: Afraid your cousin will embarrass you?

HELEN: (Confused.) Cousin?

QUINN: (Quickly.) Nevermind.

(Jake gets up.)

HELEN: (Catches him before he can leave.) Now Jake, I know the Landons have
things a little better than us, but *please* promise me you won't get
mad this time.

JAKE: (Reluctantly.) I'll try...

HELEN: That's all I ask for, honey.

DARIA: (Regurgitates parental wisdom.) "Just be thankful for what you have."

QUINN: Yeah, that's what you always say to us.

HELEN: (Loath to admit it.) Yes, I guess we do...

JAKE: (Stops, turns, confusion.) Who's "Jane"?

CUT TO:

EXT.: LANDON RESIDENCE. MORNING, WEDNESDAY.

MICHELE'S VOICE: (Calls.) Jodie!

CUT TO:

INT.: JODIE'S ROOM.

(Jodie's on her bed, still feeling miserable.)

MICHELE'S VOICE: (Calls, from downstairs.) We're meeting the Morgendorffers,
let's go!

(She doesn't answer. Knocking, then both parents enter.)

ANDREW: Didn't you hear your mother?

JODIE: Dad, I think I'd rather stay home today.

ANDREW: (No-nonsense.) We told you about this a week ago. You're coming.

MICHELE: Your friend Daria's going to be there.

JODIE: (That doesn't thrill her.) Daria's no one's friend.

MICHELE: (Frowns.) That's a terrible thing to say!

JODIE: (To herself.) Maybe, but it's true.

ANDREW: We invited Michael too. Now come on.

CUT TO:

INT.: MORGENDORFFER RESIDENCE.

(Jake is watching TV, frantically scribbling down notes.)

COOKING SHOW: Marinating your steaks for several hours prior to grilling
will add flavor and tenderize them. Remember to cook both
sides evenly...

HELEN'S VOICE: (From out front.) Jake, we're waiting!

JAKE: (Calls back.) Be right there, Helen!

CUT TO:

EXT.: HIGH HILLS PARK.

(MUSIC: "Deep Forest", by the group of the same name. Instrumental part.)

(Still shot of the park entrance, then cut to a picnic area as Andrew's
Jag pulls up. The Morgendorffers got there first, though they're still
unloading, so not by much. The three girls -- Daria, Quinn and Jane --
are at the picnic table, Quinn as far away from the other two as possible,
of course.)

HELEN: (Greets the Landons as they climb out.) Andrew! Michele!

MICHELE: (Smiles, but a bit coldly.) Helen.

JANE: (To Daria.) I can't believe I let you talk me into this.

ANDREW: (Unbuckles Evan from his carseat, proudly presents him to Jake.)
Jacob, this is Evan, my son!

JAKE: Hey, big guy! (Takes him from Andrew, gets that I-want-a-son look.)

HELEN: (To Michele.) It's hard to believe how fast he's growing.[*]

[*] See, cuz Helen's seen him in my fanfic before, but Jake hasn't.

MICHELE: And this is our other daughter, Rachel. (Pulls Rachel over, she's
trying to sneak away.)

HELEN: Hello, Rachel.

ANDREW: (Whispers to Jodie, who's still inside.) Jodie, don't be rude.
Go say hi to your friends!

(Jodie drags herself out, still upset, slamming the car shut.)

ANDREW: (Snaps at her.) Hey, easy on the door!

JAKE: (Notices Mack.) Hey-hey, my man! Lemme guess, Jodie's fella!

MACK: (Warm handshake.) Michael Jordan Mackenzie. Mack for short.

JANE: (Comes over with Daria, smirks.) But don't call him Mack Da--

DARIA: (Quickly covers Jane's mouth.) Don't you dare.

JAKE: (Hands Evan off to Michele, admires the car.) Saaaay, this your Jag?

ANDREW: (Proudly.) Five-speed manual, leather seats, sunroof, FM radio,
CD player, dual climate-control air-conditioning...

JAKE: (To Daria, mainly to get off the subject of the Landons' nice things.)
Hey kiddo, wanna give me a hand with the grill?

MACK: Here, I'll get it. (To Daria.) "Kiddo"?

DARIA: (Explanatory.) Infantile nickname.

MACK: (Nods, sympathetic.) I know allll about it.

ANDREW: (To Jodie.) Get the rest of our things out, will you? (Notices her
expression.) And *smile*, nobody likes a sourpuss.

(Mack looks at Jodie, noticing something's definitely wrong, but reluctant
to bring it up. Jodie wears a vicious scowl, sick of being ordered around.
As she watches her parents head over to the picnic table, one of her eyes
twitches -- just a bit, not exaggerated like Mr DeMartino's, but it's
definitely *there*.)

CUT TO: PICNIC TABLE.

(Helen and Michele, seated. Michele holds Evan, who reaches for things on
the table -- silverware, a pepper shaker, etc.)

MICHELE: (Mid-conversation.) And all the other VPs said it must've been
awful, leaving the company -- and the eighty grand a year -- to
raise him. But it's *not a big deal*. (Beat.) I mean that.

HELEN: (Nods.) I completely understand. It isn't easy juggling a
career, a family... social obligations... local politics... personal
interests. (Shrugs.) But I manage.

(A hint of frown crosses Michele's face, like she thinks Helen's rubbing it
in that she has more free time.)

MICHELE: I don't miss it a bit... although it is nice to get out of the
house like this--

(Helen's cellular phone rings.)

HELEN: (Answers.) Helen Morgendorffer. Yes, Eric, what can I do for you?
(Pause.) Oh my God, the affadavits, I forgot! (Beat.) Yes, of
course we can go over them now. (Beat.) No, of *course* you're not
interrupting!

(Michele shoots Helen a jealous look, like she misses work.)

RACHEL: (Comes over to Michele.) Mom? I'm gonna go over to the swings for
awhile.

MICHELE: Don't you think you're a little old for that now?

RACHEL: (Rolls eyes, annoyed.) Mom...

MICHELE: (Relents.) All right. But take your brother with you.

(Rachel pouts.)

QUINN: (Overhears.) Mind if I come too? (She takes baby Evan from Michele.)

CUT TO: GRILL.

(Andrew, Jake -- in his "Kiss the Cook" apron, natch -- and Mack. Jane, in
the background, has her easel and is working on a painting. Jake's got the
grill fired up as Andrew brings a plate of raw burgers and steaks over.)

JAKE: Say, nice lookin' steaks you've got there!

ANDREW: New York strips. (With a long fork, places them one by one onto
the grill.) Gonna let you in on a little secret, Jacob: Next time
you're at Food Lord, ask to go back and cut your own steaks, they'll
let you do it.

MACK: Do they charge you more?

ANDREW: Yeah, but you get better cuts, leaner. It's worth it, trust me.

[This is actually true, at my supermarket anyway. Try it at yours.]

CUT TO: PLAYGROUND.

(Rachel sits in a swing as Quinn loads Evan into the infant swing, pushes
him.)

RACHEL: (Glad someone else is doing it.) Thanks. I'm sick of that little
brat.

QUINN: No problem... I'm Quinn, by the way.

RACHEL: My mom still treats me like a kid, but she expects me to act like an
adult now that I'm not the youngest anymore. Being the middle child
sucks.

QUINN: So does having an older brainier sister. And in my case a really
geeky one.

RACHEL: I know. Mom and Dad are always telling me to be more like Jodie.
Can't they understand that I'm just not *like* her?

QUINN: Tell me about it. My Mom bugs me all the time about my grades, just
because Daria gets straight A's and I don't. (Recognizes Rachel as
one of "her own", quickly adds:) But, umm, Daria's not really my
sister...

DISSOLVE TO: PICNIC AREA.

(MUSIC: From a portable stereo we can hear the Seeds' "Pushin' Too Hard".)

(Mack and Jodie rest on a blanket spread out on the ground. Jane leans
against a tree, eating a burger. The rest of the Morgendorffers and Landons
are seated at the picnic table, eating. Michele is nursing Evan, which is
making Jake distinctly uncomfortable. Paper plates and cups, along with some
crystal wine glasses and a bottle. Andrew lifts a glass, dings it with a
fork to get everybody's attention.)

ANDREW: (Lifts a wine bottle from a basket on the table.) C'mon, let's make
a toast, everyone! (Another bottle.) Got sparkling cider for the
girls.

JAKE: (Inspects wine bottle.) Say, Chardonnay!

ANDREW: Merryvale Silhouette, '83. Been saving it for a special occasion.

JODIE & DARIA: (Jodie just thinks it, Daria says it out loud.) But we're
drinking it now.

(Jake pops the cork and fills four glasses as they're passed along.)

HELEN: Careful, Jake, this is expensive stuff, don't--

(Jake, trying way too hard *not* to look in Michele's direction, ends up
splashing some over the rim of a glass and onto the table.)

HELEN: (Defeated.) --spill it.

(Andrew fills another half-dozen with sparkling cider for the under-21ers.
Mack takes one for himself and another for Jodie, who doesn't say a word.
Rachel looks mad that she's not old enough to try any wine.)

ANDREW: (Raises his glass.) To a lasting friendship, between the Landons
and the Morgendorffers!

DARIA: (Monotone.) Huzzah.

(Clinking of glasses. Jodie doesn't even lift hers. Andrew notices, gives
a disapproving look. Jake, awkward as Michele breast-feeds Evan, looks
around him as if there might be a paper he could hide behind.)

MICHELE: (Finally notices, irritated.) What? It's perfectly natural!

(Helen's expression tells him, "you're embarrassing me.")

JAKE: (Hastily stands.) Umm, I think I'll go put on a couple more steaks...

ANDREW: So Daria, what do you want to do when you grow up?

DARIA: I consider myself already grown up.

(Jodie overhears, snorts derisively.)

ANDREW: (Polite smile, though he didn't find her remark amusing.) No, I
meant once you're out of school and on your own, what do you want
to be?

DARIA: (Deadpan.) The Antichrist. (Beat.) Or possibly a journalist, I
haven't decided yet.

JANE: (Smirks.) Is there any real difference?

ANDREW: Well I hope you're getting started planning your career now, like
Jodie. (Slightly frustrated expression.) Though sometimes I feel
like I'm the one doing most of the planning...

(Close-up of Jodie.)

JODIE: (Whispers.) Shut up...

ANDREW: (Still talking to Daria, though it's clear his words are intended for
Jodie.) It may *seem* like you've got forever, but how do you expect
to keep up with everyone else who's already started? I mean, it *is*
the rest of your life we're talking about here...

(*Closer* close-up of Jodie.)

JODIE: (Grits her teeth, near tears. Under her breath:) Shut *up*...

ANDREW: (Raises his voice just talking about it, as in "Gifted".) The
*last* thing you should want is to quote-unquote *live* by sponging
off taxpayers, subsisting on welfare like all the other *cheats*--

(At the sound of that word, something in Jodie snaps.)

JODIE: (Stands, screams:) *SHUT UP*!!!

(Stunned silence. Jodie's face contorts with pure, absolute rage.)

JODIE: (Yells at Andrew.) She doesn't *CARE*, okay?! She doesn't give a
damn about *anything* or *anyone*!!

DARIA: (Stunned, tries to calm her down.) Excuse m--

JODIE: (Interrupts, shouting at her.) Did it *ever* even *OCCUR* to you
that *SOMEONE* has to pull your weight?! If you took an *OUNCE* of
interest in what goes on at school *just once*, maybe *I* wouldn't
always get stuck trying to do *everything*!!

MACK: Hey, it's okay Jodie, calm down.

(He tries to put a comforting arm around her, but she shoves him away, spins
to face him.)

JODIE: And *YOU*!! What the hell are you even *doing* here?! We've been
going out what, almost two *years* now, and have we even *gotten*
anywhere?! (On a roll now, she can't stop.) I have NO interest in
you AT *ALL*, the only reason I even go *OUT* with you is to please
*HIM*!! (Points at Andrew, who's too stunned to respond.) "When's
Michael coming over, Jodie?", "Keeping up those straight A's, Jodie?",
"Make any new friends, Jodie?", "What colleges did you apply to this
week, Jodie?", that's *all* I ever HEAR from you anymore! Nothing I
do is *EVER* good enough for you and I am *SICK OF IT*!!

(Jodie turns sharply, storms off.)

ANDREW: (Stands, shouts after her.) Jodie!! Jodie Abigail Landon, you get
back here RIGHT NOW!!

MICHELE: Now don't lose your temper, Andy. (Takes his arm, pulls him back
to the table.)

(Yipe. Even Daria's stunned. Tense, awkward silence for a few moments,
until it's broken by the particularly badly-timed arrival of:)

JAKE: So! (Holds up plate.) Who'd like another burger?

HELEN: *JAKE*!

(...la la LA la la...)

(COMMERCIAL LEAD-IN: Jodie's eye twitching the one time.)

END ACT 2.

(COMMERCIAL: You know that Old Navy lady? Doesn't she look kind of like a
really *old* version of Daria? Cuz with the big round glasses, see? And
she always wears all black. I think she kind of does. Look like Daria.)

BEGIN ACT 3.

RETURN TO:

EXT.: HIGH HILLS PARK, HILLTOP.

(Jake and Andrew have their golf clubs and are hitting a bucket of old balls
into the rough.)

ANDREW: You should come play the links at my club sometime, Jacob. I could
get you a one-day pass.

JAKE: (Concern.) Are you sure Jodie's okay?

ANDREW: She'll be fine, she just needs to blow off some steam. Gets stressed
out really easy sometimes.

(The two each take another swing apiece. Jake watches as Andrew's ball sails
far ahead of his own.)

JAKE: Wow, look at that one fly!

ANDREW: That's the graphite shaft. (Shows him.) Heads are titanium.

JAKE: (Whistles, impressed.) *Those* must've set you back.

ANDREW: Had 'em custom-built last month, after I took the eccentric-pet-
owners market by storm. Sometimes you've just gotta treat yourself,
Jacob!

JAKE: Eccentric pet owners?

ANDREW: Teamed up with a client to develop pet cigars. Novelty retailers
loved it.

(Jake's face falls.)

ANDREW: Said he made a proposal to some other consultant, but got turned
down.

JAKE: Um, really...? (Hits another ball. It goes off in an odd direction.)

ANDREW: Heh. I bet that poor schmuck's *still* kicking himself for letting
that one slip by.

JAKE: (Ruefully.) Yeah, what a sap he must've been... (Another swing, this
one knocks up a big divot.)

ANDREW: (Thinking back.) The ones for goldfish were the hardest...

CUT TO: EASEL.

(MUSIC: Unlearn", Psykosonik.")

(Mack watches Jane paint.)

JANE: Ordinarily I don't do landscapes, they're too obvious.

MACK: So why today?

JANE: I dunno. Beats sitting around with the rest of those crazy people.
I only came cuz Daria asked me.

MACK: (Shakes his head, still in disbelief.) God, I've never seen Jodie get
so mad. Didn't think she had it in her. (Looks off.) I really should
go find her and talk to her.

JANE: I think I'd wait till she cools down. And let Daria find her first.

MACK: (Uncertain.) You sure?

JANE: (Nods.) *Ohhhh* yeah.

CUT TO: HILLTOP.

JAKE: (Puts his club away.) Wasn't Michele a bit upset when you bought those
for yourself? I know Helen would be.

ANDREW: (Friendly hand on Jacob's shoulder, grins.) Ahh, that's the
advantage of keeping a separate card she doesn't know about.

JAKE: But... how do you hide it when the bills show up?

ANDREW: Creative accounting, Jacob. Creative accounting.

CUT TO: PLAYGROUND, SANDBOX.

(Quinn and Rachel sit on the edge as Evan digs in the sand.)

RACHEL: God, my Mom drives me nuts. "Rachel, go get your brother." "Change
your brother, Rachel." "If you're going out, take your brother with
you." I'm only eleven and already my life's over.

QUINN: What I do to really bug my Mom? Is whenever I disagree with some
stupid rule she makes up, I just go, "MO-OOOOMMMMM!!" And just say
it as loud and whiny as I can.

RACHEL: (Tries it.) MOOOOOMMMM!! (Beat.) Like that, you mean?

QUINN: Almost. But you have to put like a little stutter in the middle of
it. Like this: (Shows her.) MO-OOOMMMM!!

HELEN'S VOICE: (Calls back, from a distance away.) WHAT IS IT, QUINN?

QUINN: See?

RACHEL: (Tries again.) MO-OOOMMMMMM!!

MICHELE'S VOICE: (Calls back.) WHAT IS IT, RACHEL?

(Quinn and Rachel swap proud-teacher and proud-pupil smiles, respectively.)

CUT TO: OPEN AREA.

(Mack and Andrew toss a football back and forth.)

JAKE: (Joins in.) Hey, toss it this way, my man!

(Mack sends it spiraling toward Jake, who manages to catch it.)

ANDREW: Nice catch, Jacob. You play in college?

JAKE: No. (Painful-memory face.) Tried out in military school, though.

ANDREW: (Surprised to hear this.) You went to military school?

JAKE: Buxton Ridge. (Throws hard, with the full force of his anger, to
Andrew, who catches it.)

ANDREW: Should've made it, you've got a good arm. (Passes to Mack.) Man, I
can't wait 'til I'm doing this with my own son someday!

(Jake gets a wounded look, since he's missing out.)

CUT TO: SHADED BENCH.

(Jodie sits disconsolately on a bench a short distance off the path, beneath
a large oak. From off-camera, Daria steps into view. Cut to front view of
the bench as Daria comes over and, after a moment, sits down. Jodie turns
away from Daria, but doesn't get up. It's obvious she's been crying. Daria
hesitates, for once uncertain what to say.)

JODIE: (Quietly, but with some bitterness.) I've spent my whole life...
trying to please him. (Pause.) And is it such a crime, wanting to
be perfect? Is that so *wrong*?!

DARIA: Only wrong in the sense that it's impossible. Not to mention boring.

JODIE: (Snide.) You're the expert, you oughtta know.

DARIA: (Gently.) Okay, I deserved that. But isn't being boring an
imperfection itself?

JODIE: (Tired, sighs.) I don't *care*.

DARIA: Besides, you're still dodging the real issue here.

JODIE: (Feels Daria's preaching, like her dad. Doesn't want to listen to
it.) And what's *that*?

DARIA: Why you feel you have to be so perfect in the first place.

JODIE: Because of my father, you've seen the way he is! (Hesitates, then
admits it:) ...And because of *you*!

DARIA: (Not what she expected.) Me?

CUT TO: BICYCLE TRAIL.

(The camera pans along with Helen and Michele, riding bikes side by side, in
pads and helmets.)

HELEN: (Mid-conversation.) I mean, think about it. Forty years ago, would
either of us be where we are today? Me, a high-powered attorney and
you a senior VP-- (Quickly, as Michele frowns.) --er, *former* VP...
Affirmative Action may have its critics, but you can't deny it's made
a positive impact on workplace diversity.

(Michele skids her bike to an abrupt stop. Surprised, Helen follows suit,
looks back at her.)

MICHELE: (Bristles.) Are you suggesting that Affirmative Action was what got
me my VP position?!

(Helen's forehead creases in a troubled expression. She's blown it again.)

CUT TO: WATER FOUNTAIN.

(Quinn holds Evan up while Rachel pushes the button so he can have a drink
of water. Mack and Jane arrive.)

MACK: You guys seen Jodie?

QUINN: I think she's back that way. (Tilts her head to one side.)

RACHEL: I thought I saw her talking to Quinn's cousin.

(Quinn smiles at how easily she convinced Rachel. Then she notices water
spilling down her front, quickly lifts baby Evan away from the drinking
fountain... and just as quickly realizes it *isn't* water.)

QUINN: EE-ewwwww!!

CUT TO: SHADED BENCH.

(Jodie and Daria.)

JODIE: I guess I've sort of felt inferior ever since you moved here.
I mean, you're so smart, so talented. You're a shoo-in for
valedictorian.

DARIA: (Shakes her head, Jodie still doesn't understand.) I'm not *like*
you, Jodie. I don't care about being known as the smartest in the
class.

JODIE: (Confused.) You must care a little, or you wouldn't put the effort
into straight A's.

DARIA: I only do it because it means getting a decent job. Right now I just
want to get through high school so my life can maybe take off. That's
all that matters to me. Maybe someday that'll change. (Admits.)
Sometimes I hope it does.

(Both girls are momentarily silent. Behind them the sun is starting to set.)

JODIE: (Guilty.) I'm really sorry about what I said. I mean it.

DARIA: (Forgiveness in her voice.) I've been called worse.

JODIE: So... can we still be friends, after all this?

DARIA: I'm no one's friend. (Hint of smile.) And yes. (Beat.) Besides,
if we end up tied for first, you'll just slaughter me on the
extracurricular activities.

(For the first time since her outburst, Jodie manages a smile.)

JODIE: Thanks.

CUT TO: PATH, A SHORT DISTANCE BEHIND THE BENCH.

(Quinn, Evan, Rachel, Jane and Mack.)

RACHEL: (Tugs at Quinn.) Let's go see what they're talking about.

QUINN: (Showing rare maturity.) No, I think they wanna be left alone.

JANE: C'mon, I'll... (Thinks fast.) ...show you where the Satanists
worship!

RACHEL: Really? Cool!

(The three girls head off. Mack remains.)

CUT TO: SHADED BENCH.

JODIE: Daria...? (Ashamed.) I've got a confession to make...

DARIA: You peeked at my science answers the other day.

JODIE: (Stunned.) H--... How'd you know?

DARIA: (Hint of smile.) I left it face-up on purpose.

(Jodie stares in shocked disbelief.)

DARIA: (Shrugs.) You looked like you could use some help. Don't worry, I
won't say a word to Ms Barch. Or your dad.

JODIE: But... it was *cheating*, it was wrong! I felt *terrible* about it,
I still do!

DARIA: Don't. It's a stupid class anyway.

JODIE: (Teary-eyed smile, shakes her head.) You're crazy.

DARIA: That's what the voices in my head keep telling me.

(Jodie manages a shaky laugh, sniffs, wipes her eyes.)

CUT TO: CLEARING.

(MUSIC: "Rock Is Dead", Marilyn Manson, coming from a portable stereo.)

(Jane, Quinn [carrying Evan] and Rachel emerge in the clearing to find
Andrea seated on a stump, burning incense and a black candle. She raises
her eyebrows in surprise at the newcomers.)

JANE: (Awkward.) Umm... hi.

(Similar reactions from Quinn and Rachel.)

CUT TO: SHADED BENCH.

(MUSIC: "Down So Long", Jewel.)

(Quietly, Mack comes up behind her.)

DARIA: (Turns, sees him, stands.) Well. My work here is done.

MACK: (To Jodie.) Hey. (Not sure what to say.) You all right?

JODIE: (Embarrassed about her earlier behavior.) I think so.

MACK: Wanna go get some pizza?

JODIE: Sure.

MACK: And talk, I mean really talk?

JODIE: (Smiles.) I'd love to.

MACK: See ya, Daria.

JODIE: Yeah, umm, thanks for coming.

(Mack and Jodie chuckle at the disastrous family outing, and Daria smiles.
The two head off together, into the sunset. Mack slips Jodie's hand into
his, and for once she doesn't resist. Daria sits again, deep in thought.)

CUT TO:

CUT TO: PICNIC AREA. LATE AFTERNOON/EARLY EVENING.

(Helen and Michele are picking up, loading things back in the car, neither
looking like she wants to speak to the other. Jake and Andrew appear from
over the hill.)

ANDREW: 'Bout that time?

MICHELE: (Shortly.) Yes. It's that time.

HELEN: We'd better go find the girls.

JAKE: Don't worry, they can't have gone far.

CUT TO:

EXT.: CASHMAN'S DEPARTMENT STORE.

(MUSIC: "2 Become 1", Spice Girls. [No, I don't like 'em, but they make
appropriate Cashman's music.])

CUT TO:

INT.: CASHMAN'S.

(Quinn looks Rachel over as she emerges from a dressing room, wearing
jeans and a tank. A saleswoman [see "Pierce Me"] is with them, holding an
armload of try-on articles. Baby Evan rests in a rental-stroller nearby.)

RACHEL: How does this look?

QUINN: Perfect. (Takes a cardigan from the saleswoman, removes the hanger,
hands the top to Rachel.) Here, try this on over it.

(Rachel obeys. It's a nice complement.)

QUINN: (Sizes it up. To saleslady.) Okay, we'll take that too. And those.
(Points to another stack of outfits on a chair nearby.)

SALESLADY: (Knows her by name.) Quinn, if you've got your mom's card again,
I can start ringing these up.

RACHEL: (Hands Quinn a credit card, which she shows to the saleswoman.)
It's my Dad's. I don't think Mom even knows about it.

(The salesclerk adjusts the heavy load of clothing she's carrying to take
the card.)

QUINN: (Holds up a lavender midriff top with the famous smiley.) Okay,
this is off their junior-preteen line. It's never too early to start
showing the boys a little midriff.

RACHEL: (Takes it into the fitting room, closes the door.) Boys? But most
of the boys in my class don't even *like* girls.

QUINN: (Knowing smirk.) Ohh, they will. Sooner than you think. Trust me.

(Rachel emerges, now wearing the top. Quinn guides her over to the mirror.)

QUINN: (Appraising.) Now technically pink scored higher in "Waif"'s color
poll, but I think lavender goes better with darker flesh tones. And
remember, smiley-faces are cute, and cute *never* goes out of style.

RACHEL: (Writing it down.) "Cute... always... in style."

QUINN: C'mon, let's go find you a purse to match that.

CUT TO:

EXT.: LANDON RESIDENCE. EARLY EVENING.

(Mack drops Jodie off at home.)

JODIE: (Sees all the lights off.) I thought they'd be home by now. Where
is everybody?

CUT TO:

EXT.: HIGH HILLS PARK, IN THE WOODS. LATE EVENING.

(Crickets, night noise. Andrew and Michele move through the trees in near-
darkness.)

ANDREW: JODIEEEEE!!

MICHELE: RACHELLL!! WHERE ARE YOUUUU??

ANDREW: (Becoming angry.) That's it. They are grounded. They are *so*
grounded.

MICHELE: Now, Andy, don't lose your temper.

ANDREW: It's awfully dark, maybe they already went home? (Looks around.)
How the hell do we get out of here?

MICHELE: *Damn* those Morgendorffers! Whose bright idea was this anyway?

(Cut to Jake and Helen some distance off, also stumbling blindly through
the woods.)

JAKE: (Calls.) QUI-IIINNN!!

HELEN: (Calls.) DARRR-III-AAAAA!!

JAKE: (Looks around.) Umm, Helen? I think we're lost.

HELEN: Dammit, this is all *your* fault! "Let's go on a picnic with the
Landons," you said! "It'll be fun", you said! Is this *fun* for
you, Jake, are you having a good time?!

JAKE: (Stammers.) But-- But I... you...

HELEN: Jake, shut up and help me look!

(Fade to black.)

JAKE'S VOICE: (Apprehensive.) Helen...? Is it true they have devil-
worshippers around here?

(...la la LA la la...)

(CREDITS AND CUTE LITTLE RENDERINGS OF THE CHARACTERS.)

(I thought it'd be cute if they had one of Andrew and Michele as Bill and
Hillary Clinton.)

(CLOSING MUSIC: "June Afternoon", Roxette, for some nice irony. This is an
obscure one, only available on their greatest-hits album, which hasn't been
released in the States yet. Start about 2:50 into the track, during the
closing refrains:)

It's a bright June afternoon
Let's play in the park, wa-wa, here comes the sun
Get your green, green tambourine
It never gets dark, wa-wa, here comes the sun
It never gets dark
Let's play in the park
...
Let's play in the park
Here comes the sun!

THE END

AUTHOR'S NOTES: I tried to build up an impending sense of "Oh my God, she's
gonna blow!" with Jodie, having hinted at this episode with the scenes in
"Accept No Substitutes" and "Daria versus the IRS." Also listen to her
conversation with Daria in "Gifted", and check out her newspaper article in
the "Diaries" and her Stanford application essay and New Year's resolutions
in the "Database": It was only a matter of time before Jodie cracked. I'll
be genuinely surprised if something similar doesn't occur during the show's
third season.

"Behind-the-scenes" info: This is probably the only script I didn't write
more-or-less sequentially from start to finish. This time I jumped around a
lot, writing scenes as they came to mind, since I didn't have a whole lot
planned out in advance. Kind of liberating. The computer lab scene was
originally cut from "Daria versus the IRS" to trim the script. It's pretty
much unchanged here, except now Jodie is the one stressed out instead of
Jane. Initially I'd planned to bring the Gupty kids into this one too, but
then I ended up using all my good material for them in "Quinntet".

Hit a small creative slump with this one, and couldn't figure out how to
adequately handle Jodie's breakdown. But then I ended up working a 13-hour
day and was stressed out with pestering phone calls the next two.
Inspiration comes from the damnedest places.

If you guessed I really like the Landons, you're right. They're so much fun
to write lines for, especially Michele and Rachel. (It'll be interesting to
see how closely I nailed Rachel, going only from a vague description in the
"Database".) I also wanted to explore Jodie's relationship with her father,
and particularly with Mack, since it's been barely touched on the show.
Using baby Evan to show some of that potential for growth Daria's seen in
Quinn ("Write Where it Hurts"), and to finally give Rachel an ally were two
other goals for this fic.

And ohyeah, I don't believe I mentioned the other Fashion Club girls *once*.

Would you like to be updated when I release new "Daria" stories and
get sneak previews of what I have in store just around the corner? If so,
send an e-mail and ask to be put on my Daria Fanfic update list. This
won't cram your mailbox full, I promise. One update a week at most.
Also let me know if you want to receive new stories by e-mail, as I'm
doing that now too.

Anybody got any fan art based on my fics? If so, you can send it to:

C.E. Forman
6823 N. TerraVista #706
Peoria, IL 61614
U.S.A.

I'd love to see it. E-mail is good too, JPEGs, GIFs or bitmaps work best.

[Disclaimer: "Daria" and all related characters are trademarks of MTV
Networks, a division of Viacom International Inc., and are used here
without permission for the purpose of fan fiction. I suppose if you
represent MTV's legal department you could sue, but think about it,
what's it really going to get you? I mean, *I* sure don't have any
money, and there's like fifty other people writing these fan stories,
so you might as well just live with it and maybe learn to appreciate
the fact that your show has such a loyal, dedicated legion of fans who
care enough to write things like this. Of course, you *could* just
hire us and that'd solve your problem nicely too.]

[This "Daria" fanfic story is copyright 1999 by C.E. Forman but may be
distributed freely in unaltered form to fans of "Daria" everywhere,
provided the author's name and e-mail address remain intact. Thank
you, and good night.]







--
C.E. Forman ceforman@worldnet.att.net
Ye Olde Infocomme Shoppe http://netnow.micron.net/~jgoemmer/infoshop.html