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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.)

Daria in "Taking Debate"
Written by C.E. Forman (ceforman@worldnet.att.net)

BEGIN ACT 1.

EXT.: LAWNDALE HIGH GYMNASIUM. MONDAY.

(MUSIC: "One", Metallica, the opening.)

(The sky is grey and overcast, and a steady rain is falling.)

CUT TO:

INT.: GYMNASIUM.

(Both the girls and the boys are playing half-court basketball on opposite
sides of the gym. Jane sits a couple of rows up in the bleachers, in her
regular clothes. The rest of the girls, in their yellow-and-blue Lawndale
gym clothes, are choosing teams. Ms Morris stands to the side, watching.
Daria and Andrea are the last two students to be picked.)

GIRL ON TEAM #1: (Snorts.) God, what a choice... (Pause.) Fine, we'll
take... that one. (Points to Andrea.)

GIRL ON TEAM #2: Aww c'mon, we got stuck with Morgendorffer *last* time!

GIRL ON TEAM #1: Tough crap.

(The teams get into position to play.)

DARIA'S TEAMMATE: (To Daria, points.) Just... stand over there, out of
the way.

(Daria obeys, hating every nanosecond of this. Ms Morris stands between
the two team captains, blows her whistle, gives the tip-off. The captain of
Daria's team knocks the ball to one of her teammates, who dribbles it around
some opponents and tries to make a hook shot. The rival team jumps in her
way, the ball ricochets off the rim and bounces past Daria on the edge of
court and down into the boys' side of the gym.)

DARIA'S TEAMMATE: (Angry at her.) Jesus, why didn't you *get* that?!

(As in the show's introduction, Daria sticks her hand out as if to block
the ball, though it's already long gone.)

TEAMMATE: Well don't just *stand* there, go get it now!

(Daria walks downcourt toward the ball, deliberately slowly, amid snide
remarks from her classmates. Closeup of Ms Morris, who turns as Ms Li and
Ms DeFoe enter the gym.)

DEFOE: Is this a bad time, Ms Morris?

MORRIS: (Disapproving look at Daria on the other end of the gym.) No, I
think you've got a few minutes.

LI: I was hoping we might have a word with Jane Lane, she has gym this hour,
doesn't she?

MORRIS: (Points to the bleachers.) Yes, she's up there. Be my guest.

(Defoe follows Li toward the bleachers. Cut back to Daria, trying to
retrieve the ball from some jock jerk who's picked it up.)

JERK: (Spins the ball on his finger.) C'mon, just ask me nicely for it,
then it's all yours.

(Daria narrows her eyes, stares him down, refusing to play along.)

JERK: (Realizes this, fake friendliness.) Okay, I was just teasin'. Here
ya go. (Holds it out, then snatches it away when Daria reaches.)

MACK'S VOICE: (Off-screen.) C'mon, Andy, let's play!

(The jock, occupied with Daria, pays no attention. Daria sighs, turns and
leaves. As she plods back to her side, the guy tosses it past her. Daria
looks over and sees Jane talking to Ms Li and Ms Defoe.)

MORRIS: C'mon, move your ass, Morgendorffer!

(She returns to her courtside position, and the girls continue playing.
Dissolve ahead to the end of the period, with Daria still standing there
motionless. A stray ball hits her in the head, and some girls laugh. The
bell rings.)

MORRIS: (Blows whistle.) Okay, that's game! Shower up, girls! (Grabs
Daria by the arm as she goes by.) Morgendorffer. Why am I getting
the impression you're not trying?

DARIA: (Sardonic.) Because I'm not?

MORRIS: (Lecturing, points at her.) You'd better shape up this attitude of
yours, missy, and start showing a little team spirit.

DARIA: I don't believe in team spirit.

MORRIS: Then I suggest you learn to pretend you do, unless you want your
grade in my class to bring down that perfect GPA.

(This said, Ms Morris leaves for her office. Daria crosses to the bleachers,
where Jane has her sketch book out.)

DARIA: Thanks for your support out there.

JANE: (Looks up as her friend approaches.) Hey, I told you not to use all
your no-dress days the first week.

DARIA: (Watches Ms Li and Ms Defoe going out the other exit.) What was that
all about?

JANE: (Continues sketching as she and Daria talk.) You know that big team
logo on the announcers' booth, out by the football field?

DARIA: What about it?

JANE: Paint's starting to flake off pretty badly. Ms Li wanted one of the
art students to retouch it, so Ms DeFoe landed me the job.

DARIA: I suppose that's her way of saving the expense of hiring an outside
contractor?

JANE: And promoting school pride. So of course I couldn't refuse.

DARIA: Have you been eating art paste again?

JANE: (Hastily adds.) Plus I'm excused from gym class to work on it.
(Beat.) What do you think of this?

(She holds up the sketch pad to Daria, showing a drawing of the Lawndale
Lions team logo, only with an unflattering caricature of Ms Morris in the
lion's jaws.)

DARIA: (Hint of smile.) Ooh, I like.

(Sound of bell ringing.)

CUT TO:

INT.: MR O'NEILL'S CLASSROOM.

(The board is covered with notes in Mr O'Neill's distinctive style: The
name "Dante Alighieri". A breakdown of "The Divine Comedy" into "Inferno",
"Purgatorio" and "Paradisio", with arrows pointing to "Inferno" from both
sides. A concentric-circle diagram outlining the levels of hell and the
sins punished there. A crude map of Italy with an arrow pointing to
Florence. A picture of a sad-faced stick figure engulfed in flames. Etc.)

O'NEILL: (Standing, reads from his copy of the text, dramatically.)
"'Master, what gnaws at them so hideously,
their lamentation stuns the very air?'
'They have no hope of death,' he answered me,
'and in their blind and unattaining state
their miserable lives have sunk so low
that they must envy every other fate."
(Awed whisper directed at the class.) *Wow!*

DARIA: (Deadpan.) I've had days like that.

O'NEILL: (Trying to encourage her to talk.) So, like Dante, you also see
the evils of the world, but feel powerless to do anything about
them? I know we all do at times.

DARIA: (How'd he make *that* leap?) Excuse me?

JANE: (Amused smirk, whispers to Daria.) Here we go again.

O'NEILL: What Daria's saying, class, is that we all need an outlet through
which we might express our... feelings of disunity.

DARIA: No, I never said that.

O'NEILL: Well I've got great news for you, Daria: The Lawndale forensics
team is just what you're looking for! Ms Barch and I are this
year's coaches, and Ms Li is our treasurer, director of fundraising
and tournament coordinator! Our annual tri-county tournament is
next week, and it's not too late to sign up!

(The bell rings.)

O'NEILL: (Holds up book.) Tomorrow we'll pass through the First and Second
Circles of Hell.

DARIA: (Dry.) I'm sure we will.

O'NEILL: Class dismissed! (Even though everybody's already up and leaving.)

(Mr O'Neill catches Daria before she can sneak out. Ahead of her, Jane
escapes.)

O'NEILL: Daria?

DARIA: (Turns in the doorway.) Yes?

O'NEILL: (Knows he has to tread lightly here.) Believe me, I wouldn't urge
you to join forensics if I didn't think you'd be great at it.
Public debate of the issues affecting our lives is the one thing
that keeps our leaders from becoming tyrants.

DARIA: Like Ms Li, you mean?

O'NEILL: (Pleased.) Exactly! (Then he sees the irony, and the smile fades.)

DARIA: But if I joined a school team, I'd end up serving her cause too, and
I swore I'd never do that again.

O'NEILL: Now, c'mon Daria, "Never say never".

DARIA: Um, you just violated your own maxim, twice.

O'NEILL: (Stung by the sarcastic comeback.) Oh. Yes, I... guess I did.
(Attempts a good-natured chuckle.) But... please don't be so quick
to dismiss this opportunity. "If you can't say anything nice, you
shouldn't say anything at all."

(Daria stands silently for a couple of seconds, then walks out. Mr O'Neill
faces forward again, looking pained. Daria's clearly hurt his feelings.
Quinn bursts in, obviously in a rush to get somewhere else.)

QUINN: (Muy rapido.) Hi, is this a bad time, you know that paper on that
Prince Machiavelli thing I didn't turn in that was due two months
ago, I haven't gotten to Cashman's to buy any, can I get another
extension on it?

(Daria set him up, and that's all it takes for Quinn to nudge him over the
edge. Mr O'Neill's lip quivers for a few seconds, then he bursts into tears,
buries his hands in his face.)

QUINN: Um, I'll come back later.

(Mr O'Neill continues sobbing as she leaves.)

CUT TO:

INT.: HALLWAY.

(Daria at her locker. Upchuck approaches her.)

DARIA: (Sighs, turns.) For the last time, Upchuck, I am *not* posing for
your perverted photo shoot.

UPCHUCK: Au contraire, my sweet. I have bug one word to impart.

DARIA: Is it "goodbye"?

UPCHUCK: "Debate."

DARIA: I think I'd prefer "goodbye".

UPCHUCK: C'monnn, pleeeeease?

DARIA: (Gets suspicious.) Jodie Landon put you up to this, didn't she?

UPCHUCK: (Surprise.) How did you know?

DARIA: (Turns, looks.) She's watching us from that classroom, over there.

(Cut to Daria's POV. Sure enough, Jodie peeks out through the door, watching
the two of them. Realizing her cover's blown, she emerges.)

DARIA: (To Jodie.) I thought we had a deal.

JODIE: (Innocent.) I didn't say anything myself, did I? (Pokes Upchuck.)
Tell her!

UPCHUCK: You'd be really good at it!

JODIE: (Realizes she's breaking her promise to Daria, but can't help it.)
Just think about it, okay? Don't take this the wrong way, but you
could do with a little more human contact.

DARIA: I've found most humans aren't worth contacting.

JODIE: And it'll get you out of gym class.

(She's got her there. Daria hesitates, and Jodie, confident she'll at least
consider it, heads off, smiling.)

DARIA: Damn! She knows me too well.

UPCHUCK: (Come-on.) *I'd* like to get to know you well, too!

DARIA: (Narrowed eyes.) Scram, Upchuck.

CUT TO:

EXT.: MORGENDORFFER RESIDENCE. EARLY EVENING.

(MUSIC: "Anything But Down", Sheryl Crow.)

CUT TO:

INT.: KITCHEN.

(The family is seated around the table, waiting, looking hungry.)

HELEN: (Pacing, impatient.) Where *is* that delivery guy? I *told* them I
had to be back at the office in an hour!

DARIA: Relax, Mom. Four more minutes and it's free.

JAKE: (Let's start a conversation.) So, girls, anything "cool" happen at
school today?

QUINN: (Whiny, put-upon.) *No*! You would not *believe* what I went
through! I wear my brand-new embroidered belt, okay, the olive one,
the one I got the same day I found that really cute red scarf, okay?
Well I meet up with the rest of the Fashion Club, and Tiffany has on
the *EXACT* SAME ONE!

DARIA: That violates the laws of the physical universe, no wonder you're
upset.

QUINN: I mean, I *could* have *DIED*!

DARIA: Too bad you didn't.

HELEN: (Warning.) Daria!

QUINN: So then of course we couldn't let the rest of the school see us like
that, and Tiffany and Sandi are like *this*-- (Here she crosses two
fingers on her hand to indicate inseparability.) --which means *I*
got stuck listening to *Stacy* whine about how this guy she went out
with never complimented her shoes!

DARIA: Speaking of stuck listening to people whine...

HELEN: (Interrupts, anxious to shut Quinn up.) Daria, what did you do today?

DARIA: I'd better not say. Once I tell you, you'll be an accessory.

HELEN: (Sighs, then remembers.) Oh, well *I* remember now, you talked to
Mr O'Neill about joining the school forensics team, didn't you?

DARIA: (Oh *God* no.) He called you?

QUINN: Somebody made him cry again today, it's lucky for him he doesn't wear
mascara.

JAKE: Forensics team? That's *great*, sweetie!

HELEN: I just wish that man wouldn't use my office number, he talks forever
and *always* calls just when I have work to do.

JAKE: So you're really gonna join something this time, huh, kiddo?

HELEN: Don't push her into this, Jake. (That's her department.) I'd think
you'd *like* debate, Daria, it's about standing up and telling the
world what you believe in.

DARIA: Assuming you believe in anything at all.

HELEN: You'd be developing a lot of good skills, and as a lawyer I can tell
you public speaking skills are very important. Remember our day
together in court?

DARIA: You don't actually *believe* everything your clients say, do you?

(Helen frowns at this, but decides not to pursue it.)

DARIA: It just sounds like yet another glorified popularity contest.

QUINN: (Perks up.) Really? Maybe *I* should join. I'm popular!

HELEN: That's not true, Daria, you'll be judged by what you have to say and
how well you say it, not by your appearance.

DARIA: Then why aren't the tournaments held in darkened rooms?

QUINN: (Dreamy, her own little world.) A popularity contest! I'll win
for sure!

DARIA: Do you even know what the forensics team does?

QUINN: It sounds kinda like a science. But like, *popular* science.

HELEN: See honey, Quinn's thinking of joining too!

DARIA: All the more reason for me to avoid it like the plague.

HELEN: (Sighs, different strategy.) Okay, Daria, so tell me why you don't
think you'd be good at something like this. And be specific, give me
some examples.

DARIA: Well, first off because... (Catches what Helen's up to, stops.)
No way, I'm not walking into *that* one. (Stands, leaves.)

HELEN: (Fist to the table.) Damn! I was so close there!

JAKE: (Looks around. At some point, his mind drifted away from the
conversation.) Is the pizza here yet?

CUT TO:

EXT.: LAWNDALE HIGH GYMNASIUM. TUESDAY.

(MUSIC: "One", Metallica, the opening, as before.)

(The rain hasn't let up yet.)

CUT TO:

INT.: GYMNASIUM.

(The girls are playing basketball again. Jane is among them today, and is
out about half walking around, at least pretending to try a little bit.
Daria stands to the side, as before. There's a mad scramble for the ball,
and Daria, too slow to react, gets caught in the middle of it. One of the
other girls attempts to shove her out of the way, and she goes down.)

MORRIS: (Catches it, blows her whistle.) Foul on Morgendorffer!

TEAMMATE: (To Daria.) Get up, you get a free throw.

GIRL ON OPPOSING TEAM: (Whispers.) Oh, this oughtta be good.

(Daria steps to the free throw line, not looking thrilled in the least.
Someone hands her the ball. She throws it, but aims way too high, and it
bounces off the backboard without even touching the rim of the basket.
Scattered snickers from members of both teams. Daria moves back to her
spot on the sidelines.)

CLASSMATE: (Snide.) Whoo, you got *game*, girl!

(Her friends find the remark very amusing. Close-up of Daria, she scowls,
absolutely loathing this. Cut to the boys' side of the gym, Kevin and Mack.)

KEVIN: Hey, Mack Daddy, howcome the girls never hafta play "shirts versus
skins"?

CUT TO:

INT.: MR O'NEILL'S CLASSROOM, AFTER SCHOOL.

(The debate team is gathered here. Visible among the nameless students
are Jodie, Upchuck, Evan from "See Jane Run", Quinn, and on other end of
room, the rest of the Fashion Club.)

SANDI: If Quinn's entering this popularity thing, *I* am too!

TIFFANY: Why do you let her control you like this?

(Sandi's reply is interrupted. Everyone turns and looks as Daria enters.)

O'NEILL: (Delighted.) Daria! I'm so glad you changed your mind!

DARIA: I think I've gone out of my mind.

SANDI: What's *she* doing in a popularity contest?

TIFFANY: Maybe she's trying for the consolation prize.

(Sandi and Tiffany laugh.)

DARIA: (Goes over to her sister.) Quinn, what are you doing here?

QUINN: (Has her back turned, replies over her shoulder, as inconspicuously
as possible.) What does it look like? I'm joining this popularity
team thing, or whatever.

DARIA: (Sighs.) That was sarcasm, Quinn, I didn't mean it that way. Don't
you realize how much work this is going to be?

QUINN: (Doesn't listen, big-deal tone.) Being popular *always* takes a lot
of time and effort.

O'NEILL: (Calls to everyone present.) I think everybody's here, so we can
get started. What I'd like to do first is pair everyone off into
teams of two, so if all the new members could write down their
names and put them into this hat here... (Gestures to a hat he's
set on his desk.)

(The students do as instructed, using some slips of paper on O'Neill's desk.
Daria holds onto her paper for one last fleeting moment before letting go.
Close-up of the hat as the paper drops drops into it and disappears from
sight. As Sandi is writing her name, Stacy and Tiffany approach Quinn.)

TIFFANY: (Aside, to Quinn.) Why do you let her imitate you like this?

(Stacy moves to the desk.)

SANDI: (Notices.) What are you doing, Stacy?

STACY: I thought... we were all signing up for this!

SANDI: Quinn and I are going to be *gone* for a week. *Someone* has to
stay behind and maintain our reign of popularity here. Otherwise
the wanna-be's could take over.

STACY: Oh. Right. (She obviously wanted to go too, but is too afraid to
say anything.)

O'NEILL: (Looks around.) Everyone finished? Now, I'll draw two names at a
time, then those people will be partners, okay? (Drawing names,
the students pair off as he reads them.) Okay, let's see... Carl
and... Evan. Edward and... Celeste. Eugene and... Elizabeth.
Cynthia and... Jill. Chris and... Elaine. Quinn and... Charles
Ruttheimer.

QUINN: (Horrified.) *What*?!

UPCHUCK: (Grinning, rubs his hands.) Score one for the Chuckmeister!

O'NEILL: (Continues.) And... Sandi Griffin and... Daria Morgendorffer!

DARIA: (Deadpan.) Straight to the Ninth Circle.

SANDI: (Looking around.) Who's Darla Morgendorffer?

DARIA: (Approaches her.) That's "Daria".

SANDI: (Same reaction Quinn had.) Quinn's *cousin*?! (Hint of suspicion.)
Wait a minute, how come you have the same last name as Quinn?

QUINN: (Overhears, hastily fills in.) Oh, she must've written my family's
name down instead. She's been with the family so long, sometimes she
forgets she's not really one of us. Right, *cousin*?

(Daria frowns at this.)

SANDI: This isn't fair! How come I get paired with a *brain*?

QUINN: (Hopeful.) We could switch if you want.

UPCHUCK: (Spots them.) Ahh, *there* you are! It seems fate has placed us
together... *partner*! (Puts an arm around Quinn's shoulder, and
she immediately pulls away.)

SANDI: (Repulsed.) Ugh! No thanks!

O'NEILL: (To the team.) You'll receive your topics after we check in.
See you all Monday, out front, 8 am sharp!

(Most of the team has already left. Again Mr O'Neill snags Daria on the
way out.)

O'NEILL: (All excited to beat hell.) I can just *tell* you'll enjoy this,
Daria, with your wit and writing prowess! As they say, "The pen is
mightier than the sword"!

DARIA: Maybe. But it's a lot harder to decapitate your opponent with a Bic.

(Mr O'Neill gets that wounded look again.)

CUT TO:

INT.: MORGENDORFFER RESIDENCE. EVENING, TUESDAY.

(The family at dinner, back to lasagna again. Jake's got the paper.)

QUINN: (Petulant.) Mom, make Daria resign from the contest! I don't want
her hanging around with Sandi, she'll ruin my life!

DARIA: Just pretend I'm invisible, like you always do.

QUINN: (Frustrated.) *Uhhh*! If you were invisible, could you *possibly*
embarrass me this much?

HELEN: Now Quinn, your sister has every bit as much right to participate in
school activities as you do.

QUINN: (Whines.) But *I'm* the attractive and popular one! I even have the
most hairspray, out of all the girls in the school!

DARIA: Wow, the adolescent bourgeoisie, right here in my presence.

QUINN: *What*?

(The phone rings, Helen gets it.)

HELEN: (Snappish.) What's the idea of calling during dinnertime?!

(Jake winces. A high-pitched male yelp on the other line identifies the
caller as Mr O'Neill. Daria and Quinn exchange looks.)

HELEN: (Pause.) Yes, this is she. (Interrupts, impatient.) You've got
five seconds, make 'em count! (Five-second pause, we can hear Mr
O'Neill's nervous babbling on the other end.) Yes, fine, good, I'd
be *delighted*! (Hangs up, assumes more pleasant tone.) Girls,
that was your teacher Mr O'Neill...

DARIA: If this is about those organs, I just need the teachers' freezer
until Thursday.

HELEN: Actually, that tightwad Ms Li wouldn't spring for a bus, so he was
looking for volunteers to drive the team.

DARIA & QUINN: (Unison, horror.) You *didn't*!

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

(COMMERCIAL LEAD-IN: Split screen, Daria attempting the free-throw, and the
ball bouncing off the backboard.)

END ACT 1.

(COMMERCIAL: You know those sort of "anti-commercials", the kind where the
people sit around and talk about what kinds of commercials they can't stand?
I hate those.)

BEGIN ACT 2.

RETURN TO:

EXT.: LAWNDALE HIGH. MORNING, MONDAY.

(The debate team -- along with Mr O'Neill, Ms Barch, Ms Li, Helen and Linda
-- is assembled outside Lawndale High's front entrance. Everyone has a
suitcase, except for Sandi and Quinn, who have about three apiece. Tiffany
and Stacy are also present, to see their fashion superiors off. Parked at
the curb are cars belonging to Helen, O'Neill, Linda [the red convertible
we've seen Sandi drive], and one that's presumably Ms Barch's, judging by
the license plate reading "MAN H8R".)

LI: (Wrapping up pep speech.) ...So as you set forth today, remember there
is nothing more rewarding than proving yourself on the intellectual
playing field, and in doing so, bringing priiiide and hoooonor to...
(Subdued.) ...Lawndale High. (More energetic now.) Good luck, young
people, and have fun! (Quickly adds:) Although tournaments *aaare*
considered field trips, so all school rules apply: Absolutely noooo
horseplay, no talking unless you raise your hand first, and use a number
2 pencil at all times!

UPCHUCK: We won't let you down, Ms Li!

BARCH: (Glares at him.) Your whole gender's a letdown! (Aside, to O'Neill.)
Except you, sweetykins.

(Everybody piles into a car. Daria climbs in the back seat of Helen's, and
Jodie gets in beside her. Sandi gets into her mother's car.)

HELEN: Coming, Quinn?

QUINN: Umm... I think I'm gonna ride with Sandi if that's okay.

HELEN: Of course. We'll see you there, sweetie!

(Upchuck takes the last vacant spot in the Morgendorffermobile, in front
beside Helen. Tiffany and Stacy follow Ms Li back inside.)

CUT TO:

EXT.: ROAD, HELEN'S CAR. / INT.: HELEN'S OFFICE.

(Split screen, Helen driving while talking on the phone with Marianne, her
assistant.)

HELEN: Hello, Marianne? It's Helen.

MARIANNE: (Verge of panic.) What's going on? Mr Schrecter's been looking
all over for you!

HELEN: Marianne, something's come up and I have to go away for a few days.
You'd think after all the overtime I've put in that that wouldn't be
too much to ask!

MARIANNE: He keeps asking about you! What should I say?

HELEN: Tell him I'm out with a client. I got caught up over the weekend,
so just take down as many appointments as you can and try not to
overbook this time. I'll be back Monday. Got a toll booth ahead,
I'll call you later and give you the hotel number.

MARIANNE: But how can Mr Schrecter reach you?

HELEN: He can't, that's the idea.

MARIANNE: But--

HELEN: Dammit, Marianne, my job is *not* my living, it's how I *earn* my
living! Now don't let him know I've left town! (Hangs up, she's
instantly calmer.) So, Jodie, how's your mother doing?

JODIE: Oh, she's fine. But I think she's a little tired of staying home
every day.

CUT TO:

INT.: LINDA'S CAR.

(Sandi's in front with her Mom, leaving Quinn alone in the back.)

LINDA: So, Quinn? How's your mother's job going?

QUINN: It's fine, I guess.

LINDA: Just "fine"? Passed over for promotions again, was she?

QUINN: (Stung.) I dunno, she hasn't talked about it much.

LINDA: (Triumphant.) I thought so.

SANDI: (Quinn's vulnerable, so she strikes, points out her window.) Ohhh,
*look* Quinn, a garage sale! Maybe we should stop and see if they
have any tops like yours.

(Quinn seems to be regretting her choice of vehicle. Linda and Sandi
exchange smirks.)

CUT TO:

EXT.: MR O'NEILL'S CAR.

(Overhead shot, then cut to inside.)

O'NEILL: Say, I know! Let's all sing a song to pass the time!
(Sings.) When... you're... happy and you know it, clap your hands!
(Lifts his hands from the steering wheel long enough to twice.)
When you're happy and you know it, clap your hands! (Claps twice.)
When you're happy and you know it,
Then your face will surely show it,
When you're... (Trails off, realizes no one is singing along.
With an anguished sigh, Mr O'Neill faces forward, drives in
silence.)

CUT TO:

EXT.: MS BARCH'S CAR.

(Through-the-windshield shot, it's just Barch and one girl in the back, with
the suitcases up front.)

BARCH: (Looking in rearview mirror.) Got enough room back there, Celeste?

CELESTE: (Looks uncomfortable.) Yeah, I'm fine.

BARCH: This is actually my ex-husband's car. (Bitter.) Leave it to that
despicable Y-chromosome-bearing pig to take off in the one that was
already paid for!

CELESTE: (Nervous look behind her.) Are you sure the boys are okay?

BARCH: (Dismissive.) They'll be fine, they're *males*, they *thrive* in
dark, dirty, smelly places!

MALE VOICE: (Muffled.) Ms Barch! We can't breathe back here!

BARCH: (Nonchalant, to Celeste.) Did you hear something?

CUT TO:

INT.: MR O'NEILL'S CLASSROOM.

(Ms Li watches as the students file into class, looking surprised to see
her there.)

KEVIN: Hey, Ms Li. Are you subbing for Mr O'Neill?

LI: Not exactly. But we do have a little change of plan, with the debate
team away on a field trip.

KEVIN: Hey, Mack Daddy, howcome we never go on a field trip for sex ed?

LI: (Stands, addresses the class.) Gooood morning, students! While Mr
O'Neill is away, I have here some odd jobs that need doing around the
school. (Holds up some prewritten slips of paper, drops them in the
hat Mr O'Neill used, shakes it.) Everyone come up here and take one.

(The students obey, with some trepidation.)

BRITTANY: (Reads hers.) "Clean the... bathrooms"?! Eww, gross!

MACK: "Scrape gum from under the desks"?!

(Murmuring among the class, surprised and upset glances exchanged. Jane
reacts with a contemptuous look reminiscent of Daria.)

INT.: LAWNDALE HIGH, CAFETERIA.

(Slow zoom on their table as Tiffany and Stacy eat lunch in silence.)

STACY: It sure is quiet without Quinn and Sandi around.

TIFFANY: (After long, drawn-out pause.) Yeah.

(Pause.)

CUT TO:

EXT.: GAS STATION.

(The sun is setting in the background as Upchuck eagerly fills the tank for
Helen. He's just finished and is replacing the pump as the scene opens.)

HELEN: (Pleased.) Thank you, Charles. (Hands him a bill.)

UPCHUCK: (Sticks his head in the rear window.) Would you ladies care for
anything?

JODIE: No thanks.

HELEN: Daria?

DARIA: (Snide.) Pack of menthols, please.

HELEN: (Quickly.) She's joking of course, Charles.

UPCHUCK: Ahhh, beauty *and* wit! Very well. Do not despair, as I shall
return soon!

(Helen watches with admiration as Upchuck goes to pay.)

DARIA: (As soon as he disappears inside.) Now's our chance, floor it.

HELEN: It won't work, Daria, I'm not your father. (Beat.) Men need their
time alone. I hope he's enjoying himself.

CUT TO:

INT.: MORGENDORFFER RESIDENCE.

(Still shot of living room, in front of the stairs.)

(MUSIC: "Old Time Rock and Roll", the opening piano chords.)

(A la Tom Cruise in "Risky Business", Jake slides into view wearing only
socks, sunglasses and the undies he wore in "Teachings of Don Jake", begins
dancing to the music, singing along.)

CUT TO:

EXT.: HOTEL, IN THE CAPITAL OF THE STATE LAWNDALE IS IN. EVENING.

(The three Morgendorffers emerge from the adjacent parking deck and proceed
along the walk to the hotel. Quinn pulls her stack of three suitcases behind
her, the bottommost one rolling on casters.)

HELEN: Well, here we are in our state capital!

QUINN: (Perks up.) This is Sacramento?

HELEN: That's in California, sweetie.

QUINN: Oh.

DARIA: Dis? [*]

[*] Dis, capital of Hell, it's in Dante's "Inferno" -- read a book, dammit!

(Helen and the girls pass through the glass front doors.)

CUT TO:

INT.: HOTEL LOBBY.

(The rest of the debate team is here, checking in. Three young guys, seated
on couches arranged about the lobby, spot Quinn coming through the door and
flock to her.)

FIRST GUY: Hi, can I help you with one of those suitcases?

SECOND GUY: Can *I* help you with *two* of them?

THIRD GUY: *I'll* get all three for you!

QUINN: Sure! (Hands one suitcase to each guy. All three are delighted.)
I don't have any money for a tip, but I'll give you my phone number.

HELEN: Quinn, honey, why don't you let one of the bellhops do that?

DISSOLVE TO:

INT.: HOTEL, UPSTAIRS HALLWAY, A FEW MINUTES LATER.

O'NEILL: (Addressing the group.) Get a good night's sleep, everyone! We'll
meet in the lobby tomorrow, 7:30 sharp! They'll have a wonderful
continental breakfast waiting for us!

DARIA: (Deadpan.) Well la-dee-dah.

(Cut to darkened silhouette shots of hotel room doors opening, lights being
switched on. Upchuck and Evan share a room, as do Jodie and the girl called
Celeste. Helen and Linda end up together. Ms Barch grabs Mr O'Neill and
yanks him into hers. Quinn ends up with a single, and Daria is none too
pleased to find herself sharing a room with:)

SANDI: (Distaste.) Quinn's cousin?!

DARIA: (Sardonic.) The pleasure is all mine.

CUT TO:

INT.: MORGENDORFFER RESIDENCE, KITCHEN. EVENING.

(Jake's got a big pot on the stove, ready to cook something up.)

JAKE: (Rubs his hands together, eager.) O-*kay*, what've we got here?
(Opens the cupboards and fridge, looks. There's not much there.)
...Macaroni...half a jar of olives...corn starch...canned beets...
chocolate-chip frosting. Hmm. Hafta do some shopping tomorrow.
How 'bout we just order out tonight... (Looks at the coupons magnet-
stuck to the fridge, one of them sparks his interest.) Hey, lasagna!
(Takes it, picks up the phone.) Haven't had that in awhile!

CUT TO:

INT.: HOTEL, DARIA'S & SANDI'S ROOM.

(Sandi and Daria unpack.)

SANDI: (Snotty manner.) You take the bed closest to the bathroom. I don't
want you waking me up in the middle of the night if you have to go.

(This doesn't even justify a reply, in Daria's eyes.)

(There's a knock on their door. When Sandi doesn't move to get it, Daria
goes to the peephole and looks out. From Daria's POV, somewhat distorted
through the fish-eye lens, we see Upchuck leering back. Daria opens the
door, but leaves the security chain latched so he can't come in.)

DARIA: Upchuck, what do you want?

UPCHUCK: I thought perhaps one or both of you dolls might enjoy a free back
massage! (Sticks his hand through the door.) I would gladly employ
the full range of talents of my versatile hands!

DARIA: Go use your hands on yourself.

(Daria pinches the door on his fingers.)

UPCHUCK: (Sudden pain.) *Aaaah!*

(He yanks his fingers back out. Daria shuts the door. Cut to Upchuck in
the hallway.)

UPCHUCK: (Rubs his fingers, grins.) Hmmmmmm... *feisty*!

CUT TO:

INT.: QUINN'S ROOM. / INT.: TIFFANY'S BEDROOM.

(Split-screen, Quinn on the hotel bed and Tiffany on hers back home.)

QUINN: Yeah, it's really great! I've got my own room, but Sandi has to
share hers with my weirdo cousin, can you *believe* it? (Giggles
from both girls.) I know, that is just *so* funny! (Beat.) Hang
on, got another call.

(Quinn leans over, hits a button on the phone. Split-screen, Quinn and
Stacy.)

STACY: Quinn?

QUINN: Oh, *hi* Stacy! I was just telling Tiffany about my room here. This
bed has four pillows and the sheets go really good with my nightgown
and the TV gets *both* fashion channels! But it kind of sucks that
this phone isn't cordless.

STACY: We all miss you at school, Quinn!

QUINN: Just don't give this number out to any of the guys, okay? Especially
Joey and Jeffy and... the blond one. Promise me?

STACY: Promise! So, do they have a pool?

QUINN: Yeah, I'll probably hit it in a little bit. Be right back. (Switches
back.) Tiffany?

TIFFANY: Yeah, hi Quinn. I've just been talking to Sandi.

QUINN: That's nice. Can you keep a secret?

TIFFANY: Sure.

QUINN: I'm actually really glad I'm not sharing a room with Sandi. I mean,
I know she's president of the Fashion Club, but she gets so... *rude*
sometimes.

TIFFANY: I know what you mean.

QUINN: (Lifts a menu from the end table.) Hey, they have room service here
too! (Sudden concern.) Sandi didn't say anything about *me*, did
she?

TIFFANY: (Innocent.) No way.

QUINN: Just a sec, I've got Stacy on the other line.

(Quinn switches over, but we stay with Tiffany. Split-screen, Tiffany and
Sandi.)

TIFFANY: Sandi? You there?

SANDI: I'm here. Were you just talking to Quinn?

TIFFANY: Yeah. She said you guys have room service?

SANDI: (Sudden concern.) She didn't *say* anything about *me*, did she?

TIFFANY: (Innocent.) No way.

CUT TO:

INT.: HELEN'S & LINDA'S ROOM.

(Helen and Linda on their respective beds, each having a glass of wine.
On the floor between the two beds lies a room-service tray.)

LINDA: (Mid-boast.) ...and the rest of the family actually accused me of
being too *strict* just because I had Sandi toilet-trained well before
she was three.

HELEN: (Good-natured.) Well, both Daria and Quinn got it early too.
(Reminisces.) I remember Quinn saying something about not liking the
way she looked in diapers, it was so *cute*. (Beat, forehead crease.)
At the time.

LINDA: (Doesn't like listening to Helen's attempts at bragging.) The secret
is using cloth ones instead of those absorbent kind. Once it gets
uncomfortable, they start wanting to learn much faster.

HELEN: Well, I'm sure it was still a chore with the boys -- girls do pick up
things faster at that age.

LINDA: Yes, Sam and Chris both outright refused to learn until they were
almost three-and-a-half... though I hear your *husband* had quite a
little... *problem*... well into his teen years?

HELEN: (Doesn't want this to turn ugly.) No, *no*, I didn't mean to
imply there was anything *wrong*, Linda, three-and-a-half is to be
*expected*.

LINDA: (Raises the knife, time to strike. Speaks to Helen like Helen is
all-knowing and Linda really wants her wisdom.) So. At what age
can I *expect* my looks to begin going downhill?

(Helen, shocked at Linda's audacity, chokes on the wine she's sipping.)

CUT TO:

EXT.: MORGENDORFFER RESIDENCE. DAWN, TUESDAY.

(MUSIC: Jewel, "What's Simple Is True".)

(Time-lapse effect as the sun rises to mid-morning. Close-up of the front
door, Jake emerging in his bathrobe holding a cup of coffee. The paperboy
coasts by, smacking him squarely in the head with an aerodynamically folded
copy of the Lawndale Sun-Times. A little coffee splashes onto his robe.)

JAKE: (Shouts as he bends to retrieve the paper.) Hey! You little bastard!
Get back here!

(As Jake takes a few steps down the walk to shout at the kid, the front door
closes behind him. With a panicked look, he spins around and tries the knob,
unsuccessfully.)

JAKE: Awww, *hell*!

CUT TO:

INT.: HOTEL, DARIA'S & SANDI'S ROOM.

(Daria, in the bathrobe she wore in "All Washed Up", emerges from the
bathroom door to find Sandi, in a sweatshirt and sweatpants, waiting.)

SANDI: It's about *time*. God, you take forever, I thought you fell asleep.

DARIA: I almost did. Your snoring last night kept me awake.

SANDI: (Freaks.) What are you *talking* about, I don't snore!

DARIA: (Daria fixes her square in the eyes with an expression that lets Sandi
know she knows better.) I suppose that was just the wind I heard?

SANDI: (Pleading look, you got me.) Don't tell Quinn, okay?

CUT TO:

INT.: HOTEL LOBBY.

(Mr O'Neill and Ms Barch are trying to round up the kids. Linda is finishing
up breakfast. Daria sits on one of the couches reading a newspaper, but the
angle is such that we can't see its name on the front page. Helen and Quinn
are in front of a rack of local-interest brochures, and Quinn looks longingly
at one in particular.)

QUINN: *Pleeeeease?*

HELEN: (Firmly.) Absolutely not, Quinn.

QUINN: (Big, pleading eyes.) But Mo-*OOMMMMM*!

HELEN: (Shakes her head.) No "buts". We're here for school, not to shop!

QUINN: (Whiny.) But... this isn't just shopping, mother! This is the
*original* *Cashman's*! It's a Fashion Club pilgrimage!

CUT TO:

EXT.: LAWNDALE HIGH STADIUM, ANNOUNCERS' BOOTH.

(Jane kneels atop a scaffolding, repainting the team logo. Below, she sees
Ms Li and Ms DeFoe approaching. Cut to ground level, where a paintbrush
narrowly misses Ms Li as she walks up.)

JANE'S VOICE: (Off-screen, under her breath.) Damn!

LI: How's it coming, Ms Lane?

(Jane climbs down the scaffolding to retrieve the brush.)

JANE: Pretty good.

LI: As soon as you're finished, the others could use your help painting the
lockers.

DEFOE: Actually, Ms Li, I'd recommend a second coat, then treatment with a
water-sealant.

JANE: (Plays along.) Yeah, it'll take me a few more days but it'll last
longer once I'm done.

LI: (Nods.) Very well. Carry on, Ms Lane. (She heads out of the stadium.)

JANE: (To DeFoe, once Li is gone.) Thanks.

DEFOE: (Smiles.) Don't mention it.

CUT TO:

EXT.: LIBRARY, IN THE CAPITAL OF THE STATE LAWNDALE IS IN.

(MUSIC: Juliana Hatfield, "Sellout".)

CUT TO:

INT.: LIBRARY, IN THE CAPITAL OF THE STATE LAWNDALE IS IN.

(Upchuck holds the door for Helen, Quinn and Daria.)

HELEN: (Politely.) Thank you, Charles.

UPCHUCK: You're very welcome, Mrs Morgendorffer. (Shameless flattery.)
Are you *sure* you're the mother of these nice girls? You look so
*young*!

HELEN: (She falls for it.) Really? Why, thank you! (Out loud, to herself.)
What a nice young man. (To Daria, a bit critical.) Now what's wrong
with him, Daria?

(Daria and Quinn exchange what could probably best be described as "a look".)

(Dissolve to a few minutes later. The students are seated at tables in close
proximity to one another. Daria/Sandi share a table with Quinn/Upchuck and
Jodie and her partner. Mr O'Neill addresses them as Ms Barch passes out
topics to the groups.)

O'NEILL: Now remember, kids, research both sides of the issue, even if you
disagree. And everyone is expected to contribute. Need advice, or
want to go over tournament strategy? Just ask!

JODIE: (Reading hers.) "Resolved: That global concerns should be valued over
conflicting national concerns." What topic did you get, Daria?

DARIA: (Reads hers.) "Resolved: That mandatory school athletic programs
should be made optional, in favor of academic electives." Thrill-a-
minute.

JODIE: Hey, that's great! You can finally tell everyone how much you hate
gym class.

UPCHUCK: (To Quinn, pretending to read his.) "Resolved: That you and I
should get together for an evening of exquisite pleasures!" I'll
take "pro"!

QUINN: (Scoots her chair away from him.) Eww, get away!

UPCHUCK: Very well, you research "con", then we shall compare notes...
Say, your room, tonight?

SANDI: (Pays no attention to what's going on, busy leafing through a
magazine.) Quinn's cousin? There's an article in last month's
"Waif" I think you should read...

DARIA: (Deadpan.) I'll get right on that. (Hands her a sheet of paper.)
Here, I've got some possible references, go look these up.

SANDI: Umm, okay.

DARIA: (To Jodie.) That should keep her busy most of the day.

QUINN: (Sees Sandi sneaking out. To Upchuck.) Umm, I'll be right back.

JODIE: (To Daria, watching them leave.) I can't understand why they even
bothered to sign up.

UPCHUCK: Perhaps they relished the opportunity to work closely with the
Chuckster!

JODIE: You realize they're gonna cost you two, at the tournament.

DARIA: Relax, I've got a plan.

CUT TO:

EXT.: LIBRARY.

(Quinn emerges and joins Sandi, who's trying unsuccessfully to hail a cab.)

SANDI: Stupid drivers. I knew I should have brought that extra set of car
keys.

QUINN: Here, let me try.

(She takes a step off the curb and waves, getting the attention of about
four male cab drivers.)

QUINN: Which one of you wants to take us to Cashman's?

(All four drivers beg her to ride with them, offering to turn the meter off,
etc. Sandi crosses her arms, fumes silently at Quinn's achievement.)

CUT TO:

INT.: LAWNDALE HIGH, CAFETERIA. LUNCHTIME.

(Tiffany and Stacy, as before.)

TIFFANY: So who do you miss more? Sandi or Quinn?

STACY: Umm... I think I miss Quinn a bit more. (Hastily.) But I miss Sandi
a lot too.

TIFFANY: Yeah. Sometimes I miss Sandi more, sometimes Quinn.

(Pause.)

CUT TO:

EXT.: HOTEL. EVENING.

CUT TO:

INT.: DARIA'S & SANDI'S ROOM.

(Both girls are on their beds, Daria watching TV, Sandi admiring her
fingernails. Cue "Sick, Sad World" music.)

ANNOUNCER: These poor patients can't tell if it's a boy or a girl...
Can you? Drag queen doctors, tonight on "Sick, Sad World"!

SANDI: (Distaste.) Do we *have* to watch this?

DARIA: You don't. But my master has commanded me.

SANDI: (Grimaces.) You are *so* weird. Is this just how you are, or was it
like, a conscious decision?

DARIA: (Ignores the question, poses her own.) You're convinced you're an
exceptional human being, aren't you?

SANDI: (Misinterprets this as a compliment.) *Thank* you.

DARIA: Why do you insist on actualizing every bad popularity stereotype?

SANDI: (Sneers.) What's *that* supposed to mean?

DARIA: You think you're so much better than everyone else. Especially anyone
different from you. Is that why you're along on this trip? To prove
something to someone? (Beat.) Quinn, perhaps?

SANDI: (Her scowl has been deepening as Daria speaks. Now, about half
pouty:) Like *you're* any better.

DARIA: (Mockery of Sandi's tone, but underplayed rather than exaggerated.)
"What's *that* supposed to mean?"

SANDI: It means you do the same thing, Quinn's cousin--

DARIA: (Sighs, interrupts.) Let's get one thing straight once and for all,
I'm *not* Quinn's cousin, I'm her--

SANDI: (Interrupts back, talking louder.) You always look at popular
people like, "I don't *want* to associate with them, I'm like, so
much smarter. Or something."

(Daria's eyes widen a bit as she realizes just how correct Sandi is.)

DARIA: (Just the tiniest bit of admiration in her voice.) That may be the
most intelligent observation I've ever heard one of Quinn's friends
make.

SANDI: (Misinterprets this as a sarcastic insult. Bites off the words:)
Shut up.

CUT TO:

INT.: HELEN'S & LINDA'S ROOM.

(Helen dials the phone. Split-screen, Helen and the answering machine in
her office. On the second ring, Marianne answers it.)

MARIANNE: Helen Morgendorffer's office.

HELEN: It's me, Marianne. What are you doing still there? It's after nine.

MARIANNE: I *know* that, I *have* to stay late just to keep up!

HELEN: (Pleased.) Well, you're quite the team player, Marianne. I promise
I'll make this up to you when I get back.

MARIANNE: Mr Schrecter keeps asking about you. What do I tell him?

HELEN: Keep up the same story, he'll get suspicious if you change it now.
It'll hold for a few more days.

MARIANNE: But there are depositions here... evidence, witnesses to interview,
I'm not qualified to do all this!

HELEN: (Sighs.) All right, FedEx me those and I'll take care of them myself.

MARIANNE: (Stressed out.) I don't think I can keep this up much longer,
Helen!

HELEN: Come now, you're not incompetent, are you? I handle that workload
every *week* and do you ever see *me* stressed out? (Beat.) Look,
just go home and get some sleep, trust me, you'll be yourself again
come morning.

(She hangs up. Stay with Marianne, who replaces the phone but continues
working furiously.)

CUT TO:

INT.: LAWNDALE HIGH, HALLWAY. MORNING, WEDNESDAY.

(Tiffany and Stacy roam the halls of Lawndale High.)

STACY: I talked to Quinn again last night.

TIFFANY: Yeah. Me too.

(JJ&J approach them, looking lost.)

JOEY: Hi, Tiffany!

JEFFY: Hi, Stacy!

JAMIE: (Hopeful.) Is Quinn back yet?

TIFFANY: (A bit irked.) I told you yesterday, she won't be back till Monday.

JOEY: Do you have a number where we can reach her?

JEFFY: Or an e-mail address?

JAMIE: Or just tell us where she is and we'll drive there!

TIFFANY: No, even we can't get in touch with her. Now stop bugging us!

(Downcast, the three J's wander off.)

STACY: (With sympathy.) Poor guys. They must be *lost* without Quinn!

TIFFANY: (None from her.) Yeah. That's really pathetic.

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

(COMMERCIAL LEAD-IN: Quinn hailing the taxicabs.)

END ACT 2.

(COMMERCIAL: Someone mailed and told me they were afraid I was running out
of ideas for commercials. Umm... uh... AM NOT!!)

BEGIN ACT 3.

RETURN TO:

INT.: HOTEL, DARIA'S & SANDI'S ROOM. EVENING, WEDNESDAY.

(Daria enters to find Sandi and Quinn trying on clothes out of a number of
large Cashman's shopping bags. Sandi has on a white jumper-style dress with
matching hat, while Quinn's got a tanktop and a long skirt -- still showing
off plenty of midriff, of course.)

QUINN: We need something that says, "I'm a natural winner."

SANDI: No, it should say, "I'm dressed the best, and I deserve to win because
of it."

QUINN: (Irked.) I just said that, Sandi!

SANDI: No, *you* said--

QUINN: (Cuts her off.) Well that's what I *meant*!

DARIA: Don't forget to take a change of clothes for your rebuttal.

QUINN: Go away, Daria, we're busy.

DARIA: As busy as you've been at the library? In case you didn't realize it,
we have to give a presentation in two days.

QUINN: Well if you look good, who cares about the speech part? Nobody pays
attention to that anyway. It's just like the Miss Continents pageant.

SANDI: (Narrows eyes at Daria.) You'd better not tell Mr O'Neill we snuck
out.

DARIA: Then I suggest you stay tomorrow and do *your* share of the work.
Just because I'm the brain doesn't mean I'm doing the thinking for
both of us. You do want to win this "popularity contest", don't you?

(For the first time, Sandi seems to wake up. Quinn too.)

CUT TO:

EXT.: LAWNDALE HIGH. MORNING, THURSDAY.

(MUSIC: Madonna, "Candy Perfume Girl".)

CUT TO:

INT.: GIRLS' BATHROOM.

(Tiffany and Stacy at the mirror. Tiffany is wearing a short-sleeved fuzzy
white top, while Stacy has on a matching leggings-and-vest set.)

STACY: Are you sure this is okay with Sandi?

TIFFANY: She left us in charge, remember? We have to handle the fashion
statements while she's away. Besides, I already had our outfit
schedules planned before this whole thing came up.

STACY: (Examines her reflection, concerned.) Look at these dark circles
under my eyes. How am I gonna get rid of them?

TIFFANY: Too bad Quinn's not here, she always knows what to do.

STACY: (Panics.) Oh my *God*, what am I gonna *do* without Quinn? Should
I call her? Even if I did I'd *still* hafta leave the bathroom
LOOKING LIKE *THIS*!! WHAT DO I *DO*, WHAT DO I *DO*?! (Stacy
hyperventilates, her eyes bug out and her breathing becomes loud
and wheezy.)

TIFFANY: (Grabs her by the shoulders, shakes her gently.) It's all right,
Stacy, it's gonna be *okay*!

(Stacy catches her breath, nods that she's okay, emits a little "I'm okay"
squeak.)

CUT TO:

EXT.: LAWNDALE HIGH STADIUM, ANNOUNCERS' BOOTH.

(Atop the scaffold, Jane spots Tiffany and Stacy approaching. Cut to ground
level. A paintbrush narrowly misses Tiffany as she walks up.)

JANE'S VOICE: (Off-screen, under her breath.) Damn!

TIFFANY: (Looks up.) Hey, watch it! (Rubs one arm of her top.) This is
real angora!

(Jane climbs down the scaffolding to retrieve the brush.)

STACY: Hey, aren't you Quinn's cousin's weird art friend?

JANE: That's what it says on my birth certificate.

STACY: So is this what Ms Li's making you do this week?

JANE: And I also get to give out spankings.

TIFFANY: *We* had to wash lunch trays all morning. (Holds up her hands,
disgusted look.) Now my fingers are all wrinkled. They look *fat*.

JANE: Just be grateful you're not Kevin Thompson. He hasta help with the
asbestos removal.

STACY: So do you like, need any help or anything?

TIFFANY: Yeah, can we just hang out here?

JANE: (Odd look.) Are you sure you're not delirious from working too hard?

STACY: If Ms Li finds us, she'll put us to work doing something else.

TIFFANY: If I'd known we had to work, I wouldn't have worn my good sweater.
Don't you just hate this?

JANE: Relax, I've got a plan.

CUT TO:

INT.: MORGENDORFFER RESIDENCE, KITCHEN. EVENING.

(Jake's got three buddies over, and the scene opens in the middle of a poker
game. Cigar smoke hangs in the air, and pretzels and empty beer bottles are
everywhere.)

(MUSIC: "What a Wonderful World", Sam Cooke, presumably emanating from the
Morgendorffer entertainment center in the other room.)

JAKE: 'Nother beer? (Hands one to one of the guys.)

BUDDY #1: (Taking it.) Yeah, thanks.

JAKE: (Sits down again.) Boy, this is the life. Right, men?

BUDDY #2: Must be great without the ol' battleaxe around givin' you
crap, huh? (Makes a whip-cracking motion with his arm, and a
corresponding sound effect.)

(Jake chuckles politely, but also knows Helen wouldn't stand for it if she
heard any of this.)

BUDDY #3: (Looks from the pool in the center of the table to Jake.) Okay,
so where we at?

JAKE: I'll see your ten, and I'll raise it another five. (Adds some bills
to the pot.)

BUDDY #1: (Follows suit.) I'm in.

BUDDY #2: (Shakes his head, puts down his cards.) I fold. (Puffs on his
cigar, blows a stream of smoke into the air.)

JAKE: (Nervous expression.) Umm, can you do that over by the window, Ed?
Helen'd kill me if she found out.

(Chuckles from the guys. Buddy #2 pantomimes the whip again.)

CUT TO:

INT.: DARIA'S & SANDI'S ROOM.

(The two girls are on their beds, Daria watching TV, Sandi brushing her hair.
There's a knock on their door. Again Sandi doesn't move, forcing Daria to
answer it.)

UPCHUCK: (Seen as Daria cracks the door open.) Is the lovely Sandra
available?

DARIA: (Turns, goes back to her bed.) It's for you.

SANDI: (Goes to the door, sees Upchuck there.) I assume you got those notes,
like I asked?

UPCHUCK: Indeed I do. (Hands her a well-scribbled notepad through the door.)
Now, if you would kindly accompany me across the hall to the Charles
Ruttheimer massage parlor, as per our agreement--

(Sandi pinches the door on his fingers.)

UPCHUCK: (Sudden pain.) *Aaaah!*

(He yanks his fingers back out. Sandi shuts the door. Cut to Upchuck in
the hallway.)

UPCHUCK: (Rubs his fingers, grins.) Hmmmmmm... *double* feisty!

CUT TO:

INT.: MORGENDORFFER RESIDENCE, KITCHEN.

(Jake and his poker buddies.)

JAKE: (Doesn't have a good poker face at *all*.) Heh, read 'em and weep,
men! Straight flush!

BUDDY #1: (Bursts his bubble.) Uh, Jacob? (Lays down a royal flush.)

JAKE: (Crushed, throws down his cards.) Aww, *dammit*!

(Buddy #1 scoops up all the money in the pot.)

CUT TO:

EXT.: AUDITORIUM, IN THE CAPITAL OF THE STATE LAWNDALE IS IN. MORNING,
FRIDAY.

(MUSIC: R.E.M., "Walk Unafraid".)

(Several of the team members are waiting in the hallway, along with competing
teams and coaches from other school. Visible to us are Linda, Helen, Mr
O'Neill, Sandi and Quinn in the outfits they purchased, Upchuck and, of
course, Daria.)

LINDA: I hope they're ready for this.

O'NEILL: Well, the preliminary rounds went well... But I don't think Sandi
and Daria practiced theirs.

QUINN: (Talking with Sandi.) I still don't see what this has to do with
being popular.

SANDI: (Acting like she knows something Quinn doesn't.) That's why *I'm*
still president of the Fashion Club.

QUINN: I mean, popular people *ignore* the masses, not talk to them! We
should be giving this speech to *other* popular people!

DARIA: (Comes over to Sandi.) Mr O'Neill says we're up next. (Somewhat
surly.) And they gave us "con", so you're doing the talking.

SANDI: What? Why me?

DARIA: Because I hate athletic programs, I'm not gonna stand behind them.
I hope you accomplished something outside the mall these last few
days.

SANDI: (Produces notes, to Daria's surprise.) As a matter of fact, I did.

(Mr O'Neill approaches, with Linda and Sandi.)

LINDA: Sandi? It's time.

(As might be expected, Sandi starts studying the notes Upchuck gave her,
*very* intently.)

HELEN: (Proud-parent demeanor.) This is so exciting! (Hugs Daria, who
winces.) Now don't be nervous, sweetie. Just remember: Make eye
contact, enunciate clearly, and *smile*!

DARIA: (As if the concept is foreign to her.) Smile?

HELEN: Yes, smile! Let everyone know what a wonderful person you are!

DARIA: I thought you wanted us to win. (Beat.) Besides, I'm not doing any
talking.

HELEN: What? Why not?

DARIA: We got "con", and it goes against everything I stand for. I'm not
gonna lie to these people.

HELEN: Think of it as "strategic misrepresentation", honey.

(Daria's frown only deepens.)

CUT TO:

INT.: MORGENDORFFER RESIDENCE, LIVING ROOM.

(Jake's buddies are leaving.)

BUDDY #2: Had a great time, man. Call us again when the better half's outta
town.

JAKE: Are you sure you can't stay a bit and help me pick up?

BUDDY #2: (Chuckles, shakes his head.) Sorry, Jake ol' buddy, but *my*
wife's probably wondering where I've been all night!

JAKE: Well, thanks anyway. (Glares, lowers his voice, after the guys are
gone.) Jerks. (Turns and surveys the mess -- beer bottles and food
wrappers all over, overstuffed ashtrays, etc.)

CUT TO:

EXT.: LAWNDALE HIGH STADIUM, ANNOUNCERS' BOOTH.

(Jane is coating the new logo with a water-sealant treatment, a paintbrush
in each hand. Tiffany and Stacy watch.)

STACY: Howcome you paint with both hands like that?

JANE: I'm borderline ambidextrous.

TIFFANY: Eww! And they still let you in the girls' locker room?

JANE: (About to explain, but:) Forget it.

STACY: (Looks off the scaffolding.) Wow, it's really high up here.

TIFFANY: Yeah. I bet we could see my house if the stands weren't in the way.

STACY: (Turns, points.) Hey, isn't that Stephanie Troxell?

TIFFANY: God, I can't *believe* she cut her hair that short.

STACY: She looks like a *guy* now.

(Jane gets a sickened look just listening to them.)

TIFFANY: (Looking down on the ground.) Uh-oh, it's Ms Li!

STACY: Quick, grab a brush!

(They pick up a couple of stray brushes.)

JANE: (Looks down herself, aiming with the brush.) Okay, on my count.
One... two...

(MUSIC: "Deliver Me", Ninth Circle. [Get it?])

CUT TO:

INT.: AUDITORIUM.

(Linda enters. Behind her, through the open auditorium doors, we hear Quinn
yelling at Upchuck.)

QUINN: You helped *Sandi* instead of me? We're supposed to be *partners*!

(Quinn begins hitting Upchuck, who cowers, covering his head, as the door
closes. Linda finds Mr O'Neill and Helen seated in the back row, sits next
to Helen, who looks unhappy at seeing her daughter get upset.)

LINDA: (Whispers, to Helen, snide.) Well. Maybe your *other* daughter will
redeem herself.

(Closeup of the two tables, Oakwood on the right, Lawndale on the left, each
table with its own microphone. The judges' table is to one side.)

OAKWOOD SPEAKER: (Wrapping up his argument.) "...don't force less
academically gifted students into advanced programs beyond
their abilities, yet we continue to force humiliating
physical-education programs onto nonathletic students.
The goal of our educational system is to help students
fulfill their potential, and students should be free to
choose for themselves how that goal can best be
accomplished.

(Applause from the audience, and most noticeably, from Daria, seated at a
table in front, with Sandi.)

DARIA: (Whispers, to herself.) Amen.

JUDGE: Excellent job, Oakwood. We will now hear the Lawndale team's
constructive argument, then take a short break before cross-
examination and rebuttal.

(The judges look expectantly in the direction of Daria and Sandi. Daria
sits motionless. Sandi notices the silence, shifts nervously.)

JUDGE: (Clears his throat.) Whenever you're ready, Ms Griffin, Ms
Morgendorffer.

(Daria continues to just sit there.)

SANDI: (Glares at Daria viciously, hisses.) Damn you, Quinn's cousin! Don't
you *dare* ruin this for me!

(Cut, Linda and Helen.)

LINDA: (Shakes her head, angry.) She's going to blow Sandi's big chance.

HELEN: (Smiling, curiously enough.) I don't see Sandi helping any.

(Back to Daria and Sandi.)

SANDI: Dammit Darla, *help* me with this!

DARIA: (Sighs.) Here, give me the notes, I'll get you started.

(Sandi obeys, handing over her ill-gotten research, and Daria very very
calmly rips them up. Some gasps from the audience, shocked looks from the
judges.)

SANDI: (Freaks.) WHAT ARE YOU *DOING*?!?

(Daria hands the torn-up notes back, smirking. Cut, Linda and Helen.)

LINDA: (Hisses at Helen.) WHAT THE HELL IS YOUR DAUGHTER *DOING*?!?

HELEN: (To Linda, calm, even a little proud.) I think my daughter knows
exactly what she's doing.

O'NEILL: There's nothing wrong with a little stage fright. Maybe if we--

LINDA & HELEN: (Unison, snap at him.) *You* stay out of this!

(Mr O'Neill cowers, goes to Ms Barch's embrace. Cut, Sandi and Daria.)

SANDI: (Going down fast, attempts to salvage this, and maybe she could if
she'd done any work.) Umm... Today, Quinn's cousin and I are, uh,
here to talk about... umm... (Whispers, to Daria.) What's our topic?

(A couple snickers from other members of the Oakwood team. Sandi loses it
and, humiliated, runs out of the auditorium much like Quinn fled stage in
"Fair Enough." This time, Helen and Daria wear the smirks.)

CUT TO:

INT.: MORGENDORFFER KITCHEN.

(Jake is preparing to tackle the mountain of dirty dishes. He turns the
handle, but the sink is stuck.)

JAKE: (Frustrated, hits it.) C'mon, *work* damn you!

(He hits it again and it breaks, sending water spraying everywhere. Jake
yelps as he gets splashed. The phone rings. Jake attempts to hold back the
water and get the phone at the same time, finally concluding he can only
handle one or the other.)

JAKE: (Answers phone, urgency.) Hello? (Beat.) Oh, hi Helen! (Beat.)
Nothing, nothing! Really! (Beat.) Oh, that's just-- (Think fast!)
--the dishwater I'm running! (Beat.) Uhh, really? That's... *great*!
No, no really! (Beat.) See you then!

(He hangs up, and just stands there watching the water splash all over,
absolute despair on his face.)

CUT TO:

INT.: MORGENDORFFER RESIDENCE. LATE EVENING.

(Jake, wallet open, pays off a line of servicepeople -- a cleaning lady,
plumber, a couple of carpet-cleaners.)

JAKE: Thanks, you're all life-savers! (Catches the cleaning lady before she
crosses to the living room.) Here's five extra if you go out the back!

(They all file out. Jake rushes to the couch with the paper just as Helen
and the girls enter with their suitcases.)

HELEN: (Looks the room over.) Why, Jake, the house looks *spotless*! You
must've been quite the busybody this week!

DARIA: What's with all the vans parked just down the street?

JAKE: (Panicked whisper.) Dariaaaa!...

HELEN: (Suspicious, puts 2 and 2 together.) All right, what did you *DO*?!

CUT TO:

INT.: HELEN'S OFFICE. MORNING, MONDAY.

(Phones ringing, background office noise. Eric enters, catching Helen with
Marianne.)

ERIC: Helen, *there* you are! You've been impossible to find this past week.
Did you get the Fisher wrongful-arrest case prepped?

HELEN: (Hands him a folder.) Yes, I have it right here.

ERIC: (Shakes his head, pleased.) You are just incredible, Helen! How did
you manage all this with your schedule?

(Jealousy sweeps across her assistant's face as Helen gets all the credit.)

HELEN: Well, I couldn't have done it without Marianne here. She's gone
above and beyond the call of duty lately.

ERIC: I'd say she has a little reward coming, wouldn't you?

HELEN: Absolutely!

MARIANNE: (Smiles weakly, exhausted from too many late nights.) Thanks, Mr
Schrecter.

ERIC: We're presenting at 11:30. (Heads out.)

HELEN: Tell you what, Marianne. Finish up these memos by noon, and you can
take a half-day off. (Beat.) Believe me, you've earned it.

(Marianne is thoroughly disgruntled at her paltry reward.)

(MUSIC: "Are You Still Mad", Alanis Morissette.)

CUT TO:

INT.: LAWNDALE HIGH, GIRLS' LOCKER ROOM.

(Daria, still in her skirt and jacket, sits on the bench in front of her
locker, contemplating. Jane, dressed for P.E., walks up to her.)

JANE: So, how's our little iconoclast today?

DARIA: (Looks up.) You heard?

JANE: It's all over school. The Lawndale Lowdown even put out an extra.

DARIA: The public eats up news of abysmal failure. Guess word travels fast.

JANE: Not as fast as the word about our new school logo.

DARIA: Yeah, how'd it go?

JANE: (Sits beside Daria.) Three-day suspension, I start tomorrow.
She's gonna hire a contractor after all. (Frowns.) Everyone's an
art critic.

DARIA: (Hint of concern.) You didn't pull a van Gogh or anything, did you?

JANE: (Lifts hair to show Daria her other ear.) Nope, still intact, see?

(Ms Morris pokes her head in.)

MORRIS: Let's *go*, ladies, your little side projects are over, now it's
back to the grind! (She's out again.)

DARIA: (Sighs, looks at her gym locker.) Well, I guess there's only one
thing left for me to do.

JANE: And that's what you should've done in the first place.

(Daria stands. The two look at each other.)

DARIA & JANE: (Unison.) Fake a knee injury.

(Jane digs a bandage out of her locker, holds it up. Daria puts one leg on
the bench, begins wrapping the bandage around her knee.)

CUT TO:

INT.: HALLWAY. AFTERNOON, AFTER SCHOOL.

(Kevin and Brittany walk down the hall, arm in arm.)

BRITTANY: So then Daria tears up Sandi's notes, cuz like, she didn't wanna
talk about sports, or something.

KEVIN: Whoa. Guess she must not be an athletic supporter, huh? (Laughs.)
Get it, babe? Athletic supporter? (His laughter turns into a nasty-
sounding cough.)

BRITTANY: (Concern.) Are you *okay*, Kevvie?

KEVIN: Yeah babe, I'm cool. (Coughs again.)

CUT TO:

INT.: MR O'NEILL'S CLASSROOM.

(The debate team is gathered here, along with Stacy and Tiffany. Everyone
turns and glares as Daria enters, with Jane in tow for support.)

SANDI: (Steaming.) A *brain* in a popularity contest! We were doomed to
failure from the start!

QUINN: (Whining.) I can't believe I wasted a perfectly good Friday night
for *that*!

SANDI: This is a *dark* day in the history of the Fashion Club.

STACY: I'd hate to be in Quinn's cousin's shoes right now.

TIFFANY: Yeah. Those big boot-things are *so* ugly! They make her feet
look fat.

JANE: (To Daria, indicates Tiffany and Stacy.) God, I can't believe I spent
two *days* with them.

DARIA: You think you had it bad, try spending the night with Sandi. She
snores, you know.

(Sandi overhears, shoots Daria a hate-filled glare.)

DARIA: (To Jane, who's amused.) But don't tell Quinn.

(Ms Li arrives, wearing a mask of extreme disapproval.)

LI: *Well*, young people. Seems the regional debate tournament didn't go so
well, hmm? As you know, this school operates on a strict budget--

DARIA: (Dry.) Uh-huh.

LI: --and as such, I must allocate funds to activities based on the potential
acclaim they bring to the school.

O'NEILL: (Stricken expression.) Wh-what are you saying, Ms Li?

LI: The forensics team has proven itself a poor investment. Next year's
funding is cut by 30%, which I will spend elsewhere.

(Protests, some angry looks at Daria.)

DARIA: (To Quinn, smirks.) I'm sure she will.

(Exit Ms Li.)

O'NEILL: (Tries to ease the disappointment Ms Li has left in her wake.) Now
I know competition can be discouraging, since it means someone has
to lose. But I just wanted everyone to know, you're *all* winners
today in my eyes.

DARIA: Now *there's* a sense of accomplishment.

EVAN: (Sneers as he passes her, going out.) What do you expect from someone
who hangs around with Lane? Quitters.

(The students slowly file out. The three J's intercept Quinn right outside
the door and immediately begin fawning over her. Daria and Jane attempt to
file out with the rest of the students, but once again:)

O'NEILL: Daria? I hope you'll consider staying with the team for next--

JODIE: (Sidles over, saves her.) Daria? I just wanted to say I admire what
you did. (Quickly.) Not that I agree with it, but... I could never
have done that myself. I'm just sorry it cost you the tournament.

DARIA: (Shrugs.) Well, it's not like I was officially campaigning my views
or anything.

O'NEILL: (Revelation.) Of *course*, why didn't *I* think of that! The
Student Council! Elections for next semester are in two months,
that'd give you plenty of time to get a petition for office! Jane
could be your running mate!

JODIE: (Yeah!) C'mon, I'll help! You'll be great!

JANE: (Smirk, to Daria.) Where do you keep getting these ideas?

DARIA: I don't know, but I sure wish I'd knock it off.

O'NEILL: Now c'mon, you can't get discouraged over one little setback, Daria.
Remember the saying, "Don't cry over spilled milk."

JANE: Yeah, it might get all salty.

O'NEILL: (Looks pained, tries again.) After all, "It's not whether you win
or lose..."

DARIA: It's how many trite clich‚s you spout in the process.

(Mr O'Neill's face crumples, and his mouth quivers again like he's gonna
cry.)

(Close-up of Daria. She hums the first line of "When You're Happy and You
Know It", and claps her hands twice, expressionless.)

CUT TO:

EXT.: MS LI'S OFFICE.

LI'S VOICE: (Angry, through the door.) What the *HELL*!?

(MUSIC: Chumbawamba, "Tubthumping". [Yeah, I know. But it's a cool song.])

(Cut to inside, Ms Li's desk, a close-up of two hotel bills, side-by side,
each totaling an extortionate amount under "Phone Calls" and "Room Service".
Seems Quinn and Sandi got competitive again.)

CUT TO:

EXT.: LAWNDALE HIGH STADIUM, ANNOUNCERS' BOOTH.

(Close-up of Jane's work -- the freshly repainted Lawndale Lions team logo...
with an unflattering caricature of Ms Li hanging out of its mouth. The music
continues playing through the closing credits.)

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

(CREDITS AND CUTE LITTLE RENDERINGS OF THE CHARACTERS.)

THE END

AUTHOR'S NOTES: Okay, so this isn't quite how organized debate normally
works. Most debate team members belong to one of several forensics leagues,
and each of these supplies a single topic which is debated the entire
semester by all teams. Everyone is required to participate -- Sandi and
Quinn wouldn't last long on a real debate team (overseen by a real teacher).
Researched cases are done at or after school, not on the trip itself, and
they are normally due at least two weeks before the tournament. Most
tournaments last only a couple of days, max.

But once again the creative liberties serve the script. I needed the girls
away long enough for Tiffany and Stacy to realize they had no personalities
of their own without Sandi and Quinn, and for Jane to strike back at Ms Li's
corruption without Daria's help. And c'mon, you can't honestly claim it's
any more unrealistic than "The Daria Hunter".

This one's for the people who wrote me and said "I really liked 'Accept No
Substitutes'. When are you going to do another one like that, where Daria
stands up for something?" It's kind of a "Mr Daria Goes to Washington", in
a sense. Our Heronie's silence during the second round of debate struck me
as having far more impact than simply having her argue on behalf of the
opposing team, which was what I'd originally written but scrapped at the
last minute in favor of this. Because, really, when have we *ever* known
Daria to keep her mouth shut before?

The lines from Dante's "Inferno" were taken from the 1954 Mentor Books
edition, as translated by John Ciardi. For fun, if you have too much free
time on your hands, pick through this script and see how many of the sins
Dante describes are committed by the various characters. I think I hit
most of 'em. Interesting side note: One of the Ninth-Circle sinners (the
treacherous) is named Branca d'Oria. Yes, the last name is pronounced
just like the first name of Our Heroine, who's also a bit treacherous in
this script, it could be argued. (This wasn't intentional -- I didn't
notice it until after I'd blocked out scenes for the script. But it's
still kinda cool.)

The "Happy and You Know It" song: Somebody at work was whistling this damn
thing last week, and it promptly lodged, inextricably, in my mind. There's
only one way to get rid of a really irritating, stupid song, and that's to
pass it on to someone else. Good luck, everyone. (And no reversies either!)

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