The Lab Brat|
Written by Peggy Nicoll
(opening theme song)
(in Ms. Barch's class)
Ms. Barch - And like a husband going home to his noble and self-sacrificing wife, the rat keeps returning to the food box. That is, the positive reinforcement. Huh, if only men could be more like rats. Oh, sure, they come home at first. You feed them, you wait on them, and then, after twenty-two thankless years, they just up and leave. No note, no phone call, no nothing! (slams pointer on desk) Just... like... that!
Daria (to Jodie) - I wonder why he left.
Ms. Barch - Now, before I divide the class into teams of two, who can give me another example of reinforcement? (pause) Fine, class. Ignore me... just like he did! Kevin?
Kevin - Uh...
Ms. Barch - Shut up, Kevin. Daria? Reinforcement?
Daria - Hmm... to make a child stop crying, a mother might say, "That's it! I'm sending you to El Paso to live with your real father." Whenever the child gets upset, the mother might wave an airline ticket in her face, or maybe even frame it on the wall by the clown picture. The ticket stops the girl from crying, or showing any emotion... ever.
Ms. Barch - Right, that's...
Daria - Years later, seeing an airplane or just hearing one fly overhead can unleash a Pandora's Box of repressed anger, shattering the grown child's fragile psyche and triggering a psychotic and possibly deadly episode.
Ms. Barch - I like the way you think. Kevin... Daria will be your lab partner.
Brittany - (squeaks) What?
Ms. Barch - You two will design a maze, and condition Kevin -- I mean, condition a mouse using positive or negative reinforcement.
Brittany - But babe, we've never been separated on a lab project before! What'll we do?
Daria - Pass?
Ms. Barch - Brittany, Charles will be your partner.
Brittany - (squeaks in protest) But Ms. Barch, I'm a cheerleader!
Upchuck - Give me an "R." (purrs the "R" suggestively)
Kevin - I really like doing mazes. Those ones on the back of cereal boxes are cool.
Daria - Well, now I am excited.
Ms. Barch - Shut up, Mack!
(Mack's eyes widen in surprise)
(in the school cafeteria)
(Daria and Jane are sitting at their usual table)
Daria - So, now Kevin's my lab partner.
Jane - Next best thing to working alone.
Daria - Oh, no. He likes mazes.
Jane - Maybe you could get a wind-up toy to distract him.
Daria - His wind-up toy is working with Upchuck.
(Jane chuckles as Kevin approaches their table)
Kevin - Hey, Daria. Mind if we do the maze thing at your house? My cable's broken.
(upon hearing that, Daria gets a calculating look on her face)
(at Daria's house)
(Helen, Quinn, and Daria are sitting in the living room)
SSW Announcer - It's 911 in the morning and 1-900 in the evening. The phone sex/E.M.S. dispatcher when Sick, Sad World returns.
(Helen clicks television off)
Helen - Daria, I heard you're working with Kevin Thompson on a science project. He's quarterback of the football team, isn't he?
(Daria gives Quinn a "gee, I wonder who told her?" look)
Quinn - Brittany was sobbing in the bathroom.
Helen - Science is fascinating. Tell me all about it, honey.
Daria - I can't. I signed a confidentiality paper. The other scientists would be mad.
Helen - (groans) Oh, forget it, Daria. Quinn, how was your day?
Quinn - It sucked. First my teacher gave my paper on Cleopatra's makeup don'ts an "F" -- like he would know. Then my heel broke. Then, like, the day was almost over and only two guys had asked me out. Luckily, just before...
Helen - (pleading) Daria, please tell me about the project.
Daria - (sighs) It's about how behavior is affected by positive or negative reinforcement.
Helen - Sounds super.
Daria - Like... say, you have a friend who responds to everything you say with, "That's great!" This insincere reply is the same whether you saved a life or killed a bug, and thus becomes "negative reinforcement," causing you to withdraw from that person or persons.
Helen - Wow. That's fantastic!
(Daria rolls her eyes at Helen's cluelessness)
Helen - Maybe if you and Kevin work well together, he'll associate you with feeling good and want to include you in his circle of friends.
(Quinn's eyes widen upon hearing that)
Daria - Do you really believe that?
Helen - Believe? In what sense?
Quinn - Maybe I'll help with the project. I'm into science.
Helen - Quinn, that's great!
Daria - What exactly do you like about it?
Quinn - Um, like, now they can make perfume without hurting little bunnies.
Quinn - Door! (gets up)
Helen - Phone! (gets up)
(Quinn sighs, then steadies herself as she opens the door)
Quinn - Hey, Kevin.
Kevin - Hi, Quinn. Hey, Daria, I'm ready to start this maze thing.
Quinn - I'm helping. Let's go.
Daria - Wait a minute, Kevin. There's something I want you to see.
(Jake snores on the couch as they enter the living room; Daria turns on the television)
Daria - Look, Kevin: the Pigskin Channel. Great big guys slamming into other great big guys. Fun.
Kevin - Cool! (sits down)
TV Announcer - The Pigskin Channel! Classic football games 24 hours a day -- every day, all this month.
Kevin - Good thing I have nothing planned.
Daria (to Quinn) - I guess it's just you and me. Got your saw and sandpaper?
Quinn - Um, actually, I'm, like, needed here more. Right, Kevin?
(Kevin continues to concentrate on the game)
Quinn - Kevin, if you want a pillow or anything, there's one on that chair.
Kevin - Thanks, babe. Just put it behind my back. (leans forward)
Quinn (to Daria) - Shouldn't you be working on your project? You know, teaching a mouse to fetch or whatever?
Daria - Looks like there's plenty of fetching going on already. (leaves)
Quinn - Kevin, if you want a soda or anything, there's some in the fridge. I know I'm kind of thirsty.
Kevin - Thanks, babe. Could you, like, put some ice in it?
Quinn - (sarcastically) How many cubes?
Kevin - Two is cool.
(Quinn groans in disgust as she heads towards the kitchen, while Jake continues to snore away)
(at Upchuck's house)
(Brittany, dressed in a long overcoat, wide hat, and sunglasses, looks over her shoulder before joining Upchuck in the garage)
Upchuck - Welcome to Casa de Chuck, bella senorita. (Brittany pulls down the window shades) Don't worry, toots. This torrid affair shall remain our little secret -- as it must.
Brittany - Listen, Upchuck, you come near me and Kevin will bust your...
Upchuck - Kevin? Kevin's busy now... with Daria!
Brittany - Ooh!
Upchuck - But you're right. Passion can wait until we've constructed our maze. There's the saw.
Brittany - Excuse me? I don't do saw.
Upchuck - Oh, my fragile petal -- either you do your share, or I tell everyone we're dating.
Brittany - Like anyone would believe that.
Upchuck - But they would believe... this.
(Brittany gasps as Upchuck pulls out a photo of her and a half-naked guy making out in the back of a convertible)
Upchuck - Isn't that Sam Stack, quarterback for Oakwood? Our rivals?
Brittany - But Kevin and I broke up that week. Wait... how did you get this? You pervert!
Upchuck - Silly me! I was taking pictures and forgot I had the telephoto lens on.
(Brittany tries to grab photo, to no avail)
Upchuck - Ah, ah, ah! On second thought, I'll start the maze. You can get me a soda.
Brittany - Huh?
Upchuck - In the kitchen. I take two cubes -- not one, not three -- two. (chuckles as Brittany goes into kitchen) Slave for a week.
(at Daria's house)
(Kevin is in the living room, watching the Pigskin Channel; Quinn is coming on to him with all her strength)
Kevin - Go, go, go!
Quinn - Gee, Kevin, I hope the steak isn't too medium rare.
Kevin - You suck! (to Quinn) That's my team! Oh, the steak? It was cool. And I really like this yellow dip. Hey, tomorrow night, let's have Sloppy Joes.
Quinn - Um, I was thinking tomorrow night you might take me to Chez Pierre. The food there is, like, really good and the waiters are, like, really foreign.
Kevin - Gee, babe, there seems to be plenty of good food right here.
Quinn - Yes, but...
Kevin - Agh! You suck, you suck, you suck!
(Quinn answers the door, to find a soaking wet Brittany standing on the stoop)
Quinn - Eww! What happened to you?
Brittany - Ugh. That despicable Upchuck made me change the water in his fish tanks! (wrings water out of hair) Is Kevin here?
Quinn - Sorry, Brittany, but he's very busy working on the maze thing and can't be disturbed.
Kevin (O.S.) - Hey, Quinn, what's for dessert?
Brittany - But...
Quinn - Got to go! (closes door)
Brittany (O.S.) - (angrily) Ooh!
(in the garage)
(Daria is working on the maze as Kevin walks in)
Daria - Kevin, what are you doing here? Did you get lost?
Kevin - No! (chuckles) I mean, sort of. Hey, cool! You finished the maze! That must've taken, like, forever. (breaks door off maze) Oops. Sorry.
Daria - Kevin... I want you to put the door down and step away from the maze, and no one will get hurt.
Kevin - Hey! Is this the mouse we're training?
Daria - You don't recognize him after all your hours together?
Kevin - Hey, can you make him stand on his head?
Daria - Not right now. He's exhausted from jumping rope.
(Quinn enters the garage carrying a cake)
Quinn - (singsongy tone) Look what I made, Kevin.
Daria - No ice cream? I wouldn't put up with that if I were you.
Kevin - Uh, yeah. Thanks, Quinn. Leave it by the TV.
Quinn - Leave it by the TV. It's like we're already going out.
(Brittany walks in)
Brittany - There you are!
Kevin - Yo, babe.
Brittany - So, like, what have you been doing all night?
Kevin - Um... working?
Brittany - Wow, this looks really complicated. Kevin, you're so smart. Explain it to me.
Kevin - Uh... well, see, there's this path. Wait... hey. Oh, there's two paths. Cool!
Brittany - Working, huh? You could at least hide the evidence. Now tell me, what's going on here?
Daria - Relax, Brittany. Have a nice big piece of the chocolate layer cake Quinn made just for Kevin.
Brittany - Ooh! You, you... vixens! (grabs Kevin's arm) Come on, we're leaving.
Kevin - But it's only half time! I mean... Daria needs me.
Daria - Yeah. He has three more doors to break.
Kevin - Yeah.
Upchuck (O.S.) - (singsongy tone) Oh, Brittany!
Brittany - Ugh! All right, I'm going. But I'm warning you, Miss... Smartiness. I know how to fight for my man.
Kevin - What man?!
(at Pizza King)
(Daria and Jane are at their usual table, sodas and pizza slices in front of them)
Jane - If you were really good, you'd get the mouse to stay off both paths -- you know, like Dada. Everything is useless.
Daria - I wouldn't do that to the mouse, but it might be fun to try it on...
Kevin - So, Daria, we still have a lot of work to do on this maze thing, right?
Daria - Yeah, but I don't expect you to maintain your laser-like focus of the past week.
Kevin - Cool! Whatever. Hey, maybe I'll stop by the garage tonight -- after the Steelers game.
Daria - That's not really necessary...
Kevin - Oh, wait! I can't. I promised Quinn I'd help her practice her back massage technique.
Jane - Does this boy always think of others first?
(in the adjoining booth, the Three J's overhear their conversation)
Joey - Kevin's been hanging out at that Daria chick's, like, every night this week.
Jeffy - But that chick's a brain.
Jamie - There must be something we don't know.
Joey - We gotta find out.
(Brittany and Jodie enter)
Brittany - Ooh! Can you believe Daria's trying to take Kevin away from me?
Jodie - I can't believe anyone would try to take Kevin away from you.
Brittany - Thanks. You're a friend.
(Jodie gives her a "damn, you're clueless" look as Brittany walks over to Kevin)
Brittany - Kevin, the new Whitney Houston movie is out and I want you to take me -- tonight.
Kevin - Can't, babe. Got to work with Daria. You know, science.
Daria - That's all right, Dr. Pasteur. You can take a night off.
Kevin - (whispers) Daria! That's a chick movie!
Jane - (whispers) Pst! Kevin, Brittany's... (louder) ...a chick!
Brittany - I heard that. What show are we going to?
Kevin - Oh-oh. Gotta go. Practice! (leaves)
Brittany - If you think you're going to take Kevin away from me, you're wrong. Because he's my Kevin, and you're, you're a... a brain.
Daria - You know, Brittany, that was actually a very astute observation about the likelihood of my dating your boyfriend.
Jane - Or is it... former boyfriend?
Brittany - Ooh! (to Three J's as they approach) Hi Joey, Jeffy, Jimmy!
Jeffy - So, Daria, are you doing anything tonight?
Daria (to Jamie) - She just called you Jimmy.
Jamie - Whatever. How about tomorrow night?
Brittany - Hi! Guys! Hi, Joey. Hey -- tell me that really funny story again about how you made chocolate come out of your nose.
Joey - So, Daria, you feel like hitting a movie? You chicks dig Whitney Houston, right?
(Quinn walks up to the booth)
Quinn - Joey, Jeffy, Jamiel. Which one of you guys wants to walk me home?
(Brittany goes back to Jodie's booth as the Three J's follow Quinn out, climbing over each other to volunteer their services)
Brittany - How can I compete against sisters?! There's only one of me.
Jodie - Maybe you can get your brother to wear a skirt.
Brittany - My brother! (pager beeps) Damn it, Upchuck!
(at Upchuck's house)
(Brittany walks into the garage with a bag of groceries)
Upchuck - Excellent!
Brittany - Okay, I shined your spoon collection, filed your disgusting magazines and finished your shopping. (shoves back into Upchuck's arms) Can I go now?
Upchuck - (holding a jar of honey) I'm sorry, Brittany, but I specifically said I wanted the honey that comes in a bear, not a jar.
Brittany - Ooh! You, you... weasel!
Upchuck - "And remember, Kevin, it was the week that you two had broken up, so I don't think you should be too angry with... Back-Seat Brittany."
Brittany - Ooh! (grabs bag and leaves)
(at Daria's house)
Quinn - (into phone) I am kind of dating Kevin. Yeah, well, older guys just go for me. They like to take me to expensive restaurants. (phone beeps) Hold on, another call. (clicks to other call) Roderick! Sure, I date guys your age -- I mean, sometimes. Hey, have you ever been to Chez Pierre?
(Quinn opens the door, to find Brittany holding a paper bag)
Brittany - Kevin wants this. Can I leave it in the garage?
(Quinn points to garage and closes door)
Quinn - (into phone) See you on Wednesday. (phone beeps) Got to go. (clicks to other call) Hello? Matthew!
(in the garage)
Brittany - Now, don't say a word. (grabs mouse, which bites her hand) Ouch! Ooh! You icky little... animal! (traps mouse in box) Okay, you Morgendorffer tempstresses. You're going to have find a new excuse if you want to drag my Kevin over here now.
(at Brittany's house)
(Brittany is in her brother's room, holding out the box with the mouse in it)
Brittany - Don't let this mouse out of your sight, okay? (hands box to Brian and leaves)
(Brian peers into box and chuckles evilly)
(at Daria's house)
(Daria sees that the mouse is gone; she then spots the paper bag, and pulls out a bear-shaped jar of honey)
Daria - I don't even want to know.
(Daria answers the door; the perpetually-grinning Kevin is standing on the stoop)
Daria - Kevin. I have some bad news.
Kevin - Aw, your cable's broken?
Daria - No, I...
Kevin - The game got cancelled?
Daria - No, listen.
Kevin - They're running the game opposite the...
Daria - Listen! Our mouse is gone.
Kevin - (sighs in relief) Oh, boy, Daria. You really had me going for a minute.
Daria - Kevin, without the mouse, we fail, and we don't have time to train a new one.
Kevin - Bummer. I wish there was something I could do. But what?
(Kevin sits down next to Jake in living room)
Kevin - Hey, Mr. Morgendorffer.
Jake - It's Jake, my man, Jake. You know, I went out for football in military school, but the other kids taunted me. Said I ran funny. (gulps down soda) Well, I've shown them! The smug little turds. I've got the house, the paycheck, and they're all lying dead in a stinking rice paddy. At least, that's the way I like to think of them. Hey, how about a soda?
Kevin - Sure. I like two ice cubes.
Jake - Me, too! (leaves)
(Quinn enters wearing an ultra-short skirt, and stands in front of the television screen)
Quinn - Kevin? Do you think my skirt is too short?
(Kevin glances at Quinn before going back to the television)
Kevin - Go, go, go!
Daria - Quinn, do you know anything about this? (hands bear to Quinn)
Quinn - Oh, right. Like some plastic bear is going to make Kevin choose Brittany over me.
Daria - Brittany?
Quinn - Yeah. She left it in the garage for Kevin. Shoot me if ever get that desperate. Hey, Kevin?
Jake - My teen years... a nightmare of shame and guilt. They didn't call it self-love then, Kevin. They called it self-abuse.
(in the school hallway)
(Brittany is angrily confronting Kevin)
Kevin - But babe, I didn't do anything wrong!
Brittany - Don't lie to me, Kevin! It's all over school you're dating both Daria and Quinn!
Kevin - Really? Whoa, twins.
Brittany - Quit following Kevin!
Daria - Gee, Brittany. What happened to your hand?
Brittany - Uh, um... faulty eyelash curler. (hides hand behind back)
Daria (to Kevin) - I just told Ms. Barch about the disappearing mouse. She said if we don't turn the project in tomorrow we'll have to do a makeup experiment. A really big makeup experiment. It could take weeks, even months.
Kevin - Cool.
Daria (to Brittany) - Do you have a camera? You might want to take a picture of Kevin so you'll remember what he looks like.
Brittany - Why, you...
Daria - See you at 8:00, Kevin. Oh, and I'll tell Quinn to fire up the grill. (starts to leave)
Brittany - Wait! (Daria turns around) Okay, so I stole the rotten little rat. But I did it for us, and Whitney. I just couldn't stand being away from you any longer.
Kevin - Babe...
Daria - This is all very touching. Brittany, a deal. The mouse for Kevin.
Brittany - Deal.
(Daria and Brittany shake hands, with both of them thinking, "Sucker")
Brittany - Let's go, Kevin.
Kevin - Daria, I can still come over and watch the Pigskin Channel, right?
(as Kevin and Brittany leave, both girls now think, "Jerk")
(at Daria's house)
(in the garage, Brittany hands the mouse box back to Daria; the box is dirty and battered)
Daria - Let me guess. You have a little brother.
Brittany - How'd you know?
(Daria puts the mouse into the maze; the mouse immediately curls into a ball and shivers in fear)
Kevin - Cool. The maze thing really works.
Daria - Yeah, that mouse is just ripping up the paths to the food box.
Kevin - Oh. (dejected) Oh, yeah.
Brittany - Come on, let's go over to my place and watch the Pigskin Channel on my new satellite dish.
Kevin - Wow! How'd you talk your parents into getting a dish?
Brittany - I told them I wanted to watch the History Channel.
Kevin - Parents!
(both laugh just as Quinn enters the garage)
Quinn - Kevin? Where are you going?
Kevin - Oh, I'm heading over to Britt's to watch TV.
Quinn - Wait -- I can get a bear. I'll get two bears. Three! (leaves)
Daria - Goldilocks complex. She's seeing a therapist.
(Jake enters the garage; he's holding a book)
Jake - Hey, Kev. I missed you, dude. Come on, the game's about to begin. Oh, and I found my old journal!
Brittany - What is it with this family?
(in Ms. Barch's class)
Ms. Barch - Brittany, Charles. You're up.
(Brittany and Upchuck approach; their maze has a hamster tube on top of it)
Upchuck - We started with...
Ms. Barch - Shut up, Charles. Brittany, did you go with negative or positive reinforcement?
Brittany - Um... negative? I mean... positive?
Upchuck - Please, Ms. Barch, let me explain...
Ms. Barch - Charles, shut your miserable, lying, cheating mouth. Brittany, continue.
(Upchuck puts the mouse into the maze, where it easily follows the tube to the food box)
Brittany - The mouse, um... it's supposed to run down the path. Right?
Ms. Barch - Brittany and Chuck. You fail.
Ms. Barch - Shut up, Upchuck! Daria, Kevin.
(time-shift; Daria concludes her presentation as her mouse shivers in a ball of fear; Kevin stands in the background and poses like an idiot)
Daria - In conclusion, this mouse -- through no fault of my own, Brittany -- was repeatedly abused by a ten-year-old boy. As a result, the mouse's primary response to everyday stimuli is fear. Similar reactions also occur in humans. Take the mugging victim, beaten with nunchaks in an alleyway. As he, or she, recalls the attacker's face -- his scraggly goatee and cheap, dangly earring -- she learns to hate and fear all men, regardless of age, race or taste in jewelry.
Kevin - Really?
Ms. Barch - Don't interrupt, hateful scum. Excellent job, Daria. You get an "A."
Kevin - All right!
Ms. Barch - Not you, you man. You get a "D."
Kevin - All right!
(in the hallway)
Kevin - You know, Daria, I really liked hanging out at your house and working on the maze thing.
Daria - Yeah, the week just flew by. It was like you were hardly there.
Kevin - Thanks. Hey, Daria?
Daria - Yes?
Kevin - I'm having a big party Friday, and I want a lot of cool people there. Could you...
Daria - (slightly hopeful) Yes?
Kevin - ...ask Quinn if she could make it?
(Daria just stares as if to say, "of course")