The Misery Chick|
Written by Glenn Eichler
(opening theme song)
(at the Morgendorffer house)
(the family is sitting around the kitchen table; Helen and Jake are admiring Quinn's school pictures)
Helen - Why, Quinn, you look darling!
Jake - You look so happy, sweetie!
Quinn - I felt happy. I always feel happy on picture day. Do you think that "Nature's Precious Wonders" was a good background? Because I almost went with "Starlight over Yosemite."
(screen shows Quinn's school picture: she's posing in front of a backdrop depicting a forest waterfall)
Helen - I think it was a fine choice. What did you pick, Daria?
Daria - Black clouds swallowing Chernobyl?
Helen - Come on, Daria, where's your school picture?
(Daria hands over her picture; she's standing expressionless in front of a plain gray background)
Jake - Wow! That's sharp focus...
Helen - Daria, just once, why can't you smile when somebody takes your picture?
Daria - I don't like to smile unless I have a reason.
Helen - Daria, people judge you by your expressions.
Daria - Yes, and I believe there is something intrinsically wrong with that system, and have dedicated myself to changing it.
Quinn - Hey, did you guys see these? (holds up wallet size photos)
(at Lawndale High)
(Kevin and Mack are walking down the hallway)
Kevin - This is it, Mack Daddy! The week of weeks!
Mack - Too much hero worship isn't healthy, you know. And don't call me that.
Kevin - But the man is coming! The man! Tommy Sherman brought it home, bro! The state championship. And now, he's coming back to Lawndale.
Mack - I know all about it. Jodie's giving the speech about the new goal post, remember?
Kevin - Oh yeah! Does she need any help with ideas for that? Like, from a quarterback's point of view.
Mack - Gee. I'll ask her... when there aren't any sharp objects around.
Kevin - Cool!
(outside, Daria and Jane are sitting on the lawn)
Daria - What's the big deal about this football guy, anyway?
Jane - He was quarterback three years ago when the school won the state championship. My brother knew him.
Daria - Well, why name the goal posts after him? Why not the whole stadium?
Jane - Goal post.
(a football game is being played; the stands are filled with people, and Tommy Sherman is doing his thing on the field)
Jane (VO) - See, his trademark was, he always wanted to run the touchdown in himself.
Daria (VO) - A real team player.
Jane (VO) - But he couldn't keep from waving to the crowd when he did it. They cheered, he waved, and wham! He ran right into the goal post.
(screen shows Tommy waving to the crowd, slamming into a goalpost, and being carried away on a stretcher)
Daria (VO) - What an intelligent young man.
Jane (VO) - He broke his own nose twice.
Jane - Then, in the playoffs a week before the state championship, he scored the winning touchdown, and hit the goal post so hard he cracked his helmet. He was unconscious for six days. Miraculously, he woke up the night before the big game feeling great. The next day, he led the team to victory.
Daria - Stirring.
Jane - Isn't it? So now the school's bought one of those new goal posts designed to break apart rather than split your skull.
Daria - Why only one?
Jane - Budget cuts. And they're naming it after good ol' Tommy Sherman. (sees Jodie approach) And here comes the lucky Student Council member who will do the honors.
Jodie - Gimme a break. Hey, Daria, I can't get past the introduction to this speech. Can I read it to you?
Daria - Does that mean I don't have to listen to it later?
(Jodie sits on the grass next to them)
Jodie - "Good afternoon, students, faculty, and distinguished alumni of Lawndale High. As a representative of your Student Council..." Any ideas?
Daria - "It is my privilege today to once again send the message that learning is no substitute for winning."
Jane - "And that it's not how hard you study, it's how hard you play football." (the last word is uttered with mock intensity)
Jodie - Gosh, thanks so much. You think I like this?
Daria - If you don't believe any of it, why give the speech?
Jodie - Because I'm on the Student Council. It's a job with many responsibilities, and today it's my responsibility to kiss the butt of some jerk getting a goal post named after him, but at least now I feel really good about it.
(Mack walks up to the group)
Mack - Hey.
Jodie - (stands) Leave me alone! (leaves)
Daria - Chicks.
Jane - Yeah, chicks.
(in the hallway)
(Brittany is down on one knee, tying her shoe, when someone walks up to her; she slowly looks up to see a muscular guy in jeans and a tight T-shirt, with a nose that looks like it's been broken one too many times; it's none other than Tommy Sherman)
Tommy - Keep going. It gets better. (helps Brittany to her feet) Hello, beautiful. I see one thing about Lawndale football has improved a lot since I was unanimously voted most valuable player: the cheerleaders.
Brittany - You're Tommy Sherman!
Tommy - You know your sports.
Brittany - My boyfriend's Kevin Thompson. He's quarterback of the team. He worships you!
Tommy - That's great. Listen, they're putting me up at the Lawndale Manor. Why don't we head back there, order you some champagne, get horizontal, and you can find out just how big a hero I am.
Brittany - Didn't you hear what I said? My boyfriend is your biggest fan?
Tommy - What are you telling me? He wants to watch? I don't know...
(Brittany slaps him and walks off)
Tommy - All right, all right, he can watch. Hey, where are you going? Did someone flash the bimbo signal?
(down the hall, Daria watches the whole proceeding with barely disguised contempt; she may not like the blonde cheerleader, but even Brittany didn't deserve to be treated like that)
(a short time later, Tommy is strutting arrogantly down the hallway)
Kevin (VO) - Tommy Sherman!
(Kevin and Mack approach)
Tommy - That's my name. Don't wear it out.
Kevin - I'm your biggest fan!
Tommy - I doubt that, unless the rest of them are pygmies!
Kevin - I'm Kevin Thompson. This is Michael Jordan Mackenzie.
Tommy - Michael Jordan Mackenzie? You're kidding, right?
Mack - It was Michael James Mackenzie, but Dad went to a Bulls playoff game when I was 12 and then he changed it.
Tommy - That's sick, man. So, what, are you guys on the intramural squad or something?
Kevin - Varsity, dude! I'm the QB!
(Tommy starts to laugh; after a moment, Kevin joins in, while Mack grows increasingly disgusted with Tommy)
Tommy - Why are you laughing?
Kevin - Um, why are you?
Tommy - I'm just picturing a scrawny little guy like you trying to play for some third-rate junior college somewhere and getting your butt kicked every week.
Kevin - Oh, yeah. That's funny.
Mack - No, it isn't.
Kevin - (see Brittany walking by) Hey, Britt! Did you meet Tommy Sherman?
Brittany - (cries) Yes! (runs off)
Kevin - Hey, babe! What's the matter? (runs after her)
Mack - (dripping with contempt) Pleased to make your acquaintance. (leaves)
Tommy - Yeah. Make sure your father doesn't go to any Whoopi Goldberg movies!
(again, Daria has witnessed the whole incident, and is no more a fan of Tommy's than she was earlier)
(a short time later, Tommy is leaning up against a bank of lockers and checking out the female students when Daria and Jane approach)
Daria - Excuse me.
Tommy - You're kidding, right? You think I'm going to talk to you? (looks at Jane) You, maybe. Like, four hours into a kegger.
Jane - Perhaps after I vomit on your shoes...
Daria - I don't want to talk to you.
Tommy - Yeah, right. You said, "Excuse me."
Daria - You're on my locker.
Tommy - (stands up) Do you know who I am? Tommy Sherman?
Daria - I know the whole school's turning itself inside out because of some egotistical football player, and I've seen you insult or proposition just about everyone you come across, so my guess is that you're the football player guy. Congratulations, you must have worked very hard to become such a colossal jerk so quickly.
Tommy - You know what Tommy Sherman's going to do now? He's going to go out onto the field and check out his new goal post. He's going to read the plaque and think of all the people who admire him. But you wouldn't know anything about that. You're one of those misery chicks, always moping about what a cruel world it is, making a big deal about it so people won't notice that you're a loser. (walks away)
Jane - I don't think he likes you.
Daria - That doesn't bother me. What bothers me is that jerk is going to be treated like a hero for the rest of this life.
Jane - Well, maybe he won't live that long.
Daria - Come on. You know wishes don't come true.
(as if on cue, we hear the sound of a crash)
Kevin (VO) - Oh, my God! The goal post fell! Tommy Sherman's dead! He's dead!
(Daria and Jane look at each other in total shock)
(at Lawndale High)
(the students and faculty are gathered in the auditorium for a memorial service for Tommy Sherman; the stage is decorated with banners and flowers, all dominated by a large photo of Tommy)
Ms. Li - How does one make sense of a tragedy so... tragic. (sound of Kevin crying) A young man, our hero, struck down in a freakish accident by the very goal post that was being put up in his honor. What lesson can we take from all of this... other than not to leave heavy goal posts in sharp edged wooden crates leaning precariously against the bleachers. (gives a look to the janitors) The lesson is to spread joy, spread light! Make it your goal to make others feel good. And when you reach that goal, you keep running until you reach the goal post. You hit that goal post hard, and that's what this young man did, and that is the legacy he left to you, to me, to Lawndale High.
(Kevin bawls even louder, to Brittany's embarrassment)
Ms. Li - Can someone get him out of here so we can sing "One Sweet Day"?
(afterwards, Daria and Jane walk down the hallway)
Daria - It's weird. One minute he's standing there calling me a loser, the next minute he's dead.
Jane - Yeah.
Daria - I mean, the guy Ms. Li was talking about didn't bear any resemblance to the guy we met. But still...
Jane - Listen I'm going home to change and then I think I'm going to go for a run.
Daria - I'll walk with you.
Jane - Actually, I think I'm going to walk by myself for a little while. See you later. (leaves)
(Daria stands for a moment, confused, until the living embodiment of confusion walks up to her)
Kevin - Hey, Daria? Can I talk to you?
Daria - Why?
Kevin - Well, you know, Tommy. I'm really bummed out.
Daria - Yeah, I'm sorry about that, Kevin. But I don't know what to tell you. I only met him right before the accident.
(they both walk outside)
Kevin - Me, too! But I mean, it really makes you think. Got any, like, words of wisdom or whatever?
Daria - Like what?
Kevin - I don't know. I figure you think about depressing stuff a lot. You're that type, you know?
Daria - No, I don't know.
Kevin - I mean, the guy was a hero. A really good quarterback, everybody liked him, kinda hunky, you know. Not that I would notice something like that. And now he's just, like, the dead guy.
Daria - Tell me, Kevin, did he remind you of anyone?
Kevin - What do you mean?
Daria - Maybe his death hit a little too close to home?
Kevin - I get what you're saying. But I don't believe in ghosts, Daria.
Daria - What?
Kevin - You're saying he got hid on his head out there in the football field, the team's home. And now it's going to be cursed or something, and we're going to lose all our games. I'm a little surprised, Daria.
Daria - That makes two of us.
Kevin - I didn't think you believed in all that mumbo-gumbo.
Daria - Gee, I hope this doesn't lower your opinion of me.
Kevin - (laughs) Come on. How much lower can it get?
(Kevin walks away, but there's no relief in sight, for here comes Brittany)
Brittany - Daria?
Daria - Brittany?
Brittany - Daria, I've got to talk to you.
Daria - About...
Brittany- Tommy Sherman!
Daria - Maybe you should talk to Kevin.
Brittany - I can't talk to Kevin! (whispers) Tommy Sherman was a jerk!
Daria - You know, no one else seems to realize...
Brittany - Oh! I can't believe I said that! I called a dead guy a jerk!
Daria - So, you are upset about what happened?
Brittany - That's just it. I feel terrible. Why did that jerk make me hate him? Now he's dead and I feel bad but I don't feel that bad so I feel terrible! It really makes you think. I mean, you're used to being all gloomy and depressed and thinking about bad stuff...
Daria - Why does everyone keep saying that?
Brittany - So I thought that maybe you can give me some tips.
Daria - Well, I guess what I'd say, Brittany, is that here's this guy who really wasn't very nice, and you didn't like him at all. You're sorry that he died...
Brittany - I am!
Daria - ...but you don't think you're sorry enough, and you're worried that you're not as nice a person as you thought.
Brittany - Yeah! It's like, I feel bad, but I think I should feel worse, and not feeling worse makes me feel bad all over again.
Daria - The truth is, Brittany, is that you are nice, or you wouldn't be feeling bad at all right now.
Brittany - So... you're saying that feeling bad about not feeling worse is good?
(pause as Daria lets that one sink in)
Daria - Yes. Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying.
Brittany - Thanks, Daria! (runs off)
Daria - (writing on notepad) "Feeling bad... not feeling worse... good."
(and now, behind door #3, is Mr. O'Neill)
Mr. O'Neill - Daria?
Daria - Hi, Mr. O'Neill. (puts notepad away)
Mr. O'Neill - May I ask what you're jotting down? A reflection about poor Tommy Sherman, no doubt.
Daria - Not really.
Mr. O'Neill - It must have been a terrible shock for someone as sensitive. It really makes you think.
Daria - Um... yeah, but I'm dealing with it.
Mr. O'Neill - (chuckles) I figured you're be dealing with it. You probably think about the dark side all the time.
Daria - The dark side? Are we talking about "the Force"?
Mr. O'Neill - The dark side of life. The thoughts other people try not to have. That's your thing, right? Facing the void? Yes, I'm sure you're dealing with it. (pause) I'm not dealing with it! (starts to cry)
Daria - (awkwardly) There. There. (pause) You want to talk about it?
(at the Morgendorffer house)
(split-screen between Daria and Jane on the phone)
Daria - So then, after I get Brittany squared away, Mr. O'Neill comes over wanting to talk. And they all say the same thing: "It really makes you think." I feel like getting a couch.
Jane - You're the girl of the hour. Maybe I should talk to you.
Daria - Yeah right. I can't believe the way people are reacting. I mean, yeah, it's terrible what happened, but it's not as if he was nice to anyone. They're acting like they lost a friend.
Jane - Boy, Daria, nothing gets through to you, does it.
Daria - What's that supposed to mean?
Jane - A guy died, and you're talking about what a jerk he was.
Daria - I just said... look, you want to get some pizza?
Jane - I'm going running.
Daria - After?
Jane - I don't know. It's going to be a long run. See you later.
(Daria hangs up, confused, then turns on the TV)
SSW Announcer (VO) - Malibu's Mopious Millionaire, next on Sick, Sad World.
(Quinn knocks on door)
Daria - (turns off TV) Come in.
Quinn - Daria? Wow, your room still looks like this?
Daria - Need help filling out your picture order form? It's Q-U-I...
Quinn - Daria, can I talk to you? About the dead guy?
(Daria stares at her, expressionless; it's the perfect end to her day)
(at the Morgendorffer house)
(Quinn, Helen, and Daria are sitting at the kitchen table in their usual places)
Quinn - So I called up Sandi, and Stacy, and Tiffany, and the Fashion Club is going to take up a collection to get safe new goal posts. Like, to honor the dead guy's memory.
Helen - Quinn, what a wonderful impulse. To make something positive come out of this devastating event.
Quinn - Daria gave me that idea. She's really good at this tragic stuff.
Daria - Thanks, but it was one of the safe new goal posts that fell on him.
Quinn - Oh! Well, it's the thought that counts. (gets up and leaves)
Helen - And how do you feel, Daria?
Daria - (scowls) I feel great. How else could I feel? I'm the misery chick. (gets up) I'm going to Jane's.
(at the Lane house)
(Daria knocks on the door; Trent answers)
Trent - Hey, Daria. Janey went running.
Daria - Oh. Well, I'll see her another time. (turns to leave)
Trent - Scary about Tommy Sherman.
Daria - (turns back) Yeah. You knew him, right?
Trent - We had a couple classes together. I mean, we didn't see him much. You know, he didn't show up too often.
Daria - Not like you, huh?
Trent - (laugh-coughs) I guess I might have missed a few classes, now that you mention it. Weird thing. Freak accident.
Daria - Would you say it really makes you think?
Trent - No.
Daria - Thank you for that.
Trent - Huh?
Daria - See ya. (turns to leave)
Trent - Hey, Daria?
Daria - Yeah? (turns back)
Trent - You know, it was a while ago that Janey went running. Maybe she came back and I didn't hear her or something. Anyway, why don't you check her room. She might be there.
Daria - I'll yell up the stairs. (enters house and stands at foot of stairs)
Trent - No, umm, sometimes she's got some music on and she can't hear really well. Why don't you just head on up?
(Daria frows slightly; she smells something fishy)
(in Jane's room; Jane is sitting on the bed, wearing headphones and making some sketches, when Daria knocks on the door)
Jane - (takes off headphones) Yo! Come on in! (sees Daria walk in) Oh. Hi.
Daria - Are you avoiding me?
Jane - Um... not anymore?
Daria - What's going on?
Jane - Nothing. I just haven't felt like talking to anybody.
Daria - I'm not anybody, and I'd like to talk to someone.
Jane - But you've been talking to everyone.
Daria - No, everyone's been talking to me. There's a difference.
Jane - Well, what do you want to talk about, anyway? You don't care about what happened.
Daria - How can you say that?
Jane - You've been treating it like, "Oh well, another stupid day." The guy died.
Daria - I know he died! I'm sorry he died! But I'm not going to pretend that he was some great person when he wasn't. People aren't upset because Tommy Sherman died, they're upset because they're going to die.
Jane - That's understandable.
Daria - Okay, but you know what I've been hearing? "You know how I feel, Daria. You're gloomy. I knew I can talk to you, Daria. You're always miserable." Tragedy hits the school and everyone thinks of me. A popular guy died, and now I'm popular because I'm the misery chick. But I'm not miserable. I'm just not like them.
Jane - It really makes you think.
Daria - Funny. Thanks a lot. (starts to leave)
Jane - No! That's why they want to talk to you. When they say, "You're always unhappy, Daria," what they mean is, "You think Daria. I can tell because you don't smile. Now this guy died and it makes me think and that hurts my little head and makes me stop smiling. So, tell me how you cope with thinking all the time, Daria, until I can get back to my normal vegetable state."
Daria - Okay. So why have you been avoiding me?
Jane - Because I've been trying not to think. About the way we were making jokes about him dying and then, boom, it happened.
Daria - We didn't have anything to do with the guy dying. It was a freak accident.
Jane - Yeah, well, I don't like it when I say people should die and then they do. I don't want that kind of responsibility. At least not until I've got a job in middle management.
Daria - You didn't make him die.
Jane - You're not the misery chick.
Daria - All right, then.
Jane - All right, then.
Daria - He shouldn't have died.
Jane - No.
Daria - But he wasn't a nice guy.
Jane - (frowns) No.
Daria - Did Trent know you were up here?
Jane - Told him to tell anyone who dropped by that I was out running. What a surprise... he forgot.
Daria - No, he didn't.
(at Lawndale High, in Mr. O'Neill's class)
Mr. O'Neill - "It is better to have loved and lost, then never to have loved at all." Just what is Lord Tennyson talking about? Brittany?
Brittany - Um, love?
Mr. O'Neill - Anyone else? Daria?
Daria - Well, he's acknowledging that if something makes you feel good, like being in love, there must be a corresponding painful side, like losing a love, and that it's just a fact of life.
Mr. O'Neill - Sad, but true.
Daria - And what's intriguing about it is that no one calls Tennyson a big unhappiness freak just because he understands that.
Mr. O'Neill - Is he a big unhappiness freak?
Daria - No, he's a realist. He says, "Emotional involvement brings pleasure and extraordinary pain." Then he declares that it's better than feeling nothing at all.
Mr. O'Neill - That is excellent, Daria.
Daria - Of course, this was before the advent of community property laws.
(in the hallway)
(Daria and Jane are walking when they are approached by Sandi)
Sandi - Hello? Quinn's cousin or whatever?
Daria - Yeah?
Sandi - Quinn said you were really good with, like, bummed out stuff?
Daria - Yeah?
Sandi - My cat, he got into my makeup or something and, like, ODed on foundation, and he spent the whole day puking.
Jane - And the experience left him questioning the meaning of life?
Sandi - And I've been feeling really bad about it, and I was wondering if you had, like, some advice or something.
Daria - I'm afraid that inflation has forced me to institute a small fee for my services.
Sandi - Huh?
Daria - Ten dollars. In advance.
Sandi - Oh, uh, sure. (hands over a ten dollar bill)
Daria - What is the animal's name?
Sandi - Fluffy.
Daria - I see. Fluffy.
Sandi - So, like, what's your advice?
Daria - Find some other way to feel. Then you won't feel sad.
Sandi - That's what I get for ten dollars? Are you kidding?
Daria - See? It's working already.
(pause as Sandi thinks about that)
Sandi - Thanks. (leaves)
Jane - You just made ten bucks off of that poor girl's suffering.
Daria - Yeah. That was wrong.
Jane - Really. Next time...
Daria - Twenty.