Episode Guide

Pierce Me
Episode #212 - July 27, 1998
Written by Neena Beber

Song List Entries For This Episode
Oops! List Entries For This Episode
Transcript For This Episode
"See Jane Run" (#211)
"Write Where it Hurts" (#213)

Regular: Daria, Quinn, Helen, Jake, Jane, Trent, Jodie, Stacy, Jesse

Guest: Axl, Monique, Eric Schrecter, Jasmine, SSW Reporter, Spa Manicurist, Spa Stylist

Non-Speaking: Brittany, Tiffany, Ashley-Amber Taylor, Theresa, Nicholas Campbell, Max Tyler

Summary: Daria assists Trent in shopping for Jane's birthday, but ends up getting talked into having her navel pierced. Meanwhile, Helen and Quinn prepare for a mother-daughter fashion show being held at the school.

Full Synopsis: It's Jane's birthday, and while she doesn't want any fuss made over her, she's not above receiving presents from her friends and family. Being an artist, Jane's pretty easy to shop for -- just get her some art supplies -- but Trent wants to do something different. Unfortunately, he's lacking in ideas, so he calls Daria to ask her to help him out. What follows is a phone conversation of classic proportions, as Trent trips all over himself in his attempt to keep Jane from finding out what he's up to, while Daria's crush on Trent makes her completely misunderstand his intentions. When Trent finally explains why he called, Daria is somewhat disappointed, but nonetheless accompanies him to Dega Street in search of the Perfect Gift. Their search ultimately leads them to Axl's Piercing Parlor, where Trent manages to charm Daria into getting her navel pierced (a development that Jane uses as fodder for endless teasing). Meanwhile, Quinn and Helen are getting made over in preparation for a mother-daughter fashion show at school, a show in which Quinn desperately wants to excel since Sandi and her mother are also participating. This proves useful to Daria when Quinn finds out about her navel ring, as Daria reminds Quinn that she shouldn't be getting Helen upset on the day before the big show. This buys Quinn's silence but it doesn't buy any relief for Daria, whose newly pierced navel is itching like mad. Unable to stand it any longer, Daria removes the ring before going to bed, which proves to be a huge mistake when, the next morning, she finds that the hole has closed up. Now, not only does she feel foolish for doing something stupid for a guy, she feels like a geek for being the fastest healer on the planet! However, Jane and Trent reassure her that it doesn't make her a geek, which makes her feel better... until Trent suggests a tattoo! Later that evening, Trent gives Jane her birthday gift: a song he wrote in her honor. (Daria, of course, gave Jane art supplies.) At the fashion show, Quinn and Helen are the epitome of cool confidence as they take the runway... then they become the poster children for humiliation when Quinn loses her balance and sends them both tumbling to the stage. To ease her humiliation, Quinn breaks her promise to Daria and tells Helen and Jake about the navel ring. Her scheme backfires, though, when they demand to see Daria's navel, which now shows absolutely no sign that it was ever pierced.

Interesting Tidbits
Historical & Cultural References:
  • "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia" is from the 1969 TV series The Brady Bunch. It is the phrase used by Jan Brady when speaking to her older sister (usually when whining about some perceived unfairness or another).
  • Quinn's "oh, the humanity!" is from radio reporter Herb Morrison's account of the explosion of the German airship Hindenburg at the Lakehurst (NJ) Naval Air Station on May 6, 1937. A play on this line is used (by Daria) in "I Loathe a Parade" (#406). The event itself was dramatized in Robert Wise's 1975 film The Hindenburg.
  • Daria's reference to E.T. is from the 1983 film E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, about a stranded alien who's befriended by a young boy and his sister, played by Henry Thomas and Drew Barrymore. The alien ("E.T.") had the power to heal wounds just by touching them.
  • Daria's line, "it seems too much like getting tortured for some subculture's notion of beauty," followed by a cut to Helen and Quinn being put under hair dryers, may be a loose reference to Horace Miner's 1956 satirical anthropology paper Body Rituals Among the Nacirema, which describes common beauty and health practices of Americans as though describing primatives. The paper discusses "special women's rites" that lack in frequency but make up for it "in barbarity. As part of the ceremony, women bake thier heads in small ovens for about an hour."
Memorable Quotes
Daria - We can bake cupcakes for the whole class and pretend you're really popular for the day.
Jane - Will there be pony rides?

Helen - A mother-daughter fashion show at school? To raise money?
Daria - And consciousness.

Daria - (shouts) You can hang up now! I got it! Hang up!
Jake - (shouts) You have the phone, kiddo!
Daria - (shouts) Okay, thanks, I'll hang up myself, then.

(split-screen between Trent and Daria)
Daria - Hi, Trent. Sorry about that. Trent?
(Jane walks into kitchen)
Daria - (on phone) Trent? Trent!
(Jane laves)
Trent - Hey, Daria.
Daria - Uh, hi. What's up?
(Jane walks into kitchen)
Daria - (on phone) Trent? Are you awake?
(Jane leaves)
Trent - I, uh, need to ask you something.
Daria - Me?
Trent - Yeah, you.
(Jane walks into kitchen)
Daria - (on phone) So...
Trent - So...
Daria - (on phone) So... you wanted to ask me something?
Trent - Right. Right, and, uh, yeah. That sounds excellent. See you then. Bye. (hangs up)

Jane - None of your trick questions, young man. You're behaving strangely.
Trent - You're the strange one.
Jane - You are.
Trent - You.
Jane - Where are you going?
Trent - Who are you? Mom?
Jane - No, Mom would never ask where you're going.
Trent - Exactly. (leaves)

(Daria fantasizes)
Trent - Daria?
Daria - Yes, Trent?
Trent - Want to hear this song I wrote... for you?
Daria - You wrote me a song?
Trent - You're my muse, you know.
Daria - Really?
Trent - It's called "Silly, Little Self-Deluded Girl. Why Would a Cool Guy Like Me Ever Write a Song About You?"
(phone interrupts fantasy)

Trent - Daria, I...
Daria - (hopeful) Yes...?
Trent - I want you to help me pick out a birthday present for Jane.
Daria - (deflated) Oh.

Trent - Thanks, Daria. I'll pick you up tomorrow morning. Not too early, sometime before lunch... or after.
Daria - Um, okay.
Trent - Or better yet, why don't we leave it loose?

Helen - Daria? Last chance to join us for a mother-daughter day of beauty. It's very relaxing.
Daria - Once you pass out from the pain.

Daria - I wasn't expecting you for a couple of hours.
Trent - I came straight from rehearsal. We ran late, or early... whatever.

Trent - No art supplies. We decided already. Don't want to get her a CD. And I can't set foot in a bookstore. Don't ask me why, Daria. I just don't want to talk about it. So, what are your ideas?
Daria - A fuzzy little bunny?

Trent - (points at guitar) Hey, Daria, what do you think?
Daria - Um, wouldn't that be more for you than for Jane?
Trent - That's a really good point.

Axl - Take a look at our piercing menu.
Daria - I don't think that's how you spell "uvula."
Axl - That's not "uvula."

Trent - I've been wanting to put a hole right here. (points at eyebrow)
Daria - You can never have too many holes in your head.

Axl - You'd look nice with a lip ring.
Daria - Are you going to let him talk to me that way?

Axl - Hey, you are 18, aren't you? I should've asked.
Daria - Is it a problem if I'm not?
Axl - Yeah. You'll need parental permission. This establishment is licensed to serve adults only and operates strictly according to the letter of the law.
Trent - She is.
Axl - Right.

Helen - Hello, Jasmine. Quinn, this is Eric, from work. And Eric, Jasmine, this is Quinn. She's going to be my daughter and I'm going to be her mother in a fashion show. Actually, she is my daughter, and I was just trying to be a good parent... oh, my God, what have I done?

Daria - Have I mentioned that I hate pain?
Axl - Now, this won't hurt. It's no worse than popping a pimple.
Daria - Ahh!
Axl - I haven't done anything yet.
Daria - I was thinking about how much it hurts to pop a pimple.

(at school, in the girl's bathroom)
Daria - (from stall) Psst!
Jane - Oh, no. The toilet is talking to me again.
Daria - (from stall) Psst! Lane!
Jane - Talking toilet, you may call me "Jane."

Jane - Don't you get it, Daria? You did something stupid for a guy. Gee, you may join the human race after all.
Daria - I didn't do it for a guy. I did it so Trent could get the special.
Jane - Oh, that's different. Hey, what'd you end up getting me?
Daria - I can't say.
Jane - I hope it's art tools. I need some new supplies.
Daria - I did do it for a guy, didn't I?
Jane - Oh, yeah.

Daria - It's gone.
Jane - What's gone?
Daria - I'm not pierced anymore. It closed up.
Jane - You didn't take the ring out?
Daria - Just for the night. I couldn't stand the itching.
Jane - I've heard of fast healers but this is ridiculous.
Daria - Gee, maybe E.T. came in my room and touched my navel while I slept.
Jane - Boy, Daria, you have the weirdest sex dreams.

Helen - Honey, it was just a little school fund-raiser. You'll have other moments in the sun.
Quinn - But none with you, Mom.
Helen - Oh, that's so sweet.
Quinn - Nope. None with you. No freaking way.

Helen - Quinn, what's the matter with you?
Jake - Your sister's not pierced. Why would you scare us like that?
Quinn - But... but it was there yesterday!
Daria - Trying to brighten your ho-hum life with a little illusion? (yawns) Boy, I'm tired. Night, everybody. (heads upstairs)
Quinn - She was pierced... pierced, I tell you! Oh, the humanity...
Mike Quinn's
Delayed Reaction Review

Loveline: The scenes with Daria and Trent on the phone were priceless. Heck, the entire phone interaction was great. First, Jake thinks it's for Quinn, then Quinn thinks it's a telemarketer and gives it to Helen to "tell him off" and realizes it was for Daria. Daria got so flushed when she realized that Trent wanted to talk to her that she didn't realize that she took the cordless phone with her. Trent's actions and facial expression when Jane walked by were some of the most laugh out loud moments of the season (even if they were drawn out a bit too long). It was almost surprising that Jane took so long to question Trent.

Trent Watch: Boy, was Daria happy that Trent called to talk to her. But wait a second, he was more interested in her help buying Jane a birthday present. This sort of disappointed Daria at first, but she was elated to find out that Trent thinks of her as the "coolest high school kid" he knows.

Pierced: The whole piercing thing was a bit contrived, but it worked on some levels. Its relatively quick closing (from what I hear, I don't really know how long the ring would have to stay out for it to close) upset Daria at first but then worked to her advantage. Jodie's comment summed it up nicely: "it's cool, unless you did it for a guy." Of course she did do it for a guy but she did try to rationalize it quickly by thinking she did it as part of the discount.

Fashion Emergency: I had the same reaction to the fashion show subplot as Helen, it made me want to go to sleep. Quinn changes from trying to cancel the event to having a "we'll win" attitude when she finds out Sandi will be participating. The whole rivalry between Helen and Linda and Sandi and Quinn is being beaten to death. Even the introduction of Linda by itself is a bit redundant. Like mother, like daughter I guess.

Metahumor of the Week: Did everyone else notice what Trent was pointing at when he told Daria that she would "look good in that?" It looked like the go-go outfit from the alter-ego credit pictures. I guess that one is the Daria staff's favorite.

The best word I can use to describe "Pierce Me" is surreal. From the fantasy sequence on to the "shopping spree" everything seemed to be happening in a different plane of existence. This episode did suffer from "split story syndrome" since the A/B plots basically had no interaction until the last minute of the show except for Daria's comment about torturing oneself for beauty's sake that cut to the extreme blow dry scenes. Daria is really starting to explore her dark side, back in the first season she probably wouldn't have even gone into that store with anyone let alone get talked into getting a "hole in her body." She really will do anything for Trent but she isn't sure that he knows how much he "appreciates" her. The fashion show subplot was tired and didn't do anything for me (except when they fell, a little predictable but still amusing). An above average performance.

Grade: B+

Copyright © 1998 Mike Quinn [All Rights Reserved]. Used with permission. The views presented here are those of the author, and may or may not necessarily be those of Outpost Daria Reborn.