Episode Guide

The Story of D
Episode #505 - March 19, 2001
Written by Jacquelyn Reingold

Song List Entries For This Episode
Oops! List Entries For This Episode
Transcript For This Episode
"Camp Fear" (#504)
"Lucky Strike" (#506)

Regular: Daria, Quinn, Helen, Jake, Jane, Tom, Brittany, Kevin, Jodie, Sandi, Stacy, Tiffany, Joey, Jeffy, Jamie, Ms. Barch, Mr. O'Neill

Guest: None

Non-Speaking: Mack, Andrea

Summary: Daria writes a short story that, for the first time, she is considering submitting for publication, which she does after some prodding from Jane and Tom. Meanwhile, the Fashion Club is inspired to perform a charitable act; they just can't figure out what to do.

Full Synopsis: When Jane contacts Daria to find out why she's missing a movie they wanted to see, Daria tells her that she was engrossed in writing a short story. Nothing new there; what is new, however, is that Daria is thinking of submitting it for publication. Jane eventually convinces Daria to let her read the story, and while she admits she's not the best judge of literature, she tells Daria to let Tom take a crack at it. His enthusiasm and encouragement propels Daria to -- reluctantly -- submit the story to Musings magazine. Meanwhile, the Fashion Club is inspired by the FashionVision Humanitarian Awards to perform a charitable act... for their own advantage, of course (which, in this case, means donating a new mirror for the girl's bathroom at school). After brainstorming, they decide to create and sell a newsletter, with tips on beauty and fashion trends, in order to pay for the new mirror. A few days after mailing her submission, Daria receives the ultimate writer's nightmare: a rejection letter. Her ego badly bruised and her anger at a slow burn, she goes over to Tom's house and rakes him over the coals (again) for insisting she subject herself to such humiliation. Tom defends himself (again) by telling her that he was only being supportive, and that she is acting childish (again). She leaves in a huff (again), and Tom lets her stew in her juices (again). The Fashion Club has also experienced their own form of rejection: the "What's Hot and What's Rot" issue of Waif magazine has contradicted everything they put into their newsletter. In desperation, they buy back all the newsletters and pitch them, and in the end they mount a made-up plaque on the wall of the girl's bathroom. Daria eventually comes to realize (with a little inadvertent help from Jake) that one rejection isn't the end of the world, and asks Tom over so that she can apologize. They end up sharing a smooch -- which freaks out Helen, who's been on a "Daria and Tom and sex" thing ever since she received a phone call from her sister Rita (whose daughter Erin is having marriage troubles; turns out she only married Brian because he gave her herpes) -- and Daria embarks on another short story.

Interesting Tidbits
  • A small but significant continuity error has Helen referring to Daria as Quinn's sister in front of the Fashion Club. In the next episode, "Lucky Strike" (#506), this revelation is considered to be a major admission on Quinn's part, yet it doesn't faze anyone here.
Historical & Cultural References:
  • The title of the episode is a pun on the Pauline Reage novel The Story of O.
  • Daria's reference to the loss of the plays by Greek playwright Aeschylus refers to the destruction of the Library of Alexandria in ancient Egypt during the 5th Century. It's generally accepted that this event set back human knowledge and progress for centuries, and helped usher in the Dark Ages.
  • "J. Edgar Winter" -- A mangled reference to both J. Edgar Hoover (1895-1972), director of the FBI from 1924 until his death, and rock musician/songwriter Edgar Winter, whose biggest hits include the '70s classics "Frankenstein" and "Free Ride."
  • "Alien superintelligence is no match for our earthly can-do spunk." -- Possibly a reference to films such as 1996's Independence Day, where an alien invasion of Earth is ultimately thwarted by the "can-do spunk" of Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum, and Bill Pullman, among others.
  • "The tell-tale smooch" -- A pun on Edgar Allen Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart.
Memorable Quotes
Helen - Where's your sister?!
Quinn - In her room.
Helen - Is Tom in there with her?
Quinn - Mo-om! I'm not J. Edgar Winter!

Quinn - Why don't we do what we do best?
Sandi - Quinn, no one is going to pay us to eat carrot sticks.

Helen - Oh, Tom! I didn't know you were here. Are you two hungry? I could get you some chackers and creese. Um, crackers and cheese! And crackers! I'll be right back!
Mike Quinn's
Delayed Reaction Review

Something for the "Too Much Information" File: It was nice to see (or should I say hear) some news about Erin's wedding from "I Don't," and I'm not too surprised that they're heading for divorce considering the great start of their marriage. But, do we really need to know who has herpes and who is too short?

Real Worthy: Inspired by the FashionVision Awards, Quinn and her colleagues decide to buy and dedicate a new girls' bathroom mirror to something. Of course, they realized that they needed to raise some money in order to reach that goal, and they did that in the best way they knew how: writing a "Fashion Forecast Newsletter." Surprisingly enough, they took this very seriously and seemed to try to do their best with it. Ultimately, all of their efforts were wasted (more on that later).

Stood Up! Meanwhile, in the realm of the not quite as vacuous, Daria forgot about her "date" at the movies with Jane. That was odd for her, but her reasons made sense -- she was working on a short story that she was thinking about possibly "submitting somewhere" (and who hasn't gotten caught up in working on something important and then losing all track of time in the process?). At first, Daria wouldn't let Jane read the story, and Jane was underwhelmed when she did. Now, that wasn't a good sign.

But I Was Using My Whole... From Jane's comments, Daria started to doubt her ability as a writer. Her "mistake" was letting Jake know about it. His attempt to reassure and console her turned (fairly quickly, I might add) into a rant about how one of his instructors at military school didn't let him perform a show tune he wrote. He obsessed about it, even trying to perform his song for Daria. For the most part, he was no help (until the end, more on that later).

Disturbing Mental Image That Won't Go Away of the Week: Whatever Ms. Barch was talking about with that whole (and I'm paraphrasing here) "normal chit-chat among colleagues, fully clothed, with no oils involved" thing gave me the creeps. Indeed, no shower will ever wash that away. <g>

Oh My Lord! And speaking of temporary obsessions, Helen was having a hard time (no pun intended) trusting Tom and Daria alone. I don't know what she thinks is going on up there. Daria and Tom are both smart enough that if they were going to do the things that Helen was worried about, they sure as heck wouldn't be doing them anywhere near her. Anyway, it was cute to see Helen nearly have a heart attack when she saw the "tell-tale smooch."

Support: And speaking of Tom, Jane thought it would be a good idea for him to read Daria's story. He apparently enjoyed it, to the point where he convinced Daria to submit it to a magazine. Of course, he also told her no one would have to know about it. Well, that didn't last very long once Mr. O'Neill saw Daria at the post office. He can't be trusted with any secrets.

Sabotage: The Fashion Club's efforts to raise money took a bunch of major hits. The first was, when Waif's "What's Hot, What's Rot" issue came out, they found out that everything they forecast was directly contradicted ("wrong" is probably too strong a word here). That was compounded by the fact that no one even bothered to read the newsletter in the first place. They ended up giving back all the money they made and while they weren't able to get that mirror to "reflect well on [them]" (a clever pun for Sandi), they did get a plaque to show that they "really care."

It's Part of Life: Musings rejected Daria's story. That wasn't totally unexpected, nor was the fact that it upset her. However, she took it out on Tom because he encouraged her to try. She, as she has been prone to do, picked a fight with Tom because something else was wrong. Somehow she got the impression that he wants her to fail miserably (which just isn't the case). But the rejection she did get wasn't even the worst kind -- her story just "wasn't right for us right now."

Sort of Dumb Luck: While Jake didn't directly do anything to help Daria, his actions did end up helping her. The fact that he never entirely gave up his song inspired her, even when he said that it sucked. That his "reach exceeded his grasp" was good for Daria to see. That's better than not realizing that it sucked. She saw that "one bad song (or, in her case, 'bad' story) written when you're a teenager" doesn't make him (or her) a failure. It's all the other stuff that does (kidding).

The main theme of "The Story of D" to me was how the Morgendorffer family dealt with their obsessions: Quinn with her fashion forecast, Jake with his early attempt at songwriting, Helen with Daria's sex life, and Daria with her story. Oh, and that little fear of rejection. Anyway, every one of them dealt with it in a different way, and that made this episode very intriguing. Other than that, the amount of funny one-line zingers made it even more enjoyable.

Grade: A-

Daria as a Whole #1, Turned the Corner? Based on the way they interacted, Sandi and Quinn seemed to have really begun to actually like each other (as opposed to just pretending they do). I guess the changes from "Fat Like Me" seem to be at lease semi-permanent. That's nice to see, even though it's scary to think what they could do with their combined power.

Daria as a Whole #2, Last Name Basis: Jane was still calling Daria "Morgendorffer." I still don't like it.

Copyright © 2001 Mike Quinn [All Rights Reserved]. Used with permission. The views presented in this review are those of the author, and may or may not necessarily be those of Outpost Daria Reborn.