Episode Guide

My Night at Daria's
Episode #512 - June 18, 2001
Written by Peggy Nicoll

Song List Entries For This Episode
Oops! List Entries For This Episode
Transcript For This Episode
"Prize Fighters" (#511)
"Boxing Daria" (#513)

Regular: Daria, Quinn, Helen, Jake, Jane, Tom, Kevin, Brittany, Jodie, Upchuck

Guest: Tokyo Toby, Dr. E.L. Hask

Non-Speaking: None

Summary: When word gets out that Tom was caught sneaking out of Daria's house in the middle of the night, the assumption is that they are "doing it." Discussing the issue with Tom, Daria decides that she's ready to take their relationship to the next level... or is she?

Full Synopsis: While Jake and Helen have dinner with a prospective client (Tokyo Toby's sushi restaurant), Daria and Tom use the quiet time to study. To avoid Quinn and her non-stop prattling, they retire to Daria's bedroom, where they both manage to doze off on the bed. When they wake up, they're shocked to see it's 4:00 in the morning. Tom tries to sneak out, but is caught by a midnight-snack-seeking Jake. Fortunately for Tom, Jake had too much sake at dinner, and is too drunk to realize what's going on; unfortunately for Daria, he's too drunk to be able to keep his mouth shut around Helen. After an all-night lecture, Daria is able to convince Helen that nothing happened between her and Tom, but Quinn overhears part of their conversation, misunderstands, and immediately phones Stacy with the news. That evening, Daria and Tom start getting strange looks at the pizza place; the mystery deepens when they receive congratulations from Upchuck, Kevin and Brittany. At home, Jake is both paranoid about the possibility of having gotten a parasite from the raw fish, and too confused and upset to look Daria in the eye. Daria then gives Jane a call to try to figure out what's going on, and after engaging in some good-natured ribbing, Jane realizes that Daria really doesn't know what's happening. Apparently, a rumor is going around school that Daria and Tom slept together, and, as rumors tend to do, it keeps getting wilder (Daria wearing black high heels, Jake walking in on them "doing the deed," and so on). She knows exactly who to confront: Quinn, who avoids talking to Daria because she doesn't want to know any of the sordid details. Daria tries to convince people that the rumor is false, to no avail, so Daria starts a little rumor of her own regarding Quinn and "Malaysian toenail fungus." At Tom's, Daria tells him about the rumor, and after discussing it, Daria decides -- reluctantly -- that she's ready to "take their relationship to the next level." After a bit of waffling, they decide to "um, you know" the following Saturday while Tom's parents are out of town. At home, Jake crows to Helen about being right -- he did get a parasite from that sushi -- but Helen is trying to resume her mother/daughter talk from before (which Daria deftly avoids). Saturday arrives, and while Tom prepares his room with flowers and candles (so that the experience would be special for Daria), Daria does the predictable thing: she chickens out. The following morning, Tom finds a note atop the newspaper on the front step; it's from Daria, apologizing for standing him up and saying she understands about the inevitable breakup it caused. However, Tom doesn't break up with her; he goes to her house, and they both walk to the park and talk. Daria tells him that she thought she was ready, but she was afraid that going through with it would hurt their relationship. Tom reassures her that he understands where she's coming from, and will be content to wait until she feels it's the right time. After that, they both come to the realization that their relationship has progressed to the next level... and they didn't need to have sex to get there. Back at home, Daria reassures Helen once again that she and Tom are not having sex, Jake drops Toby and his parasite-ridden restaurant as a client, and Quinn is baffled by the sudden stream of foot-related medical product brochures she's receiving in the mail.

Interesting Tidbits
Historical & Cultural References:
  • The title of the episode is a pun on the 1969 film My Night at Maud's, about a man who thinks he's found his soul mate but accidentally spends the night with someone who's more his intellectual equal.
  • The book Tom is reading is Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant (though the on-screen title says "reasoning" instead of "reason"... typo?).
  • The Sick, Sad World segment on "the apes of wrath" is a pun on the John Steinbeck novel The Grapes of Wrath, about an Oklahoma farming family struggling through the Great Depression of the 1930's.
Memorable Quotes
(Jake heads back upstairs and climbs into bed; Helen is barely awake)
Helen - (sleepily) No wonder you can't sleep. Tokyo Toby's is poison.
Jake - Is not... hey, I forgot to offer Tom some lazonny...
(in Daria's bedroom)
Helen (offscreen) - What?!
(Daria, who was trying to sleep, suddenly opens her eyes and sits up in bed)
Daria - Damn. One one thousand, two one thousand, three...
(Helen bursts into the room)
Helen - Daria, I need to talk to you, right now!
Daria - ...one thousand.

Helen - All right, Daria. I guess I can believe your story, though it seems pretty farfetched to me that two teenagers with raging hormones...
Daria - My hormones don't rage. Oh, sure, they get mad sometimes, but then they just stop speaking to each other.

Helen - Then tell me once again why Tom was slipping out the door at 4:00 A.M. like a common criminal?
(at that, Quinn's eyes fly wide open and her jaw drops to the floor; it takes her several seconds to recover)
Quinn - Phone! (reverses course and heads back to her bedroom)

Helen - Not that I would ever try to talk you out of it -- which is not to say I'm trying to talk you into it -- it's just that I'd like to have the chance to discuss things with you first. I only wish I could have gone to my mother before I made such an awful mistake. What is it about stunt drivers that makes otherwise level-headed teenage girls just whip off their...
Daria - (quickly interrupts) Okay, okay. Um, I've got to study. Big test. Biiig test...

Daria - The problem with going to restaurants is that they're not in my room.
Tom - I know what you mean. I have the same issue with hiking trails.

Jake - Damn it, Helen, I know there's something crawling up my throat, and I think it's a parasite courtesy of Tokyo Toby's Parasite Restaurant! If I stand still, I can even feel it laughing inside of me...
Helen - Now you're being ridiculous. Even if that horrible sushi did have a parasite, it couldn't have survived that much sake.

Helen - Your father thinks he picked up a parasite eating sushi.
Daria - You mean the kind that drill through your intestines, twisting and turning and driving you slowly insane until they grow eight feet long and corkscrew out through your vital organs?
(her little revenge pays off: Jake starts freaking out, little by little, then collapses on the couch)
Helen - Daria...
Jake - Help me, Helen... before the madness sets in.
Daria - Any further.

Jane - Ah. I've been expecting your call
Daria - Huh?
Jane - All right, I'm listening. But for God's sake, at least spare me the squishier details and the rapturous declarations of undying love.

Jodie - Hey, sex is nothing to be ashamed of, as long as you're responsible.
Daria - So, then, you and Mack have... been responsible?
Jodie - Um... I really don't want to discuss that right now.
Daria - I understand.
Jodie - I promise: soon as my parents are dead, I'll tell you all about it. (walks away)
Daria - Okay. Just so long as there's nothing to be ashamed of.

Jane - I knew I should have jumped Tom when I had the chance. (Daria gives her a cross look) Kidding! I told you, I'm waiting till college. 11:00 A.M. on move-in day.

Jane - Anyway, being in a relationship can't possibly hinge on physical intimacy, 'cause that would mean our parents are still doing it.
Daria - Which is absurd.
Jane - No chance.
Daria - I'd join the circus.
Jane - Right behind you.
Daria - Thanks for your insight.
Jane - What I'm here for.

Daria - (sighs) I know I shouldn't let it bother me, but there's this rumor going around school that you and I slept together.
Tom - Really? Can we get that rumor started at my school?

Tom - I thought you just said you wanted to.
Daria - Not so much that I'm running around town with a neon birth control device in my purse.

Daria - So, um... should we pick a date?
Tom - Well... my parents are going out of town next weekend. How about then?
Daria - No fair. Home court advantage.
Tom - Fine. Your place.
Daria - Like I'd ever find all the microphones Mom's hidden around my room.
Tom - The Rendezvous Motel? You know, on Route 6.
Daria - Gee, don't make me feel too special.
Tom - All right, the boathouse at the lake, with the stars, the moon, the water?
Daria - And the mosquitoes, the splinters, the security patrol?
Tom - (frowning slightly) Okay, how about Mars, then? Soon as that whole colonization thing gets going?

Daria - Okay, so I am a little very nervous.
Jane - Of course you are! This is a big decision. A defining moment in your life!
Daria - Oh, good -- that's not too much pressure.
Jane - Or possibly just another adolescent embarrassment you'll need to repress in adulthood just to get out of bed in the morning.
Daria - Huh. So far, that makes everything after my 12th birthday.

Daria - Look, we both agreed that sleeping together would bring us closer, so... not doing it must be driving us apart.
Tom - No, you said it would bring us closer and I said, fine, if that's the way you feel. I wasn't pushing this, you were, remember? I was perfectly happy with our relationship just the way it was.
Daria - Perfectly happy?
Tom - Okay, very content.

Tom - You don't want to have sex because you're afraid it'll hurt our relationship, and then you break up with me. Doctor, my head.

Daria - Tom and I didn't have sex, and we're not going to any time soon. Unless, of course, a bomb goes off and, as Earth's last two survivors, we must replenish the human race. Although, frankly, that's not motivation enough for me.
(Helen sighs in relief)
Helen - Well, I can't say I'm not somewhat relieved. I just want you to know that whatever decisions you make in life, I'm on your side and...
(Daria lifts the newspaper high to hide from Helen)
Daria - So instead, we've decided to sublimate our urges by traveling cross-country with a motorcycle gang.
Helen - All right. You just remember to call home on Sunday nights.
Daria - (lowers paper) Hey!
Helen - Ha!
Mike Quinn's
Delayed Reaction Review

Slumber Party: The night begins with Daria and Tom sitting in the Morgendorffer's living room, each reading a thick book on some dry subject. All of the sudden, Quinn comes home and interrupts the solitude by bitching about her most recent date, and Daria and Tom are forced to retire to Daria's bedroom. They have to shut the door to reduce the noise from Quinn's boy band music. That move ensured that Helen and Jake, since they were out, had no idea that Tom was still there when they went to bed. Anyway, eventually the reading material got to Daria and Tom and they both nodded off to sleep. The hours passed by and at 4 AM, Tom wakes up and, to his astonishment sees that it's 4 AM. He wakes up Daria tells her that he's leaving and tries to get out of there as soon as humanly possible. Unfortunately, the timing of his escape was horrid. As soon as he was about to get out of the house, Jake comes rumbling down the stairs, drunk on sake and hungry because of his parasite (I'll get to that in the next section). Tom tries desperately to open the door, but it got stuck and the sound got Jake's attention. Jake, oblivious to the obvious implication at the time, helps Tom open the door and says goodbye to him. Then he goes back to bed and tells Helen what just happened. He might as well have set off an atomic blast, because Helen leaped up and darted into Daria's room to talk about it. Daria tells Helen what happened and Helen accepted her story, even though she probably didn't completely believe it ("Why else would Tom be sneaking out?" "...to avoid this lecture."). Daria says that she would tell Helen if something did happen (yeah, right) and Helen hoped that Daria would come to her to talk about it (not bloody likely). After all of this, Jake couldn't face Daria at all, or at least he couldn't talk to her.

Don't Eat There: On the night the above events occurred, Jake was at Tokyo Toby's, which is a sushi restaurant, to try to land a consulting gig. It seems as though he picked up a bug (a rather large one, at that) after eating Toby's sushi (Helen was spared by being smart enough not to eat any). He later decided to call Toby and give him a piece of his mind, until he found out that he got the job. As it turned out, Jake found out, as he was getting it removed, that this was the third similar bug to come out of Tokyo Toby's in the last two months. Jake finally called Toby to try to consult and suggest a new supplier and ended up arguing with Toby. At least that little parasite was able to restore communication between Daria and Jake by the end of the episode. That was no small feat.

How Rumors Start: Little did Daria know, but Quinn overheard Helen and Daria's little discussion the night Tom slept over and assumed, as a lot of people could, that Daria and Tom were "doing it." Quinn's irresistible urge to gossip got the better of her and she called Stacy immediately to dish the dirt. Of course, ten seconds later the whole world had heard about it. So, when Daria and Tom were spotted together at Pizza King, the "whole world" stated treating them weirdly. Upchuck welcomed them to "club l'amore," and Kevin and Brittany also got into the act as only they could. Daria didn't really get what was going on, so later that night she called Jane to find out. As soon as Daria called, Jane asks for some details, and that request (not to mention afraid of the implications Upchuck, Kevin and Brittany made) confuses Daria. Once Jane realized that Daria really had no idea what was going on, she explained about the rumor that was going around school, that Daria and Tom had slept together. Of course, Daria was shocked and suspected Quinn of starting the rumor. Quinn didn't deny it but blamed Stacy, who she had "sworn to secrecy." When Daria tried to tell Quinn that it wasn't true, Quinn got out of there, not wanting any details.

Debunking the Myth: Daria figured at first that the best way to dispel the floating rumor was to start a grassroots campaign to tell "the world" that it wasn't true. The first person she went to after Jane was Jodie. OK, she may have also been looking for some advice. Jodie believed Daria that the rumor was false but she also added "sex isn't something to be ashamed of if it's handled responsibly." Daria asks her if she's been "responsible" with Mack and she pleads the fifth (promising to tell Daria all about it as soon as her parents are dead). Later, Jane tries to reassure Daria that it'll all blow over soon enough, but that wasn't good enough for Daria. This bothered her more because it makes the assumption that people in relationships are automatically having sex and if they aren't, the relationship is somehow incomplete. Jane countered that if that were true, it would mean that their parents are still "doing it," and we know that can't be true. However, Daria did find a way to stop the rumor flow around her and Tom: by starting another rumor about someone more popular, namely Quinn and her Malaysian toenail fungus.

Do You Really Want To? Daria tells Tom about the rumor at Lawndale and he makes a couple of jokes about it at first (like the one about "starting it at [his] school") but Daria finally shares the same concern with him that she did with Jane. It doesn't really matter what others think; it's the implication that a couple needs the physical as well as the emotional to be really close that bothers her. The exchange that follows went a little like this:

Tom: You said you weren't ready.
Daria: Oh fine, take me at my word.
Tom: That is what you said, correct me if I'm wrong, please.

It turns out that this has come up before for them and he backed off because she didn't want to go for it (though he could be "easily persuaded"). She then says that they should do it, but when he has a condom handy, it spooked her and she asks to just "forget about it." However, this isn't something that you can just forget about once it comes up (no pun intended). He didn't want to put any undue pressure on her, but he did want her to make up her mind, one way or the other. But even Tom had trouble talking about it once she decided to set a date and time. Sometimes it's easy to say you'll do something, but when the time comes to do that thing, it's anything but easy.

I Guess Not: After they picked a date and time to do the deed (which is odd in itself), we can see Daria stress about it (Tom seemed to be playing it cool, but we really didn't get to see him that much before the slotted time). While talking about how the new rumor had replaced the old one and left her sex life out of the gossip mill, Daria tells Jane about the plan and gets an offer of congratulations, but she seemed scared. When the time arrived, we see Tom getting ready for a romantic evening with flowers, music and everything else he thought he might need for what is supposed to come (again, no pun intended). Lo and behold, Daria stood him up, and when he tried to call her, she had Helen tell him she wasn't there. Daria then left him a break-up note and he was mad... that she dumped him without talking about it. When they did talk, Daria explained the feeling that by not "doing it," she was driving them apart. She was afraid that it would be overwhelming, not to mention her fear of letting him down. She's not ready but he is very content with the relationship and that's all that matters, for now.

Unintentional Laugh Line of the Week: That would have to be Tom's "I can't believe this" after Daria stood him up. He had to be the only one that didn't see that coming a mile away.

Okay, there it was: the dreaded sex episode. Talking about sex isn't something that most people are comfortable doing. I know I don't like to talk about it, even when I want to. The whole idea of talking about sex makes my heart race and my eyes twitch. Heck, even writing this review made me nervous. But that is the beauty of this episode: it took an issue that many people consider taboo but most people have to deal with and tries to make the characters (and the viewers) think about it rationally, without pushing it down anyone's throat. In effect, the uncomfortable was made comfortable. The method used to achieve this was so straightforward and simple that it was ingenious. We have Daria and Tom, who have been girlfriend and boyfriend for a while, finally coming to this point in their relationship and dealing with it (I was going to say "as best they could," but with Tom's "super-Romeo" act and Daria's indecision, I think they, as characters, could have done a little better). If I were going to offer any major criticism at all, it would be that none of this stuff has really come up before in any previous episode, keeping in mind that kissing and sex, while intimately related sometimes, can be two very different things. Then again, if the show weren't about to go off the air, this episode may have had to wait another season. Anyway, kudos to the writers and staff for pulling this off without making me go running and screaming in the opposite direction.

Grade: A-

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.