The following stories are at best a flattering imitation of Daria that is not intended to be taken seriously. Any resemblance to an actual episode of Daria is purely coincidental.
This is the third fanfic from yours truly, following #1 - Padded Room of Terror and #2 - Touchdown Jane.
(The title sequence begins then fades to the title card...)
Scene I - Helen's office late in the morning (almost lunchtime)
(Start with a wide shot of the office and then cut to a more focused shot of Helen, who is working on something)
(She finally puts down her pen and looks off screen)
Helen: (loud) Eric! I'm going to get something to eat! Do you want anything?!
Eric: (from off screen) No, I'm fine! Just don't take too long!
(Helen shakes her head at that last part and gets up to leave)
Scene II - Helen's Lunchtime Adventure
(Music: Blink 182 - Dammit)
(The music fade to the background quickly, but plays throughout the entire scene.)
(Helen is driving her SUV down a random street in "downtown" Lawndale, looking for a place to park. When a spot finally opens up right in front of her, it is stolen by a similar looking car before she can get to it. Helen honks the horn and shakes her fist.)
(Cut to the interior of a local deli.)
(Helen is the only one waiting in line, when her cell phone rings. She looks down to find it.)
Deli Cashier: Next!
(Whoever called thought better of it and hung up before she could answer. However, by the time she looks up, a scrawny looking guy in tattered clothes has already cut in front of her and is placing an order.)
Guy: (to cashier) I'll have roast beef on white. (Bt) No wait, corned beef on rye. (Bt) No, man I don't know what I want. So many choices...
(While he's saying all this, we can see Helen's face getting more and more angered, while our "guy" is oblivious to her presence.)
(Fade out to the sidewalk a couple of minutes later.)
(Helen is making the long trek back to where she parked on the street while carrying her lunch. Just as she's close enough to see her car, a police officer approaches and notices that the parking meter had expired. The officer begins to write a ticket.)
Helen: (starts to run) Wait, I'm here! (under breath) Fifteen minutes would've been enough, if that little snot didn't cut in front of me.
(Right about when she gets to the meter, she trips and falls. Fortunately, her lunch survived.)
Officer: Sorry ma'am. (Bt) Have a nice day. (music fades out completely)
(Cut back to the office, sometime later.)
(Helen finally gets back to the office and walks back toward her desk. Suddenly, a shadow appears behind her - it's Eric)
Eric: Where have you been? We have to get through these depositions today! (He points to them)
Helen: (sits down) I was... (Bt) ...held up. (she puts her head on the desk)
Eric: Are you OK?
(She waves her hands at him, in a "go away" motion.)
Scene III - Helen's commute home
(Music: Dave Matthew's Band - The Last Stop)
(Start with a view of the inside of the car, from Helen's perspective)
Helen: (to no one in particular) I'm glad this day's almost over. I don't think I can take anymore.
(She come to the stop sign at the end of the block from her house, and rolls through it like she always does, except this time someone's watching.)
(Sirens sound and police lights flash.)
(Cut to Helen's rear view mirror - The same officer as before motions her to pull over. She literally pulls over right across the street from her house. She shakes her head as the officer approaches.)
Officer: Do you know why I pulled you over, ma'am?
Helen: (irate) Do you have any idea how bad a day I've been having?
Officer: Actually, I think I do.
(She notices that it's the same officer from before.)
Helen: Oh, sorry. I'm usually much more composed, but I've been under a lot of pressure lately. It seems like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders. (sigh) So much tension... (she continues to ramble on as the officer nods and writes another ticket)
Scene IV - Outside the Morgendorffer House
(Music: Limp Bizkut - Break Stuff)
(Helen parks in the driveway, gets out of the car and slams its door.)
(She then walks toward the door.)
Helen: (voice over, as she opens the door) What else can go wrong today?
(Cut to her perspective, a billow of smoke wafts out the door as she enters.)
Jake: (from the kitchen) Hey honey! Guess what? (Helen enters the kitchen and sits down, cut to a "normal" view of the room, Daria is seated where she normally is, reading the paper) I'm making dinner!
Helen: (under breath) No kidding.
Jake: Guess what I'm making.
Daria: A mess?
Jake: No kiddo, heh heh, (proudly) it's potato casserole a la Jake!
Helen: That's great, Jake. (to Daria) Did we get any mail today?
Daria: Yes, (Bt) but none of it is addressed to anyone that lives here.
Helen: (pounds a fist on the table) Great! Doesn't anything in this town work right anymore?!
Jake: (stops stirring pot) What happened?
Helen: Don't get me started....
Daria: I didn't think we had to.
Helen: ...How often does anyone get two tickets from the same cop in one afternoon? I feel like I've lost any control I had outside this house.
Daria: (deadpan) You could always run for mayor. (Bt, close-up) Then you could be queen.
(Helen perks up at the "suggestion," as Daria gets that astonished look on her face that we've seen on so many occasions (like when she saw Jane dressed "conventionally").)
Scene V - The Next Morning
(Music: Ace of Base - All That She Wants)
(Establishing shot of the outside of the house at sunrise as a rooster crows.)
(Daria, Jake and Quinn are seated around the table eating breakfast as Helen walks in.)
Helen: Daria, I've been thinking about what you said the other day. I think that you're on to something.
Daria: Uh oh.
Helen: This town's been virtually stagnant since we've moved here.
Daria: We've only been here for two years.
Helen: (actually listening) Still, I think it's about time for some new blood. That Mayor McChester has been in office for over thirty years without so much as a challenge.
Jake: But how will we pay for it Helen!? (really melodramatic) I'm only one man, (more normal) that doesn't make nearly as much money as you do. If you take time off to campaign...
(This gets Quinn's attention)
Quinn: Who will stop me from mooching off dad? (catches herself) Go mom, you'd make an awesome mayor.
Helen: Jake, we'll get by, besides I've always wanted to throw my hat into the political arena.
Daria: (dry) Is it too late to pretend none of this is happening?
(Helen gives her a surprised and dirty look.)
Scene VI - At School, Later that Day
(Music: Pearl Jam - Go)
(Establishing shot of Lawndale High, bell rings.)
(Cut to the interior of Mr. O'Neill's room, starting with a wide shot that converges on a close up of Mr. O'Neill.)
O'Neill: We've been talking about Frederick Douglass and his narrative of his life as a slave. Pre-Civil War America was a tough place for freedmen, but after the war the scale of unrest was much greater. One of his fights for equality started with a couple of constitutional amendments aimed at gaining equality for former slaves. (Bt) Does anyone know which ones?
(Cut back to a wider shot; crickets chirp in the background; back to the close-up on O'Neill.)
O'Neill: Let's see, how about you Jamie? What do you think?
Jamie: Does it have anything to do with Bill's rights?
O'Neill: Not exactly. Anyone else?
Jeffie: (proudly) The 38th!
O'Neill: (shakes his head) Uh, no. (tries one more) Quinn?
Quinn: (startled) I guess it's a number... (though voice over) take a guess, just take a guess (out loud, tentative) ...the four... teenth?
O'Neill: Good! There's one more, Stacy?
Stacy: (panicky, but able to take a more educated guess) The 15th?
Joey: (raises his hand emphatically) Mr. O'Neill, but what did those amendments do?
O'Neill: Good question! Girls? (He looks directly at Quinn and Stacy - they both get panicked looks on their faces)
Stacy: (starting to hyperventilate) It had something to do with the Civil War, right?
Quinn: (resigned) Just give it up, (to O'Neill) We were guessing, extremely luckily guessing, but just guessing.
O'Neill: Oh no! You both should make sure you go over the material for the test.
Quinn: (gasps) T-t-t-t-t-t-t-test?
(Start to pan back to a wide shot, it suddenly screeches to a halt and zooms back in on Quinn quickly.)
Quinn: (in thought) What did I expect? This *is* school, DUH!
Scene VII - The end of that day
(Establishing shot of Mr. O'Neill's room from the inside, he's at his desk catching upon some paper work when Quinn enters the room.)
O'Neill: Oh hi, Quinn! How can I help you today?
Quinn: It's this test. I'm having trouble understanding the book and I can't even remember what it's about. (continues rambling) And I know I can't do bad on too many more tests or I'll have to go to summer school which would totally ruin my plans for the beach...
O'Neill: I'd be glad to help you, Quinn. (Bt, pondering) It's just a matter of when. I know, you can come in early, before school...
Quinn: (interrupts) But, I'm already rushing here every morning to make up all of those science classes I cu... uh, I mean forgot about, and to give skin care tips to the lunch ladies...
O'Neill: I'm sure we can work something out.
Quinn: (not listening) ...and after school I have the daily fashion club meeting, tomorrow it's about split ends...
O'Neill: Well you can think about it, I have to go (he leaves the room and closes the door behind him)
(Pan out to show Quinn, still talking.)
Scene VIII - Helen at the office
(Music: Beastie Boys - "Body Movin')
(Helen sits at her desk working, she stops and then picks up the phone and starts dialing.)
Helen: Hellooo Eric, it's Helen. (Bt) I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about Lawndale and how much potential it has. (she stops for him to interrupt) Get to the point, huh. OK, I've been thinking about running for mayor this year. (Bt) Eric? Are you there?
(Eric runs into her office.)
Eric: You can't do that! Who will do your work?
Helen: Relax, you did it before I got here, I'm not even sure I'm going to do it. (Bt) Besides, it'll be great PR for the firm, we get free publicity every time they mention it in the media.
Eric: (not budging) But what about McChester, he's been the mayor as long as I remember, you wouldn't stand a chance.
Helen: He's been around so long, he probably doesn't even remember *how* to campaign. I'm sure I can make a difference.
Eric: You don't have any plan yet, do you?
Helen: (reluctant) No, heh heh. But if I don't try to do something I've always wanted to, I'll never forgive myself.
Eric: I guess I can't stop you or convince you not to. (Helen nods) OK, if you decide to try the firm is at you disposal.
Helen: (under breath, pumps fist) Yes!
Scene IX - The Morgendorffer's living room
(Daria is sitting quietly on the couch, reading a book, as Quinn enters the house.)
Quinn: (talking to herself, out loud) I don't know what I'm going to do! How can I remember all of that history stuff for that test.
Daria: (never looking up from her book) You could always hypnotize Mr. O'Neill.
(Quinn sees Daria.)
Quinn: (points and runs toward her) You could help me! How much will it cost me and what do you know about Freddie Douglass?
Daria: (looks up toward the ceiling while answering) Not enough, and who is Freddie Douglass?
Quinn: Some Civil War guy. I think he had something to do with the underground subway.
Daria: I don't think I want to help you this time. Better hope someone invents computer brain implants before that test.
(Quinn leaves in a huff as Helen and Jake enter the house in the middle of a disagreement; they stand right in the doorway.)
Jake: But what about our money situation, we can't get by without your big bucks, honey.
Helen: It's paid leave, Jake. I'll still be on the payroll.
Jake: (looking for a better reason to stop her) But Helen, if you're out campaigning all the time, we'll have even less time together than we already do.
(Cut to Daria.)
Daria: (not even looking up) Be careful, dad, mom might make you campaign manager.
(Cut to a close up of Jake and Helen.)
Jake: But... but...
Helen: Actually, Daria, I think that's a great idea. Don't you Jake?
Jake: I guess.
Helen: We'd be working together all the time.
Jake: (gives up, throws arms in the air) You've twisted my arm.
(He walks out.)
(Helen approaches Daria.)
Helen: You know Daria, I'll probably need some help writing speeches, and you're good with words...
Daria: (cuts her off) Just when I thought my involvement in this ordeal was over.
Helen: I wouldn't think you'd pass up the chance to make fun of this town's establishment without getting blamed directly for it.
Daria: (Bt) Deal. (Bt) As long as no one knows about this without my permission.
Helen: Done (the phone rings and Helen answers it) Hellooo, oh hi Stacy. Quinn!!!
(Cut to Quinn's room.)
Quinn: I got it!
(Cut to the famous split screen for phone conversations with Quinn on the left and Stacy on the right.)
Stacy: Hey Quinn, what are you doing?
Stacy: Did you hear about what happened to Sandi after school today?
Stacy: She was going to ask that new French exchange student, Jean-Pierre, out on a date, but while she was walking up to him she tripped right into some mud and then he started laughing at her.
Quinn: (yawn) Really?
Stacy: Quinn, is something wrong? Usually, you love gossip like this.
Quinn: I know, it's just that this history test has me worried - I cant afford to fail many more.
Stacy: Don't worry about it, just do what I do.
Quinn: I can't cram like you! I don't have a photosynthetic memory like you do.
Stacy: It just takes a little practice, I could show you.
Quinn: Maybe later, I think I should try to get back to studying.
(The call waiting beeps in.)
Stacy: OK, bye. See ya tomorrow.
(Stacy slides out of the frame and Jane slides in.)
Jane: Is Daria there?
Quinn: NO! Leave me alone, I have to study!
(She hangs up and slides out of the picture.)
Jane: (still holding the phone) Boy, she sounded happy.
Scene X - In the kitchen late at night
(Music: Bush - Letting the Cable Sleep)
Quinn: (voice over) Concentrate, it's not that hard.
(Cut to some time later, Quinn is frantically leafing through a textbook, looking for an answer to something. She suddenly closes the book and drops it on the floor, shaking her head.)
(Cut again to an even later time (the sun's starting to rise), Quinn is asleep with her head buried in that same textbook.)
Quinn: (wakes, weary) I guess I'll have to ask for mom's help, she usually says she has the time. (Bt) At least she'll be able to get Marianne to come up with something to help me study.
Scene XI - The Morgendorffer's living room, again
(Quinn walks in from kitchen, Daria's watching TV.)
Quinn: (to Daria) Have you seen mom?
(Daria points to the screen.)
Anchor: This is Dawn Stentde of Action Witness News 7, tonight at 11, a new face on the political scene (TV cuts to a close up of Helen talking, but muted by the anchor) as local lawyer, Helen Morgendorffer enters the mayoral primary.
Helen: (on T.V.) ...it'll be a challenge, and it's going to keep me from the office for a while and eat up a lot of time, but...
(Close-up on Quinn, with a look of horror.)
Quinn: Oh no!
(Back to the TV.)
SSW Announcer: What happens when someone can't pass U.S. History - that they've lived through! Three hundred year old freshmen, next on Sick Sad World!
Quinn: (extreme close-up) Eep! (She faints)
Daria: (off screen) This ought to be good.
End ACT I
(We go to commercial as the following scenes scroll by: Helen falling with her lunch, Jane left hanging on the phone, Quinn walking up to Mr. O'Neill, Helen taking to Eric.)
(A couple of spots for some stupid game shows that are all pretty much the same. At this point, there are so many of them that it's getting hard to tell them apart. And some of the games themselves are getting more and more convoluted. Remember Dick Clark's Winning Lines?)
End Commercial Time
Begin ACT II
Scene I - Jane's room after school
(Music: Counting Crows - Hanginaround)
(The familiar scene - Daria is sitting or laying on the bed while Jane paints, we pick it up mid-conversation.)
Jane: ...So let me get this straight, your sister, the Queen of Fashionia, is sort of mad at you for not helping her study, which is why she so rudely hung up on me, even though I didn't do anything directly to her, yet....
Jane: ...And then on top of that, Helen has recruited you to help write speeches for her ill-prepared campaign for mayor.
Jane: And your best bet to get out of all this relatively unscathed is...
Daria: ...to hole up here until the heat's off.
Jane: Well, it's not like anyone here would notice.
Daria: (serious for a second) Do you think my mom has any chance to win an election?
Jane: Helen's nothing if not persistent, you know that better than anyone, but...
Daria: But what?
Jane: Mayor McChester is notorious for running smear campaigns, good smear campaigns, if he's seriously challenged.
Daria: My mom doesn't have any really bad things in her past, that I know about.
Jane: Exactly, if it's there they'll probably find it. And if it's not, they'll make it up. Though, it has been a while since he's been seriously challenged enough to do it.
Daria: So the system *does* work.
Jane: Then you should fight the system, fire with fire.
Daria: You're not saying...
Jane: Dust off the flame-thrower, we're going in!
Daria: Who's this we?
Scene II - Later that day back at Daria's house, in the living room
(Helen sits at the coffee table with a notepad and Jake sits next to her, twiddling his thumbs. Cut to a shot over Helen's shoulder to show that all she has written is the phrase "Issues for the Campaign" in large letters at the top of the page.)
(She glances at Jake and gets a frustrated look.)
Helen: Jake, you're the campaign manager - start managing!
Jake: Helen! This was all your idea and you know I'm not good at making my own decisions - I thought this was going to be a "spending time together" thing.
Helen: Well, I expect you to do something!
Jake: Fine! (to himself, as Helen shakes her head) C'mon Jake, I know you've got it in you (in his normal voice) What does the mayor do anyway?
Helen: Runs the town, (Bt, tentative) I guess? What am I getting myself into?
Jake: If it makes you feel any better, you probably aren't going to get past the primary.
Helen: Oh, thanks (puts her head down and frowns)
(Daria and Jane enter the house.)
Helen: (brightens up) Hi girls!
Daria: (surveys the surroundings) What are you guys up to?
Helen: (surprised that Daria's asking, but still unenthusiastic) We're starting to get a plan together for the "big" campaign. Sigh.
Daria: What have you got so far?
Jake: (somber) Nothing (Helen scowls at him)
Daria: (rolls eyes) Anyway, Jane wants to talk to you about this whole mess.
Jane: Yeah, I'd like to join the war effort.
Helen: (shocked) Really?
Jane: Yeah, it's that rebellious side of me, always wanting to stick it to the man.
Helen: We need all the help we can get and it's nice to see a young person get interested in government. (Bt) What exactly do you want to do?
Jane: I had my heart set on some kick-butt posters, but I can help with anything.
Daria: (interjects, deadpan) Aren't we eager?
Jane: Hey, some campaign posters can beef up my portfolio.
Daria: Be careful, or you could give it a heart attack.
Jake: (to Helen) She can have my job.
Helen: No! You're not done until we lose! (Jake shrugs, disappointed)
Daria: Forever the optimist.
Scene III - One of Lawndale High's many corridors, sometime during a school day
(Music: Peter Searcy - Losing Light Fast)
(Quinn and the Fashion Club come into frame, Tiffany and Sandi are walking in front of Stacy and Quinn, who seems upset - The action follows them.)
Stacy: Relax, Quinn, you still have plenty of time to prepare for the test.
Quinn: Yeah, but I haven't been paying attention since school started. How can I catch up now?
Stacy: I haven't paid attention either and I'm not worried about (realizes) Oh no! I'm gonna fail! (starts to breath heavily)
Quinn: You cram for tests, and cram well. Remember?
Stacy: Oh, right (calms down)
Sandi: (can't take it anymore) Will you two stop obsessing over one stupid test.
Quinn: But if I keep on failing, I'll be held back. That can't be good for my image.
Sandi: True, I guess you're right. (aside to Tiffany) If she's been failing that much, she's already dug too deep. (Tiffany sort of giggles)
Quinn: (overheard that last part) You're not exactly setting the academic world on fire.
Sandi: (trying to sound serious) Let's just say my instructors are generously compensated for my assured promotion. (Quinn and Stacy shudder)
Quinn: (under breath) I think I'm gonna be sick. (quickly, to her cohorts) Yeah I just remembered that I, uh, volunteered at the cute little puppy shelter. (she runs out quickly)
Tiffany: Yay, puppies!
Scene IV - Again with the living room
(Music: Seal - Crazy)
(Daria and Jane are seated on one of the couches across from Quinn, who has her books scattered on her seat, the coffee table and anything else that's nearby. However, she's not looking at them - she's staring straight ahead.)
Quinn: (almost chanting) Gotta do good, remember history, can't be left back. (she continues throughout the following exchange)
Jane: What are the odds that she's finally snapped?
Daria: (glances over at her) I'd say 7 to 2.
Jane: Good, but no guarantee of a winner.
Daria: She's not a real tough fighter, but doesn't go away easily.
Jane: (ponders) Put me down for a nickel.
Helen: (from the "dining" room, as seen in The Lost Girls) Daria and Jane, could you come in here, (Bt, cut to the "dining" room) I need your input on something.
Daria: Where's our campaign manager?
Helen: I sent him on a scavenger hunt, he was getting on my nerves.
Daria: So much for togetherness.
Helen: I'm thinking that the only chance I've got is to try to convince the voters that Lawndale needs a change at the top.
Daria: And that the way things are now are bad.
Helen: I know it's an uphill battle, but it's all I've got right now.
Jane: She's got you there. The "New Blood" angle is the way to go.
Daria: Oh, you just like to draw blood.
Helen: But, I do need some real issues. Any ideas?
Daria: What bothers you about Lawndale the most?
Helen: They don't do a great job of collecting the trash.
Jane: There's a huge pothole outside of our house that really bothers me, even though I don't have a car.
Daria: I think we need to abolish cheerleading. (Bt, Helen and Jane smirk at her) A girl can dream, can't she?
(Jake bursts in to the room, carrying a large sack.)
Jake: (emptying contents, panting) Helen, I found the brass monkey and the baseball bat made out of cheese, but had a heck of a time finding gold barbed wire.
Scene V - Another school day (when's summer, anyway)
(Establishing shot of the outside of the school, then cut to the cafeteria.)
(Daria and Jane are eating their lunch as Jodie appears.)
Jodie: Hey guys! (they say hello back) How's the campaign going?
Daria: Nowhere fast.
Jodie: Aren't you helping out, too?
Jane: Both of us are. The usual deal - I do pictures, Daria does words.
(Jodie gets a puzzled look.)
Daria: (shrugs) Assistant speechwriter.
Jodie: So, you've gone to the dark side.
Daria: I guess.
Jane: We're just getting started, our first fundraiser is tomorrow.
Daria: Why are you so excited about this?
Jane: I enjoy the depravity, and what's worse that this?
Daria: Touchť (Bt, to Jodie) My mother said that you and your family can come to the big event if they want.
Jodie: Great! I'd love to see what one of these things are like.
Daria: Ever seen a beggar?
Scene VI - Helen in bed (it's not what you think)
(Music: Lit - Over My Head)
(Helen is in bed, next to Jake, trying to sleep and tossing and turning the whole time - fade to a dream sequence.)
(In the dream sequence, Helen is sitting on the witness stand in a large courtroom as various people walk by and "question" her, giving her little chance to respond.)
Jake: (angry) You know you don't have a chance - quit now, before you make a fool of yourself...
Eric: ...you're neglecting you're work...
Quinn: ...and your family...
Jake: ...all to satisfy one of your little ego-trips!
Jake/Eric/Quinn: (pointing at Helen) Selfish!
(Cut to the judge, who vaguely resembles Colonel Sanders.)
Judge: Do you have a defense, Helen?
Helen: But... But... I... (she looks over at Daria, who is serving as her counsel, but all Daria can do is shrug)
Judge: Then I have no choice but to convict, selfish as charged!
(The dream ends with the judge banging his gavel as the scene dissolves back to Helen in bed, who has just woke up in horror.)
Scene VII - At the aforementioned fundraiser
(We see a wide shot of the interior of one of Lawndale's finer banquet halls, present are the Morgendorffers, Landons, some of the Lanes, Eric and a bunch of nameless Lawndalians seated at a bunch of tables, neatly arranged on the floor of the hall, they're are all eating dinner, let's say lasagna.)
(Helen, who is seated between Jake and Daria at one of the tables, starts a conversation with them.)
Helen: Jake, I'm starting to have second thoughts about this whole thing.
Jake: Really? Why don't you...
Helen: (cuts him off) I'm not quitting now! Not with all these people here! It's just scary that all these people seem to have faith in me.
Daria: Despite the fact that you have no experience and don't have any big issues to take a stand on.
Helen: (starts to get mad, but can't really) Exactly. We don't have much.
(Jodie's been listening in from across the table and decides to chime in.)
Jodie: It isn't going to be easy, Mrs. Morgendorffer, but if you do win, I think you'll do this town proud.
Helen: (smiles) Thank you, Jodie.
(Cut to later in the evening, Eric walks up to a makeshift podium.)
Eric: Ladies and Gentlemen, may I have your attention (Bt) Itís my pleasure to introduce, quite possibly, the next mayor of Lawndale, Helen Morgendorffer.
(Helen walks to the podium to scattered applause.)
Helen: Thank you all for out to support the campaign. We need the help of people like you to try to bring Lawndale into the 21st century and to infuse some new ideas into the government of this town. I have to admit that things arenít going that bad right now, but from what Iíve seen, some things seem to be getting stale around here and it may be time for a change. A change that I think I can make. I had never thought that Iíd get an opportunity to serve the people of Lawndale, but if I do, I will make the most of it. Again, thank you for your attendance.
(The crowd applauds again, this time a bit more forcefully - the applause fades to one person clapping in a slow deliberate manner, at the back of the hall - everyone turns to look, amid scattered chatter.)
Voice from the back: (with a slight, eerily familiar, southern accent) Thatís a nice little statement there, young lady. Care to elaborate?
(Cut to the back, the person is the same one who appeared as the "judge" in Helenís nightmare the night before - he walks toward the stage as he talks.)
Voice: (to Helen) Allow me to introduce myself, Milton K. McChester, mayor of Lawndale. (by now, heís reached the stage and has extended his hand in greeting) You must be Helen Morgendorffer.
Helen: (shakes his hand) Nice to meet you, your honor.
McChester: No need to be so formal! You can call me Milty. I understand, you are running against me in the primary.
Helen: Thatís right.
McChester: Well then, I just would like to wish you luck. (starts to turn to walk away, but suddenly turns back) Oh, and to advise to be careful when crossing this street, ya never know when a truckís cominí.
(He finally leaves, laughing loudly the whole way as Helen just stands there with a slight look of fear on her face.)
Scene VIII - Helen at the office, the next Monday
(Helen is sitting at her desk, doing some sort of paperwork connected to the campaign, when Eric rushes in, holding the newspaper.)
Eric: Helen! (panting) I donít believe it, but youíre gaining ground on the mayor!
(He shows her that dayís copy of the Lawndale Shopper, with the headline "Upstart Morgendorffer Closing in Polls" and the obligatory picture of Helen and suBtitle that says "Mayor McChesterís lead cut to 11%.")
Helen: Wow! No wonder heís been trying to intimidate me.
Eric: Isnít this great?
Helen: (out loud, to herself) I better get to work on a strategy to keep this momentum going. (to Eric) Iím going home.
Scene IX - Quinn at school (parallel to Helen at the office)
(Quinn is walking down the hall, not in her usual perky mood, followed closely by the 3 Jís.)
Joey: Hey Quinn, you donít look too good.
Jeffie: Yeah Quinn, whatís wrong?
Quinn: (stops walking) Have you guys been paying attention in class recently?
Jeffie: Yeah, we donít miss a thing you do in class.
Jamie: Iíve been taking notes.
Quinn: I meant, to the teachers!
Joey: Uh, no?
Quinn: (throws her arms in the air) Geez, are you guys good for anything? (storms off)
(They all look at each other quizzically.)
Scene X - Back at the homestead
(Music: Skee Lo - I Wish)
(Establishing shot of the Morgendorffer's house around sunset/early evening, cut into the kitchen where Daria, Quinn, Jake and Helen are seated around the table, presumably just having finished dinner, engaging in discussion.)
Helen: I'm sure you've all heard the good news, the most recent poll has me behind by only 11 percentage points.
Daria: That's a whole lot better than the 100% behind you started.
Jake: (ignoring Daria) That's great honey, I knew you could do it.
Helen: Finally, I have that old coot McChester back on his heels. That man is really starting to get on my nerves. It's a wonder he's held office this long.
Quinn: (just hearing that last part) Do you think he'll be on my history test?
Helen: He'll be history, if he's not careful!
(Phone rings, Daria answers it after putting her plate in the sink.)
Daria: (deadpan) Hello, you have reached dial-a-neuter. Who or what would you like to have fixed? (Bt) Mom, it's for you - Mayor McChester's office.
(Daria leaves for the living room and Quinn quickly follows to get back to studying.)
Helen: Helllloo! Yes, this is Helen Morgendorffer. (Bt) That was my daughter, Daria. (Bt) She's very creative. (long pause) Yes, I *would* be interested in a televised debate. Just let us know when and where. (Bt) OK, Thursday night, Channel 7 Studios. (Bt) No, thank you. (hangs up) So now they're taking me seriously!
(By now no one else is left in the kitchen, Helen goes to the living room to share the "news" with Daria and Quinn - they presumably already know what it is.)
Quinn: Mom, you might want to see this.
(Cut to the TV screen, mid-attack ad, McChester is on screen talking.)
McChester: ...sure, Mrs. Morgendorffer is new and probably has a few good ideas, but we won't know what to expect from her, possibly until it's too late. (Bt) What does she stand for? (Bt) I don't know either. (Bt) Can we really trust her with Lawndale's future?
Fast Talking Commercial Announcer: PaidforbytheMiltonKMcChesterformayorcommittee.
(Cut back to Quinn and Daria on the couch - Helen just stands there stunned.)
Quinn: You might want to ask him about that at your little debate.
Daria: It's definitely gotten serious.
(Music: Lit - Over My Head, the music takes us into the break)
End ACT II
(We go to commercial as the following scenes scroll by: Helen speaking to McChester, Daria and Jane in Jane's room, Helen waking from her nightmare, Quinn shooing the 3J's.)
(Some more of those negative ads, which, by the way, don't exactly get me to like the candidate that runs them. One says the other guy is trying to buy the election, the other says the first guy is a lying cheat, and so on and so forth. Do those political pundits really wonder why people in America are so cynical and apathetic toward voting when this kind of stuff goes on?)
End Commercial Time
Begin ACT III
Scene I - The obligatory Act III musical montage
(Music: Billy Joel - Pressure)
(I think that song's appropriate - we cut back and forth between some of Helen
and Quinn's more stressful moments as follows:
- Helen walking down the street toward her SUV, while being mobbed by reporters.
- Quinn sitting with Mr. O'Neill for a private tutoring session, trying to stay awake.
- Helen doing the usual "shaking hands/kissing babies" photo-op.
- Quinn actually going to the library and checking out more books than she'll ever need.
- Helen making a speech to a group of senior citizens (possibly at the retirement home seen in The Old and the Beautiful).
- Quinn offering Daria a twenty to help her, adds another when Daria refuse and gives a "C'mon" look.
- Helen watching Daria and Jane working on some posters, then yelling at Jake after he spills some of their paint.
- Quinn sitting on her bad, reading - looking like she might be starting to get it.
- Helen at her office, looking a pile of files her colleagues haven't gotten to yet.
- Quinn ignoring a phone that is obviously ringing off the hook, in favor of a text.
- Helen entering the house and falling into a chair, exhausted.
- Quinn trying to stay awake while studying, which brings us gracefully into Scene II.)
Scene II - Quinn still trying to study(The music from Scene I ends, we're still with Quinn, who is starting to hear voices.)
Daria: (v.o.) ...she's not real tough...
SSW Announcer: (v.o.) ...300-year-old freshman...
Sandi: (v.o.) ...she's already dug too deep...
(The voices repeat themselves faster and faster until they are almost on top of each other, at which point Quinn looks up from her books, frightened as we dissolve to a flash forward/nasty daydream/adverse possible future.)
(A 20 year older version of Quinn, who is a little heavier and a lot less cute, is working as the clerk at a convenience store.)
(All of the sudden, an older, fatter, balder version of Upchuck enters the store and walks up to the counter.)
Upchuck: (in an even scratchier voice) Hey lady. I'll take two packs of Marlboro's and one six pack of your finest, cheapest non-alcoholic beer. (Bt) I've got a hot date tonight.
Quinn: Really? (flirty) Is she anything like me?
Upchuck: (sizes her up) No, you're not really my type, (Bt) maybe if you made yourself up a little better. (he puts money on the counter and leaves with his beer)
(As he leaves, Ted and Stacy walk in, dressed up for some special occasion (I'm sure there's a gratuitous reference to another fic that I haven't read in here somewhere, right Austin). They mill around the store for a moment as Quinn looks dejected about being rejected by Upchuck - they finally come to the counter.)
Stacy: Ted, honey, did you get everything you need?
Ted: (carrying these items) Yes dear, potato chips and nutter butters. That's a weird name, nutter...
Stacy: Hurry up Teddy, this place is giving me the creeps!
(They give their items to Quinn to ring up.)
Ted: Oooohh, gum!
Quinn: (while working) Hi, Sta...
Stacy: (interrupts, to Quinn) You look familiar, like someone I knew in high school. Maybe not, she was a lot cuter.
(Present day Helen runs in and yells and points at Quinn.)
Helen: You didn't work hard, Quinn, now you're not a winner!
(Dissolve out of the daydream to the present time.)
Helen: Hurry up, Quinn, It's almost time for dinner!
Quinn: (shakes her head) I'll be right there!
Scene III - The night of the debate
(Music: Public Enemy - Night Train (not as much for the message, as the beat))
(Helen is rushing around the house, trying to get ready to leave.)
Helen: C'mon everybody, I don't want to be late!
Quinn: (who is back to studying) But I have to study!
Helen: Bring it with you. (Jake walks in)
Jake: Do I really have to be there for this, Helen?
Helen: I would at least like to maintain the illusion that you're managing this campaign. It wouldn't look good if you're not there.
Helen: And don't cause any trouble when we get there!
(Daria walks by from the opposite direction.)
Daria: I guess I don't have a chance of getting out of this.
(Helen nods decisively.)
Scene IV - The debate
(Establishing shot of the outside of the Channel Seven building, cut inside to one of the green rooms - The Morgendorrfers are sitting around a table drinking coffee/soda/water/whatever.)
Helen: Gosh, I'm nervous.
Jake: You're nervous! All of these cameras! I know there are a few hidden ones, as soon as I find one...
Helen: (scowls at him) You're not even going to be on TV (under breath) and you don't have a chance to publicly humiliate yourself.
(Cut to the station's "conference" area, which is set up like it would be for any news conference, with the exception of two podiums on opposite sides of the "stage" for each candidate, who have yet to arrive on the scene. The "audience" is already seated, with Jake, Daria and Quinn in the back, and is full of people who are probably reporters. The same anchor from before enters and stands in front of the stage - the camera have started rolling.)
Dawn: Good evening ladies and gentlemen, I'm Dawn Stentde and welcome to the Lawndale Mayoral Primary Debate on Channel 7. At this point I'd like to introduce the candidates. First, the incumbent mayor of Lawndale, who's held office for over thirty years, Milton K. McChester (he walks to a podium to muted applause) and his challenger is political newcomer and local lawyer, Helen Morgendorffer. (she walks out to similar applause) We will open the floor to questions after each candidate makes a brief opening statement. We will start with the incumbent, (Bt) Your Honor.
McChester: Thank you, (Bt) you all know I love Lawndale, I've bleed for this town my entire life. I've been able to hold this town together before it was even on the map. And I can continue to use my office to serve the needs of this town in ways that someone who is a relative newcomer to life here could only imagine. So, I thank you for your support, Lawndale, and I'll be grateful when you reelect me.
Dawn: Mrs. Morgendorffer?
Helen: Thank you, Dawn. (Bt) I wouldn't stand here and try to criticize the mayor for the job he's done - he has done a quite adequate job. But is "adequate" good enough for Lawndale anymore? We could get away with it for a while, until "adequate" deteriorates into lass than that. I know that the mayor has been popular, but sometimes you have to let go. Lawndale needs an infusion of "new blood" and I think I can be it.
Dawn: And now we will take some questions. (The "askers" were obviously prepared in advance to avoid mass confusion)
Questioner 1: Mrs. Morgendorffer, can you give anything more specific on what you'd do if elected, you have been very vague so far in your campaign?
Helen: Certainly, I don't have any written-in-stone plans for an administration, I'd like to be open to all possibilities but I do think do think things can be run much more efficiently.
McChester: sounds like someone doesn't have a plan! The citizens know I can run things smoothly, I have for 32 years!
Questioner 2: Mayor McChester, how can you keep Lawndale within its budget this year? In the recent past you have had some trouble.
McChester: We can always cut the pay of some city personnel and try to cut programs that are extras.
Helen: Sure, reward loyal city employees with pay cuts! And what programs are extras. Are our parks extra? What about sanitation? Where do you draw the line?
McChester: Well, there... (Bt) ...Next question!
Questioner 3: How can either of you get the young people of Lawndale involved in the political process?
McChester: Most of the young people I've met don't care - they're apathetic.
Helen: Really? I recently was at Lawndale High, and a lot of the students were curious about politics. Heck, my daughter Daria and her friend have voluntarily helped my campaign immensely.
(Another questioner asks his/her question as the debate continues like this, with each candidate trading barbs with no clear winner.)
Scene V - Breakfast with Helen
(Helen strides into the kitchen confidently, where Jake and Daria are already eating breakfast and reading the paper.)
Helen: That debate was the best thing that could've happened.
Jake: (extra peppy) Yeah, you did great!
Daria: The paper here calls it a draw, not exactly a victory. However,...
Helen: However, what?
Daria: (reading from paper) "While the debate was a draw, Morgendorffer, proved herself to be a much stronger candidate that anyone could have originally imagined, considering her level of experience. This 'draw' could be seen as an overwhelming victory for her."
Helen: We have him on the ropes now, this is getting really fun.
Daria: Better deliver the deathblow.
Jake: (oblivious) I wonder what the mayor's mansion is like.
Daria: There isn't one.
Scene VI - Quinn at school on test day
(Music: Annie Lennox - Walking on Broken Glass)
(Establishing shot of Quinn walking down the hall to class by herself, visibly shaking. She's greeted by Mr. O'Neill at the door, he hands her a set of papers.)
O'Neill: Hi Quinn, are you ready for this test?
Quinn: As ready as I'm going to be.
O'Neill: If you have any questions let me know, good luck.
Quinn: (under breath) I'm gonna need it.
(She walks to her desk in a sullen manner as other students file into the room, she sits and starts on the test.)
Quinn: (in thought) Let's get this over with.
(As she starts to look over the papers, her demeanor changes from depressed to almost giddy or at least cheerful.)
Quinn: (again in thought) Oh my God! (Bt) I actually remember some of this stuff! (she begins to write frantically)
(Cut to some time later, the bell to end class rings.)
O'Neill: OK class, time is up. Hand in your papers as you leave.
(Quinn is one of the last to hand in a paper.)
O'Neill: (to Quinn) So, how was the test?
Quinn: (confidently) The best it probably could've been. (she walks out with that same confidence)
Scene VII - Daria and Jane walking home from school
(Music: Hootie and the Blowfish - Time)
Jane: So things seem to be looking up for our favorite candidate.
Daria: Yeah, the debate seemed to put some wind in the sails, or at least started to pull up the anchor.
Jane: That opening statement sounded like something you may have had more than a hand in.
Daria: You should have heard the original version, it compared the mayor to old sewer scum.
Jane: Ah, he's not even good enough for new sewer scum. Whatever happened to that manuscript?
Daria: Mom decided that it probably wouldn't inspire the voting public, and there was some concern about getting it by the censors.
Jane: So, given any thought as to what it'd be like to be one of the first daughters of Lawndale.
Daria: Let's not get ahead of ourselves.
Jane: C'mon, Helen has a real chance now, and there would have to be some upside, even for you.
Daria: (dry) I'm sure I'll be the envy of all the girls in school.
Jane: (sarcastic) You already are.
Scene VIII - Back to school after a long weekend in which nothing happened
(Start with the focus on Quinn and Stacy near the end of O'Neill's class, as Mr. O'Neill begins to talk we cut to a shot of him.)
O'Neill: ...while in general, the class did about as well as it usually does, a few students greatly improved their work this time.
(He starts going around the room, handing back papers as he goes.)
Quinn: I felt good about that test but I'm still nervous.
Stacy: You can't change it by worrying (Quinn nods)
(O'Neill finally gets to them [they do sit in the back], he gives Stacy her test back first.)
O'Neill: (to Stacy) Great job, as usual, Stacy.
Stacy: B+, cool!
O'Neill: (to Quinn) Quinn, I'm surprised - you were one of the students whom greatly improved on this test. (he give her the paper) Keep up the good work!
Quinn: (very loudly) B- (Bt) B- (Bt) Awesome!
Stacy: Way to go Quinn!
Quinn: (a little quieter) Boy, this studying stuff really works!
Scene IX - Election day, in the morning
(We'll start with Helen, Jake, Daria and Quinn around the breakfast table.)
Helen: (reserved, stoic) Today's the big day, we'll see if it was all worth it.
Daria: The day of reckoning is at hand.
Quinn: If it makes you feel better about your chances for success, I got a B- on my history test - I know I didn't expect that.
Helen: (sort of indifferent) That's great honey.
Jake: Helen, there's going to be a lot of food at headquarters, right.
Helen: (same tone) Sure, Jakey.
Daria: (trying to get the focus back to where it should be) At least you know you did your best mom.
Helen: (same tone) I know.
(Music: Jamiroquai - Virtual Insanity)
(As a segue into the next scene, we flash though a couple of polling places as people cast their votes. Then fade into a report on that evening's election coverage on Channel Seven.)
Unnamed Male Anchor: So far, seventy-five percent of the precincts have reported in the mayoral primary (cut to a graphic with the info we're about to hear), right now the returns show Mayor McChester with forty-nine percent of the vote and Helen Morgendorffer with forty-eight percent. It is way too close to call at this point. (the TV goes mute)
Scene X - At Helen Headquarters, waiting for the results
(The music fades.)
(The person who muted the TV is revealed to be Helen, who is in a secluded area at the same banquet hall where she had her fundraiser, with Jake (who has fallen asleep), Daria and Eric. A large group of supporters has gathered, along with a couple of media types, in the hall - they're talking and watching the coverage on a large TV screen.)
Eric: It's looking really good right now, think of all the attention we will get, especially when you win.
Helen: I haven't won yet, but this is still going better than I thought.
Daria: (looking into the hall) The bandwagon is here in full force, (Bt) and it's starting to get full.
Helen: I guess I should say something to them. (she steps out to the hall) Can I have your attention, please? (Bt) Again, I'd like to thank you all for your support, I'll need it for the big election in November. (they all clap and cheer loudly)
(Cut to a little bit later in the hall, things are going nearly the same as they were, except it's a little bit quieter because Channel Seven is about to announce the winner, Helen's sitting with Jake close to the screen.)
Unnamed Male Anchor: ...and finally, all of the precincts in Lawndale have reported in the mayoral primary and in the closest primary race in the history of Lawndale, (Bt, close up on Helen as she hears the result) incumbent Milton McChester wins another chance at reelection... (this continues in the background as Helen gets upset)
Helen: Closest ever?!?! (nudges Jake) Did you remember to vote? (she's obviously heard "closest ever" as "lost by one")
Jake: No, I've been here with you most of the day.
Helen: Oh my G...
Unnamed Male Anchor: ...McChester held only 397 more votes that his opponent, local lawyer, Helen Morgendorffer....
Helen: (a little relieved) I guess I better call and congratulate the old creep.
(Music: Semisonic - Closing Time)
(Cut to a wide shot about two minutes later, the hall has all but emptied, all who remain is Daria, Quinn, Jake (who is asleep again) and, of course, Helen.)
Daria: The bandwagon seems to have gotten lighter.
Scene XI - Epilogue
(The music begins to fade.)
(Helen is seated at the kitchen table, looking very depressed, and staring at the wall as Daria and Quinn walk in.)
Helen: (soft) So very close. (Bt) I was *this* close to winning.
Quinn: Mom, you look like you need some cheering up.
Quinn: Well you did your best and...
Daria: ...you kept most of your dignity.
Helen: I guess you're right. (Bt, a little perkier) Thanks, girls.
(Quinn and Daria walk away, the camera follows.)
Quinn: You know, Daria, I actually did better on the test that I prepared for myself. Mom hardly paid attention to my school work while she was campaigning.
Daria: Now you know my secret.
End ACT III
(Cut to the credits.)
(Credits Music: Fuel - Bittersweet)
Finally. It took more than six months, but I finally got this thing done. Well, it didn't exactly take six months to write, heck, I probably could've got the whole thing done in a week if I didn't have lab work, finals and huge reports to worry about in the meantime. In other words, I've barely had time to sleep. But the time I did have, gave me the opportunity to think about exactly where I wanted to go with this fic. I had the beginning and the end before I started writing, but the time helped me fill in the middle. And that's what I think made this fic a little stronger, not to mention longer, than my last one, which was admittedly underdeveloped.
Now for the specifics: First of all, I like Helen. She reminds me a lot of my own mother and I do have a soft spot for mom (I'm a momma's boy - so sue me). As for Helen's foray into politics, while it has never been hinted at in the show, it is certainly something I can see her wanting to do (also I don't know of any other fics with a similar premise). I can also see her jumping into this sort of thing rather blindly without a whole lot of forethought, thus a bit of arrogance at the beginning and, as the road got rockier, a lot of tense apprehension once she really got into it (but I could never see Helen quit once she started, unless absolutely forced). I would imagine this would be common for anyone who was undertaking his or her first campaign, and that they would undoubtedly have many ups and downs. I tried to put one big one in there in the form of Mayor McChester. Helen didn't seem to know much about him, past the fact that he was the mayor, before staring the race, which I don't think is that much of a stretch (Helen is oblivious in her own way through her focus). I tried to make the mayor somewhat ambiguous, in that I didn't want to make him totally unlikable - at worst, he came off as a little crusty and old fashioned - even though he was Helen's opponent. Also, I deliberately avoided declaring which political party's nomination this primary was for (or if they even have primaries for mayoral elections). I would guess Democrat, based on Helen's hippie past, but she's probably more Republican now than ever. Overall, I felt I kept this thing consistent, with a gradual building of tension until the end result (with a twist on the "forgot to vote" thing).
As for the Quinn subplot, the best way I can describe it is "comparing through contrast." In other words, I was trying to point out the similarities in Helen and Quinn by contrasting their moods and situations (most of the time, when Helen is "up," Quinn is "down," and vice-versa). The main similarity I was trying to show was the ability they both have to focus entirely (and I mean 100%) on whatever task that's in front of them. For Quinn, she uncharacteristically focused on her studies once she realized that she would have to. As for Helen, she was so intensely focused on the election, that something that ordinarily would have put her into a frenzy (Quinn's above-average-for-her test grade), barely registered on her radar.
Would the things that spurred Helen into running for mayor generally be controlled directly by that office? I'd say no, but her frustration at them was more than enough.
Potato casserole actually does exist, in my family, anyway. It's basically a mixture of mashed potatoes, pepper and melted mozzarella cheese (and it's really good if made correctly).
Joey's question in Act I, Scene VI was too good! Most of the information I have in that scene was part of a paper I wrote during my freshman year. The exact subject matter of Quinn's test was another thing I wanted to avoid going into any great depth with - it wasn't as important as how she dealt with the test itself.
The "named" Channel Seven anchor is based upon two local (I mean in Philadelphia when I say local) anchors from competing networks, that recently tied the knot. The name "Dawn Stentde" is sort of a combination of their names.
Helen's dream: In Helen's dream sequence, I was trying to show how she was trying to resolve some of the uncertainty she was feeling about running and how she thinks it may have been affecting her family (interesting that she picked Daria to be the one "on her side"). This sort of ties in a little with what happened at the end of Psycho Therapy (#408 - for the record, I wrote that scene before #408 aired).
About halfway through writing this thing, I got the thought that the timetables of the two plots weren't exactly compatible. I mean that a campaign usually takes longer that the time between history tests in high school. I remedied this by making the election a primary and removing any time reference regarding the test (like, "the test is next week") and assumed that it was some sort of final.
Old Unanswered Questions: As I promised, there was a passing reference to Jane's portfolio and I did give some possible explanation as to where Quinn was rushing to in Touchdown Jane.
Just how smart is Stacy and what exactly does Sandi do to ensure her "promotion" (on second though, I don't think I want to know)?
I don't have a whole lot of people to thank directly for this because I did keep this under my hat until it was almost finished, so the thanks will be more general this time. First, I'd like to thank my anonymous beta-reader (Thanks Kara!). After that, I'd like to thank all of the people that actually read the last two fics I wrote, with special thanks to the two or three of you that offered some feedback. And finally, thanks to all the citizens of the Outpost Daria and Paperpusher Message Boards for being a great group of people (and making the DRR's worth doing), especially, Martin Pollard and Crazy Nutso, for putting this crap I write on their websites.
Do I actually have a plan for my next fanfic? Yes, and I don't want to let too much out now because I don't have a lot of specifics mapped out yet and I don't know when I'll get around to it (though, I'd really want to have something before the movie airs in the fall, which is tough because I tend to work slowly). All I'd like to say right now is that it'll be a little darker and focus almost entirely on Daria and some traumatic experience (and there may even be some Trent-Daria stuff thrown in there). I am planning to work on some other fanfic-related projects, one involving another Halloween episode (except this time I'm going to try to recruit some other authors to contribute -anyone interested?) and another top secret project that is currently considered classified ;) And before we get to the copyright notice, I'd like to encourage any artists out there to take a shot at providing some artwork for my fics if you want to (it's OK if no one does, but I do have "visuals" in my mind for a lot of scenes and I would be interested to see how others interpret those scenes).
Any Comments or Questions should be e-mailed to: