DARIA & SON:
FREAKIN' FRIENDS REDUX
A "Daria" fanfic by Erin Mills
“Daria" ©2011 MTV
INT. LAWNDALE HIGH SCHOOL-- HOME EC. CLASSROOM --DAY
This is Lawndale High's seldom seen Home Economics classroom. In actuality, it's more like three or four classrooms where the walls have been knocked down and repartitioned off into three major sections: a classroom where the class sits in groups at tables, a cooking area with multiple kitchens, and a more traditional classroom set up, except that each desk has a high tech sewing machine on it. This is the section of the class in use and while the makeup of the class is largely female, there are a few guys in the class as well.
We see Mark and Charlene sitting at two of the machines next to each other. Charlene has a huge pile of bight multicolored scraps of cloth on the desk next to her, while Mark appears to be having trouble...
MARK: (snagging his fingers on what he's sewing) Ow! Dammit!
CHARLENE: (without looking up from her own work) The mighty beast foiling you again?
MARK: Aunt Quinn makes this look so damn easy...
CHARLENE: I told you before, you need to tame the beast and make sure it knows that you are the superior being.
Mark looks over at her.
MARK: It's a sewing machine, Charlene. Not some tiger out on the Serengeti.
CHARLENE: (picking up what she's working on and looking at the stitching) Tigers don't live on the Serengeti.
MARK: Right... (He goes back to attempting to sew.)
CHARLENE: They live in Detroit.
Mark glances at her out of the corner of his eyes.
MARK: Now you're just putting me on.
CHARLENE: Yes. Yes, I am.
Mark sighs in exasperation and starts the machine up again. It runs for all of two seconds before it lets out a loud ugly sound, indicating the stitch has jammed again.
Charlene finally looks over at him. She leans over.
CHARLENE: Here. Let me...
Charlene begins untangling the mess of thread that is Mark's Home Ec. Project. Mark looks sheepish as he gets out of his seat to let her work.
CHARLENE: It's what I do.
MARK: When you aren't...what ARE you doing over there?
CHARLENE: Making coats.
Mark reaches over to Charlene's desk and picks up a small brightly colored patchwork coat.
MARK: For dolls?
Mark gives her yet another “are you serious?" look.
MARK: (rubbing his eyes under his glasses) And why, he asked knowing he probably didn't want to know the answer, are you making coats for hamsters?
CHARLENE: (pulling a looooong thread out of the machine) Wardrobe.
CHARLENE: For the show.
MARK: What show?
CHARLENE: (clearing the machine and pulling out Mark's chair for him) Joseph.
Mark looks at her, confused. Charlene smiles at him and gestures for him to sit.
He looks at the pile of cloth then at the coats. Realization hits.
MARK: Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat?
Charlene's smile gets brighter and she goes back to her desk, and starts sewing again, whistling music from the musical.
Mark sighs and sits back at his desk, muttering to himself.
MARK: (quietly) ...I really need some sane friends.
Pan across to see Charlene looking at him, clearly having heard what he said. She looks downtrodden, but plasters on a smile when Mark looks at her. Both go back to sewing.
INT. DARIA'S OFFICE
Daria is at her desk, hunched over, her hands at her temples. She's staring at the computer monitor on her desk. In the seat on the other side of the desk is Timothy Barch-O'Neill.
DARIA: I want you to tell me this is a nightmare and I'm going to wake up soon.
O'NEILL: I wish I could, Daria, but the district's clamping down again.
DARIA: Is there EVER a school year where the damn district isn't clamping down?
O'NEILL: Honestly? Not in all the years I've been here.
Daria looks up, surprised at the rare moment of candor. O'Neill gives her a smile and shrugs.
DARIA: So we have to cut the budget by fifteen percent next semester. What are our options?
O'Neill picks up a small handheld tablet and thumbs through it.
O'NEILL: There's three options we can realistically enact. One, we cut funding for sports and clubs. ..
DARIA: And if we do that, the damn PTA will want my head on a platter for daring to touch anything having to do with the football team. I'm not ready to rock the boat that badly yet.
O'NEILL: (nods) Number two, we cut the art, drama and music programs completely.
Daria gives O'Neill a look over the top of her glasses.
DARIA: I AM still friends with the Lanes. You remember the Lanes, right? Jane, the internationally respected modern artist and art historian, and Trent, our beloved mayor and former semi-professional musician? What do you think would happen to me if it got back to them that I touched one cent of our already bare bones art and music programs, much less cut them completely?
O'Neill gives a sheepish grin.
O'NEILL: I guess that wouldn't be the best option, then.
DARIA: No, Mr. Barch-O'Neill, that would be the absolute WORST option.
O'Neill clears his throat nervously and looks back at the tablet.
O'NEILL: Well, then, it looks like we're stuck with slashing the textbook budget.
Daria sighs and leans back in her chair.
DARIA: So much for the vaunted move to the electronic era.
O'NEILL: It would have helped if Ms. Li hadn't made the school board so mistrustful of letting school administrators have control over spending.
DARIA: Tell me about it. (beat) I still have some contacts in the publishing industry. Maybe I can call in some favors.
O'NEILL: What about your ex-husband? I'm sure if you asked...
O'Neill trails off as Daria fixes him with a death glare that by all rights should have set his cheap brown cardigan on fire. He clears his throats and fiddles with the tablet.
O'NEILL: Yes, well perhaps not. Um...I'll go over our current situation and get back to you on what the bare minimum we can get by on will be.
DARIA: I want a report by Thursday. Anything else?
O'NEILL: No...I think that's everything. Unless you've reconsidered joining the team for the annual faculty/DJ roller hockey game...
DARIA: Not a chance in hell. No way am I ending up on the pool.
Daria blinks, realizing she's said too much.
DARIA: Never mind. We're done here. Out of my office.
O'Neill leaves the office and Daria leans back in her chair, exhausted. She closes her eyes and lets out a sigh.
DARIA: And I thought departmental politics was a huge pain in the ass.
The intercom on her desk phone chirps. Daria sighs and hits the talk button.
DARIA: Yes, Sarah?
SARAH, the school receptionist responds.
SARAH: Phone call for you, Ms. Morgendorffer.
DARIA: Take a message, please. I really don't want to talk to anyone right now.
SARAH: It's a Mary Whelan from UC Santa Cruz, Ms. Morgendorffer. She said it was an emergency.
Daria sits up, an expression of concern crossing her face.
DARIA: Mary? (beat) Never mind, Sarah. I'll take it.
She picks up the phone.
DARIA: Mary? It's Daria. Is everything...no, he's in class...What?! When?
Daria slumps back in her seat.
DARIA: Oh, my God.
INT. LHS HALLWAY
Mark and Thad are at Thad's locker talking while Thad rummages in the locker and Mark fiddles with his iGadget.
THAD: You've been hanging out with us for almost a month and only NOW you notice that Charlene's...different?
MARK: It's not that. It's just I can only take a certain amount of non-sequitiers and Lewis Carroll speak every day, and of late, my limit's been pretty low. I mean, you two are dating, aren't you? How do you deal with her?
THAD: One doesn't date Charlene Ruttheimer. One simply grabs ahold and prepares oneself for anything.
MARK: What's the payoff then?
As Thad answers, Mark navigates to FaceSpace on his iGadget.
THAD: To quote an old British TV show: Ã¢â‚¬Å“She's got a tongue like an electric eel and she likes the taste of a MAN'S tonsils!"
He closes the locker and looks over at Mark, smiling. Mark doesn't respond. Instead he stares at his iGadget with an expression of disbelief.
THAD: Mark? Buddy? You okay?
Mark doesn't respond. Thad frowns and shakes Mark by the shoulders.
Mark looks up, but not at Thad and then in a very familiar tone of voice...
MARK: I gotta go.
He rushes offscreen. Thad stares after him, concern evident on his face.
Elsie enters to find Daria racing around, dumping papers and files into a shoulder bag.
ELSIE: Abandoning ship already, Fearless Leader?
Daria ignores the jibe, getting right to the point.
DARIA: I'm putting you in charge for the rest of the day.
ELISE: At the risk of sounding like you: excuse me?
DARIA: Something's come up and I need someone who knows how to keep this lunatic asylum standing while I'm gone.
ELSIE: I think I'm missing some important information.
DARIA: (sighs) I can't talk about it right now, but I have to go, we have no vice-principal, so you're in charge.
She begins to shove past Elsie, but is caught in mid rush.
ELSIE: Oh no, you don't. You are not saddling me with responsibility without an actual explanation.
Daria frowns and gives her a serious look.
DARIA'S OFFICE DOOR
ELSIE: (off screen) Go! Go!
The door opens and Daria practically runs out of the office and off screen.
INT-- LHS HALLWAY
We follow Mark as he hurries down the hallway. His fists are clenched and he has a dark expression on his face. He's so focused on moving that he doesn't see Charlene coming from an intersecting hallway. The two collide and Charlene drops her books.
MARK: (flat) Sorry.
He kneels down and begins gathering up her books, handing them to her as quickly as possible.
CHARLENE: What? No snarky comment about my reading material?
MARK: No. Here.
He hands her the last book and gets up and starts walking off. Charlene follows him.
CHARLENE: Hey...are you okay?
MARK: I'm fine.
CHARLENE: You're not fine. Okay, your HAIR is fine. But you? Not fine.
MARK: (through clenched teeth) Charlene.
CHARLENE: (continuing) Right now, you are the least fine thing I've ever seen. There's huge veins of coal in Virginia which are more fine than you. Honestly, the sugar sand beaches of the Lost Beach of Key West, which are pretty damn fine, are--
Suddenly, Mark whirls on her and screams at the top of his lungs, gaining the attention of everyone around them.
MARK: WOULD YOU JUST SHUT! UP!
Charlene stares at him, stunned.
MARK: Every damn day I see you and you keep babbling about the most inane things! Things which DO NOT MATTER! Are you SERIOUSLY that [bleep]-ing clueless or is this just some kind of put on for your own SICK amusement?!
CHARLENE: (meekly) I'm sorry I was just--
MARK: Oh, save it. I don't expect you to understand. Just go off and play with the elves and fairies, or whatever the hell you do with your day and LEAVE ME ALONE!
He stalks off.
CLOSE ON CHARLENE
She looks like someone shot her dog right in front of her. Her eyes are beginning to water.
EXT-- LAWNDALE HIGH
Mark is stalking out of the school. As he gets ready to leave the campus, Daria's car pulls up in the drop off driveway.
DARIA: (inside car) Need a lift?
Mark pauses for a second, then climbs into the car.
INT. DARIA'S CAR
We see Daria and Mark sitting in the car. They haven't started driving yet. They aren't even looking at each other.
MARK: You heard?
DARIA: Yeah. His mom called me. You?
Mark lets out a cynical chuckle.
MARK: His brother posted on FaceSpace.
DARIA: (sighs) The Internet.
There's a moment of silence, then they slowly look at each other. Another beat...
...and Mark breaks down crying in his mother's arms.
INT. MORGENDORFFER LIVING ROOM
Daria sits on the couch, her face in her hands. A bottle of scotch is on the table along with a half full glass. Her glasses sit next to them. After a moment, the TV screen illuminates with the message “INCOMING CALL: HELEN MORGENDORFFER."
Daria looks up, wipes her eyes and puts her glasses back on before grabbing the remote and clicking a button. HELEN MORGENDORFFER appears on the screen: older but still fairly attractive. She looks worried.
DARIA: Hi, Mom.
HELEN: Daria, I got your message. Is it true?
DARIA: (sighs) Yes. Mary called me this morning.
HELEN: Oh, my God. How's Mark taking it?
DARIA: Not well. He's up in his room right now.
HELEN: And you?
Helen gives her a sympathetic expression.
HELEN: Daria, that boy has been a major part of your life ever since Mark was in the third grade. He's practically your second child.
DARIA: ...I'm not taking it well either.
HELEN: I know.
It's a typical teenage boy's room. A couple of posters. Dirty laundry scattered about. The curtains are drawn and Mark is laying on his side, eyes closed, his glasses askew. After a moment his iGadget starts ringing on the nightstand. Mark's eyes open and he scowls, before grabbing the phone and rolling on his back.
We see Thad on the other side of the screen, the background indicating he's still at Lawndale High. He's not happy.
THAD: Dude, what the hell is WRONG with you?
MARK: Do you want the full list or just the highlights?
THAD: Quit being an ass. I just had to spend the last hour trying to talk Charlene down off the damn ceiling.
MARK: I honestly don't know whether or not I should ask if you're being literal.
THAD: (beat) You should probably know that I am seriously refraining from coming over there and kicking your ass just on general principle.
THAD: Don't you “whatever" me, Mark! She's in TEARS! Now, what in the HELL did you say to her?
Mark's lip curls up in an angry sneer. He sits up on the bed.
MARK: I pointed out that I was sick and tired of her nonsensical crap. I pointed out that I wasn't in the mood. I pointed out that her little babbling tirades were completely pointless and I wasn't in the mood for them!
THAD: That's no reason for you to scream at her in the middle of the freaking hallway! What could you possibly--
MARK: (exploding) PARDON ME FOR NOT WANTING TO DEAL WITH HER BULLSHIT WHEN I FOUND OUT, VIA FREAKING FACESPACE, THAT MY BEST FRIEND DECIDED TO BLOW HIS BRAINS OUT WITH A FREAKING SHOTGUN! ALL RIGHT? IS THAT OKAY WITH YOU?
Beat. Thad's expression is horrified.
THAD: Jesus...Mark, I...
Mark collapses back on his bed.
MARK: No...just...tell Charlene I'm sorry. I don't know when I'll be back at school. Just...leave me alone for now, please.
THAD: Yeah...no problem...Listen, Mark, if--
Mark hangs up on him, turns off the iGadget and rolls over.
Daria is still talking to Helen.
HELEN: When's the funeral?
DARIA: Three days from now. I need to get us some airline tickets.
HELEN: I'll take care of it.
DARIA: Mom, you don't--
HELEN: Yes, I do. And I'm paying for your hotel, too.
DARIA: I can't let you do that.
HELEN: Daria, Mark needs to be there. You know that.
DARIA: (sighs again) Yes...
HELEN: I'll email you the details.
DARIA: Thanks, Mom.
Suddenly we hear muffled yelling coming form upstairs. Daria looks up, alarmed, and gets to her feet.
HELEN: I heard. Go. I'll call you later.
A CHURCH IN SANTA CRUZ, CA.-- 3 DAYS LATER
The funeral is in progress. Mark, dressed in a nice basic black suit, sits up on the dais with the other people speaking at the funeral. He looks miserable, idly playing with a set of index cards.
Daria, also dressed in black, sitting at the end of one of the pews. She has a look of concern on her face, tinged with grief. After a moment, we see someone walk up next to her. We do not see their face.
PERSON: This seat taken?
DARIA: (not really paying attention) No, go ahead.
Daria slides over, then turns to see...
JANE LANE taking a seat next to her. Jane's hair is longer, still short, but hanging evenly around her face. She's dressed in a red silk blouse and an Armani suit. She has a smattering of gray in her hair that makes her look distinguished. But the smile is still sardonic, but, as is appropriate, it's tinged with sadness.
DARIA: What are you doing here? I thought you were in Malaysia.
JANE: Your mom called. She said you could use a friend right about now.
She nods her head in Mark's direction.
JANE: He looks like he could use one right now too.
DARIA: Yeah. (beat) I'm worried about him, Jane.
JANE: Well, you're his mother, that's your job.
DARIA: That's not what I mean. I uprooted him from everything he knew, moved him across the country, and he made some friends, but just after he found out... he unloaded on both of them.
JANE: How badly?
DARIA: He left one of them in tears.
The minister is standing at the podium addressing the mourners.
MINISTER: And now, we will have a few words from Mark Davenport, Nicholas's good friend.
Mark looks up, collects the index cards, and steps up to the podium. He opens his mouth, but closes it again. He shuffles the index cards, then frowns, and sets them aside.
MARK: I had some thoughts written down, but the fact is... I can't do this.
MARK: I can't talk about Nick. I can't do it. Because there aren't enough words to describe how much he meant to me. He was the brother I never had. We've been friends for longer than I ever expected we would be.
Mark stops and looks down at the casket in front of the dais.
MARK: Why didn't you call? That's all you had to do. This isn't the 1800s for Christ's sake! We have phones! We have the Internet! The Post Office! SMOKE SIGNALS!
Daria and Jane. Both look panicked.
JANE: I'll warm up the car.
Mark. Now in a grief stricken rant.
MARK: I WAS THERE FOR YOU! ALL YOU HAD TO DO WAS PICK UP THE GODDAMN PHONE! WHY THE HELL, MAN!? WHY?
Daria comes up to his side and takes his arm.
DARIA: Mark... come on, honey. Let's go.
MARK: No! (beat) I'm fine. I'm fine.
He wipes his eyes and inhales deeply.
MARK: I apologize for that. Especially to you, Mr. and Mrs. Whelan. (beat) I guess that kind of shows you how much he meant to me. I never had a brother, but Nick was the closest I would ever come to having one. I never thought I'd have to say goodbye for good. And I just wish I knew why.
He sighs again.
MARK: I guess that's all I have to say.
He looks at the coffin.
MARK: I love you, man.
He and Daria walk off the dais.
INT. HOTEL ROOM. NIGHT.
Mark, sans jacket and tie, is lying on the bed, flipping through channels. There's a knock on the door. He gets up and opens it, admitting Daria.
MARK: Oh. Hey, Mom.
DARIA: Hey. Listen, Aunt Jane offered to take us to dinner. She wanted to see where you'd like to go.
MARK: (looking at his feet) Um... would it be okay if I backed out? I just... I'm not feeling up to it.
DARIA: Sure. That's okay. Just make sure you spend some time with her before we leave, okay?
MARK: Yeah. Thanks, Mom.
DARIA: I'm going to go ahead and go, though, all right? If you get hungry, you can call room service. Grandma Helen said it'd be okay.
MARK: Sure. I don't mind.
DARIA: (Quickly) I dont' have to go. If you want me to stick around...
MARK: (finally looking up) No! That's fine. It's been a while since you and Aunt Jane were able to hang out. I don't want to be a drag.
DARIA: Because a funeral is a laugh a minute.
Mark blinks and stares at her. Then, after a tense moment, both chuckle softly.
DARIA: All right, I'm going to get going. I should be back in a couple of hours. Make sure you eat something, okay?
Daria opens the door and turns to leave when:
Daria pauses and looks back at him. Mark opens his mouth, closes it and sighs.
MARK: I'm never going to know why, am I?
Daria sighs and closes the door. She leads Mark back to the bed and they sit down.
DARIA: Honestly? No. You probably won't.
MARK: It's not fair. I could have talked him out of it.
DARIA: How? He just up and did it. No one saw it coming. Mark, something was bothering Nick. For a long time. But, that doesn't mean it was your fault.
MARK: I know...
DARIA: No, I don't think you do. Look at me.
MARK: (annoyance creeping into his voice) Mom...
DARIA: Samuel Gregor Davenport, you look at me right now!
At the sound of his full name, Mark looks at Daria, whose expression softens.
DARIA: It is not your fault Nick killed himself. He kept what was bothering him locked up inside. No one knew, and no one will probably ever know why he did what he did. It's one of those sad, unfair things that the universe likes to throw at you.
DARIA: You're going to be telling yourself that you could have done something. Anything. But you didn't know he had reached that point.
DARIA: And honestly, if he was that far gone, there's probably nothing anyone could have done to stop it.
Mark looks despondent. Daria puts and arm around him and holds him close.
DARIA: You did nothing wrong.
Mark doesn't say anything, but wraps his arms around Daria and they hug.
INT. D'ORO RESTAURANT -- NIGHT
D'Oro is a high class restaurant. Daria and Jane are sitting at a table. Wine is in evidence, as are half eaten meals.
JANE: Is he going to be okay?
DARIA: I think so. It'll take a while, but, yeah. He'll be okay.
JANE: What about you?
DARIA: (beat) I'll be okay, eventually.
DARIA: Mom was right. Nick was like a second kid, with all the time he and Mark spent together. I... I thought saying goodbye to Dad was hard, but this...
She takes off her glasses and rubs her eyes. She looks up at Jane, terror in her eyes.
DARIA: What do I do if something happens to him, Jane? I barely held it together through all this for his sake. If something--
Jane takes Daria's hand.
JANE: If something happens to him, I'll come running. So will Trent, so will Quinn. You two aren't alone, Daria. You never will be.
Daria looked up and gives Jane a small smile before putting her glasses back on.
DARIA: Let go, will you? People will talk.
JANE: Oh, you know you want me. I remember that drunken night in college.
DARIA: I thought we weren't going to talk about that.
JANE: We're not.
JANE: I'm just saying I have great blackmail material on you.
JANE: I don't think Mark's ever seen the video...
DARIA: I still have that bridesmaid dress in storage.
JANE: Oh come on, it was a touching duet during karaoke night!
DARIA: You, madam, are a bitch.
JANE: Of course I am. That's why you love me.
They smirk at each other and clink glasses.
INT. LAWNDALE HIGH CAFETERIA -- DAY.
We see Charlene sitting despondently at a table. Her lunch is untouched. She's idly running her finger in circles on the table. Most tellingly, there's no one sitting in her immediate area.
After a moment. Mark comes up to her, holding his own lunch.
MARK: Mind if I sit here?
Charlene looks up at him, then back down and shrugs.
CHARLENE: I guess.
Mark sits down and there's a moment of awkward silence.
CHARLENE: Thad told me what happened. I'm sorry.
MARK: No. I'm sorry.
Charlene looks at him, confused.
MARK: I was an ass. I shouldn't have taken it out on you.
CHARLENE: Well, you were upset...
MARK: And that gives me the right to make you upset?
CHARLENE: Well, considering...
MARK: Look, I was a jerk. And the fact that I lost someone close to me doesn't mean I can just unload on you like that. You're weird, and possibly insane, but... you're my friend. And I shouldn't treat my friends like that. I'm sorry, Charlene.
Charlene looks at him and puts a hand on his forearm.
CHARLENE: I'm in the market for a best friend. How about you?
MARK: (smiling) As it turns out, I have an opening in my organization. How are you at setting up live theatrical productions with hamsters?
Charlene's smile returns and she pulls a three ring binder from the bench next to her.
CHARLENE: As it turns out, I have some excellent ideas on how to safely make it look like a hamster has been crucified.
MARK: In “Joseph?"
CHARLENE: Combined with “Jesus Christ, Superstar." Both bibilcal, both Lloyd Webber, both ripe for improvement with costume clad rodents.
Mark stares at her for a moment then:
MARK: I'm horrified, but intrigued. Tell me more.
Pull back as Charlene excitedly outlines her ideas to Mark.
FADE TO BLACK