(Opening 'teaser' montage. Music: "You're Standing On My Neck" – Splendora.

Daria and Lynn sit side by side in Ms Li's office, looking warily at each other.

LHS science lab. AP standing with Stacy behind a lab table. AP looks at a beaker simmering over a Bunsen burner on the table, then at an empty test tube in Stacy's hand, then ducks under the table. A moment later, he grabs Stacy by the front of the shirt and pulls her down as the glassware on the table blows up.

The woods somewhere. Daria and Lynn are sitting around a campfire. Lynn holds up a hand and they both take on a tense, listening posture.

LHS gymnasium. Jane is in gym clothes, waving her arms in a 'pass it here' gesture. Seconds later, a basketball flies into shot, hitting her in the face hard enough to knock her over.

LHS corridor. Daria is wearing a slinky black dress and looking miserable and resigned. Upchuck leers something at her; Daria raises an eyebrow, gets an 'oh what the hell' look and then kicks him in the groin.

LHS auditorium – stage. Lynn is onstage, holding a knife to her throat and yelling something at Mack, who looks extremely taken aback. Cut to the seats, where O'Neill looks ecstatic and Daria, Jane and AP look impressed.

Morgendorffer corridor. Jake stands in the doorway of Quinn's room, looking sad and horrified. Quinn, talking on the phone, looks at him scornfully and slams the door in his face.

Zen backstage area. Nick and Casey Wright from the Back Alley Name-Droppers are involved in a fistfight. Trent gestures to Jesse, who walks up to the two of them and knocks their heads together; both combatants drop.

Trent's Plymouth. Daria, Jane and AP staring out the passenger side windows. Facial expressions are confusion, disbelief and anger respectively.

Daria and Lynn side-by-side again, smirking slightly. As the original montage sequence, the camera pulls in and then out again to reveal two interlocking circles; one contains the Daria logo and the other contains a corresponding 'Lynn' version. Writing in Daria font reads, "Daria in…")


A Daria Fan Fiction [TLAS 3:06]

(Scene: LHS teacher's lounge. Music: "Exhuming McCarthy" – REM. Mr Caldwell, a tall red-haired man, walks in and surveys his faculty. At his desk, O'Neill is looking over some documents, looking depressed. At her desk, Barch is grading a paper and wincing every time she marks something. DeMartino, who has removed the picture of AP1 and returned the one of Kevin to its rightful place, is throwing darts at it. Ms Defoe, at her desk, is listlessly creating another macramé flowerpot holder.2 Mrs Bennett, on the sofa, is reading "Fuzzy Wuzzy Wee-Bits Monthly".3)

Caldwell: I wanted to meet with all of you concerning some of the students' grades. (Barch looks up, relief plain on her face.4) It's kind of amazing – some of the students don't look like they ought to be passing at all!

DeMartino: Is there a POINT to this? Or are you planning to CONTINUE this rather UNNECESSARY statement of facts WE'VE known for a LOT LONGER THAN *YOU* HAVE?

Caldwell: (taken aback) Well, yes, there IS a point. I can see that this is causing the faculty undue stress and it's my duty as principal to secure your welfare and give the students the best shot they're capable of taking to secure a decent education for themselves.

(And everyone stares at him.)

O'Neill: That … is THE most inspiring thing I've ever heard SAID in this room! (Barch clears her throat; O'Neill blushes) Uh … well … from a professional point of view.5

Caldwell: Now … I thought I'd institute a sort of 'buddy' system. Have some of the brighter students – and there are a few – tutor some of the … well, less academic ones. It could be a benefit to both parties and…

Defoe: Mr Caldwell, I'm sorry to interrupt, but the problem is that we've tried that. No one volunteers for it – there's a sort of a hierarchy to a high school.

Barch: Like in wolf packs.

Caldwell: Oh, nonsense! I'm sure that a student faced with a failing grade would put aside his or her misconceptions about social position to…

(He is drowned out by disbelieving laughter. When it dies down…)

DeMartino: Even if that WERE the case, Mr Caldwell … the fact is that the FEW students of my acquaintance who DO achieve some SEMBLANCE of academic development in my class would rather RIP their arms OUT OF THE SOCKETS than spend TEN MINUTES with their less GIFTED fellows!

Caldwell: I see. (beat) Well, I'm fairly sure they could be persuaded. Had my predecessor ever instituted a grading curve?

(Dead silence)

Caldwell: In a school where a grading curve is in place, an intelligent individual is seen as even more of a pariah than in normal circumstances. The higher the grades of the intelligencia, the lower marks the average student gets. And the more those average students resent the 'brains'. If I offered an ultimatum…

(By now, the faculty of Lawndale High is looking at this man as if he's a god. He is offering to manipulate the students to ease their workload and they are loving it … but it makes them a little nervous as well, as if they fear another Ms Li in the making.)

Caldwell: Now … maybe we should collect nominations for the test run. When looking through Angela Li's papers, I discovered a list of those who excel academically in certain subjects – something about a IQ Showcase? (collective wince from the faculty)6 And that gives us a starting point – the top students in a given field of study. Daria Morgendorffer for History, Lynn Cullen for English, AP McIntyre for Science, Jodie Landon for Economics and Jane Lane for Art. Five tutors should be enough for a trial run. Now … who in your classes seems most … resistant to learning?

Faculty: (in unison) Kevin Thompson.

Caldwell: (blink) Uh. I see. Well, perhaps I should rephrase. Which of you is having the most trouble with Kevin?

(Again in unison, the rest of the occupants of the faculty lounge look pointedly at Mr DeMartino, who almost sheepishly raises his hand.)

Caldwell: Fine; Morgendorffer can tutor Thompson. (turns to O'Neill) Timothy. After Kevin, who's your most problematic student?

O'Neill: Oh dear … I HATE to judge any of my students so harshly… (sigh) I seem to have some problems getting Tiffany Blum-Deckler to read … well, ANYTHING.7

Caldwell: So pair Blum-Deckler with Cullen. Janet?

Barch: Stacy Rowe is a dear girl but … (shudder) put her in a chemistry lab and…

Caldwell: Right – the McIntyre boy can tutor her. Dianne?

Bennett: Well, Quinn Morgendorffer is awfully slapdash when it comes to figures…8

Caldwell: Right – we pair Landon with the younger Morgendorffer girl. Claire?

Defoe: But Art is only an elective and I don't want to… (to Caldwell's look) Brittany Taylor.9

Caldwell: Good. That should be enough takers for a test run, anyway. I'll notify the tutors…

(Scene: Lynn's room. Lynn is looking down at a small tape recorder with an unreadable look on her face.)

Caldwell: (VO from machine; recording) …and when I have, you can start getting the 'buddies' together for some one-on-one work.

Lynn: Crap. (she picks up the phone and dials.)

(Scene: Pizza King. Music: "Don't Pick It Up" – Offspring. Daria and Jane are on one side of a booth; AP and Jodie are on the other. All four look confused.)

Daria: No explanation?

AP: None. Just "We've got problems. We need to meet up."

Jane: Do you get her at ALL lately?

Jodie: Well, maybe she's still a little freaked out about the thing with Ms Li?10

Daria: Well…

(Door bashes open; Lynn barges through. She looks relatively calm but there's tension in her every move. They all look at her expectantly.)

Lynn: (without preamble) We are ROYALLY screwed. (pulls up a chair and sits.)

Jodie: Lynn?

Daria: Excuse me?

Jane: Do we have to BEAT an explanation out of you?

AP: Purple Peril … you're freaking me out BIG time here.

Lynn: (calming breath) Sorry. I'll start again. You know I planted bugs all over school? (everyone nods) Well, they're still there. (to their looks) So I never bothered to take them down! I've been a little busy lately! Anyway … I monitor the tapes when I'm in the mood…

Daria: Ah, the delights of voyeurism.

Jane: I bet you watch "The Real World", too.

AP: Don't. Them's fightin' words.11

Lynn: Okay, so you DON'T want to hear this. (when Daria, Jane and AP shut up) Caldwell's finally gone through our grades and figured out the common thread.

Daria: What, you mean Kevin's a moron?

Lynn: Something like that. Now there's going to be a 'buddy system' as per tutoring. (gesture at Daria) History – Kevin. (gesture at Jane) Art – Brittany. (gesture to Jodie) Economics and general math – Quinn. (gesture at AP) Chemistry – Stacy. (sigh) I get to teach Tiffany English.

(Long, thoughtful silence.)

AP: And we're supposed to want to do this WHY?

Jodie: (sarcasm) Selfless concern for our fellow students – why do you ask?

Lynn: More like if we don't, Caldwell starts telling teachers to grade on a curve.

(Shorter silence, this one shocked.)

Daria: Crap!

Jane: (to Daria; bemused) And that's going to affect you how, exactly? You're straight A across the board.

Daria: And therein lies the problem. While being unpopular because I'm a brain doesn't bother me, being lynched because I'm wrecking the curve by being brainy does.

Lynn: Caldwell actually seems to have a clue as to how students' minds work. (grudging admiration) Gotta hand it to him, the devious little snot.

Jane: I just don't believe I'm being dragged into this. I mean, art's just an elective! Does Brittany really need expert tuition to pass?

(Daria just shrugs at her.)

Jodie: What are our options?

Lynn: Well … we're all working on the play.12 What with that and our regular homework, are we really going to have time to tutor the hopeless?

Daria: Hmm … the problem with that is that it leaves us open to the argument, "going over your work to help someone else only proves – and improves – your own understanding of it."

Jane: Blackmail?

Lynn: Nothing to get him on. The man's clean.

AP: Can't we just … make him an offer he can't refuse, or something?13

(Lynn glares at him. AP looks confused – "what'd I SAY?")

Daria: (intervening) I think that's what he plans to do to US, AP.

(Morose silence falls over the table.)

END ACT 1 – ADVERTS [Lead-in: DeMartino raising his hand]

Diet Coke: The US version has women ogling good-looking delivery men or window cleaners. The UK version has women ogling good-looking guys in suits. The class system is alive and well.

Tango: Not content with annoying people, now the adverts outright insult people. I'm trying to work out what kind of tactic this is, and if it works.

(Scene: Caldwell's office – reception area. Quinn, Kevin, Brittany, Stacy [in cheerleading uniform] and Tiffany are sitting in chairs below a set of pigeonholes nailed to the wall in front of the secretary's alcove. They all look confused and nervous – obviously no one's told them why they're here.)

(Scene: Caldwell's inner sanctum. Daria, Jane, Jodie, Lynn and AP are standing in front of Caldwell's desk, looking defensive. Caldwell looks at them with a seemingly pleasant expression.)

Caldwell: I expect you're wondering why I called you here. (The five of them just look at him.) I am pleased to be able to offer you an unparalleled opportunity to get to know your other classmates better – to expand your social horizons – and maybe even to make your class assignments a bit more fun! (The five continue to look at him like he is an interesting form of single-celled life.) I refer, of course, to one-on-one tutoring. (Misunderstanding the glares) Not for YOU! I am well aware of your academic prowess, all five of you! I meant for you to offer your aid to those less… (Lynn opens her mouth to say something. Daria steps on her foot. Lynn glares at her but grudgingly bites back her comment.) …academically inclined.

Daria: Excuse me. May I point out that trying to walk other people through assignments would probably consume a lot more time, effort and patience than we can afford to be without? We're not far from the SATs, most of us are involved with the school production of "Romeo and Juliet" and this might really hinder our own efforts.

Caldwell: I see the point you're making, Ms Morgendorffer, but you might find that explaining the lessons to others will help you prove – maybe even improve – your OWN understanding of the material. And I think you underestimate yourself if you think you can't handle just a few hours' one-on-one tutoring on top of your current duties.

(Daria has an 'I told you so – why couldn't I have been wrong?' look on her face. Jane, Lynn and AP look less than impressed and Jodie looks miserable – 'the first step on the road back to martyrdom'. Then, Lynn gets a brainwave.)

Lynn: Excuse me – could I make a suggestion?

Caldwell: By all means.

Lynn: Well … because there aren't all that many of us being … 'asked to volunteer' … I would assume this is a trial run for a tutoring programme?

Caldwell: (impressed at her 'deductive reasoning') Why, yes, Ms Cullen.

Lynn: Well, in that case, a compromise. We volunteer our services for two weeks, then give a report on our progress. If anyone is remotely unsatisfied with the results of the experiment, we resign from tutoring until such time as a way of making the 'buddy system' concept work can be found.

Caldwell: And if all parties are satisfied with progress?

Lynn: (stifled sigh) Then we carry on with your tutoring programme as indicated.

Caldwell: (grin) Well, that sounds like a mature and sensible compromise. Accepted! (He leans across his desk and extends a hand. Lynn looks shocked. After a second, she takes it. Daria, Jane, Jodie and AP don't look like they can believe their eyes.) Now, if you'd like to follow me into reception, I'll introduce you to the students you'll be tutoring.

(Caldwell gets up and steps outside. The gang exchanges a look and follows. The door shuts behind them. After a moment…)

Quinn: (OS) TUTORING? Oh, NO!

Stacy: (OS; sobbing) But I didn't think my grades were THAT bad!

Tiffany: (OS) This is SO wrong…

(Scene: LHS corridor. "Once" – Pearl Jam. Daria, Jane, Jodie, Lynn and AP walking.)

AP: Can I ask what you were doing in there?

Lynn: What, the plea bargaining?

Jodie: Well, I was more surprised at the fact that you never even came CLOSE to making a threat … but basically, yeah.

Jane: I do NOT want to tutor Brittany in Art. I don't want to tutor ANYONE in Art. It's not something you can teach.

Daria: Like twirling your hair around your little finger and looking vacant.14

Jane: (groan) And if I'm quoting her NOW, imagine what I'm going to sound like after two weeks of trying to teach her about form and line.

Lynn: Thank you. I think you're already illustrating the point I hope to make to Caldwell.

Daria: (getting it) Oh. That could work.

AP: What? WHAT could work?

Jodie: Do you think you'll be able to teach Stacy ANYTHING?

AP: Not a snowflake's chance in hell. (finally getting it) If we try for two weeks and blow it…

Daria: We've followed through on our deal, only lost two weeks…

Lynn: And will have effectively killed any further attempt to institute this asinine 'buddy system' at Lawndale High.


Jane: (faux-dramatic) We will martyr ourselves for the brainy outcasts of the future.

Daria: (deadpan) We will strike a blow for Misery Chicks well into the next millennium.

Lynn: (smirk) We will be causing our new principal to take the first metaphorical pratfall of his career.

AP: (evil grin) Let's do it! How bad can it be?

(Daria, Jane, Lynn and Jodie look at him.)

Jodie: Don't jinx it, AP.

AP: (meekly) Sorry.

(Scene: History classroom. Music: "Dead Weight (A Life Less Ordinary)" – Beck. Daria is sitting next to Kevin. Kevin is tossing a football. Daria is gamely ignoring this.)

Daria: Okay, Kevin. Let's try to figure out what we'll need to focus hardest on in these tutoring sessions. How are you on Washington?

Kevin: The dollar bill guy! Right?

Daria: (stifled sigh) Yes, Kevin.

Kevin: All RIGHT! I'm the QB!

(Daria waits for elaboration. Kevin continues to grin smugly.)

Daria: Is that IT?

Kevin: Nah! (thinks) Um… Well, when we went to Disneyland a few summers ago, we went into the Hall of Presidents and he was there…

Daria: (thought VO) Don't say it; don't say it…

Kevin: (struggling to remember) He said … um … "Welcome to the Hall of Presidents"! Yeah!15

(Daria looks at him, sighs and drops her head on the table.)

(Scene: English room. Music plays on. Lynn sits next to Tiffany. She is fighting hard to keep her face deadpan. Tiffany is pretty much oblivious.)

Lynn: So you're working on "The Catcher in the Rye" now.

Tiffany: Um … I guess so…

Lynn: (choking back a sigh) Okay, how far into it are you?

Tiffany: Um … I don't know. I mean, I haven't even got to the baseball part of it yet.16

Lynn: (choking back a whimper) Tiffany, that doesn't help. It's not about baseball.

Tiffany: (confused) But…

Lynn: (trying not to yell) Trust me, Tiffany. It is NOT about baseball.

Tiffany: But then why is it called…

Lynn: Have you even OPENED the book?

Tiffany: Um … yeah… Once. (beat) Calvin used the blank page at the front to write my phone number on last Tuesday. (beat) At least, I THINK it was Tuesday…

(Lynn bites down hard on her lower lip, trying desperately to keep her temper.)

(Scene: Art class. Music plays on. Jane has set up a still life – a simple bowl of fruit. She is painting it realistically. She puts the finishing touches on an orange and then goes to see how Brittany's doing at the next easel over. Brittany's canvas looks like it's been sitting in a paintball range. Brittany looks frustrated. She peers over at Jane's painting.)

Brittany: Ooh, how PRETTY! How did you DO that?

Jane: Well … (realisation) I have no idea. I just … paint.

Brittany: (hair-twirling) Well … um … maybe if I sit and watch you for awhile, I'll be able to see how you're DOING so well!

Jane: (reluctant) Oh. Okay…

(She picks up a new brush and starts adding a bunch of green grapes. Brittany hovers, leaning closer until she's literally looking over Jane's shoulder. Jane tenses up, looking frustrated.)

Jane: Could you watch from somewhere a little farther away? (under her breath) Like Tijuana?

Brittany: (mild pout) But I can't see WHAT you're doing from all the way over THERE! (Jane sighs and mixes some white paint into a blob of green on her palette.) Oh, why are you doing THAT?

Jane: They're for shading on the grapes. Nothing natural is monochrome. (to Brittany's wide-eyed confusion) It means all one colour.

Brittany: Oh… (goes over to the fruit bowl, picks up the grapes)

Jane: Hey! I was PAINTING that!

Brittany: (oblivious, studying the grapes) That's weird. They look all one colour to ME! (holds them out to Jane; innocent smile) See? Green!

(Jane makes a kicked-dog noise under her breath.)

(Scene: science class. Music: "Kerosene" – Pitchshifter. A few jars and a beaker of water are standing on the table in front of AP and Stacy. AP is going through a book and talking in Stacy's general direction while looking.)

AP: Okay, we'll start you simple – group 1. Now, you know about hydrogen?

Stacy: Um … like hair bleach?

AP: Um … well, that's more the peroxide bit. But sort of. More like why the Hindenburg blew up. Though they're saying it wasn't because of the hydrogen now…

Stacy: Oh! How HORRIBLE! And I didn't even hear the news reports about THAT! (beat) What IS the Hindenburg?17

(AP looks at her. Her expression is all wide-eyed innocence.)

AP: Um … never mind, you don't need to know. Anyway, then there's the alkali metal series – lithium, sodium, potassium, rubidium, cesium and francium.

(He reaches for a jar. Stacy does the same with a jar next to it.)

AP: Alkali metals are reactive, which means that you don't find them in nature a lot.

(Stacy has removed a lump of silvery metal from her jar and is looking at it strangely. She grabs a towel and starts rubbing at it.)

AP: What I've got here is lithium. It'll react with water, but not as badly as… (turns to Stacy) WHAT ARE YOU…

(Stacy has thrown her chunk of metal into the water, and it reacts. Specifically, the metal ignites. Stacy screams and, at a loss for anything else to do, reaches for the beaker. AP grabs her by the arm.)


(AP grabs a pair of tongs, removes the burning metal from the water, dumps it into an empty petri dish and puts a lid on it. Then he turns to Stacy, who is on the verge of tears.)

Stacy: (tremulous) I … I'm SORRY, AP!

(She bursts into tears. AP looks at her, sighs and grabs a paper towel from the counter next to a nearby sink.)

AP: (handing her the paper towel) THAT was sodium metal. At its most reactive, I guess.18

Stacy: (sobbing) It was just that it looked so PRETTY, except it was covered in OIL and I wanted it to look all SHINY like it was supposed to and… (breaks down into incomprehensible sobbing, covering her face with the paper towel.)

AP: (under his breath) Hoboy…

(Scene: Lynn's room. Music: "Dumb" – Nirvana. Jane is sprawled out across Lynn's bed in the 'something eating at my soul' pose. Daria is sitting cross-legged on the floor, flipping through a history textbook. Lynn is standing across from her dartboard, knife at the ready.19)

Jane: She's a useless artist. (*thunk* as Lynn's knife hits the dartboard) I'M a useless TEACHER. I mean, I don't know how I do what I do as well as I do it! What's WRONG with me?

Lynn: (pulling knife out of dartboard) You're an artist. For an artist, there is no why.

Daria: Anyway, I don't think it's just you. (*thunk* as knife hits dartboard) We're trying to teach the unteachable.

Lynn: (looking at knife in dartboard; muttered) There's just no challenge to this. (to Daria) You're not kidding. It took nearly an hour for Tiffany to READ the first chapter of "The Catcher in the Rye", never mind understand what it was about.

Daria: I think I know what you mean. Everything Kevin knows about history, he learned from Saturday morning cartoons and slacker-movies. (beat) But there should be much rejoicing.

Jane: (tired-sounding) Eh?

Daria: Remember, we WANT to fail to teach them anything. The only reason we're TRYING is so no one will think we're deliberately sabotaging Caldwell's 'buddy system'.

Lynn: Yeah. In this case, we only succeed if we fail. Or rather, if THEY do.

Daria: Hmm. Succeeding at failing. What a concept.20

(They shrug. Jane goes back to soul-eating. Daria goes back to her book. Lynn sighs and pulls her knife out of the dartboard, going back to throwing position.)

(Montage sequence. Music: "No More Nervous Breakdown" – Me Mom & Morgentaler. Jane in the art room, looking over Brittany's shoulder at a canvas she's doing. Jane squints at it – it's a blue blotch with green sticks sticking out of it. On top of each green stick is a pink asterisk-shaped blotch. Jane looks over to where a blue vase full of pink roses stands and sighs in despair.

Science lab. AP is standing with Stacy behind a lab table. A beaker is simmering over a Bunsen burner on the table. AP hands her a test tube full of clear liquid and then turns to a textbook lying open on the table. Stacy looks at the test tube for a moment, then empties the contents into the beaker. AP turns back to her and looks at the empty test tube in her hand. Then at the beaker. Then back at the test tube. Then his eyes widen and he ducks under the table. A moment later, he grabs Stacy by the front of the shirt and pulls her down as the glassware on the table blows up.

Library. Daria is pointing out something in a book. She looks up when she realises no one is paying attention to her, and sees that Kevin is building a house out of the textbooks they've amassed. She glares at him. Oblivious to her look, he tries to balance one more book and the whole thing caves in. The librarian shoots them a dirty look. Kevin gives his sheepish 'sorry' grin. Daria glares harder.

English class. Tiffany reading aloud – in her painfully slow manner – from "The Catcher in the Rye". Lynn is sitting on O'Neill's desk, gripping the edge hard enough for her fingernails to carve marks in the wood.)

END ACT 2 – ADVERTS [Lead-in: AP pulling Stacy under the science lab table]

Nescafe Ice: People looking perfectly happy packed in ice and holding up bottles of iced coffee. We don't have enough heat in this country to justify this advert.

Next in The Look-Alike Series: Mystik Spiral enters a Battle of the Bands and Lynn and AP meet a few old 'friends' in "Thrash of the Titans".

(Scene: Pizza King. Music: "Sweating Bullets" – Megadeth. The gang at their favourite booth. AP is pale and shaky – the phrase 'shell-shocked' springs to mind. Lynn is far too quiet and the look in her eyes is extremely worrying. Jane is pressing her fingers to her temples; she looks like she's in physical pain. Daria's the only one who looks remotely normal, and even she seems more downbeat than usual.)

AP: I am NOT going back in there. That … that … that…

Lynn: (too-calm mutter) Incompetent, bubble-headed, self-absorbed little b…

Daria: (attempt at soothing) Lynn…

AP: She's going to kill us BOTH. She makes stuff I thought was INERT blow up. (beat) Did I tell you what she thought was a good idea to do with sodium metal?

Daria: (weary) Yes.

Jane: (pained) Several times.

Lynn: (in a very unpleasant world of her own) Do you have any idea how satisfying it would be to yank one of Tiffany's fingernails out every time her recitation speed drops below ten words a minute?

Daria: You'd run out eventually.

Lynn: I could move on to toes. I wouldn't even have to fumble with laces. She wears slip-ons.

Daria: You are NOT going to torture her into doing better, Lynn.

Jane: (weakly) Well, nothing ELSE works.

Daria: I take it the art classes aren't going very well?

Jane: (despairing wail) My muse is DEAD! Every time I try to do anything artistic, I keep hearing Brittany squeaking at me. Asking me how I did that. Asking me why HER painting doesn't look like that. Asking me why I can't paint her a nice picture of her Kevvy. Then whatever pinpoint of inspiration I had just VANISHES and I'm stuck with nothing but a dripping paintbrush and a canvas that's laughing maniacally at me!

(Jane drops her head onto her desk. There is silence. You can almost hear Lynn's teeth grinding.)

Daria: Um … I think you guys might be taking this a bit too seriously. Remember, this means that everything's going according to plan.

AP: I don't think you understand. Let me try to explain. (beat) I … don't … WANT to die!

Lynn: I am watching a much-loved piece of modern literature being mangled beyond recognition by someone who considers 'Waif' to be a challenging read. (beat) It makes me want to CLAW things.

Jane: (muffled wail through table) I want my MUSE back, damnit!

(Daria looks from Jane [still facedown on the table] to AP [jittering slightly] to Lynn [fists clenched so hard the knuckles are white] with growing concern.)

(Scene: LHS corridor. Music: "Protection" – Massive Attack. Jodie at her locker. Daria approaches.)

Daria: Hey, Jodie. How goes the tutoring?

Jodie: (turning to face her) Oh, hey, Daria. Actually, I'm not doing that anymore. (to Daria's raised eyebrow) Quinn and Ted went to Mr Caldwell proposing that Ted be Quinn's tutor instead of me.21 They presented a good case and he agreed to it. So I'm free.

Daria: So the relationship with Ted IS good for something.

Jodie: From my point of view, anyway. (beat) How are you coping with Kevin?

Daria: (grim) Not as badly as the others.

Jodie: That bad, huh?

Daria: Well, the problem is that Jane, Lynn and AP actually care about what they're teaching. Jane's lost her muse by trying to dissect her work and she's rabidly depressed. Lynn is trying to turn literature into a 'I Can Read' book and it's making her … violent. And AP is dealing with someone who will throw together any chemicals she can get her hands on just to see what happens. You can't make a loud noise within three feet of him without him going fetal.

Jodie: (wide-eyed) Ouch. (beat) They won't last out two weeks?

Daria: No. If this doesn't stop soon, a body count will be involved. (beat) Any ideas?

Jodie: (thinking) Well… (inspiration hits) Meet me in the library after your tutoring session.

(Daria looks at her slightly suspiciously. Jodie smirks.)

(Scene: Caldwell's office. Music plays on. Daria and Jodie are sitting side-by-side in front of Caldwell's desk. Caldwell is sifting through some papers. He looks up at them.)

Caldwell: I take it Kevin Thompson isn't taking well to the tutoring?

Daria: Kevin Thompson … (forces herself to be kind) is the sort of student who would respond better to a professional tutor.

Caldwell: Well, judging from the work he's done, (waves papers) I'm forced to agree with you. (beat) Now how about the others?

Jodie: That's what we wanted to talk to you about.

Daria: Not only is the 'buddy system' tutoring not showing any strong benefit to the students being tutored, but it's having a detrimental effect on the tutors themselves.

Caldwell: (surprised) Indeed?

Jodie: If you have a moment, we can show you what we mean.

(They stand up. Caldwell, looking a bit confused, follows suit. They exit.)

(Scene: science lab. Music plays on. AP, in lab coat and goggles, is nervously watching Stacy as she works at a complicated glassware set-up.)

AP: Okay, that's fine, seems to be distilling away nicely. (beat; suspicious) Um … where's the thermometer?

Stacy: What thermometer? (beat) Oh, THAT thermometer! I didn't think it was very important…

(AP grabs her by the back of her lab coat and drags her to a safe distance. And the glassware goes BOOM. There is a pause.)

AP: (shaky) I … TOLD … you … to … monitor … the … temperature… (trying to breathe normally) You heat that stuff too much, it goes bang. (beat) A LOT of organic chemistry goes bang. (whimper)

(Stacy looks at him and starts to cry. Cut to the doorway, where Daria, Jodie and Caldwell are watching.)

Caldwell: Oh my…

(Scene: English classroom. Music plays on. Lynn is standing by the blackboard, a piece of chalk in her hands. Her temper is obviously straining the leash.)

Lynn: Okay, Tiffany. Now have you figured out anything about Holden Caulfield yet? Anything that defines him as a character?

Tiffany: Yeah… He hung around with total LOSERS.

(Lynn stands very still and closes her eyes for a moment.)

Lynn: BESIDES that.

Tiffany: (struggling) Um … not really. I mean, I don't GET this book. I mean, the people don't know how to dress or anything. It's SO outdated…

Lynn: (frustrated sigh) Remember what I said about period pieces, Tiffany?

Tiffany: Um … I think I was doing my nails when you said that…

(The chalk snaps between Lynn's fingers.)

Lynn: (fighting to keep a level tone) I think we've done enough for today. Could you read the next chapter before tomorrow's session? I think you'll understand better once we get to where Holden leaves school.

Tiffany: (obviously lying) Um … sure. (beat) Later.

(Tiffany heads for the door. We get a glimpse of Daria, Jodie and Caldwell ducking out of the way, which Tiffany doesn't notice. When Lynn is alone [or thinks she is], she stands very still for a moment… then lets out an inarticulate scream of total frustration and drops into O'Neill's chair, dropping her head onto the desk. Cut to Caldwell, Daria and Jodie, who leave the doorway and start walking down the corridor.)

Caldwell: Is Ms Lane faring this badly as well?

Daria: She's less angry than she is utterly depressed.

Jodie: She's an intuitive artist, Mr Caldwell. Trying to TEACH it interferes with her DOING it.

Caldwell: Well … thank you for keeping me apprised of the situation. (beat; musing) I think I may have to rethink this 'buddy system' if this is the effect it has…

(Caldwell walks away, looking thoughtful. Daria and Jodie share a smirk.)

(Scene: LHS corridor. Music: "Today" – Smashing Pumpkins. Daria at her locker. AP and Lynn approach.)

AP: You talked him into giving up the 'buddy system'. (Daria nods) You are a GODDESS!

Lynn: I should have known you had something to do with this. (beat) Thank you, Daria. I wasn't in any frame of mind to come up with something on my own.

Daria: Well, I've been on the receiving end of Tiffany's grip of the language. After a few days of it, ANYONE'S brain would be tapioca.

(Jane runs up, smiling broadly, nearly bouncing.)

Jane: The muse is BACK! I filled three notepads with sketches of Brittany's encounters with torture implements! (beat; to Lynn) Thanks for lending me that book, by the way.22

Lynn: No problem. The mood I've been in the last week, it wouldn't have been safe in MY hands.

(Enter Jodie, looking smug.)

Jodie: It worked?

Daria: (equally smug) OH yeah.

Jodie: (to Lynn) We are now officially even.23 (to Jane and AP) But YOU two … you owe me.

Jane: Pizza-fest after school? We're buying.

Jodie: (grin) Sounds great. Is Mack invited?

AP: Why not?

Lynn: Guys? (regretful) I can't. I have somewhere to be after school. Jodie – Daria – I'll take a rain check, okay?

(All four of them just look at her. Bell rings; Lynn takes off. The others look at each other – Daria looks suspicious; AP worried; Jane and Jodie utterly confused – and then head to their classes.)



1] Originally, a picture of Kevin resided on the faculty lounge dartboard to cover the one of Ms Li ["The Daria Diaries"]. In "And Then There Were Four", DeMartino replaced both photos with one of AP.[Back]

2] Again, the macramé things courtesy of "The Daria Diaries". [Back]

3] If we remember "Malled", Dianne Bennett is really into Fuzzy-Wuzzy Wee-bits. [Back]

4] Prior to "Run Away From Homecoming", Barch was notorious for grading on a curve against the male members of all her classes. After the blackmailing, though, she stopped. [Back]

5] Barch and O'Neill have been an item pretty much since "The Daria Hunter". And Barch is fairly aggressive about the physical side. Who DOESN'T think they've gone at it in the teacher's lounge? [Back]

6] Read "World Geek Show" for more on that. It explains the faculty group wince, believe me. [Back]

7] I'm assuming that her slow reading in "It Happened One Nut" was as much poor reading skills and potential dyslexia as her usual speaking voice. [Back]

8] Sorry, Kara. Quinn MIGHT be good at math. Here, she's not. [Back]

9] Brittany's art prowess [or lack thereof] has come up twice – "The Invitation" and "Arts N Crass". [Back]

10] Lynn, as you'll recall, has been acting rather strangely since "Sister, Sister". She has her reasons … mainly to do with the attack on her in "Liaisons" and some revelations concerning same delivered by her father in "Sister, Sister". [Back]

11] We all know about "The Real World"? That show that is supposed to show real life but doesn't even come close? Then we're all on the same page and I won't continue. [Back]

12] All four of them are in the school production of "Romeo and Juliet", as of "An Irony of Errors". For those of you who've forgotten, Daria's the chorus, Jane's the Nurse and AP and Lynn are the title characters. [Back]

13] A moment of silence for Mario Puzo, author of "The Godfather", if you please. [Back]

14] Way, WAY back in "The Invitation". Daria: Well, you could show me how to twirl my hair around my little finger and look vacant. Brittany: I don't know if that's something you can teach. [Back]

15] Okay, has anyone ever seen "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure"? Well, the 'dollar bill guy' line and the following are borrowed from that. [Back]

16] I know, I know, it's a cliché. But I did this book at Tiffany's age and the horror sticks. [Back]

17] For those of you who don't know, the Hindenburg was an airship. It was headed for the US and it blew up. Daria has a picture of it in her locker. And now there's an article somewhere that says the hydrogen wasn't to blame. [Back]

18] Respect to Ben Yee. Prior to his tales of doing a similar sort of thing with a lump of sodium and a swimming pool, I was struggling to remember what metal did this. [Back]

19] Lynn started doing this in "Admission: Impossible". [Back]

20] Another reference to "The F Word", even though it never happened in this continuum. After all, Mack had to fail at teaching Kevin in that one… [Back]

21] Quinn is dating Ted Dewitt-Clinton as of TLASS1's "Love Him or Leave Him". Ted's smart, if naïve, so it's likely that he'd be able to tutor Quinn in math. [Back]

22] If you remember "A Meeting of the Brains", torture devices are something of a hobby of Lynn's. Her excuse: "Required learning for the damn novels." [Back]

23] "Grating Expectations" – Lynn and Daria coach Jodie in the art of blowing people off. [Back]


Daria Morgendorffer et al are the creations of Glenn Eichler and Susie Lewis Lynn but are owned by MTV, a Viacom company, copyright 1997, 2000. [Apparently, this is possible by 'work for hire', a concept that eludes me.] Lynn Cullen and AP McIntyre, on the other hand, were created and are owned by me, one Janet 'Canadibrit' Neilson, copyright 1999, 2000. Touch my characters without consulting me and it will go hard with you. This is a "substantially transformative" derivative work, apparently [what a highfalutin way to say fanfic], and is protected by the Supreme Court's decision in re Campbell v. Acuff Rose Music, so keep the copyright notice where it is and don't post it for money. If you do so without my permission and that of MTV Networks, I WILL pull a Lynn Cullen on you. And then I'll call lawyers.

Back to Canadibrit's fics