(Montage teaser sequence. Music: Splendora -- "You're Standing On My Neck".

Lynn at her locker, converged upon by Stacy and the other cheerleaders [huddled into a protective knot formation] on one side and Brittany [dressed in a pink skirt and white T-shirt that looks like her cheerleading uniform but isn't] on the other.

Jane surrounded by a mid-sized group of children aged six through twelve, standing in front of the Lawndale Elementary School sign. She holds up a bag -- it is full of cans of spray-paint, a few tubes of Crazy Glue and several containers of glitter. The kids grin and reach into the bag.

Daria, Jane and Lynn walking down a Lawndale street, talking. They stop and turn as they hear a noise, and then a screaming AP staggers quickly past them, being dragged by a number of dogs -- a giant Rottweiler, a German Shepherd, a Great Dane, three Corgis, a Chihuahua and a pair of sickeningly cute Lhasa Apsos.

Jake on a used car lot, talking to a dealer. He pats a black 1982 two-door Toyota Tercel that looks like a good kick might reduce it to its component parts. Jake turns, grinning, to Daria, who is standing at a slight distance from the car, arms folded. She just shakes her head in something that's on the emotional scale between despair and disgust.

Daria and Jodie in a makeshift broadcast studio, talking into a mike. Visible through the soundproof glass behind them is Caldwell, looking strangely agitated. After a moment, his expression takes on a more worried look and he jogs out.

A deserted factory. Tiffany, dressed in white, peering blankly into a birdcage. Lying at the bottom is a dead bird. Upchuck approaches from behind her, his hair slicked back, dressed in black in best post-makeover tradition. He turns her around and they kiss deeply.

A men's room. O'Neill huddled into a ball on the floor, sobbing his pathetic little heart out. Four familiar pairs of boots walk into shot and stop in front of him. Pan up to the confused-looking Daria, Jane, Lynn and AP.

Daria and Lynn, side-by-side, looking at each other and giving the traditional Mona Lisa smile. Pan in and out to change to the TLAS logo. Writing in Daria font underneath reads...

Good Morning, Lawndale High - TLAS 5:03

(Scene: Caldwell's office. Music: Everclear -- "Here We Go Again". Caldwell is looking through a number of stacks of paper, frowning. There's a knock at the door and then Mr O'Neill enters, looking nervous [but then, that's not exactly news].)

O'Neill: Good morning, Mr Caldwell. I ... ah ... how was your ... sabbatical?

Caldwell: Relaxing as it needed to be. Gave me some thinking time, Timothy. And you know what I realised?

O'Neill: That you perhaps should take the hijinx and protests of the more ... free-spirited members of the student body less to heart and embrace the natural desire to ... to reach out to each other?

Caldwell: God, no, Timothy; come out of your commune! What those "free-spirited members of the student body" need is some activity that'll keep them out of trouble. So they don't reach out for inappropriate parts of one another.

O'Neill: Oh ... that's a wonderful idea, Mr Caldwell. I think. Uh ... it isn't going to be anything too...

Caldwell: Part of me would really like to make some arbitrary rules about mandatory sports or automatic student council places for anyone with a GPA above 3.7, but that's unprincipled. Besides, I've seen those four play sports and if they ever got onto the Council ... the words "the lunatics have taken over the asylum" come to mind.

O'Neill: Mr Caldwell, that's a little harsh, don't you think?

Caldwell: Plain speaking, Timothy -- that's the key. But don't worry; I've found a better way, and it kills two birds with one stone.

(Off O'Neill's confused look.)

(Scene: LHS corridor. Music plays on. It's dusty and obviously unused. Mr O'Neill and Mr Caldwell are talking along it.)

O'Neill: I barely knew we had an upper level in the school.

Caldwell: I had a look around the place over the Christmas break; wanted to see about how much the removal of the security Angela Li put in around the school would set us back.

O'Neill: Wouldn't it have been ... safer to have a professional contractor look it over?

Caldwell: Timothy, have you noticed the budget? Oh, no, of course, that would imply there's a budget to notice.

O'Neill: Well, after the much-delayed cost of living increase -- which the teachers greatly appreciated, in case we somehow forgot to mention...

Caldwell: After that, we as a school are busted to the heels. But there's a solution. Perhaps you remember that soda company representative that visited the school awhile back? The one who essentially wanted to turn the school into a billboard?

O'Neill: Yes, and may I say it was a wonderful thing you did, putting the principle of the thing ahead of the money that could have gone to...

Caldwell: Oh, stop gushing, Timothy. Well, they gave me an idea. I won't let the school become some kind of corporate shill, but maybe a few local advertising dollars wouldn't hurt.

(They have stopped at a door at the far end of the corridor.)

O'Neill: But local advertisers wouldn't be all that interested in putting up posters or chipping in for a scoreboard...

(Scene: black. Music plays on. A door opens and Caldwell and O'Neill are silhouetted in the light coming in from a corridor.)

Caldwell: That's where this comes in.

O'Neill: Oh my.

(Scene: Morgendorffer house, ext. Daria's waiting at the kerb. The Merc pulls up -- containing Lynn, behind the wheel, AP in shotgun and Jane in the back -- and Daria gets into the back.)

(Scene: the Merc, int.)

Daria: No music?

Lynn: CD player's on the blink.

AP: And I gotta tell ya, Erudite Emerald, the morning radio in this burg blows.

Daria: You mean you've been subjected to Bing and the Spatula Man?

Jane: And the country-western and classic rock that invades the rest of the FM band?

Lynn: I do webcast at home, but this place could really use at least one alternative station.

Jane: Yeah, like that's gonna happen. I've lived here all my life and so far, those two dipsticks not even puppets could make funny are as alternative as it gets.

Daria: And you don't think that'll ever change.

Jane: This is Lawndale, Daria. This place never changes.

(Scene: LHS corridor. Music: GF93 -- "Today's the Same". AP's rummaging through his overstuffed locker Jane's going through her own locker a few down the line.)

AP: Give it up, Art-Smart Scarlet! They've got you cold.

Jane: Look, that doesn't count!

Daria: In the last few years, Lawndale's seen three new families. The Gupty children went from the Von Trapps to the Children of the Damned. Ms Barch has been forced to at least tone down her "all men are failures so let their grades reflect it" policy. The Fashion Club was revamped, and then disbanded. We have a new principal...

Lynn: And we're not talking about why she left or the rest of it...

Daria: We're short one math teacher, two students and a building on the edge of town. Mystik Spiral has been thoroughly reformed, no pun intended. And then there's the cheerleading squad. And in the face of all that, you can honestly stand there and tell me that Lawndale hasn't changed.

Jane: As a town, it hasn't changed. Same stores in Cranberry Commons, same pizza at Pizza King...

Lynn: Except the APizza.

Jane: And how you made them add that to the menu boggles the mind. Anyway, we were talking about music. And the only things that rock in this town are the Zen and Rockin' Randy.

Daria: So what you're saying is that Lawndale has changed, but not in the ways you want it to.

Jane: No, what I'm saying is... (wry smirk) I'm saying I give up. Lawndale's changed. But the music still sucks.

(Scene: O'Neill's classroom. Music plays on. The class seems to be taking a test; all but Daria and Lynn in the front of the room, each with their test papers face down on the desks before them, each reading a book [John King's "Human Punk" for Lynn, the collected Samuel Beckett for Daria]. Bell rings.)

Caldwell: (from PA) Good morning, Lawndale High student body. Could all the students who were involved in last year's production of Romeo and Juliet please meet with myself and the head of Drama Horizons in the auditorium after school this afternoon. Attendance is not exactly mandatory, but failure to attend will be frowned upon and may result in a black mark on your permanent record. Thank you.

(PA clicks off. Daria and Lynn share a look.)

Daria: (sotto) Maybe Lawndale hasn't changed that much after all.

(Scene: Auditorium. Music plays on. Daria, Jane, Lynn and AP in a huddle towards the back. The rest of the group from the play -- Jack "Crew Cut" Paterson, Alice, Bill and the rest -- are closer to the front. Kevin and Brittany are on opposite sides of the room from each other. Caldwell takes the podium, with O'Neill at his right shoulder.)

Caldwell: Well, it looks like you're all here ... no, wait, someone's missing...

O'Neill: (sotto) Uh ... Charles Ruttheimer, Mr Caldwell ... the ... ah ... incident during the Houston field trip?

Caldwell: (wince) Oh. Right. So they are all here. Well! I called you all here because the school is planning something that the more thespian of the students will appreciate.

Daria: And we appreciate it even more with the added incentive he gave us to attend.

Caldwell: Now, it may surprise you to learn that this school has the facilities to broadcast on the FM band. And, besides giving us a whole new realm of extra-curricular activity to explore as a school, there are more than a dozen local businesses that are already buying advertising slots.

AP: Is this where I can say "will work for bandwidth" and not sound like a geek?

Lynn: No. It's more like "will pay for airtime".

AP: Nuts.

Caldwell: But to make the station really worth advertising on, we need the best amateur disc jockeys Lawndale High has to offer. And since you've all proven yourselves on the stage already, you were selected specially for the audition process.

Jane: Because everyone knows this town appreciates a bit of culture.

O'Neill: Now, I think this is a wonderful opportunity for you! A radio station by students, for students! A spot on the air waves where you can be free to express yourselves as you see fit!

Caldwell: Now, Timothy, I think...

(But he's drowned out by the approving noises made by the rest of the students.)

O'Neill: Alright, let's show Mr Caldwell exactly what radio stars you can be! Alphabetically ... ah ... (checks a list) Cullen, Lynn?

Lynn: (sotto) One day I'm going to change it to Smythe just so I don't have to be first in line.

(She gets up and heads down towards the stage.)

(Scene: Pizza King. Music: Arena -- "Chosen". The gang are sitting at a booth, nibbling.)

Jane: I think this could actually be kinda cool. I mean, you heard Mr O'Neill. By students, for students. Finally we'll get a radio station we can listen to.

Daria: Only because we're doing most of the work on it.

Jane: Hey, the man has taste!

Lynn: I don't know. Caldwell didn't look very happy with the "freedom of expression" idea.

AP: Well, he didn't say anything much about it, right?

Daria: Shock does that to people. Maybe we should be waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Lynn: Or maybe we should just get out while we still can. This thing's an extracurricular activity -- it can't be mandatory.

Jane: Hey, you were the one complaining about no decent radio stations. You're gonna throw away the chance to make something decent?

AP: And some of the cash from the ads'll probably go to the chem lab, right? Yesterday I had to bring in my Li'l Bastard glassware cos everything else was broken or gunked up.

Daria: I would have thought you'd be more worried about the computer lab.

AP: Like I use it anymore. I have blowtorch fodder at home that's better than that stuff.

Lynn: It's for the good of the school. And while I'd avoid it like the plague on that basis alone, Jane has a point about making sure that there's at least one alternative haven in a town plagued with country-western, classic rock and boy-band warbling.

Jane: So you're in?

Lynn: Sure. We can team up -- Blunt and Blunter. (beat) What about you two?

AP: Punk will live! And I can run the boards.

(They all turn to Daria. A pause, then she sighs.)

Daria: Welcome to WLHS; and now the news.


Flake -- Skinny leggy blonde eating this crumbly chocolate bar in a zero-gravity chamber. "Flake" is right -- I hear zero-gee makes you too nauseous to even think of eating unless you're practiced.

Feria Colour Booster -- I always thought the point of dyeing your hair was to make it look natural. So why boost the colour until it looks like someone spray-painted your head?

(Scene: Chez Cullen, ext. Music: REM -- "Radio Song". Jane's up the trellis and peering in Lynn's window.)

Jane: It's six a.m.; do you know where your ... whoa!

(Clinging to the trellis, she ducks. A pillow flies over her head and out the window.)

Jane: Not a morning person.

(Scene: McIntyre house, ext. Music plays on. The Merc idles outside. There's a box full of CDs on the dashboard on the passenger side. Lynn is guzzling coffee at the wheel. Jane's looking at her with some amusement.)

Jane: Long night with the Reformed?

Lynn: You couldn't tell?

Jane: I'm working in foam. First thing I made was earplugs. (beat; pointing to the box) This the music?

Lynn: Freedom of expression, remember? I'm sure Andrea and her ilk'll appreciate it, anyway.

(AP slams out of the house -- unlaced boots, jacket hanging off one shoulder, mostly closed eyes. He approaches the Merc and walks right into it. Jane smirks and opens the door for him. He falls right into the backseat and just sprawls there. Jane closes the door behind him.)

Jane: No morning people left in the world.

AP: Drrrmjggrh.

Jane: I didn't get that one.

Lynn: He said "damn joggers". (revs engine) I concur.

(Scene: LHS corridor. Music plays on. Caldwell's waiting by the door he opened for O'Neill before; Jane and Lynn approach. AP staggers along behind, clutching the CD box and Lynn's thermos.)

Caldwell: Good morning.

AP: Wssfgngdbtut?

Caldwell: What's he say?

Lynn: Loosely translated, "What's so good about it?".

Caldwell: You kids -- haven't you heard the one about "early to bed, early to rise"?

Jane: Yeah. Leaves a man healthy, wealthy and ... bored.

Caldwell: Ah. Right. Changing times. Anyway, welcome to WLHS broadcast centre!

(Scene: black again. Music plays on. The door opens and we see the group silhouetted for a moment before Caldwell hits the lights. Pan back to see what they see -- it's kind of makeshift, but it's not bad as far as broadcast studios go. There's a pane of soundproof glass dividing up the room -- the part farthest from the door is a sound stage.)

Caldwell: So what do you think?

(AP guzzles coffee, chokes, then blinks.)

AP: Mmm... yeah, it's not bad. I think I can mess with some of this.

Caldwell: (worried) "Mess with"?

AP: Yeah; I can pop this stuff open and tweak it no sweat.

Caldwell: Right ... you're on the air in ... oh my goodness, two minutes.

Jane: Great! Let's get set up!

(She grabs the CDs from AP and heads through to the sound area. AP pulls a Leatherman and starts digging in bits of equipment. Lynn goes to follow Jane, but Caldwell stops her by putting a hand on her arm.)

Caldwell: Uh ... okay, Lynn ... I just wanted to say ... good luck and ... well, given that this is public radio ... ifyoufollowtheserulesitshouldbefine!

(He hands her a sheet of paper; she looks at it as if it's contaminated.)

Lynn: I thought this was someplace where we could express ourselves as we see fit.

Caldwell: Ah, yes, well ... in light of ... certain incidents... You'd better get in to get the show started. I'll be listening from my office -- good luck and don't forget the guidelines!

(Exit Caldwell at speed. Lynn looks at the paper again, then at the door through which Caldwell scurried.)

Lynn: Of course you realise, this means war. (beat) And to think I would've gone easy on him.

(Scene: the sound booth. Enter Lynn with a bland expression. Jane looks at her oddly, then shrugs it off and flicks a switch -- an intercom between the two parts of the studio.)

Jane: AP, drop it; we're on!

(AP pokes his head up, flicks a few switches and then gives a thumbs-up. Light marked "On Air" goes on and Jane and Lynn cosy up to their mics.)

Lynn: (Robin Williams impression) Gooooooood morning (normal) awtahelleithit. Students of Lawndale High, and whoever else has found this little piece of the airwaves, welcome to Radio Shmoe.

Jane: ("this isn't in the script") Radio Shmoe?

Lynn: Yes, Radio Shmoe, the station that's as alternative as you can get when you combine the dictatorial ideas of both the FCC and a Texas high school. Because this rule sheet I just got handed basically says, "if you follow this, that's what you are -- a mindless shmoe."

(And she hands the paper over to Jane. Her eyebrows go up as she scans it.)

(Scene: Caldwell's office. He's listening into this on a portable radio and getting more and more appalled by the second.)

Jane: (from radio) Yeah ... I guess I see your point. But the listeners aren't going to get that.

Lynn: (from radio) Then let's give them a taste of it. Ladies, gentlemen and Lawndale High students, before we begin, here's a list of the list of words we're not allowed to say on air.

(By now, Caldwell's out of his chair and out the door, the portable radio in his hand.)

(Scene: broadcast studio. Caldwell turns up behind the soundproof glass and glares in. AP looks at him oddly.)

Jane: (smirk) That's a pretty comprehensive list, there, Lynn.

Lynn: But I guess I've said them all on air now. I've already broken the rules.

Jane: Oooops.

Lynn: So what should I do? Should I atone, or...

Jane: Hell, no! My grandmother used to say "In for a penny, in for a pound".

Lynn: Well, in that case, here's a little offering from some freaks in Australia. It's called "Fuck the Goddamn World".

(Cut to the other side of the glass. AP's headbanging to the tune; Caldwell turns on him.)

Caldwell: What does she think she's doing?

AP: What Wimp-in-the-Willows said. Expressing herself as she sees fit. (beat) I like this song. Napster kicks, doesn't it? (beat) It's not gonna last, but it kicks anyway.

Caldwell: This is ... is ... bootlegged?

AP: How else do you think she heard about some Aussie punkers if not on the Net? Well, there's always filesharing...

Caldwell: Rrrrrrrgh!

(He slams out angrily. AP stares after him, then goes back to the headbanging.)

(Scene: LHS cafeteria. Music: Supersuckers -- "The Evil Powers of Rock 'N' Roll". Daria and Jane at a table.)

Daria: You made quite the impression on air this morning.

Jane: Impression? Impression like cocktail party or impression like metal shop?

Daria: Impression as in dents in the refridgerator door in the shape of Quinn's head. (average Quinn inpersonation) "Don't I hear enough of this kind of thing at practice? Ew, what is this stuff? How many times can they use that F-word in a song anyway?" (normal) I've never seen her so frustrated.

Jane: And you loved every minute of it?

Daria: Particularly the minute after I told her that AP was planning a punk-fest after school.

(Enter Lynn and AP.)

Lynn: Sorry. We got accosted by Andrea. She was asking on behalf of the Name-Droppers if I'd play something off the demo.

AP: We told her we'd get to it next week if the Nose didn't shut us down by then.

Jane: They can't shut us down. Who else are they going to get? You saw what happened when Brittany talked into that microphone.

Daria: Dogs howling over a three-block radius and probably some dolphins trying to get here to answer her mating call.

AP: And the feedback -- I thought those speakers were gonna blow up.

Jane: So, Daria, you got any plans for all that "freedom of expression"?

Daria: Jodie and I are supposed to be doing a news report in fifteen minutes. Student news. Somehow they think it's human interest.

Lynn: (raised eyebrow) Student news?

(Scene: the studio. Music plays on. Daria and Jodie in front of the mics. Caldwell watching while AP works the sound boards. Caldwell looks exceedingly stressed out -- it has apparently been a very long morning.)

Caldwell: The news. Student news. They can't do anything too bad with student news.

(AP just grins.)

Daria: Welcome to Radio Shmoe news.

Caldwell: Stop calling it that!

AP: They can't hear you, Mr C.

Daria: The main news -- the cafeteria has reported that they're adding real meat to the meatloaf in a revolutionary move. Unfortunately, the 'real meat' is reputed to be rat.

Caldwell: That's slander! (beat; to AP) That is slander, isn't it? (beat) Oh, why am I asking you?

Jodie: In sports news, the Lawndale Lions basketball team has suffered another devastating loss to the Oakwood Eagles, who trampled our 'pride', a hundred and fifty points to six. This might have been due to Kevin Thompson, the right guard, sustaining a hit to the head after being knocked down by a rogue rebound. Thompson insisted on playing the game out despite possible concussion and complaints of double vision, stating only "I'm the QB".

Daria: So there you have it. Kevin Thompson's academic performance finally explained.

Caldwell: That's cruelty!

AP: Allegory too. No, not allegory ... acrimony? Antimony? (beat) Accuracy, that's it!

Caldwell: How do you explain your academic failings, young man?

AP: (cheerful) Same way Art-Smart Scarlet does, Mr C. Chemical fumes!

(Caldwell rolls his eyes in despair)

Daria: (looking out the window) And in other news, a hearty congratulations to Lawndale High's resident vandals, who were last seen by a nameless source slashing Mr Caldwell's car tyres in a classic display of respect for administrator authority.

Caldwell: That's ... my car? Did she say my car?

(Caldwell, his face even more worried and agitated, runs out.)

Jodie: I guess that just shows that the classics never die.

Daria: And on that note, until our next update, this is Radio Shmoe wishing you as good an afternoon as it's possible to have on a workday.

(AP grins at them, giving two thumbs up.)

(Scene: LHS parking lot. Music: Therapy? -- "Hellbelly". Caldwell is standing by his car, looking at his slashed tyres.)

Caldwell: Anarchists. Hooligans. (beat) TEENAGERS!

(Brittany comes up to him in her pink and white outfit, looking at his car.)

Brittany: Whoa; Mr Caldwell, I didn't know you were getting a low-rider. You know, you really don't need to try to match up with the students cos you're a principal and everything and you're, like, supposed to be different from the students.

Caldwell: No, Brittany, I... (sigh) I'll keep that in mind, Brittany. Did you want anything else?

Brittany: Well, I just wanted to say that I really like the new radio station -- Radio Shmoe is getting really cool and now I don't have to have that drippy gunk in my hair to listen to interesting music. So ... thanks!

(She leaves. Caldwell looks after her, then kicks the flat tyre -- his foot connects with the hub and he screams.)


Always -- Sanitary pads. Having the confidence to wriggle around in your bed during that time of the month is one thing, but I think it's a bigger show of confidence in the pads that the model's wearing satin pyjamas with no fear of stains.

Next on TLAS -- The gang "volunteers" to be counsellors in a Lawndale Elementary after-school programme and Quinn doesn't seem herself in "The Kids Aren't All Wrong".

(Scene: Oakwood High parking lot. The B.A.N.D.wagon is parked out near the athletic field. Guy's leaning up against it; Mara approaches on the arm of a huge biker guy with tattoos and enough leather to cover a couple of cows. Casey's ambling along behind at a sedate pace.)

Mara: So what's the word?

Guy: Thunderbird. Or at least a good bottle of Polish vodka.

Casey: (grunt) S'posed to be now.

(Guy climbs into the truck, turns on the ignition. The radio starts to blare.)

Bill: (from radio) So this is Radio Shmoe. Cool gig, hey? And this here's Best Newcomers -- slot for the up-and-comers. What you just got was a taste of some real fucked-up shit from a teenyband called Processed Brain Food. Now here's some from some weird-ass crew, been 'round awhile -- playin' the Zen tonight and tomorrow. They're the Back Alley Name-Droppers and this here's "White Smoke, Black Fire".

Caldwell: (very dim; almost unintelligible) The language, William!

Bill: Aw, stuffit, ya tight-ass...

(Something heavy and vaguely reminiscent of Korn starts pumping out of the speakers.)

Guy: Now that's cool, no shit.

Casey: (mutter) They're g'nna git in trouble.

Mara: (to the bruiser) So whaddya say? Now you're on with a radio star, big guy.

(The guy leers at her. She leers back and they head for the back doors to the van.)

Casey: (grunt) G'nna bail 'fore t'wagon starts rockin'.

Guy: Good call, Grunt-dude. (towards the back) I'm leaving the keys in the ignition -- take it home!

Mara: (OS) Oh, I intend to, skinnyshanks!

(The guys roll their eyes at each other as they walk off.)

(Scene: Jane's room. Music: Offspring -- "Nitro [Youth Energy]". Jane's painting -- a painting of Caldwell panicking in best "The Scream" tradition in a landscape filled with Dali-esque radios.)

Jane: So what's up next?

Lynn: Oh, AP has this Mr Wizard science show thing going. Liberally seasoned with punk music, of course.

Daria: This I have to hear.

(She switches on the radio, and the end chords to "Pretty Vacant" ring out through the speakers.)

AP: (from radio) Hey ho, and welcome to Radio Shmoe Science Studio! The show that shows you that, hey, blowing stuff up's fun so long as it's small and no one dies! Okay, some respect to the guys who slashed Mr C's wheels, but come on, that's as outdated as the banana in the exhaust pipe!

Jane: Are you sure giving him his own show was such a good idea?

Daria: Maybe he can tell the listeners something useful. Like how to get rid of that weird smell around the unstable landfill near Brittany's house. Or how to survive cafeteria food.

Jane: Good point.

AP: (from radio) Okay, here's today's top tip -- for all you guys whose dads keep nagging you to mow the lawn.

Lynn: Anyway, the ones with the right mindset to understand it will think it's funny. The ones who don't ... well, no law says they have to listen.

AP: (from radio) So when you've left the barrel outside a few days ... full of rainwater, right? Then it's just a matter of chemicals. Drain cleaner'll do in an absolute pinch, but if you can get into a science lab...

Jane: Not the thing with the wheat fields again.

Lynn: Oh, he has more ideas than the failed crop circle attempts when it comes to wrecking a lawn. Awhile ago, he got ... creative.

Jane: Oooooh, this sounds interesting. Shut up so I can listen!

AP: (from radio) And just killing it's fine, if you're just after simple. But here's what you do if you want to turn the lawn pink.

Daria: (raised eyebrow) Pink?

Lynn: Jenny Malloy's mother hired him to mow her lawn once. He thought it apt.

Jane: And you have to admit, it's more freakish than anything else. I mean, there's red grass and bluegrass and I think I read somewhere about purple grass once, but there's nowhere on earth you find pink grass.

AP: I'm gonna break for some ads and then some punky funky goodness now, but when we come back, I'm gonna teach you guys how to crack the parents' computer datebooks to make sure they're not around when you throw that after-game kegger!

Daria: (headshake; faux disappointment) Oh, AP, I've told you and told you to use your powers only for good.

Jane: Hey, he's gone radio. Appealing to the majority of the public.

Lynn: Are you calling him a sell-out?

Jane: No, I like my kidneys where they are, thank you.

(Lynn quirks an eyebrow at her; Jane smirks.)

(Scene: Caldwell's office. Music: Stone Roses -- "Fools Gold". O'Neill enters and looks at Caldwell, who's running his hands through his hair in a gesture of utter frustration.)

Caldwell: Timothy, are all kids so flagrantly disrespectful of a few simple rules?

O'Neill: Well, Mr Caldwell, I can't speak for everyone, but I think it's a natural reaction that a teenager has to a changing world. For example, when I was a teenager...

Caldwell: Did you talk smut, subversion and outright sin on live radio?

O'Neill: No ... but I did once deal very harsh words to the captain of the school football team in a crowded locker room. Maybe he did stuff me into a locker with week-old gym socks, but that was still no reason to lose my temper.

Caldwell: Timothy ... I think you're missing the gravity of the situation here. Those kids are using every conceivable profane phrase and discussing some of the most ... did you know you can change the colour of your lawn?

O'Neill: Well, Mr Caldwell, while I don't condone censorship, you should remember that it is your radio station and if this is upsetting you and the majority of the listeners...

Caldwell: That's just it! This isn't upsetting the majority of the listeners! They love this ... this ... abomination! They're getting listeners like nobody's business!

O'Neill: Well, everyone likes a rogue, I suppose... Like that Howard Stern person.

Caldwell: It just goes to show the way things in this country are degenerating. The people of this town are loving those little maniacs, local businesses are falling over themselves to advertise with us -- and all the lowest businesses too!

O'Neill: I thought that little jingle for that tattoo parlour was ... interesting.

Caldwell: And I can't afford to take them off the air! I'd get lynched!

O'Neill: Then perhaps you should take a more ... relaxed approach to this whole situation, Mr Caldwell. I have some wonderful relaxation tapes that should help ... and have you ever considered homeopathy?

Caldwell: Have you ever considered testosterone injections, you little hippie freak?

O'Neill: Eep!

(Exit O'Neill at a dead run. Caldwell looks after him ruefully.)

Caldwell: Free expression, relaxation tapes ... it's like being in the sixties without the sex.

(Scene: studio. Music: W.A.S.P. -- "Animal [Fuck Like A Beast]". Lynn and Jane behind the mics.)

Jane: Well, another morning where we have to shake the listeners awake, Lynn-girl. What's the theme today, or would it scare me to know?

Lynn: Well, we've been through Satanists' Greatest Hits, Most Imaginative Uses of the Word "Fuck", Music to Shoot Up a Liquor Store By, Someone Call the Suicide Squad on This Poor Shmuck and Just Plain Bloody Loud. Hmm ... what about a call-in this morning?

Jane: Sounds interesting. What did you have in mind?

Lynn: How about ... Losing Your Virginity -- a Soundtrack?

Jane: Doesn't that leave us open to Barry White, Destiny's Child and maybe even ... N*Synch?

Lynn: Listeners to this station? But I actually meant something more along the lines of, what's the weirdest track you can imagine playing in the background when you're having your cherry popped?

Jane: Mmm ... you sound like you have something in mind already. Are we talking the Nympho-Goth here?

Lynn: Oddly enough, my cousin. To Sheep on Drugs' Greatest Hits.

Jane: Freaky. (beat) Yet somehow ... no, just freaky.

Lynn: So we'll start with that -- lines are open, you know the number.

(Song starts. Intercom crackles.)

AP: (from intercom) Uh ... Purple Peril? We got company.

(They look up and see that AP's flanked by a couple of suits.)

AP: (from intercom) They say they're FCC.

(Lynn and Jane exchange a look.)

(Scene: DeMartino's room. Music: Alice in Chains -- "I Know Somethin' ['Bout You]". Daria, Jane, Lynn, AP, Jodie, and Bill are seeded through the room. DeMartino is grading papers, looking up at them from time to time. Enter Caldwell, on the rampage.)

Caldwell: Well. What do you people have to say for yourselves?

Daria: How many people do we have to remind about First Amendment rights before we stop having to deal with this kind of thing?

Caldwell: I gave you those rules for a reason. You're minors and First Amendment or not, there's a certain standard of behaviour you were expected to uphold. And not only did you lower that standard, you dropped it down a deep pit and sent hand grenades in after it!

Daria: Is this radio or guerrila warfare?

Caldwell: For once in your smart-alec little life, will you shut up?

Lynn: Why bother? We're in about as much trouble as we can get from shooting our mouths off.

Caldwell: You six are going to be in detention until you graduate unless I can think of something better to do to you.

Jane: Mind if we ask what we're being incarcerated for?

Caldwell: Let me count the ways! Conduct unbecoming the school. Blatant disregard for school policy. Abuse of school equipment. Illegal behaviour. Breaking the school budget by incuring an obscene FCC fine. And ... and ... hell, corruption of the young! I think it's safe to say you should be glad I don't suspend you! And I am calling your parents!

(Jodie shrinks in her chair.)

Jane: Good luck. Mine're out of the country. They said they might be back next month but they didn't say when.

Bill: Dad's into Howard Stern. He loves the show.

AP: You can call my dad, but I'm not really sure he's gonna be too surprised or bugged -- he's used to this from me by now.

Lynn: I live alone.

Daria: My parents are former hippies -- real big into civil rights. And my mother's a lawyer now.

(Silence as Caldwell gawps at them.)

Caldwell: Three months worth of detention. At least.

(He storms out.)

DeMartino: Daria. I overheard you mention that your mother once led the life of a flower child, dancing in cornfields and smoking hemp derivatives.

Daria: That's right.

DeMartino: It strikes me, Daria, that this is at odds with her current incarnation as a besuited cog in the machinery of this litigious country's questionable legal system. As is your spurious claim that she serves as a champion of civil liberties.

Daria: We don't let that get around. It would tarnish her reputation for a killer instinct.

(DeMartino regards her for a moment, then gives a nearly imperceptible smile and goes back to his paper-grading.)

(Scene: Pizza King. Music: Cold -- "Bleed". The place is devoid of the usual high school crowd -- it's obviously pretty late. Daria, Jane, Lynn and AP are seated at their usual booth, more picking toppings off their pizzas then eating them.)

Daria: Three months of detention. That's going to look good on my college applications.

Jane: Better than you think. You can put "free thinker" and "radical" in your application letters. Remember what Jodie said; colleges love that kind of thing.

Daria: If only so the colleges know that the student got it out of their system before entering the hallowed halls.

Lynn: I'm not worried. Enough money and good enough grades, you can gain acceptance anywhere. Besides, it's an extracurricular activity. Put that together with the marching band, the student coffee house, the yearbook, the tutoring and the school play, you look like ideal college fodder.

AP: Hey! That means I look pretty good too, doesn't it?

Daria: On paper, we look like happy, involved high school students, don't we?

Jane: Like Hilary Clinton looked like a dom in that one picture -- all faked, but in a good cause.

Lynn: So we're not going to fight the detention?

Daria: No; if we're honest, we deserve it.

Jane: Daria! You're actually admitting we were wrong?

Daria: No; but we could have been more subtle about it.

Lynn: Eh, you make a point. But it was fun while it lasted.

AP: Guess we're out decent music for awhile, huh?

Lynn: Don't bet on it. I got my CD player fixed.

AP: Mosh pit in the parking lot?

Daria: You were right, Jane; this town never changes. Not for long, anyway.

Jane: You know something? I don't really want it to.

Lynn: You'd miss the notoriety of being one of the few freaks in town? A small kind of fame, but your own?

Jane: No; just, if I lived in a bohemian's paradise like San Francisco, someplace like Lawndale would start to look good. The grass is always greener on the other guy's lawn.

AP: Unless the other guy's a Malloy.

(The girls look at him; he grins. They give rueful smirks in reply.)



Lawndale Radio -- I took what little the show gave us about the types of station available there; "The Big House", "Jake of Hearts" and a guess about the country stations on the basis of "Speedtrapped".

Changes in Lawndale -- Apart from one of the families that moved into town [the Morgendorffers], that's all my fault.

Napster -- In the timeframe we're looking at [late January-ish 2001], Napster was still a going concern but we all knew the end was nigh.

Bill -- The guy with the eyebrow ring who sits in the background most of the time. I named him; may as well use him.


Mostly the same old list. Ben, for the coding. Caira, for making me rethink the title [because someone else had already used the one I first had in mind] and for the music. Martin Pollard, too, for the increased updates -- somehow it encourages me to write to my own pace without worrying that I'm flooding him.


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, AP McIntyre, Mara Fitzgerald, and any other character you don't recognise from any ep, on the other hand, were created and are owned by me, one Janet 'Canadibrit' Neilson, copyright 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002. Touch my characters without consulting me and it will go hard with you. All cameos used with permission, though by this point they're more characters in their own rights. 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.