Episode Guide

That Was Then, This is Dumb
Episode #205
Written by Anne D. Bernstein

(opening theme song)

(at the Morgendorffer house)

(Daria walks into the kitchen and sees Helen standing on a stepstool, rummaging around in the top shelf of an overhead cabinet)

Daria - Hiding the cooking sherry from Dad?

Helen - I'm going to make some bread, Daria. (pulls out a breadmaker and sets it on the counter)

Daria - Isn't that what supermarkets are for?

Helen - The Yeagers are coming for the weekend, and I can't serve them store-bought bread.

Daria - Why not?

Helen - I haven't seen them for twenty five years, and let's just say they know a different Helen. A Helen famous for her oatmeal pumpkin seed loaf.

Daria - And just what have you done with this Helen?

(sound of car horn)

Helen - They're here! I hope they don't think I've changed too much. (primps hair)

Daria - Just be yourself. That's what you've always told me.

Helen - I could kick myself for that. (walks outside)

(Daria and Quinn walk outside, to the sight of a classic Volkswagen Beetle parked at the curb)

Quinn - What kind of car is that?

Daria - That's not a car. It's a time machine.

(a couple in their late forties exits the car; they're dressed like refugees from the Sixties)

Helen - Willow! Coyote!

Willow - Wow, Helen!

Coyote - Man!

Jake - My man!

Helen - You haven't changed a bit.

Willow - And you! Well, just look at you!

(a German Shepherd comes up and sits next to Willow)

Helen - Why, even Leary is exactly the same.

Jake - Come here, boy! Don't you remember old Jake?

Helen - Wait, that can't be Leary. He'd be almost thirty by now!

Willow - This is Leary number three.

Coyote - We had to replace the original a couple times.

Jake - If only you could do that with Timothy Leary, huh, man? (laughs)

Coyote - They're working on it, man.

Helen - Well, these two are irreplaceable. Our girls, Quinn and Daria.

Willow - (clasps Daria's hands) You have a very old soul.

Daria - It just looks mature for its age.

(Willow returns to the company of Helen, Jake, and Coyote)

Quinn - Is this a retro thing, or are they serious?

Jake - Let's get your bags, man!

Coyote - We travel light.

Daria - In the head. I gotta get out of here before I catch any more good vibes.

Quinn - Daria, you can't leave me here with those, those... yuppies!

Daria - Yuppies are from the Eighties.

Quinn - So what do you call people in funny outfits who talk about peace and love and stuff?

Daria - Trekkies. Anyway, one of us should stay. It's a rare opportunity to learn more about Mom and Dad.

Quinn - Why would we want to do that?

Daria - To use against them later. Twenty bucks if you dig up some dirt.

Quinn - Sorry, I have a date. If you're getting out of this, so am I.

Coyote - Ethan! Come meet the girls!

(a good-looking teenager exits the car; unlike his parents, Ethan is dressed for the times, meaning a black T-shirt and jeans)

Quinn - You said twenty, right?

(at the Lane house)

(Jane and Daria enter Trent's bedroom, where he and Jesse are sitting on the floor, switching back and forth between the same music playing on CD and vinyl LP)

Trent - Zappa digital... Zappa analog.

Jesse - Sounds the same to me.

Trent - And you call yourself a musician?

Jesse - No, I call myself an interpreter of sound.

(Trent puts headphones on)

Jane - Top secret experiment?

Jesse - My parents gave me their old records to sell at the flea market, but now Trent wants to keep 'em.

Trent - (a bit loud) It's the warmth of vinyl, man. I'm telling you, it's a richer tone.

Jane - You're tuned to the radio. (turns a knob)

Trent - I was wondering why Zappa was selling fish sticks.

Jane - The flea market, huh? Need any help?

Jesse - We have to be there by 7:00 to set up.

Jane - No problem. Daria's an early bird.

Daria - There's nothing like watching the sun rise, except watching the sun set in reverse.

(Trent and Jesse laugh)

Trent - Good one, Daria.

Daria - (muttering) Mmm, umm, thanks.

Trent - Okay, this time, let's reverse the polarity of the plug. I'll stand facing west. (stands)

Daria - Are you nuts?

Jane - Hey, you could always go on home and swap yogurt recipes with the Yeagers.

Daria - And what's wrong with my yogurt recipe?

Jane - You should thank me. It's a chance for you to spend some quality time with Trent. The flea market is so romantic this time of year. I hear the Chia Pets are in bloom. (to Trent and Jesse) Okay, so, the flea market. We're there.

(Jane and Daria leave the room)

Trent - Okay, now let's try the thing where I stand on the aluminum foil.

(at the Morgendorffer house)

(the Yeagers and the Morgendorffers, minus Daria, are sitting at the kitchen table)

Coyote - So, for the past twelve years, we've been selling hammocks made out of hemp through the mail.

Willow - And with all the new breakthroughs with hemp processing, this could be out most exciting year yet!

Helen - Oh! That's fascinating. Quinn, didn't you have a date tonight?

Quinn - I got Stacy to fill in.

Jake - (to Ethan) You into sports, my man? (no response) Ethan?

Ethan - Huh?

Willow - We think there's enough aggressive behavior on the planet without creating more with quote unquote "healthy competition."

Coyote - Ethan's gonna rock climb, when he's ready.

Ethan - Whatever. Peas. (spoons peas onto plate)

Willow - (bites into slice of bread) Hmmm. You can always tell when a bread isn't hand-kneaded. Hand-kneaded bread has more soul.

Jake - This veggie stuff never fills me up. Anyone want a burger? (gets several cross looks) Hey, fair's fair. We'll all be worm food someday.

Helen - Jake!

Jake - It's the circle of life, Helen.

Coyote - You know, man, you've become kind of aggressive.

Jake - Have not!

Willow - It's the meat.

Jake - Is not!

Willow - What ever happened to that mellow, let-it-be attitude you used to have?

Helen - Jake?

(flashback begins)

(Jake, Helen, Willow, Coyote, and others are standing in a circle outside the Pentagon)

Jake - Come on, everyone. If we focus all our positive energy, we can make the Pentagon rise off the ground.

(nothing happens, which enrages Jake)

Jake - Rise, dammit! (runs over and kicks building) Ow!

(flashback ends)

Jake - Stupid five-sided building.

Willow - Remember our group house?

(flashback begins)

(Helen and Willow are standing at the kitchen counter, preparing a meal)

Helen - Don't you see? So-called enlightened dudes are oppressing women, just like society is putting down the movement.

(cut to the kitchen table, around which sits Jake, Coyote, and several others)

Helen (VO) - I want some help, and I want it now!

Jake - Wow. Sounds like the girls are getting liberated.

Coyote - Cool.

(flashback ends)

(Helen is now standing at the kitchen counter, kneading a batch of bread dough)

Willow - And then, after you guys split, we painted a bus and drove out into the desert. I wish you would've stayed with us.

Helen - Oh, Willow. It was time for us to move on.

Coyote - If that's what you want to call it.

Jake - What?

Willow - Honey...

Helen - What do you mean, Coyote? (wipes forehead, leaving a smear of white flour)

Coyote - Nothing, I love you guys. It's just, I remember the way you were, that's all.

Helen - We're still that way, deep down.

Jake - Yeah, man! We're still that way! What way?

Coyote - Free of the shallow, superficial value system of a profit-driven culture gone terribly, terribly wrong.

Jake - Oh, sure, we're that way!

(phone rings)

(Helen answers, and the scene alternates between Daria and Helen)

Daria - May I speak to the old lady of the house?

Helen - Daria, where are you?

Daria - Jane's. Can I stay over?

Helen - I was hoping you would want to get to know our friends.

Daria - My old soul has already made their acquaintance in a previous lifetime.

Helen - Well, that does free up some space for Ethan. He can take the guest room, and I can put Willow and Coyote in your room.

Daria - You're going to put them in my room? You better tether them to the bed so they don't float away.

(Helen laughs, then slowly stops when she looks at Willow and Coyote)

(at the Lane house)

(the TV is showing a picture of a frog on a lily pad; the frog has a crown on its head)

SSW Announcer - A nightmare story of an enchanted kiss gone horribly wrong, when Sick, Sad World returns.

Daria - Okay, I can stay. You have anything for me to sleep in?

(Jane walks over to her closet; reaching into a pile of clothes on the floor, she pulls out a rumpled, old-fashioned nightgown that leaves absolutely everything to the imagination)

Jane - Don't thank me. Thank Grandma.

(at the Morgendorffer house)

(Quinn is escorting Ethan to Daria's room)

Quinn - And this, is where we keep Daria.

(he looks around at the decor: padding and hand railing on the walls, sawed-off bars on the windows, skull and bones on the floor, etc.)

Ethan - Cool. Tell Mom and Dad I'm sleeping here. (enters room and closes door)

Quinn - Ugh!

(in Helen and Jake's private bathroom)

Jake - Once you could fit all your worldly possessions into a backpack. Pair of jeans, a few T-shirts, a copy of Steal This Book. And now, look at you. A capitalist cheerleader, a sellout in a monkey suit! Dammit! It's time to take a stand! You're not gonna shave tomorrow.

(Helen enters the room)

Helen - Come on, Jakey, let someone else have a turn.

Jake - Helen, do you think I'm past my prime?

Helen - Of course not. You're still quite the young buck. Anyway, good looking men get even handsomer as they mature.

Jake - Woo! Too bad it's not the same for women! (chuckles, then stops at Helen's angry look)

(when Jake leaves the bathroom, Helen turns and looks at herself in the mirror, a concerned expression on her face)

(at the Lane house)

(Daria, dressed in the pink nightgown, is preparing to go to sleep; she slips off her glasses, and the view instantly turns blurry)

Daria - That's better. Now I can't see a thing.

(there's a knock on the door; Daria flies across the room and leaps into her sleeping bag, covering everything except her face; the door opens to reveal Trent and Jesse)

Jesse - Big day tomorrow.

Trent - We'll wake you at six. 'Night.

Jane - Good night!

Daria - (mumbles) 'Night, see you in the morning.

(the door closes, and the room goes dark; in what seems to be no time at all, there's another knock and the door opens again)

Jane - (sleepily) Come back at six.

Jesse - It is six.

Jane - (raises head) Then how come you're so damn chipper?

Trent - It was easier to stay up all night than to wake up early.

Jesse - We'll load the van.

Jane - Van?

Jesse - You know, the Tank.

Jane - Oh, goody. (drops head back onto pillow)

(Trent and Jesse leave; Daria sits up in her sleeping bag)

Daria - Are they gone?

(Trent appears at the door)

Trent - Don't forget some money. Hey, doesn't Grandma have a nightgown like that?

(Trent leaves, and Daria puts her hand to her face in complete mortification)

(at the flea market)

(Daria and Jane are sorting through the LPs; Daria holds up the Velvet Underground's debut album, the one with Andy Warhol's banana painting on the cover)

Daria - Should I file this under "self-indulgent posers" or "underrated geniuses"?

Jane - Ask Trent or Jesse, whichever one wakes up first. (motions to the two guys, who are fast asleep)

Daria - I guess they call it a flea market because it makes you want to flea.

Jane - Come on, relax. We're going to do well today. (sarcastically) We've got a choice location.

(Jane indicates the booth next to theirs, where a man is selling "patriotic" toilet seat covers adorned with the faces of various presidents)

(Mrs. Johannsen approaches their booth)

Mrs. Johannsen - I'm looking for snow domes. You got any, girls?

Daria - Sorry, ma'am. All we have are these strange, flat discs the aliens left behind. You know about the aliens, don't you?

(Mrs. Johannsen leaves)

Jane - You enjoy working with the public, don't you.

(at the Morgendorffer house)

(Willow and Coyote, dressed in their sleepwear, are meditating while balancing on their heads, their legs crossed)

(Helen is in the kitchen when Jake walks in; he's dressed in casual clothes, and is sporting a didn't-shave-today faceful of stubble)

Jake - Morning! Say hello to a new Jake. The old Jake! The Jake you haven't seen for a while. And goodbye to cookie-cutter corporate guy Jake. That Jake is gone, gone, gone.

Helen - (alarmed) You didn't quit your job, did you?

Jake - No, I'm growing a beard again.

Helen - Oh! That's great, dear.

(Quinn and Ethan enter the kitchen and sit at the table; Ethan looks like he could use another 96 hours of sleep)

Jake - Hey, Quinn! How do you like my, new look?

Quinn - Dad, are you growing a goatee? That's so two years ago. Right, Ethan?

(Willow and Coyote enter the kitchen and sit at the table)

Coyote - I really feel centered now.

Willow - Nice whiskers.

Jake - Thanks!

Quinn - Um, it's kind of getting crowded in here. Why don't Ethan and I go out for breakfast. You guys can sit around and remember things.

Ethan - It's breakfast? I thought it was lunch time. I'm going back to bed. (gets up and leaves the kitchen)

(at the flea market)

(Jane is staring at Daria, who is staring at the sleeping Trent)

Jane - Why are you staring at my brother?

Daria - Selfless concern. I think he stopped breathing.

Jane - Nah, he's entering a dormant stage. In about ten years he should emerge as a butterfly. (pause) I guess you're gonna wait.

(Trent opens his eyes just as Upchuck appears)

Upchuck - Hello, ladies! I didn't know you were of an entrepreneur bent. Perhaps you would be so kind as to show me your goods?

Jane - Upchuck, what are you doing here?

Upchuck - I am on a quest for the Holy Grail of fast food premiums. A complete 1985 California Raisins posable eraser set. Only mint condition will do. (nods at Trent and Jesse) Your investors?

Jane - Silent partners.

(a guy approaches the booth)

Guy - Um, do you by any chance have the cast recording of Somebody Up There Likes Me?

Daria - No, but we do have Somebody Down Here Doesn't.

(guy leaves)

Upchuck - I wonder if I may provide you gals with a lesson in salesmanship. It's a once in a lifetime offer.

Daria - How about once in two lifetimes.

Jane - Now, now, let the boy show us how to do it. Then we won't have to.

(at the Morgendorffer house)

(Jake is sitting on one of the couches, juggling a set of balls, as Helen enters the room; Leary the dog is sitting nearby)

Jake - It's all coming back. You wanna try, honey?

Helen - (picks up drool-covered pillow) Ugh, dog drool. That beast! (to dog) Outside!

(phone rings as Willow and Coyote enter the room)

Helen (into phone) - Hello? Eric? What? They moved the hearing up to this week? I can be there in 20 minutes.

Jake - Talk about uptight.

(Helen finally catches on that Willow and Coyote are present, and abruptly chances her attitude)

Helen (into phone) - Mellow out, man. Nothing's so important that it can't wait till Monday, and what are you doing in the corporate cage on the weekend? Go take a walk in the park.

Jake - Right on, honey.

Willow - You still have your priorities.

Coyote - Who's up for frisbee? Come on, Leary!

(when Willow, Coyote, Jake, and Leary go outside, Helen's tone changes back to normal)

Helen (into phone) - Eric? Yes, of course I was kidding.

(at the flea market)

Upchuck - You see, ladies, trying to close a sale without the proper technique is like playing cards without a full deck. You must treat your customers like a king. This is the ace up your sleeves. You're a joker if you don't, and you'll be left with jack.

Daria - Wake me when you get to the twos.

(at the toilet seat stall, Mr. DeMartino is talking with the man running the booth)

Man - FDR? No, sir, you won't find socialists on any of my toilet seats.

Upchuck - Now, watch a pro in action. Hey! Mr. DeMartino!

Mr. DeMartino - Well, Charles Ruttheimer. What is it, Charles?

Upchuck - As a man of culture and breeding, I thought you might be interested in some of our audio gems.

Mr. DeMartino - Is this a pathetic attempt at flattery, Mr. Ruttheimer? An obvious smoke screen for your calculated attempt to separate me from the payments I receive each week for babysitting a bunch of determined idiots?!?!

Upchuck - (frightened) I just wanted to sell you some records...

Mr. DeMartino - Got anything by Annette Funicello?

(at the Morgendorffer house)

(Jake is talking with Coyote, who is working on the Volkswagen)

Jake - Hey, man, after you get this baby fixed up, what do you say we go down to the club and play a round?

Coyote - The golf course is an ecological disaster.

Jake - What, you got trouble with your swing?

(Helen and Willow arrive with a couple of bottles)

Helen - Here, we thought you boys might like some refreshments.

Willow - Home-bottled berry juice. We're going to start a compost pile. Won't that be fun? (Willow and Helen leave)

Jake - Wow! This is strong stuff!

Willow - It's got natural pectins.

Jake - I love pectins!

(at the flea market)

(Upchuck is now behind the table, and is in the process of making a sale)

Guy - Is this the best you can do?

Upchuck - 'Fraid so...

Guy - Well then I'm just going to have to walk away. (turns) I'm walking... (walks away, then returns a moment later) Okay, fifty cents. (hands money to Upchuck and takes LP)

Trent - Thanks, man. (holds out hand, into which Upchuck drops the money)

Upchuck - What about my commission?

Trent - Hey, we're training you for free.

Jane - Well, Trent, now that you've returned to the land of the living, maybe you and Daria can go get us some soda. With caffeine?

Trent - No problem. Coming?

Daria - (eyes wide) Sure.

Jane - Take your time!

(Daria and Trent walk off)

Jesse - Hmm. I could use a burger.

Jane - I'll go with you. Upchuck, can you handle the booth?

Upchuck - I can handle much more than that, missy.

(Jane and Jesse walk off; Upchuck then spots a man walking past the booth, reading a magazine)

Upchuck - Excuse me! Is that a vintage copy of Eyefull?

Man - 1962.

Upchuck - Where did you find such a treasure?

Man - That booth over there.

(Upchuck leaves the booth to find more copies of the magazine; when he does, the man takes several LPs, stuffs them into his jacket, and quickly walks away)

(elsewhere, Trent brings a tray of food to Daria at the foot court; Daria starts to fish in her pockets for money to pay for hers)

Trent - That's okay, I got it. (sits down)

Daria - I owe you one, then.

Trent - Next time. So, Janey says you're avoiding your parent's friends this weekend.

Daria - Their sunny Sixties optimism tends to cancel out my bitter Nineties cynicism.

Trent - Holdover hippies?

Daria - Yeah. They're big believers in the concept of voluntary simplicity.

Trent - I gotta use that. Sounds much better than broke.

Daria - I guess you gotta give them some credit. Civil rights, environmentalism, the women's movement. People believed in stuff back then.

Trent - I know. What's up with that?

(at the Morgendorffer house)

(Jake and Coyote are now lounging on the hood of the Volkswagen)

Jake - I know what you're thinking, that I've turned into the man!

Coyote - I'd never call you the man, man. Man, maybe, but not the man. (suddenly throws his wrench) I hate this stupid rusty piece of junk! And I'm tired of buying food in bulk! And not flushing every time I go because it wastes water!

Jake - Ewww...!

(behind the house, Helen and Willow are in the middle of creating a compost pile)

Helen - I'm still young. What happened to my beliefs? What happened to being part of the solution, not part of the problem?

Willow - I hate kneading bread.

Helen - What?

Willow - (stabbing ground with her rake) I... hate... kneading... bread! (slips and falls) Damn!

Helen - Oh Willow! Here!

(she attempts to help Willow to her feet, only to get pulled down into the mud also)

Coyote - Man, can you teach me how to play golf?

Jake - Sure I can, man.

Coyote - And can we ride around on those little carts?

Jake - Sure thing, pal! (mud-covered Helen and Willow appear) Hey, some kind of organic nutrient steam bath, right? Cool!

Helen - Jake, we fell on our asses in a pile of garbage. I feel like a hog.

Coyote - Hog! I miss bacon.

Willow - Oh, thanks so much for your concern! (both women leave)

Jake - Wow, sounds like the girls are getting liberated.

Coyote - Cool.

(Ethan and Quinn arrive; Ethan picks up Coyote's bottle and sniffs the contents)

Ethan - Dad, the berry juice fermented again. You gotta watch that. (to Quinn) Come on, I'll buy you a slush cup.

Quinn - It's about time!

Ethan - Got any money?

(both kids leave as Jake catches a glimpse of his unshaven face in his berry juice bottle)

Jake - Where's my razor?

(Jake runs into the house as Coyote looks at his bottle, shrugs, and takes a long drink from it)

(at the flea market)

(Jane and Jesse are walking back to the booth, sodas in hand)

Jane - You see, my theory is that our primitive hunting instinct has no outlet in modern society.

Jesse - Cool. (slurps soda)

Jane - So, rather than stalking animals, we substitute it with the shopping experience, and hunt for objects.

Jesse - Cool. (slurps soda)

Jane - (exasperated) And then, Jesse, while we're asleep, those objects come to life and plot their secret take over our civilization. April 1st, 2007. That's the day they make their move!

Jesse - Cool. (slurps soda)

(at the food court)

Daria - I don't know. All these people swapping useless junk. Maybe the Yeagers are onto something. At least they're not caught up in a constant state of consumer frenzy.

Trent - Yeah, I guess if you're gonna insist on holding on to something from the Sixties, peace and love beats a Get Smart lunchbox.

Daria - Especially if the lunch is still in it.

Trent - Well, let's go give Jesse and Jane a break.

Daria - Too late.

(Jane and Jesse arrive)

Trent - Who's watching the booth?

Jane - Upchuck.

Daria - I don't think so.

(points to Upchuck, who's rummaging through boxes of magazines with Mr. DeMartino)

Upchuck - Here, Mr. Demartino! I found another issue of Bachelor Confidential!

Mr. DeMartino - You have redeemed yourself, Charles. Woof!

(Jane grabs Upchuck by the ear and drags him over to their booth, which they find has been ransacked)

Upchuck - Um, less to carry home?

(later, the foursome are heading home in the Tank; Jesse is riding shotgun next to Trent, while Jane and Daria sit in back)

Jesse - Well, we do have three copies left of "Boston."

Trent - At least we're not money grabbing capitalist pigs, right, Daria?

Daria - Yeah, we're hard core believers in voluntary simplicity.

(at a fast food restaurant)

(Ethan and Quinn are sitting at a booth)

Ethan - No, they never formally charged them, but they did keep them there in jail for the next day.

Quinn - Wow. Hey, where's my eyebrow pencil? This has gotta be worth at least twenty bucks. Now, tell me again about how Mom punched out the cop.

(at the Morgendorffer house)

(Helen hands her electric bread maker to Willow)

Willow - You're sure you don't want this?

Helen - I never use it.

Willow - This will cut way down on the time I spending baking for Ethan and Coyote.

(Helen walks over to the refrigerator, pulls a bag out of the freezer, and tosses it to Willow)

Helen - Sister, meet the frozen bagel. (out the window) Hey, guys, it's getting dark. When are you going to come in?

Coyote (VO) - In a minute.

Jake (VO) - I'm just showing Coyote how to drive without slicing! (ball flies through window, narrowly missing Helen) Better!

(later, all of the adults are seated at the kitchen table when Daria, Quinn, and Ethan walk in)

Helen - Girls, I expected you for dinner. Before I officially ground you, would you care to account for your whereabouts?

Daria - Sure. But first, a few questions. (pulls out notepad) Number one: why did you and Dad spend a night in jail in Boulder in August, 1969?

(Helen gasps as Daria, Quinn, and Ethan wear smirks so sharp they could cut glass)

(the next morning, the Yeagers are packed up and ready to leave; the Morgendorffers are outside, saying their farewells)

Coyote - Thanks for that marketing plan, man. We're going to kick the butts of those wimps over at Rainbow Hammocks.

Jake - Hey, take no prisoners, man. Predatory behavior is all natural.

Quinn - Ethan?

Ethan - Yeah?

Quinn - You never told me whether you thought I was, you know, cute?

Ethan - Oh, well, sure, you're cute.

Quinn - Thanks.

Ethan - You know, in a shallow, superficial way.

Quinn - Thanks.

Daria - It's very hard not to compliment you, isn't it?

Quinn - Oh, Daria, you don't have to say that.

(everyone shouts their good-byes to each other as the Yeagers drive away)

Quinn - Daria, do you think long-distance relationships are a good idea?

Daria - Yeah. Why don't we try one?

Jake - You know, kids, it's pointless to try to go back in time. You have to live in the present, and I'm going to start right now. First things first: I'm getting rid of all my vinyl records. Hey, Daria! You want 'em?

(closing credits)