Episode Guide

Lane Miserables
Episode #308
Written by Anne D. Bernstein

(opening theme song)

(at Daria's house)

(everyone is seated around the kitchen table; Helen is carving up a tray of lasagna, while the others are engrossed in their reading materials)

Helen - I think it's so important for a family to find the time to eat together and share their day. Did I share with you how many meetings I had to rearrange so that I could be here -- not that I'm complaining -- but who knows what impact this will have on negotiations I'm not at liberty to discuss?

(Daria, Jake, and Quinn continue reading)

Helen - Jake, Quinn, Daria! This isn't a library.

Daria - Despite the presence of fluorescent lighting and uncomfortable chairs.

Helen - Come on, let's have a nice chat. Daria? Penny for your thoughts?

Daria - Well, I was just pondering the idea that the negative, which is the nothingness of being and the annihilating power both together, is nothingness.

Quinn - Oh, Daria! That whole "less is more" thing is so over! Accessories are back.

Jake - I just don't get it. If B.C. is a caveman, how can he celebrate Ash Wednesday?

Helen - Why do I bother?

(at Jane's house)

(Trent wanders into the kitchen and opens the refrigerator door)

Trent - Nothing. (peers into the freezer) What's that red stuff?

(Jane comes up beside him and also looks into the refrigerator)

Jane - Hmm. Nothing. (looks at the red stain) What do you think that is?

Trent - Cherry soda?

Jane - No, it looks more like cranberry juice.

(Amanda suddenly appears between them)

Amanda - Nothing.

Jane - Well, hi, Mom.

Trent - Hey, Mom.

Amanda - What is that? Strawberry syrup?

Jane - I'm guessing cranberry juice.

Trent - Cherry soda.

(doorbell rings)

Amanda - Who could that be?

(Amanda answers the door to find a tall young man with sandy blonde hair, carrying a backpack)

Amanda - Wind! What an unexpected treat.

Wind - Mom! Mom! (hugs Amanda) Trent! Janey! (hugs Trent and Jane) It's so great to see everybody. Sorry I didn't call first, but I had to clear out of the houseboat in a hurry.

Jane - "When Tidal Waves Strike?"

Wind - No, Katie and I are separating for a while.

Amanda - Oh, honey. I hope you two work it out.

Wind - Me too, Mom. I mean, two alimony payments a month are enough! (laughs, then starts to cry) Oh, God, I'll never learn how to love!

Amanda - It's okay, sweetheart. We've got plenty of room.

Trent - Um...

Jane - Uh-oh.

Trent - There were some phone messages I almost forgot about. Let's see... (reads notes written on his left hand) Penny's coming in from Costa Rica; some kind of problem with a volcano. And Dad's finished taking pictures of Celtic rock formations; he's on his way back to print.

Jane - What's that written on your other hand?

Trent - (reads his right hand) "Change name of Mystik Spiral to 'Something Something Explosion.'"

Wind - Hey, do I smell cookies baking?

Jane - Not bloody likely.

Amanda - The kiln! (runs off to salvage her pottery)

(doorbell rings)

Wind - Who could that be?

(Wind answers the door to find a tall woman with firey red hair, holding a pet carrier... and carrying a backpack)

Wind - Sis!

Penny - Claudia threw you out. (enters the house)

Wind - (chuckles) Yeah, but that was years ago. I think you mean Katie. (sniffles) You, you ran out of pesos?

Penny - Colönes. No, my native crafts stand was wiped out. Damn lava.

Wind - I'm so glad you're okay. (shouts in alarm as a screech erupts from the pet carrier)

Penny - That's Chiquito. He's very possessive. (doorbell rings) Who could that be?

(Penny shoves the carrier into Wind's arms and answers the door, to find a 40-ish man with black hair and a thin black moustache... and yes, he has a backpack, too)

Vincent - Thanks. I think I left my house keys in Connemara.

(at Daria's house)

(Jake is on the couch watching a basketball game; Helen walks in and sits down next to him)

Jake - (shouts) Yahoo!

(Helen sighs)

Jake - (shouts) Go, you beautiful bastard! Three points, yeah!

(Helen sighs deeply)

Jake - (shouts) Something wrong, honey?

Helen - Jake, do you ever worry that our children are becoming strangers to us?

Jake - Stranger than us? What's so strange about us? (Helen turns TV off) Hey!

Helen - I try and try to keep the channels of communication open. What more can I do?

Jake - Look under the mattress for a diary? I mean, by accident, of course?

Helen - Honestly, Jake, sometimes I wonder if you know even the most rudimentary facts about our girls. How old is Quinn? (glares at Jake)

Jake - Uh, eleven... ish? That was a guesstimate.

Helen - Jake, what's my middle name?

(Jake's suddenly on the spot as Helen glares even harder)

Jake - (weakly) It's got a "K," right?

(Helen huffs angrily and leaves)

Jake - Honey, wait!

(door slams; after a moment, Jake turns the TV back on)

Jake - Shoot, big man, shoot!

(at Jane's house)

(Jane is seated on her bed, watching television)

SSW Announcer - Is your toll collector wearing pants, a skirt, or nothing but a smile? Cold breeze on the interstate, next on Sick, Sad World.

(Wind wanders in and sits next to her)

Wind - Hey, Jane! How long has the living room TV been broken?

Jane - About two years, I guess.

Wind - Do you mind if I watch a show in here? It's kind of a marital emergency.

Jane - Actually...

Wind - Thanks. (switches TV channel)

TV Host - Welcome once again to The Living Marriage: A Holistic Blueprint For Loving.

Wind - (sobbing) Oh, Katie, Katie, Katie!

Jane - I, uh, think I'll give Daria a call... downstairs.

(Jane goes into the kitchen to find Penny on the phone)

Jane - Penny, you gonna be long?

Penny - Business. (into phone) No, no, Senõr Finance Minister. Necessito dinero to reopen my business. Your volcano wiped out hundreds of hand-fashioned tin picture frames and I'd like to know how your government intends to compensate me.

(as she's talking, she pours a glass full of liquid from a big brown jug on the kitchen table)

Jane - All right, then; to my private office. (tucks newspaper under arm and leaves the kitchen)

Penny - No, Senõr, I have not been inhaling volcano dust. Hello? Hello? (gets up and leaves the untouched glass on the table)

(Jane turns the bathroom doorknob and finds it locked)

Vincent (V.O.) - Sorry, gonna be awhile. I'm developing.

Jane - Whatever.

Vincent (V.O.) - Oh, honey? Don't drink from that big bottle in the kitchen; it's silver nitrate.

Jane - It's poisonous?

Vincent (V.O.) - Yeah, and I need it for my prints.

(Jane heads into the basement, where she finds Amanda at her pottery wheel)

Jane - Um, Mom, can we discuss this family togetherness nightmare? Wind's crying all over my stuff, Penny's starting a trade war in the kitchen, and Dad's rinsing prints in all the toilets.

Amanda - Oh, Jane. Everyone will work things out in their own way, in their own time. Remember when you kids were young?

Jane - How far back? Diapers creep me out.

Amanda - The time Trent moved into a tent in the backyard.

Jane - Oh, sure. It was my job to deliver the sandwiches.

Amanda - We just left him alone for six months until he got bored. Summer once ate only Pez for a year, and look how beautifully she turned out! You know, if you try to hold a butterfly tightly in your hand, it will die. You have to let it go, and if it comes back, it is truly yours, but if doesn't, it never really was.

Jane - (quietly) How about if you tear off its precious little wings? (leaves)

(at Daria's house)

(Daria is reading a book, while Jake's loud snoring is interrupted by the doorbell)

Jake - Huh? Who could that be?

(Daria gets up and answers the door; Jane is standing on the stoop, carrying her easel and a small suitcase)

Jane - I'm not picky. The manger will be fine.

(Jane jogs past Helen, who is power-walking)

Helen - Jane! (pants as she tries to catch up with her)

Jane - (sighs and slows down) Oh, hi, Mrs. Morgendorffer. Didn't see you there.

Helen - It's okay. Speed-walkers have thick skins. Jane, since you're staying with us and all, I thought... well, you're Daria's best friend, and she's, she's so hard to talk to these days...

Jane - Maximum of three questions. No betrayals. Immunity from prosecution.

Helen - Agreed. Drugs?

Jane - Nope, unless you count TV.

Helen - Depressed?

Jane - No, just realistic.

Helen - Sex? (Jane just looks at her) Oh, that's too obvious. Can I have another one?

(at Jane's house)

(Trent is sitting on the living room couch, strumming his guitar)

Trent - (sings) The walls are closing in... the ice is getting thin... no place to be alone... my house is not a home... psychic refugee... psychic refu... aaah!

(Trent leaps across the couch, snapping a guitar string in the process, as Chiquito squawks loudly; he regins his composure as Penny leaves the room)

Trent - (sings) The walls are closing in... the ice is...

(Wind and Vincent enter the room)

Wind - But, Dad, I don't know what else to do. I tried everything on that show.

Vincent - Your mom and I find role-playing a super way to work out conflicts. We also enjoy hitting each other with large foam rubber bats.

Wind - I'd do it, but Katie isn't here.

Vincent - Well, I'll be Katie. Trent, would you mind being the flirtatious girl at the check-out counter?

Trent - Uh, I gotta go sharpen my guitar pick.

(Trent leaves and goes into the kitchen just as Amanda is finishing a phone conversation)

Amanda - (into phone) Okay, I'll get Trent's tent out of the attic. Bye! (hangs up) Courtney and Adrian are coming for a visit. Isn't that great?

Trent - Does Summer know?

Amanda - She should, shouldn't she?

Trent - Well, she's kind of their mother. Have you seen Janey?

Amanda - No, hon. But if you find her, tell her I said hi. (leaves)

(Trent goes back into the living room to see Vincent and Wind hitting each other with pillows)

Vincent - Doesn't this feel great?

Wind - Um...

Trent - Has anyone seen Jane?

Vincent - She was just standing there a few minutes... uh, days ago. (gets knocked down by Wind)

Wind - Aha!

Vincent - Good one!

(Chiquito squawks as he flies in and perches on Trent's head)

(at Daria's house)

(Jake is at the stove, cooking; Jane is at the kitchen table, folding napkins)

Jake - Hey, thanks for setting the table, Jane-o!

Jane - No problem. Thanks for letting me stay here.

Jake - Well, I know how it can be, being driven from your childhood home. (building up to a rant) Even if it was a dark, depressing place, the air thick with oppression, and the constant threat of ...

Jane - Look! A ducky! (holds up napkin folded into the shape of a duck)

Jake - Hey, neat! (walks over to table) Say, uh, Jane... I know you're Daria's best friend and... well, she's so hard to talk to these days. I was wondering...

Jane - Maximum of three questions. No betrayals. Immunity from prosecution. And, uh, talk your wife into finding a new speed-walking route.

Jake - Done! Age?

Jane - Seventeen.

Jake - Uh... height?

Jane - Five foot two.

Jake - Mm-hmm. Favorite color?


Both - Black.

Jake - Oh, that's too obvious. Can I have another one?

(at dinnertime)

(everyone is seated at the table in their usual positions, with Jane next to Daria; everyone except Jane and Helen has reading material)

Jane - I don't suppose you could tear out a chapter for me?

Daria - Sorry, library book.

Quinn - This milk trivia quiz is really interesting. I'd like to try chewing some of this cud sometime.

Jake - Why don't they just put Marmaduke to sleep?

Helen - Well, Jane, since everyone else is occupied, why don't we have a little...

(Jane quickly grabs milk carton out of Quinn's hands)

Quinn - Hey!

Jane - (mutters softly) Vitamin D, 200%... vitamin A, 100%...

(doorbell rings)

Helen - Who could that be?

(Daria answers door; Trent is standing on the front stoop)

Trent - Hey, Daria. Janey here?

Daria - Um, yeah. Hi.

(Daria and Trent enter kitchen)

Trent - (sniffs) Smells good.

Jane - Trent?

Trent - Hey, Janey. I just stopped by to tell you I'll be living in the Tank for a while.

Helen - The Tank?

Jane - It's a van, or it was once. Why didn't you phone?

Trent - Couldn't get near it. Hey, is that spaghetti? It's my favorite.

(Daria smirks slightly; she doesn't need glasses to see that Trent is buttering Jake up)

Jake - Actually, it's fettuccini bolognese.

Trent - Oh, yeah, that's my favorite. It's not sticking together at all.

Jake - Trent, my man, you want to stay for dinner?

Trent - Well, it is nice and warm in here. Not like the Tank. I bet your doors lock, too.

Helen - Trent, would you like to stay here tonight?

Daria - Eep!

(everyone turns to stare at Daria)

Daria - What?

(in Daria's bedroom)

(Daria and Jane are sitting on the floor in their sleepwear, a game of Scrabble between them)

Jane - Are you sure you've got the concentration for this game?

Daria - Huh? Of course. Why?

Jane - Well, just 'cause you've only picked two letters.

Daria - Oh. Oh, yeah. (picks a letter)

(Quinn enters the room, dressed for a date)

Quinn - You're an artist, right?

Jane - I've been known to push the paint around. Why?

Quinn - Art fascinates me.

Jane - (skeptical) Uh-huh.

Quinn - So, if you were contouring the eyelids of, oh, someone with, let's see, coloring, skin tone, and hair color just like mine, would you go with a deep plum or a rich mauve?

Jane - I'd have to see the actual...

Quinn - Okay! (drags Jane away)

Jane - Don't touch my "Q"!

Daria - What?

(after a moment, there's a knock at the door; Daria's eyes go wide at the sight of Trent, dressed in pants and a tank-top T-shirt)

Trent - Hey, Daria? Seen Janey? I need to borrow her toothbrush.

Daria - Uh, she'll be back in a minute.

Trent - Guess I'll wait. Hey, cool room.

Daria - Um, thanks.

(Trent, oblivious to Daria's increasing discomfort, lies down on Daria's bed)

Trent - Comfortable bed. (looks at Daria's nightshirt) Mark Twain. Huckleberry Finn, right?

Daria - Yeah.

Trent - I read that in high school, I think.

Daria - Um, it's an American classic. (sits down on edge of bed)

Trent - Used to watch Huckleberry Hound when I was a kid. They didn't really have a lot in common, now that I think about it.

Daria - Um, no, Huckleberry Hound was much more of a joiner.

Trent - Yeah. Loser.

(both chuckle)

Trent - Why did Quick Draw McGraw hang out with that freaky little mule?

Jane - (returns, sees Trent and Daria) Whoops! Didn't mean to interrupt.

Trent - That's okay. (gets up) Hey, Janey, I need to borrow your toothbrush.

Jane - (hands toothbrush to Trent) Take it, it's a gift.

Trent - Cool. (leaves)

Jane - Wow, kismet! What were you guys talking about?

Daria - Comparative literature.

(doorbell rings)

Jane - Who could that be?

(Jake goes to answer the door)

Jake - Quinn, your date is here! (opens door, sees Monique) Wow, I really don't know my kids!

Monique - Hey, Trent around?

Jake - Oh, you're for... well, then. Trent, your date is here!

Trent - Thanks. See you. (hands toothbrush to Jake)

Helen - Trent, where are you going?

Trent - Out.

Helen - And when are you coming back?

Trent - Later. Bye. (leaves)

Helen - Someone should talk to that young man about the lifestyle choices he's making.

Jake - Eww! (drops toothbrush)

(Trent escorts Monique to the Tank, unaware that Daria has been watching the whole thing)

(at Daria's house)

(Daria watches from Quinn's bedroom window as Trent and Monique drive away in the Tank)

Jane - Don't worry. You're twice the woman she is.

Quinn - No, that would be a size 12. Listen, Daria, I always say that just because a guy has a girlfriend, it doesn't mean he's off-limits. Unless you're the girlfriend. By "you" I mean me, of course. Remember that.

Daria - Mmm, got any more pearl drops of wisdom?

Quinn - Daria, all you need is a little confidence. Just close your eyes and imagine what you want. Watch me.

(Quinn closes her eyes as her fantasy begins)

(Quinn is seated on a throne, a man with an English accent kneeling at her feet)

Man - Quinn, looking into your mauve-lidded eyes makes me want to give you everything you've ever desired. May I worship your heavenly perfection until the end of time? Or until you meet someone better, whichever comes first?

Quinn - Oh, okay. Oh, and could you get me a soda? In a crystal goblet?

(fantasy ends)

Quinn - (dreamy) It's only a matter of time. (normal) Give it a try, Daria. Just use your imagination and picture your dream exactly the way it will be.

Daria - All right. But I don't trust you enough to close my eyes.

(Daria frowns, open-eyed, as her fantasy begins)

(Daria, wearing a white lab coat, enters a cramped apartment, where a balding, beer-bellied, scruffy-looking Trent is lying on the dingy couch)

Daria - Trent, honey, I'm home!

Trent - Hey.

Daria - Good day?

Trent - Not much happened. (sits up)

Daria - Don't worry, Trent. I'm sure Mystik Spiral is on the brink of success...

Trent - We really should change the name.

Daria - ...and I don't mind working double shifts at the gene splicing lab until you make it.

Trent - Face it, Daria, we're never going to get our big break. I gotta get a real job. Um, I'll need some money to get my tattoo removed.

Daria - Honey, we have to save right now. Trent Junior needs glasses. (pinches thumb and forefinger about an inch apart) Thick ones.

Trent - Don't you understand? Every time I look at this stupid tattoo, it reminds me how I've wasted my life. But I'm not giving up. I'm determined to lie here on the couch until things turn around. (slaps palm on couch, kicking up a cloud of dust)

Daria - Oh, Trent. Whatever happened to the man I married?

Trent - We never got married, remember? I overslept.

(doorbell rings)

Daria - Who could that be?

Trent - (in Quinn's voice) That's for me!

(fantasy ends)

Quinn - Bye! (leaves)

Jane - You okay there, sister-in-law?

Daria - Hmm. I think I just got over something.

(at Jane's house)

(Wind is sobbing on the couch; Penny is sitting on the floor, pounding a picture frame into shape; Vincent is hanging photos on a clothesline strung across the living room; and Amanda surveys the scene just as the doorbell rings)

Vincent - Who could that be? (Chiquito grabs one of the photos and flies off) Hey! That print took me five hours!

(Amanda sighs and heads downstairs, where Adrian is spinning Courtney around on the pottery wheel)

Courtney - Whee!

Amanda - Uh, children, that's not really a ride.

Summer - You kids get off that pottery wheel this instant!

(do I really need to say that Summer has arrived, and is carrying a backpack?)

Amanda - Summer! You've come to take the kids home?

Summer - Well, I figured since I made the trip, I'd stay a few nights.

(Amanda's face falls)

(at Daria's house)

(Daria and Jake are eating breakfast at the kitchen table as Jane and Helen enter)

Daria - Gee, how was today's pre-breakfast run?

Helen - Pre-breakfast speed-walk, right, Jane?

Jane - (to Jake) I thought we had a deal.

Jake - Uh... huh?

(Quinn enters; she's still not a morning person)

Helen - Good morning, Quinn.

Quinn - If you're wondering why I overslept, it's not because I was out late or anything; my alarm clock simply malfunctioned.

Daria - I certainly accept your convincing explanation.

(Trent enters; he looks like death warmed over)

Helen - Trent?

Trent - Hmm?

Helen - What time did you get in last night?

Trent - Uh... midnight?

Helen - I don't think so, young man. Jake, was there something you wanted to talk to Trent about?

Jake - Yeah, Trent, what would you think if tonight I tried a little chutney shrimp? I'm itching to break out the ol' wok.

Helen - Trent, I'm afraid these crazy hours you keep will make it impossible for you to adjust if and when you get a job and join the rest of us in conventional society.

Quinn - Doesn't anyone want to know what ungodly hour I got in?

Trent - I meant to be home sooner, but Monique and I spent four hours breaking up.

Jane - You guys break up every other week. You don't belong together. Figure it out. Right, Daria?

Daria - Um...

Helen - Trent, one day you'll have your own home and you can live any way you choose, but while you're under our roof, young man, you will respect the rules of this household.

Trent - (contritely) Yes'm.

Helen - Now, let's discuss an appropriate punishment for breaking curfew.

Quinn - But don't I deserve appropriate punish... (stops as Helen glares at her) ...I mean, um... (to Trent) Just tell them if they'll let it go this once you'll never do it again.

Trent - I'm sorry I broke the rules. We don't really have any rules at our house. Right, Janey?

Jane - Well, there's that one about not building a fire in the rooms that don't have fireplaces.

Trent - You know, I once lived in a tent in the yard for six months, waiting for someone to invite me back into the house.

Jake - Oh, do I know what that's like: waiting for your so-called loved ones to acknowledge your existence! Sitting alone in the dark, craving the love of a heartless man who keeps you in a constant state of fear and-- (doorbell rings) Who could that be?

(Helen answers door; Amanda is standing on the stoop)

Amanda - Hello, Helen.

Helen - Why, Amanda! I guess you've come to claim your children.

Amanda - Are they here? (enters the house)

Helen - Jane is free to go, but Trent is grounded.

Amanda - Oh, I don't believe in that. You know, Helen, if you try to hold a butterfly tightly in your hand, it will die. You have to let it go, and-- (she finally snaps) You gotta help me! I need my house back!

Helen - Amanda, I may have an idea.

(at Jane's house)

(everyone is seated at the dining room table, three to each side with Amanda at the head; Chiquito is wandering around the table and pecking at the food)

Amanda - Well, now that we'll all be living under the same roof for a while, I thought it would be nice if we sat down each night, ate dinner together, and shared our day. (loudly) Penny, keep that bird pointed away from the vegetables! (normal) So, what's new?

(uncomfortable silence)

Penny - Well, I'm thinking of switching from hand-crafted tin picture frames to hand-crafted gecko-skin coin purses.

Summer - You still think your little knickknacks are gonna save the economies of the Third World?

Vincent - Now, Summer, some things are worth saving.

Wind - And some things can't be saved... like my marriage!

Penny - It's okay, Wind. It's for the best.

Wind - Really?

Penny - Believe me, you're much better off.

Wind - What's that supposed to mean?

Summer - Yeah, what do you know about marriage?

Penny - Well, I can't say I've had as much experience as either of you in failing at it!

Summer - Whoa!

Wind - Wait a minute!

Vincent - Hey, guys, live and let live!

Adrian & Courtney - We wanna go home!

Summer - Then why the hell did you run away and drag me back to the last place on Earth I want to be?

(everyone begins arguing, to Amanda's delight)

Amanda - I have such interesting and articulate children!

(kids whine and cry)

Amanda - And grandchildren!

(at Daria's house)

(Jane and Trent are packed and standing at the front door)

Jane - So, once again the wandering Lanes scatter to parts unknown as Trent and I return to the benign neglect that has served us so well in the past.

Daria - I guess no matter what style parents you have, they will inevitably drive you crazy.

Jane - Well said, amiga. And so, adios. (leaves)

Trent - Well, it was fun.

Daria - Yeah. Uh, sorry your date didn't work out.

Trent - Janey's right. Monique and I just aren't meant to be. Too bad you're not a few years older, huh? I could take you out. (chuckles, coughs) See you. (leaves)

(Daria fantasizes once again)

(this time, Daria, dressed in a flowing emerald gown, is being courted by a clean, groomed, and well-dressed Trent)

Trent - Daria, you're the best thing that ever happened to me.

(fantasy ends)

Daria - Damn.

(closing credits)