Episode Guide

Prize Fighters
Episode #511
Written by Neena Beber
(Transcript created by Richard Lobinske)

(opening theme song)

Daria - (looking at potato on plate) This looks well balanced.

(Cut to Morgendorffers at table. Jake is standing, stirring something in a serving bowl)

Quinn - Eww. This is like that movie, Angela's Ashtray.

Helen - Jake. Did you forget to buy lasagna?

Jake - We are through paying through the nose for second-rate frozen food.

Daria - That's a relief, the coins were making my nostrils bleed.

Jake - Thanks to Basement Bob's Bulk-Rate Steak and Sausage dot com, tonight, we luxuriate in the majesty of near-wholesale prime rib.

Quinn - (shocked) What? If the Fashion Club finds out I'm eating bulk-rate.

Daria - Or eating at all.

Jake - Dammit! We've got four mouths to feed. Food costs money.

Daria - I knew it.

Quinn - But Daria will be away at college soon, and then there will only be three mouths to feed.

Daria - Yes. I'm sure the sudden windfall will more than make up for tuition, room and board.

Jake - Tuition? (holds head) Oh, God.

Quinn - Daria, I know. Why don't you get one of those scholarship thingies?

Helen - Why Quinn. That's an excellent idea.

Daria - Yeah. If only they didn't give them to people with well-rounded, balanced interests. You know, somebody else.

(Doorbell rings)

Jake - (points) That must be the prime rib! (runs to door)

Daria - I'd just assumed it would be dead. And here it is, ringing the doorbell.

Helen - You know, Daria. There are scholarships exclusively for academic achievement. Winning one of those could make up for your lack of extracurriculars come college admissions time. It wouldn't hurt to look into it. Right?

(Jake walks up with large wood crate)

Jake - (grunts as he sets crate on floor next to table.) All right! (opens crate and tosses lid to side) Feast your eyes on this! (digs into ice and pulls out two handfuls of hot dogs, notices and frowns) Huh?

Quinn - Eww. They look like hot dogs.

Daria - Many hot dogs.

Jake - Hey! That's not what I ordered.

Helen - Jake.

(Jake throws hot dogs and runs to door, yelling)

Jake - Hey! Meat guy! Come back here!

(View of television screen. Police officer in foreground, background has seated suspect under spotlight and a mime in front of him)

SSW Announcer - Criminals, beware. This detective won't talk, but you will! Mime and punishment, next on Sick, Sad World.

(Daria seated on sofa, feet propped on coffee table. Helen approaches and sits next to her)

Daria - I don't like where this is going.

Helen - I haven't said anything yet.

Daria - So there's still time to flee?

Helen - Look, Daria. The more I think about applying for an academic scholarship, the more I like it. There's almost nothing on your high school record to show you're motivated and involved.

Daria - Could that be, because I'm not?

Helen - Daria. Are you telling me you don't plan on going to college?

Daria - Of course I do.

Helen - Then, are you telling me you don't want your choice of schools?

(Daria looks away, silent)

Helen - Then promise me you will at least look into some kind of prize or scholarship. Okay? Not for me, not for your father, for you.

Daria - (sighs) All right.

(outside shot of Morgendorffer home, cut to Daria seated in front of computer, Jane sitting on Daria's bed, sketching.)

Daria - Damn. These scholarship foundations all want you to be an expert in something: concert violinist, nationally-ranked gymnast, published author.

Jane - God, Daria. What have been doing all this time? Acting like a teen-ager?

Daria - Hey, here's one for you. Have you ever had anything shown in a museum? Regional's okay.

Jane - Yeah, like I'm going to fill out a five-pound application and kiss the butts of some review board just for a few thousand bucks to go to a school I'll probably hate anyway. (eyes widen and she looks up) Um...not that you shouldn't do it.

Daria - Hmm. Here's something. The Wizard Foundation will award a ten-thousand dollar prize who best embodies the Wizard pursuit of excellence. You've got to admire their vagueness.

Jane - The pursuit of excellence. So, you don't actually have to catch it?

Daria - Great. There's an essay: How would you change the world if you could? I knew I should have taped the Miss America Pageant.

Jane - Well, if you need any illustrations for your essay, I'm pretty good at painting mushroom clouds.

(Daria at locker and Jodie walks up)

Jodie - Hey, Daria. I know I'm crazy to ask, but one of the paper's editors quit. Could you use another extracurricular activity for your transcript?

Daria - Technically, no. Since another implies I have any to begin with.

Jodie- What are you going to do about your college applications?

Daria - Gee, how refreshing. A lecture from a fellow student just like the ones from my mother. Thanks to her, I spent the whole night on the web, looking into scholarships.

Jodie - Really? Find anything?

Daria - The closest I came was the Wizard Foundation Prize.

Jodie - The software company?

Daria - Just to apply, they make you fill out a form, and write an essay.

Jodie - Um, Daria. That's pretty much par for the course.

Daria - Darn. I guess that means there's no such thing as a free ten thousand dollars.

Jodie - Hmm. Well, good luck.

Daria - If I actually follow through. But, I'm hoping to come to my senses before that happens. (Daria walks away)

(Daria and Jane sitting at Morgendorffer kitchen table. Daria reading from page. Jane nibbles on hot dog slices on toothpicks)

Daria - In sum, my world would be made fairer by the simple step of eliminating all money. Politicians could serve the people they represent, instead of the ones paying for their attack ads. CEO's could stop fouling the planet and cheating their workers just to keep their stock prices pumped. And, of course, promising young students such as myself, could actually study, instead of spending their time groveling in scholarship essays.

Jane - Wow. You're really going to send that in?

Daria - Why wouldn't I?

Jane - The whole point of these scholarships is to show how marvelously well-adjusted you are. You're coming across all observant and honest. You know, anti-social.

Daria - Look, this is how I write. I wouldn't want to get the prize based on some phony essay and phony personality.

(Jane leans foreword, looking around)

Daria - What are you looking for?

Jane - The umbilical cord. Since you were obviously born yesterday.

(Helen walks in)

Helen - Daria, did I hear you reading your scholarship essay?

Daria - Judging by how calm you are, I'd say no, you didn't.

Helen - Daria.

(Jake walks in with cookbook)

Jake - You girls ready for some more hot dog slices?

Jane - Um, thanks Mr. Morgendorffer, but I think I'm exactly as woozy as I want to be.

Jake - Hey, honey! How does hot dog jalapeno hotties sound for tonight?

Daria - Kind of like the sound of four people racing to beat each other to the bathroom.

Helen - Jake! (Points OS) Send those hot dogs back!

Jake - (dejected) I can't. I broke the seal.

Helen - But they made the mistake!

Jake - Well, uh, if you want to get technical about it, I made the mistake. I kind-of typed in the wrong product number. (rants) Damn fuzzy computer screen!

Jane - Yes, you can eat over.

(Outside shot of Morgendorffer house, cut to Helen holding sealed envelope up to light. Daria walks up behind)

Daria - Is this what you in the legal profession refer to as discovery?

Helen - Um, this is for you. It's from the Wizard Foundation. I didn't realize you'd already sent in the application.

Daria - You weren't meant to. (opens and reads letter) Oh, great. Now I have to be interviewed by these people.

Helen - (happy) Oh, Daria! You got an interview?

Daria - Yeah, me and ninety-nine other finalists. Talk about feeling special.

Helen - But, you should feel special. You're a finalist! You're on your way. Besides, even making it this far will impress a college admissions board. It means the Wizard Foundation's recognized what a unique individual you are.

Daria - (looks at envelope) Huh. Why does this say occupant?

(Jodie at locker, Daria walks up)

Jodie - Hey, Daria. What's up?

Daria - Actually, you know that Wizard I told you about? I made the finals

Jodie - That's great. So did I.

Daria - You applied?

Jodie - Yeah. Thanks for letting me know about it.

Daria - Letting you now about it?

Upchuck - Colleagues, confreres, amigos de scholasticos.

Daria - Gee, trilingual obnoxiousness.

Upchuck - I see from this list I downloaded that we've all been deemed worthy of the title, Wizard Foundation Finalist, and I for one, am basking in the glow of you two lovely ladies. Not to mention, my own luminescence. Rrroww.

Daria - How many people did you tell about this scholarship?

Jodie - Are you kidding? The fewer people who know about this, the better. I mean, I'm kind of surprised you applied, what with the way you were talking.

Daria - Hmm. Surprise, surprise.

Jodie - Yeah. No hard feelings, right?

Daria - Why would you have any?

(Jodie frowns)

(Jake, Daria and Helen in kitchen)

Jake - Fried wieners are a fun and proteinaceous party food?

Helen - Daria, what are you doing to prepare for the Wizard interview?

Daria - Nothing. With America's studious sweetheart, Jodie Landon in the competition, I don't stand a chance.

Helen - Jodie applied, too?

Daria - After she heard about it from me.

Helen - Well, it's a dog-eat-dog world, you might as well get used to it.

Daria - Gee, I don't think I can get any more used to eating dogs than I am right now.

(Jake gets up and leaves)

Helen - I mean there's nothing wrong with competition, as long as you rise to the occasion. Even if you need a little outside help.

Daria - Okay, that was shoe number one.

Helen - I just happened to hear about a coach who could help you prepare for the interview. (removed pamphlet from pocket)

Daria - What a mad coincidence.

Helen - A couple sessions with Dr. Danada and you're a guaranteed master of special interviewing techniques and strategies.

Daria - Isn't having someone tell you how to act and what to say cheating?

Helen - He's just teaching you what you'd have learned from experience anyway.

Daria - You mean; that a scholarship supposedly based on merit can be bought?

(Helen frowns)

(Daria walking in hallway of Lawndale High. Upchuck runs past and slows to a walk in front of her)

Upchuck - Feisty...lady!

Daria - No, I won't show you my belly button.

Upchuck - Hmm. But, perhaps you can enlighten me on some of the special effects you're planning for your Wizard interview. Accompanying visuals, charts, graphs, dancing animals?

Daria - Sorry, it's just going to be me, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Upchuck - You know, since we are in the competition together.

Daria - Actually, we're in it separately.

Upchuck - Technically. But, we can still help one another. Say, swap essays to gain a broader perspective on what they like?

Daria - Not interested, thanks. Drive home safe.

Upchuck (hands over heart as if stricken) - Oh, tart-tongued temptress. If you help me, I might afford you an opportunity to invest in my dot-com company.

Daria - You've started a dot-com?

Upchuck - A modest exotic candies venture, not unlike the small business that Wizard's illustrious CEO, Mark Straum started in his high school days. (pulls a bag from front pocket) Care for a wasabi gummy-fish imported from Tokyo? It's just the kind that Mr. Straum happens to enjoy.

Daria - How do you know?

Upchuck - Extensive research into his likes and dislikes, and the order he's already placed on my site.

(Daria and Jane seated at cafeteria table)

Daria - So, it looks like you were right. Between Super Jodie and WWW-Upchuck, there's no way I'm going to win that scholarship without some kind of highly uncharacteristic butt-kissing.

Jane - Oh, I' sure you'll find a characteristic way to do it.

Daria - What does that mean?

Jane - Nothing. (points at slice of cake) You gonna eat that?

Daria - Don't you think I'm in a lousy position?

Jane - (slides cake over) Sure, sure. I just can't get worked up about it, that's all.

(Jodie walks up and sits beside Daria)

Jodie - Hey, guys. Mind if I join you?

Daria - The more, the merrier. That's your motto, isn't it?

Jodie - Look, I didn't do anything wrong. That scholarship is open to everyone, and you said you didn't even think you were going to apply. Can't we just hope that one of us gets a break?

Daria - Gee, which one of us do you hope gets a break?

Jodie - Let's level the playing field. My dad found a coach who preps people for interviews, and I wanted you to know about. Here's his card.

Daria - Dr. Danada. Of course. I already knew about him, but um...thanks.

Jane - Oh, a coach. That sounds fair to everybody else.

Daria - Is something bugging you?

Jane - Not a bit. After school, I think I'll go home, surf the web, see if there are any scholarships for underachievers. At least I'll know I'm not competing with anyone who was coached.

Jodie - She almost sounds like you.

Daria - Does that mean I've been sounding like you?

Brittany (walking behind them with tray) - Hi!

Daria - If any of us starts to sound like her, it's time to panic.

(Inside Morgendorffer front door. Doorbell rings and Jake answers, holding a tray of hot dog pieces on toothpicks)

Tom - Hi, Mr. Morgendorffer. I'm here to see Daria.

Jake - Sure thing! (closes door) But first, care for a caramel-topped popcorn dog?

Tom - Um...thanks. (takes one and looks at it dubiously)

Jake - I think I may be onto something here. A pushcart, a nice big umbrella, and hey, I'm open for business.

Tom - (puts sample back on tray) Um...I've got to help Daria prepare for her interview, now. (walks away)

Jake - Why, God? Why are those computer screens so damn hard to read?

(In Daria's room, Daria walks over and sits on bed; Tom rolls swivel chair over and sits.)

Daria - Hey, thanks for helping me out.

Tom - I just hope this little run-through will be enough to do any good. Okay, now I'm a humorless suit from the Wizard Foundation, and you're some jaded, high school snot. In other words, you.

Daria - How flattering.

Tom - All right, Daria. Let's say that we hire you to work at Wizard. Not very likely, but hey. Now, your first assignment is to fire half your employees. Do you: A, fire by lottery, B, fire by seniority, or C, just get rid of any women and minorities who happened to have snuck through the gates.

Daria - Okay, thanks Tom. Very helpful.

Tom - I'm trying to represent Wizard accurately. So you'll be comfortable with the face of evil when it stares into your soul.

Daria - What are you talking about?

Tom - You've heard about their hiring policies, haven't you?

Daria - I must have fallen behind in my annual reports again.

Tom - So, then you don't know about their measly two women VP's and one African-American in senior management.

Daria - Really? I wonder if Jodie's heard about this?

Tom - That's it? No righteous indignation? No protesting of sexism and racism? This is where you usually leap up and swear you won't be co-opted by these bottom-feeding weasels.

Daria - Yeah, it is.

Tom - So why aren't you leaping and swearing?

Daria - Um, my foot's asleep.

(Outside of Landon home, cut to Jodie and Daria sitting on sofa.)

Daria - So basically, they're hiring practices and employee relations aren't that much different from the Ku Klux Klan, if you disregard the dental plan.

Jodie - You may be overstating things a little, but I get your point. They're not what you'd call progressive.

Daria - Not progressive?

(Andrew Landon walks up next to Jodie)

Andrew - Hey, Daria. Summit meeting of the Wizard finalists?

Jodie - Dad, Daria found out some kind-of questionable things about Wizard's personnel policies.

Andrew (brief laugh) No kidding. I guess you didn't see the interview with their CEO in the Journal. Talk about your redneck billionaires. (laughs)

Jodie - You already knew about this?

Daria - They haven't promoted a woman or a minority in three years.

Andrew - So? Who better to win the prize than a brilliant young woman? Especially, if it turns out to be a brilliant young black woman.

Jodie - That is a good point.

Daria - I thought you wouldn't want anything to do with Wizard, once you found out.

Jodie - Trying to reduce the competition by getting me to drop out, huh?

Daria - No. I thought we'd both drop out.

Andrew - And who will win the scholarship then?

Daria - Huh?

Andrew - Wizard's policies have been prehistoric, yeah. But someone, somewhere in the organization, is trying to address that. Or, they wouldn't have created this prize. Now, do you walk away because the guy at the top is an idiot, or do you join the people trying to change the way he does business?

Daria - How do I know they're not just trying to make him look good, without changing anything at all?

Andrew - They won't change anything at all, if kids like you two don't push your way onto their radar and show them the error of their ways. If you don't go up to the gate and ring the big bell, they've kept you out without having to do a thing. (excited) Ring the big bell, Daria! Ring the big bell! (walks away)

Daria - Big bell?

Jodie - Okay, so my dad thinks he's Martin Luther King, Jr. Or Quasimodo, I'm not quite sure. Listen, I've gotta go, or I'll be late for my coaching session. Did you sign up with Dr. Danada yet?

(View of office door, with Dr. J. L. Danada, Ph.D. on it. Cut to Daria and Dr. Danada in office.)

Dr. Danada - Make no mistake about this, Daria. Knowledge is power. The key to scoring big on any interview is knowing what they want, and then delivering that product.

Daria - I'm must praying that they want bulk-rate hot dogs.

Dr. Danada - Daria, the product is you. Successful alumni reflect well on colleges and foundations, so you need to project 'winner' the moment you walk in the door. Dress for success. Look that interviewer in they eye, and dazzle them with a million-dollar smile.

Daria - Squander my million-dollar smile on a ten thousand dollar prize? That's crazy talk.

Dr. Danada - Daria, if you don't mind my saying so, you're giving off mixed signals about wanting this award. You do want the scholarship?

Daria - I guess. But not if it takes dishonesty to get it.

Dr. Danada - Is it dishonest to say you're deserving of the Wizard prize?

Daria - See, now that speaks directly to the ambiguities at issue here. The prize is given by a company with less than stellar ethics. So, which would make me more deserving of the prize? Acting ethically, or acting unethically?

Dr. Danada - (beat) Let's talk about what you're going to wear.

(Bell rings. Daria and Jane walking in LHS hallway)

Daria - So basically, Danada was a complete waste of time and money. I'll never learn to suck-up like Jodie.

Jane - You shouldn't, anyway.

Daria - You're right.

Jane - You've gotta be yourself when you suck-up.

Daria - Why do you keep saying that? My whole problem is that I'm not sucking up.

Jane - Really? Then, why did you go to the coach in the first place? For that matter, why apply for a scholarship at all?

Daria - What?

Jane - It's all part of buying into the system, and buying into the system is another way of saying sucking up.

Daria - Who made you the Chicago Eight? This isn't the way you usually think.

Jane - What do you know about how I think? Just because a person doesn't go around applying for scholarships and using every ten-dollar word they know. It doesn't mean they're stupid. (walks away)

Daria - Who said you were...

(Outside view of Lawndale High School. Cut to interior room, Ms. Li is shaking the hand of Mr. Brower, the Wizard interviewer on one side of a folding table, Jodie, Daria and Upchuck are seated on the other side. Jodie is dressed in a magenta women's business suit, Upchuck in a suit and tie, Daria as normal)

Ms. Li - Mr. Brower, allow me to personally welcome you to Lawndale High. We are very happy to have three finalists for the Wizard Scholarship. (whispers) We'll talk later about some of your surveillance software. (Mr. Brower nods)

Mr. Brower - Ms. Landon. What would you say are your strengths as a student and a human being>

Jodie - That's a good question. My strengths are that I question, and I care. And, I'm not afraid to go for it with my whole heart and soul.

Mr. Brower - Mr. Ruttheimer, your strengths?

Upchuck - Aside from my far-flung reputation as a people person, I'd say my strengths include a daring entrepreneurial bent, coupled with an unquenchable need to succeed. (points) Nice tie, by the way.

Mr. Brower - (adjusts tie) Ms. Morgendorffer?

Daria - I would say that my main strength is that I don't babble.

Mr. Brower - Um...Ms. Landon. What is your greatest weakness?

Jodie - My believe my greatest weakness is that sometimes I care too much and try too hard, and as a consequence, I don't always take time to smell the roses.

Mr. Brower - (sighs, points to Upchuck)

Upchuck - To tell you the truth, I have a weakness for wasabi gummy-fish. (Picks up bag of candy and holds it out to Mr. Brower) Care for one?

Mr. Brower - (looks at Daria)

Daria - My main weakness is my inability to answer stock questions with stock answers.

Mr. Brower - (frowns and makes mark on pad)

(View of wall clock going from 11:00 to 11:30, cut to table with Mr. Brower, Daria, Jodie and Upchuck)

Mr. Brower - Now, for my last question. Why do you deserve the Wizard Scholarship? Ms. Landon.

Jodie - Mr. Brower, I believe in myself and I hope to achieve a lot in this world. And then, use everything I've learned to give back to my community, the way Wizard is now with this wonderful scholarship.

Mr. Brower - Mr. Ruttheimer.

Upchuck - Awesome question. I was thinking about just that when I started my dot-com company. Because, I'm just the kind of go-getter the Wizard Scholarship was created for. Thank you!

Mr. Brower - (sighs) Ms. Morgendorffer. Why do you deserve the Wizard Scholarship?

Daria - Whether or not I deserve anything is irrelevant, assuming you run your scholarship program the same way you run your company. (Jodie and Upchuck look worriedly at Daria) Since the token women and minorities you hire rarely move into upper management, and since I won't give the answers you want to hear, in hopes of somehow bucking the odds, I guess you can pass on me, as if I were one of your female employees up for promotion.

Mr. Brower - Ms. Morgendorffer, you seem to have a bit of an attitude problem. Are you trying to sabotage yourself?

Daria - I'm responding to your questions truthfully. So, I guess the answer is yes.

Mr. Brower - Too bad. According to my notes, you got high marks for the light-hearted spoof you wrote for an essay.

Daria - (dismayed) Light-hearted spoof?

(Jodie, Daria and Upchuck sitting on sidewalk in front of Lawndale High)

Upchuck - So none of us is Wizard Scholarship material.

Jodie - I really thought I had a good shot. (sighs) Oh, hell. Maybe my answers were too damn pat.

Upchuck - Is it possible I imported the wrong wasabi gummy-fish?

Daria - Well, I know why I didn't get it.

Jodie - Oh, yeah.

Upchuck - Definitely.

Jodie - No question there.

Daria - Hey!

Jodie - Come on, Daria. You didn't want it.

Daria - No, I did want it. It just took me a while to figure out how badly I wanted it.

Jodie - How badly was that?

Daria - Not badly enough to smile and lie for the award, but badly enough to get mad at you for applying. Sorry.

Jodie - I'm sorry. I should have told you I was applying. I can't believe I didn't.

Daria - I can't believe I went to that coach, after all my high and mighty posturing about integrity.

Jodie - What about both of us sucking up to the sexist, racist goons at Wizard?

Daria - Yeah. Who would have thought we'd be able to pursue excellence and scumminess, both at the same time.

Upchuck - (stands up) Oh! Why couldn't it have been me?

(Daria at table in cafeteria, Jane walks up with tray)

Jane - Jodie told me about the big brush-off from Wizard. Sorry, kid.

Daria - Why were you so anti-scholarship?

Jane - No reason. Except maybe...seeing the big brains compete for a prize based on their academic achievement. Well deserved, don't get me wrong. Might possibly have made little Janey feel a bit...I don't know.

Daria - Left out?

Jane - Look, I'm good at the things I'm good at. Grades isn't one of them. (sighs) We never used to think about stuff like this.

Daria - I know. What's happened to us?

Jane - I don't know. Selling out?

Daria - Buying in?

Jane - Joining the system?

Daria - Being co-opted?

Jane - Maybe we're just getting older.

Daria - Yeah, I felt a twinge of osteoporosis when I woke up this morning.

Jane - So, you willing to admit yet that you're more competitive than you thought?

Daria - Come on. If I were really competitive, I'd be in the parking lot right now, squaring off with the rest of them.

(Crowd of students gathering in front of table. Banner above reads "Jake Morgendorffer Consulting" and the front of the table reads "Hot Diggity Dog Eating Contest." Jamie, Joey, Jeffy, Kevin and Mr. DeMartino are seated in front of plates piled with hot dogs. Jake, in apron, is at one end of table by a large pot of hot dogs; Ms. Li is at the other end with a bullhorn, standing by delivery crate of hot dogs.)

Mr. Li - Welcome to Lawndale High's first annual Hot Diggity Dog Eating Contest, courtesy of Jake Morgendorffer Consulting. First prize is a year's supply of Grade A, quality (whispered, away from bull horn) bulk rate (back to bullhorn) delicious hot dogs. Now, without further ado. Let's begin the festivities, and may the best porker win! (laughs and blows whistle)

(crowd cheers while contestants start eating hot dogs)

(closing credits)