Episode Guide

Boxing Daria
Episode #513
Written by Glenn Eichler

(opening theme song)

(opens on a black screen, the only sound being tires squealing and cars crashing into each other; then, the sound of footsteps and tapping on a window)

Guy - Miss, are you all right? Miss?

(at the Morgendorffer house)

(Helen is on the phone with the office; two workmen from Karl's Kitchens are putting in a new refrigerator)

Helen - Oh, Eric, I'm so sorry I'm running late. I had a household emergency. Oh, our refrigerator suddenly broke. What do you mean I should chill? I'm perfectly relaxed! Oh, refrigerator! Chill! (laughs) Oh, I agree. There's nothing funny about food poisoning.

(Daria arrives in the kitchen)

Daria - Unless someone else gets it. Then it's frivolity city.

(Helen frowns at Daria)

(at school)

(Daria and Jane are walking down the hallway)

Daria - Did I tell you Tom's going away for a week?

Jane - To "the cove"?

Daria - How'd you know?

Jane - That's the only place his family ever goes. I think they're training a secret militia up there.

Daria - I wish. That's so much more exciting than them just being too damn cheap to go anywhere interesting.

Jane - Hey, how do you think old money gets old?

Daria - Anyway, he'll be up there for a family wedding, so more time for you and me to hang out.

Jane - Haven't we had this conversation before? Only I said what you're saying and you said what I'm saying?

(the PA clicks on)

Ms. Li (over PA) - Attention, Lawndale High students. It has come to my attention that during our all-important Trail Mix Fund Drive Week, some individuals have been flaunting outside snacks from non-school-affiliated sources. Now, students... the Booster Club, Leadership Club, Chess Club, Dominoes Club, football, basketball, lacrosse and marbles teams, as well as the Fraternal Brotherhood of Future Marketing and Promotion Executives, need your help. I'm afraid we going to have to institute snack spot checks! I'm sorry, young people, but you have abused your privileges! (PA clicks off)

Daria - I hate this place.

Jane - That reminds me. I need some chocolate. Unauthorized chocolate. (fakes evil laugh as she walks away)

(Mr. O'Neill walks up to Daria)

Mr. O'Neill - Daria! Hello! I want to ask you something.

Daria - I'm not surrendering my pudding snack.

Mr. O'Neill - What?

Daria - What did you want to ask me?

Mr. O'Neill - It's about the freshman tours. You know, the tours we give students who'll be entering school next year.

Daria - Forget it.

Mr. O'Neill - We're looking for bright, articulate and empathetic students to lead groups of... (her words finally register) Forget it?

Daria - "Empathetic"?

Mr. O'Neill - Well, yes, Daria. With your vivid storyteller's imagination, you can really put yourself in the shoes of these young people entering high school for the first time.

Daria - I don't think I can bring myself to say anything encouraging about a place that strip-searches for Cheez-Its.

Mr. O'Neill - Darn it, Daria, this is an opportunity to polish up those people skills. I promised myself I'd get you to do this.

Daria - Why?

Mr. O'Neill - Because I care.

Daria - Then you need to work on your callousness skills. (walks away)

(at the Sloane house)

(Tom and Daria are watching Sick, Sad World)

SSW Announcer - They gave her a good-bye party at 65... miles per second! "Retirement by rocket," next on Sick, Sad World.

(Tom clicks the remote to mute the TV)

Tom - So I asked my parents and it's cool with them if you want to come up for a couple of days.

Daria - I can't stand to go to my family's weddings. What makes you think I could ever go to yours?

Tom - Come up after the wedding.

Daria - Oh, sure, so I can get there just as the marriage starts to disintegrate.

(Tom sighs)

Daria - (relents) Look, I appreciate the offer, but you know... too many people, not enough evacuation routes. I'll see you when you get back.

Tom - I'm worried. I don't think you can really do without me for a week.

Daria - No, you should worry that once I remember what it's like not to have you cramping my style, I'll want to make it permanent.

Tom - Romantic.

(at the Morgendorffer house)

(Helen is reading the refrigerator manual, Quinn is checking out the new fridge, and Daria is making toaster pastries)

Helen - This says the different vegetable bins have individual thermostats.

Quinn - That means I can have celery stalks at one temperature for their optimum crispness, and carrot sticks at another for theirs!

Daria - Just make sure they never touch, or kablooey!

Quinn - Ha.

Helen - What do you think of the new refrigerator, Daria?

Daria - I think... (glances out the window) ...I think they left the box.

(Helen looks out the window and sees the empty box sitting in the back yard)

Helen - Oh, isn't that ridiculous? They carted off that heavy, old refrigerator and left the cardboard box. Well, it's light. You and your sister can move it out to the curb for the trash collectors.

Daria - Isn't that sort of brute donkey work the reason they made fathers?

Helen - Daria, I'm surprised at you being so traditional.

Daria - I'm not being traditional. I'm being lazy.

Helen - Well, your father heard about a last-minute opening at some marketing conference and ran off, so I guess you girls will have to do it.

Daria - A last-minute trip? He didn't say anything about that.

Helen - Well, no, Daria. That's because it was last minute.

Daria - Oh. Okay. (pause) Did we have one of those when I was a kid?

Helen - One of what?

Daria - A refrigerator box. I seem to remember spending a lot of time playing in one when I was a kid

Helen - Oh, I doubt that, Daria. I don't remember you doing much playing at all. (laughs, then sees Daria's glare and sighs)

(outside, Daria and Quinn start dragging the box)

Daria - Do you remember us having one of these when we were kids?

Quinn - Daria, I'm doing manual labor here? I'm not in the mood for a stroll down memory road.

Daria - You were probably too young anyway. I think I was around five or six...

Quinn - Daria! I'm near the perspiring point!

Daria - Oh, come on, this thing isn't heavy. I could drag it myself...

Quinn - Okay. Bye. (starts to leave)

Daria - Wait!

Quinn - (turns back) What?

Daria - Why do you think Dad really went away?

Quinn - Daria, why are you so weird?

(inside the house, Daria looks out the window at the box sitting on the curb, then picks up the phone and dials)

Daria - Hi, Mrs. Sloane, it's Daria. Um, is Tom there? (pause) Oh... okay. (pause) No, just that I called. Thanks. (hangs up, then goes back to staring out the window)

(begin flashback sequence)

(little Daria is in bed, while Jake and Helen are arguing in another room; Daria is obviously frightened by what she hears)

Jake (offscreen) - Dammit, Helen, that's it! How much am I supposed to take?

Helen (offscreen) - Jake, she's a child, she doesn't know any better!

Jake (O.S.) - That's what she wants you to believe!

(end flashback sequence)

(Daria comes out of her reverie, then walks into the front yard and drags the box away from the curb)

(at the Morgendorffer house)

(Helen is in the kitchen, on the phone and in a panic, as usual)

Helen - Eric? I'm running a little late. No, it's nothing to do with the refrigerator. Oh, I should chill. (laughs, but it's strained) That's funny. Okay, bye. (hangs up)

(Helen then looks out the window and sees the box is back in the yard)

Helen - Huh.

(Quinn walks into the kitchen in her bedclothes; she still isn't a morning person)

Helen - Quinn, I thought I asked you and Daria to move that box out to the curb.

Quinn - What? We did.

Helen - Maybe you dreamt that you did. I want you to go out there and move it right now.

Quinn - But, Mom, I swear...

Helen - I don't have time to play games, Quinn. I'm late! Bring the box out to the curb or I won't be responsible for what happens to your carrot sticks! (leaves)

(outside, Quinn is dragging the box to the front yard)

Quinn (muttering) - Stupid freakin' carton... hard freakin' labor... I'm only freakin' human! How much can one freakin' girl take? Even an enormously freakin' popular one...

(upstairs, Daria is awakened by the arrival of the garbage truck; seeing that the box is at the curb again, she hurries outside and drags the box away just in time)

(at school)

(Kevin and Brittany are conducting one of the tours for the soon-to-be-freshmen, while Mr. O'Neill looks on)

Kevin - Now, the next stop on our tour is the lunchroom. Who here knows what people do in the lunchroom?

(the group looks confused, which isn't a surprise; Mr. O'Neill sighs at Kevin's usual ineptitude, then runs to catch up with Daria and Jane)

Mr. O'Neill - Oh, Daria! I wanted to ask you if you've given any more thought to helping out with the freshman tours.

Daria - If nominated, I will not run. If elected, I will not serve.

Mr. O'Neill - But Jodie's doing it.

Daria - Jodie does everything.

Mr. O'Neill - Maybe you and Jane want to give some tours together!

Jane - I'd do it. (Daria stops and stares at Jane) Hey, if I'm giving a tour then I can't be in class. Simple physics.

Daria - I told you. I'd feel like a complete hypocrite telling impressionable youngsters what a great place this is when I don't believe it myself.

Mr. O'Neill - But you don't have to tell them what a great place it is! I want them to see that Lawndale High is the sort of school that embraces all kinds of students.

Daria - What's that supposed to mean?

Mr. O'Neill - Well, Jodie and the others are sort of joiner types, and you...

Daria - Are sort of a non-joiner type? An outcast, an oddball, a fifth wheel? And you want me to tell other oddballs that life at Lawndale High will be just peachy?

Mr. O'Neill - Daria! Is everything all right?

Daria - No! Why do I have to be pegged as the misfit all the time? I can get along with people! (leaves angrily)

Mr. O'Neill - Of course you can, Daria, that's my point! So you'll think about it?!

(getting no response from Daria, Mr. O'Neill turns to Jane)

Jane - Kids.

(at the Morgendorffer house)

(Daria is in the kitchen, reading, as Helen walks in)

Hele - Daria, why is that refrigerator box in the backyard again?

Daria - Why do you refuse to acknowledge that we had a box like that when I was a kid? (closes book)

Helen - What? What are you talking about?

Daria - Where's Dad?

Helen - I told you, he's at a conference. He'll be home tomorrow. Call him if you want to speak to him!

Daria - Why? So he can lie to me, too? Where is he really?

Helen - Daria, are you feeling okay?

Daria - Did you and Dad have a huge fight about me when I was little?

Helen - What?! No!

Daria - You're lying. (leaves)

(in her room, Daria is on the phone with Tom, who's at their house at the cove; in the background, Tom's uncle and his father, Angier, are playing chess)

Daria - So when are you coming home?

Tom - Next week, like I said.

Daria - Can you get back any sooner?

Tom - I wish I could. Wait, are you kidding?

Daria - Do you have to make fun of me?

Tom - I'm not making fun of you. But what happened to "I don't care if you're here or not"?

Daria - It's changed. Listen, do you still want me to come up there?

Tom - Well, you could, but it's even duller than I thought. I mean, it would be great for me if you came up, but I think you'd have a horrible time.

Daria - So you lied to me, too.

Tom - What are you talking about?

Daria - You said you wanted me to come up. Now you say you don't.

Tom - That's not what I said at all! Come on up, I want you to, it'll be great.

Daria - No, thanks.

(Tom sighs)

Daria - Call me tomorrow, okay?

Tom - Daria, seriously, is something wrong?

Daria - Call me tomorrow, all right? Bye. (hangs up)

Tom - But we can talk right now... (stares at the phone, concerned, as the connection is broken)

(the next day, Daria and Jane walk into the Morgendorffer's back yard and approach the box)

Jane - Well, you spoke the truth. It's a box, all right.

Daria - It's more than a box.

Jane - Um, from here it looks like exactly a box.

Daria - I mean, that box is trying to tell me something.

Jane - If you say so. All I hear is the rustle of a gentle breeze wafting through cardboard. Quite soothing, really.

(Daria pauses, then...)

Daria - You're right, it is soothing.

Jane - I was kidding.

Daria - No, there's something about it... (she crawls into the box as Jane looks on, wide-eyed)

Jane - Um, Daria? What are you doing?

Daria (sitting in box) - Yes. This is right.

Jane - Daria?

(begin flashback sequence)

(little Daria is in bed, while Jake and Helen are arguing in another room; Daria is obviously frightened by what she hears)

Jake (offscreen) - Dammit, Helen, that's it! How much am I supposed to take?

Helen (offscreen) - Jake, this isn't about you. It's about her, having a little trouble fitting in.

Jake (O.S.) - She doesn't want to fit in, damn it! Why can't you admit that?!

Helen (O.S.) - Jake, she's a child, she doesn't know any better!

Jake (O.S.) - That's what she wants you to believe!

Helen (O.S.) - Where are you going?!

(the front door, then another door slams, with little Daria wincing each time and pulling the covers up a little tighter)

(end flashback sequence)

Jane - Daria? Come on, the neighbors are starting to talk.

Daria - Um... good. Soon they'll progress to cave drawings and civilization will be on its way.

(Daria crawls out of the box just as Quinn approaches)

Quinn - Daria! I remembered! You were right! I remembered I was three or four and it was nighttime and I woke up because Mom and Dad were fighting, and then Dad was yelling and a door slammed and then I heard a car start up and he drove away.

Daria - Thank you. I knew I wasn't imagining it. Do you remember what they were fighting about?

Quinn - Um... yeah... they were fighting about you.

(Daria hesitates for a moment, then crawls back into the box as Jane and Quinn watch)

(begin flashback sequence)

(little Daria is talking to the school counsellor, with Helen and Jake sitting in the background; Helen has an '80s style hairdo, and Jake has a little more hair than he does now)

Doctor - Now, Daria... I want you to tell me what you see when you look at the picture. (holds up an inkblot)

Daria - What do you mean? That's not a picture.

Doctor - Well, not the kind of picture we're used to seeing. This picture lets you make up what it's about.

Daria - Then why don't I just draw my own picture?

Doctor - For instance... one little boy or girl might look at it and see a fire truck or a house. Another might see a herd of beautiful wild ponies running free across the plains.

Daria - It's just a black splotch.

Doctor - Daria, what's your favorite game to play at recess?

Daria - I don't like games. I like to read.

Doctor - Don't you enjoy playing with the other children?

Daria - Not really. They never understand what I'm talking about and then they make fun of me. I like to read.

(Helen and Jake exchange glances)

(in the car, on the ride home; Jake is driving, Helen is riding shotgun, and young Daria and Quinn are in the back seat)

Jake - I'm just saying, Daria. If you give the other boys and girls a chance, you might find someone you like. It takes all kinds.

Quinn - I like lots of kids! (starts bouncing up and down like she's on a sugar high)

Daria - They call me egghead.

Helen - Sweetie, it's a little hard for your father and me to keep taking time off from work to talk to the counselor. Why don't you meet us halfway and try talking to the other kids?

Daria - They don't say anything that interests me.

Quinn - I talk a lot to the other kids, and they talk back!

(the car pulls into the driveway of their home, a modest one-level ranch house)

Helen - Daria, how do you know they don't interest you?

Daria - I'm tired. (gets out of car)

Quinn - I'm not tired!

(later that night)

(little Daria is in bed, while Jake and Helen are arguing in another room)

Helen (offscreen) - Well, I don't know what to do. I'm at my wits' end.

Jake (offscreen) - Dammit, Helen, that's it! I go in there every day to face a psychotic boss, a job that makes me feel like a freakin' slave, then I have to come home and deal with this? How much am I supposed to take?

(Daria is now obviously frightened by what she hears)

Helen (O.S.) - Jake, this isn't about you. It's about her, having a little trouble fitting in.

Jake (O.S.) - She doesn't want to fit in, damn it! Why can't you admit that?!

Helen (O.S.) - Jake, she's a child, she doesn't know any better!

Jake (O.S.) - That's what she wants you to believe!

Helen (O.S.) - Where are you going?!

(the front door, then the car door slams, with little Daria wincing each time and pulling the covers up a little tighter; as the car starts up and pulls away, Daria gets out of bed, switches on the light, and crawls into a large, crayon-decorated refrigerator box and begins to read; the hardship reflected in her young face disappears almost immediately)

(end flashback sequence)

(Daria remains sitting in the box, lost in thought)

(Jake arrives home via cab, and as he walks into the kitchen, he sees the cardboard box in the yard; walking outside, he peers into the box)

Jake - Oh! Hey, kiddo!

(he gets up to leave, then peers back into the box; there's no response from Daria, who's still lost in thought)

Jake - Um, Daria?

(at the Morgendorffer house)

(Jake and Helen are standing in the kitchen and looking at the box, where Daria is still sitting)

Jake - But what's she doing in there?

Helen - I don't know. She's been acting so strangely. I'd have called you, but by the time I got home and saw her, you were already in the air.

(Quinn walks into the kitchen)

Quinn - Oh, hi, Dad. How was the band-aid conference?

Jake - Branding. It was a branding conference.

Quinn - Branding? Oh no, those poor cows!

Helen - Quinn, do you have any idea why your sister is outside sitting in that ridiculous box?

Quinn - Is she still out there? Um, it's about that fight you two had.

Jake - Fight? What fight?

Helen - We didn't have any fight.

Quinn - Back when we were kids, in the old house. You know, you had a big fight about Daria and then Dad stormed out? It was very traumatic. The scars are with me to this day. Do we have any diet soda?

(outside, Helen and Jake peer into the box, attempting to coax Daria out)

Helen - Come on, Daria. Come out of the box. We want to talk to you.

Jake - Yeah, come on, kiddo. We'll all have a nice talk.

Daria - No.

Helen - Daria, you can't spend the rest of your life in there.

Daria - I can once they put in my high-speed Internet connection.

Jake - Daria... please come out?


Daria - All right, but you have to promise to be completely honest with me.

Helen - Um... uh... okay.

Jake - Helen, is that such a good idea?

Helen - Jake!

Jake - Honest it is!

(in the living room)

(Daria is seated on one sofa, Helen and Jake on another)

Daria - When I was six years old, did you have a big fight about me?

Helen - Yes.

Jake - No! (pause) Yes.

Helen - I'd forgotten all about it. Quinn reminded us.

Daria - Why were you fighting?

Helen - Daria, you have to understand. We kept getting calls from the school. You wouldn't talk to the other children. You wouldn't play with the other children. We knew how smart you were -- talking to you was like talking to a miniature adult -- but you wouldn't engage with the other kids.

Daria - They didn't interest me.

Jake - That's what you said.

Helen - Your father was in a job he hated, with a really sadistic boss.

Jake - Lousy mini-Mussolini...

Helen - Jake!

Jake - Tense, Daria. I was very tense.

Helen - I was trying to resume a full-time workload and still raise two young girls. We were all tense. Your problems at school were sort of the straw that broke the camel's back. We had an argument, your father stormed off, spent the night in a motel...

Jake - A crappy motel.

Helen - ...and the next day, we made up and carried on.

Daria - So I caused a big marital rift.

Jake - Not a rift, Daria.

Helen - We had a fight one night. You happened to be the topic, not the cause.

(Daria pauses for a moment; then, without a word, she gets up and walks out the door)

Helen - Daria?

(Helen and Jake go after her, rushing outside just in time to see Daria pulling away in Helen's SUV)

(on the road, Daria picks up the cellphone and dials)

Daria - Hello? Mrs. Sloane? Is Tom there? (pause) Well, would it be okay if I took you up on your offer to visit? (pause) Yeah. (pause) I can be there in about four hours. (pause) Thanks very much, Mrs. Sloane.

(Daria hangs up the phone just as it starts to rain; suddenly, a car spins out on the rain-slick road ahead, and Daria barely avoids joining the chain reaction pile-up by skidding to a stop on the shoulder)

(a man approaches the SUV and starts knocking on the window; Daria is in near-shock from the experience)

Man - Miss, are you all right? Miss! Miss!

(Daria finally snaps out of it, and rolls down the window)

Daria - Yeah. Yeah, I'm okay.

(at Mom's Diner)

(a waterlogged Daria is sitting at a booth as Jane drives up in Trent's car; when Jane enters the diner, Daria rushes over and hugs her, to Jane's total surprise)

(shortly thereafter, Daria and Jane are sitting in the booth; they are both sipping mugs of coffee)

Jane - I'm not quite getting this. You ran off because of a fight your parents had 11 years ago?

Daria - It's not the fight. It's the sudden realization that all these years, when I thought they were torturing me, in reality I was the one torturing them.

Jane - First of all, I don't think it's either-or. From where I'm sitting, you and your folks have done a great job of torturing each other. And second of all, you mean to tell me you don't know when you're busting them?

Daria - Yes, I know when I'm busting them. What I didn't realize is what a pain I've been when I thought I was just being me.

Jane - Huh?

Daria - At age six, I decide I don't need to talk to other kids ever again; my parents are the ones who get called into school. At 12, I decide to try out some Shakespearean insults on my teachers; my parents are the ones who get called into school. At 15, I start writing violent revenge fantasies just to get a reaction...

Jane - Your parents, et cetera, et cetera. Gotcha. But I never got the idea that they minded that much.

Daria - Yeah. Which just makes it even worse.

Jane - You really need to discuss this with them.

Daria - I know, but first I had to talk to someone I could trust.

Jane - Yeah, I'm sorry you didn't make it to the cove.

Daria - I'm not. It would have been good to see Tom, but this way, I got to talk to the person I trust most.

(Jane and Daria exchange small, knowing smiles)

(later, Daria pulls up to the house as Jane, in Trent's car, honks the horn, waves, and drives away)

(inside, Helen and Jake are frantic with worry when Daria walks in)

Helen - Oh, thank God!

(both Helen and Jake get up and hug Daria; all three then sit on the sofas again, with Daria sipping another mug of coffee)

Helen - But Daria, why did you have to run away when you heard that story about getting called in to school?

Jake - Yeah, we used to get called in to school all the time!

Helen - Jake!

Jake - I mean... we were used to it!

Helen - Jake!

Jake - I mean...

Helen - Jake!

Jake - It was part of the deal. It was the other side to you being so smart and perceptive.

Helen - (suddenly realizes that this is one of Jake's rare insigtful moments) Oh.

Daria - What do you mean?

Helen - Daria, you can't have a child with your kind of intelligence and expect her to fit in easily with other kids. We weren't happy to be called into school because we knew it meant you weren't happy.

Jake - But we were never unhappy with you.

Daria - Oh. Well, that's good. (pause) Um... do you think I'm a misfit?

Helen - Daria, you make your choices. We understand that.

Jake - Yeah! (pause) We do?

Daria - Choices?

Helen - Yes. Like deciding not to visit Tom while he was away, or to give those student tours. You choose not to interact and we understand. It doesn't make you a misfit.

Daria - It just makes me antisocial. (pause) That student tour thing is a matter of principle.

Jake - You know, if I could interject here... (shuts up quickly with a small "oof!" as Helen, without looking, stomps on his foot)

Daria - Um, I'm gonna go to bed. (starts to head upstairs)

Helen - Good night.

Jake - Good night, kiddo.

(Daria hesitates, then turns around)

Daria - I just want to say... it occurs to me that maybe I wasn't the easiest child in the world to raise, and, um... perhaps I'm quite lucky to have you for parents. (heads back towards the stairs again)

Helen - Thank you for knowing when not to speak.

Jake - (whining) I think you broke my toe.

(as Daria enters her room and turns the light on, she sees the refrigerator box in the middle of the room with a note on top of it; she picks it up and reads it)

Daria - "Didn't know if you'd need this, but just in case. Quinn."

(Daria smiles at Quinn's rare display of thoughtfulness)

(in Tom's car)

(Tom is driving Daria to school)

Tom - Anyway, sorry I wasn't home when you called, and I'm real sorry you never made it up there, although I think that last checkers game between me and my uncle is still going on.

Daria - Hey, you had no way of knowing I was gonna want to drive up.

Tom - I mean, if I'd had any idea that you'd end up in a horrific multi-car crackup, whispering my name over and over in a desperate bid not to slip into a coma...

Daria - Horrific crackup? I spun out on the shoulder.

Tom - You tell it your way, I'll tell it mine.

(Tom and Daria exchange smiles)

(at school, Daria gets out of the car; as Tom drives off, Daria sighs at the prospect of what she's about to do)

(in the hallway in front of the cafeteria, Jane and Daria are conducting one of the middle school student tours)

Daria - Now, over here is the lunchroom. As middle school veterans, you already know that this is the center for spitballs, laughing milk up through your nose, and food poisoning of every variety.

Jane - Who here wants to slip me a twenty to point out the popular table so you can start fighting for a seat now?

(the kids look on, confused by what they're hearing)

Daria - Okay. Let's move on to Hell and Purgatory, also known as the gym and locker rooms.

Jane - Where, for twenty bucks, I'll show you which showers haven't been peed in... to my knowledge.

(now the kids look shocked)

Daria - My friend is just kidding you, of course. They've all been peed in.

(Daria and Jane then begin leading the students towards the gym)

Daria - Now, as we head for the gym, take special note of the fine industrial grade lockers, which make the perfect noise when you bang your head against them...

(closing credits)