"D" is for Daria
a Daria fanfic

by
Mike Yamiolkoski


INTRODUCTION:

Why did I do this? I'm still trying to figure that one out myself. Part of the blame can go to Erin Mills for bringing us the Muppet Show/Daria crossover, but most of it is all mine. Enjoy.




* * * * * * * * *

EXT: New York City

The Tank cruises along the Brooklyn Bridge toward Manhattan.




INT: Tank

Jane is at the wheel and Daria's in the passenger seat. Daria is asleep.

JANE: Hey Daria, wake up! You're missing it!

Daria stirs.

DARIA: Huh? Oh, we're here already?

JANE: Already, she says. You've been sleeping for hours, I felt like I was hanging out with Trent. Okay, now we come to the tricky part - driving in downtown New York. You got that map handy?

DARIA: Yeah, hang on. (Daria unfolds a map, starts looking it over). Okay, you'll want to turn right (they drive off the bridge and through an intersection) back there.

JANE: Crap. Is there anywhere we can circle around?

DARIA: Um... try your next left.

JANE: Are you reading that map or are you guessing?

DARIA: A little of both. A little more of one than the other.

JANE: Daria, I don't want to get lost in New York City. There are some truly weird neighborhoods around here. This is the town that invented crack, you know.

DARIA: You think this is easy? You read it.

Jane pulls off to the side of the road and takes the map.

PEDESTRIAN: Hey, I'm walkin' here!

JANE: So walk, already!! (to Daria) God, I love this town.

DARIA: So, what do you think?

JANE: Well, according to this map, someone's put in a really hard night's work recently.

DARIA: Huh?

JANE: It seems to indicate that we just came off the Golden Gate Bridge. Got a map of New York in there, by any chance? It would probably be a little more useful than one of San Francisco.

DARIA: Aw, hell. My parents went to California the day before we left. Right now, I'll bet my Dad's trying to figure out why he can't see the Statue of Liberty in the bay.

JANE: Ooookay. Well, we Lanes have a talent for getting lost and finding our way out of it. Sometimes it takes months, but we always get home sometime. Let's go.




EXT: Various NYC streets

The Tank drives around for a while, not getting anywhere.




INT: Tank

Jane has pulled off to the side again, and leans out the window.

JANE: Hmm... I'm pretty sure we were on the left side of the Empire State Building an hour ago, so we're making progress.

DARIA: Which side are we supposed to be on?

JANE: Don't break my concentration.

A pigeon lands on the door of the Tank.

DARIA: Hello, pigeon.

PIGEON: Hi there!

Daria blinks, but otherwise doesn't react.

PIGEON: Listen, I'm lost. Can you tell me how to get to -

DARIA: JANE!!

JANE: What do you want? I'm busy.

DARIA: Jane, are you absolutely sure that the band never smoked any illegal substances on this van that might have lingering effects on later occupants?

JANE: Well, I can't swear to the fact the the accumulated mess isn't undergoing strange chemical reactions of its own accord, but otherwise I'm pretty sure. Who are you talking to over there?

DARIA: Looks like a pigeon. Except he's made out of felt and foam rubber.

JANE: Well, offer it some bread crumbs if it will tell us how to get to - Oh my lord.

DARIA: What, is there a talking pigeon on your side of the car now?

JANE: I'm... pretty sure it's a bird of some kind...

VOICE: Hi! Welcome to Sesame Street!

Zoom out. Looming over the Tank in all his eight-foot canary-yellow glory is none other than Big Bird himself.

PIGEON: Oh! Never mind, looks like I'm already here! (flutters off)

DARIA: What was that you were saying about weird neighborhoods?



CUT TO:

Muppets and little kids playing in the park, the street, etc.

Sunny Day,
Sweeping the Clouds away,
On my way to where the air is sweet!
Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street?

DARIA: So that we might reverse the process and go home?




EXT: Sesame Street

Daria and Jane have abandoned the Tank and are walking down the street, observing the various kids playing and the odd muppet or two.

JANE: (excited) This is too bizarre. Look at this, it's just like the show!

DARIA: I wouldn't know.

JANE: Daria, are you telling me you never watched Sesame Street? That's just inexcusable.

DARIA: I saw it from time to time. But since I refuse to acknowledge the reality of this situation, I'm unprepared to say it's just like anything. It is my fervent hope and belief that I will be waking up within the hour.

JANE: Look, I'll prove it to you. (loudly) I could really use some help counting to twelve!

DARIA: Kevin? Oh, wait, that was you, Jane. Sorry, it sure sounded like Kevin.

TELLY MONSTER: Hey, did I hear someone say they want to count to twelve?

JANE: (to Daria) Convinced?

DARIA: More so than ever. Of the fact that I'm descending into madness.

TELLY: I'll start! One...

Silence.

TELLY: (ahem) ONE...

DARIA: He's not going to go away until you count with him, you know.

JANE: Hey, I was just trying to make a point, friend. We don't actually have to count.

TELLY: Come on, it's your turn after one! ONE!

DARIA: You started this, Jane. You finish it.

JANE: Oh, all right! Two.

TELLY: Three!

JANE: (sighs) Four.

TELLY: Five!

JANE: Six.

TELLY: Seven!

JANE: Eight.

TELLY: Nine!

JANE: Ten, eleven, twelve.

TELLY: Yay! You're good at this, Jane! Now let's count to twenty!

JANE: You go right ahead, my furry friend. Daria and I need to head over to, um, Hooper's store.

TELLY: All right! One, two, three, four...

Jane and Daria leave Telly to his amusement.

DARIA: Jane, I am very much of the mind that we should get back in the van and begin putting serious distance between ourselves and this place.

JANE: I don't know, I'm really tempted to stick around...

DARIA: Jane...

JANE: Hey, it's kind of cool, you know? I mean, how often are we given a chance to re-live our childhood like this? Admit it - didn't you ever want to take a ride on Snuffle-upagus when you were a kid? Or go on one of Guy Smiley's game shows? Or just hang out with Ernie and Bert?

DARIA: No.

JANE: No you didn't, or no you won't admit it?

DARIA: Jane, I know this is a million laughs for you, but it's just not my thing.

JANE: Hey, watch this! "A!"

A white letter "A" appears in the air next to Jane's head.

JANE: Pretty neat, huh?

DARIA: "Machine Gun!" (nothing appears) Oh well, it was worth a shot.

JANE: Come here Daria, I know just the person you need to talk to.

Jane crosses the street and bangs on a trash can.

OSCAR: (emerging from can) What, what? Who's bothering me now?

JANE: Oscar the Grouch, meet Daria the Cynic.

DARIA: (dripping sarcasm) Charmed. Jane, is this your idea of a joke?

JANE: Until you're ready to get into the spirit of things, you can hang out here. I'm gonna go have some fun.

OSCAR: Have all you want, as long as you do it away from my trash can!

DARIA: (waves her hand in front of her face) Ugh! You know, the stench never came across on TV.

OSCAR: Hey, you try living in garbage for thirty years and see if you come out smelling like roses.

DARIA: Ever have one of those days?

OSCAR: All the time.

DARIA: I wasn't talking to you. You're a hallucination.

(Big Bird wanders by)

BIG BIRD: Oh, hi there! Gee, I haven't seen you around here before. What's your name?

DARIA: (wary) Daria.

BIG BIRD: Hello, Daria! I'm Big Bird!

DARIA: The heck you say.

BIG BIRD: I was just going to tell all these kids here about the people in our neighborhood! Would you like to join us?

DARIA: I'll have to go with a big "no" on that one.

BIG BIRD: No? But it'll be so much fun!

DARIA: I don't like fun. And I know what's coming next; you're going to sing. I definitely don't sing.

OSCAR: Hey, where have you been all my life?

DARIA: It's called reality, and you're not welcome there.

OSCAR: This is turning out to be a good day after all.

DARIA: Just wait.

BIG BIRD: Oh, who are the people in your neighborhood?
In your neighborhood?
In your neigh-bor-hood, oh,
Who are the people in your neighborhood?
The people that you meet each day!

DARIA: It can't get any worse, can it?

BIG BIRD: Hey, who's this? She's all dressed in a blue and yellow outfit, and waving around these fluffy sparkly things.

DARIA: Obviously it can.

BRITTANY: (for it is she) Hi! I'm Brittany! I'm a cheerleader! Oh, hi Daria!

BIG BIRD: A cheerleader? What's that?

DARIA: You had to ask.

BRITTANY: Well...

A cheerleader jumps here and there...
and waves her pom-poms in the air!

She gets the people psyched and loud!
And that way they're a happy crowd!

Goooo SESAME STREET!!!

BIG BIRD & BRITTANY: 'Cause a cheerleader's a person in your neighborhood,
In your neighborhood,
In your neigh-bor-hood, oh,
A cheerleader's a person in your neighborhood,
a person that you meet each day!

DARIA: This is where I came in. I'm leaving. (she does)

OSCAR: That must be a nice thing to be able to do. (he slams down the lid of his can).




INTERLUDE:

Four squares appear. Quinn is in the upper left, then Stacy, Sandi, and Tiffany going clockwise around.

KEVIN: (offscreen) Two of these things belong together,
Two of these things are -

DARIA: Three, Kevin.

KEVIN: Huh?

DARIA: Three things belong together. Although in this case, I can't imagine why they'd want to be.

KEVIN: Oh, okay. Three of these things belong together,
Three of these things are sorta the same,
But one of these things does not belong here!
Now it's time to play our game, it's time to play our game!

Down! Set! Hike!!!

DARIA: Wrong game.

KEVIN: Oh! Well anyway, we're supposed to figure out which one is different. So, what do you think?

DARIA: That's impossible. There's absolutely nothing that can be used to tell this bunch apart.

QUINN: Hel-lo? If you'll look more closely, you'll notice that I'm the only one with beautiful flowing auburn tresses, while everyone else has brown hair. Naturally, I'm the different one.

STACY: Thank goodness! I was so scared it was me!

SANDI: I'd say the answer is me. After all, I'm wearing the most currently stylish outfit among all of us, while Quinn in particular is at least two months behind the times.

QUINN: Sandi, this outfit is Retro! Jeans with flared cuffs are back.

SANDI: If you say so, Quinn. It will certainly make it easier for you to shop, since all your choices are currently available on the discount rack.

TIFFANY: Am I on television?

KEVIN: So, which one is different?

DARIA: Forget it. Let's try something more your speed.

A fifth box appears in the middle with a football in it.

DARIA: Now, Kevin, can you tell which box has the different thing in it?

The middle box flashes red.

KEVIN: Hmm... nope.

DARIA: I'll give you a hint. One of the boxes has a football in it. The rest of them have shallow and self-absorbed teenage girls. The one with the football is in the middle. Can you tell me which one has something that is different from everything else, in the way that a football is different from a human being?

The center box flashes again.

KEVIN: Hmm... can you give me another hint?

DARIA: Why can't this show have commercial interruptions?

KEVIN: I'll get it, I'll get it! Let's see here...




CUT TO -

INT: Hooper's Store

Jane is sipping on an egg cream when Daria walks in.

JANE: I knew you'd be along sooner or later. I got you an egg cream.

DARIA: Jane, I've just been the victim of a walk-by singing. I need hemlock, not an egg cream.

JANE: Didn't you ever see the episode with James Earl Jones, where he goes to Hooper's and gets an egg cream? These are the best! And besides, they're dirt cheap - prices here seem to be stuck in the early seventies.

DARIA: I'll bet you didn't even get carded. By the way, Brittany's here. She's a Person In The Neighborhood.

JANE: A short while ago I might have considered that strange, but since I just had a long and involved conversation with what looked like a dust mop with eyes, I'm inclined to take a few more things in stride than usual.

DARIA: Have you met any actual human beings yet? Aside from all these unsupervised kids.

JANE: You mean the grownups - Bob, Susan, Gordon, that crowd? Nah. There was this nice guy who gave me the egg creams, but I didn't recognize him. He must be a new character. I ordered us some food too.

DARIA: Just how long had you planned on staying here?

JANE: Until the kitsch wears off. I had kind of hoped to see some Twiddlebugs, hook up with the Count, and maybe drop in on Ernie and Bert.

DARIA: Jane, this is just so not my thing. You do realize I'm having a miserable time.

JANE: Daria, you're the only person I know who could be depressed here.

DARIA: As I recall, you weren't too happy about counting with Telly.

JANE: You know I don't like math.

DARIA: This place is weird. Have you noticed that you can't say certain things?

JANE: Such as?

DARIA: Profanity. Go on, try to make an off-color remark.

JANE: Um... all right.

Pause.

DARIA: You can't, can you?

JANE: Hang on a second... (she screws up her face in concentration) Drat!

DARIA: Is that the best you can do?

JANE: Yeah. When did you realize this?

DARIA: Let's just say I had a few choice words the moment we got here that somehow never came out. I'll tell you about them on the way home. And there's more. (pause) I just tried to hit you. It can't be done. Take a swing at me and see what happens.

Jane tries to punch Daria, and somehow ends up hugging her instead.

JANE: Wow! This is too cool!

DARIA: Now get off me.

JANE: Oops. Sorry.

DARIA: This just isn't natural. It's freaking me out. Can we please get back in the Tank and get out of here?

JANE: (finishes her egg cream) Come on, Daria! I promise I won't make you sing or recite the alphabet more than twice, and if Elmo happens along I'll deal with him. This is my one chance to live out a childhood fantasy that I thought I'd left ten years behind me.

MAN BEHIND COUNTER: All right girls, here are your cookies!

COOKIE MONSTER: COOOOOKIEEEESSS!!!!

A large blue mountain of fur attacks Jane's cookies and stuffs them loudly into his face, showering everyone in the immediate vicinity with flying crumbs.

COOKIE: (burp) 'Scuse me. Thank you. (he wanders off)

JANE: Okay, now tell me that didn't have some entertainment value.

DARIA: What happened to the plate?




INTERLUDE:

INT: Zoo

An Aardvark is milling around its enclosure

Stirring music begins playing -

SINGER: I'm an Aardvark, and I'm Proud!
I'm an Aardvark, and I'm Happy!
I'm an Aardvark, and if you'd like to be specific
and a little scientific,
I am feeling quite Terrific!

I'm an Aardvark, Fierce and Free!
I'm an Aardvark, standing Bravely,
I'm an Aardvark, and I'm tough and strong and smart
and always right
and that's the way I'll always be!

Until I meet another Aardvark
Who's bigger than me!

Music ends.




INT: Restaurant

Jane and Daria are seated at a table, reading menus.

DARIA: Well, this place looks remotely normal. If one ignores the fact that we're sitting among strange, multicolored creatures with wild hair and ping-pong balls for eyes.

JANE: Just pretend we're attending a Lawndale Pep Rally. It's sort of the same thing.

DARIA: Have you decided what you want?

JANE: It's hard to choose... I'm thinking of a number five.

DARIA: Don't. Knowing this place, you'd end up with a big foam rubber "5" on your plate. With a light glaze of honey-barbecue sauce.

JANE: Hmm... you may be right.

DARIA: You know, we've been sitting here for quite a while. Where's the waiter?

The kitchen doors fly open, and a very cute and adorable blue monster enthusiastically runs up to their table.

GROVER: Hel-lo there! It is I, your cute and adorable little waiter Grover! How may I serve you both today?

JANE: Oh my. I thought this place looked familiar.

GROVER: May I interest you in the dish of the day? (Grover reaches beneath the table and comes up with a plate labeled "Tuesday") Here it is!

DARIA: (scowling) Jane, you took us here on purpose.

JANE: I swear, I had no idea! Though I suppose it was inevitable, I mean, that blue guy always got the same waiter no matter where he went.

DARIA: And did you notice how he never actually managed to eat anything? We're going to starve to death here.

JANE: Don't worry, I've got it covered. (to Grover) My friend and I would like... the hamburger.

GROVER: Excellent choice! We have the BIG hamburger, or the LITTLE hamburger. (aside to Jane) Confidentially, I would suggest the little hamburger. We have been having a few teeny little problems with the big one.

DARIA: Wait a minute, I've seen this one before. The little hamburger is just large enough to fit on a spoon, and the big hamburger is the size of a Volkswagen. Grover comes staggering out of the kitchen with it, and asks if the guy wants the big or the little ketchup bottle, then falls under the giant burger and gets crushed. Hilarity ensues.

JANE: Right! And that's why we're going to order twenty of the little ones. We avoid the mistakes made by Mr. Blue, and we get our food. (to Grover) Got that, garcon?

GROVER: Coming right up! (he runs into the kitchen) Hey Charlie, get me twenty of the little guys!

DARIA: Ever notice how we never actually see "Charlie"?

JANE: Why Daria, if I didn't know better, I'd say you were talking like a fan of this show.

DARIA: (blushing) Um, I just remember the restaurant bits.

JANE: Sure.

Grover re-emerges from the kitchen.

GROVER: All righty-then, ladies, here we are, twenty of the little hamburgers.

JANE: They're teensy, all right.

GROVER: Are they not adorable?

DARIA: They're precious. Let's eat before -

GROVER: One moment!

DARIA: I knew it.

GROVER: I would be remiss in my sworn duty as a waiter if I did not count each and every little hamburger to ensure that there are twenty. No more and no less.

JANE: Um, really, you don't have to -

GROVER: It is no trouble at all, I assure you! Now then: One... two... three...

DARIA: Could we possibly speed this up a bit? I'm really hungry.

GROVER: Excuse me, Miss. You have made me lose my place. Please do not interrupt until I am finished counting.

JANE: You were on three.

GROVER: Be that as it may, I must be absolutely certain that I do not miss a single little hamburger. If a job is worth doing, it is worth doing well. One... two... three... four... five... six... seven... eight... nine... ten... eleven... twelve... thirteen... fourteen... fifteen... sixteen... seventeen... eighteen... nineteen... er, nineteen... Oh, dear.

DARIA: Why am I not surprised?

GROVER: I am sooooo sorry. It appears that there is one hamburger missing. I will take care of this right away! (he gathers up the platter)

JANE: Um, couldn't you just leave those, and come back with one more?

GROVER: Oh, that would never, never do! You have ordered twenty hamburgers, and twenty hamburgers you shall have! Not one less! I shall return! (he runs back into the kitchen) Hey Charlie, we need another burger here!

DARIA: Great plan, Jane.

JANE: Hey, how was I to know that they could deviate from the script?

DARIA: You know what's going to happen next. He's going to come out with twenty-one hamburgers, and rather than just leaving the ones we ordered and chucking the extra one, he's going to drag the whole thing back to the kitchen and replace the platter again, and maybe he'll get the number right, but they'll be hot dogs. Eventually we get to the punchline, but we still don't get any food.

JANE: Suggestions?

DARIA: We need to turn the system to our advantage. Wait for my cue, you'll know what to do when the time comes.

JANE: Roger wilco.

GROVER: (re-appearing from the kitchen) Okay ladies, here you are, twenty hamburgers. (he sets them down) Now, allow me to make sure that the proper amount has been served. I shall count them. One...

DARIA: (rapidly) 2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12-13-14-15-16-17-18-19-20-21! Oops, one too many. Jane, take care of that, will you?

JANE: Right away. (Jane tosses one of the miniscule burgers down her throat.) There. Now there's twenty.

DARIA: Because twenty-one (Daria pauses while a "21" appears in the air over her head) take away one (a "- 1" appears next to the 21) is twenty (figure it out).

GROVER: Er... well, then, I suppose I will go check on my other tables! I am so pleased to have been able to serve you!

DARIA: (talking around the burgers she's eating) Yeah, whatever.




INTERLUDE:

A giant capital "I" fills the screen. As the music begins, three cartoon characters exit from a small door at the base of the "I" with a long ladder and a couple of buckets.

SINGERS: We all live in a Capital "I"
In the middle of the desert,
In the center of the sky.

And every day we polish up the "I"
So it sparkles in the sunlight
And it brightens up the sky!

Rubbing it here,
Scrubbing it there,
Polishing the "I" so high in the air!

And as we work we sing a lively tune:
"It is great to be so happy
On a busy afternoon!"

And when we're through with the day's only chore,
We go into the "I",
And we close the door!

Capital "I", Capital "I",
Capital "I", Capital "I"...




CUT TO: Quinn's room

There's a grainy quality to the scene, as if it's been filmed with a substandard camera on less than perfect media.

QUINN (VOICEOVER): Hi! I'm Quinn. I live in the suburbs with my family.

Cut to Helen, talking on a cell phone.

QUINN (VO): That's my mother. She's working. She's a lawyer.

Helen looks up, seems to notice that there's a camera on her, gets angry, and pushes it away. The camera goes back to her as she's leaving the room, still talking animatedly on the phone.

QUINN (VO): And this is my dad.

Cut to Jake, behind a newspaper.

QUINN (VO): He's a consultant, which means people hire him to tell them what to do and then they ignore his advice and pay him for it. Sometimes.

Cut to the living room. Daria is barely visible watching TV in the lower right.

QUINN (VO): I'm an only child... but sometimes we let less fortunate strangers stay with us. It's a charitable thing.

Cut to Cranberry Commons.

QUINN (VO): Every day, my friends and I go to the mall. We like to be fashionable. We even have a little club. I'm the vice president, even though I'm the most popular one. My friends are Sandi -

Cut to Sandi, holding an outfit in front of her and looking in the mirror, scowling.

QUINN (VO): Tiffany -

Cut to Tiffany, who's kind of standing there looking vacant.

QUINN (VO): And Stacy.

Cut to Stacy, who's waving happily at the camera, but it moves away and she's forced to try and run after it.

QUINN (VO): I also know a lot of guys, like Joey -

Joey, holding a bunch of flowers.

QUINN (VO): Jeffy -

Jeffy, holding a box of candy.

QUINN (VO): And... well, you get the idea.

Jamie, holding flowers and candy.

Cut back to Morgendorffer household.

QUINN (VO): Sometimes my father cooks dinner.

Jake stirs a large stewpot, tasting its contents gingerly. He reacts as if he'd just sipped pure pepper spray, and chokes violently, upsetting the pot which spills all over the kitchen. Daria happens along and looks down at Jake and his mess disdainfully.

Cut to Helen removing a dish from the microwave.

QUINN (VO): But most of the time, we have lasagna.

Helen serves the lasagna to the family. Daria's face is blurred out so you can't see it.

QUINN (VO): Sometimes people wonder why I go out on so many dates. I think it's fairly self-explanatory.




CUT TO:

A graphic of a large cloud with a lightning bolt through it that says "News Flash"

ANNOUNCER: We take you now to Kermit the Frog, with another fast-breaking news story!

Fade to: Kermit the Frog, decked out in his trench coat and hat, standing in front of a pond in the middle of a formal garden.

KERMIT: (unaware that he's on the air) Actually, we're not even related. See, it's a common misconception that just because we're both frogs - hm? (looks into camera) Oh! Hi-ho, Kermit the Frog here of Sesame Street News. I'm speaking to you from the enchanted pond wherein lies the fabled Frog Prince.

Kermit gestures behind him, where a frog leaps out of the pond onto the stone wall. It's wearing a crown, but otherwise seems a normal frog.

FROG: Ribbit.

KERMIT: There he is, as you see. Handsome fellow. Now as the story goes, the Prince has been transformed into a frog by the wicked witch, although if I may make an editorial comment, I fail to see the downside. After all, a frog is a noble creature, worthy of - but hark! I believe I see the wicked witch now.

Ms. Barch wanders onto the scene, looking peeved.

KERMIT: Er... excuse me, Wicked Witch?

BARCH: Forget it, Prince! I've had enough of your lip!

KERMIT: Er, I believe there's a misunderstanding here. See, I'm Kermit the Frog, Sesame Street News -

BARCH: Oh. Thought you were that Prince again. Well, make it snappy, I've got lots more princes to transform.

KERMIT: I hope you don't mind answering a couple of questions. For starters, why is it that you turned the Prince into a frog?

BARCH: I just didn't like the way that filthy stinking man looked at me.

KERMIT: I see. And, perchance, is there a way to break the spell? Not that I can see why he would want to.

BARCH: (grins evilly) Oh, sure there is. He just has to be kissed by a fair maiden. Ha! Fat chance of that.

KERMIT: (grimaces) Yes, the singles scene for frogs leaves a bit to be desired.

BARCH: Well, look, I've got spells to cast. Get out of my way!

Ms. Barch shoves Kermit aside and stalks off.

KERMIT: Hm. Well, let's have a word or two with the Prince. Er, excuse me, Prince?

FROG: Ribbit?

KERMIT: I was wondering if you had a moment to answer a few questions for our viewers at home. To begin with, have you had any luck so far in making progress toward breaking this spell.

FROG: Croak croak, ribbit ribbit.

KERMIT: I see. And to what to you attribute this failure to find a fair maiden willing to kiss you?

FROG: (sigh) Croak ribbit, ribbit burp.

KERMIT: I agree, it's just not easy. (to camera) It helps to know a second language. Ah, but wait! Methinks me hears a maiden approaching...

Kermit steps aside as Stacy appears, decked out in a maiden's dress with a tall pointed hat.

STACY: Oh, woe is me! I have no date to the ball! Why couldn't Prince Charming have called me back? I thought he thought I was cute!

Stacy sits down and cries on the stone wall next to the Frog Prince.

FROG: (looking appreciatively at her) Rib-bit!

STACY: Huh? Ugh, there's a frog on this wall! Gross!

Kermit frowns.

FROG: Croak, ribbit? Ribbit croak burp.

STACY: You are? But you don't look like a prince!

FROG: Croak croak ribbit, burp croak BELCH.

STACY: You don't say? So, all I have to do is kiss you, and you'll turn into a prince and go to the ball with me?

FROG: (enthusiastic) Croak!

KERMIT: (whispering) Watch closely, ladies and gentlemen, this could be the big moment!

STACY: Well... I guess I've got nothing to lose...

She picks up the frog, makes a face, but closes her eyes and kisses it.

ZAP!!!

As the smoke clears, the frog stands revealed as -

UPCHUCK: Grrr... feisty!

STACY: Blah! (spitting) Ptooi! Urgh! Oh, that was so gross!

UPCHUCK: My eternal gratitude, fair maiden! And of course, I shall be pleased to show my appreciation by escorting you to the ball!

STACY: Ee-yuck! Oh God, I can't believe I just did that!

UPCHUCK: An eternity of romance is worth a moment's revulsion, my dear.

STACY: Ohh... I think I'm going to be sick!

KERMIT: (can take no more) Er, excuse me, Miss, but there are a lot of worse things a person could do besides kissing a frog, you know!

STACY: Yeah, like kissing him! Blecch!

UPCHUCK: Huh?

KERMIT: Huh?

STACY: I don't suppose there's any way I can get the frog back?

UPCHUCK: Well... you could try kissing me again...

STACY: Ugh! Fat chance, pal. I mean, I'll kiss frogs, but there's a limit. (looks over at Kermit) Hey, you doing anything tonight?

KERMIT: Me? Well, er...

STACY: Great! What do you say we go to the ball?

KERMIT: (being dragged off) Er, this is Kermit the Frog, returning you to your regularly scheduled program!




EXT: SESAME STREET

Daria and Jane are walking down the street. Jane still looks excited, Daria more sort of not.

JANE: Wow, look over there! It's Mr. Snuffle-Upagus!

DARIA: Jane, aren't you and your inner child done yet? I'd like to get going soon.

JANE: Oh, come on. What would we be doing if we weren't here?

DARIA: As I recall, we had a day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on the schedule. Maybe you think that hanging around with furry puppets learning how to count is a trade up, but I was kind of looking forward to some more sophisticated surroundings.

JANE: Muppets, Daria. It starts with the letter M.

A foam rubber "M" happens by.

M: Did someone call my name?

DARIA: Jane, make it stop.

BIG BIRD: (also happening by) Hi Daria, hi Jane! Are we talking about "M" words?

JANE: Hey, B.B.! As a matter of fact, my friend was just mentioning the Metropolitan Museum.

DARIA: Jane...

JANE: Mainly, we were meaning to mull over some of the old masters, but maybe we'll be in the mood for something more modern.

BIG BIRD: Marvelous!

DARIA: You're making me miserable, you know.

BIG BIRD: Oh my!

JANE: Never mind Miss Morgendorffer, she's a mite melacholy.

DARIA: (frowning) And moving toward a major meltdown any minute.

BIG BIRD: Wow, what a lot of "M" words! Let's try another letter.

DARIA: How about "X"? Xylophone. There, we're done.

JANE: What about Xenophobia? Xyphoid? Xenia? Xenon? Xeriscape?

DARIA: Arrgh! (runs off)

JANE: (running after her) Xerography! Xylose! Xanthomatosis!




INTERLUDE:

Animated Ladybugs scurry onto the screen.

SINGER: One-two-three, four-five-six,
Seven-eight-nine, ten-eleven-twelve
Ladybugs came... to the Ladybug's Picnic!

One-two-three, four-five-six,
Seven-eight-nine, ten-eleven-twelve
And they all played games... at the Ladybug's Picnic!

They had twelve sacks so they ran sack races
And they fell on their backs, and they fell on their faces,
Ladybugs twelve... at the Ladybug's Picnic!

They played jump-rope, but the rope, it broke
So they just sat around telling knock-knock jokes,
Ladybugs twelve... at the Ladybug's Picnic!

One-two-three, four-five-six,
Seven-eight-nine, ten-eleven-twelve
And they chattered away... at the Ladybug's Picnic!

They talked about the high price of furniture and rugs
And fire insurance for ladybugs,
Ladybugs twelve... at the Ladybug's Picnic!

TWELVE!




EXT: SESAME STREET

Daria walks down the street, scowling.

ELMO: Oh, hi, Daria! Elmo was just wondering if Daria would like to sing the Alphabet!

DARIA: What an astounding coincidence. Daria was just thinking of naming all the prime numbers up to one hundred. But then I suddenly realized what a pointless exercise that would be. I'm sure you'll come to a similar conclusion any time now.

ELMO: (unfazed) Elmo will start! (singing) A, B, C, D, E, F, G... come on, Daria!

DARIA: No.

ELMO: H, I, J, K, L-M-N-O-P!

DARIA: I won't do it.

ELMO: Q, R, S... T, U, V...

DARIA: Please stop.

ELMO: W, X... Y and Z!

DARIA: The answer to your next question is, "Not a chance."

ELMO: Now I've sung my A-B-Cs!
Next time won't you sing with me?

DARIA: Like I said.

ELMO: Again! A, B, C, D -

DARIA: Arrrgh!!

Daria stalks off while Elmo continues to amuse himself.

JANE: Daria! Hey, Daria, there you are!

DARIA: Jane, I want to leave right now. End of discussion.

JANE: Just a sec - check out what I got!

Jane holds up a circle.

DARIA: Well, I'll be darned. Are you thinking of collecting the triangle and square as well? It'll probably be worth more as a complete set.

JANE: It's a letter "O"! Isn't it cool?

DARIA: Do me a favor. Don't mention letters to me right now.

JANE: I bought it from that guy over there in the trench coat. Figured it'd be a great souvenir. Only cost me a nickel!

DARIA: Well, that's just super. For only a buck and a quarter, you can get the whole rest of the alphabet. Do they take American Express, or do I need to dip into the gas fund?

JANE: Oh, and guess what - I ran into Guy Smiley, and after I brilliantly deduced which fruit out of four chices was the banana, I actually got tickets to see a live performance at Monsterpiece Theatre tomorrow! I hear they're performing "The Taming of the Shoe".

DARIA: That's it. I'm going to lock myself in the van until you come to your senses. With any luck, it'll be towed to an impoud yard or something while I'm asleep.

JANE: (frowns) You know, Daria, it wouldn't seriously harm you to actually have a little fun every once in a decade. Could you just stop being such a killjoy for two seconds? I mean, really, has it been that bad?

DARIA: Elmo tried to make me sing the alphabet, Jane.

JANE: Sure, I admit that could be a little annoying. But couldn't you at least try to get with the spirit a little? This place happens to be the embodiment of a lot of happy memories for me, and you're sort of ruining it.

DARIA: Jane, it's childish!

JANE: So it's childish! Maybe some of us didn't have a very normal childhood, and it was nice to have this kind of place around, even if it was only on TV. Maybe some of us would like to reminisce about one of the few really positive things from our youth. Maybe some of us had a hard time of it because our family was a little eccentric and we didn't know how to dress and act like everyone else, and it was comforting to think that there was a place where you could be a big furry monster or an eight-foot bird, and people would just accept you for who you are instead of teasing you mercilessly while anyone who could have stopped it just stood back and let it happen because they'd had enough trouble dealing with your brothers and sisters and they'd had it up to here with anyone named Lane!

Jane throws down her letter "O" and stomps away, leaving Daria with a wide-eyed, shocked expression that slowly melts into guilt.




INT: Ernie & Bert's Bedroom

Bert is sleeping. Ernie is not.

ERNIE: (singing) Sometimes I have trouble...
Falling asleep,
But it's not so bad...

BERT: Oh, not again...

ERNIE: I don't worry, and I don't weep,
In fact, I'm glad...

Because I get up off my pillow,
And I flip on the light -

BERT: Ernie, turn the light off!

ERNIE: I get down and get hip
In the still of the night,

BERT: Ernie!

ERNIE: I stretch and I yawn,
And then I breathe real deep,

And dance myself to sleep!

BERT: (exasperated) Oh, why me?

ERNIE: I hoof around my beddy
Just a-tappin' my toes,

Before I know what's hap'ning
I'm a-ready to doze,

Got some partners I can count on
Called the Boogie-Woogie Sheep!

BERT: What??

ERNIE: We'll dance ourselves to sleep!

Ernie and four sheep he pulled from nowhere begin to tap dance around the bedroom

ERNIE: I gently rock-a-bye myself across the floor,

BERT: I don't believe this!

ERNIE: I toss and then I turn and then I start to snore!
My trusty little bugle helps to spread the news,
That I'm tappin' to taps,
And I'm a-rarin' to snooze

BERT: Oh, not the bugle!

Ernie plays the intro to taps on the bugle, then settles into the funky-jazz rhythm of his own song.

BERT: (incredulous) Ernie! Those sheep are tap dancing!

ERNIE: (speaking) Oh, that's nothing, Bert! Wait'll you hear Rubber Duckie play the bugle! He's the boogie-woogie-bugle-duck-of-Sesame-Steet!

Ernie positions Rubber Duckie at the bugle's mouthpiece, and squeezes him to make the bugle play.

Meanwhile, the sheep are inexplicably gathering around Bert's bed and lifting it off the ground.

BERT: Ernie! Your sheep!

ERNIE: (singing) Well I'm gettin' kinda drowsy,
so the moment has come,

BERT: Call them off!

ERNIE: To grab my Rubber Duckie
While the sheep take my chum,

BERT: No, not outside!!

ERNIE: Time to shuffle off to dreamland,
I've a date to keep!

We'll dance ourselves to sleep!
Oh yeah!

BERT: Ernieeeee!

ERNIE: We'll dance ourselves to sleep -
Wearin' our jammies,

We'll dance ourselves to sleep -
And thank you lambies...

The sheep, by now, have carried Bert and his bed completely out the door to God knows where.

ERNIE: We'll dance ourselves... to sleep!

Ernie climbs back into bed, turns off the light, and completely ignores Bert and the sheep peering in through the window.




EXT: Sesame Street

It is dusk. Daria walks slowly up the street, her shoulders slumped. She pauses on the steps to 123 and sits down, sighing heavily.

DARIA: It's silly. What are we doing here? We should just get back in the van and go, we don't belong here!

SHEEP: BAAAAA!

Daria looks up and sees a quartet of sheep wearing tap shoes wandering by.

DARIA: Definitely don't belong here.

Bert rounds the corner, dressed in his pajamas.

BERT: Oh, hi. Could you excuse me?

DARIA: (another sigh, this one of resignation) Hi Bert. Rough night?

BERT: Oh, you know, Ernie's tap-dancing sheep just dragged me out of our apartment. I have to get the spare key from Gordon.

DARIA: Mm. I remember that one. Quinn thought it was just about the funniest thing she ever saw, until the dance recital where I fell off the stage.

BERT: Who?

DARIA: Never mind. I don't.

BERT: Oh, well.

Bert starts to continue up the steps, but pauses and turns back.

BERT: What's your name?

DARIA: (cautiously) Daria.

BERT: I hope you don't mind my saying so, Daria, but you seem a little sad. Is there something wrong?

DARIA: Just what I need right now. Sigmund Freud in felt.

BERT: Pardon?

DARIA: Never mind. (sigh) It's just that my best friend and I had an argument.

BERT: I know what that's like.

DARIA: She wanted to so something I thought was silly and pointless, and I went along with it for a while, but pretty soon enough is enough, you know?

BERT: (frowning slightly) Yeah, I do.

DARIA: Really, exactly how much does she expect me to take? (looks at Bert) I mean, take your situation. How can you stand living with that orange Yahoo? He messes up your house, he keeps you awake all night singing ridiculous songs, he eats all your food on the pretense of evening out the portions... doesn't it tick you off?

BERT: (frowning more) It really makes me mad sometimes!

DARIA: So why do you put up with it, anyway? I know it's rough finding an apartment in New York, but why do you live with this kind of frustration when you could at the very least move up to the roof with the pigeons?

BERT: (suddenly shocked) Move out? You mean, away from Ernie? I could never do that!

DARIA: Oh yeah, I forgot. No one has real problems on this street. Except me, of course.

BERT: Well... sure, we have problems. We don't always get along, but we try our best to work things out.

DARIA: Because it's scripted that way.

BERT: No, because that's what best friends do!

Daria starts to respond, but stops herself.

BERT: (sits down next to Daria) Ernie and I don't always get along. Sometimes he wants to play rhyming games while I'm trying to read my book, or he makes a mess while he's having his bath and I have to clean it up. But... well, we both like peanut butter sandwiches.

DARIA: Well, there's a match made in heaven. I stand corrected.

BERT: It's more than that. Sometimes Ernie wants to go outside and play tag, and even though I'd rather organize my sock drawer, I'll go play with him because it's something he really wants to do. And you know, I usually end up having a lot of fun after all.

DARIA: And the moral of the story is: Do whatever your friends tell you to do. Great lesson for the kids at home, Berty Boy.

BERT: Daria, you don't understand. I do these things with Ernie because he wants to, and then he does things with me that I want to do. Last month he went with me to the National Bottlecap Convention in Delaware so I didn't have to go by myself. And the other day he went shopping, and he remembered to get my favorite oatmeal even though I forgot to write it on the list. And he goes to all the meetings for the National Association of "W" Lovers even though he likes the letter "D" better, because... well, because he's my best friend, and that's the kind of thing friends do for each other.

DARIA: Um... yeah. I guess they do.

BERT: And you know, even though I'm a little upset that he had his sheep carry me out of the apartment tonight, I sometimes look at Ernie and think to myself, "I'd have a lot less fun if it weren't for him, and I'm happy that Ernie is my friend."

Daria is silent for a long moment.

BERT: Daria? Are you all right?

DARIA: Huh? Oh, yeah, sure. (sighs) It's just that it's a sad, sad day when I need a yellow pointy-headed puppet with a unibrow to tell me that I'm being selfish and immature.

BERT: Well, I'm glad I could help. (yawns) Boy, I'm tired. I'm going to go get that key now.

DARIA: Hey Bert, before you go...

BERT: Yes?

Daria reaches up and plucks Bert's nose off his face.

DARIA: (smirking) Cool. It really does work.




EXT: Sesame Street

Jane is leaning against the door of the Tank when Daria comes around the corner.

DARIA: Jane?

JANE: I figured you'd turn up eventually. Come on, we're good to go.

DARIA: Jane, I'm really sorry -

JANE: Forget it, it's fine. I shouldn't have made you stay here just because I wanted to do a little backtracking. Get in the van, we'll get out of here.

DARIA: Couldn't we just talk about it?

JANE: I don't want to talk about it. I don't want to stay here anymore. The mood's kind of gone, you know?

Jane turns and starts walking back to the Tank.

DARIA: (to herself) I had hoped it wouldn't come to this...

She takes a deep breath, and...

DARIA: (singing!) Sing... sing a song...

Jane stops dead.

DARIA: Sing out loud... sing out strong...

Big Bird comes over and joins her.

DARIA & B.B.: Sing of good things, not bad...

ELMO: Sing of Happy! Not sad...

Jane slowly turns around. She's grinning from ear to ear.

BERT & ERNIE: Sing, sing a song

GROVER: Make it simple, to last your whole life long!

Many more muppets, kids, and even the grownups congregate around and join in.

EVERYONE: Don't worry if it's not good enough
For anyone else to hear...

Just sing...
Sing a song!

JANE: La, la, la la la... la la, la la la la... la la, la, la-la-la-la...

EVERYONE: La, la, la la la... la la, la la la la... la la, la, la-la-la-la...

DARIA: Just sing.... sing a song!

Jane gives Daria a big hug, which is reluctantly returned. Muppets, kids, and everyone else breaks into cheers.

JANE: (pulling away) That was the cheesiest, corniest, most drippingly sentimental thing I've ever witnessed in my life.

DARIA: You're welcome.

OSCAR: Traitor!

DARIA: You know something, Oscar? You were always my favorite.

OSCAR: Ohhh!! (ducks into his can, slamming the lid)

DARIA: I figured that would get him.

JANE: Well, I guess we'd better split.

DARIA: Really, we can stay a little longer.

JANE: Nah, I think I've got what I wanted. Yo, B.B., high five!

Big Bird slaps Jane a five.

DARIA: Bert, thanks for the advice.

BERT: Anytime.

DARIA: (looks back and forth between Bert and Ernie) By the way, what are you guys, anyway? Are you a banana and a tomato that came to life, or something?

Bert and Ernie look at each other.

ERNIE: Gee, I never really thought about it.

BERT: Maybe we should ask Gordon.

Bert and Ernie walk off down the street together. Daria watches them leave, the gets distracted by Jane's hand on her shoulder.

JANE: Come on. Let's make our exit before whichever of us is dreaming this whole thing wakes up.

DARIA: I sure hope it's you. I'd rather believe that I couldn't reproduce this place with this kind of detail.

JANE: Admit it. You watched the show all the time.

DARIA: Admitted.

JANE: You loved it.

DARIA: Granted.

JANE: Is that so bad?

Daria looks around the street, seeing the kids playing, the muppets doing their thing, everyone getting along while they learn and play together.

DARIA: It has its appeal, I suppose.

JANE: That's all I needed to hear. Come on, let's get out of here before this place does irreparable damage to your sense of cynicism.

The two friends get in the Tank, start it up, and drive off.




THE END



DARIA:
Sesame Street was brought to you today by the letters "Q" and "B".

KEVIN: I'm the QB!

DARIA: Editing brought to you courtesy of the letter "N".

JANE: Sesame Street is a production of the Children's Television Workshop.

DARIA: Jane, I just want you to know, if we see any big goofy purple dinosaurs at the next stop, we're breaking out the shotguns.

JANE: Agreed.





END NOTES:

I enjoyed Sesame Street when I was a kid. I grew up on it, back in the good old days when Mr. Hooper ran the store and Snuffle-upagus was imaginary and that little twerp Elmo was nowhere to be found. Daria, of course, would have seen the show too - what child didn't? And even though she's about ten years younger than I, and therefore missed out on the really old-school stuff, she would still have some unshakable childhood memories. (I'm an Aardvark, and I'm Proud!)



ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
:

Thanks to Glenn Eichler and the cast & crew of Daria.

Thanks to Joan Ganz Cooney, the original creative mind behind Sesame Street, and all those at the Children's Television Workshop who brought us this immeasurably valuable program. Special thanks to Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Carrol Spinney, and the other Muppet performers.

Thanks to my wife Rachel for Beta-reading.

Thanks to all the kind webmasters who post this story.

And thanks to my readers, young and old, fans of both Daria and Sesame Street.



DISCLAIMERS:

Daria and associated characters are the property of MTV which, in turn, is the property of Viacom. Characters are used without permission. The fact that MTV and Viacom are aware of Daria fan websites with fanfic content and choose not to take action against such sites is taken as implicit permission to use their characters in stories such as this one.

Big Bird, Oscar, Bert and Ernie, and other Sesame Street Muppets are the property of the Children's Television Workshop and are likewise used without permission. I have great respect for these characters and what they stand for; if this work of fanfiction is in any way offensive to the characters' creators or owners, I will upon request arrange to have it removed from the public view.

Kermit the Frog is the property of Henson Associates and is also used without permission.

This story is Copyright 2003 by Mike Yamiolkoski and may be distributed freely only in its entirety and with the above notices intact.

Contact the author at MikeYamiolkoski@msn.com. Comments, reviews, and particularly ILLUSTRATIONS are always welcome!