usual copyright disclaimer: CHANT: Characters are not mine, um-lalalalala they are property of MTV -um, lalalalala Don't you dare use my plot idea without permission or acknowledgementUm lalalalaI just happen to LOVE Dariadate: 01/18/01

Update: 09/22/2008

Underrated
by medea42

Act 1: Scene 1

Jake sits at Morgendorffer kitchen table with a stack of papers in front of him. He is talking on the phone, and speaks in a pleasant voice, but his knuckles are white as he crumples up a piece of paper.

Jake: Bill, that's fine. Sure. It's business. You do what you have to do! Oh, absolutely! Call me, we'll do lunch! (Hangs up phone.) Do lunch. DO LUNCH!? I'D RATHER POISON IT, YOU BASTARD!!

Enter Helen, in business suit

Helen: Jakey! Calm down - I'm sure whatever it is, it isn't that
bad -

Jake: My biggest client just backed out.

Helen: Oh. Well, sweetie, if you just concentrate on your next biggest client -

Jake: He was my only client.

Helen: Oh I'm sure things will pick up dear it's just a slow time of year for promotions.

Jake: This is the only client I've had in six months.

Helen: Honey, I can carry the load of supporting us until you find your niche. You certainly did that for me while I was in law school! I'm sure if I ask round the office, someone will know someone who needs your skills.

Jake: bitterly Go ahead Helen. Be superwoman. Just run the show yourself. My career doesn't matter, oh NO! Jake, I can't make your graduation, it's beer night out with the guys! Jake, I can't go to your awards ceremony, your brother has more important things going on that night!

Helen: Jake! I never said your career wasn't important! We just don't rely on you too much.
Jake glares at her.

Helen: (nervously) There are so many other ways you – (Phone rings. She answers with relief.) Oh, Hi Eric! Yes, I got the forms yesterday - exits kitchen, chatting on the phone, as Jake glares after her.

Act I: Scene 2

Casa Lane. Jane and Daria are standing over Trent, who is sprawled face first on the living room floor.

Daria: Let me guess. Trent looked under his bed and now he's afraid to sleep there, and on the same day he looked under the couch and found out what happened to his hamster in the third grade.

Jane: (Pokes Trent with her foot.) I was going to vote for passed out drunk, but he saves that for our family reunions.

Daria: If that's what he does at a family reunion, what does he do at a class reunion?

Jane: Last time there was something about a can of Lysol and a blow torch. I just posted bail and didn't ask questions.

Trent rolls over, opens his eyes.

Trent: Hey Janey. Hey Daria. My life is over. Can you bring me some food?

Daria: I thought dead people can't eat.

Trent: Yeah, but I'm hungry anyway.

Daria: As long as you notice you're dead. Jane, is there anything in your fridge?

Jane: Nothing that didn't escape in the last blackout.

Daria: Sorry Trent, I guess you'll have to join the ranks of the starving dead.

Trent: Starving Dead. That would be a good name for a band. Too bad it doesn't mean anything anymore.

Jane: What are you talking about? Did Max and Nick run off to get married?

Trent: We lost our gig at McGrundy's(1). I'm going to have to get a job.

Jane: When you were doing so well before.

Daria: Is there anything we can do?

Trent: Just... remember the Spiral in its day.

Daria and Jane look at each other, each with eyebrows raised.

Daria: What day was that?

Jane: Are you seeing what I'm seeing, Daria?

Daria: A horrible mixture of my sister and your brother morphing into each other. (Shudders.) Let's go find something meaningless to do. My home life is enough of an existential crisis.

Act I: Scene 3

Jake has the paper, is sitting on the Morgendorffer living room. Helen stands in front of him.

Helen: Jakey, are you feeling better now?

Jake: (Lowers paper, glares at Helen.) No, I'm not. (Resumes reading.)

Helen: Is there anything I can do?

Jake: (Throws down the paper.) Besides make me feel inadequate?

Helen: I do NOT Jake.

Jake: Yes, you do. (Mimicking in falsetto.) Oh Eric, I have to go, Jake got his tie stuck in the dishwasher. Sit down, Jake, I'll just handle our crying daughter myself.

Helen: Most of the time those things were something you didn't want to do, so you were trying to get out of it anyway.

Jake: Dammit Helen, you're not supposed to admit you know that!

Helen exits in a huff.

Later

Daria enters from front door. Jake is on couch with a cold pack on his head. Helen is coming down stairs and meets Daria at the door. Helen holds a finger over her lips.

Daria: What's with Dad?

Helen: Your father is having a very bad day. Why don't you go up to your room and watch that show you like? I'll bring you dinner later.

Daria: You want me to limit my social contact with you?

Helen: Or you can take care of your father should he have another heart attack.

Daria: Please bring dinner around eight. I'd like lasagna.

Act I: Scene 5

Daria is watching television in her bedroom.

OS: Spontaneous combustion at will? The cult of the Supernova, next on Sick Sad World!

OS: Loud crash.
OS: Quinn: Fine, don't let me get the boot cut pants! I hate you Daddy!

Daria clicks off TV.

Daria: Why watch people exploding on TV when I can get a front row seat in my very own home?

Daria runs out of her bedroom and down the stairwell to see her father pacing in the living room and cursing.

Jake: My daughter hates me because I can't give her money for new pants. My wife thinks I'm incompetent shakes fist at floor and I know you're looking up at this and laughing, old man! Is this what you wanted? My career is mediocre, my daughters think I'm a walking bank, my wife sees me as helpless dead weight? (Sees Daria.) I suppose YOU want money for your bone collection?

Daria: That's OK, Dad. I can always grab a shovel and head to the cemetery.

Jake: (Resumes rant.) Oh, I'd like to dig up some bones - or maybe DANCE ON THE OLD BASTARD'S GRAVE!

Daria exits through the front door while Jake is still ranting.

Act I: Scene 6

Jane's bedroom. Jane is covering her canvas in aluminum foil. Daria lies upside down on her bed, reading Les Miserables.

Jane: So your Dad was talking about corpse desecration? Cool. Can I come to dinner?

Daria: Only if he decides to serve tongue of Grandpa. Maybe I should dig up my tape recorder. Dad's been really creative with his rants these days.

Jane: You could just hand him a shovel. Go in for some father/daughter bonding.

Trent enters, looking haggard.

Trent: Hey Janey, Hey Daria.

Jane: How are you feeling today, oh brother mine?

Trent: Dark, depressed, useless.

Daria: So you're feeling like your old self again?

Trent: (Still frowning.) You're funny, Daria.

Daria: I'm sorry Trent. You could say my dad lost a major gig, too, so I guess whatever happened to you is going around. Kind of like the flu.

Trent: Misfortune flu. That would be a good name for a band. That's too bad
for Jake, though. Say, Daria, what does your dad do exactly?

Act I: Scene 7

An unidentified bar on Degas Street. Jake is bent over a huge beer mug, gazing into it dejectedly. A hand appears on Jake's shoulder. Jake turns, and we see the hand on his shoulder is Trent's.

Act 2: Scene 1

Morgendorffer kitchen. Quinn is sitting at the table, staring into space. Helen enters wearing her business suit.

Helen: Sweetie, what's the matter?

Quinn: Dad wouldn't give me money for some new jeans that I REALLY need. They're fashion club standard requirements!

Helen: We're a little short on cash, and your closet is already petitioning for leniency. Your father is having a hard enough time as it is, without answering to the dictation of your friends.

Quinn: Are you saying we're poor?

Helen: I didn't say that we're poor. (To herself) Thank God Daria isn't here, she'd probably jerk your chain and tell you you'd become unpopular. Besides, I'm starting to have serious doubts about the validity of the fashion club as an extracurricular activity.

Quinn: You just said UNPOPULAR!? I HAVE to have those jeans!

Helen's phone rings. She answers with extra cheer.

Helen: Heloooo! Oh Eric, it's so GREAT to hear from you!

Act II: Scene 2

Later that evening, Morgendorffer living room. Daria is watching TV, Helen enters.

Helen: Daria, have you seen your father?

Daria: You mean the guy that runs in circles and tears his hair a lot? Not since breakfast. He got eggs on the ceiling.

Helen: So that's what that was. Where could he be? The unemployment office closed hours ago!

Daria: Maybe he became disgruntled and went to get revenge on his boss.

Helen: Your father was self-employed.

Daria: Makes the idea even more interesting.

Front door opens. Jake and Trent stagger in, arms around each others' shoulders.

Jake: Helen, break out the lasagna! We're having dinner with my new client!

Act II: Scene 3

Lane house. Jane and Daria are sitting in the kitchen, cringing at the noises coming from the basement

Jane: Daria, I blame you for this torture.

Daria: What do I have to do with it?

Jane: It's YOUR father who has prompted this onslaught of new inspiration for the Spiral. If you'd just kicked either man when he was down, he would have just stayed home and whimpered instead of going out where the other one could find him.

Daria: I have ethics you know. And sometimes they compete with my sanity and self-preservation. Besides, Tom was coming over. I wanted Dad out of the house.

Jane: And what does Helen have to say about this unchaperoned courtship?

Daria: Who knows? For years I thought every sex talk involved the phone ringing and the parent leaving the room. I thought the Internet was invented to fill in the gaps.

Jane: (Glaring down the stairs.) Great, so I can blame Tom for this, too.

Daria: To date you've blamed Tom for the breakup of the Beatles, the hole in the ozone layer and limited use of bubble wrap in mail order businesses. This one was just a gimme.

Act II: Scene 4

Lane basement. Mystic Spiral is playing while Jake looks like he is in physical pain. The band stops playing, and Jake sighs in relief.

Trent: And we call that Bleak Existence.

Jake: That was, uh, def! Is that the word you kids use now?

Trent: Whatever works for you man. The next song we're gonna play -

Jake: Uh, how about we take a break and talk about your presentation?

Jesse: Yeah man, let's take a break. I gotta get a beer.

Trent: We don't have any.

Max: That sucks. Who was supposed to bring the beer?

Nick: Back off, Max! It's not like you'd play any better with it. Or worse.

Jesse: Hey, man, back off. That's not cool!

The band begins to argue. Trent tries to intervene and is threatened with a drumstick going perilously close to his nostrils. Jake looks panicked for a moment, then resolute.

Jake: ATTENTION!

The band stares at Jake in unison.

Jake: Nick, sit on the couch. Nick sits Max, here's 30, get us some GOOD beer. None of that Busch light or Pabst crap. Bring the receipt!

Max takes the money and zooms up the stairs, looking behind him in fear.

Jake: Trent, you sit on the couch, too.

Trent sits.

Jake: Jesse, you just stay on the stage and look pretty.

The remaining band members continue to stare at Jake with shell-shocked expressions.

Jake: Now, we're going to set some goals here now that we don't have Max around to whine about it. Let me get out my PowerPoint.

Act II: Scene 5

Quinn's bedroom. Quinn is lying on her bed reading a magazine when the phone rings.

Quinn: Oh, hi Sandi. Yes, I know that Fashion Club went shopping yesterday. I TOLD you, I was grounded. Yes I told Mom it was for a school function, it just didn't work this time, OK? Oh FINE Sandi, I'll be there tonight! (hangs up phone.) GAH!

Daria pokes head in doorway

Daria: What's the matter? Your nail polish not glittery enough?

Quinn: What do YOU want?

Daria: I want you out of the house, thus my venture into this cotton candy world you live in. (Gestures to Quinn's aggressively pink room.)

Quinn: Well you're getting your way. Sandi's mad that I didn't go shopping, so I HAVE to show up tonight. And nail polish is important, Daria. People judge you by your nails.

Daria: Sure, if you're addicted to the fumes.

Quinn: You just don't get it. (Wailing.) How long can I go on with this charade?

Daria: Which one? The charade that you actually like your friends or the charade that you have a brain?

Quinn: Daria, I have an IMPORTANT problem. If Sandi notices that I'm not shopping, I'll be out of the fashion club!

Daria: You can go shopping. There's nothing stopping you. You just can't buy anything.

Quinn: I can't go shopping and not buy anything! I mean, what if the striped sarape look is only fashionable for five minutes? IMAGINE, Daria -- five minutes of me, out of style.

Daria: My head is swimming. Fine, try outright theft. And then if you get caught, I can turn your room into a library when you go to jail.

Quinn: Oh stop it, Daria. If you didn't have that rich boyfriend you'd be in just as much trouble as I am.

Daria: (Angry.) Yeah, and you just have those boys that have followed you around forever, but I see you're not taking advantage of them in this situation. Or would they dump you because you're poor enough to be my sister?

Quinn: EW! Daria, just get OUT!

Daria slams door and leaves. Quinn throws pillow at the door.

Act II: Scene 6

Morgendorffer living room. Helen is pacing the floor as she talks on the phone.

Helen: Eric, I increased billable hours by 30 percent this year! No one else in the firm has come close to that figure...Yes, I know, but Harris only brought it up a piddling 18, and lost it on that battery class action. I'm the one who refilled the coffers after THAT mess. (Giggling.) Why thank you, Eric. (Suddenly harsh.) 15! Fine, 10...OK, I'll meet you halfway at 8. Done. (Sweet.) Oh, and Eric, the paperwork for my raise better be on my desk tomorrow or I'll be taking LOTS of vacation time in the middle of October. You know, right when the IRS rolls out all of its claims? Great! See you tomorrow, bye!

Jake enters, wearing jeans and a black T-shirt

Helen: Jakey! Did you go job hunting dressed like that today?

Jake: I have a job honey - my client. Besides, we'll do fine on your income until this project comes together. And Daria says she doesn't WANT to go to college.

Helen: Have you forgotten about our plans? How are we going to retire to Aruba if only one of us is working?

Jake: You would have to quit working for that to happen. And you know what? Those were never my plans - they were all YOUR plans. And they SUCK!

Jake turns on his heel and walks back out the front door.

Helen to Jake's back: Where are you going now?

Jake: Rehearsal!

Helen: (Stares at door, sighs, and turns lifts her briefcase onto the kitchen table.) Does anyone need me anymore? (Pops the briefcase open.)

Act II: Scene 7

Trent and Jake sitting on the Lane couch in the basement sharing a pizza.

Trent: Thanks for bringing food. I've felt weird the last couple days. Guess I forgot to eat.

Jake: Anything for my best client! (Under breath.) No matter what Helen says!

Trent: Everything OK there Jake?

Jake: Oh, Helen's whining about me getting a day job. (Falsetto) But Jake, what about college for the girls, but Jake, what about my retirement? (Normal angry voice) What about my dreams, dammit!?

Trent: Woah. I totally know how you feel, man. It's like that with me and the whole world sometimes.

Jake: Really?

Trent: Yeah, man. This band's my dream. I want to make it as a musician, I really do, and I want to take these guys with me if I can. I could be doing it faster, but somebody's got to be there for Janey, and my parents just haven't left the resources for me to live my own life. I totally see the same thing in you - all you've ever wanted is to be your own boss, be in charge of your own life. I want the stage, and you want to run the show, like one of those guys at the circus -- you know, the ones with the top hat and the whip?

Jake: Uh, yeah. (makes sense of Trent's monologue.) You're right! Let's get to work.

Act II: Scene 8

Casa Lane basement. Jake and Trent are on the couch, engrossed in writing. Instruments are strewn throughout the space. Jesse enters.

Jesse: We were supposed to jam tonight over at Nick's.

Trent and Jake continue to consult over the notepads and Jake's laptop.

Trent: Sorry man, business.

Jesse: Rehearsal is business, too, man.

Trent: (to Jake) I'll be right back.

Act II: Scene 9

At the head of the stairs, in view of the Lane kitchen.

Jesse: Dude, what is with you and this old guy?

Trent: He's not some old guy. He's Jake. And he can help us out.

Jesse: Rehearsal would help us out.

Trent: How much time have we spent rehearsing already?

Jesse: Uh... (tries to count, runs out of fingers, gives up.)

Trent: We rehearse all the time. We need something more, and it ain't talent. If that was all, we'd still be at McGrundy's because we'd still have an audience. Hell, Sons of Morris beyond sucks whenever they try to play an original and they always pack the house. Jake's got what we need to get us that gig back, and for the Zon to start paying us again.

Jesse: Uh. (Overwhelmed by all the logic.)

Trent: And before you say it, it's NOT selling out. Everybody in the biz does this sooner or later. You do know there's more to the music scene than Lawndale, right?

Jesse: Uh...

Trent: Jesse, you gettin' this?

Jesse: Got a calculator? I think that we rehearse about 20 hours a week.

Trent gives Jesse a "what-the-hell?" look and exits down the stairway. As the door shuts, Jesse still stands at the head, pondering rehearsal hours.

Jesse: (Calls down after Trent.)Are you looking for that calculator?

Act II: Scene 10

Daria sits in Morgendorffer living room, a copy of Watership Down in her hands. Helen marches in wearing casual clothes.

Helen: Damn that Eric, forcing me to take vacation time! I'll just see how he manages now that I've pulled all of the files for a client I'm not at liberty to discuss off the company database! What am I supposed to do for two weeks?

Daria: Relax?

Helen: How am I supposed to relax? My clients count on me, and I have you girls to support - where's your father?

Daria: Might as well vent to me, Mom. Want me to sign a waiver saying I won't call child protection if you talk to me like you talk to Dad?

Helen: Where is he!?

Daria: He called and said he'd be working late.

Helen: Working? He calls playing with those boys working?

Daria: I think he calls it working because if he called it having fun, you'd try to keep him from doing it.

Helen: Daria, go to your room!

Daria exits. Helen looks after her thoughtfully.

Helen: Jake doesn't usually like what he does.

Act II: Scene 11

Daria's room. She picks up the phone and calls Jane. Split screen to Jane in Jane's room. Jane is randomly throwing buttons at a clay lump while they speak.

Jane: Yo!

Daria: How's life in Never-Never land?

Jane: Peter Pan snorted too much pixie dust and Jake keeps crashing into walls. Other than that, not too bad. How about you in the land of the caged lawyer?

Daria: Mom put me on solitary confinement. I think it's supposed to be a punishment.

Jane: Woah. What did you do?

Daria: I stuck up for Dad. (Eyes widen.) I DID stick up for Dad.

Jane: And why are you sticking to your punishment? It's been at least 30 seconds, shouldn't she be back at work now?

Daria: Mom's on mandatory leave of absence. Eric found out Mom was using overtime to schmooze clients, and had put in enough hours she could sue the firm.

Jane: How much work does a workaholic lawyer have to do in order to sue her own firm?

Daria: Let's just worry about the woodchuck.(2)

Jane: Shall I start a betting pool on how long your mother can not work before she explodes?

Daria: I would have given her until five minutes ago, but I still haven't heard bones and flesh splattering on the walls. Looks like Mom's made of tougher stuff than what we already thought.

Jane: Teflon?

Daria: That would explain a lot.

OS: from Jane's side: a loud chord plays and ends in a snap.

Nick: Aw damn, gotta get a new one now .

Jane hunches shoulders and winces

Jane: Ol' Jake's made of tough stuff, too. I'm starting to see why he and your mom are still married. Your parents both come from a good foundation of dysfunction. The abuse I've seen him take over the last two days would have sent a normal person screaming all the way to Oakland.

This is followed by another chord/snap/wince.

Jane: Daria, I gotta go. Jake's trying to combine drill instruction with rehearsal for the Spiral. Having him around is sort of like having an extra Trent on speed.

Daria: That's it. I'm coming over. I've got to see this.

Act II: Scene 12

Daria and Jane stand at the head of the Lane basement stairs. Mystic Spiral is playing, an all instrumental piece that emphasizes Jesse's guitar skills. Jake is head banging.

Daria: Jane, shut the door. (Backs away, covering face.) My eyes! My eyes!

Jane: Does he know you're not supposed to head bang to acoustic?

Act II: Scene 13

Helen sits at the Morgendorffer kitchen table, trying to read a book. She pages through it, shakes the book and finally slams it shut.

Helen: I can't do this! Damn that Eric! Things will be hell when I come back!

Enter Quinn with a sheet of paper in her hand

Quinn: Mom, can you sign this?

Helen takes paper and starts reading

Quinn: Don't READ it!

Helen: Quinn, why do you need a worker's permit? Are you trying to earn money for head shots again?

Quinn: Can we do this without any questions?

Helen: As a good parent I need to know where you're working.

Quinn: But what about developing independence?

Helen: That doesn't even work with Daria.

Quinn: Oh, fine! I got a job at a record store on Degas Street. They needed someone sober to handle the cash.

Helen: Hm. Well, that's good news and bad news. Is this because of your father not working?

Quinn: How else can I pay for my clothes, mother? I have a standard of living to support!

Helen: It's not enough that you have a home and a family that loves you?

Quinn: Looking good is important to me!

Daria walks through front door, stands in the living room silently watching Helen and Quinn

Quinn: I NEED a change of wardrobe, every two months, minimum. I was just running low on orange, pink and red body glitter and Dad refused to give me money for that -- and they're fundamental to my wardrobe palette.

Helen frowns, grabs the paper and signs it. Pushes paper towards Quinn

Helen: I suppose you're working on Degas street so your friends won't see you?

Quinn: Exactly! (Takes the sheet, turns and sees Daria.) Don't you say a WORD about this at school!

Daria: That would involve talking to someone.

Quinn: Whatever, Daria! (Storms up stairs.)

Daria: (Calls after.) Degas street deserves you, Quinn.

Helen: (gazing after Quinn.) I have to agree.

Act 3: Scene I

Outdoors. Camera pan: shoots to a wood sign that says "High Hills Park" that has diabolic graffiti etched on it. There is a run-down gazebo that Mystic Spiral is setting up on, and Helen is hooking up two gigantic speakers on either side of the gazebo. Daria and Jane are sitting at a park bench, watching.

Jane: Helen's certainly done a turnaround on this whole Jake and the Spiral situation.

Daria: Mom needed another project or she'd have a stroke. It's amazing, I never realized how much of his helplessness was simply to appease my mother. Besides, Trent happened to be standing in the kitchen when they were discussing city ordinances. He got three plates of spaghetti and Mom's sort of taken over the project.

Jane: Poor Trent. You can barely stand Helen running your life, I'm not sure how he puts up with it.

Daria: I think he actually loves my mom running his life.

Jane: (slaps hand to forehead.) Oh where did I go wrong when I was raising him?

Daria: (smirks.) Oh good, I finally managed to traumatize someone today.

OS: Helen: Jesse, what did I tell you about your hair?

OS: Jesse: To brush it before I came.

OS:Helen: And why didn't you?

OS: Jesse: I had a chick over last night. I couldn't do that stuff in front of her. It's part of the image.

OS: Helen: Come here, young man!

OS: Jesse: (Strangled.) OOOOOOOOOOW!

Jane: I gotta get this on tape. I don't think Jesse's ever been groomed before. At least, not with anything besides a garden hose.

Daria: Next, on Sick Sad World...

Jake paces around the gazebo, still wearing black T-shirt and jeans.

Jake: (to Helen, OS) Helen, let go of his hair. Helen, NOW! You might get injured by that mess! Helen, his family might press charges. That's good honey. Put down the brush. Guys? Are we ready?

Helen walks over to Jake's side and takes his hand. Close up shot to their hands, you can see she is slipping him earplugs. Shot to Helen's profile - she already has her earplugs in place. Shot to Mystic Spiral in gazebo, all warming up on their instruments. Jake gives a two finger salute to Trent that Trent returns.

Trent: Ready, boss! They launch into Who the Hell are the Joneses. The speakers bounce.

Act III: Scene 2

Shots throughout Lawndale. A man turns off his lawnmower and cocks his head. Jodie Landon peeks out her front door, wide-eyed. Her parents behind her look annoyed. Brittany sneaks Kevin out her door, and eeps as her pigtails start bouncing. Quinn pokes head out of the Degas street record shop and smiles. Andrea opens a window while she packs a picnic basket, putting only bottles of hard liquor in the basket.

Act III: Scene 3

Later that afternoon, High Hills park. The high school Lawndale crowd mill around the park on picnic blankets, some teenagers and adults surreptitiously passing bottles wrapped in brown paper. Expressions range from enraptured to annoyed, but all stay and watch. A few men and women in the crowd dressed in "yuppy casual" watch with intense interest, and whisper to each other. Shot rests on Daria, Jane and Tom, sitting together on a picnic blanket.

Tom: Your Dad and Mystic Spiral have staged quite the event.

Jane: I'd have to say they've managed something exactly between Armageddon and hell freezing over.

Daria: Too bad that's already taken for an album title(3). And Lawndale just doesn't seem that icy today.

Mr. O'Neill approaches, dressed as he was for the barbecue in Mart of Darkness

O'Neill: Ah, Jane, could I have a word with you?

Jane: Sure, but I'll only share one. Any more than that and disease might spread.

O'Neill looks confused a moment, raises shoulders and forges ahead.

O'Neill: I'm concerned about your brother. The lyrics of his song are so...dark, and moody. I'm concerned for his mental health. I know in high school he was always a bit distant, but it worries me that this has continued.

Jane: No need to worry. He's already completely insane.

O'Neill: (Horrified.) He is?

Jane: Sure. This whole concert is part of his plan to signal the chickens it's time to revolt.

O'Neill: Ah...

Jane: I think it's a big improvement over his long running grudge towards English teachers. He thinks they're all paid by the government to promote illiteracy by making the written word unutterably boring.

O'Neill takes two steps backwards, then turns and half-runs away.

Daria: (Stops watch.) Congratulations, Jane. New record - you got rid of O'Neill in less than three minutes.

She and Jane high five.

Tom: Yeah, but you didn't make him cry this time.

Jane: Always have to set the bar higher, don't you?

Act III: Scene 3

Fashion Club minus Quinn sit on a blanket, surrounded by water bottles and cosmetic paraphernalia.

Tiffany: Why are we watching those weird people we see with Quinn's cousin?

Sandi: BeCAUSE, Tiffany, they are MUSicians. For a SERious career in fashion, you have to at least DATE two musicians.

Tiffany: But they're so grungy.

Sandi: Tiffany, we are prePARing to move beyond high school fashion standards. Besides, it's a requirement for supermodels to reform musicians. It's part of our life's work.

Stacy: I wouldn't want to clean up that bald one. He's so gross. And where's his hair? I thought musicians were supposed to have long hair?

Tiffany: If we're going to clean them up, shouldn't we like, go talk to them?

Sandi: No, that would make us groupies. We have to get them to talk to us.

Stacy: Maybe Quinn could help us with that.

Sandi: Quinn is hardly capable of something this advanced. She IS only the vice PRESident for a reason.

Tiffany: looking around Where is Quinn?

Sandi: She clearly thought some of her personal business was more important than her long-term future planning.

Act III: Scene 4

Degas Street record shop. Quinn wears a dark blue T-shirt with a smiley face that has a bleeding bullet hole in the forehead. She stands behind the counter, counting money into the hand of a heavily pierced Goth guy. There are towering stacks of CDs behind her.

Goth: Only twenty bucks? That's not even enough for half a tattoo!

Quinn: Sorry, but that's market value for your CDs. If you brought in some Dead Can Dance you would have done way better. I'm really being generous, what you've got should only come to 17.

Goth: And what would some high school girl know about music?

Quinn pops a CD into a stereo on the wall behind her. Out drifts "Every Dog Has Its Day."(4)

Quinn: (Over music.) I know THIS is coming.

Goth: And who is that? Some pop band?

Quinn: Hardly. Don't you know Lawndale's own Mystic Spiral when you hear it? They're part of the original Lawndale music underground. (Sniffs.) And you call yourself a goth!

Goth: Yeah, right, and you're NOT some spoiled prep girl in disguise. How do I know they're just not a stupid boy band in black?

Quinn: (Shrugs.) Go see for yourself. (Hands him a CD with the High Hills park map printed on the back cover.) First Spiral CD, on the house. They're playing at High Hills Park. Didn't you hear the baseline on the way over here?

Goth: That was them? (Nonchalant.) Maybe I'll go check them out if I have nothing better to do. (Exits while studying the back of the CD.)

Quinn: (Shakes head.) No accounting for taste. (Looks under counter. Calls out.) Hey, James, we're down to the last five Mystic Spiral CDs!

James appears in a doorway on the other end of the counter. Looks vaguely like Jerry Garcia - thin, long beard, tie-dye

James: Woah, we haven't moved those CDs since we got 'em two years ago. Couldn't even give 'em away free. Hey, Quinn, are you that Jake guy's daughter by any chance? I see him hang out with the band a lot.

Quinn: Actually he's my un – (thinks better of it.) Yeah, that's my dad.

James: So how'd you know about that local group? You told me at hiring that you were a Guys to Boys fan.

Quinn: Retail is like dating; most of the time you have to lie to get what you want.

Act III: Scene 5

Morgendorffer living room. Jake is sitting on couch next to Trent. Nick, Max and Jesse. Helen enters with a case of Killian's Red (5).

Helen: (Handing out beer.) I am SO proud of all of you. (Grabs two beers, sits in Jake's lap and hands him one.)

Jake: So you're not mad about your job anymore?

Helen: I didn't say that. (Jake looks nervous, but relieved when Helen raises her bottle to Mystic Spiral.) What a great team!

Jesse: But we're not a team, we're a band.

Nick nods in agreement. Everyone else shrugs and drinks. The phone rings, Helen answers.

Helen: Hello? Oh, just a moment. (Hands Jake the phone.) It's for you.

Jake: (Puts down beer, leans back, holding Helen on his lap.) Hello? Terry Barry Barlow (6)? Yes, I remember you...Thank you. It WAS a fun project. (Laughs.) Oh, I had a few connections...No, not at the moment. (pause.) Well that's a generous offer. (Begins squeezing Helen's waist. Her eyes widen as the pressure increases.) Oh really, I can't right now. (Pause.) Really Terry. I'm with a client right now. How about lunch? Say, on Wednesday? Great! I'll pencil you in! Bye now! (Hangs up loudly and stands up, inadvertently dumping Helen to the floor.) HAH!

The band members all stare at Helen, still stunned.

Trent: That's not cool.

Jesse: You spilled your beer.

Helen sits up, glaring at Jesse.

Act III: Scene 6

Degas Street record shop. Quinn pulls Mystic Spiral CDs forward, and marks them with price tags. She takes down the "free cds" sign in front of the stack and tosses it.

Act III: Scene 7

Pizza King. Daria and Jane are at their booth.

Daria: It looks like all is again well for the men in our homes.

Jane: I'd say unfortunately, but Mystic Spiral's actually starting to sound good. Your dad is actually a good influence, frighteningly enough.

Daria: He is? You'd never know it from seeing Quinn or me. You know, if I didn't absolutely know better, I'd say the same thing about Trent.

Jane: Yeah?

Daria: Dad only curses his father every twenty minutes now. But let's not get too excited. The last time he got over his issues, his secretary had to ask the government to declare his office a federal disaster area.

Jane: I'll get excited when Trent gets up at 11. He was up by three yesterday, so total progress. How's Helen taking this?

Daria: She has a serious case of phone envy, but that's an improvement.

Jane: For now, anyway. She's probably waiting for someone to violate Spiral copyright so she has an excuse to sue.

Daria: Tearing others to shreds is how Mom feels good about herself.

Daria and Jane toast soda glasses.

Act III: Scene 8

Trent's bedroom, day. He is sprawled on his back, wearing Pac-Man(7) boxers. The duck phone quacks.

Trent: Do you know what time it is? (Sits bolt upright.) Uh, yeah, just a little joke Mr. McGrundy. You know how Mystic Spiral likes to present a nocturnal image. (Forces a laugh, stifles a cough.) Yeah, absolutely. Two nights a week? That would be great! I'll pencil you in.

Trent hangs up phone, phone immediately quacks.

Act III: Scene 9

Sandi Griffin's bedroom. Tiffany and Stacy are watching her hang up the phone.

Stacy: How many times have you called now?

Sandi: At least twelve.

Tiffany: I thought you said the band should come to us.

Sandi: We have to adjust our strategy, Tiffany.

Tiffany: But doesn't calling a guy violate Fashion Club policy?

Sandi: Under section 3, code 4 it CLEARLY states that –

The phone rings. All three girls pounce on it like it's a bridal bouquet. Sandi wins by shoving on Stacey's forehead.

Sandi: Hello? Oh, HI Quinn. It's so kind of you to call and explain your neglect of Fashion Club duties.

Cut to split screen, Quinn is in the record shop. Trent hands her a stack of new Mystic Spiral CDs. Jesse is talking to a tattooed girl in a corner while Max and Nick are waving their hands at each other in an argument.

Quinn: I'm not NEGLECTING my duties, Sandi, I'm fulfilling them. You did mention a project for us to meet musicians, didn't you?

Sandi: (Sniffs.) Yes, that IS what's on our current agenda. And HOW are you fulfilling this duty by not being PRESENT?

Quinn: (Jane-like smirk.) I've sighted Mystic Spiral on Degas Street, in the record shop.

Sandi: And what are YOU doing on Degas Street?

Quinn: I had to do some research to find out, didn't I?

Sandi: I suppose that's a good reason. Fine, we'll be there in ten minutes. I assume you'll still be there?

Quinn: I have to do some stuff for my mom, but I'll meet you at the Pizza King after.

Sandi: Very well. (Hangs up phone.)

Act III: Scene 10

Cut to Quinn in record shop.

Quinn: (to Trent) You might want to clear out of the shop really quick. A bunch of high school girls are on their way.

Trent: Thanks Quinn. Say hi to Daria for me.

Quinn: Sure thing, Trent. (Picks up piece of paper from counter, walks over to boss, who is talking with Jesse.) Here's my notice James. I'm sorry I couldn't give you a full two weeks, but my parents insist I quit now.

James: Sorry to see you go Quinn. You've sold more than I have since I opened the shop. If you ever want to come back, you're totally welcome.

Quinn: Just call me in a few years when your shop is ready for a makeover. Oh, before I leave - you might want to mark up the Mystic Spiral albums another twenty percent. There's a rush on its way over.

James: (Whips out label gun.) Good idea, Quinn. Sure you don't want to hang out and see your friends?

Quinn: (strongly resembling Daria.) Oh, they're not really my friends.

Act III: Scene 11

Morgendorffer living room. Daria is sitting on the couch reading while Helen paces the floor.

Helen: The house is clean, my books are filed, I've had my quality time with you girls -

Daria: All five minutes of it.

Helen: I don't know what else to do!

Daria: Have you tried sitting down?

Helen: Yes, but it just doesn't feel natural! (Phone rings. Helen answers.) I'm sorry, Jake's not - oh, HI Eric. (Sour.) What do YOU want? Oh, really? And what's in it for me? Hm...yes, 35 percent does sound good. I'll be there right away.(Hangs up.) Sorry sweetie, I have to run.

Rushes out the front door, grabbing her briefcase as she goes.

Daria: (Props feet on coffee table, settles in with her book.) Now THIS feels natural.

Act III: Scene 12

Daria and Jane sit at the Morgendorffer kitchen table, eating lasagna.

Jane: Thanks for having me over. Trent's been working so much that grocery shopping consists of what's left from a band run at a drive-through.

Daria: It was my duty to feed you. I've seen the back of your fridge.
(Shudders.)

Enter Helen, fastening an earring, wearing her business suit.

Helen: Oh, hi Jane! Daria, make sure you rinse off your plates when you're done. And I'll make sure we have some bonding time on Sunday, OK?

Daria opens mouth to respond, Helen walks out

Jane: Did she spend any of her forced vacation bonding with you or Quinn?

Daria: Only if you count asking us where the scrub brushes and cooking mitts were. She doesn't really know how to bond if it isn't pre-scheduled. She's taking classes on how to be spontaneous.

Jane: I hope Trent isn't going to use your mom as a role model now that he sort of knows what success looks like. Not that he'd ever seriously pursue it.

Phone rings. Daria answers: I'm sorry, Quinn had an unfortunate hair drying incident. The surgeon is accepting all major credit cards, if you want to leave your number.

Cut to Daria/Trent on other phone line. Trent is at a phone booth at a gas station

Trent: (Laugh/cough.) Good one, Daria. Is Janey there?

Daria blushes for a moment, then recovers

Daria: Uh, yeah. She's right here. Just a sec. (Hands phone to Jane.) It's Trent.

Jane: What's up, O brother mine?

Trent: The band got called out of town for a gig, so I left some frozen lasagna for you in the fridge.

Jane: Lasagna?

Trent: I've seen Helen do that for Jake, and it seemed like a pretty good idea.

Shot to Jane's annoyed expression.

Act III: Scene 13

A cemetery. Jake hits play on a boom box, and out comes 3 Dog Night, "Joy to the World". He starts dancing on and around the grave plot. Shot to name on plot: Buck "Mad Dog" Morgendorffer, husband, soldier and father.

Footnotes:

1. McGrundy's Pub is listed in the Daria Diaries as the original
regular gig for Mystic Spiral. The pub has simply never been shown
on the series.

2. For the English as second (or third or fourth) language readers:
a popular tongue twister to teach enunciation is: "How much wood
can a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?"

3. "Hell Freezes Over" the title of the Eagle's reunion album.

4. "Every Dog Has Its Day" premiered by Mystic Spiral in the episode
"Groped by an Angel"

5. Killian's red - my favorite beer, an Irish red. At least it's my
favorite when they don't decide to send skunked batches to the States.

6. Terry Barry Barlow - the ballooning/chain restaurant owning guy
from "Of Human Bonding"

7. For those of you who were born AFTER the advent of the arcade game,
this was a character from the first popular arcade game. The purpose
was to run around munching ghosts. shrug apparently they tasted
great and were low in calories.

Acknowledgements:

Thanks to my beta readers:

Thomas, RuthlessBunny and traP

Author's Notes:
Ever since Daria! (however unfortunate that episode may have been) I have puzzled at why the kinship between Jake and Trent has remained unexplored. In Underrated, I tried to really develop the clear foundations of a friendship by drawing out what both men had in common. While the males of Daria are cast as largely incompetent, or with lesser motivations, most of the characters do have a "flip side" of sensitivity, caring and genuine needs that are ignored or unexplored by the main cast members. As was pointed out in that song, Trent and Jake are both struggling to be sensitive, supportive to the changing roles of women, and 90s kind of guys (into the 21st century, so you can see where these cartoon heroes might struggle a little). They're both at a disadvantage -- both had limited or negative relationships with their fathers, both live in households dominated by women (when anyone is present, in Trent's case) and both are still trying to navigate what they want in life while trying to attend to the happiness of the people they love.

While the payoff seems modest at best, I wanted it to be realistic. Mystik Spiral is a local band, and Jake has never been established as having Hollywood/entertainment industry contacts. What Jake would be able to do, using his skills and Quinn's vested interest and considerable sales ability would be to turn the band into a local franchise, which is what he did.