302: The Old and the Beautiful

Written by Rachelle Romberg

(opening theme song)

(in Mr. DeMartino's classroom)

Mr. DeMartino - And so, the Democratic Party came to be associated with the "welfare state," and the Republican Party with a more Darwinian approach. Which do you favor? Kevin!

Kevin - Darwin's the monkey guy, right? I like monkeys.

Mr. DeMartino - A statement no doubt once also made by your mother!

Kevin - No. She's more into kitties.

Brittany - I love kitties!

Mr. DeMartino - That's terrific, Brittany, and really adds an extra dimension to today's lesson! (Ms. Li walks in) Uh, Ms. Li, I wonder if I might--

Ms. Li - Forget it! I've already told you: no staff resignations while class is in session.

(DeMartino grumbles)

Ms. Li - Students, aren't we a bunch of lucky so-and-sos? (beat) With all that this great land has given us, shouldn't we think about giving back just a little?

Daria - She's right. I'm going to renounce my citizenship.

Ms. Li - So, as part of the school district's first annual Awareness of Others Week, I'm asking each Lawndale High student to sign up for an extracurricular activity to make the world a better place.

Jane - Let's start by rounding up all the psychotic school administrators and putting an end to their suffering.

Daria - And ours.

Ms. Li - 100% participation will earn me, um, us special recognition from the superintendent of schools. Now, I want all of you to go out there and make me -- make the school look good. Resume learning! (leaves)

Mr. DeMartino - Class, dare I ask whether anyone can relate this appeal for volunteerism to the political philosophies we've been discussing today? Kevin.

Kevin - You know what's cool about that Darwin guy? When Curious George gets in trouble, he always lets him slide.

Mr. DeMartino - (hurries out) Ms. Li, wait! Hear a desperate man's plea!

(in the hallway)

Daria - I just think people should volunteer for causes because they believe in them, not because it makes the school look good.

Jane - Absolutely. Run down the list of causes you volunteered for again?

Daria - I protested that book burning last year.

Jane - You yelled at the TV screen.

Daria - Hey, if more people spoke up--

Jane - Uh, oh. Looks like a whole bunch of people got here before us.

Daria - I wonder if this has anything to do with the full day of procrastinating we just put in.

Jane - Look! They need someone for an arts and crafts class at the children's ward of the hospital.

Daria - Calling Jane Lane.

Jane - Too bad there's only one slot left. (signs sheet)

Daria - That's okay. I guess I'll be picking debris off the highway. That'll make me feel all warm and fuzzy.

Jane - Wait! How about reading to senior citizens?

Daria - No, thanks. I'll feel more comfortable with the road kill.

Jane - Come on, you're a people person.

Daria - Mm-hmm.

Jane - Well, you're a person anyway.

Daria - Oh, what the hell. (signs sheet) It'll be good practice for when my parents turn senile -- which is probably any day now.

(Daria and Jane leave as Kevin and Brittany approach)

Brittany - Ooh, Kevvy, look! Reading with seniors.

Kevin - Hanging out with the upperclassmen? Excellent!

(at Daria's house)

Quinn - So, the Fashion Club voted and we're going to collect clothes for the homeless.

Helen - Isn't that wonderful!

Quinn - Well, I was given a talent for accessorizing. And it's sort of my duty to share it with the world.

Daria - I heard St. Francis started the same way.

Helen - What are you doing, Daria?

Quinn - She got stuck reading to old people.

Jake - Hey, that's great, kiddo.

Helen - Well, I'm proud of my girls for caring about the less fortunate. Quinn, I'm going to go through my closet right now and see what I can donate to your clothing drive.

Quinn - Your closet? Muh-OM, haven't the homeless suffered enough?

(at Jane's house)

SSW Announcer - What does your foot odor say about your sexual prowess? Sniffing for love, on the next Sick, Sad World.

Daria - Are you sure they're going to let you bring your own materials to the hospital? I don't know if sick children should be working with auto parts.

Jane - Why not? They're not just recuperating, they're learning a trade. There'll be no popsicle stick picture frames in Jane Lane's arts and crafts class! Tomorrow we're making voodoo dolls of the hospital staff.

Daria - Do you think if you breathe on me I might catch your enthusiasm?

Jane - Hey, who knows what you'll catch. Come on, your assignment isn't that bad. You like reading.

Daria - (mutters) How would you like it...

Jane - You're not nervous, are you?

Daria - No, no. I'm not.

Jane - You'll be fine. If it helps, picture them in their underwear while you read. You may throw up, but at least you won't be intimidated. You feel like taking a walk to the butcher? This stuff would look great with a few cattle bones thrown in.

(at the nursing home)

Nurse - Hello. Oh, you must be from the high school. Come on in. We can always use a ray of sunshine around here. Some of your classmates have already arrived.

Brittany - Hey, Kevvy, look who's here.

Kevin - Daria! Did you know there aren't any high school seniors here? They're old people and we have to read to them.

Daria - What kind of lousy volunteer deal is that?

Kevin - I know!

(Fashion Club members on phone)

Sandi - This teleconference of the Fashion Club is hereby called to order. First order of business: when do we go clothes shopping for the homeless?

Tiffany - You know, I saw this homeless guy on TV once and he was wearing plaid pants with a striped top.

Stacy - Ew! Why can't he just reach inside his shopping cart and pick out something that matches?

Quinn - Um, shouldn't we go through our own closets first for clothes to donate?

Sandi - You mean a homeless person will be wearing my clothes?

Tiffany - Uh, Quinn, are you really comfortable with that concept?

Quinn - It'll stretch our shopping budget. The more clothes we find for free the more we help the homeless, right? And the more room in our closets for new stuff!

Stacy - Yeah!

Tiffany - Oh, yeah.

Sandi - Shush. Very well. But I'll review your donations to make sure no past fashion mistakes are inadvertently revealed to our enemies. Later. (hangs up)

Stacy - Bye, guys. (hangs up)

Tiffany - Ciao. (hangs up)

(Quinn walks over to closet)

Quinn - No, no, no... maybe. No. (screams) Daria, I found your jacket!

(at the nursing home)

Brittany - "As his fingers trailed sensuously down the nape of her neck to her... bow-dice... she tingled uncontrollably with the knowledge that tonight Jean Perrier would taste the fruit of the garden from which no man had ere picked produce before." Oh!

Woman #1 - What a pretty voice she has. Do you think?

Woman #2 - Oh, yes. She sounds just like Frances did when she was younger.

Woman #3 - I always did have a lovely voice.

Brittany - Thanks!

Woman #2 - And I looked just like you, dear.

Brittany - Eep!

Kevin - Pow! Blam! Kablooey! Cool, this guy just swallowed his own teeth.

Man - Happened to me last Friday. Only they weren't my teeth, if you get my drift.

Kevin - Yeah. No.

Nurse - Daria, you'll be reading to Mrs. Patterson. I think you two will really hit it off.

Mrs. Patterson - What a pretty girl...

Daria - (upbeat) Oh.

Mrs. Patterson - ... that Brittany is.

Daria - (dejected) Oh.

Mrs. Patterson - Are you two friends? No, I don't suppose you would be. Never mind. Let's hear what you brought to read.

Daria - I hope you like poetry.

Mrs. Patterson - Oh, yes. My favorite birthday cards are the ones with poems in them.

Daria - "I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness. Starving, hysterical, naked. Dragging themselves through the negro streets of dawn..."

(time passes)

Daria - "... the soul is innocent and immortal. It should never die ungodly, in an armed madhouse--"

(Mrs. Patterson presses call button)

Nurse - Mrs. Patterson, can I get you something?

Mrs. Patterson - Get me my walker. And then hit her with it!


(at Cashman's department store)

Quinn - I am just too cute in this.

Theresa - Forget cute. You are adorable.

Quinn - Oh, no... well, yeah.

(Sandi arrives)

Sandi - Quinn! I was just, uh, shopping for the homeless.

Quinn - Um, me, too.

(Stacy arrives)

Sandi - Stacy, are you shopping for the needy, too?

Stacy - Uh, yeah. Do you think chartreuse is a flattering color... on the homeless, I mean?

Quinn - Oh, definitely.

(Tiffany arrives)

Sandi - Great belly ring.

Tiffany - It's between this and a nose stud.

Quinn - Personally, I'd go with an ear cuff, but that's just me.

Stacy - No, I'd go for that, too. Especially if it looked like a little person clinging to your ear. Those are so cute.

Theresa - Are you girls all updating your wardrobes?

Tiffany - Excuse me, we're collecting garments for the homeless.

Theresa - Wow, that is so nice. You know, we've got a whole sale rack that's 50% off.

Stacy - Sale rack?!

Theresa - Yeah, you know, leftover stuff from last season.

Sandi - Theresa, they're homeless, they're not tasteless.

(at the nursing home)

Nurse - Perhaps you just didn't select the right material, dear.

Daria - You mean like "The Adventures of Ratboy?"

Nurse - I'm sure you'll find some stories in here.

Daria - "Parables of the Way?" I don't suppose that means the way out?

Nurse - Now you'll be reading to Mr. Gross. Mr. Gross, this is Daria. She's going to read to you. Isn't that nice?

Mr. Gross - I want, I want...

Nurse - Yes, Mr. Gross?

Mr. Gross - I want Brittany.

(time passes)

Daria - "And with the thorn gone from his paw, the lion turned to the mouse with tears of gratitude in his eyes. He said, 'Thank you, Mr. Mouse. I have a feeling we're going to become the best of friends.'" That's not how it ended on Animal Maulings on home video.

Nurse (offsceen) - Okay, who wants Brittany to read to them next?

(people shouting "Me, me!" offscreen)

Mr. Gross - Me, me! Dear God, can you hear me?

(time passes)

Daria - "Suddenly, way in the distance the tortoise spotted the finish line. Once more he said to himself 'slow and steady wins the race.'"

Woman (offscreen) - Kevin, you have such a soothing voice.

Kevin (offscreen) - Aw. (chuckling)

(time passes)

Daria - "And the tortoise crossed the finish line first, to the surprise of everyone. Everyone but the tortoise, that is." Another story, Mr. Gross?

(Mr. Gross unplugs respirator)

Nurse - (rushing in) Mr. Gross, what's wrong with your respirator?

Mr. Gross - Nothing, I unplugged it.

Daria - Don't blame me. I didn't write this stuff.

(at Jane's house)

Jane - Damn it! I must have left my Exact-O knives in the pediatric ward.

Daria - You're really getting into this, aren't you?

Jane - Yeah. The kids and I are redoing all the wall murals. The happy clowns holding balloons -- we turned them into Mongol invaders wielding maces.

Daria - Wow. You really are making a difference in a child's life.

Jane - How are things going at the nursing home?

Daria - It's just like high school. The people with the good looks and the inane bubbliness are sought out and held up as an example.

Jane - And to think you could have been picking shoes off the highway.

Daria - And giving them to you for your arts and crafts class.

Jane - So, what are you going to do?

Daria - Well, what I'd like to do is quit, but now I sort of feel like I owe these people something.

Jane - Maybe your sister can give you some perkiness tips.

Daria - I wouldn't give her the satisfaction of helping me.

Jane - I wouldn't let her know she was helping me.

(at Daria's house)

(Daria takes notes on Quinn's phone conversation)

Quinn - Since we haven't been able to find anything good for the homeless yet, I've been thinking we should go door to door for clothing donations.

Stacy (on phone) - Well, we're only going to go to nice streets, right?

Quinn - We'll only hit good neighborhoods where the people are well dressed.

Stacy (on phone) - Oh, okay.

Quinn - Why would we give the homeless anything we wouldn't want them giving us?

Stacy (on phone) - Quinn, you are so smart.

Quinn - Speaking of dressing like a tramp, did you see Brooke's new velvet top?

Stacy (on phone) - No.

Quinn - I doubt it's even velvet at all. I think it's velour.

Stacy (oh phone) - Oh, my God.

Quinn - Crushed velour. Which, it turns out, can't be uncrushed.

(Stacy screams)

(Daria tosses pencil away and leaves)

(at school)

Daria - I see you've got arts and crafts again today.

Jane - Oh, yeah. So how did it go observing the Princess of Pleather?

Daria - (imitates Quinn) "Do I have enough product in my hair?"

Jane - You'll never pull it off.

Daria - Somehow, I find that very comforting.

Brittany - Oh, Daria, I'm so sorry you're not popular at the nursing home. I mean, I understand why you're an outcast here at school.

Kevin - Yeah, everyone understands that.

Jane - Even you?

Kevin - Um...

Brittany - But this is really sad. Kevin and I were talking, and we think it's your voice. It's, like, a total bummer!

Kevin - Hey, I know what might help you. I got kicked once during practice and my voice... oh, I guess that wouldn't work on a girl.

Daria - Well, we can't all have rich, soothing voices like yours, Brittany.

Brittany - Wait! That's it -- I could help you!

Jane - (imitates Brittany) Eureka!

Kevin - Oh, babe. You're so thoughtful.

Brittany - Well, this week we are supposed to be thinking of the less fortunate. Daria, come to my house after school and we'll see what we can do. This is going to be great! I can help everyone! (she and Kevin leave)

Daria - What just happened?

Jane - You're spending the afternoon with Brittany.

Daria - You got anything sharp in there?

(at Brittany's house)

(Daria rings doorbell)

Ashley-Amber - Hello.

Daria - Um, hi. I didn't know Brittany had an older sister.

Ashley-Amber - She does? Cool. Maybe we can get manicures together.

Daria - No, I mean... if you're not her sister, then you're...

Ashley-Amber - Her stepmother. (into house) Britty, honey, you didn't tell me you had a sister.


(at Brittany's house)

Brittany - Daria, this is my stepmom, Ashley-Amber. Do you recognize her?

Daria - I think so, but it's so hard to remember your childhood nightmares clearly.

Brittany - She was the poster model for St. Peter Girl beer.

Ashley-Amber - "I'll cure what 'ales' you." (giggles)

Brittany - Ooh, isn't she great?

Daria - It's hard to believe she's real.

Brittany - Come on, I'll introduce you to my dad.

Daria - He's not the Maytag repairman, is he?

Brittany - I don't think so.

(Daria and Brittany enter Steve Taylor's study)

Brittany - Dad, this is my classmate, Daria.

Steve - Hey, Daria. Steve Taylor. Always glad to meet one of Britt's friends. (shakes hands with Daria) You like cosmetics? I'll get you into a focus group. The pay is a joke but there's free lip gloss out the ying yang. Good stuff, too. They try it on cats first. You meet my wife? Boy, was she a knockout when she was young.

(Brian runs through hall, laughing)

Brittany - My pompoms!

Steve - That's my Pebble Beach hat, you little turd! Gerald Ford sold me that hat!

(Brittany and Steve run after Brian)

Daria - Hi. How are you?

(Fashion Club walking down the street)

Stacy - My feet hurt.

Sandi - Stacy... for once, try to look beyond your own petty concerns. Today we're thinking about others, remember?

Stacy - Um, sorry, Sandi.

Homeless Man - Spare some change?

(Fashion Club walks right past him, oblivious)

Sandi - It's all right, Stacy. Just try to be a little more compassionate, okay?

(at Brittany's house)

Brittany - Okay, so one, like, method or whatever to make your voice sound more cheery is to end each sentence as if you're asking a question? 'Cause then you sound, like, perky?

Daria - (deadpan) "The rain in Spain stays mainly on the plain?"

Brittany - Hmm. Okay, that didn't work either.

Daria - What about that squeak you do?

Brittany - (squeaking) What squeak?

(Fashion Club walking down the street)

Tiffany - I can't believe the T-shirts that shop tried to give us.

Sandi - Really. The homeless have suffered enough. Don't make them wear a cotton-poly blend, too.

Quinn - Yeah, but maybe we should've...

Stacy - Oh, look. Half-price hair styling.

Tiffany - "Today only."

Sandi - You know, a new look would really draw attention to our cause.

(at Brittany's house)

Daria - "Cheerleader tip number (squeaks) 12: If you lose your place during a routine, don't worry. No one's paying attention to you anyway. They're watching (squeaks) the game."

Brittany - I'm sorry, Daria. This just isn't working out. I tried. I really tried. But it's hopeless. Face it, Daria. You'll never be like me.

Daria - Guess I'll have to find a new dream.

(Fashion Club walking down the street)

Stacy - My feet are... I mean, um, uh... how do your feet feel, Sandi?

Sandi - They're killing me! Is the box full, Quinn?

Quinn - Actually, it's kind of... empty. Maybe, um, we shouldn't be so picky?

Sandi - Are you saying, Quinn, that perhaps today's canvassing has been mishandled?

Quinn - Oh, no! No way, Sandi. You're a donation seeking expert.

Tiffany - The best.

Sandi - Thank you. All right, I may possibly have been a little too selective, but it's because I was thinking of the homeless.

Stacy - Sure.

Tiffany - Of course.

Quinn - Absolutely.

Sandi - New policy. From here on in we take whatever is offered and we let the homeless make their own fashion choices.

(Sandi rings doorbell)

Mrs. Johannsen - (wheezing) Yes, girls?

Sandi - Never mind. (Fashion Club turns around and leaves)

Mrs. Johannsen - (wheezing) Hey, are you girls selling chocolate?

(at Daria's house)

Daria - "Her heaving bosom rose and fell each time Drake looked her way." (sighs) Well, what do you think? Am I ready?

(leaf falls off tree in response)

(at the nursing home)

Nurse - Who would like Daria to read to them?

(scattered cries of "No, no, no!")

Nurse - Mrs. Blaine? Daria here is going to read to you. Daria, this is Mrs. Blaine. Well, I'll leave you to it.

Daria - (flatly) "Her golden skin was the color of a wheat field. Her lips like rose petals, wet with dawn's sparkling dew." Who writes this stuff? I mean, who's really named "Sierra"? If you ask me, these books have nothing to do with real emotions. Mrs. Blaine, what do you say I read you some Byron?

(Mrs. Blaine nods)

Daria - Or... some really graphic smut.

(Mrs. Blaine nods)

Daria - You're deaf, aren't you?

(Mrs. Blaine nods)

Daria - Okay. Well, then, here's a story. Once upon a time, there was a girl who wasn't good at faking enthusiasm. She volunteered to read at a nursing home but everyone hated her voice. So to humiliate her, they made her read to a deaf person. Big joke. And they all live miserably ever after. (stands up)

Mrs. Blaine - Oh, read me another, dear. Please? You have such a pretty voice.

(in the school auditorium)

Ms. Li - I'd like to congratulate everyone on a very successful Awareness of Others Week. Our 100% participation has earned us a special commendation from the superintendent of schools. "Dear Ms. Li, congratulations to all the students..." Oh, blah, blah. Ah! "Rarely does one encounter an administrator with your unique blend of drive and compassion. You are one very special educator, and a very special lady." (giggles) Oh. "Of course, the students also..." Et cetera, I won't bore you.

Daria - Too late.

Ms. Li - Now, let's acknowledge our most outstanding volunteers: Mr. Thompson and Ms. Taylor.

(cheering and applause)

Brittany - I'd like to dedicate this award to the senior citizens at the Better Days Nursing Home, who taught me a very valuable lesson: always wear your sunscreen.

Kevin - Yeah! Ratboy rocks!

(cheers and applause)

Daria - Please, God, an aneurysm.

Jane - For them or for you?

Daria - Both.

Ms. Li - Now, let us welcome Lawndale High's Fashion Club, here to present a generous donation of clothes for the needy. (looks in box) A pair of go-go boots and a belly chain? Where's the rest?!

Quinn - Um, that's it.

Sandi - They may be poor but that doesn't mean they should be unfashionable.

Stacy - Right.

Tiffany - Totally.

Daria - They may be shallow but that doesn't mean they should be executed.

Jane - Yes, it does.

Daria - Very well, I'm sold.

(in the school hallway)

Jane - I guess I won't be needing this any more. (holds up animal skull)

Daria - Oh, yeah. Sorry your mural got you banned from the children's ward.

Jane - I still don't get it. What's an Old West scene without a scalping? Go figure.

Daria - Well, anyway, National Awareness of Others Week is over. So we can all go back to being self-absorbed again.

Jane - On that note, want to come over to my house and watch TV?

Daria - Later. I've got something to do.

(at the nursing home)

Daria - "Melody Powers sighed as she began picking what was left of Misha out of her hair. She'd look into less aggressive explosives back at H.Q. after her rendezvous with Team Algiers and the intriguing Edouard. 'I hope he's the strong, silent type,' she thought, flicking away one of Misha's molars. 'I've already had one man go to pieces on me today.'"

(Mrs. Blaine smiles, which Daria returns)

(closing credits)