401: Partner's Complaint

Written by Glenn Eichler

(opening theme song)

(Daria and Jane walking home from school)

Jane - And we're sitting there, trying to watch the movie, and this guy next to Tom just won't shut up. So finally, Tom takes out a ten-dollar bill and says to him, "Hey, buddy, I'll pay for your popcorn if you promise to sit somewhere else after you get it."

Daria - And then he developed a vaccine for polio, and tricked Rumpelstiltskin into revealing his name.

Jane - Oh, come on, you have to admit, that young Thomas is a clever fellow.

Daria - Young Thomas? Is that how they talk at his preparatory academy?

Jane - Hey, I told you, his parents make him go there.

Daria - Gosh, has he tried buying them some popcorn if they'll let him go somewhere else?

(horn honks as Tom's car pulls up to Daria and Jane)

Tom - Yo. Hey, Daria.

Jane - Yo.

Daria - Why, young Thomas... how nice to see you.

Tom - Anybody want a ride home?

Daria - That's very thoughtful of you, but since I live two houses down, I guess I'll pass.

Tom - Oh, yeah.

Jane - Well, I'll take that ride. (gets into Tom's car) See you later.

Tom - See you later, Daria.

Daria - Later. (sighs as car speeds away)

(school bell rings)

(at Daria's locker)

Daria - So, what did you do last night?

Jane - Oh, you know, not much.

Daria - You went out with Tom?

Jane - Well... yeah.

Daria - You know, you don't have to tiptoe around me like I'm some sort of hysterical nut job. (closes locker)

Jane - There are many words I could use to describe you. Hysterical is not among them.

(Daria and Jane approach Kevin and Brittany)

Brittany - I know what you think, but I know what I think, and I think I think just as well as you think, don't you think?

Kevin - Babe, if it were up to me, I'd want you to have the brain power of a guy, but it's science. Men are smarter, because we have more muscle mass in our heads.

Brittany - I'm just as smart as you, maybe smarter.

Kevin - (laughing) Okay, sure you are.

Brittany - Don't you fratronize me! (walks away in a huff)

Kevin - You think I don't know what that means? I know what that means! (walks away in a huff)

Jane - They're fighting over who's smarter?

Daria - There's a battle of the Titans.

Jane - I don't know. You gotta give Brittany credit for not feeling like she has to conform to his image of her.

Daria - What's that supposed to mean?

Jane - Huh?

Daria - Are you comparing Kevin and Brittany to you and me?

Jane - There's, like, 16 possible combinations there, and not a single one of them works.

Daria - Kevin should accept Brittany saying she's smart, and I should accept you and this whole Tom worship.

Jane - Daria, you're making a big leap here, and I don't worship Tom or anyone else. Get over it.

Daria - I am. (walks away)

(in Mrs. Bennett's class)

Mrs. Bennett - Class, this will be very exciting. We're going to set aside our books and experience some real-life economics: renting an apartment, applying for a credit card, opening a retirement account. Of course, I don't expect you to actually rent an apartment or what have you. You'll just go through as much of the process as you can and report back on your experiences. Your assignment tonight is to pick a project and a partner.

Daria - Excuse me, what if we prefer to work alone?

Mrs. Bennett - I'd really rather you work with someone, Daria. In the real world, we rarely make financial decisions without having to consider someone else's needs and wishes.

Daria - Lousy real world.

(school bell rings)

(Daria and Jane walking outside)

Jane - So, you want to do the project alone, hmm?

Daria - Kind of. I kind of said that to tick you off.

Jane - It worked.

(Jodie approaches)

Jodie - Are you guys doing that economics project together?

Jane - Not necessarily.

Daria - It's not looking good.

Jodie - Really?

Jane - Aren't you working with young Mack?

Jodie - I don't know -- he's kind of bad with money. Like, he's been overdrawn on his allowance for a while now.

Daria - How long?

Jodie - Since third grade.

(Kevin passes behind the girls and approaches Brittany)

Kevin - So, babe, what do you want to do for our economics project?

Brittany - I'm not doing any project with you, you big ape. (pushes Kevin away)

Jane - Uh-oh.

Kevin - Oh, yeah? Then who are you going to do your project with?

Brittany - Um...

(view becomes a Terminator/RoboCop-like scope, whirring and buzzing before closing in on Jodie)

Jodie - (quickly) Um, Daria, do you want to work with me on this project?

Daria - Huh? (looks at Jane)

Jane - Don't do me any favors.

Daria - Sure, Jodie, why not?

Jodie - Okay, cool.

(Brittany approaches)

Brittany - Jodie, Mr. Thompson and I are not speaking, so do you want to do the economics project with me?

Jodie - Aw, gee, Brittany, I wish I could, but I promised Daria I'd do it with her.

Brittany - Oh... well, um, how about you, Jane?

Jane - You want to do a class project with me?

Brittany - Well, not really, but I mean, you're right here and all.

Jane - Oh, Brittany, you sweet-talker, you. (Jane and Brittany walk away)

Daria - (to no one in particular) I hate everybody. (to Jodie) So, you ready to work?

(at Daria's house)

Jodie - Come on, Daria. If you don't like any of those other projects, all we're left with is taking out a small-business loan, renting an apartment, or budgeting a funeral.

(Quinn enters living room holding cordless phone)

Quinn - Um, that's sweet of you, Russell, but we just went out two weeks ago, so I really can't go out with you again for another three weeks. Well, I consider a hospital visit a date. Sorry. Anyway, good luck with the new kidney and all. Bye. (exits living room)

Daria - Is that by any chance a sibling's funeral?

Jodie - Why don't we try the loan? I do want to start my own business after college.

(Jake enters living room holding cellular phone)

Jake - Come on, Mel, give me another shot. We'll have them lining up to buy methane-powered hot tubs. Hey, how about this catchphrase: "So it smells? So what!" (pause) Come on, Mel, they're going to repossess my parking space! (exits living room)

Daria - Yes, let's start a business. Nothing like being your own boss.

Jodie - What should we call our company?

Daria - "Brink of Bankruptcy, Incorporated?"

Jodie - How about "Millennium Project Enterprises"?

(Helen enters living room holding cellular phone)

Helen - No, no, absolutely not! It's unethical, it's immoral, it may well be illegal. I'll have no part of it. Okay, I'll do it. (exits living room)

Jodie - It's a little busy in here. You want to take a break and get some pizza?

Daria - Can I put it on my Millennium Project Enterprises expense report?

(Jodie sighs and rolls her eyes)

(at Brittany's house)

Brittany - What do you think of this? We could plan a wedding. That sounds dreamy.

Jane - I guess we could say you're marrying your high-school sweetheart and I'm just there for moral support.

Brittany - Oh, no! I'm not marrying that jerk!

Jane - No, you're not actually...

Brittany - I'll tell you what. We'll tell them my high-school sweetheart begged and begged me to marry him, but I finally had enough of all his immature behavior and went off to the Bahamas to be alone and think, and I met a wonderful, young stablehand named Andre, and the minute we looked into each others' eyes we knew it had to be, because anyone who knows that much about horses would certainly know a lot about women.

(pause)

Jane - You want to go get some pizza?

(walking through strip mall)

Kevin - Okay, so how about we say we want a home loan to build one of those, uh, book rooms onto our house, because, you know, we're a couple of smart guys.

Mack - You mean a library?

Kevin - No, bro, you're thinking of that building downtown where you can rent movies for free.

Mack - (sighs) Why didn't I pay my dad back in third grade?

(at Pizza King)

Brittany - Well, if you don't like the wedding idea, how about shopping for e-lec-tive surgery?

Jane - Too messy. Why don't we just use my standard approach and pick the easiest? You like cars?

Brittany - Sure!

Jane - Okay, we're buying a car.

(Mack and Kevin enter)

Mack - Hey.

Jane - Yo.

Kevin - Good afternoon.

Brittany - Likewise, I'm sure.

Kevin - My partner and I were just discussing our class project for economics.

Brittany - What an amusing coincidence. So were my partner and I. We're going to purchase an automobile.

Kevin - A coincidence, indeed, for we're going to purchase an automobile, too... as well.

Brittany - Well, I suppose we'll see who uses their superior intelligence to get the better deal, will we not?

(Jodie and Daria enter)

Jodie - Hey, guys.

Mack - Hey, what's up?

Brittany - Hi!

Jodie - Want to get a slice?

Mack - Okay.

(Mack and Jodie leave the scene)

Brittany - Well, that's nice -- a boyfriend and a girlfriend getting a slice together out of mutual respect. I would ask you to sit down, but as you can see, I'm here with my friend Jane, who respects my intelligence.

Jane (to Daria) - She's embellishing a little.

Kevin - Well, I don't need to sit with you because I'll just sit with... hey, Mack! (runs after Mack)

Jane (to Daria) - Why don't you sit down with us?

Daria - I'm not really hungry. (turns and leaves)

(a sad Jane watches Daria leave, while Brittany obliviously looks on)


(at Honest Lee's New & Used Autos)

Brittany - I want something sporty, but I want to stay in a budget.

Wally - Hmm, where did you say you go to school again?

Brittany - Lawndale High.

Jane - So, just what exactly is standard on this car and what costs extra?

Wally - Hmm, Lawndale High. I guess being a cheerleader and all, you probably like to date football players.

Brittany - I used to...

Jane - What about the warranty? How many years does that cover?

Wally - Not boring old Wally the car salesman, who has his choice of any convertible on the lot to pick you up with in front of all of your friends.

Brittany - Wow! That sounds fun, but I'm supposed to ask you about the sticker price on the car.

Wally - (crumples sticker) Sticker schmicker.

(outside to Kevin and Mack in the lot)

Kevin - Now, I don't want to spend a lot of money for this car.

Salesman - Course not! You should pay what it's worth, not a penny more.

Kevin - Exactly!

Salesman - Because you're obviously a man who knows what things are worth, so you can see why this car is such a bargain at $20,000.

Mack - Yeah, but his budget is $10,000.

Salesman - For how many years?

Kevin - Huh?

Salesman - $10,000 for how many years? One, two, five? Because you spend $10,000 today for a crappy car and put two grand of work into it a year. In three years, you've spend $16,000. You're six grand in the hole.

Kevin - Hmm.

Salesman - But you spend 20 grand today for a nice car with a three-year warranty, you're spending zero instead of two large a year on repairs. You come out at the end of three years six grand ahead. You see what I'm saying?

Mack - Yes, but...

Salesman - You hang onto that car five years, you've saved ten grand in repairs. And since your original budget for the car was ten grand, well, fellas, it's like you just got yourself a car for free!

Mack - Wait a minute.

Kevin - Yeah, wait a minute. Does this thing have cup holders?

(at the bank)

Jodie - ... and so, Millennium Project Enterprises plans to empower young people to make their own investment decisions, so that investing becomes as natural to them as, say, going out for a fast-food hamburger.

Daria - Because we all know how natural those hamburgers are.

Loan Officer - And just exactly what is your role in the company, Miss Morgendorffer?

Daria - Public relations officer.

Jodie - Daria is the inside person; I'm the outside person.

Loan Officer - Very wise decision. Well, I'll tell you what. It's a fascinating idea, and very impressive presentation. But two girls still in high school with no business experience? You're what we call "high-risk applicants." I really don't think the bank will give you a loan. Unless, Daria, you want to ask your father to cosign for it.

Daria - I don't think I can do that. He's already had one heart attack.

Loan Officer - Oh, well, then... I'm sorry.

Jodie - What about my father?

Loan Officer - What about him? Does he know anything about business?

Jodie - He helped me put together this proposal that you claimed was so impressive.

Loan Officer - Your father's not Andrew Landon, is he?

Jodie - That's him.

Loan Officer - The folding coffee cup guy?

Jodie - Yes, that's my dad.

Loan Officer - Well, then, Jodie, you've got business savvy in your blood. Why don't I run your plan by my boss and see what he thinks? Maybe we can work something out.

Jodie - Why? You don't give loans to high-risk applicants, unless maybe you're hoping you'll get a little business from their fathers.

Loan Officer - Now, Jodie...

Jodie - My father's the same high-risk color that I am, you know. (storms out)

Daria - Well, I guess that makes me the outside person.

(outside)

(Daria runs to catch up with Jodie)

Daria - Easy there, speedy.

Jodie - The nerve of that idiot! Listening to my business plan and all my answers to his questions, then asking if your father would cosign the loan. Why? Because you're the right color.

Daria - At least you called him on it.

Jodie - All I want is to be judged on my own merits, you know?

Daria - Maybe they won't be so stupid at the next bank.

Jodie - Maybe, maybe not.

(at the second bank)

Loan Officer - Hi, girls. I understand you're looking to start up a brand-new business. Tell me all about it.

Jodie - Yes, we're very excited about our idea, and we've put together a comprehensive business plan with the help of my father, Andrew Landon.

Loan Officer - Oh! The folding coffee cup guy?

(Jodie smiles, Daria frowns)

(at Jane's house)

SSW Announcer - Would you moan my name... if I boinked you in heaven? Ghost hookers in the sky, tonight on Sick, Sad World.

Brittany - Jane, will you please turn that off and listen?

Jane - Sorry. (turns TV off)

Brittany - All right, so then the nice man told us we could have the car for $100 over dealer's cost. And...

(Trent enters the room)

Trent - Hey, Janey. Hey, Da... (sees Brittany) ...whoa!

(doorbell rings, Jane opens door)

Jane - Wally!

Wally - Hey, Jane Lane. I was just passing by in a hot new Vexer and I remembered your address.

Jane - But I didn't give it to you.

Wally - I... looked it up before I just passed by. Anyway, I saw Brittany's old junker out front there and I said to myself, "Wally, you can't let that girl drive around in that death trap. It'll be on your conscience."

Trent - (annoyed) That's my car.

Wally - Yeah? Nice. So, Brittany, you up for a test drive?

(at Daria's house)

Jodie - "And so, armed with a realistic mission statement and a detailed three-year business plan, we managed to secure a start-up loan and a line of credit at the second bank we visited." How does that sound?

Daria - Sounds like an "A."

Jodie - That's what I think. "After we explained that the whole thing had only been a school project, the loan officer shook our hands and said to be sure and come see him when we were really ready to start a business."

Daria - And we all tripped off into the sunset with a happy song on our lips.

Jodie - Something wrong?

Daria - What could be wrong? It was a triumph for all involved.

Jodie - So, what's the problem?

Daria - What problem?

Jodie - Your problem.

Daria - No problem. It's like you said. Armed with blah, blah, and blah, we went in and got a loan strictly on the merits of our work.

(Helen arrives downstairs)

Jodie - Uh-huh. Why don't you tell me what you think happened?

Daria - Okey-doke. What I think happened is: you went to one bank and a loan officer dismissed you on the basis of your youth and possibly your race, until he found out who your father was, at which point he started kissing your butt, you called him a hypocrite, and we walked out.

Jodie - That's right.

Daria - Only to go into a second bank where the first words out of your mouth were your father's name.

Jodie - What are you getting at, Daria?

Daria - Well, which was more hypocritical: the first guy's changing his tune when he found out who your father was, or you making sure the second guy knew who your father was before he formed an opinion?

Jodie - Are you calling me a hypocrite?

Daria - No, I'm just saying...

Jodie - Hey, our assignment was to get a loan, not save the world. We were supposed to approach an adult financial situation like adults and that's exactly what I did. I used the resources at my disposal to get the loan -- my dad's name. And if I happened to depart from your black-and-white world of ethics -- no pun intended...

Daria - None taken.

Jodie - ...and wandered into a gray area, then too bad. Maybe the first guy was a racist, maybe not. Maybe I was right. Maybe I overreacted. Hey, you wouldn't be working with me if you weren't fighting with Jane. Does that make you a racist?

Daria - Don't be ridiculous.

Jodie - Don't tell me what's ethical and what's not. I approached it like a smart businessperson and I got the loan.

Daria - Fair enough.

Jodie - Are we done here?

Daria - Oh, yeah, we're done.

Jodie - (gets up to leave) Good, I'll see you at school. (passes Helen on the way out) Hi, Mrs. Morgendorffer.

Helen - Hello, Jodie.

(Daria slumps miserably on the couch)


(at Pizza King)

Brittany - So then, the car salesman guy was so sad when he found out we weren't really buying a car. He said they had these big conventions in the Bahamas where they all talk about the sales they made and he was hoping to talk about our sale, and now he couldn't.

Jodie - Poor guy.

Brittany - And then he invited me to go to the convention with him so I could see for myself.

(Jodie rolls her eyes as Kevin and Mack approach)

Mack - Hey, what's up?

Jodie - Hey.

Brittany - Hello, Mack.

Kevin - Excuse me, Mack, but would tell these ladies about the awesome deal I just made for a car?

Brittany - Go on, tell us, Mack.

Mack - Could everyone stop saying my name like that? It's creeping me out.

Brittany - Of course, Ma... um, sure.

Mack - Anyway, this dealer wanted to sell us a brand-new Vexer for the sticker price, 20 grand, but Kevin went back by himself, and by offering the guy cash, he got him down to $18,500.

Jodie - You did, huh?

Brittany - That's peculiar. Jane and I made a deal for the same car for $16,000. I believe that's several thousand dollars lower than your arrangement, if my mathematics hold... or holds.

Kevin - Oh, yeah? Let's see the paperwork.

Brittany - What do you mean? I didn't really buy the car.

Jodie - Yeah, Kevin, she'd have to be an idiot to think Mrs. Bennett actually wanted her to go through with the purchase.

(Kevin pauses for a second, then gets a look of total panic)

Kevin - I got to get to that car place! (runs out)

Mack - How did your thing with Daria go?

Jodie - (hesitantly) Oh, okay, I guess.

(at Daria's house)

(knock on Daria's bedroom door)

Daria - Yeah? (Helen enters) No, I don't want to talk about it.

Helen - Talk about what?

Daria - Whatever it is you came in to have a heart to heart about.

Helen - I came in to ask you to rinse off your dishes before you put them in the dishwasher. Your father found a cheese fry melted onto his "World's Greatest Dad" cup and he thought it was some kind of rodent. Now he's sworn off coffee.

Daria - Then I should be hearing from the Nobel committee any day now.

Helen - All right, then, I'll leave you to your reading. (starts to leave)

Daria - Don't I seem inordinately unhappy to you?

Helen - I don't want to pry. (sees look on Daria's face) Well... I did overhear your argument with Jodie.

Daria - Do you think I'm a rigid, unrealistic, unforgiving self-righteous jerk who can't hold on to a friend?

Helen - She didn't say anything like that.

Daria - But, do you?

Helen - Daria, you have strong beliefs and you want to live by them. That's not a fault or a character flaw. It's admirable; it's what makes you who you are.

Daria - Jodie didn't think so.

Helen - Jodie is a little more pragmatic than you are. She didn't appreciate being criticized for it.

Daria - I don't blame her.

Helen - And since she's pragmatic, she also knows that the fact that someone's having a bad day doesn't make them a bad person.

Daria - What about someone with a pattern of alienating people with her self-righteous pronouncements?

Helen - People aren't as easily alienated as you think, Daria. Ask Jane. She'll tell you.

(at school, in Mrs. Bennett's class)

Mack - And, in conclusion, this project taught us several valuable lessons about financial transactions in the real world.

Kevin - Yeah, like never leave a cash down payment. (sobbing) Oh, gosh, oh... don't let them see me like this. (runs out of room)

Mack - Um, thank you very much. (returns to his seat)

Mrs. Bennett - Well, that was certainly informative. Now, let's hear from Jodie and Daria, who went out seeking a loan to start a new business.

(Jodie and Daria stand in front of class)

Jodie - Before visiting banks to apply for a loan, we realized we would have to have all our numbers in order. We also tried to anticipate the bankers' questions and be ready with detailed answers.

Daria - Although what actually got us the loan had little to do with all that preparation. (pause) It was being flexible enough to tailor our approach to what would make the bank officer feel comfortable about lending us money.

Jodie - Um, we started by defining internally exactly what our financial objectives would be...

(later, outside Mrs. Bennett's classroom)

Jodie - Hey, Daria... that was nice what you said in that presentation.

Daria - Don't get conceited. The only reason I changed my mind about what you did is that I was wrong and I acted like a clod.

Jodie - That's two reasons.

Daria - Rub it in, why don't you?

Jodie - Listen, I shouldn't have bitten your head off either. I'm sorry about that.

Daria - Don't worry about it. I was tired of that head anyway.

Jodie - See you later?

Daria - Later.

(Jodie leaves just as Jane -- who has been following close behind -- arrives)

Jane - Hey.

Daria - Hey.

Jane - Couldn't help overhearing that you've been acting like a clod.

Daria - Yeah, I'll bet that came as a big shock. Well, at least she acted stupid, too, so we both had to apologize.

Jane - Yeah. Imagine how bad you'd feel if you'd been behaving like that towards someone who hadn't even done anything to you.

Daria - Yeah, just imagine. Listen, Jane, I...

Jane - On the other hand, imagine if you had this really good friend who was having a really bad week and this friend's been acting pretty much like a jerk toward you.

Daria - Yeah...

Jane - But you already know how badly she feels about it. You with me?

Daria - Um, I think so.

Jane - Maybe it's this friend that you don't get to see as often as you used to, but you still care just as much about her and you hate to see her unhappy.

Daria - Yeah...

Jane - Well, maybe you'd just forgive that friend for what she did without even asking for an apology, just to let her know, you know, that you're still best friends.

Daria - That's an interesting scenario you propose. Suppose that left your friend, um, kind of embarrassed and speechless?

Jane - Well, then, I'd just tell her that I'd meet her for pizza after school -- give the kid some time to collect herself.

Daria - Sounds like a good idea.

Jane - I thought so. (leaves)

(at Pizza King)

Jane - So then, Brittany says to this Wally guy (imitating Brittany) "Did they have football when you went to high school?"

Daria - This is what I get for putting down your Tom stories.

Jane - Hey, I've still got a bunch of those you haven't heard.

(Daria rolls her eyes as Kevin and Brittany enter)

Brittany - Let's never, ever fight again, okay? We shan't let anything mar our love.

Kevin - Oh, babe, you're so hot.

Brittany - Oh, Kevvy.

Jane - Looks like everything's back to normal in the land of slow-witted love.

(Wally enters)

Brittany - Wally!

Kevin - Wally? Who's Wally?

Wally - Hey, Brittany! Some idiot bought a car, then returned it the next day. Now I've got to sell it as used -- how's you like a new Vexer for half price?

Brittany - Wow!

Kevin - Hey, wait! That's my car! You can't buy it for half price!

Brittany - Why not? You returned it.

Kevin - I thought you loved me. What a traitor!

Brittany - Traitor?! I can't believe you...

(Kevin and Brittany continue arguing)

Daria - Yup... everything's back to normal.

(closing credits)