502: Sappy Anniversary

Written by Anne D. Bernstein

(opening theme song)

(at the Morgendorffer house)

(doorbell rings; Daria answers, and finds a huge bouquet of flowers in her face)

Daria - So the stories were true. Welcome to Earth, plant people. Be gentle with us.

Delivery Boy - Yeah, are you Miss Morgendorffer?

Daria - Daria or Quinn?

Delivery Boy - These are for Quinn. (hands flowers to Daria) You must be Daria. (extends hand for a tip)

Daria - Hmm... (looks at hand) It says here that people keep closing doors in your face.

Delivery Boy - Hey, do you think your sister might want to go out with...

(Daria closes door, cutting him off, and walks into kitchen, where Quinn is putting more flowers into a vase)

Daria - Hmm... lot of flowers. And chocolates. Did you come down with a debilitating illness and forget to share the good news?

Quinn - Daria, it's not like I ask guys to buy me presents. I merely suggest. (Daria reaches for cards) Daria! That's personal! (reads first card) "Happy one year since you borrowed a pen from me. Love, Joey." (reads second card) "I'll always remember the day you first asked me to get you a soda. Love, Jeffy." (laughs, then reads third card) "These flowers should be twice as big as Jeffy's because I paid twice as much. Love..." I can't seem to make out this handwriting.

Daria - Maybe he should use a sharper crayon.

Quinn - You know, Daria, how big a fuss a guy makes over your anniversary is the true test of whether he cares.

Daria - Huh. And here I've been demanding they mail me an ear.

Quinn - I'm serious. If he forgets, it means he's taking you for granted. Not that I would know, but that's what Stacy tells me. Say, how long have you and that Tom been going out?

Daria - Um... no idea?

Quinn - Oh, Daria...

Daria - Look, all that matters in a relationship is that you like the same pizza toppings.

Quinn - Well, I remember that your first date was the same day I started my split-end refusing regimen, unless you don't count from the first date but instead from the time you kissed him behind your best friend's back while she was still going out with him, which I believe was the night of the Fashion Club Blushathon finals.

Daria - And to think, Mom and Dad only have the day JFK was shot.

Quinn - Let's say we ignore the instance of sleazy backstabbing, so that means... (flips through wall calendar) Wow, it's your six-month anniversary this week! How are you going to celebrate?

Daria - Declare a national holiday?

Quinn - That's ridiculous. What's the point if there's no school that day?

(later that evening, at dinner)

Jake - Hey, when did the help wanted section start coming pre-circled? Am I paying extra for this?

Helen - Um, actually, I did that. Because, uh, you said you could use a new challenge.

Jake - I was talking about learning to play two-deck solitaire.

Daria - Dreamer.

Jake - "Feeling boxed in? Leading corrugated cardboard manufacturer seeks senior VP of sales and marketing?" Damn it, Helen, I'm a man with my own business. I'll never work for somebody else again! Never, do you hear me?! And shame on you for suggesting it. Shame, Helen, shame...

Helen - Jake, I'm so sorry.

Jake - Hey, look at this one! "Kick-ass I-startup, superjazzed about expansion, seeks visionary dot-com expert for media leadership position." Where do I sign up?!

Helen - Jake, you don't know a thing about the Internet.

Jake - (sarcastic) Oh, but I'm an expert on cardboard!

Daria - Mom, Dad's bragging again.

Helen - And look at that salary! It's an insult.

Jake - It's a startup, Helen. I'll get in on the stock offering and soon we'll be living on Easy Street.

Daria - Isn't that just around the corner from Delusion Drive?

(at the Sloane house)

(Daria and Tom are sitting on the sofa as the SSW theme plays on TV)

SSW Announcer - How shoddy fertility drugs are creating a new breed of gang and wreaking havoc with police lineups. "Delinquent quintuplets," next on Sick, Sad World.

Daria - So... what do you want to do tonight?

Tom - Oh, nothing special.

Daria - Nothing special, huh?

Tom - I'm fine just hanging out.

Daria - Just hanging out. (pause) Ever wonder what it would be like to go on a typical date? Say, to a restaurant or something?

Tom - Oh, yeah. I know, why don't we go to Chez Pierre. (laughs) Normal dates are for people with no imagination.

Daria - Ah.

Tom - Remember when we went to the drugstore and read the greeting card poems aloud? That was a fun date.

Daria - Yeah.

(at yuppie-style restaurant)

(Jake is sitting at a table, waiting, when a man with spikey white hair approaches)

Barkman - Jake Morgendorffer? I'm Noah Barkman, president of Buzzdome.com.

Jake - You're... the president?

(Barkman turns chair around and sits)

Barkman - Let me tell you something about Buzzdome, J-man. We're a bleeding edge shop, pumped to optimize our web presence. (cell phone rings) One sec. (answers phone) Yeah? Uh-huh. Well, that's a start, but I'm thinking massive and I want you to think massive with me. Later. (hands up) When did investors become such chickens? Good thing they weren't like this when we had the stock offering.

Jake - The stock offering is over?

Barkman - Ran up 800% in the first day of trading. And here I am, I just turned 24 and I don't know what to do with all my money.

Jake - You're 24?!

Barkman - New economy, right? You explain it to me. (a waiter approaches) Drinks?

Jake - I need... I'd like... a martini.

Waiter - Sorry, no alcohol. We're macrobiotic.

(Jake tears his napkin)

Barkman - I'll have a pot of kombucha.

Jake - Yeah! Kombucha! Me, too!

Barkman - Jake, tell me. What are your thoughts about how clickstream convergence impacts brandwidth exploitation? Give me your e-vision, not what you think the digerati want to hear.

Jake - Snotty digerati... hey, that rhymes!

Barkman - And don't just throw killer aps at me.

Jake - So the answer is an engaged, community-based killer ap combined with bleeding edge e-vision and diversified synergy?

Barkman - Jake, that is a very prescient comment.

Jake - Did I mention that I make really neat pie charts?

(waiter arrives with tea)

Barkman - You know, you're a little up there in years, but you're definitely plugged in. A toast to you, Jake Morgendorffer. You are Buzzdome.com's newest employee. You don't mind an 80-hour workweek, do you?

Jake - Um... 'course not. (drinks tea, gags, spits it out) Blurgh... oh...!

(at the Lane house)

(Jane is gluing pieces of broken pottery onto the wall; Daria is sitting and staring at a shard)

Jane - I'm going to call it "Exploding Kiln Number One." Or what do you think of "Pottery Blam"?

Daria - Mm.

Jane - Enjoying that shard?

Daria - (looks up) Huh?

Jane - Out with it, Morgendorffer. What's wrong?

Daria - Well, it's, uh, Tom.

Jane - My ex, your current. This is slightly uncomfortable but how can I resist? Go on. (resumes gluing)

Daria - He treats me more like a piece of furniture than his girlfriend. I know I shouldn't care whether or not he gives me presents or remembers our anniversary, but I think I do. And then I hate myself for caring. I can't say anything because then he'll know I care, and it won't be the same as if he thought of it himself and, oh, God, listen to me.

Jane - Wow. You sound almost... human.

Daria - (sighs) It's just that we never go anywhere.

Jane - Yeah, that's Tom. He never took me anywhere, either. Well, except for that horse and carriage ride once. Oh, and that Italian restaurant when he got the musicians to play my favorite song, the theme from The Poseidon Adventure... (sees sour look on Daria's face, starts backpedaling fast) But they didn't even play the whole song. And the breadsticks were stale. I mean really stale. Bad breadsticks. Eww.

(the look on Daria's face clearly says "I'm not buying it for a second")

(at Buzzdome.com)

(Noah Barkman is showing Jake around the building)

Barkman - You see, Jake... an open plan encourages creativity. Come say hi to the other members of your work node. This is Nora. She's our information architect.

(Jake attempts to shake hands, but she holds up her arms, which reveal braces on both wrists)

Nora - Sorry; carpal tunnel.

Barkman - Zhengdong, interactive strategist.

Zhengdong - I'd love to hear your thoughts on FreeBSD versus Linux as a server platform.

Jake - Right!

Barkman - And Sameer. He's kind of a one-man, pinch-hitting brain trust.

Sameer - If you need anything, my desk is the one with the giant inflatable palm tree.

(Noah leads Jake to his shared cubicle, where an abrasive woman is talking on the phone)

Jackleene - But we tested it on all three platforms! There's no way those links are broken!

Barkman - That's Jackleene. She interfaces with clients.

Jackleene - It must be your browser configuration that's screwing it up! (to Jake) Your tie's crooked!

(at the Morgendorffer house)

(Daria and Tom are on the couch; Tom is laying flat on his back, his head on Daria's lap)

Tom - You sure are comfortable.

Daria - Oh, good, then I've achieved my goal.

(fade into fantasy sequence)

Tom - Have you met my girlfriend Daria?

(screen widens to reveal a recliner shaped like Daria)

Tom - She's the perfect companion piece. No muss, no fuss. (sits) She offers the very best in lumbar support and durability.

(Daria-chair groans softly)

Tom - Dating doesn't get any easier than this.

(Tom stands up, and the Daria-chair falls on its side; she looks extremely depressed)


(at Buzzdome.com)

(Jake is setting up his desk; Jackleene is castrating another customer over the phone)

Jackleene - You're the only person on Earth having this problem! Are you sure you have the latest version of Flash?

(Sameer approaches)

Sameer - Hey, Jake. Thought you might like to know they're serving lunch. It's catered.

Jake - Free lunch? This place is great!

(Jake and Sameer walk to the lunchroom)

Sameer - Hey, you buying in on that shopping mall project?

Jake - Huh?

Sameer - Oops, sorry, forgot. You got here after we went public. You probably don't need any big write-offs.

Jake - Hey, can I ask you something?

Sameer - I'm the idea guy.

Jake - What exactly does this company... do?

Sameer - We provide tools to help other Internet start-ups maximize their potential and expand the virtual marketplace.

(pause as Jake attempts to understand; he's nowhere close)

Sameer - Listen, Jake, I get paid big money to sit around and daydream. I'm not about to rock the boat.

(Jake and Sameer enter the lunchroom; Nora and Zhengdong are already there, looking through magazines)

Nora - Danish modern furniture is so biomorphic. Do you think six K for a coffee table is too much?

Zhengdong - Not if you love it. Look, the original Batmobile is up for sale. Think I'll put in a bid.

Jake - You guys got in on the stock offering, too?

Nora - That was such a cool day.

(Jake sighs)

Zhengdong - Hey, Nora, thanks for that Java patch.

Jake - Hey, do those things really help you quit smoking?

(everyone laughs)

Sameer - Jake, you're as funny as a case-sensitive search engine.

Jake - Heh.

Zhengdong - Well, I've got a ton of clickthroughs to calculate. (gets up and starts to leave)

Jake - Have fun cruising the information superhighway.

Zhengdong - Information superhighway? Jake, that is so 1992.

Sameer - Next thing, you'll be telling us you still use Hypercard 1.0.

(everyone laughs; Jake laughs half-heartedly, then sighs)

(at the Morgendorffer house)

(Jake is at the kitchen table, working on his laptop; Daria is looking over his shoulder)

Jake - Backslash, backslash, damn it! Got to remember it's a backslash!

Daria - Relax. It's not like you depend on the Internet for a living.

Jake - Right. Hey, thanks for helping me out, kiddo. I think I'm starting to get the hang of the world wide weberverse. Huh... should I copyright that?

Daria - I'm sure someone already has.

Jake - I'm really going to wow 'em at work tomorrow! Oh, look, I'm receiving some sort of message in code. (laptop screen shows random characters being displayed) Looks technical. This is exciting!

Daria - You're leaning on the keyboard again.

Jake - Oh, right. Good call.

(next morning)

(doorbell rings, and Quinn answers the door; it's Tom)

Quinn - Oh... hello.

Tom - Hi, Quinn. Is Daria home?

Quinn - Possibly. Or she might have gone out. I don't remember.

Tom - Can you check?

Quinn - Whom shall I say is calling?

Tom - Tom.

Quinn - Oh, right. Sometimes things just slip my mind. Like names, or what day it is.

Tom - It's Tuesday.

Quinn - So that would make the day after, the day after tomorrow...

Daria - Tom? What are you doing here?

Quinn - Oh, Daria, you're back! I left your many messages on the refrigerator. I wrote them down in case I forgot. (whispers) Just trying to help. (leaves)

Tom - I was in the neighborhood and thought I'd see if you wanted to take a walk.

Daria - Nothing better to do?

Tom - That's it.

Daria - I'll get my jacket.

(at Buzzdome.com)

(Jake is clicking away at his laptop; Noah Barkman approaches)

Barkman - Hey, Jake, how's it going?

Jake - I'm multitasking. Finishing up this presentation while I play an MP3, download a cannelloni recipe, and e-mail my congressman to complain about the high cost of car insurance.

Barkman - I can't wait to see what you have for us tomorrow.

Jake - It's going to rock the world wide weberverse.

Barkman - Hmm... we should copyright that. You know, Jake, you remind me of how excited I was starting this place up. I'd code for weeks straight, fueled by chocolate-covered coffee beans, sleeping under the desk. If you look closely you can still see the carpet fibers embedded in my cheek.

Jake - Eww...

Barkman - Here, have some coffee beans. See ya in the A.M. (tosses Jake a bag and leaves)

Jake - Okay, back to work! As soon as I finish this game of two-deck computer solitaire. Now, where the heck did that three of spades go?

(later that night; Jake, wired on coffee beans, is working at a frantic pace)

Jake - Jake Morgendorffer, that is one beautiful pie chart! Oh, damn, the zombies are coming over the hill! Bam, bam, bam! An exploding frog cartoon? Got to see that. Good lord, the Nikkei is down! Quick! Move out of yen! Something's happening on the panda-cam! "I'm wearing... a polo shirt and khakis. Why do... you ask?"

(laptop starts whirring; it does not sound healthy)

Jake - Hey! Stupid tiny hourglass! (clicks mouse frantically) Spin, damn you, spin!

(laptop whirs slower, then crashes spectacularly)

Jake - Yah... oh... aah...! (picks up laptop and starts pounding it around) Come back, damn it! Gah...!

(in the park)

(Daria and Tom are sitting on a bench, talking under the moon and stars)

Tom - I always feel so comfortable with you.

Daria - You're talking to me, not the bench, right?

Tom - I mean I can just relax and be myself. I don't have to worry about impressing you.

Daria - Yeah. Wouldn't want you to do that.

(Tom glances at her; he's starting to suspect something is wrong)

Tom - If I didn't know better I'd swear you were mad at me.

(Daria turns and simply looks back at him)

Tom - You are mad at me.

Daria - I don't want to talk about it.

Tom - You're mad but you won't tell me why. Jeez, Daria, you're acting like... I don't know, a typical girl.

Daria - And you're talking like, I don't know, a sexist guy.

Tom - I just meant you're usually different.

Daria - Oh, that's right. I'm not average. I don't have typical expectations like normal girls.

Tom - What are you talking about?

Daria - Nothing. Just forget I said anything. (turns her head and clams up)

Tom - If you're not going to tell me I can't do anything about it. (waits a few moments; Daria still isn't talking) Okay.

(Tom leaves, deciding that a strategic withdrawal is better than a no-win argument; Daria looks on, upset more at herself than at Tom)


(at the Morgendorffer house)

(Helen is in bed, working; Daria knocks on the doors and peeks in)

Helen - Oh, Daria. Come in.

Daria - You're busy.

Helen - Never mind. I'm not getting much done anyway. I can't seem to concentrate without your father's snoring.

(Daria enters and sits on the bed)

Daria - Well, um... I was wondering if I could ask you something...

Helen - Yes!

Daria - Uh, well... Tom and I have been going out for about six months, and...

Helen - Oh. Um... Daria, sometimes we may think we're ready for something and it won't change anything but we're really not and it changes everything and in the rush to grow up we sometime forget how precious are the fleeting years before adulthood's cares...

Daria - It's not about sex.

Helen - Thank God! I mean, "Oh, I see." But when you're ready, please feel free to come to me. Not that there's any hurry, nor should that statement be interpreted as some kind of encouragement.

Daria - Right. Anyway, it's about our anniversary. It's not that I'm expecting anything...

Helen - And you shouldn't.

Daria - I shouldn't?

Helen - No. Because you're setting yourself up for disappointment. Trust me.

(begin flashback sequence)

(a young Jake and Helen are in an outdoor Jacuzzi, surrounded by plants, trees, and candles)

Jake - Helen, it's been a year since our commitment ceremony, and I've never felt more self-realized. Happy anniversary. (hands Helen a gift)

Helen - Happy anniversary, Jakie. (hands him a gift)

Jake - A leather-bound edition of Das Kapital! Helen, you shouldn't have.

Helen - I wanted to give you something that was close to your heart.

Jake - Long live the proletariat! I bet this thing will appreciate like crazy.

(they kiss, and Helen opens her gift; it's a candle in some unrecognizable shape)

Helen - A candle in the shape of a... wizard?

Jake - It's supposed to be a Hobbit.

Helen - Oh, of course it is. It's wonderful. Really. And so are you. (kisses Jake on cheek)

Jake - Is the color okay? Because I could have made it in red.

Helen - Oh, no... brown is so... soothing.

(dog barks)

Jake - Yah! (drops candle into hot water) Augh! Damn dog!

(Jake fishes for candle while Helen contemplates dropping his book into the water; she decides against it)

(Jake finally pulls candle out and hands it to Helen; it's now a misshapen lump of wax)

Jake - I can redo the pointy hat.

(Helen sighs)

(end flashback sequence)

Daria - So, you were disappointed, huh?

Helen - Well, I would have been if I'd been expecting a diamond bracelet. But I knew that a lot of time and love went into that silly lump of wax. See, Daria, it doesn't matter what he buys you or where he takes you. The only thing that matters is how you feel about each other.

Daria - But what if he forgets your anniversary altogether?

Helen - (scowls) Show no mercy.

(at Buzzdome.com)

(Noah, Nora, Zhengdong, Sameer, and Jake are in a meeting; Nora is finishing her presentation)

Nora - So, adopting these new protocols means bye-bye, netlag, bye-bye, cornea gumbo, bye-bye, dancing baloney. Oh, yeah, and banner blindness, too.

(all compliment her)

Barkman - Thanks, Nora. Now Jake is going to wow us with his new plan for increasing our visibility in the marketplace.

(Nora sits while Jake stands at the head of the table)

Jake - Increasing visibility is a good thing, and it will surely make us more... visible. To do that we should, uh... develop our strategy and strategize our development. Implement solutions and solutionize implementations. Aggressively.

(the room is silent)

Jake - (last-ditch effort) Edgy?

Barkman - Jake, I hate to say this, but you're just spouting a bunch of buzzwords. You're not paradigm-shifting. You're all sizzle and no steak.

Jake - But I did have steak... and charts and graphs and animated dollar bills that danced around and sang songs. I was almost finished and then... my screen froze. Damn computer! It ate everything! Big, fat, smug, damn, stupid, crappy piece of crappy crap! (starts sobbing)

Barkman - That was great, Jake. Wasn't it great, everyone?

(everyone applauds)

Barkman - (gets up) You really helped us get into the mindset of the average Joe. Angry and confused, confounded by a new media he can't possibly begin to understand.

Jake - Yeah!

Barkman - Too bad it wasn't an act.

(everyone laughs)

Jake - So I'm fired? (turns to leave) I'll turn in my mouse pad.

Barkman - Wait a second, Jake. How would you like to be a consultant for us?

Jake - (turns back) Is that a trick question?

Barkman - No, no. I'd like you to be on call as a kind of spur-of-the-moment focus group. Help us see our work through the eyes of our end-users.

Jake - But what is your work?

Barkman - Do you want to or not?

Jake - Hell yes! Jake Morgendorffer Consulting is back!

(at school)

(Daria and Jake are walking the halls)

Daria - Boy, jump down someone's throat, refuse to tell them why, and suddenly they stop calling you.

Jane - Well, at least Tom can't accuse you of trying to spoil the mystery.

Daria - I really wanted to tell him, but I guess I was too busy playing games.

(they walk past the Three J's, who are fawning over Quinn as usual)

Jeffy - Gee, Quinn, that jacket looks hot.

Joey - Really hot.

Jamie - Super hot.

Quinn - Yeah. Too bad I couldn't afford the matching mini-skirt.

(the Three J's begin battling each other in their efforts to fulfill Quinn's little hint)

(next, Daria and Jane walk past Kevin and Brittany)

Brittany - Oh, Kevvy, I was only flirting with him to make you jealous.

Kevin - But, babe, how could I be jealous if I wasn't supposed to know about it?

Brittany - Um... (twirls her hair as she strains brain cells in an attempt to think)

(finally, they walk past Ms. Barch and Mr. O'Neill, who are in the midst of a lover's spat)

Ms. Barch - Oh, now what's wrong?

Mr. O'Neill - If you can't figure it out, I'm not going to tell you. (sniffles)

Ms. Barch - Every time we have a little argument, there you go, turning on the waterworks.

Daria - Oh, God. This is like that scene in Pinocchio when he discovers he's growing ears like the rest of the donkeys.

Jane - Well, then, stop being an ass and go talk to Tom.

(Daria sighs and starts to leave, bowing to the inevitable)

Jane - And always let your conscience be your...

Daria - Oh, shut up!

(at the Sloane house)

(Daria rings the doorbell, waits a very short moment, then turns to leave; Tom then opens the door)

Tom - Hey... if you're not going to leave a flaming bag of dog crap on the doorstep, at least come in.

Daria - Well, can't resist an invitation like that.

(Tom lets Daria into the house; they both sit on the couch)

Daria - So I admit I've been kind of sensitive lately. And, um, a little...

Tom - Distant? Cranky? Childish?

Daria - Yes, thank you so much for all the adjectives. See, I was kind of, um, upset that... oh, God. I can't believe I'm about to say this. The six-month anniversary of our first date is tomorrow.

Tom - It is?

Daria - Quinn brought it up.

Tom - So you're mad at me for forgetting something you forgot yourself?

Daria - I guess it got me thinking about whether or not... (rushes to get it out) ...you were taking me for granted and if you really do care that much about this... relation-date-ship thing.

Tom - Of course I do. It's just that I'm not into that corny crap.

Daria - Right, 'cause who need pony rides and fancy Italian dinners?

Tom - What? Oh... you mean with Jane? Listen, I only took her on those dates after our relation-date-ship thing started to fall apart. I started acting romantic to hide the fact that I no longer felt romantic.

Daria - So not remembering our anniversary is a good sign.

Tom - Hey, now that I know these things are important to you, we'll celebrate.

Daria - But they're not.

Tom - Okay, then.

Daria - But we can celebrate anyway.

Tom - Okay, then.

(at the Morgendorffer house)

(Jake and Helen are in bed; Jake is snoring away, Helen is working contentedly)

Jake - (snorts, then wakes up) Wha... where am I?!

Helen - You're safe with me, Jake. Your father's dead and Corporal Ellenbogen's far, far, away.

Jake - Whew... um, Helen?

Helen - Yes?

Jake - I hope you don't think I... I let you down with that job and all.

Helen - Jake, I'm glad you're back to normal hours. I missed you.

Jake - You did?

Helen - Of course I did.

Jake - And it doesn't bother you that I'm a... failure?

Helen - Not a bit.

(Jake sighs)

Helen - (oops!) Honey, of course you're not a failure. You're the same kind, decent, intelligent man I fell in love with all those years ago.

Jake - Really?

Helen - You know, there's something I keep in this drawer that always reminds me of why I married you.

(Helen pulls out the candle-lump and shows it to Jake, who freaks out)

Jake - What the hell is that?!

(downstairs; Daria and Tom are on the sofa, sharing Quinn's box of chocolates)

Tom - Happy non-anniversary.

Daria - Happy non-anniversary to you.

Tom - Are you sure Quinn won't mind?

Daria - Nah, celebrating anniversaries was her idea.

(closing credits)