Text ©2003 Roger E. Moore (email@example.com)
Daria and associated characters are ©2003 MTV Networks
Feedback (good, bad, indifferent, just want to bother me, whatever) is appreciated. Please write to: firstname.lastname@example.org (see, however, “Author’s Notes”).
Synopsis: Daria Morgendorffer awakens one morning from uneasy dreams to find herself transformed in her bed into a giant cockroach. Seriously. Well, not seriously, but a giant cockroach. We’re talking great literature. Based on it, I mean.
Author’s Notes: This is a third-season “Daria” highbrow literary crossover mini-episode fanfic television script based on Franz Kafka’s 1912 existential masterpiece, The Metamorphosis. This script is the kind of tale Daria herself might have written if only she were a real person and had a few mental problems—not that I do, you understand. Highbrow literary types can find the complete text of The Metamorphosis online at:
If you read the first few paragraphs—even the first sentence—you get the complete idea of what’s going on, just like that. Boom. Subtle as a daisy cutter. I’m not sure how people will react to discovering that Daria is now a cockroach. It worries me a little. This is highbrow literature, and not too many people will get it besides me.
The lyrics from the third-season musical episode “Daria!” were taken from Outpost Daria (http://www.outpost-daria.com/), which lists “Daria!” as episode #307. It is nervously assumed that the reader is familiar with all the “Daria” characters, so that explanations about who is who are not necessary for maximum enjoyment, if any.
The ending, of course, was from the “Worst ‘Daria’ Fanfic Opening” contest, from early September 2002. It was my entry, so I could use it. Legally, I think.
Last note: Please do not write to me to complain about the failures of logic in this story, of which there are many, because the beta-readers have already yelled at me about them, but if I took them out this story would look even worse than it already does, plus it would be only one page long, so it’s better that they stay in, even the run-on sentences.
Acknowledgements: Thanks to Franz Kafka for the original idea. U da MAN! U ROK!
The beta-readers for this story, bless them, were (in no particular order): Wyvern, Brother Grimace, Robert Nowall, Galen “Lawndale Stalker” Hardesty, RedlegRick, Brandon League, Crusading Saint, Steven Galloway, Deref, Thea Zara, THM, and TerraEsperZ. Brother Grimace was the only one who admitted to actually reading The Metamorphosis, though others might have read it but were too ashamed to say so.
INT = Interior scene
EXT = Exterior scene
VO = Voice over (off screen)
1. INT: RAINY WEEKDAY MORNING, DARIA’S BEDROOM, MORGENDORFFER HOME
As lightning flashes and thunder rumbles, we fade in to see the Kafka poster over Daria Morgendorffer’s computer station, on the side of her room by the door into the hall. Heavy rain drums on the roof. Our view drifts slowly down to Daria’s desk, where we see various books by Kafka (The Trial, The Castle, The Metamorphosis, etc.). The screen-saver on her computer monitor is on, and we see computer-art ants marching randomly across the screen. Our view drifts across the room to Daria’s bed, faintly illuminated by distant lightning flashes outside. The clock alarm on the floor by her bed clicks from 6:29 to 6:30 a.m., and music plays: a segment from “Morning in the ‘Burbs,” from the musical “Daria!” The male singer sounds like Jake Morgendorffer.
MALE SINGER: [VO, on radio, sings] It means a Lawndale morning’s going to start—
A limb covered by a blanket reaches over and pulls the plug for the alarm out of the wall socket. The song dies instantly. The limb withdraws from view. Thunder rumbles.
DARIA: [VO, muffled, under covers] Oh, joy. Another perfect day. Do I rise to face its myriad challenges, or sink back into the depths of dark oblivion?
After a pause, we hear Daria snore lightly. Suddenly, the blare of loud boy-band music comes through the walls (from the direction of Quinn’s bedroom). A radio DJ comes on moments later.
DJ (SPATULA MAN): [VO] Hey, hey, Lawndale! That was “Baby, Let’s Sleep Together Before We Say Goodbye Again Forever,” by Guys 2 Guys! Gooooood morning! This is Spatula Man on Z-93, and it’s time to get your big sorry ass out of bed! This next song—
Someone—assumedly Quinn—turns the radio volume down in the next room. We hear Daria give a deep sigh.
DARIA: [VO, muffled, under covers] The oblivion police are here. No point in putting it off. The day’s not going to get any worse than this.
The figure under the covers throws the covers off the bed. In a flash of lightning from the windows, we see the bed is occupied by something that doesn’t look like it might be Daria. The figure reaches down beside the bed and clicks a switch that turns on a small lamp nearby, revealing that the being is a giant, Daria-sized cockroach, lying on its back in Daria’s bed. The eyes are the only part of the giant cockroach that look human—they are Daria’s eyes. The cockroach yawns and rubs its eyes with its forelegs. It opens its eyes—and its eyes grow huge as it peers at its forelegs.
DARIA: [voice comes from giant cockroach throughout] EEEP!
Daria reaches over with one foreleg and gets her glasses from the floor by her bed. She puts her glasses on (they somehow stay on), and she looks at her six legs and abdomen.
DARIA: [tries not to panic] This is not happening. This is definitely not happening. I’m having a nightmare, or I’ve finally gone psychotic, or I’m having a delayed reaction to that damn anchovy pizza I ate at Jane’s last night. I should never have eaten out of her refrigerator. Whatever’s happening, I need to stay calm while I wait for the real alarm to wake me up. Just relax and see where this goes. That’s the ticket. As long as I don’t feel any pain, I know I’m only dreaming.
Daria tries to get up but cannot. She rolls from side to side in her bed, finally rolling over out of bed and dropping to the floor. She hits the floor hard on her abdomen, making a loud thump. Her glasses fall off.
DARIA: Ow! Damn it! [pause, groans] Oh, no. I’m still in Kansas, Toto. I just wish my body would get the hell back here from Oz.
Daria puts her glasses back on and scuttles around her room, looking at things.
DARIA: My room smells differently at this altitude—differently as in bad. Well, sort of bad. Maybe not too bad. These week-old socks are okay.
Daria the cockroach picks up a piece of garbage from the floor and looks at it.
DARIA: This smells suspiciously like part of that turkey and mayo sandwich I ate in here last week. The turkey has turned green, and the mayo looks like someone blew their nose on the turkey. [eats the crumb] Hmmm. It could use some mustard.
Footsteps approach Daria’s bedroom door.
HELEN: [VO, outside bedroom door] Daria! Are you okay in there? I thought I heard something fall down.
The door handle jiggles. Daria looks startled. We focus on the door as the knob continues jiggling—then the lock pops open. The door opens, and a hand reaches in and turns on the overhead lights. Helen Morgendorffer peers inside, looking concerned. She pockets a hairpin that she used as a lock pick.
HELEN: Daria? [shrugs] She must have gone downstairs already.
Helen walks away, leaving the door ajar. Daria, covered with dust bunnies, crawls halfway out from under her bed. She sneezes, blowing dust all over the place, and blinks at the bright light.
DARIA: I desperately need reality testing. Am I really a giant cockroach, or is this is my long-overdue and much-deserved mental breakdown? An impartial observer is called for.
QUINN: [VO, in her bedroom next door] Muuuh-OOOM! Can I borrow your cucumber-avocado five-minute facial mask? Mine is past its expiration date!
DARIA: And an impartial observer answers the call.
2. INT: MOMENTS LATER, HALLWAY OUTSIDE QUINN’S BEDROOM, MORGENDORFFER HOME
Daria, on her six legs, walks over to Quinn’s room and taps on the door with a foreleg.
QUINN: [VO] Door’s unlocked, come in! Unless you’re Daria!
Daria reaches up, turns the handle with a foreleg, and pushes the door open. She ambles in and disappears from view.
DARIA: [VO] Hi, sis.
QUINN: [VO] Daria, shut the door! I just put a facial mask on and I don’t want that icky stale hallway air tooOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH!!!
Quinn, in nightclothes and with green stuff smeared all over her face, runs out of the room in hysterics, screaming at the top of her lungs. She flees downstairs. After a moment, Daria the giant cockroach comes out into the hall again.
DARIA: There has to be a downside to this.
3. EXT: MOMENTS LATER, FRONT DOOR AND FRONT YARD, MORGENDORFFER HOME
It is still raining. Several lights are on in the Morgendorffer home. Wild screams from various Morgendorffers are heard ringing through the house. The front door abruptly flies open, and Quinn, Helen, and Jake Morgendorffer run out into the rain in their pajamas and nightclothes, screaming in incoherent panic. They disappear down the road in the early morning darkness and rain.
4. EXT: MOMENTS LATER, LIVING ROOM WINDOW SEEN FROM OUTSIDE, MORGENDORFFER HOME
Rain splatters on the windowpane as Daria the cockroach manages to peer out. Only her head (with glasses), forelegs, and antennae are visible above the windowsill.
DARIA: The perfect way to start every day. Still, it was cruel to scare them out into the cold and wet. I should feel bad about it. [pause] Wonder if they left something on the floor for breakfast.
Daria gets down and disappears from view.
5. EXT: A SHORT WHILE LATER, FRONT DOOR, MORGENDORFFER HOME
The rain has stopped, but it is still overcast. Wearing a long raincoat with the hood pulled down, Jane Lane walks up to the front door, humming tunelessly to herself. She rings the doorbell and waits, still humming.
DARIA: [VO, behind the door] Jane?
JANE: Yo, Daria! I thought you were coming by my place first. Ready for walkies?
DARIA: [VO, behind the door, anxious tone] I don’t know if I should go to school today.
JANE: What’s the matter? New hairstyle didn’t work out?
DARIA: [VO, behind the door] You tell me. Promise you won’t run away?
JANE: [raises eyebrow] Not likely. You do owe me money. [frowns] You’re not pierced again, are you?
The doorknob turns and the door opens, but no one is visible at eye level. Jane looks down—and gasps and flinches. Before her, one foreleg holding the door open, is a gigantic cockroach wearing Daria’s round-frame glasses. Jane (with huge, astonished eyes) and the cockroach (with a worried look) stare at each other for several seconds.
DARIA: [weak voice] Hi, Jane.
JANE: [pause, weak voice] Yo.
DARIA: [weak voice] Well?
JANE: [pause, blinks rapidly, speaks slowly] Um . . . your . . . your hair looks . . . okay.
DARIA: [surprised] It does?
JANE: [pause, recovering] Yeah. [pause] Got your books?
DARIA: Oh, right.
Daria disappears inside the house. Jane closes her eyes, shakes her head from side to side, and mutters to herself in a low voice.
JANE: [solemnly] I will never, ever eat out of the refrigerator again.
Daria returns after a moment with her gray school backpack on her round back, the straps over her two front legs.
DARIA: [looks up at Jane] Ready.
JANE: [pause, blinks again] Okay.
DARIA: How do I look?
JANE: [pause, slow voice] Fine. Um, what do you call what . . . you did with your hair?
DARIA: [confused] I’m not sure.
JANE: [nods absently] Just wondered.
Daria shuts the door with a foreleg, and they both leave.
6. EXT: MOMENTS LATER, SIDEWALK BETWEEN MORGENDORFFER HOME AND LAWNDALE HIGH SCHOOL
Outside, it is overcast but not raining. Jane reacts normally to Daria as they walk together down the sidewalk. In the background, we occasionally hear people scream, run away, or drive off very fast. Daria and Jane pay no attention at all to this background noise.
DARIA: I can’t believe I’m actually going to school on a day like this.
JANE: Eh, what’s a little rain?
Jane and Daria anxiously glance at each other but continue walking.
JANE: [returns to normal] Say, amiga, do you realize that this is our third season together?
DARIA: [startled, looks at Jane] Our third what?
JANE: Semester! I said, this is our third semester together.
DARIA: No, you didn’t.
JANE: Yes, I did. [pause] Got any plans for the holidays?
DARIA: What holidays?
JANE: Whatever’s closest.
DARIA: I dunno. Since I got up this morning, I’ve had a burning desire to crawl away from here for a while.
JANE: Maybe you could take a vacation, check into a roa—a motel.
DARIA: [glaring at Jane] Check into a what?
JANE: A motel.
DARIA: A what motel?
JANE: A motel! Just a motel! I said, maybe you could check into a motel. You check in, and you . . . um . . . check out again, later. You know—a motel.
Daria glares at Jane a moment more, but she keeps walking.
JANE: Speaking of holidays, I thought maybe next year for Guy Fawkes’ Day, you and I should—
DARIA: Stop. We agreed we would never speak of that again.
JANE: Oh. Okay. [pause] Speaking of the weather, then, I heard on the radio that we might get more wind and rain this afternoon. Could be a big storm, might even be a hurricane, just like the one that—
JANE: Right. Forgot.
They walk a little longer.
DARIA: Don’t say it.
JANE: Wanna go on a boat cruise?
JANE: Go to a dance party?
JANE: Visit some old people?
JANE: Wanna help me stuff Kevin Thompson’s body in a locker at school?
DARIA: N— . . . [short pause] . . . Lemme think about it.
Jane begins whistling the tune to “Morning in the ‘Burbs” (from the musical “Daria!”) as she walks. Daria glares at Jane, then looks away, highly annoyed.
DARIA: [low voice] I hate you.
As the two of them pass an open garbage can, Daria stops, gets up on her rear legs, and peers inside. Jane walks on, oblivious.
DARIA: [head inside garbage can, voice echoes inside] Hmmm.
7: INT: A SHORT WHILE LATER, HALLWAY INSIDE LAWNDALE HIGH SCHOOL
Daria and Jane stand by a row of lockers; Jane’s locker is open and she’s taking books out of it. In the background, students and teachers are heard screaming and running away. A few dropped textbooks, purses, pencils, and loose papers are on the floor.
JANE: So, how’s your report for Mr. O’Neill on existentialism and high-school life?
DARIA: I finally got it done on the computer around midnight.
JANE: Whoa. I bet you worked your little feet off on it.
DARIA: [glares up at Jane] My little what?
JANE: Fingers. I said, I bet you worked your little—
DARIA: No, you didn’t.
JANE: Yes, I did. By the way, Trent’s coming by later with a box for Ms. Defoe. There was a shortfall in the school budget, and she couldn’t get any red paint. Mom had some stored in the basement, so I’m donating it to the school. Control yourself and don’t get too close to Trent, though.
Daria the cockroach starts to blush. The reddish blush spreads halfway down the length of Daria’s giant-insect body.
DARIA: Why is that?
JANE: Oh, he came down with a cold. There’s a nasty bug going around.
Daria glares up at Jane. Jane looks down at Daria.
DARIA: What did you say Trent caught?
JANE: A virus. I said, there’s a really nasty virus—
DARIA: [looks away, peeved tone] I heard you the first time.
JANE: [shuts locker] If we’re going to make it to class on time, we’d better step on it.
DARIA: [shocked, looks at Jane] Hey!
DARIA: [walks off angrily] You two-legs are all alike.
Jane sighs and follows Daria.
JANE: Touchy, touchy.
8: INT: A SHORT WHILE LATER, HALLWAY OUTSIDE GIRLS’ RESTROOM, LAWNDALE HIGH SCHOOL
Girls run screaming out of the girls’ restroom, including Brittany, Andrea, and Jodie. Moments later, Jane and Daria exit. Jane waits as Daria looks in a garbage can by the bathroom door.
JANE: The hallways don’t seem as crowded as usual. You notice?
DARIA: [pulling her head out of the garbage can] What? I didn’t hear you.
9: INT: A SHORT WHILE LATER, MR. DEMARTINO’S CLASSROOM, LAWNDALE HIGH SCHOOL
In Mr. DeMartino’s classroom, all of the students except Daria and Jane are packed together in a far corner of the room, as far away from Daria as possible. Kevin hides behind his girlfriend, Brittany.
BRITTANY: Kevvy, you’re supposed to be protecting me!
KEVIN: I-I-I am, babe! It might crawl across the ceiling and attack us from behind!
In the front of the room, Mr. DeMartino stares hard at Daria the giant cockroach, who sits upright in her desk. Jane sits calmly by her side. After a moment, Mr. DeMartino takes a long swig from a liquor bottle, then puts the bottle in his desk and shuts the drawer.
MR. DEMARTINO: [eye bulges out with emphasized words] I knew it! I just KNEW that damn atomic TESTing would LEAD to this! Miss LANE, would you care to introDUCE your special friend to the rest of the CLASS?
JANE: [points to Daria with her pencil] This is Daria.
DARIA: [waves a foreleg] Yo. ‘Sup?
MR. DEMARTINO: [eye bulges out with emphasized words] DARia. A strangely POPular NAME. [eyes narrow] You look faMILiar. [pause] Were you ever in Quang Tri PROVince, July nineteen sixty-EIGHT, outside my FOXhole?
DARIA: It wasn’t me. I don’t hiss.
JANE: [under her breath] Yes, you do.
DARIA: [under her breath] Shut up.
MR. DEMARTINO: [eye bulges out with emphasized words] Hmmm. Very WELL. We’ll continue our LESSon on technological deVELopment during World War TWO. Can ANYone more sober than I am manage to NAME one of the new inVENtions that helped control inFECTious diseases like maLARia?
JANE: [raises hand excitedly] DDT! Killed those mosquitoes dead!
DARIA: [huge eyes, horrified look at Jane] EEEP!
JANE: [exasperated look at Daria] Whaaat?
10: INT: A SHORT WHILE LATER, HALLWAY INSIDE LAWNDALE HIGH SCHOOL
All the students flee Mr. DeMartino’s class in a panicked mob, screaming as they run away. The floor is littered with dropped textbooks, purses, pencils, and other items; lockers stand open, and even backpacks lie about. Moments later, Daria and Jane calmly walk out of the classroom. Daria picks up a small piece of trash as she walks.
DARIA: [examines trash, holds small brown bag up to Jane] M&M?
JANE: I’m trying to quit, but . . . what color?
DARIA: [peers in little M&M bag] Blue.
JANE: Nah. I have a bugaboo about those.
Daria looks resigned to the pun and throws the M&M bag behind her.
11. INT: A SHORT WHILE LATER, MR. O’NEILL’S CLASSROOM, LAWNDALE HIGH SCHOOL
In Mr. O’Neill’s classroom, all of the students except Daria and Jane (once again) are packed together in a far corner of the room, as far from Daria as possible. Kevin again hides behind Brittany. Daria walks to the front of the classroom on all sixes beside Mr. O’Neill (who sits on his desk) and gives her speech. She reads from her paper, held in her two front forelegs.
DARIA: My report is entitled, “Kafkaesque Depersonalization and Related Existential Crises in the Life of a High-School Student,” by Daria Morgendorffer. Franz Kafka’s novels ask the questions, “Who am I?” and “Why am I here?” [lowers papers, looks up at class] I have no clue how to answer these questions. This concludes my report.
MR. O’NEILL: [anxious look] That was rather . . . brief, wasn’t it? Shouldn’t we honor his memory and spirit with more discussion of his writings?
DARIA: At the rate at which Kafka is spinning in his grave right now, I doubt that he’ll notice.
MR. O’NEILL: I was hoping you could give us more of an inside perspective on Kafka’s works. We so rarely have a visitor from another phylum in our class.
DARIA: Yes, Kafka’s insights have me literally crawling up the walls.
MR. O’NEILL: Um, yes, I see that. Very well. [pats Daria on the back, then stops abruptly and looks anxiously at his hand, appears to be getting sick] Oops! Uh, please excuse me, I . . . I have to wash up! [runs from the classroom, screaming]
12. INT: A SHORT WHILE LATER, HALLWAY INSIDE LAWNDALE HIGH SCHOOL
All the students flee Mr. O’Neill’s class in a panicked mob, screaming as they run away. The floor is littered with dropped textbooks, purses, pencils, and other items; lockers stand open, and even backpacks lie about. Moments later, Daria and Jane calmly walk out of the classroom. Daria has an angry expression.
DARIA: [steamed] Do I look like I have germs or something?
JANE: Jeez, Daria, you’re so thin-shelled sometimes.
DARIA: [glares at Jane] Thin what?
JANE: Skinned. I said you’re so thin-skinned.
JANE: [ignores Daria] Trent should be here by now. I called and told him to meet us in back of the school, behind the gym. It’ll be easier to carry the paint to Ms. Defoe’s room from there.
13: EXT: PARKING LOT BEHIND GYMNASIUM, LAWNDALE HIGH SCHOOL
It is peaceful and quiet in back of the school. Trent leans against the Tank, waiting.
TRENT: Hi, Janey.
JANE: Hi, Trent. Thanks for bringing the paint.
TRENT: No problem. I . . . [voice fades out, looks down]
With large eyes and an open mouth, Trent looks at Daria the giant cockroach, who is trying to hide behind Jane. Daria blushes a rosy color (much brighter than before) the entire length of her body. Jane sees Trent staring and looks behind her.
JANE: Oh. It’s just Daria.
TRENT: [pause] Oh.
DARIA: [mortified, low voice] Hi, Trent.
TRENT: [recovering] Hi, Daria.
JANE: She did something different with her hair. Like it?
TRENT: Um . . . [long pause] . . . yeah.
Jane walks to the back of the Tank to get the paints. Daria, in abject embarrassment, is now a bright flame red, somewhat speckled as per the episode “Ill.”
TRENT: What’s going on, Daria?
DARIA: Trent, I don’t even know how I should begin to answer that.
TRENT: Hmmm. Whatever’s up . . . don’t let it bug you.
DARIA: [defeated look] I was really hoping you wouldn’t use that phrase.
DARIA: Forget it.
JANE: [reappears carrying a large cardboard box] Thanks again, Trent.
TRENT: Sure thing. [coughs into fist] I’d better go. Wouldn’t want you to catch what I’ve got. [rubs eyes, looks at Daria] It seems to be messing with my vision.
DARIA: [glum] Maybe less than you think.
TRENT: Funny, Daria. [starts to laugh, but coughs instead]
Trent gets into the Tank and starts it up. He leans out the window before he goes.
TRENT: See ya. Oh, Janey?
TRENT: Don’t eat anything out of the refrigerator. We blew a fuse yesterday during a Mystik Spiral jam session, and all the food spoiled.
Trent drives off. Daria’s whole-body blush fades away.
JANE: [glum] Now, he tells me.
DARIA: [very glum] Please lift your boot and put me out of my misery.
JANE: [shakes head] Not a chance, amiga. You still owe me money.
Daria and Jane walk back into the school.
14: INT: MOMENTS LATER, GYMNASIUM, LAWNDALE HIGH SCHOOL
Jane (carrying the cardboard box) and Daria (with backpack) walk across the empty gym. In the background, students and teachers are heard screaming and running away. The gym floor is littered with basketballs, volleyballs, sneakers, and even gym shorts.
DARIA: What a rotten day. I could just crawl under a refrigerator.
JANE: Oh, cheer up. What’s bugging you?
JANE: I said, what’s bothering you?
DARIA: That wasn’t what you said.
JANE: Yes, it was.
DARIA: [fed up] This day can’t possibly get any worse.
Across the gym, ahead of Daria and Jane, we see Brittany, Kevin, and other students. They point with horrified expressions at Daria, who is approaching them.
BRITTANY: [shrieks] Run, everybody! Here it comes!
Kevin Thompson, behind Brittany, suddenly steps out in front of her and breaks into song: the first few bars of “If the Town Blew Away,” from the musical episode, “Daria!” An unseen orchestra accompanies him.
KEVIN: [sings] Yes! Now, everybody out! Everybody out! / An ordered, quiet exit is what exiting’s about! / You will not scream or howl—or shout!
BRITTANY AND OTHER STUDENTS: [all sing] Everybody out! Everybody out!
Daria and Jane stop to stare at the singers.
DARIA: [enraged] That did it!
Daria runs off toward the singing. We stay focused on Jane, who watches Daria rush off-screen. Jane winces at the combative noises that follow. The music stops. Screams break out everywhere, with the sounds of fighting, things falling down and breaking, and people running away.
KEVIN: [song interrupted] Ouch! Ow! Help me, babe! Ow!
OTHER VOICES: Run for it! It’s got the QB! Run!
15. INT: A SHORT WHILE LATER, MS. DEFOE’S CLASSROOM, LAWNDALE HIGH SCHOOL
In Ms. Defoe’s art classroom, Jane sets the cardboard box on a table.
JANE: [looks upward and calls out] Here’s your red paint, Ms. Defoe. Check it out when you get down from the cabinets.
MS. DEFOE: [VO, quavering voice] A-a-all right! Th-th-thank you!
JANE: Ready to go, amiga? [looks around] Daria?
DARIA: [under a table in the shadows] Be right there. Found a French fry.
JANE: Maybe it’s time for a real lunch. Join me in the cafeteria?
DARIA: Sure. Maybe we’ll have mystery meat, and someone will drop a tray.
JANE: Your tastes sure have changed.
DARIA: I still hang around you, don’t I?
JANE: [softly, to self] Hmmm. Is that good or bad?
DARIA: I heard that.
MS. DEFOE: [VO, quavering voice] Is it safe to come down now, Jane?
16. INT: A SHORT WHILE LATER, CAFETERIA, LAWNDALE HIGH SCHOOL
Jane sits at a table in the deserted cafeteria, eating her lunch. Daria the giant cockroach is under Jane’s table, nibbling on food scraps. In the background, students and teachers are heard screaming and running away. The cafeteria tables and chairs are chaotically arranged, as if the place had been quickly abandoned; some chairs are knocked over, lots of food and trays lie on the floor, etc.
JANE: Any particular reason you want to sit under the table?
DARIA: That’s where the food is.
DARIA: What is it with the “hmmm”?
JANE: Oh, uh, I was wondering, do you think we’ll always be friends?
JANE: Now you’re doing it.
DARIA: Can I have another piece of your mystery meat?
Jane casually picks up the rest of the mystery meat from her plate and drops it on the floor in front of Daria.
DARIA: Yes, Jane, we will always be friends. [starts eating the mystery meat]
17. INT: A SHORT WHILE LATER, HALLWAY OUTSIDE GIRLS’ RESTROOM, LAWNDALE HIGH SCHOOL
We again look at the door to the girls’ restroom, behind which we hear tremendous screaming. The door bursts open, and high-school girls flee in every direction, including all four members of the Fashion Club (Quinn, Sandi, Stacy, and Tiffany). Daria and Jane walk out after everyone else is gone and head down the deserted hall toward their next class. In the background (as usual), students and teachers are heard screaming and running away. The hall floor is littered with dropped textbooks, purses, pencils, loose papers, and other items—more even than before.
DARIA: [trotting along beside Jane] This condition does have its perks.
JANE: You just went to the bathroom twenty minutes ago. Did you really have to go again?
DARIA: Nah. I saw Quinn go in with the Fashion Club, and I wanted to say hi. By the way, I don’t remember what we’re doing in Ms. Barch’s class today.
JANE: Oh, we’re still doing that biology thing. Each of us has to dissect a giant beetle.
Daria’s eyes abruptly grow to enormous size behind her glasses. She stops dead in the hallway, terrified.
JANE: [stops, looks back] What now?
DARIA: [near panic] Jane, I have to go home! I can’t go to science class!
JANE: Got a weak stomach?
DARIA: Yes, and I don’t want someone hunting for it with a scalpel!
JANE: C’mon, Daria. Show some backbone.
DARIA: What kind of crack was that? I’m an invertebrate! I don’t have a backbone!
JANE: Daria, what’s bug—what’s bothering you?
DARIA: Can’t you tell?
JANE: You don’t like what you did with your hair?
DARIA: Jane, damn it, I’m a cockroach!
Jane freezes and stares at Daria with enormous eyes, as if seeing her for the first time.
JANE: A what?
DARIA: Look at me! I’m a giant cockroach! When I woke up this morning, I was a big-ass water bug!
JANE: [stunned] Oh, no. You really are a cockroach.
DARIA: Yes! Couldn’t you see that?
JANE: [weakly] I thought I was hallucinating. I was just playing along, waiting for you to turn back into Daria again.
JANE: That anchovy pizza we ate out of the refrigerator last night was pretty bad.
DARIA: Maybe the pizza did this to me, I don’t know, but I’m a cockroach now! I’m a bug, damn it!
JANE: You are a bug.
DARIA: [anxious] You don’t have a problem with this, do you, Jane? We’re still friends, aren’t we?
JANE: [takes a step back] Um . . .
Jane turns and runs away off-screen. Her retreating footsteps end with the sound of a slamming door.
DARIA: [calls after Jane] You’ll let me know after you stop running, right? [pause] Jane?
Daria the cockroach slumps down and looks very depressed.
DARIA: Damn it. Damn it, damn it, damn it.
18: EXT: A SHORT WHILE LATER, SIDEWALK BETWEEN LAWNDALE HIGH SCHOOL AND MORGENDORFFER HOME
Daria the giant cockroach walks home alone with her backpack on. A car drives past and splashes her with a tidal wave of water, soaking her. She never stops walking.
DARIA: [glum] Rub it in.
She stops after she passes a garbage can, then goes back, climbs up, and knocks the lid off. After peering inside, she tries to reach for something—but she falls in completely, vanishing from view. A couple seconds later, Tom Sloane and his sister Elsie walk into view. Tom carries a rumpled sack from a fast-food restaurant (“Burger Baron”). Neither Tom nor Elsie look at the garbage can, which wiggles from side to side as they speak.
ELSIE: About time you cleaned out your car. That fish sandwich was beginning to smell.
TOM: Everyone’s a food critic.
ELSIE: So, you want to go slumming on the middle-class side of Lawndale? I thought you liked porking Muffys. You said they put out like broken Coke machines.
TOM: Sure, but where’s the challenge? I want to sample the low end of life, see what passes for cool among the great unwashed. I have this fantasy where I get to bang an artist chick, or maybe a brain, or better yet both. It would be great if they were best friends, and I screwed them up for life.
ELSIE: Always the dreamer. And what will you do if they don’t put out for Mister Nice Rich Kid?
TOM: Oh, probably go home and seek comfort among those who love me.
Tom and Elsie smirk at each other.
ELSIE: Is anyone watching?
TOM: Do you care?
Elsie and Tom grab each other and kiss passionately. The garbage can continues rocking in the background, bits of trash erupting from it like a little volcano.
ELSIE: [breaking from the kiss] You are so evil, Tom.
TOM: Are you saying I have cruel intentions?
ELSIE: [sighs] I loved that movie. [sad look] Except for the ending.
TOM: [sad look] Yeah. [brightens] Let’s head back to the car, sis. I feel like steaming up some windows.
ELSIE: You’ve got it.
Tom throws the rumpled sack into the trashcan, and he and Elsie go back the way they came. Moments later, the trashcan falls over, spilling garbage all over the place. Daria crawls out. In one foreleg, she holds the sack that Tom threw into the garbage can. She opens it and looks inside.
DARIA: Hmmm. A week-old fish sandwich on moldy bread, covered with rancid tartar sauce and topped with dried-up pickles. [sighs] The perfect comfort food.
Daria eats the sandwich, drops the sack, then continues on her way down the sidewalk.
DARIA: I’m still depressed. I need to cheer up—or at least get back to my normal mood. But how will I ever feel better? [pause] Wait—Quinn should be home by now.
Daria sets off at a quicker pace. In moments, however, a strange noise is heard: the thumping of a low-flying helicopter. Daria stops and looks up. Her eyes grow huge. In the sky above her is a news helicopter with “SICK SAD WORLD TV” painted on its sides. A cameraman leans out an open door, filming her. Suddenly, approaching traffic is heard, and tires squeal as news-reporting trucks (all from “SICK SAD WORLD TV”) pull around her. Jane appears, running over to stand at Daria’s side.
JANE: Everyone! This is Daria Morgendorffer, my best friend, the one I called you about! She’s a giant talking cockroach! And I’m her manager!
DARIA: [stunned] Jane! What are you doing?
JANE: And we’d like to be in movies!
JANE: [hastily interrupting] Sorry! Her voice isn’t the best right now!
REPORTER TWO: [to Daria] Give us a thumbs-up, then!
DARIA: [getting angrier] If I had any middle fingers, I’d give you a—
REPORTER THREE: [to Daria] Are the rumors true about you and Dolly the sheep?
DARIA: [outraged] What?!?
DARIA: [shouts] Jane! What the hell is going on here?
JANE: [thrusts face into TV camera lens] If any Hollywood producers are watching this, we’d love to be in movies! I’m a lesbian, if that helps!
DARIA: [shouts] Damn it, Jane, you are not a lesbian!
JANE: [to TV camera] Don’t listen to her! She’s a giant talking cockroach! Call me! Here’s my phone number: area code—
BRITTANY: [VO] There it is! Get it, Kevvy!
KEVIN: [runs into the scene holding a can of insecticide] Go, Lawndale Lions!
Kevin sprays insecticide all over Daria.
DARIA: [coughing and gagging] Help! Can’t breathe! Jane!
JANE: [in background, to TV camera] And here’s my cell phone: area code—
DARIA: [glasses fall off, weaker voice] Everything’s getting dark! I’m . . . I’m . . .
The scene fades out.
19. INT: EARLY MORNING, DARIA’S BEDROOM, MORGENDORFFER HOME
Daria’s bedside alarm goes off with a series of beeps. Instantly awake, Daria sits straight up in bed with a gasp—and then relaxes, falling back on her pillow. She’s completely normal and wears a green nightshirt. A blanket covers the rest of her. It appears to be a clear-weather dawn outside her bedroom windows. Without looking, she reaches over and shuts off the alarm with one hand.
DARIA: [stares up at ceiling without her glasses on] That had to be the worst nightmare ever. Not even the makeover nightmare was worse than that. [pause] The musical nightmare, that was almost as bad, but—
Someone clears his throat near Daria’s bed. Daria looks to one side (toward the sound) without moving her head. She blinks, then reaches down beside her bed and gets her glasses and puts them on. She looks to the side again, sitting up on her elbows in bed.
Standing about four feet away from her bed are several characters, each about two or three feet tall. One is a fluffy Care Bear (Grumpy), blue in color with a rainy cloud on his tummy. To Grumpy’s left is red-cheeked Strawberry Shortcake in a pink dress and bonnet, and to his right is Rainbow Brite, mounted on the leader of My Little Ponies. Peering from behind Grumpy Care Bear are Q-bert, blonde Smurfette, and Uni, the baby unicorn from the “Dungeons & Dragons” cartoon.
No one says anything for a couple of seconds—Daria stares at the group, and they stare at her. Grumpy Care Bear finally steps forward.
GRUMPY: Excuse us, please, but Christmas, Halloween, and Guy Fawkes Day said you might be able to help us with a little problem we have.
Daria stares at him for a moment longer—then gets a look of intense rage on her face.
GRUMPY: [sees it coming, clear as day] Uh-oh.
20. EXT: EARLY MORNING, AERIAL VIEW, MORGENDORFFER HOME
We pull back from one of Daria’s iron-barred bedroom windows on the second floor of the Morgendorffer home as the sun comes up, with the sounds of fighting, screaming, and breaking things coming from Daria’s room. With a burst of music (orchestra version of “Morning in the ‘Burbs,”), the scene fades away.
Comedy, script, fantasy, crossover (Kafka’s The Metamorphosis)