A novelization by CF
Based on a screenplay by Sam Johnson and Chris Marcil
Synopsis: Daria Morgendorffer, a cynical, brainy newcomer to Lawndale High School, exacts revenge on a football player who insults her.
Author's note: This novelization is based on the 1995 Daria pilot, Sealed With a Kick. Between the pilot and the series' debut in 1997 several minor changes were made to the show's premise. Therefore, some compromises have been introduced below to accommodate Sealed With a Kick in Daria's "official" storyline. Notes at the end justify these decisions and are cross referenced by numbers such as the one at the end of this sentence.(1)
The sun smiled down on Lawndale High School's modern day campus from a cloudless sky.(2) Inside, however, the mood was distinctly overcast. Daria Morgendorffer was writing furiously, trying to complete her science homework despite the distractions caused by her classmates.
Daria's family had just moved to Lawndale and she was finding the transition difficult.(3) Her immediate problem, though, was how to block out the tinny sounds coming from the headphones worn by Kevin Thompson, who was sitting next to her, listening to a CD and reading a magazine. Kevin was one of the many annoying new classmates Daria had encountered in the past couple of days. She glanced to her left and noted that the magazine holding his attention was titled Dangerous Muscle Enhancers. That makes sense, she thought. This guy was so into sports that he wore his football uniform all the time, and he was no doubt keen to build up his muscles.(4) But not his brain, mused Daria, sourly.
Sitting to Daria's right was the only good thing that had happened to her since her arrival in Lawndale. Jane Lane shared Daria's dislike of sports, fashion, shopping malls and other supposedly "normal" teenage interests. Although they only met yesterday, the pair were already inseparable.
Daria resumed writing, trying to finish off the homework and escape her classmates as quickly as possible. For her the science assignment was child's play and the pace of her writing caused her pencil to give up with a loud snap. Spying Kevin's pencil lying idle on the desk she reached over for it. "Hey, Kevin. Can I borrow your pencil?" she asked. "Sure," said Kevin, flashing his best "babe magnet" smile. Daria took the pencil, muttered "Thanks," and went back to work.
The school bell rang and students poured into the corridors from all directions, Daria and Jane among them. As they walked past the rows of lockers, Kevin shouted at them from behind, "Hey, Daria. Wait up!" Daria and Jane stopped and turned as Kevin came running up, his cleats clattering on the polished floor. What does this jerk want, thought Daria, before remembering their recent interaction. "Oh, yeah," she said, "Sorry, Kevin!" She took the pencil from behind her ear and offered it to him.
Kevin, however, didn't seem interested in the pencil at all. Daria has a wide zone of personal space - as a rule she doesn't like anyone to be within a hundred miles - and Kevin was definitely getting too close. Daria instinctively retreated, but Kevin kept coming forward until her back was against the lockers. Then, in a well-rehearsed move, Kevin "casually" stretched out his arm to lean against the lockers, effectively pinning Daria in place.
"Look, I know what you're after," said Kevin, "but it won't work." Daria felt very uncomfortable and started glancing around for an escape route. "I don't want the pencil," she said, "I just forgot to give it back." In reply Kevin made another carefully chosen move, switching so that he was leaning on his other arm and his face was only inches from Daria's. "Let's not play games, Daria," he said smoothly, "You desire me, don't you?" Jane stood by, watching the unfolding drama with interest.
Daria couldn't believe what was happening. Was this idiot trying to hit on her, despite everything she did to make herself look disinterested in teenage mating rituals? All she could say in response to Kevin's illogical comment was, "Aah, excuse me?" Kevin stepped back a bit, to Daria's relief, and explained, "I can tell. It's like a fifth sense I got." He didn't seem to be deaf or blind, so Daria guessed that he couldn't count. "But, unfortunately or whatever, I already got a chick," continued Kevin. This much Daria knew to be true. Normally he was accompanied by Brittany Taylor, a cheerleader who appeared to be his mental equal. "We can still be friends, though," concluded Kevin. "Thanks, Kevin. That helps," said Daria flatly, but her sarcasm was lost on her dim-witted antagonist.
Kevin didn't seem to be too concerned by the futility of their potential relationship, however. Suddenly his reflective demeanor brightened as he revealed his real reason for chasing Daria. "Great!" he said and then, without missing a beat, "Can I borrow your science homework?" Daria and Jane exchanged dour looks. Without a word Daria held out the page of homework she'd just completed. Kevin snatched it from her hand saying, "Hey, thanks a lot," as he turned to run off down the corridor. "Sorry if you were hurt," he yelled back before disappearing from sight.
Daria and Jane stared after him, amazed by his brazeness. "I just got blown off by a guy I didn't even go after," said Daria, more stunned than angry. Jane was unflappable as usual and sensibly put things into perspective. "You should find a safe, legal alternative to killing him," she said. "I already have," said Daria, her brow furrowed in concentration as she devised her scheme for revenge. "When I get through with him, there'll be nothing left but jelly," she said ominously. "Well, you won't have to do anything to his brain," added Jane helpfully.
That evening Lawndale's quiet suburban streets were disturbed by the steady tread of Daria's combat boots as she put her plan into effect. It proved easy to recognize the Thompson's residence; Kevin could be clearly seen in the front window, working out with weights. A dumb-bell with a dumb-bell, thought Daria as she pushed the button for the door chime.
As Kevin opened the door Daria immediately went into the act she'd rehearsed in her mind that afternoon. Before Kevin even had a chance to speak she thrust a plateful of cookies she had bought on the way home from school into his hands. "I baked these cookies for you!" she exclaimed, trying her hardest to fake a cheerful smile, but which came out more like a sickly grin. "They're shaped like hearts!" she observed, even though the cookies were only vaguely heart-like, while encouraging Kevin to put one in his mouth.
Baffled by the whole encounter, Kevin tried to say something, "Um, but ..." Before he could get any further, however, Daria cut him off. "You don't have to use words around me, Kevin," she said breathily, in what she hoped was a sexy voice, "We don't need them." As she spoke Daria leaned forward and put her hand on the door frame, trapping Kevin in the doorway just as he'd done to her earlier in the day. Indicating the plate of cookies in Kevin's hand, she said, "This is just to say, no hard feelings!" She then turned on her heel and walked quickly away, shouting "Bye!" over her shoulder, and leaving the dumbfounded Kevin with a half-eaten cookie in his mouth. "Good cookies," he mumbled, confused.
The next day found the usual crowd of Lawndale High students in the pizza place nearby the campus.(5) Kevin and Brittany were sitting in a booth and Kevin was impressing his girlfriend with a tale of the football team's exploits. Laughing at his own wit, he concluded the story, "... and then Scully, he grabs the kid, and gives him a tenth degree wedgie." Brittany responded with a giggle so high-pitched that every dog in the neighborhood winced. "He's funny," she said, gazing admiringly at her quarterback boyfriend.
At this moment the sound of combat boots on cheap linoleum announced Daria's arrival. Jane had told her that most of the local kids hang out at the pizza place, so she knew it would be the ideal venue for stage two of her plan. "Hi, Kevin!" she said, again trying to smile convincingly. "Uh, oh, ... Hi, Daria," stuttered Kevin, knowing that there was likely to be trouble whenever any female approached him while he was with Brittany. Brittany gave Kevin an icy stare. "Who's she?" she demanded.(6) Of course, Brittany knew full well who Daria was. Her radar alerted her immediately to the arrival of any new females on campus. But one look at Daria's thick glasses and dowdy outfit had convinced her that Daria posed no threat ... until now!
Before Kevin had a chance to come up with an explanation, Daria made the situation even worse by sitting beside him, leaning over and clinging to his arm. Without taking her gaze off Kevin she answered Brittany's question by saying, "I'm Kevin's good friend!" Then, ignoring Brittany entirely, she asked Kevin, "Which do you like better, the beach or the mountains?" Surprised by the question, Kevin answered it as best he could. "Er, I guess the beach." Then as an afterthought, "Cause of, like, the bikinis." Faking enthusiasm, Daria replied, "Me too! Just checking." Then, as she stood up to leave, she tore a sheet of paper off the notepad she was carrying and handed it to Kevin, saying, "Oh, and here's some extra homework of mine you can use." By now Brittany looked ready to explode, and Daria strode away, shouting back to Kevin, "See you later ... friend!"
Daria's strategy had exactly the desired effect. Inarticulate with rage, Brittany screamed, "Ooooh!" as she stood up. Grabbing her drink, which unfortunately for Kevin was almost full, she threw it in his face, shouting, "Manipulator! Pinhead! Weasel!" Dripping wet, Kevin attempted to regain control of the situation as Brittany paused for breath. "Hey, hey, hey! Slow down!" he ordered as forcefully as he could. Sadly for him, however, he was unable to maintain the momentum. "What was the first one you said?" he finished, lamely.
Daria's mental onslaught continued the next morning as she took advantage of Kevin's obvious conceit. He opened his locker to find it full of flowers and a note reading, "Thank you for letting me give you homework." It was signed with two kisses and a hug, and little hearts were drawn in the margin. "Really!" said Kevin to himself. He knew the babes all loved him but this was ridiculous! Of course, this new girl wasn't popular enough to go out with him - he normally dated only cheerleaders. On the other hand, he mused, he was currently in the doghouse with Brittany, so maybe he should give the new kid a break and let her go on a date with Lawndale High's QB!(7)
The final act of Daria's master plan took place that afternoon, and exceeded even her expectations. Daria and Jane were in arts and crafts class. The noise was deafening as students hammered, sawed and sanded their various projects. Daria herself was wearing safety goggles and cutting a board with a circular saw, while Jane supervised. Kevin appeared in the doorway and started shouting to Daria above the noise, "Hey, Daria! Me and Brittany decided to see other people." (In fact, it was more Brittany's decision than his!) Daria didn't react, so he raised his voice even louder, "So, since you're sort of next on the list or whatever ..."
Daria could see that Kevin had fallen into her trap, and his timing was perfect. "What?" she yelled back, pretending she couldn't hear him above the sound of the saw. Kevin entered the classroom, and started shouting even louder. "I said," he screamed with both hands held up around his mouth, "I was wondering if you and me could get together?" Unfortunately for Kevin, however, Daria switched off the saw just as he said this, so that everyone in the room could hear him clearly.
Kevin suddenly realized that the room was silent and everyone had turned to stare at him. Daria let him sweat for a moment and then applied the coup de grace. "Mmmm, I don't think so, Kevin," she said, "It might ruin our friendship." She then walked calmly away, her mission complete. Jane followed, giving Kevin a cheesy grin on the way past. Not only had Daria dumped Kevin like he'd done to her, but she even managed to do so in front of the whole class!
Kevin was left standing dumbfounded. A girl sporting a Veronica Lake hairdo summed up the attitude of the whole class in one word, "Geek!" Kevin responded weakly, "Hey, it's cool. We're good friends," but by this time the students had returned to their projects and the room was once again filled with noise.
The Morgendorffer's new home in Lawndale was an impressive, two-storey brick house.(8) Inside, however, things were still in disarray following the move. Unpacked boxes were stacked everywhere, and the family ate dinner that evening at a small table Jake had set up temporarily in the living room, until the kitchen and dining room could be made serviceable.(9)
As Helen brought her plate in from the kitchen and sat down she addressed her younger daughter, "Quinn, there were four calls on the machine from a Kevin." Jake Morgendorffer sighed - they'd only been in town a few days and Quinn's new boyfriends were already tying up the phone. Without looking up he said, "Doesn't he have your beeper number?" However, Quinn just continued methodically shoving carrot sticks into her mouth and replied disinterestedly, "They aren't for me, they're for Daria."(10)Jake and Helen turned to stare at their first born. "Daria!?" exclaimed Helen. Missing the point as usual, Jake said, "Do you need a beeper, Daria?" Helen ignored him and seized the rare opportunity to extract some information from her much-loved, but uncommunicative, teenage daughter. "Do you want to talk to us about anything, honey?" Throughout this short barrage of questions Daria remained stubbornly poker-faced, her eyes furtively darting between her mother and father. Then, just as she felt compelled to say something, the doorbell rang, and she made good use of the distraction. She stood up and said flatly, "I was just about to open up, too." Then she walked out of the room as Helen leant over and whispered to her husband, "Do you think she meant it?"
Opening the front door, Daria was surprised to see Kevin Thompson. After what happened in class today she didn't expect to see him again anytime soon. Even stranger, he was clumsily holding a bunch of flowers! "I'm not giving up, Daria," he announced, "I know there's a chemistry or whatever." At this point the full horror of what was happening struck Daria. Her plan to humiliate Kevin was backfiring! The dope actually believed she was interested in him!
Daria decided this farce had gone far enough. Her only option was to tell him the truth. She began, "I hate to say this, Kevin ..." but before she got any further Quinn stuck her head around the door. "Kevin?" she exclaimed. The two had already met - in the "popular" part of the school cafeteria - and Quinn rated the Lawndale Lion's quarterback highly on her list of "targets."
Kevin's attention immediately switched from Daria to her unbelievably cute sister. "Quinn? What are you doing here?" he asked. "I live here," said Quinn, edging her way past Daria. "You're not here to see my sister, are you?" Kevin was shocked. "Whoa!" he exclaimed, "You're sisters with a brain?"(11) By this stage Daria seemed to be invisible. "I know!" said Quinn, "Doesn't it suck?" Kevin agreed, "Really!" and then said, "Well, you wanna go for a ride or something?" Quinn didn't need to be asked twice. She ran off, saying, "Let me get my stuff."
In the silence that followed Quinn's departure Kevin suddenly remembered that Daria was still standing right in front of him. "So," he said awkwardly, casually throwing the flowers he'd brought for her over his shoulder, "anyways, you're probably right about us being friends and stuff, 'cause we care about each others' feelings and whatnot." Deeply unimpressed, Daria said, "Yeah, and I care even more about your feelings than my own." Once again, her sarcasm was wasted on Kevin. "Really!" he said, "Man, I never would have thought that you'd be sisters with somebody hot!" Daria didn't answer but stared at him through her oversized glasses as she realized that he'd just dumped her for the second time that week!
It was still early, so Daria gave her new friend Jane a call and arranged to meet her at the pizza place. When Daria had finished telling her the whole sordid tale, Jane said, "I don't understand why you're not trying to get revenge." Daria, however, seemed content with the way things had turned out. "I'm letting Quinn take care of that," she replied mysteriously.
In a car parked overlooking the abandoned quarry, Kevin was discovering the meaning of Daria's cryptic comment. Quinn may be sensational to look at, but so far this date wasn't going the way he planned. First of all, she made him take her to an expensive French restaurant with some fancy name he couldn't pronounce. Then, after he'd parked the car, she screamed when he came near her.(12) (Brittany never did that!) And, worst of all, there was the beeper!
BEEP! "Damnit!" yelled Kevin, "How many times is that thing going to go off?" Quinn gave him a withering look, "I'm beginning to think that you don't like being with someone attractive and popular!" "Sorry," apologized Kevin. "That's better," said Quinn soothingly, but then barked, "Now get me to a pay phone!" Kevin sighed as he started the engine. Tomorrow morning he'd beg Brittany's forgiveness - if only he could remember what it was he'd done wrong!