Written by: [don't have that info]
Directed by: [don't have this info, either]
First Aired: March 3, 1997
Cast | Quotes
Sisters Daria and Quinn Morgendorffer, late of Highland, begin their first day at Lawndale High. Their father Jake warns them that it may take the other kids a little time to warm up to them. In Quinn's case, it takes about 1.64 seconds. Dozens of episodes later, we're still waiting for them to warm up to Daria.
In addition to the thrill of starting out at a new school, the girls also get to take a psychological exam! Quinn's answers are characteristically conformist, but Daria takes the opportunity to screw with the school shrink (mentally, that is). In Daira's History class, we get our first glimpse of her scholarly peers, Kevin and Brittany, a typically brainless quarterback / cheerleader couple. We also meet her hypertensive teacher Mr. DeMartino, who singles her out to explain Manifest Destiny, then later shouts at her to stop showing off the fact that she's the only one in class who knows anything.
Back home, the girls revel Jake and their mother Helen with the events of the day. Quinn, having refused an offer to join the Pep Squad, is settling for just being Vice President of the Fashion Club. Daria's just happy to have some new idiots to make fun of. The conversation is interrupted by a call from school. It seems Daria's psych test indicated that she has low self-esteem. Her parents are supportive ("That really stinks, Daria!") and the next day finds her in a special Self-Esteem class, taught by the touchy-feely (again, mentally) Mr. O'Neill.
It is here that Daria meets her first friend, Jane Lane, who has taken the course six times. After school, Daria goes home to find her usually workaholic mom home early to help Daria work on her self-esteem. Daria makes it through the subsequent shopping trip by regurgitating some of Mr. O'Neill's psychobabble, which Helen eats right up (ew).
Self-Esteem class finds Mr. O'Neill challenging his students to turn their daydreams into reality. Daria does this by dragging her family to Pizza Forest, a restaurant where singers dressed as woodland creatures torment you as you eat. This accomplishes Daira's goal of making her family suffer. Later, watching Sick, Sad World with Jane, Daria decides that she'd rather spend her afternoons at UFO conventions than Self-Esteem class, so the two decide to take the graduation test, the answers for which Jane has in her notebook. They pass with flying colors, of course, and are "rewarded" by being put on display at a school assembly. Jane puts on a great show of emotion, running off the stage in tears, while Daria makes a long speech, culminating in the outing of Quinn as her sister. This news does not sit well with Quinn's new hangers-on ("Are you a brain, too?").
Helen and Jake are happy to hear of Daria's graduation, but seem reluctant to go celebrate. The threat of a lowered self-esteem meter is all it takes, though, to lure them to a UFO encounter. There, Quinn has a close encounter of the nerd kind (sorry) with Artie, a UFO abductee who chases Quinn offscreen, bringing the episode to its romantic conclusion. Ahh . . .
And so it begins. When I read this little blurb -- I believe it was in the March 1996 issue of Wizard magazine -- my first though was, "They're making a show about her?" I thought the show would be set in Highland and would basically be "Beavis and Butthead" from Daria's perspective. I realize now how wrong I was. To quote Jane, "So it takes me awhile!"
The Morgendorffers appear to be relatively well off. What the hell were they doing in a toilet like Highland?
We get our fist celebrity impersonator in this episode. The guy trying to pick up Quinn midway through sounds just like Kermit the Frog.
As in most cartoons, the characters in Daria wear the same clothing all the time. This is a very common practice, the technical term for which is "lazy, shiftless animators" (just kidding). Daria goes one better, though, having the Morgendorffers eat the same meal all the time: lasagna. Actually, this isn't entirely accurate as they never seem to eat anything at all. Their plates never get any emptier. No wonder these people are so thin.