Ladyghosts of TV Past: Daria, 1×03, “College Bored”

“Thrown out of college without enrolling first. I’m damn proud of you.”

This episode opens with the Morgendorffer family visiting some friends who have a three-year-old daughter named Ramona. After Ramona wipes her snotty nose on Quinn’s leg (good girl), she asks Helen to read to her. Here we see that her book of choice is called My First SAT Prep Guide. Because it’s so hard to get into a good college that her parents decided she needs to start as a toddler. This prompts Helen and Jake to sign the girls up for a college prep course.

Kevin, Brittany, Jane, Mac, and Jodie are also in the class, though Jane wants to leave because she has better places to be (“Television counts as a place”). While listening to the teacher and filling out those oh-so-exciting personality assessments, each student has a college fantasy. Kevin is a buff football player with a new, mature girlfriend. Brittany is a beauty queen who has Kevin dragged out of her runway show by security. Jane skips college and uses her tuition money to rent an art studio in New York. Quinn shows up at an apartment to three hot male roommates who fight over her. Daria is offered a teaching job during her first week of freshman year, at the Paris campus, thought it’s really so the professor can carry out affairs with more attractive students. Because even in her daydreams everyone’s awful.

An image from Daria captioned "How come even in my fantasies everyone's a jerk?"

Back at home, the girls are recapping their class, including Quinn’s landing a date with the teacher to “discuss scholarships” (as Daria points out, there’s no such thing as a making out scholarship). They break the news that they’re supposed to visit a college of their choosing, which ends up meaning their parents choose that they’ll go to their own alma mater, called Middleton.

On campus, Jake and Helen try to reminisce but find themselves the uncool parents. When they break away from the girls, and their tour guide Heather, to look at Jake’s old dorm room, Daria and Heather escort Quinn to the fraternity houses, where Quinn is mistaken for a sorority pledge. Daria heads back to Heather’s dorm room, where she finds herself striking up a paper-writing business.

A still image of Daria conducting her paper-writing business.
“Thank you, and good luck with the doctorate.”

Jake and Helen are in the dorm, and when they start to think back to the lewd things college men would say, Helen panics and runs off to look for Quinn. Jake heads to the bursar, where he is overcome by sticker shock, and the agent he’s talking to refers him to a “family business” that makes loans out of a candy store. Sounds legit. He goes running after Helen and suggests maybe only one of the girls go to college. Quinn can go to beauty school. They realize they’re parents now and have to call the cops (“the fuzz?!”) to find their daughters.

Quinn is in a frat house making three large guys play a word game. After Daria wraps up her business interactions, she and Heather head over to a party. As they approach, we see that Quinn is being crowned Keg Queen, a high honor indeed. Jake and Helen pull up with the cops, who throw the family off campus for underage drinking.

Back at class, everyone recounts their experiences. Mac is less than thrilled that he won’t have to take any exams if he makes the starting line-up of the football team. Kevin was stripped naked and left in a field by frat brothers. Brittany discovered poetry:

I had a good time, too. I walked into the student center and these kids were reading poetry — then they let me make up some of my own! And they were really interested in my feelings and thoughts and… stuff.

An image of Brittany and Kevin in college prep class.
“Shut up, naked boy.”

The instructor is horrified to hear that the Morgendorffers were thrown off campus because in his day they had a little something called respect. Back at home, Quinn announces she was accepted into Manatee College in Florida, which, as Daria points out, offers no classes but has beachfront accommodations for $10,000 a semester. The doorbell rings, which Jake answers, and it’s one of the college guys delivering money to Daria.

At the pizza shop, Daria asks Jane if she can pay, because she’s broke:

Jane: “What happened to all your paper-writing money?”

Daria: “My mom wouldn’t let me keep it. She said it was wrong to encourage cheaters and to profit from them.”

Jane: “So, she’s giving up being a lawyer?”

Daria: “I asked her that, and I’m sure some day we’ll once again be on speaking terms.”

The episode closes with Quinn throwing a drink at the college prep course teacher and storming out saying she should have known Daria was right about the making out scholarship.

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[E] Liza

PhD student. Knitter. Brooklynite. Long-distance dog mom. Reluctant cat lady. Majestic unicorn whose hair changes color with the wind.

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