Sappy Anniversary

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Sappy Anniversary
Production Number 502
Original Airdate February 26th, 2001
Special Guest Voices
Written By Anne D. Bernstein
Directed By

"Sappy Anniversary" was the second episode of the fifth season of the Daria TV series (episode number 502). It first aired on MTV on February 26, 2001.

"Sappy Anniversary" was written by Anne D. Bernstein.


When Quinn receives a bunch of flowers and gifts, she informs Daria that it's a sign of how much a guy cares, and after pestering her about her upcoming six-month anniversary with Tom (which Daria herself had forgotten about), Daria starts to wonder whether Tom is taking her for granted.

This assumption is reinforced when Daria and Tom get together and he'd rather just hang out than go out and do something, saying that "normal dates" are for people with no imagination. When Jane reveals during a heart-to-heart talk that Tom did some romantic things with her (like pony rides and fancy Italian dinners), Daria becomes even more convinced. When Tom stops by and asks Daria if she'd like to go for a walk -- after Quinn tries unsuccessfully to jog Tom's memory -- they end up sitting in the park, where Tom finds that Daria's mad at him but, naturally, stubbornly refuses to tell him why. He walks away rather than engage in a no-win argument, leaving Daria angry and upset (more at herself than at Tom).

Meanwhile, Jake gets involved in, an Internet dot-com startup that's looking for fresh blood. He knows squat about the Internet, but figures he'd get in on the ground floor and make a killing on the initial stock offering. Turns out he missed the stock offering, but Noah Barkman, Buzzdome's 24-year-old president, convinces him to stay on. Jake finds himself increasingly over his head, but in true Jake fashion, he plows ahead enthusiastically, determined to make a go of it. Unfortunately, his success is short-lived when his laptop computer crashes and takes his presentation with it. His subsequent presentation shows just how little he knows about the Internet game, but the experience isn't a total loss: Noah hires Jake as a consultant, to act as a one-man focus group for the market segment that's utterly confused about the Internet experience.

Daria tries to ask Helen for advice, and is told she shouldn't bother expecting too grand for an anniversary. Helen flashes back to her first wedding anniversary, where Jake gave her a home-made candle: a grotesque, unidentifiable lump. ("It's supposed to be a hobbit.") However, she knew that Jake had put time into making it, and that all that really matters is if your partner shows he loves you. Daria then asks what if he forgets the anniversary entirely: "Show no mercy," Helen scowls.

At school, Daria mopes around with Jane, kicking herself for not telling Tom what the problem had been. When she sees others being equally stupid with their romances and refusing to just talk plainly, she responds in horror: "This is like that scene in Pinocchio when he discovers he's growing ears like the rest of the donkeys." Jane tells her "then stop being an ass" and to talk to Tom.

At Tom's house, Daria reveals to him how when she realised he'd forgotten the anniversary, she began to worry that he was taking her for granted and didn't really care about the relationship, especially after hearing what he'd done with Jane. Tom reassures her that he does care for her, and explains that he only did those things with Jane after his relationship with her started fizzling out; he did romantic things to hide the fact that he no longer felt romantic. Now he knows anniversaries are important to Daria, they can celebrate; Daria claims they're not (Tom: "okay, then)" but they can celebrate anyway (Tom: "okay, then")

That night, Jake worries if Helen's bothered that he's a failure. "Not a bit", she says, before quickly saying he's not a failure and she still loves him. As proof, she takes out the old candle, something she keeps to remind herself why she fell in love with him. (Jake recoils in horror from it, asking "what the hell is that?!") Downstairs, Tom and Daria end up not celebrating their non-anniversary over a box of Quinn's chocolates -- after all, "celebrating anniversaries was her idea"...

Timeline headaches[edit]

At the beginning of the episode, Quinn is holding the wall calendar open at May 12 when she says that it is Daria and Tom's six-month anniversary. Every calendar in Daria has a date of May 12 but this time it makes sense if the the Kiss happening in May 12 would plus it not long before the summer holidays. It would also mean that this episode takes place sometime in November. The previous episode, however, takes place over the Super Bowl, which is traditionally held in January or February.

However, Quinn says you can count the relationship starting from The Kiss or the first date, and "let's say we ignore the instance of sleazy backstabbing" when she gets six months. Fandom had long ignored "ignore" until late 2021, when it got flagged up in a timeline discussion by Erin Mills. That still leaves the problem that the first date was happening in June, which still puts a six-month anniversary before January. However, if you assume Quinn means the first date from when Tom and Daria patched things up at the end of IIFY?, which would be August, then this episode is sometime in February.

(Either way, whichever month this is, it's chilly out as Daria's wearing a warmer top. Which she's not wearing last ep!)

This episode satired the dot-com bubble of 1995-2000 - unfortunately, by the time it aired the bubble had burst and the companies parodies were going under. In fanfiction, this is part of the reason why some fans assume Daria graduated in 2000, which puts this episode in 1999; the previous episode fits that theory. (And then "Is It College Yet?" had a sign placing the story during or after 2001...)

Real world timeline headaches[edit]

To have aired in Feb 2001, this episode would've likely been written in early 2000 ("Esteemsters" was finished in January 1996 and aired in March 1997). The dotcom bubble was officially noticed to have burst in the summer but concerns that it was going to burst (or already had) first hit the mainstream on 20th March 2000, when Barrons put out an article saying many tech firms were cash-starved and "that unpleasant popping sound is likely to be heard before the end of this year".

Which means this episode satirising dotcoms was written possibly weeks before the bell started to toll!


Helen first misses Jake, then later will explicitly say she's glad she married the "kind, decent, intelligent man I fell in love with all those years ago". After this episode, aside from a spat in "Camp Fear", we stop seeing the recurring subplot that Helen and Jake's marriage is unsatisfying and in dire straits.

This episode introduced Sameer and Zhengdong at, but it was another five years before it was confirmed (in an interview with Bernstein) how their names were spelt.

"Sappy Anniversary" and Fanfic[edit]

  • "A Knight to Remember" by TAG is a sequel pairing Zhendong and Monique, with the former worried the dotcom bubble is going to burst and that Noah doesn't realise it.

External Links[edit]

On “Sappy Anniversary” the Episode[edit]

Alternate-Universe Versions of “Sappy Anniversary”[edit]


Alternate Canon Versions of “Sappy Anniversary”[edit]


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Preceded by
Fizz Ed (501)
Daria Episodes
"Sappy Anniversary," season 5, episode 2
Succeeded by
Fat Like Me (503)