The Crooked Smile

From DariaWiki

The Crooked Smile is a black comedy story by YouthofOz.

When Daria agrees to help Andrea and Scarlett with their hypnosis experiments, Jane slips in a suggestion for her friend to "be happy" for the next thirty hours. The law of unintended consequences hits with a bloody vengeance.

Detailed Plot[edit]

Spoilers Alert: the text reveals key parts of the plot.

One Monday afternoon, Andrea meets with Daria and Jane and explains she and Scarlett are researching hypnosis. Since Daria's strong personality makes her resistant to mesmerism, they ask to practice putting her into a trance. After learning that Scarlett and most of the student body are actually frightened of her apparently-cruel antics, Daria agrees. Later that day, Scarlett and Andrea go to Casa Lane and successfully place Daria in a trance where they ask her questions. When Daria reveals the first time she ever felt happy was when she befriended Jane, Jane decides to give a post-hypnotic suggestion to Daria to feel that happiness and nothing else for the next thirty hours (a full day and time to sleep). Scarlett, Andrea and even Trent warn Jane this could be a bad idea.

Daria awakes from the trance seemingly unchanged. By the time she gets home, however, she is cheerful and friendly and tells Jake how much she loves him and appreciates the effort he makes for his family. She does not, however, have any desire to talk to Quinn as she no longer cares if her sister rises above her empty social life. Both Quinn and Helen are alarmed at Daria's new mood and wonder if she's on drugs; Daria retires to her room and dances to cheerful music videos.

The next morning Daria meets with Jane, cheerful and now incredibly rude - as she now feels happy no matter what she does, she has no need to be nice or friendly. ("I see Happy Daria is kind of a bitch," Jane observes. "Whereas Normal Jane is easily-offended," Daria retorts.) Since her blissful happiness will wear off that night, Daria fears how she will cope when she goes back to normal; Jane suggests Daria spend the day doing things she'll regret later so she'll be glad to stop being happy.

Upon arriving at school, Daria immediately French-kisses Upchuck, tries to convince Brittany to get a hysterectomy and Kevin to become a baby farmer, drives Ms. Barch to tears with an anti-feminist speech, and ruthlessly insult Jodie and Mack. Daria then decides she would rather die happy than become miserable again and asks Quinn to help her steal drugs from the nurse's office to overdose on. Quinn refuses, as does Jane, who enlists Andrea and Scarlet to track down Daria before she can harm herself but Daria easily evades them.

Having been told by Mr. DeMartino to stop Daria from committing suicide, Quinn has Joey, Jeffy and Jamie captured Daria and trap her in a store room under guard by Tiffany - the one person not even Daria could sweet-talk. Daria nonetheless escapes, managing to trick Tiffany into tying herself up in the belief it can help her lose weight. Upon learning Daria's on the loose, Jane is forced to turn to Brittany to come up with a plan to save the day.

Meeting up with Ted to type out an insulting suicide note (and also urge Ted to take up heroin use), Daria heads off to kill herself. Mr. O'Neill intercepts her and begs her to reconsider, even after she unleashes a devastating verbal smackdown. Daria tries to leave the school but finds her way barred by Kevin, who refuses to let her kill herself even if it might help his grades as she claims. As students close in, Daria is forced up onto the roof where she finds Jane about to jump - preferring to be dead than left alone in a world without Daria.

Daria's concern for Jane proves the happiness she is feeling is fake and she tries to stop Jane jumping, only for both of them to fall... onto the huge pile of gym mats Brittany arranged as part of this plan to lure Daria out into the opening; everyone knows she'd never hurt her best friend, after all. Ms. Li and the faculty agree to not mention this whole incident conditional on Daria apologizing to all the people she has hurt today. She cheers up a depressed Upchuck by confirming he is, if nothing else, a good kisser and affirms that whatever O'Neill's failings as a teacher he is still a good man who does care about the well-being of his students.

As night draws in and the hypnotized happiness is about to wear off, Daria decides to spend her "last hours" with Jane enjoying herself. Jane agrees to stay over at the Morgendorffer house to keep watch on Daria when the trance ends, as Daria is afraid of losing her current painless freedom though also worried that without suffering she will become a monster. As the last minutes tick away, Daria takes comfort in "dying" at home with her best friend by her side and quotes Black Beauty as the last words she would choose. Jane decides her last words would be her telling the story of how she met her best friend, Daria Morgendorffer, and recites the tale as Daria returns to normal and starts to cry.

"Don't Bring Me Down" music video[edit]

The happy Daria's annoying habit is to sing the cheerful ELO song Don't Bring Me Down, much to the frustration of those around her.

To help convey this experience, YouthofOz compiled a music video of this relentlessly chirpy earworm filtered through the prism of Lawndale society.

External Links[edit]

The Crooked Smile at PPMB