The Teachings of Don Jake

From DariaWiki
The Teachings of Don Jake
Production Number 112
Original Airdate July 14, 1997
Special Guest Voices
Written By Glenn Eichler
Directed By Karen Disher

“The Teachings of Don Jake” was the twelfth episode of the first season of Daria. It first aired on MTV on July 14, 1997.

"The Teachings of Don Jake" was written by Glenn Eichler.

Jake's stress level is reaching critical mass, so the Morgendorffers go on a camping trip. Like that's gonna help.

—MTV website summary,

Plot Summary[edit]

A series of bills and news related to money make Jake snap and cause a blood vessel to burst in his eye. Because of this, Helen Morgendorffer decides that the whole family is going camping to relax. Daria and Quinn try unsuccessfully to sneak out of going.

Jane and Trent are also leaving Lawndale for a few days, to attend the (sic) Lane Family Reunion, a gathering that Jane detests but is forced to go to by her parents, who avoid the other Lane family members.

The Morgendorffers go camping in a forest, a place known of Helen and Jake, who reminiscence of their past trip. Jake is noticeably happy and excited, though he also starts to rave about his childhood and his deceased father, "Mad Dog" Morgendorffer.

Jane and Trent attend the Lane reunion, but things quickly go downhill: in the plane, Trent unknowingly insults their aunt, who happened to be sitting next to them; as a result, there is no means of transportation to the house, so they have to get there on foot; at the reunion, Jane is forced to tell some embarrassing news about her sister Summer and her children to a curious relative, and is loudly insulted by an elderly grandmother; Trent meets Uncle Max, who loudly and drunkenly proclaims his liking of Trent (because he is a bum).

Meanwhile, at the Morgendorffers campsite, at night, the four entertain themselves by telling spooky stories, though the impact is somewhat off: Jake only tells stories about his childhood; Helen tries to tell a vampire story, but Jake shushes her from saying the more intimate details; and Quinn tells a fairy tale mixed with fashion commentaries. Only Daria is able to shake the general boredom as she tells a story filled with explicitly gory details that cause the rest of the family to get sick. Later, in the tent, the two Morgendorffer sisters reminisce about the past.

The next morning the four set out for a hike. While walking, Helen and Jake start rambling about life and adulthood and then start to hallucinate. Daria and Quinn try to make sense of the situation calmly and objectively before Quinn also starts hallucinating and wanders off. Daria quickly concludes that the three were under the psychotropic effects of the berries Jake had gathered for breakfast (and which Daria alone had not eaten). She eventually finds Helen's cell phone (which she wasn't supposed to have taken) and dials 911, after which the family are rescued.

Back in Lawndale the next day, Daria and Jane trade stories: Daria tells of her camping weekend and Jane about her trip: it ended when she and Trent, after a restless night and having to wake up at 7 AM on a Saturday, had decided to just leave (in Aunt Bernice's car).

The Morgendorffer camping trip ends up by not having a calming long term effect: when receiving a large bill for the rescue (including their helicopter evacuation), Jake snaps again and bursts out blood vessels, this time in both his eyes.


The title of this episode was derived from the New Age (fiction) story, The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge, by Carlos Castaneda. In this book, a man is taught by a Native American shaman to see reality in a different way. The consumption of hallucination-inducing mushrooms is involved, hence the connection with the episode.

This is the first episode to bring up "Mad Dog" Morgendorffer and have Jake rant about what his father did to him. (The name is a reference to the 1976 film Mad Dog Morgan)

Summer Lane, Wind Lane, and Penny Lane are mentioned first here. All three will have their characters partially fleshed out in "The Daria Diaries" and physically appear in "Lane Miserables". Aunt Bernice, Uncle Max Lane, and Grandma Lane make their only appearances here.

None of Jane's relatives appear to be artists or hippie-esque. Is this what made Vincent Lane's branch of the family the "black sheep"?


Transcript, originally from Outpost Daria.

“The Teachings of Don Jake” and Fanfic[edit]

This episode is notable because for a short time the lives of the Morgendorffers hang by the barest of threads. The deus ex machina that saves everyone's life lies in Daria's discovery of her mother's cell phone and ability to dial 911 while the rest of her family, hallucinating wildly from eating psychotropic berries, runs off through an uninhabited woodland. Daria's refusal to eat the berries is also a key element. The potential for alternate-universe stories is great, and indeed several AU versions of this tale exist with outcomes ranging from comedy to tragedy.

Stories which are based to incorporate the events of this episode are:

External Links[edit]

Preceded by
Road Worrier (111)
Daria Episodes
"The Teachings of Don Jake," Season 1, Episode 12
Succeeded by
The Misery Chick