Tomgate, also known as the Daria-Tom-Jane love triangle, was the love triangle between Daria Morgendorffer, Tom Sloane, and Jane Lane in the fourth season of Daria. The events of Tomgate are part of the Daria canon and occur in two episodes: "Fire!" and "Dye! Dye! My Darling". However, many hint that the love triangle actually begins in the sixth episode of the fourth season, "I Loathe a Parade". If the latter episode is marked as the beginning of these events, then Tomgate spans across three episodes and one movie between April 7, 2000 and August 27, 2000, when they originally aired on MTV.
Tom and Jane
In the third season finale "Jane's Addition", Jane begins dating a guy named Tom Sloane, whom she met at a Mystik Spiral gig while Daria was in the bathroom. The two begin spending a lot of time together, to the frustration of Daria, who is put out because she is left to do a multimedia project by herself. Jane and Tom's relationship continues to drive an edge between Daria and her best friend, until the two reconcile in "Antisocial Climbers". Things remain neutral between the three for the most part, with Tom making an appearance in "A Tree Grows in Lawndale" at both Pizza King and at a Lawndale Lions football game. Tom is mentioned as "bowling with friends" in "Of Human Bonding" and appears with Jane on JaneCam in "Psycho Therapy". In "Mart of Darkness", Tom eats Jane's gummy bears as she prepares to make a mosaic, causing her to have to go with Daria to the Payday warehouse store to buy more. Tom accompanies Trent and Jesse to look for Jane in the store.
The love triangle
Warning: The following may contain plot or ending details.
"I Loathe a Parade"
Daria begins warming up to Tom in "I Loathe a Parade", in which Daria runs into Tom unexpectedly and introduces him to Tad Gupty, who got lost in the crowd. Tom agrees to help Daria find the Gupty parents as the two venture off. Daria and Tom hop on The Fashion Club's float, with Daria narrowly avoiding a makeover by Sandi and Stacy. Daria and Tom share a moment when one of the parade floats dramatically bursts into flames. Tom also adds onto one of Daria's sarcastic jokes about Pol Pot. When Mr. O'Neill (who is dressed up as the Lawndale Lions mascot) begins to provoke Daria, Tom fends him off in her defense. Tom also offers Daria his spring jacket. When Ted DeWitt-Clinton takes a photo of Daria and Tom together for yearbook, they insist that they are not a couple. When Jane leaves with Tom at the end of the episode, Tom looks back over his shoulder at Daria, which was an early sign of things to come.
In the episode "Fire!", Daria begins staying at Casa Lane while the Morgendorffer household is being renovated due to Jake's kitchen accident. Tom arrives at Jane's and walks in on Daria, who is occupying Penny's room reading Niccolò Machiavelli's The Prince. Tom sits aside Daria and the two share a laugh over their shared understanding of Machiavellianism. When Jane walks in on the two, Daria tells Jane that her and Tom were "talking about The Prince's influence on Lenin, Trotsky, and Ms. Li". Jane, disturbed by the way Daria and Tom have been hitting it off, begins to grow uneasy at the thought of being a third wheel in her own relationship. She vents her frustrations to Jodie, who had just witnessed Jane attacking her canvas in art class. Later, Jane vents her feelings to Daria, and later admits that this "jealousy crap" is not like her at all. Jane asks Daria if she would do anything to hurt her, in which Daria replies: "Not unless you grew long, red hair and began keeping a lip gloss database". Later, Trent walks in on Daria and asks if she's seen Jane. Daria suggests that Jane is probably over at Tom's house, avoiding her on purpose. Trent suggests that maybe Jane is trying to keep Tom from seeing Daria out of suspicion. When Daria hears this, she reluctantly says that there is nothing going on between her and Tom. Trent responds by saying that guys can always tell when other guys are into someone, and that whatever it is, no one said Daria meant for it to happen.
Daria: (exasperated) Oh, no, not you, too. Look, Trent, there's nothing going on between me and Tom.
Trent: If you say so.
Trent: Come on, Daria. I'm a musician. I'm very sensitive to shifts in mood.
Daria: (frowns) Then your senses must be going into overdrive about now.
Trent: Hey, I've seen you together. Guys can always tell when other guys are into someone. You know, ethereal transference.
"Dye! Dye! My Darling"
In the episode "Dye! Dye! My Darling", Daria accidentally walks in on Tom and Jane kissing. Later, when Daria tells Jane she does not want to dye her hair out of fear of messing it up, Jane suspects that Daria has an ulterior motive regarding Tom. However, Daria insists that it is only because she does not want to mess up her hair. When Daria accidentally botches the job, Jane instantly accuses Daria of messing it up on purpose as an attempt to try and steal Tom from her. In a car ride with Trent, Jane realizes that Daria probably wasn't the best choice for the job and had only done it because Jane insisted. Later at Casa Lane, Daria assures Jane that she did not mean to mess it up on purpose. When Jane asks about Tom, and whether Daria is interested in him, or even if they had kissed, Daria flatly denies it. Jane accepts her apology and tries to get things back to normal. Later that evening, Tom parks in front of Daria's house and asks Daria to have a talk about their situation. Daria quickly rebuffs him, claiming they have no "situation" and that Tom was putting an edge between her and Jane.
Tom: ...It's got nothing to do with you.
Daria: Good. Because I'm not interested in you, and I'd be stabbing my friend in the back if I even considered it.
Tom: Exactly. And what kind of a jerk would that make me?
Tom: All right then.
Tom and Daria both try to push each other off out of their own denial, despite it being obvious that they like each other—and, in the heat of the moment, they kiss...twice.
(Tom suddenly leans over and kisses Daria, who seems to enjoy it... until she finally comprehends what she's doing)
Daria: Dammit! Dammit, dammit, dammit!
Tom: I liked it, too.
Daria: That's not funny!
Tom: I know.
(she and Tom then engage in another lip-lock, this time deliberately)
Tom: That was definitely not funny.
Daria: I gotta go!
Daria, feeling the weight of what she had done, tells Jane at school. Jane then storms off and heads straight to Tom's house, scolding him in the process. Tom and Jane talk about their situation on an old swing set in Tom's back yard, in which they officially break up. When Jane asks Tom if he was going out with her just to get to Daria, Tom quickly rebuffs her, saying he looks up to Jane. Meanwhile Daria, who is in distress and has no one to talk to, shows up unannounced at Helen's office and the two discuss Daria's dilemma over coffee. Later, Jane heads over to Daria's to talk about the Tom situation. There, Jane tells Daria that she and Tom broke up. Jane, who is still emotionally under Daria's betrayal, reluctantly suggests that Daria go out with Tom. When Daria asks Jane if they are still friends, Jane responds: "We're the kind of friends who can't stand the sight of each other". However, Jane hopes that things won't be like this for long.
"Is It Fall Yet?"
In "Is It Fall Yet?", Daria begins dating Tom. Daria is taken back by Tom's family and social rank. However, Daria's main issue in dating Tom is her lack of experience and fear of being vulnerable. Thus, Daria is very much afraid and is stuck in her comfort zone. When Tom points this out to Daria during an argument, Daria is left speechless and doesn't reply. However, Tom unintentionally makes a disparaging comment about Jane, which rubs Daria the wrong way. At this point, Tom dumps Daria and drives off. Later, Trent intervenes and tries to get Daria and Jane back to being friends again. He uses the Tank to drive Daria to the Ashfield art colony to visit Jane. During the trip, Trent begins singing a song he wrote about betrayal, to the annoyance of Daria.
Trent: Betrayal, yeah, a stab in the back.
Trent: Betrayal, yeah, I'm stretched on the rack.
Trent: Betrayal, yeah, thrown out of the, thrown out of the...
Trent: Thrown out of the pack.
Trent: Betrayal... betrayal, yeah. Betrayal... betrayal... betrayal, yeah...
Trent: Betrayal, yeah, you ruined my life.
Trent: Betrayal, yeah, you're twisting the knife.
Daria: Trent, that's not helping.
Once at the art colony, Daria and Jane begin to talk about their summers. At a Mystik Spiral gig, Daria and Jane both vent their frustrations to each other, before the two reconcile and restore their friendship. When Mystik Spiral begins to play their set, Trent dedicates the song "Freaking Friends" to Daria and Jane. The song later appears in a post-credits scene, or as an extra on DVD. As Daria is preparing to leave with Trent, Jane encourages Daria to give Tom another chance. When Daria asks Jane what happened to the whole "betrayal" thing, Jane explains that she was still under it at the time but is now over it. Jane tells Daria that the two would make a good couple. Once back in Lawndale, Jane and Daria pleasantly greet Tom in his new car, and Tom gives Daria a ride home. When they arrive at the Morgendorffer house, Daria admits that Tom was right about her being afraid of getting hurt and agrees to give Tom a chance. The two reconcile and share a deep kiss while Helen and Jake have their own fun inside.
In the off-canon canon IIFY Post-Movie Chat, when asked which of the girls was a better kisser, Tom covered himself by claiming he had "no memory of ever kissing Jane" - Jane responded with "Tom who?".
The fifth season of Daria sees a return to normalcy for Daria, Tom, and Jane. Daria and Tom's relationship is built on heavily throughout the fifth season in episodes such as "Sappy Anniversary", "The Story of D", "One J at a Time", "Life in the Past Lane", and "My Night at Daria's".