Season 2 Episode 3

Quinn the Brain

Aired Monday 10:00 PM Mar 02, 1998 on MTV - Music Television
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Episode Summary

Quinn writes a paper in Mr. O'Neill's English class that the teacher really likes and recites to the class. Quinn becomes scared that she will now become an outcast because people think she's a "brain", but just the opposite happens: she becomes a popular brain, and starts to work with it. Daria, meanwhile, finds herself losing her own identity since Quinn is the school brain now.moreless

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Tracy Grandstaff

Tracy Grandstaff

Daria Morgendorffer

Wendy Hoopes

Wendy Hoopes

Jane Lane, Helen Morgendorffer, Quinn Morgendorffer

Julian Rebolledo

Julian Rebolledo

Jake Morgendorffer

Marc Thompson

Marc Thompson

Kevin Thompson, Anthony DeMartino, Timothy O'Neill, Charles "Upchuck" Ruttheimer, Jamie White

Sarah Drew

Sarah Drew

Stacy Rowe

Ashley Albert

Ashley Albert

Ms. Janet Barch/Tiffany Blum-Deckler

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (5)

    • It is revealed in this episode that the name of the school paper is The Lawndale Lowdown.

    • During the scene where Helen is upset about the letter she received from school, the clock behind her has no hands.

    • The girl sitting behind Daria in the cafeteria disappears and reappears when Quinn sits down. Ditto for Daria's backpack.

    • Daria's locker is missing its door when Kevin and Brittany are talking. When the door is there, the picture on it disappears when Daria closes it.

    • Quinn's short-lived brush with braininess in this episode can be considered a prelude to her real intellectual "coming out" in "Is It Fall Yet?" and "Lucky Strike"

  • QUOTES (7)

    • Jane: Well, you know, condition people to expect nothing and the least little something gets them all excited. Ask Pavlov.
      Quinn: The custodian?
      Jane: Whoa...nevermind. Return to your world, and I'll return to mine.

    • Brittany: (to Kevin) I'll bet you do, you...you high-school Casablanca!

    • Daria: Did you just spend two hours dressing up to go the door for one minute and dump your date?
      Quinn: Daria, if you look your best when you blow a guy off, it makes them feel like you care.
      Daria: Well, that advice should prove very helpful. Sometimes your shallowness is so thorough, it's almost like depth.
      Quinn: Thanks.

    • Quinn: Yeah, I just found out poems don't even have to rhyme. How easy is that?

    • Quinn: Don't worry, all I have to do is get an "A" on my next essay and I'm fine.
      Daria: I'll take the Vegas odds on that one.

    • Daria: Only Quinn could turn having brains into a fad.
      Jane: You know how fads are...today: it's brains, tomorrow: pierced tongues. Then the next day: pierced brains.

    • Joey: (reading Quinn's poem) The greasy fry, it cannot lie. It's truth is written on your thigh.

  • NOTES (2)

    • Quinn's essay comparing schools to prisons is not a newfound revelation. William Glasser, a psychotherapist from the 1960s said, "There are only two places in the world where time takes precedence over the job to be done. School and prison."

    • Music
      -Supergrass - "Alright" (closing credits)
      -Rage Against the Machine - "Freedom" (Quinn's bad grades & asking Daria for help)
      -The Charlatans UK - "How High" (Jake bribing Quinn & Daria)
      -Iggy Pop - "Lust for Life" (Daria & Jane walk to school)
      -Pond - "Spokes" (Daria's locker)
      -The Kottonmouth Kings - "Surburban Life" (Quinn & Daria w/ Mr. O'Neill)
      -Talvin Singh - "Jaan" (Quinn getting dressed)
      -Ric Ocasek - "Next Right Moment" (Quinn in cafeteria)
      -Salt 'N Pepa - "Giddy Up" (Fashion Club talks to Quinn)
      -Our Lady Peace - "Clumsy" (Jane's room)
      -Monaco - "What Do You Want From Me?" (when Daria is dressing up and acting like Quinn)


    • Joey: ...a thousand times, yes!

      Joey, Jeffy, and Jamie make the comment "A thousand times, yes!" when speaking to Daria about wanting Quinn to go back to the way she was. This is a reference to an Betty Boop cartoon from the 1930s, "No! No! A Thousand Times, No!!" This title would later became a comic bit in her other cartoons.

    • Existenialism

      Albert Camus was a French Existentialist who said, "At the heart of all beauty lies something inhuman, and these hills, the softness of the sky, the outline of these trees at this very minute lose the illusory meaning with which we had clothed them, henceforth more remote than a lost paradise...that denseness and that strangeness of the world is absurd." Daria's definition of Existentialist for Quinn is very close to Camus' views.

    • The Progressive Theory of Education

      Mr. O'Neill's talk about "the competitive and discouraging" aspects of grading is very similar to one of the cornerstones of the Progressive Theory of Education (the one that has held sway in U.S. public schools since the 1950s), which finds objective standards very distasteful.

    • Casanova

      When Brittany says "You High School Casablanca", it would be more logical (something no one could accuse Brittany of) to assume she means "High School Casanova" about a man who romances multiple women.

    • Brittany: You high-school Casablanca!

      Casablanca is a film from 1942 starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. The plot revolves around a love triangle between two men and a woman.

    • Pavlov

      Jane tells Quinn that if you condition people to expect nothing, they get very excited over the slightest thing, and then notes Pavlov. Ivan Pavlov is a Russian scientist who used dogs in his experiments in classical conditioning by training them to salivate when they heard a bell ringing, signaling they were about to be fed.