Grandma Barksdale is the mother of Helen, Rita, and Amy. She is also Daria and Quinn's maternal grandmother.

Physical Appearance

A photo depicting Daria as a baby indicates that Grandma Barksdale may have her curly grey hair tied in a bun. She wears an orange blouse, grey skirt, and shoes.


Grandma Barksdale is shown to favor her daughter Rita over her other daughters Helen and Amy. This especially causes resentment in Helen.


Season 5

In Aunt Nauseam, Helen gets a call from her sister Rita, who tells Helen that her daughter Erin and her husband Brian are getting a divorce. Rita asks Helen if she can handle the divorce case and Helen attempts to tell her that it is not really her field of expertise. Jake motions towards Helen with his hands, signaling that he does not want Helen involved in the divorce proceedings. Helen goes on to try to tell Rita that there is no such thing as a simple divorce.

Helen gets call waiting and it is her mother on the other line. Helen tells her mother that she was just talking to Rita about the divorce. Helen tries to explain that she just got off a back-breaking case and that she feels like an attorney who handles divorce cases could handle it better. However, she is cut off by her mother saying that she wants Rita in the best hands. Helen finally tells her not to worry about it and she'll handle the case.

Helen presses a button on the phone and tells Rita that she's in. An exasperated Jake tells Helen he can't take the bickering between the sisters.

Later, the Morgendorffers wait at home for Erin to arrive so that Helen and Erin can work out the details of the divorce.

The doorbell rings and it ends up being Rita instead of Erin. Jake chugs the martini mix straight from the pitcher. Helen questions Rita on why she isn't in New York. Rita explains that Ralph broke up with her and that Erin is in Stadt in Switzerland for a spa week because Grandma Barksdale thought it was a good idea for Erin to calm her nerves. Helen mutters sarcastically under her breath how great it is that her mother is always thinking about her grand kids well, one of them anyway.

Helen tells Rita it would be helpful if Erin were here, seeing that it's her divorce and everything. Rita says they can always call her if they have to. Rita questions if she can stay with the Morgendorffers for a few days while she is having her house repainted. Jake exclaims, "Dear Lord" in response to this. After a glare from Helen, he reluctantly says it's a great idea.

Later, in the living room, Quinn is seen sitting on the sofa. She answers the phone to Erin, who tells her that the divorce is off. Daria walks in from front door and Quinn tells her that the divorce is off. Quinn and Daria head to the kitchen and share the news with Rita and Helen. Helen and Rita are seen arguing once again. Helen tells her to admit employment is not one of her strong-suits. Quinn tries to get the attention of the two sisters.

Rita says she has more important things to do, like raise Erin. Helen counters that Erin is twenty-four. Quinn finally tells them that Brian flew to Switzerland to makeup and they are having a second honeymoon. Helen says it is probably on Grandma Barksdale's credit card. She goes on to say she and Jake barely had a first honeymoon because they had to pay for their own wedding. Rita questions if that's her fault and Helen accuses Rita for going over-budget on her first wedding.

Helen and Rita are heard arguing about Rita's first wedding off-screen. Helen says that Grandma Barksdale broke every rule of parenting with the way she favored Rita. Rita retorts that it's just like Helen to declare the rules for everyone else.

In Daria's bedroom, Daria decides to call her Aunt Amy. Amy picks up and Daria greets her.

In the guest bedroom, Rita is seen packing a suitcase. Helen walks in and says that they need to talk. She tries to apologize by saying that they both said things they didn't really mean. Helen says they should talk things out instead of getting angry. Rita says that she doesn't know. Helen suggest that they bury the hatchet and bake cookies. Rita, sounding calmer, asks if they are cookies from scratch. Helen responds more or less.

The sisters are seen in the kitchen with pre-packaged cookie dough. Helen questions whether Rita wants peanut butter or chocolate chip. Rita questions whether the chocolate chip cookie dough already has chocolate chips and Helen says she thinks it does.

The doorbell rings and Quinn opens the door to reveal Amy has arrived. Amy explains that Daria called for reinforcements. Quinn tells her that Helen and Rita are in the kitchen baking cookies. Rita and Helen are seen in the kitchen arguing over how thick the cookie dough should be cut.

Quinn asks Amy why they can't just get along and Amy says it's due to environmental factors, they were exposed to each other as children.

In Daria's room, she is seen sitting in bed reading a book. There is a knock on her door and she tells Quinn and Amy to come in. Amy tells her that the cavalry has arrived. Quinn tells Daria that Gone with the Wind is on tonight. Daria tells her that she doesn't give a crap. Quinn tells Daria her hair doesn't look that bad as she leaves the room. Daria says she knows Quinn wants something.

Amy asks Daria for an update. Daria tells her that Rita and Helen are on the brink of mutually assured destruction, Quinn is having a nervous breakdown, and Jake has left home to get away from it all. Amy tells Daria that reminds her of her childhood ad asks if she's holding up okay. Daria says that as much as she could't care less about Erin she can't say that her twenty-four year old cousins near divorce has left her optimistic about life's possibilities.

Amy questions Daria if things are not going well with Tom. Daria says things with Tom are fine, he just keeps dropping by in the middle of the multi-generational family crisis and refuses to accept that Daria does not have time for him right now. Amy suggests maybe Tom is trying to offer his time to Daria. Daria says that might be a possibility. The aunt and niece head down to the living room to see how the "battle" is progressing.

In the living room, Rita and Helen are seen arguing again. Rita tells Helen that even if she did have a job it would never meet Helen's approval. Amy and Daria enter the living room from the stairs. Amy remarks that this is another Kodak moment for the Barksdales. Helen asks Amy what she is doing there.

Amy responds that she would drop by to see if her sisters were still having the same fight they had been having for the last forty years. Rita asks how Amy would know, as she spent most of her time barricaded in her room reading Russian novels. Helen counters Amy used them to avoid any family responsibility and to do whatever she please. Amy retorts that at least she didn't hold a grudge well into adulthood because Rita was their mothers favorite. Rita says that she wasn't and both Amy and Helen tell her that she was the favorite. Helen tells Amy that she doesn't need her help.

Rita suggests that maybe if Helen and Amy tried calling their mother more they may have a better relationship with her. Quinn walks into the living room from the stairs. Quinn tries to get Helen's attention. Amy asks why should they bother to call when their mother never offered them the slightest bit of encouragement or appreciation.Helen agrees and Amy tells her that she doesn't need help. Rita retorts that with Amy's grades, and her extra credit, and her awards she didn't make them look look lazy enough, and she wanted encouragement to do more. Amy laughs at this.

Helen asks Amy what she's laughing at and Amy says she's got a point. Rita says she can laugh if she wants to. The Barksdale sisters start talking over one another. Daria yells out and gets their attention. Daria and Quinn act out the sisters fighting to show them how ridiculous it is. Helen and Rita hug and make up. Helen once again asks Amy why she's there and Amy explains how Daria called her to mediate, but maybe Daria is a better mediator then she is.

The Barksdale sisters all exchange in a group hug.

The Barksdale sisters (left to right Helen, Rita, and Amy)


  • Grandma Barksdale is only mentioned off-screen and her first name is not known.
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