Jane joins the track team.
When Ms. Morris attempts to sneak a cheerleader practice into P.E. class, Daria and Jane sit out in protest. She angrily accuses Jane and her entire family of being slackers, then holds both girls after school to make up the class. Later, the girls overhear Kevin tell Mack the coach arranged a bye on the ethics test, which angers Mack (who actually had to take the test).
The next day, Daria tells Jane that Helen supported her on the gym class thing, which further hardens Jane's resolve to prove Ms. Morris wrong. To that end -- and to get closer to Evan, a cute boy on the track team she "admires" -- Jane joins the track team, to Daria's total surprise. Daria is not particularly thrilled when Jane makes the team, and is even less so when she finds herself alone more and more as practice begins to monopolize Jane's time and Jane becomes popular at school because of her track success. Concerned over Daria's mental well-being, Helen convinces (aka bribes) Quinn to spends some time with her sister, which doesn't exactly go the way she planned when Quinn abandons Daria at the library after meeting a cute guy.
Daria's irrational behavior over Jane's absence finally comes to a head when she humiliates Jane in public (and in front of Evan). After getting a well-deserved chewing out, Daria finally apologizes to Jane, and finds that being friends with a track star comes with some perks: both girls get out of gym class when Ms. Morris tells Jane to rest her legs for the next track meet (and since Jane doesn't want to be alone...).
Daria is still troubled, though, as she feels guilty for condemning Jane for "surrendering to the system" while simultaneously taking advantage of its perks... guilt that worsens when she finds out that Jane got a bye on her math test. Jane's attempts to justify it as being "just another perk" angers Daria, but Jane blows it off and thinks little of Daria's stance. However, when Evan reveals his true colors and advises her to stop hanging with "losers" now she's popular, Jane quits the team and makes up with Daria.
Ms. Morris, though, isn't willing to let her off that easily, and threatens -- with the track team backing her up -- to have Jane flunked if she doesn't come back to the team. Jane, in turn, threatens to report the grade-fixing to Ms Li (who already knows), the PTA (who already know), and "Congress?" Finally she plays the trump card: "How about if I call the three local TV stations and tell each one that the other two are running the story? " This last one forces Ms. Morris to back down, while Evan tells Jane he doesn't understand her; "no, you don't".
Ms. Morris winds up getting the last laugh, however, when she forces Daria and Jane to participate in cheerleading practice, giving both girls time to reflect on the fact that they're suffering for challenging power, they deliberately left a corrupt system to continue so as not face total social exile, and they're being ostracised anyway. School really is preparing them for the real world!
- How much time does this episode cover? Jane winning a trophy means the team have been in a lot of competitions (see below), which means this story goes on for weeks at least.
- Jane jokes to Evan when joining the team "I figure if the people suck I can always wear headphones." In their final scene, she cuts him off by putting on headphones.
- Jane's sister Penny Lane has spent the last ten years outside of the US.
- Trent shows one of his rare flashes of discontent and angst over his musical career.
- Jane wins the team a trophy: in track, trophies go to the overall winning team after an important track meet. With the way the team is reacting, this means the track team are doing incredibly well mainly because of Jane. Morris was right, they did need her!
- The briefly-shown newspaper, reporting on Jane's result, also mentions roadworks were halted because of a "pre-revolutionary Dutch Orthodox cemetery" being discovered. (Presumably it means Orthodox Christians who were Dutch, rather than a hitherto-unknown denomination)
- This is one of three episodes, with The F Word and Life in the Past Lane, where Jane doesn't have her usual offset hairdo for the complete duration of the episode. It shows that her hair is long enough to make a ponytail with and that she also has earrings in her right ear, which is usually obscured by her hair.
- Rachel Romberg's fourth season episode The F Word would return to the idea that Jane could easily be a popular kid and is choosing not be.