The Sick Sad World of Daria

             

Daria logoThe infinitely quotable animated adventures of Daria, a cynical teenager navigating Lawndale High School, captured the spirit of a certain breed of 90s era adolescence perfectly. She was snarky before it was cool, the voice of every girl who was too smart for her own good and too annoyed by the idiots surrounding her to pretend otherwise. It ran on MTV for five seasons from 1997-2001, totaling 65 episodes and two made-for-TV movies, Is It Fall Yet? (2000) and Is it College Yet? (2002).

 

Although Daria painted Lawndale High in broad strokes, it never fully delved into caricature. The characters were surprisingly well-rounded and developed over the course of the series. As series creator and showrunner Glenn Eichler pointed out in his message to fans in the DVD box set, season one Daria is a lot different from the character in season five. The show sometimes dealt with heavy themes—self-esteem, fitting in, and eating disorders—but it always did so with dark, dry humor that appealed to late 90s "rat in a cage" crowd who didn’t fit in with the popular kids.

Daria Trivia

  • Daria, Jane, Brittany & KevinAlthough Daria was technically a spin-off of Mike Judge’s Beavis and Butt-head, no connection between the shows’ respective universes was ever mentioned, saved for a single reference in the pilot episode.

  • The unaired pilot, a 5-minute black and white cartoon called "Sealed with a Kick," features Daria, Jane, Kevin, and Brittany. When Kevin assumes that Daria has a crush on him and rejects her, she manipulates him into actually asking her out so that she can reject him. If you feel the need to watch it, it’s one of the special features in the DVD box set.

  • Showrunner Glenn Eichler would go on to work as a writer and producer for The Colbert Report from 2002-2007.

  • Splendora, the band who wrote and performed the theme song "You’re Standing on My Neck," released one album in 1995, which you can buy here for $136, if you were so inclined.

  • The original broadcasts featured music clips from popular alt-rock bands. Because of music licensing costs, the original music was replaced in the DVD release. According to Eichler, this is like "one of those astronauts in a Twilight Zone episode who returns from space and his wife can’t figure out what’s changed about him, until it slowly dawns on her that instead of a cool song from 1997 playing when he walks into the room, it’s some tune she’s never heard."

  • Daria & JaneTracy Grandstaff, the voice of Daria, is a rather perky blonde in real life.

  • Wendy Hoopes voiced Jane Lane, Quinn, and Helen Morgendorffer. However, she most resembles Jane.

  • Geoffrey Arend, AKA Mr. Christina Hendricks, voiced Charles "Upchuck" Ruttheimer III, the randy nerd who tried (and failed) to bed every girl at Lawndale High.

  • Sarah Drew, who played Hannah Rogers on Everwood and, more recently, Dr. April Kepner on Grey’s Anatomy, was the voice of Stacy, Quinn’s best frenemy.

  • The character of Brittany, the airheaded cheerleader, was modeled on post-Playboy, pre-Austism activist Jenny McCarthy.

The promise Daria made to the girls who watched it was that no matter how weird or smart or cynical you were, someday you’d find your niche. There was a Jane Lane out there for everybody. However, it also showed viewers that even the popular kids had hidden depths. Quinn, Daria’s perky, popular sister, wasn’t just an airhead. The show found the humanity even in bimbo cheerleader Brittany and her jock boyfriend Kevin. Ultimately, high school is something that everyone has to survive by whatever means they can. Daria showed disaffected outsiders like me how.

Daria Characters

Daria Morgendorffer
Daria Morgendorffer
  Jane Lane
Jane Lane
  Quinn Morgendorffer
Quinn Morgendorffer
  Kevin Thompson
Kevin Thompson
  Brittany Taylor
Brittany Taylor
                 
Trent Lane
Trent Lane
  Helen Morgendorffer
Helen Morgendorffer
  Jake Morgendorffer
Jake Morgendorffer
  Jodie Landon
Jodie Landon
  Michael "Mack" Jordan MacKenzie 
Michael "Mack" Jordan MacKenzie 
                 
Sandi Griffin
Sandi Griffin
  Stacy Rowe
Stacy Rowe
  Tiffany Blum-Deckler
Tiffany Blum-Deckler
  Charles "Upcuck" Ruttheimer, III
Charles "Upcuck" Ruttheimer, III
  Andrea 
Andrea 
                 
Tom Sloane
Tom Sloane
  Joey, Jeffy & Jamie
Joey, Jeffy & Jamie
  Principal Angela Li
Principal Angela Li
  Mr. Anthony DeMartino
Mr. Anthony DeMartino
                 
Ms. Janet Barch
Ms. Janet Barch
  Ms. Claire Defoe
Ms. Claire Defoe
  Mr. Timothy O'Neill
Mr. Timothy O’Neill
  Mrs. Diane Bennett
Mrs. Diane Bennett
  Sick Sad World TV show
Sick Sad World TV show

Related Links 

Watch Daria episodes on MTV | Daria on Facebook | Visit the Daria Wiki | View Daria cast alter ego photos | Create a Daria Cubeecraft | Watch CollegeHumor’s Daria Movie Trailer spoof (with Aubrey Plaza)

  

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