Not Enid Coleslaw, honest.
"I've got to be directDaria
If I'm wrong, please correct
You're standing on my neck
You're standing on my neck
You're standing on my neck
La, la, la, la, la... la, la, la, la, la..."
is an animated High School Dramedy about a waifish, sardonic teen girl with coke-bottle glasses, army boots, and dress
absolutely no patience for the idiocy around her (she used to have Beavis and Butt-Head
for classmates, can you blame her?)Most of the humor is derived from Daria and her friend Jane's conflicts with the collection of twisted teenage archetypes (and often the adults) around them. The last two seasons departed from the Reset Button to create a powerful Story Arc of Daria and her friends coming of age. The show's strong use of Character Development
became a major draw on a network loaded with more superficial programming. A major part of it is Daria eventually falling for a Tall, Dark, and Snarky boy, Tom Sloane, who is worthy of her and struggling to deal with romantic activities she previously rejected.A Spin-Off from Beavis and Butt-Head
, though oddly not from show creator Mike Judge. Rather, a few of his staff came to like the character and asked to use her. He allowed it but had no input with the show. The show became a quintessential part of The '90s in television.Approximately eight years after the series ended, the show finally
got an official DVD release on May 11th, 2010.Now has a recap page.CollegeHumor made a fake trailer
for a live action adaptation starring Aubrey Plaza.
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- Abusive Parents:
- "Mad Dog" Morgendorffer, to Jake.
- The Lanes, to a degree. Jane refers to their parenting style as "benign neglect".
- Academic Athlete: Mack is the only member of the football team to show any signs of intelligence (and according to him, the only one who can count by halves).
- Accidental Proposal: One subplot of "Is It College Yet?" has Ms. Barch mistaking Mr. O'Neill's attempts at sympathy regarding her ex-husband as a marriage proposal. This cues Mr. DeMartino to try and get O'Neill to get out of it.
- Adults Are Useless: Played with. Most adults in the show, besides the principal, seem to have good intentions to say the least. But a lot of the times they are simply too out of the loop to be much use, or Daria is too cynical to initially take what they say seriously. Though Helen is useful when it counts. Her unwanted help to get Daria to partake in 'normal' activities is usually doomed to fail, but when Daria needs the help, Helen's advice does prove she understands her daughter pretty well.
- Adults Dressed as Children: Magazine editor Val. Since she doesn't look like a teenager, no one is really fooled. Not even Brittany and Kevin.
- Adult Fear: Jake and Helen go through this in the Musical Episode, when Daria doesn't come home as the town is dealing with a hurricane, although Helen is calm enough to realize that Daria would know to find shelter. Daria, along with Jane Kevin and Brittany discuss this in the song, "They Must Be Worried".
- Aerith and Bob: The Lane. Two of them are named Summer and Wind, but then the next three are given the much more mundane names of Penny, Trent and Jane. Maybe after the first two kids the Lanes were all hippie-named out? (Although Penny was possibly named after a song by The Beatles.)
- The Alleged Car: The Tank, Mystik Spiral's main mode of transportation. Also, Trent's car, and probably every other vehicle owned by a Lane. Also Tom's car. He explains that it's not a convertible, but the roof is rusting through. Tom's car is so terrible, he's forced to replace it when his parents tow it away in the middle of the night.
- All Guys Want Cheerleaders: The show's universe tends to show this as quite common at Lawndale High where the student body is largely superficial. Then again, most of the guys who date cheerleaders are also shown to be dumber than dirt and characters the audience is intended to like are shown to scorn them.
- All Just a Dream:
- Most of the episode "Murder She Snored." (Not that there was any doubt, since Daria going to sleep was shown.)
- The episode "Depth Takes A Holiday" is commonly treated as this by the fandom, due to its story of anthropomorphic holiday spirits running away to start a band.
- All There in the Manual:
- The Daria Database, a book containing in-universe materials from the show's cast, contained a great deal of detail on the supporting cast that never comes up in the show. While nothing in the book was vital to understanding the characters, some of it provided some interesting depths to the cast, such as what happened to Brittany's biological mother or that Jodie apparently had a sister we never saw on camera. (Though is mentioned in passing by Jodie's parents in "Gifted.")
- There was also the Daria Diaries, which proceeded Database by a few years, and served much the same purpose.
- All Women Are Lustful: Attributed to all Barksdale women in the episode "I Don't," where Jake Morgendorffer and Rita Barksdale's (current) squeeze trade notes on how "all Barksdale women are tigers in the sack." It seems to be inverted with Quinn, who dates constantly but seems unwilling to even give a goodnight kiss.
- Alpha Bitch:
- Sandi and Quinn both qualify on some levels, though Sandi is generally much more deliberately nasty while Quinn rarely tries to be rude to other girls. note Both are frequently dismissive of their boyfriends, dates, and admirers, but that's another trope. Quinn eventually grows out of this phase over the course of Season 5 when she starts to take school seriously. Sandi in particular exploits the other three Fashion Club girls' insecurities for her own personal gain. The few times we see Sandi's mother, the elder Griffin is shown to be of similar temperament. Mrs. Griffin is equally good at manipulating Helen Morgendorffer's insecurities, with a hint that the same drama was played out in their High School days.
Sandi regularly attempts to find some way to find a weakness in Quinn to emotionally dominate her and naturally makes her seem like she cares very little for Quinn, especially given a few episodes where she seems to relish in spiting Quinn. However, a few episodes have her acting genuinely nice to her friends or even looking out for them. (Mostly shown in the Grand Finale, suggesting she might have been growing up.)
- When you get past her exaggerated racial insecurities, Mrs. Landon (Jodie's mother) also comes across as a prime Alpha Bitch.
- Averted with Brittany. Popular, blonde, rich, head of the cheerleading squad, she displays all of the indicators... Except for the fact that she's slightly less vicious than a shoebox full of puppies. The only Alpha Bitchy thing she ever does is... Attempt to get back at her boyfriend. She even ends up thinking of Daria and Jane as some kind of friends and is generally nice to them (though being quite the airhead often lets insensitive remarks about how unpopular or unperky they are, often even trying to help when they have trouble, despite only succeeding once.
- And Another Thing...: "...You look fifty!"
- Animated Actors: Featured in several marathons and specials and media interviews.
- Arch-Enemy: Ms. Angela Li, to Daria.
- Armor-Piercing Question: It wasn't even a particularly pointed question, but when Jane was furious with Daria in "Dye! Dye! My Darling" over supposedly deliberately ruining her hair out of jealousy of her relationship with Tom, Trent patiently asked Jane to clarify the situation until Jane realised she was being completely ridiculous:
Jane: I could kill Daria.
Trent: Whoa. Why?
Jane: I'm telling you, she wanted to screw up my hair. Anyone with the least bit of painting experience couldn't possibly do that bad a job by accident.
Trent: I didn't know she paints.
Jane: Huh? Oh, she doesn't.
Trent: Then why'd she think she could do your hair?
Jane: Well, she didn't... actually I kinda made her.
Trent: Why'd you do that?
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Quinn on a stalker: "You mean I nearly went out with... A computer geek?"
Daria: Yeah, why should you be afraid of mass murderers, serial killers, torturers, cannibals, puppy kickers...
- Art Evolution:
- In the first few episodes of season one, they still seemed to be working on character designs for their art style, as several minor characters have faces that can vary between the usual somewhat cartoony look, and unsettlingly more realistic than usual.
- Starting with Season 4, the series uses what is likely digital coloring to make the animation more vivid. The final season's color scheme is upped even further.
- Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Happens throughout the series, as the characters mature. Notably in the Musical Episode when Daria was convinced that Quinn wouldn't even realize she was missing during a hurricane. Fast-forward to the end of the episode, it's shown Quinn really was worried about them the whole time. Jane also thought that Trent Would have no idea she was missing, though due to his sleeping through everything rather than him not caring. she would have been right, had Helen not called and ordered him to put on some pants and come to the house with the others.
- Ax-Crazy: Ms. Angela Li, in "Fizz Ed," shows traits of this, complete with ax.
- Bad Boss: Ms. Angela Li.
- Bare Your Midriff:
- Quinn nearly all the time, and it's notable since she changes wardrobes a bit.
- Kevin in a rare male example.
- Jane's outfit when she tries to look "normal" for an assignment.
- Daria's costume when she was in personality drag as Quinn.
- Several of the outfits chosen by the Fashion Club, especially Sandi's outfut for the party at the end of Is It College Yet?
- Beautiful All Along:
- Daria, in "Quinn the Brain;" the scene where she dolls herself up like Quinn is a perfect example. Daria, all dressed up and posed in Quinn's doorway acting like she's doing some last minute primping to go out on a date, is beautiful enough to make Quinn worried that her usual suitors (in on the plan to make Quinn her normal self) might actually go for Daria.
- This kind of bites Daria in the ass in "Through a Lens, Darkly." She gets contacts, but stops wearing them because they're uncomfortable, but goes without glasses anyway because she likes how she looks, despite being Blind Without 'Em. She spends the episode struggling with her vanity, because she likes not having to wear those gigantic Coke bottles, but worries that her core tenets of personal integrity are being compromised.
- Bee Afraid: The episode "Antisocial Climbers", has Kevin giving Brittany a bouquet of freshly picked flowers... filled with bees. It takes a few stings before she starts running.
- Berserk Button; Jake Morgendorffer, Ms. Barch and Anthony DeMartino have them:
- Don't talk to Jake about money, or any subject which might tangentially brush up against the same airspace as a memory involving his father. He so often drops into rage-filled tirades about how unhappy he is with the way his life has turned out, the world in general, or what his father did to him as a child that you have to wonder why his Type A wife never had him prescribed mood altering drugs (or Mary Jane, considering the allusions that are constantly made to both Jake and Helen's counterculture lifestyle in the sixties.)
- Mr. DeMartino's right eye bulges practically out of its socket every time he becomes agitated, and his speech patterns, while halting at the best of times, become even more emphatic. Usually the source of his agitation is a particularly vapid student (Kevin or Brittany are the usual culprits,) but anything that angers him will set that eyeball popping.
- Ms. Barch's husband up and left her after 22 years of marriage. Her response? To drop into anti-male tirades whenever the opportunity arises and to torment and humiliate her male students. A prime example comes in "Too Cute," when she forces Kevin to wear makeup and fake deformities as well as a large wad of cotton in his mouth until "[his] ego is crushed." She also makes no attempt to hide her clearly discriminatory grading practices, in which men are often graded poorly because of their gender while females are given good grades which are not always deserved (see "The Lab Brat.")
- Beta Couple: Jodie and Mack.
- Big Bad: Ms. Angela Li.
- Big Ball of Violence: The Three J's get involved in one with some other suitors of Quinn in "Daria Dance Party." Ms. Barch and Kevin's dad start one in "Mart of Darkness."
- Big, Screwed-Up Family: Played for laughs with the Morgendorffers (until "Aunt Nauseum,") but painfully straight with the Lanes.
- Big Storm Episode: The Musical Episode "Daria!" is also one of these.
- Bittersweet Ending: Quinn's subplot in "Is It College Yet?" — she confronts Lindy about her drinking problem and it seems like their friendship is over. They make up, but the implication is that Lindy still isn't willing to accept that she has a problem and will continue drinking.
- Bi the Way: Alison. The "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue implies that Lindy may be as well, though it never comes up in the episode.
- Book Ends:
- In the first episode "Esteemsters," Daria takes a psych test at school and is berated by her parents for the results (her being assigned to the Self-Esteem Class.) In the final episode "Boxing Daria" we see in a flashback that the same thing happened to Daria when she was a young child. Additionally, during the psych test she takes in the first episode, she tells the instructor that she sees "a herd of beautiful wild ponies running free across the plain." In the last episode, while the instructor from several years ago is explaining the Rorschach test, she says that "Another [child] might see a herd of beautiful wild ponies running free across the plain."
- Also in "Esteemers" Daria is successfully able to answer Mr. DeMartino's question about the meaning of "Manifest Destiny". In the season 4 finale, "Is It Fall Yet?", Quinn answers the exact same question (but with her own twist on it), showing her Character Development of finally embracing her own intelligence.
- Bowdlerization and Edited for Syndication:
- When the show was moved to "The N" (Nickelodeon's spin-off channel, featuring teen-based shows,) almost every single episode had scenes excised and/or altered from their original versions. Some episode titles were changed ("The F Word" and "It Happened One Nut" were changed, respectively, to "Fail" and "Daria Gets a Job,") and some episodes were simply not aired at all due to their content ("My Night at Daria's" due to sexual content, and "Boxing Daria" for reasons unknown [most likely the censors thought Daria coming to realize that she may be the cause of her parents arguing may be too depressing for viewers].)
- "Arts 'n' Crass" contains a great in-universe example: Ms. Li and Mr. O'Neill want Jane's painting of a lovely young teen girl in Lawndale High's upcoming art show, but without a poem, written by Daria, about the girl being bulimic attached. Li and O'Neill suggest altering the poem to something not associated with eating disorders — "I don't want to change the intent of the poster, I just want to make it more palatable," says O'Neill — but Daria and Jane both refuse on the grounds that making the alterations actually does change the intent of the poem. Ms. Li eventually changes the poem for them and enters the painting into the art show without their permission. As a result, Daria and Jane deface the painting during the art show and nearly get in trouble, until Ms. Li foolishly admits to Helen that she took Daria's poster, altered the content, exhibited the poster without Daria's permission, and now is punishing Daria for defacing something that Ms. Li stole from her.
- Airings of "Depth Takes a Holiday" in the UK have the British swear words like "bollocks" and "wankers" edited out.
- LOGO's airings of Daria are more like the DVD version: The content that The-N edited is there, but, due to music licensing issues, the music is changed to generic, soundalike production music (except for Splendora's "You're Standing on My Neck" [the theme song to the show].)
- Boy Of The Week: There's about a fifty percent chance Quinn will have one in any given episode; if she doesn't the Three J's are likely filling in.
- Daria herself had the title character of "The New Kid," Ted.
- Brand X: Lackluster Video, Deuce Hardware, Pizza King, and Payday (a big-box store).
- Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs:
Jane: You know how fads are. Today, it's brains, tomorrow, pierced tongues. The next day, pierced brains.
- Break the Cutie: Quinn (in "Monster"), Jodie (in "Gifted"), and most notably Stacy (in "Fat Like Me" - also a Crowning Moment of Awesome for her). Arguably the single most defining character trait of Jake. This is pretty much the premise of the show. The world is attempting to screw with Daria, and failing miserably.
- The Brainless Beauty: While Brittany qualifies, she has nothing on Tiffany. Subverted with Quinn, who (until "Is It Fall Yet?") worked at being 'not smart'. Inverted with Daria, who deliberately keeps her appearance plain (and is noticed immediately for her looks whenever she makes any change - "Quinn The Brain" and "Through A Lens, Darkly" are the go-to episodes for this inversion).
- Jesse of Mystik Spiral is a male example, especially in the script for the proposed Mystik Spiral spin-off.
- Anthony DeMartino. Ms. Barch has beaten him up several times, a classic rock DJ gave him a heart attack and broke his knee during a school-sponsored roller hockey game, he's seen two of his friends (the unnamed childhood friend from "Anti-Social Climbers" and Mr. O'Neill) get married to women he loathes (his mom and Mrs. Barch respectively), he once had to teach a sewing class as part of a deal on his teacher's contract, he grew up with a negligent mom who cared more about the men she dated than her own son, he lost his car in a card game, he was forced to go on a casino cruise despite the fact that he's a recovering gambling addict, he has to deal with moronic students like Kevin and Brittany on a daily basis it's a wonder he was never committed to a mental hospital. The only times DeMartino ever had a Throw the Dog a Bone moment were when he forced Ms. Li to sign the new teacher's contract that promised a 10% raise in salary, and the events of "Is It Fall Yet?".
- Tom Sloane has been this sometimes. More specifically in "Psycho Therapy", where he was indirectly humiliated in front of a internet's webcam seen by several people.
- Kevin and Quinn as well, sometimes.
- By the Lights of Their Eyes: Shows up in "The Teachings of Don Jake".
- The Cassandra: Daria certainly fills this role, especially in "Psycho Therapy", when her family is at the psychology "spa":
Daria: Mom's resentful that she has to work so hard, which obscures her guilt about actually wanting to works so hard; Dad's guilty about being less driven than Mom, but feels it's wrong to feel that way, so he hides behind a smokescreen of cluelessness. Quinn wears superficiality like a suit of armor, because she's afraid of looking inside and finding absolutely nothing. And I'm so defended that I actively work to make people dislike me so I won't feel bad when they do. Can I go now?
Doctor: Tell me Daria, have you ever been hypnotized?
- Daria: "Excuse me..."
- Upchuck: "(flirtatious purr) Feisty!"
- Principal Li tends to use the phrase "Laaawndale High" at least once in any conversation, spoken with a particularly reverential tone.
- Ms. Barch: "Come on, Skinny!" (and some slight variations) to Mr. O'neil whenever she finds a suitable love spot.
- Sandi: "As President of the Fashion Club, I..." and "Gee, Quinn...." (usually preceding a put-down)
- "Those paintball thingies hurt!"
- A squeaky exclamation of "Eep!". Started with Brittany but by the end of the series, nearly every main character had used it at least once.
- Quinn, to Helen: "Muh-om!"
- Jake: "Dammit!"
- Many characters: "What are YOU doing here?" Shows up at least once in most episodes.
- Character Title: Made explicit by the title card for every episode, "Daria in..."
- Censored Title: When the show aired on The-N, the season four episode "The F Word" had its title changed to "Fail". Also, season three's "It Happened One Nut" was changed to "Daria Gets A Job".
- Chez Restaurant: Chez Pierre's.
- Clark Kenting: Unintentionally invoked. When Daria started wearing contacts, Mr. O'Neil didn't recognize her at first. Then again, he did have a history of not being able to recognize his students.
- Class Trip: The Mall of the Millennium for economics, paintball with Mr. DeMartino (who used to go to military school) and O'Neill's field trip to the woods.
- Clothing Switch:
- Daria wears Quinn-like hiphuggers and a midriff-baring tee when trying to shock Quinn out of being a "brain" in "Quinn the Brain".
- Quinn wears Daria's clothes for a "Fashion Don't" costume party in "Monster".
- Clumsy Copyright Censorship: The two movies were released on DVD with practically all of the licensed songs excised from the soundtrack and replaced with production music. The DVD version of the entire series is the same (licensed songs replaced with generic music), save for three copyrighted songs that had to be kept because the characters were singing along.
- Glenn Eichler lampshaded this in a note that's included in the DVD release.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Not quite F-bombs, but something similar from the musical episode "Daria!", when Jake is trying to make it home through heavy traffic:
Jake: God God dammit!
Very Moral Family: Oh me, oh my!
Jake: God God Dammit!
Very Moral Family: We hope that you die!
- Comically Missing the Point: During a family trip to an Psychotherapy Spa (not a real spa) Jake loses his temper at Helen and accuses her of only pretending to be a perfect mother when in reality she'd sooner prefer losing herself in her work. This causes Helen to come to the realization that she may actually be a horrible mother, running from the room, with Daria and Jake following her. When the therapist asks Quinn what she thinks of all this, she simply quips: "You'd probabaly get more business if you just offered facials."
- Also, a little bit earlier in the above scenario, Helen and Jake are roleplaying and (very unflatteringly) imitating each other. When it comes to a head, and a chastened, depressed Helen murmurs, "Everyone hates me" before she runs from the room, Quinn asks her, "Are you being Daria now?"
- Kevin and Tiffany are essentially the poster children for this trope.
- Coming-of-Age Story: The later seasons
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