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Daria
Daria Title Card
Genre Sitcom, Teen Drama, Dark Comedy
Format Animated Series
Created by Glenn Eichler
Susie Lewis Lynn
Starring Tracy Grandstaff
Wendy Hoopes
Julián Rebolledo
Marc Thompson
Alvaro J. Gonzalez
Country of Origin United States
Language(s) English
No. of Seasons 5
No. of Episodes 65 (List of Episodes)
Production
Running Time 22 minutes (approx.)
Production Company(s) MTV Animation
Broadcast
Original Channel MTV
First Shown 1997
Original Run March 3, 1997 – January 21, 2002
Status Ended
Wiki
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Daria Opening00:37

Daria Opening

Daria is an American animated television series created by Glenn Eichler and Susie Lewis Lynn for MTV. The series focuses on Daria Morgendorffer, a smart, acerbic, and somewhat misanthropic teenage girl who observes the world around her. The show is set in the fictional suburban American town of Lawndale and is a satire of high school life, full of allusions to and criticisms of popular culture and social classes.

Daria is a spin-off of Mike Judge's animated Beavis and Butthead series, in which Daria appeared as a recurring character.[1][2] Although Judge allowed the character to appear in the spin-off, he had no involvement in the production of Daria. The series was originally broadcast from 1997 to 2002.

PlotEdit

The series chronicles the adventures of Daria Morgendorffer, a cynical and sarcastic loner at Lawndale High School. Most episodes revolve mainly around how she deals with the absurdities of life, her relationship with her family (lawyer mom Helen, business consultant father Jake, and ultra-popular younger sister Quinn), and her friendship with Jane Lane, a fellow outcast and an aspiring artist.

CharactersEdit

Daria Morgendorffer (voiced by Tracy Grandstaff) — As the title character, Daria is present in every episode and central to almost every plot. Cynical, pessimistic, and sardonic to a terminal degree, Daria's intellectuality and academic insight is often counterbalanced by her pronounced lack of motivation. Although Daria has been involved in school activities and social events, it usually takes bribery from her parents, threats upon her grades by Principal Li, or cajoling by either Jodie Landon (at school) or Jane Lane (in social situations) to enlist her participation. Her trademark characteristic is that she rarely changes her facial expression or the tone of her voice, except for a small satisfied smile akin to the Mona Lisa's when she is pleased, and sometimes a high-pitched "Eep!" sound when something is suggested or hinted that involves Jane's brother Trent. In the later episodes, she was more frequently drawn as sad when under emotional stress. Bemused by the world around her, Daria usually reacts to the stupidity of her classmates, faculty and family with a caustic remark, and only lets her emotions show in times of deep frustration. In her spare time, Daria likes to write, but she is generally reluctant to make her work public.

Quinn Morgendorffer (voiced by Wendy Hoopes) — Daria's materialistic and vain younger sister and school diva. Quinn's only interests are fashion and dating, and she holds a Vice Presidency in Lawndale High's self-appointed Fashion Club. Polar opposites, she and Daria rarely agreed on anything (except to disagree) for most of the series, and Quinn is so ashamed of being her sister that she claimed status in her social life as an only child, variously referring to Daria as her cousin, a distant relative, or just "that girl who lives at my house". Quinn is occasionally hinted at as having high intelligence but is simply disguising it. This intelligence begins to really manifest itself during her tutorial sessions in "Is It Fall Yet?" The final two seasons show a growth of her character, becoming gradually less superficial and more individualistic and intelligent. Quinn also begins to reconcile with her sister (going so far as to tell her entire class that Daria is her sister in "Lucky Strike", season 5), and by the end of the series she and Daria show some mutual respect.

Helen Morgendorffer (voiced by Wendy Hoopes) — Daria's mother, a workaholic corporate attorney and the family's principal wage earner. A former hippie, she and Jake lived with a colony of other hippies prior to officially getting married. After "outgrowing" her hippie years, she "sold out" and went to law school. She has a strained relationship with her two sisters, Amy and Rita, both of whom share similar personality traits with Helen's two daughters. She feels guilty about not being able to spend more time with her family, but as an attorney, is unable to do so. At a corporate retreat, the competitive and self-absorbed traits that Helen worries are so alienating to her family are the same traits that appear to put her on a fast track to a partnership (in the episode "Psycho Therapy"). At times it seems as if Helen's primary tactic as a parent is negotiation with Daria and Quinn. However, Helen does provide solid advice for Daria regarding school work (in "Write Where it Hurts") and her love life (in "Dye! Dye! My Darling"). She also supports Daria when she finds out that Li coerced Daria into making a poster and then altering it and then threatening to punish her and Jane for changing it again ("Arts & Crass"); when Helen threatens to sue the school over their treatment of Daria, it elicits one of Daria's rare smiles.

Jake Morgendorffer (voiced by Julián Rebolledo) — Daria's father. He had a strict military father, "Mad Dog" Morgendorffer, who has died and an emotionally distant mother, Ruth, and because of this tends to have mood swings and go off on rants about his childhood. His efforts to run a consulting business from home are generally unsuccessful. Despite good-hearted attempts at parenting and a genuine love for his wife and daughters, Jake is quick to blame others (such as clients, his own deceased father, and various public servants) and becomes inordinately angry over minor setbacks. When he talks up the subpar college he attended because he's sure Daria will attend there (not aware that Daria's academic brilliance will ensure she ends up at a much better school), Helen wearily notes that Jake holds onto illusions about his life so he doesn't have to face and be ruined by the facts.

Jane Lane (voiced by Wendy Hoopes) — Daria's artistic best friend and fellow outcast. While sharing some of Daria's misanthropic views and attitudes, Jane is much more lively and well adjusted than her best friend. In the episode "The F Word", Jane's response to an assignment to try something at which she thought she'd fail was to try to become a popular cheerleader. She did so effortlessly, but quickly became disgusted with the "in crowd" and returned to her old self. Jane also flirts with mainstream acceptance when she joins the track team, but quits after her teammates insult Daria ("See Jane Run"). Living with her older brother Trent, she manages to stay completely functional and content with life despite a complete absence of parental guidance or even presence. Aside from her friendship with Daria, her major defining characteristic is her artistic talent, for which she strives desperately to maintain her integrity, even going so far as to vandalize her art when a caption is changed for a school contest ("Arts N Crass") and to quit making replicas for money after realizing the negative impact upon her creativity ("Art Burn"). Jane likes to make postmodern art, and her favorite TV show is "Sick, Sad World."

Trent Lane (voiced by Alvaro J. Gonzalez) — Jane's older brother by five years, he has spiky hair and plays in a band called Mystik Spiral. A laid-back slacker, designed to be the stereotypical Generation X slacker of the 1990s, he's not sure whether or not he graduated from high school, and he drives the 'Trentmobile', a rickety 1973 Plymouth Satellite coupe. He sings and plays lead guitar in the garage band Mystik Spiral, though they're thinking of changing the name. He was also Daria's romantic interest for the first three seasons and, although he was aware of her feelings, it was never made clear whether he reciprocated them to any degree. They had a sort of non-break-up break-up in the Season Three finale "Jane's Addition", when they discuss a class project where Trent failed to assist Daria and Jane, and it became an implicit acknowledgment that it wouldn't work out if they ever dated. Compared with sister Jane, he seems to have had a harder time adjusting to the lack of parental support in his life. There have been a few occasions where Trent has helped mend fences between Daria and Jane, and it's strongly implied he knew what he was doing when he accomplished this.

Brittany Taylor (voiced by Janie Mertz) — Lawndale High's head cheerleader. Brittany embodies the stereotypes regarding blonde-haired girls. She has the trademark abysmally low intellect paired with an extremely high-pitched voice, which would frequently squeak in mid-sentence. Despite poor grades and a general lack of common sense, Brittany occasionally displays a modicum of intellectual depth, from devising a masterful battle strategy during a school-sponsored paintball game in "The Daria Hunter", to performing the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet in "Café Disaffecto", to making a powerful motivational speech to Daria when the latter was feeling hypocritical for being obsessed with her looks in "Through A Lens Darkly". Throughout the series, Brittany is romantically linked to Kevin, quarterback of the football team, although neither is completely faithful to the other. In the beginning of the series she tends to treat Daria and Jane with a degree of condescension but isn't cruel to them, while in later seasons she becomes one of the few people to talk to them regularly, recognizing their intelligence and taking their, often mean-spirited, advice.

Kevin Thompson (voiced by Marc Thompson) — The Lawndale High football team's quarterback and boyfriend to Brittany, although it's clear that neither are completely faithful to each other. Kevin fulfilled the stereotypical role of the dumb jock, displaying a dismally low ability to retain information and understand fundamental concepts. Kevin is profoundly stupid, tactless and insensitive, regularly insulting Daria even as he attempts to compliment her, although he almost never displays any genuine ill will towards anyone. Kevin's mother disapproves of his relationship with Brittany, fearing that he will impregnate Brittany and destroy his own future (as was the case with Kevin's own parents). In the series finale it is revealed that he failed his senior year and was held back while everyone else got to graduate, leaving his future with Brittany in jeopardy.

HistoryEdit

Daria Morgendorffer, the show's eponymous protagonist, first appeared on MTV as a recurring character in Mike Judge's Beavis and Butthead. MTV senior vice president and creative director Abby Terkuhle explained that when that show "became successful, we ... created Daria's character because we wanted a smart female who could serve as the foil."[3] Daria's original design was created by Bill Peckmann while working for J.J. Sedelmaier Productions during Beavis and Butthead's first season. During production of Beavis and Butthead's final seasons, MTV representatives approached story editor Glenn Eichler, offering a spin-off series for Daria, and a five-minute pilot, "Sealed with a Kick", was created by Eichler and "Beavis and Butthead" staffer Susie Lewis (although written by Sam Johnson and Chris Marcil). MTV approved a series order of 13 episodes; both Eichler and Lewis were signed onto the series as executive producers.[4]

The first episode of Daria aired on March 3, 1997, roughly nine months before Beavis and Butthead ended its original run. Titled "Esteemsters", the episode established Daria and her family's move from fictional Highland, the setting of Beavis and Butthead, to the new series' equally fictional locale of Lawndale. As well as introducing Daria's parents and younger sister as principal supporting characters, the first episode also introduced Jane Lane, Daria's best friend and confidant. Other than a brief mention of Highland, Daria did not contain any references to Beavis and Butthead.

Glenn Eichler said in an interview that Daria was intended as a spoof on high school and that he didn't want a "comfortable, alternative world." He said, "We didn't want anyone finding happiness, period. A basic tenet of the Tao of Daria is that life is not fair, and any fan fiction that concludes differently violates the secret Daria rulebook buried at the base of an unmarked peak in the Allegheny Mountains. Sorry!"[5]

Daria was first shown on MTV in the United States. Reruns were carried from 2002 to 2006 on the then-timesharing teen-oriented cable network The N.

Reruns of Daria began running on the American cable television network Logo in the fall of 2010. Episodes can also be streamed online on MTV's website and on Liquid Television's website.

EpisodesEdit

Daria has a total of 65 episodes spread over 5 seasons that were produced from March 1997 to January 2002. Two made-for-TV movies were also produced. The first movie, "Is It Fall Yet?", aired in 2000. MTV planned a six-episode sixth season, but at Eichler's request this project was cut down to a second movie, "Is It College Yet", which served as the series finale in January 2002.

ReferencesEdit

  1. Kuczynski, Alex (May 11, 1998). "Beavis and Butthead's Feminine Side ". . http://www.nytimes.com/1998/05/11/business/beavis-and-butt-head-s-feminine-side.html?scp=2&sq=Beavis%20and%20Butt-head&st=cse. Retrieved on 2010-08-11. 
  2. Rosenberg, Howard (March 3, 1997). "Brainy 'Beavis' Pal 'Daria' Spins Off ". Los Angeles Times. http://articles.latimes.com/1997-03-03/entertainment/ca-34294_1_daria-morgendorffer. Retrieved on 2010-08-23. 
  3. Mangan, Jennifer (1997-08-17-23). "Daria: Brainy = Zany in MTV's irreverent view of 'girl humor' ". Chicago Tribune. http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/chicagotribune/access/13512116.html. Retrieved on 2009-11-01. 
  4. "Daria FAQ ". http://outpostdaria.info/faq.html. 
  5. "DVDaria petition - Glenn Eichler Interview ". March 16, 2005 to January 2, 2006. http://www.the-wildone.com/dvdaria/glenninterviewsfull.html. 

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