Brainy, sardonic Daria Morgendorffer tries to fly under the radar at Lawndale High School, and she’s doing a pretty good job of it… sometimes.
In a Nutshell
Daria is an animated sitcom that stemmed from Beavis and Butt-Head. Daria made her first appearance on Beavis and Butthead on MTV in the 90s. The series focuses on a sardonic, brooding, sassy main character in high school and how she deals with… well, people. She has one best friend, and that is Jane Lane, she has a crush on Jane’s brother Trent.
Jane is artistic, and she’s a painter, an artist, and a creator. Trent plays in a band, and he’s not that great — but, we will let him have this one. Daria mainly focuses on Daria learning to operate the world around her — the hardships, the friendships, the relationships, and her family above all.
Meet the Characters
Daria Morgendorffer is the main character of the show. Voiced by Tracy Grandstaff, Daris has appeared in every episode of Daria. She is also central to every plot in the show, even if it’s not about her. She is cynical, pessimistic, sardonic, but incredibly smart. She is smart beyond anyone’s measure, and she knows that, and everyone else does too. She does not like to go to school functions, parties, or be in the public because “bad things always happen when she leaves her room,” but, her parents often bribe her. 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. She is seventeen and 5’2, and an incredible writer.
Quinn Morgendorffer is the opposite sister of Daria, who never claims Daria in public. She is also in the fashion club, and that being said — she can be considered to be selfish. She is not smart like Daria at all, and often has trouble in school, focusing on boys more often than anything else. Boys are always fighting over her, and she sees that as the most important thing in the world — above all else. Wendy Hoopes voices Quinn. Quinn and Daria are opposites, and they rarely agreed on anything (except to disagree) for most of the series. 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.”
Jane Lane is voiced by the same voice of Quinn, Wendy Hoopes. She is a fellow outcast like Daria which is why they might have been drawn to one another — the first time they meet is in “self-esteem class” where they cheat to get out of the extracurricular because Jane has taken it multiple times. While sharing some of Daria’s misanthropic views and attitudes, Jane is much more lively and well-adjusted than her best friend. Jane likes to make postmodern art, and Jane and Daria’s favorite TV show is “Sick, Sad World.” Jane is one of the best friends Daria will ever come across, and she will always be there for Daria. Jane knows how Daria is and still decides to be her friend, even despite her crush on Trent that she will never ever mention, ever.
Trent Lane is the sort of love interest of Daria and brother of Jane Lane. He wears spiky hair and plays in a band called Mystik Spiral. He is lazy and does nothing with his day but sleep and eat — usually, that’s it. He can be called a hermit. He is an older brother by five years, the second youngest child in the family, and the only other Lane still permanently residing in the Lane household. Jane and Trent’s parents are never interested in their lives or always away on trips — so, they have the house to themselves. A nice, laid-back slacker, designed to be the stereotypical Generation X slacker of the 1990s, he does not say whether he graduated from high school, and he drives the ‘Trentmobile,’ a rickety 1973 Plymouth Satellite coupe. While Trent always knew Daria had a crush on him for three seasons, it was never actually stated whether he liked her back to any degree.
Jake Morgendorffer voiced by Julián Rebolledo. Daria and Quinn’s neurotic, long-suffering, but well-meaning father. He had a strict military father. Jake often has mood swings and rants for a majority of the series — but, no one listens. His efforts to run a consulting business from home are unsuccessful. Despite good-hearted attempts at parenting and a genuine love for his wife and daughters, Jake is quick to blame others and becomes inordinately angry over minor setbacks.
Helen Morgendorffer is voiced by Quinn and Jane’s Wendy Hoopes. Daria and Quinn’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. 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 and her love life.
Where, When, and How of Daria
The plots of Daria largely concern a juxtaposition between the central character’s jaded, sardonic cynicism and the values/preoccupations of her suburban American hometown of Lawndale.
The time is 1997, the first episode of Daria aired on MTV. Everyone went in a craze; she was a popular character on Beavis and Butt-Head for her sardonic nature and sarcastic replies. The audience loved her, and they loved her so much she got her own show that lasted until 2002.
The show made history being one, a female-driven show and two, an animated show going against the norm. The show proved that it was okay to be brooding and introverted. You did not have to be extroverted; it’s okay to be who you are. Daria never complained about who she was or wanted to be like anyone else, and she even had a boyfriend for the duration of the show.
The show had five seasons, two films, and created a cult following soon thereafter. The show went on to be something great and even ended — the show was not something that was gone before its time, it was perfect the time it was on and had a closing ending.
Plus, the song “You’re standing on my neck” is a cult classic because of the show, listen below!
Why It’s Awesome
The show is awesome because even now it ages well. There is nothing bad about this show — it’s perfect in many ways. Daria is a little bit of all of us, even if it was a phase in high school, she is all of us. What makes her an amazing main character is her filter — she does not have one and thus makes the audience smile at the sarcastic replies that she does say.
Often times, you are rooting for Daria and Jane because while Daria may be brooding and sardonic, she is aware of reality. Jane is the same. They are aware of the realisticness of reality, and they adapt to it quickly; which, is something a lot of the characters on the show can never adapt to.