"We may be tokens, but we're damn good-looking ones."
November 9, 2015 6:28 AM   Subscribe

The entire series is streaming free on MTV? Truly, there exists a just and loving God.
posted by schroedinger at 6:51 AM on November 9, 2015 [2 favorites]

Looks like it requires a Hulu subscription. SAD DAY.

I loved Daria as a kid when it was first on. When I re-watched it after I graduated from college, I realized I still liked it, but I identified more with Jodie than with Daria and Jane.
posted by dismas at 6:58 AM on November 9, 2015

Growing up, I was definitely more of a Jane than a Daria. Either way it was definitely a show that impacted me a lot as a kid. I remember wishing I could see more of Jodie since the few lines she got were insightful to me, particularly her feelings on the pressures of being the only black girl at school--the clip posted in the FPP is something I've remembered every time I find myself in that situation.

I rewatched it a few years ago though, and I realized that Daria's awesomeness really only works in the context of the 90's. It shined through all the other crap on MTV, and was something that could be easily contrasted against shows like Clueless, Baywatch, Jerry Springers, dull daytime talk shows for housewives, and everything that had a dearth of female characters, or whose female characters were certainly nothing like Daria. More importantly it aired while being an unfashionable nerd was a legitimately unpopular thing to be.

Today I feel like our culture has shifted enough that Daria probably wouldn't work if it were aired again. Her style basically says "hipster" and her type of teenage sarcasm and wit would come off as sort of snooty. And it also feels like, moreso today than 20 years ago, a lot of feminists would be quick to defend Quinn's type than Daria, the whole "it's my choice to be conventionally feminine!!" thing...that's a discussion for a different thread. But basically, her type of character is no longer uncool, so it's harder to present her as uncool. Actually, I kinda recall an episode where being smart became a "trend" at school, and Daria went through a minor identity crisis because of that.
posted by picklenickle at 8:20 AM on November 9, 2015 [7 favorites]


posted by jonmc at 8:25 AM on November 9, 2015 [2 favorites]

Daria was such a good show; the husband bought me the DVD collection when it came out a few years ago. I loved that Jodie was a black character who challenged the good and bad stereotypes thrust on her. (Mack too). Really the best part of the show was that you think it is "Haha look at these people that are so shallow and Daria sees through them," when it's actually about how the pressure to conform is harmful even to those who succeed at it. Daria's family and fellow students get a really thoughtful treatment, and Daria herself is not allowed to just despise them; she has to deal with and accept that they are people and have to be treated as such.

Although having only two black characters (well, four if you count Jodie's parents; I don't think we ever see Mack's) was part of the commentary, in hindsight it does suffer from overwhelming whiteness of the cast. If it was written now, I think they would try harder on that one.
posted by emjaybee at 8:25 AM on November 9, 2015 [2 favorites]

Phoebe is also a brilliant standup comic. Highly recommend her in all her forms.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:30 AM on November 9, 2015

The thing that blew me away about the show when it was first on the air (and still blows me away) is that it was brought to you by the people that created Beavis and Butthead.
posted by el io at 9:15 AM on November 9, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm not sure it was "the people that created Beavis and Butthead" - it was a spinoff but I don't think Daria is a Mike Judge creation. But even so, there is a lot of trenchant social commentary in Beavis and Butthead (and Mike Judge's work generally, e.g. King of the Hill). One great B&B moment: a music video shows a scantily-clad woman writhing around "sexily" and Beavis says something like "Um, what's wrong with her? Is she hurt? Is she OK?" And Butthead says something like "You dumbass, that means she's HOT." Beavis frequently takes on the role of the "wise fool" who can see society as it is because he is too dumb (or innocent?) to pick up on the layers of meaning imposed by a patriarchal (and otherwise oppressive) culture.
posted by Mallenroh at 9:58 AM on November 9, 2015 [5 favorites]

I'm just gonna copy-paste a couple old comments I wrote about Daria, because I still feel the same way:

I can't actually tell if it's going for parody or playing it straight.

That's exactly how I've come to feel about the original Daria cartoons. I mean, are we meant to identify with her (as I and I'm sure most fans did), or are we supposed to kind of hate the shit out of her (which I do now because upon rewatching I've come to realize that, man, she was an asshole and so was I)?
Daria is, much like its MTV sibling, appreciable on a completely different level from an adult perspective.

It turns out she was just as much a brat as Beavis and Butt-Head. A different kind of brat--a smarter kind, anyway--but a brat nonetheless. This fact was completely lost on me when I was consciously emulating her attitude in grade nine.

(I had a friend in high school who, for all intents and purposes, actually was Daria. She had the attitude and the look. Hi, Sara!)
posted by Sys Rq at 10:21 AM on November 9, 2015 [3 favorites]

I too got the DVDs as a present a few years back, and am still annoyed that all the original score was ripped out and replaced. I loved Daria. I certainly had my Daria moments, but my external attitude was much closer to Quinn's...because Southern. I was probably close to 30 before I threw up my hands and went full Daria....because fuck that shit.

Now, in my 5th decade, I'm probably closer to Jane than anything else.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 11:59 AM on November 9, 2015

I really like this article, and the love for Daria, but one nitpicky thing to point out:

The Bechdel test is from 1985. It is DEFINITELY older than Daria. This probably bothers me more than it should just because for all the cultural prevalence of "The Bechdel Test" I still feel like Dykes to Watch Out For is greatly underapppreciated (even including the macarthur grant).
posted by wyndham at 1:35 PM on November 9, 2015 [3 favorites]

Daria is a really interesting thing to come back to years later. I find that what interests me most at this point, as much as I love and will always overidentify with Daria herself, is her mother as a character. I want an entire show about ex-hippie-turned-corporate-lawyer Helen Morgendorffer trying to balance her lawyering and her mothering of her very different children and having relationships with her sisters and dealing with Jake doing whatever the hell Jake is doing.

I assume this is just an offshoot of the ongoing I Am An Old Now thing where I also have a lot of feelings about Angela Chase's parents as actual well-rounded human being characters and not just punchlines in their kids' stories.
posted by Stacey at 7:01 AM on November 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

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