Recently at my job there was a Flashback weekend for the decade of the 1990’s. My childhood decade was coming back for just a short time. There was a costume contest and sadly I had trouble figuring out what to wear. After looking through the internet, I decided to go dressed up as a character. Eventually, I settled on dressing up as Daria Morgendorffer from the hit MTV show Daria. I was aware that my dad had watched Daria when I was a child. I didn’t get to watch Daria much as a child because of my age. None the less, I am able to enjoy Daria now and I love it.
After watching the first few episodes I began to learn something from this cynical and bland teenage girl. There was no enthusiasm to her as she walked through the halls of Lawndale High School. Not wanting to do anything with the group around her as she navigated through high school as a willing outcast she was able to help a few people out. Although, this smart girl has no one around who “gets” her she is able to bring a smile to everyone’s face. Whether it be Brittany the airhead cheerleader or her sister Quinn who doesn’t acknowledge that she has a sister. Daria tends to have the answer to everything.
The first episode that this became evident is when a popular high school alumni football player,Tommy Sherman got killed. This pompous and arrogant adult could give a crap about how he treated people. He hit on teenage girls and called out the unpopular people for being unpopular. Right before Tommy died, he was standing on Daria’s locker. She asked him to move by saying excuse me. However, he thought she was looking to have a conversation with him. After going through a conversation proving to her about how much of a jerk he can be he walks away only to get killed by the goal post that was going to be named after him.
Soon after he died, Lawndale entered into a period of mourning. All of those around him who viewed him as a jerk began to feel horrible about themselves. Brittany, the popular cheerleader who was hit on by him and rejected him felt horrible that she hated him. She goes to Daria for advice calling her the doom and gloom girl. This is a name that strikes Daria to the core. After giving Brittany the advice that she needs to help her move one, she finds that everyone starts asking her these questions. She gives all of them the advice they need to move on from the tragedy. She talks to her friend Jane about what had happened the day before only to make Jane more upset.
Jane Lane was able to show how this tragedy had affected her more than Daria. She too was laughing and joking with her about him right before he died. Through Daria’s attitude, Jane distance’s herself from her for a bit. Jane has an amount of guilt inside of her about how she felt about Tommy before he died. When Daria explains to Jane about why she and everyone else feels guilty things get better. Jane realizes that she feels bad for having ill feelings towards a dead guy right before he died and still hates him after. The way that Daria helped Jane and her fellow classmates deal with Tommy’s death shows what death is through grief.
Also, Daria was known to be the smart girl that no one gave her credit for. Right from the first episode she was put on the spot to answer a question in history class. Answering the question correctly which lead to the stressed out teacher asking the class a question related to manifest destiny. No one but Daria new the answers that he wanted. When Daria had raised her hand to answer the questions in relation, he told her to stop showing off. No one around Daria, except Jane Lane, realizes Darias potential. Not even her parents realize how smart she is, as they ask her to change to fit in with her peers.
Daria’s parents are the type of parents that now kid wants. Mom is a workaholic, while her dad stresses out over the tiniest of details. Neither of them realize that Daria mocks them on a daily basis. Both of them over look Daria’s potential in school and to actually get into a good college. Her parents tend to look at Quinn as the golden child from time to time due to her attitude and desperation to fit in on a daily basis. The fact that Daria’s parents don’t tend to look to her as an equal is what leads to her realizing another life lesson, how to be yourself. T
Throughout many episodes Daria says quotes that tend to go with everyday life. Going back to the first episode again when she is put in self esteem class. When she passes the class in record time, according to school standards, her parents are proud of her hoping that this will make a difference in her life. Admittedly, this does not make a change in her life at all and she remains the same cynic as usual. At the end of the episode, Daria manages to convince her parents to do something fun with her that she enjoys for once. When this does happen she is shown to be happy and enjoying herself with her parents for once. Throughout the series, not even peer pressure can stop Daria from being who she is.
Daria’s life is shown to be a mock of high school life and cliques. She is not one to give into the peer pressure from others while being the one to give out good advice in the case of a tragedy. Daria comes with many life lessons through what life is all about. All Daria wants to do at the end of the day is be who she is, even though she is cynical and has a dry sense of humor.