I’ve been posting various comments acknowledging the depths of some of the main characters from Daria, so I decided to round up all my thoughts and smash it into a short blog series. So what better character to start analyzing than the protagonist herself…
But before I get into the analysis, let me school you on the basics of this show.
Daria is an animated television series that aired on MTV for five satisfying seasons. It started in 1997 and ended in 2002. However, this is not where we first saw the cynical character Daria Morgendorffer. No, no! Daria first appeared on the crazy show Beavis and Butthead for a couple of episodes, and her presence earned her spin off series staring that oh-so-lovable dark humor and blunt sarcasm. Now that we have that kindergarten lesson out of way, it’s time to psychoanalyze the girl whose name is mentioned five times already.
Miss Daria lives an ordinary life with her mother and father Helen and Jake Morgondoffer as well as her sister Quinn Morgondoffer. She is the new kid in school at Lawndale High, but because of her expansive body of knowledge and unorthodox personality, she has automatically been labeled an outcast. This confirms Daria’s negative outlook on those around her, so she intentionally disconnects herself from her peers, which confirms THEIR negative perception of her. That’s highschool for ya!
Of course, Daria is more than an outcast stereotype. Just by watching the show, it’s obvious to see that she is also compassionate and patient. But most of us don’t know that Daria is no different from Quinn. Just like her sister, she wants to be accepted. Don’t believe me? Well take a look at the episode titled Depth Takes a Holiday.
Depth Takes a Holiday is one of the least popular episodes out of the series, but like it or hate it, this episode reveals the secrets behind Daria’s true nature. In this episode, Daria meets three rockers who represent the three most popular Holidays: Christmas, Halloween, and Guy Fawkes day. (Okay! I know Guy Fawkes day is non-existent here in the States, but hey! It’s popular in England.) Anyway, these rockers with bad attitudes automatically dislike Daria, yet Daria still goes out of her way to please them. She buys them pizza, she lets them stay in her house, and she helps them return to their world. Actually, Daria even recognizes their ungrateful behavior, yet she continues to help them. If Daria was dealing with any of Quinn’s friends under this circumstance, she would have just ignored them. But she doesn’t ignore those three in the picture above because they’re apart of her social group.
Don’t get me wrong. Daria is not a weak-minded person. She’s just a highschool student who wants to fit in with the peers who are like herself. Quinn has the same desire. Therefore, Daria’s similarity to Quinn emphasizes how stereotypes are exaggerated masks of ourselves. They are used to dissect our own personalities as well as others’ personalities in order to simplify the complexities of socializing and neglect the undeniable fact that every individual is an intricate mix of emotions.
But that’s just the beginning of the analysis. Daria is not that hard to figure out since we have a front row seat to her thoughts and feelings while watching the show. However, her sister Quinn and the Fashion Club members are the most confused individuals in the series, which explains why they cling onto materialism to heal their weakness. Quinn and her friends are the true outcast, and not Daria.