Retro Rewind: Daria

Retro Rewind will be an ongoing series of blog posts comprised of my views on classic Movies & Television shows.


When I was younger (and dumber), I caught a glimpse of Daria on MTV and at first glance, it seemed like nothing more than a boring spinoff of Beavis & Butthead. It wasn’t until I bought the DVD on a whim that it became one of my all-time favorite animated series. Saying a show was “ahead of its time” has become a cliché’, but there isn’t any other way to describe the impact this show had.

Aside from the non-stop sarcasm (I’ll get to that later), the thing I loved the most when watching Daria was how they would take important issues such as teenage sex, death, and racism and discuss them without it coming off as preachy. There have been many shows that try to enlighten their audience on current events and more times than not, the show comes off as if it’s speaking to us from a pedestal. To have such a healthy balance between making us think and making us laugh is impressive for any show, let alone an animated series.

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I also liked how the writers for Daria made sure all the characters were likeable, even the dumb ones. It would’ve been predictable to have the popular kids (Kevin, Brittany, and Quinn) at school be obnoxious jerks, but to have those characters be genuinely good people who fans would actually like made the show even better.

While all the things I’ve talked about so far made Daria a classic, if the show hadn’t been funny, nobody would’ve cared about that other stuff. Fortunately, humor was never an issue. Sarcasm is one of my favorite forms of comedy and for those of us who have watched Daria know that you’re in for 22 minutes of it every episode. Her and Jane pretty much made a career out of delivering well-timed quips to anyone who came within 5 feet of them, and it was a joy to see every time.

Daria gave teenage girls a much-needed role model back in the late 90’s and it showed girls not to be ashamed of not fitting in with the “cool kids,” but to embrace it instead.


 

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