Archived Review: Daria

daria

[DISCLOSURE]:

Oh god, I almost forgot this existed! This was my first review back in the day, and I honestly barely remember it. Weird right? Well I guess the main reason I forgot about it is because I mostly review anime, and Daria is anything but that. The fact I originally reviewed everything but anime probably shows how much I was influenced by Nostalgia Chick back then. In fact, pretty much all of my old crappy reviews were influenced by the voice and writing of whatever reviewer I was obsessed with at the time. Hell, it was even Nostalgia Chick who made me want to watch Daria in the first place!

That’s probably why I forgot about it, because quickly after my first two reviews I became obsessed with JesuOtaku and GR Arkada, who weirdly enough are reviewers I don’t like now. And that was barely over a year!

So yeah, in general I don’t like this review very much. The writing here is pretty bad, and most of the good stuff are the things that are the most similar to Nostalgia Chick’s review. Which speaking of that, I’m going to put a link here. You should just watch that. It’s way better than this piece of crap I made.

Anyways, if you’re going to ignore my warning, you should also be warned that this review has been kept entirely in it’s original format. Which means that all spelling and grammatical errors that my idiot self left in last year will still be there. This is your last chance to run away and watch Nostalgia Chick’s Review. Seriously just do that.

Old Review Commence!

Introduction and Personal Opinion:

March 3, 1997 the popular MTV animated show Daria, aired its first episode. Along with its two TV movies the show ran for 65 episodes spanning 5 season taking place from 1997 to 2001 with the TV Movie “Is it College Yet?” ending off the show in 2002. Now you’re probably wondering why I am reviewing a show that ended almost 11 years ago, it also makes no sense considering I never saw this show until this year. Well I can say that it started at the end of last year when I saw ThatGuyWithGlasses.com members Nostalgia Critic and Chick list it off as one of their favorite TV shows. The premise intrigued me and so I checked the library website and to my luck the complete series was available for hold. I was lucky enough to be the only one on the waiting list and got it in as little as a couple weeks. Of course I was a little worried when I found out it was on hold because I myself was still a little skeptical on if I would actually like it, but I checked it out anyways.

To my pleasure I am proud to announce that this is probably one of the best TV shows I’ve seen that haven’t been dubbed or from BBC in a long time. Not to say I necessarily hate American TV, I just can’t really find that many shows that are anything more than popcorn pleasers like Supernatural for example. The only reason I watch it to this day is because it is entertaining and takes up all the free time I want to be taken up by an honestly good show. Daria is not like this though, in my opinion it is both investing, insightful, and entertaining. It’s surprisingly good show considering it’s for teens and the fact it tries to get across harsh issues of well the time period it was originally set in

Not to say it’s lost all of its relevance today though, in fact some of the issues carry over quite well. There are still anti-social/outcast kids out there and this is still a very relatable show for those kids. Which in a way is why I have attached myself to this show over the past few months you see I’m still pretty young and I can relate to Daria in a lot of ways. The fact that the oh so many idiots in my school cause me to cringe, the stupidity of society sometimes, and a small issue she has in the Season 5 episode 5 “The Story of D” which deals with insecurities as a writer. It’s because of this I have taken most of the messages in the show seriously. So this, in my opinion, is still one of the shows greatest elements, but enough of my personal experiences with this show I should probably actually review the plot and characters of the show and point out the few bumps that appear along the way.

Actual Reviewing stuff:

The story of Daria is about an anti-social, cynical, uninvolved, monotone voiced, high school girl named Daria Morgendorffer (Typical traits from the late 90’s children), who moves into a new town called Lawndale with her popular sister Quinn, and her parents Helen and Jake Morgendorffer. At her new school she has to deal with the stupid QB Kevin and his girl Britney, the Fashion Club (which includes her own sister), the perverted Upchuck, and a load of stereotypical teacher clichés. She also makes a very important friend named Jane Lane a young aspiring artist with the same cynical world view as her. Jane’s brother Trent also plays  a very significant part as Daria’s crush throughout the first three seasons but we’ll get to that later.

So at first this sounds like a pretty normal late 90’s girl power show that were common on Nickelodeon and Disney Channel and you would be right in some ways but this show is still quite different. It like I said before deals with some very interesting issues and deals with them in a very realistic way, unlike other shows where the biggest issues are what to do when you break up with people,. This show instead deals with being an outcast and even more complex issues as seen in Season 1 Finale “The Misery Chick”.  This episode is famous for dealing with an issue no one hopes to be in. It’s about a former high school star who comes back to Lawndale and precedes to be a jerk before dying in a freak accident leaving Daria and the rest of the school mesmerized at how to feel. This episode was also a great testing ground for Daria and Jane’s relationship, arguably one of the greatest aspects of the show.

You see there are many points throughout the show were one of them makes a decision that directly involves one of them in something the other thinks is stupid or morally bad. These episodes are always some of the greatest for character development with Daria and Jane who by the end of the show change quite a bit, Daria especially. Speaking of relationships though there are lots of other characters that deserve a proper mention before I get to the few issues of this show.

Let’s start with Jodi and Mac the only African American citizens that seem to be in the school. Now Jodi and Mac are involved in the system of society but they are also the people that are just as smart and observant as Daria and Jane. Jodi and Mac often have to deal with being placed in a certain role because of their race but by the end of the show they realize they have to deal with it. Other characters that get development over the course of the show are the parents who get to know more about their daughters as the show progresses and Jake because more and more sympathetic with Daria. This is apparent in the Season 3 episode 9 “Jake of Hearts” where because of building stress from making less than his wife and not being able to relate to his daughters, he has a heart attack. This forces Daria to admit her Dad’s morality and ect.

Next on the list of characters to discuss is Quinn, Daria’s popular and sometimes shallow sister. If you ever had to pin an antagonist on anyone in the show it would probably be her considering she and Daria constantly try to make each other miserable. This changes quite a bit though as over the course of the show Quinn slowly moves out of her position as a fashion obsessed popular kid into a smart more mature young adult. She along the way also becomes closer to her sister to the point where Quinn in season 5 asks her for advice multiple times, she also admits that Daria’s her sister to the Fashion Club at one point. You could argue that she gets just as much development as Daria and Jane.

Finally, we have the problems to deal with, first we should start out with what leads to this red herring.  Trent Lane is Daria’s love interest for, like I said before, the first three seasons. He is probably one of those people that seems the most realistic characters in the show, he has a band called Mystik Spiral but there thinking of changing the name. Now for these seasons he brings out a lot of the human feelings in Daria. You can see a prime example of this in Season 2 episode 12 “Pierce Me” where Daria gets a belly button piercing because Trent suggested it. Of course this crush ends next season when Daria realizes Trent’s not the most reliable person in Season 3 Finale “Jane’s Addition” where Daria and Jane try to get Trent to collaborate with them on a school project. In the end Trent doesn’t make the music for the project in time forcing them to go without it.

This is also a great point to talk about one of the only dents in the shows reputation. Tom Sloan is introduced in the same episode as Daria’s realization that Trent’s a lazy slacker, as Jane’s boyfriend. Now before we get to the elephant in the room all you Daria fans know about let’s talk about Tom’s personality, or should I say lack of personality. You see Tom is apparently a rich guy who is still cool enough by Daria and Jane’s standards. Yet he still is ok with getting into colleges with his status, and is also extremely mature for a high schooler, making him seem a little to unrealistic for the show. Alas though I don’t hate him or think he ruined the show like most fan. He is pretty good testing grounds for Daria and Jane relationship and I think he was pretty useful. The elephant in the room though… I can’t ignore that can I?

You see Tom was Jane’s boyfriend right. The answer is yes and this fact, throughout the beginning of Season 4, annoys Daria seeing as Jane her best friend spends more time with him now than anyone else. Then near the end of the season everything changes as Daria and Tom get along better and start to talk more with each other than with Jane. This leads to the assumption Daria is trying to steal Tom from her. Of course Daria with her strict set of morals that are apparent in many episodes including one of my favorites Season 3 episode 5 “The Lost Girls” where she bashes a magazine editor. So anyways she doesn’t try to do this but everything comes to a head in Season 4 Finale “Dye, Dye, My Darling” in which after getting in a fight with Jane, Daria proceeds to try to talk about it with Tom. Then they kiss, yep Daria and her strict set of morals!

Basically Daria stole her best friends boyfriend, and while they do handle this subject pretty well it just seems kind of out of place making it one the only problems with show. At least the spent a lot of the TV Movie “Is it Fall Yet?” on this plot point leading up to the kind of sloppy resolution. The resolution is by no mean terrible but Jane’s “I’m over it go date him” is a little too easy… But in the end it’s all worth it for the final results which Tom helps bring to fruition. He is one of the things that brings Season 5’s potency of character development, making it in my opinion a great final season. It really fleshes out Daria, Jane, and other characters a lot and it makes it one of my favorite seasons. I mean after some episodes like Season 3 episode 3 “Depth Takes a Holiday” the biggest filler episode of the show it’s nice to have a season which for the most part keeps itself character driven. So in the end Tom, in my opinion is the price we had to pay for lots of good character development.

Now before the end of the review I want to just say the ending to this series “Is it College Yet?” is one of the only TV show endings that has satisfied me since “The Tatami Galaxy”. It may be a somber TV movie but it brings a close to everything perfectly. Tom and Daria’s relationship, the fashion club, Britney and Kevin’s relationship, and Jodi and Mac’s subplot. In my opinion coupled with season 5 this was the best way the series could have realistically been ended.

The Verdict:

Overall I couldn’t recommend Daria enough. Though it may not be relatable for some anymore I still think it’s an entertaining, fun ride that most can still get something from. I learned a lot from it and I won’t be surprised if one day I rewatch the show. So basically if it interests you should definitely watch it! Goodbye and thanks for reading!

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