I’m ridiculously excited by the news that MTV will release a DVD collection of Daria: The Complete Animated Series in May 2010. It’s the best thing MTV ever did. It’s also quite possibly my favorite animated series of all time.
That’s not because it had terrific production values. It was a spin-off of Beavis and Butt-head, for pity’s sake, so what could you expect? But maybe it was less of a spin-off than a refugee, with its titular heroine escaping the moronic orbit of her former hosts to find new morons to observe.
I was going to write a long appreciation of the series in anticipation of the DVD’s glorious arrival until I remembered that I’d already written one a couple of years ago for Martin Kretschmer’s blog. I don’t have a whole lot to add to what I wrote then, to be honest.
The only addition I might make is that the thing I most admire about the character is her sincere indifference to the shifting sands of adolescent popularity. She’s not blind to the benefits of being sociable or outgoing, and there’s always the sense that she could work within that system if she wanted to do so. She’s certainly smart enough, but her principles and dignity keep her from it. She’s a conscientious objector, and an uncommonly funny and intelligent one at that. She’s the kind of teen-ager I wish I’d had the resources to be when I was that age, which is probably a little sad to admit, but it’s true.
Okay, one other addition would be that Daria also contains one of my very favorite constructs in fiction: when two women who are very temperamentally different manage to form a meaningful friendship from an adversarial starting point. In the case of Daria and her popularity-obsessed sister Quinn (vice-president of the Fashion Club), it’s a series-long evolution, and it doesn’t really pick up momentum until the last few seasons, but it provided some of my most lasting fond memories of the show.