Daria: the Voice of the Disenfranchised

Well, the day has finally come that I don’t have to watch Daria (in varying degrees of quality AND sound) on my external. Actually, I spoke a little too soon, I still have to if I want my Daria fix until May 11, 2010 when the show finally makes its appearance on DVD. I wish i could say I wasn’t having a bit of a fanboy moment and geeking out here, but who among you would believe if I even tried to pass that off as the truth?

For those of you who don’t know (and I can’t imagine who that would be) Daria was everyone’s quintessential angst-ridden sarcastic teen from the late 90s to the early 2000s. In a weird way, she sort of came to represent the disenfranchised in the high school caste system. I say that it’s weird because, popular or not, most people I know felt marginalized in high school at one point or another. But there was something so empowering about the character who chose to be a spectator, rather than involved. It may not be a healthy way to live life, but high school’s not always the healthiest environment either and yet, most of us still go.

Anyway, back to the show and less about the emotional validation I received from a cartoon… Daria was one of those rare moments in television where there was no real stigma placed on being unhappy or dissatisfied with the way that things were. Life wasn’t sugarcoated, because let’s be realistic, sometimes things just aren’t how you’d hoped they’d be. Sure, a lot of the times Daria painted an excessively dismal picture. It wasn’t always true to life, but at least it had the audacity to suggest that wanting something more wasn’t as awful as most people would have you believe.

Keep in mind, this show was also way before the whole jaded anti-hero became a television staple (if you’re confused about what I’m talking about, watch just about any Bryan Fuller show and you’ll see what I mean) so Daria wasn’t really faced with a very welcoming audience. Still, it managed to last for 5 seasons so it didn’t do too terribly. This is probably because she eventually became a pretty popular underdog. Like I said earlier, the universality of the high school experience is a pretty powerful component.

Still, perhaps the oddest part about Daria was the station it aired on… MTV. While I personally am not too big of a fan of MTV, I have nothing against them either. It’s just not really my scene I guess. But at the time that Daria aired, MTV was pretty much the enemy. The merchants of cool trying to sell the “outsider” lifestyle? It was sort of ironic, if it hadn’t seemed so insulting at the time. Then again, I was more of an angry youth at the time so, while my rage wasn’t justified, it was a little more understandable. But years have passed and I’m over that. All of that really, high school and everything it represented. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have fond memories, and Daria was one of them. So MTV, I’d like to personally apologize for all the hostility, and say thanks for actually releasing Daria on DVD. Not a criticism, but I have to say, it’s about damn time.


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