Daria Morgendorffer

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For the TV series of the same name, see Daria (TV series).

I don't have low self esteem ... I have low esteem for everyone else.

Esteemsters,


Daria Morgendorffer
DariaMorgendorffer.gif
First appearance Scientific Stuff (Beavis and Butt-head)
Last appearance Is It College Yet?
Voiced by Tracy Grandstaff
Episode count 16 (Beavis and Butt-head)
65 (Daria)
2 Daria TV movies
2 Beavis and Butt-head TV movies (one non-speaking)
Information
Gender Female
Age 14-15 (Beavis and Butt-head) 15-18 (Daria)
Occupation Student at Highland High (Beavis and Butt-head)
Student at Lawndale High
Student at Raft College (by the end of the show)
Family Jake Morgendorffer (father)
Helen Morgendorffer (mother)
Quinn Morgendorffer (sister)
Amy Barksdale (aunt)
Rita Barksdale (aunt)
Erin Chambers (cousin)
Ruth Morgendorffer (paternal grandmother)
"Mad Dog" Morgendorffer (paternal grandfather, deceased)
Grandma Barksdale (maternal grandmother, name unknown)
Significant other(s) Tom Sloane (ex-boyfriend)


Daria Morgendorffer is a fictional animated character from two of MTV's animated series: Beavis and Butt-head and Daria. In 2002, Daria placed at number 41 on TV Guide's list of the Top 50 Greatest Cartoon Characters of All Time for her role in the two shows. She was voiced in both incarnations by Tracy Grandstaff.



Contents

Character Overview

Daria verbally obliterates the Z-93 DJs for being annoying ("Jake of Hearts")

The character is a smart, snarky, sensitive teenage girl in an otherwise "normal" environment. This is to say that she doesn't fit in all that well, and was often subject to ridicule - and would ridicule back, poking at the idiocies of her peers, her elders, and herself. Though the outcast of her school, she appears to have earned a degree of grudging, nearly surprising respect from her fellow students. (Surprising because there's little evidence that they are capable of appreciating her.) She attempts to fly under the radar and blend into the background, but keeps getting drawn in to situations against her will, where she either restores sanity or causes things to descend into further chaos.

A career aptitude test in "It Happened One Nut" said she'd do well as a mortician: "Your lack of interest in personal interaction makes you an ideal candidate for working with the dead." She was not happy with this result.

She has described Jane Lane as basically the only real friend she's ever had. "The Daria Diaries" states she was "always invited to slumber parties" as a pre-teen, but only because she had an adult library card and could bring along sex-filled romance books.

Her starsign is Scorpio ("Beavis and Butt-head: Chicken Soup for the Butt").

Daria has a high intelligence for her age group, knowing about a wide variety of subjects and noted to be both at the top of many classes and getting repeated A grades. Daria is also shown to be quite lazy and apathetic: she manages to get her high grades despite, as far as we can see, not working that hard.

Her experience with romance appears to have been limited for most of her teenage life, until Tom Sloane consisting largely of a few dates and odd flirtations (see Robert, Ted DeWitt-Clinton, and Trent Lane).

Her parents try repeatedly to make her more sociable and 'normal'. Although their intentions are well meant, these are usually in ways that are clearly unsuitable for Daria or outright idiotic; Daria attempts to get out of these at first opportunity, and more often than not, she usually ends up bringing out and showing why said ways don't work, on both her and those who are also dragged along with her.


Daria enjoys reading classic literature from a variety of eras and genres - including Catch-22 ("Quinn the Brain") and beatnik novel Howl ("The Old and the Beautiful") - and arty foreign films ("Monster"). She also enjoys incredibly trashy junk culture, including B-movies and Sick, Sad World, and is frequently attending Punk Rock and Alt. Rock concerts ("Road Worrier"), ("Ill"), ("Pierce Me") and playing incredibly violent video games ("The New Kid", "The Story of D"). She collects medical teaching supplies and replicas of medical oddities. ("The Daria Database", "Of Human Bonding")

She is often viewed as miserable and gloomy by her peers and by adults, something she states annoys her in "The Misery Chick": "I'm not miserable! I'm just not like them."

Daria before high school

D'awwww

Sources like "The Daria Diaries", "Cafe Disaffecto", and "Camp Fear" have established the following about Daria's pre-Highland High life:

  • Daria was a very grumpy looking baby and toddler. ("Diaries")
  • She and Quinn drove babysitter after babysitter to despair with their sibling warfare, causing one to have a heart attack. ("The Big House")
  • When she was young, she was forced to play the flute: she stopped in third grade and her dad accidentally ran the flute over two years later. The tune of 'Pop Goes The Weasel' brings back bad memories. ("Cafe Disaffecto")
  • Daria found it hard to fit in at school and early on decided to stop bothering. Her parents would be called in to school time and again over this. ("Boxing Daria")
  • The Morgendorffers visited the Grand Canyon when Daria was around ten or so - Helen spent the visit on her cell phone to work. ("Diaries")
  • Young Daria had an adult library card. This meant she was invited to a lot of slumber parties by other girls, because she could rent out books with sex scenes in them (including Sons and Lovers). ("Diaries")
  • When she was twelve, she started using Shakespearian insults on teachers. ("Boxing Daria")

Beavis and Butt-Head

See also Character design of Daria

Daria's [concept]... was the only note from the network, a development note, and I actually agreed with it that it'd be a good idea to have a female character who didn't necessarily like [Beavis and Butt-head] but kinda tolerated them.

—Mike Judge about Daria's genesis in the Beavis and Butt-Head DVD boxset,


Daria Morgendorffer, as depicted in later episodes of Beavis and Butt-head


In Daria's first incarnation as a recurring character on Beavis and Butt-head, she formed a female, intelligent foil to the two male dunderheads. (She was, a producer/writer for the show stated, "the smart girl who hung around with Beavis and Butt-head because it annoyed her parents.") Often, the two would openly mock her and refer to her as "Diarrhea." Daria was named by Mike Judge after a girl at his school who'd had that name... and also been nicknamed "Diarrhea". He cites David Felton as coming up with her look ("like Lynda Barry") and with the character, though other sources credit Glenn Eichler.

Beavis and Butt-head took place in a small town called Highland in Texas, where Daria, Beavis, and Butt-head were in the ninth grade at Highland High.

Tracy Grandstaff's voice for Daria starts off sounding normal and gradually become deeper and flatter, though the full monotone version from her own series would not be completed until "Esteemsters".

Though she is not amused by their antics, she does not have the passionate hatred for them that Principal McVicker and Coach Buzzcut have nor does she really believe there is any hope for them either as Mr. Van Driessen had. At times, she would also make fun of the two for their stupidity. In the episode U. S. History, she turned around to talk to the duos and said they'll never graduate, and she told them that "to graduate" means to be all done with the final year of school.






In It's a Miserable Life, it is stated that Butt-Head had been responsible for giving her a negative outlook on boys. In the final episode of the series when the boys "died," Daria expressed the sentiments that Beavis and Butt-head did not have very bright futures to look forward to. She was one of the few characters that the duo never managed to drive crazy as they had with many other students and teachers. In the Marvel comic books, however, the duo did manage to push her closer to the edge than they did in the TV show.

This early version of Daria was not as sarcastic or cutting (at least not to the lads) as she would be in Daria, and in a number of episodes would be shown trying to explain simple concepts or solutions to them, sometimes without any jokes at their expense at all. This side of Daria would be played down in her own show. (In the Beavis and Butt-head comic book, Daria was more prone to sarcastic remarks.) Butt-head was more willing to listen to her (and usually called her by her real name to her face), while Beavis appeared to irritate her more than Butt-head.

In one episode, Daria's snarky mouthing off to then-President William J. "Bill" Clinton earned her some amused, and probably unwanted, respect from Beavis and Butt-head. "Daria's cool," Butt-head informed Beavis.

In an off-canon canon interview on the CBS Early Show (January 2002), Daria was asked whether she still keeps in touch with the duo, and replied: "I'd like to but first, they have to figure out that when the telephone makes that funny sound, you're supposed to pick it up and say hello."

Daria at Highland High school

Daria giving an aural report, from This Book Sucks

This early version of Daria was a far more active and involved student at Highland High, taking part in a number of extracurricular activities. In some of these, like in Daria, she was forced into it:

  • In her Debut episode "Scientific Stuff" She was pushed forwards by the Science teacher Mrs. Dickie to work together with Beavis and Butt-head and come up with a valid science report, albeit reluctantly, she agreed.
  • She was forced by her parents to join the school paper in "Sporting Goods", where she was promptly made into a fashion reporter because of her gender. Something she was not exactly thrilled about.

However, in other situations, she was taking part on her own initiative:

  • She gave a seminar about her report on Urban myths and legends, for which she interviewed Beavis and Butt-Head, in the school auditorium.
  • In Issue 11 of the comics she participated in the Thanksgiving parade wearing a costume.
  • In Issue 14 Daria is the head of a Model UN Nations meeting at the Highland auditorium, where she represented France.
  • In "Walkathon" she was collecting pledges for a fund raising marathon walk.

She could also be seen in "Incognito" sitting next to Earl, the school thug, and being quite blase about his violence.

Once she made the jump from supporting cast to series lead, Daria would become a lot less engaged with events or with people. In a retcon, Daria presented her as having never been engaged with other people, and her becoming more engaged and accepting others became a theme throughout the series.

Daria

The Morgendorffer family from left to right: Quinn, Helen, Daria and Jake.

In her eponymous series, Daria is a bespectacled, plain, unfashionably dressed, but highly intellectual and seemingly cynical teenage girl who is portrayed as an icon of sanity in an insane household, with her vacuous, fashion-obsessed sister Quinn and career-obsessed parents Helen and Jake.

The new show moves her to the middle-class suburb of Lawndale. She attends Lawndale High School, where on her first day she meets Jane Lane, the artist and classmate who will be her first real friend and her best friend through the rest of her high school life. Their strong friendship and mutual endurance of gloomy adolescence was a motif of the series, which survived despite Jane's boyfriend, Tom Sloane, becoming Daria's.

While much of the show is a vehicle for Daria's droll deadpan monotone one-liners, a recurring plot element in early seasons is Daria standing up to misused authority, leading some fans to conclude that her apparent cynicism is only skin deep or at least that she is only cynical in the classical sense. The jump to main character also makes Daria become more angsty: she is now shown to have problems connecting to people or dealing with people she cares about.

Daria and Jane in Is It College Yet?

Daria's personal views on politics and religion are subject to intense debate. Because she so often speaks with a sarcastic or cynical twist, one cannot always be sure she means what she says. In early episodes, she often said that she didn't have a conscience, but it was repeatedly shown that she did have one. Although she could say cruel things to other people (especially Quinn), there were also cases where she acted out of kindness (e.g. The Old and the Beautiful, I Loathe a Parade, Is It Fall Yet?).

According to the episode "Lane Miserables," her height is 5'2". Her eyes are brown, per an interview with Glenn Eichler and general implications made in "Through a Lens Darkly."

Unlike most animated characters, Daria and her counterparts aged during the duration of the series. When the series began, Daria was a sophomore in high school and would graduate by the end of the series. (Depending on when she moved to Lawndale, as a Scorpio, she could've been fifteen for the first couple of episodes) When she graduated from high school in the show's final TV movie, she was 18 years old. By the time graduation arrives, Daria's character has undergone noticeable growth. She graduates from Lawndale High, winning the Dian Fossey Award "for dazzling academic achievements in face of near total misanthropy", and crowning her acceptance speech with the assertion that "...[T]here is no aspect, no facet, no moment of life that can't be improved with pizza."

Daria's Growth

I come off as a cranky, know-it-all curmudgeon. Distant, aloof and arrogant. Cynical, negative and smug. And -- as bizarre as this may sound -- some people apparently feel this is a bad thing.

—Daria on herself, in "Is There A Spin Doctor In The House?",





Though the series was a rich one, replete with interesting characters and multiple points-of-view, it was mostly the story of one character, Daria herself, and her evolution.

An annoyed Daria, forced to deal with people she'd rather not ("The Misery Chick")

At the beginning, she can be fairly characterized as smart, cynical, and a little ruthless. She is not afraid to physically rough up her little sister when the latter clearly deserves it (note the ending of The New Kid). She is not afraid to take a series of very risky, manipulative actions to call attention to her school's principal's unethical behavior (This Year's Model). She has, by her own admission, never had a real friend until Jane Lane; She has, however, alluded to her own consideration of Beavis and Butt-head with some slight affection. During her freshman year at Highland High School, Daria was seen as spending time with the two boys for the purposes of her own amusement, to manipulate them as subjects for a science class project and a school newspaper photo-essay, and because her association with the two boys bothered her parents.

As time went on, Daria would have to face the flip-side of her high standards and cynicism: an ugly judgmental streak (Partner's Complaint), problems with living up to her own standards (Through a Lens Darkly), fear of trying (The Story of D), and excessive unpleasantness at people who didn't deserve it (Camp Fear). She also became vicious and unpleasant when Jane had boyfriends, fearing that Jane was going to be taken away from her; Tom Sloane would tell her how stupid this was, citing that Jane was constantly talking about Daria. By the time of "Psycho Therapy", Daria was quite calmly stating "I'm so defensive that I actually work to make people dislike me so I won't feel bad when they do", showing she was aware of this flaw within herself.

Daria and Jane in their natural habitat ("Jake of Hearts")


Flashbacks to Daria's earlier childhood would also show that she'd been a loner since a very young age, preferring to read rather than play with the other kids because she couldn't get them to understand her and was getting picked on over it; she decided to stop trying, claiming the other kids didn't interest her. She was a voracious reader ("Boxing Daria") and mainly only liked people who were in books, irritated by a world she found to be idiotic ("Is It Fall Yet?"). She would openly state she'd prefer to read than try to meet people. ("Camp Fear") She also had a questioning nature, responding (at age 6) to an explanation of Rorschach blot tests with the question "then why don't I just draw my own picture?", and would avoid taking part in activities she didn't enjoy unless she was forced into it. She has ended up with a reputation as a gloomy "brain" as a result - however, in "Quinn the Brain" she admitted she was stuck with this reputation because others had put it on her, and she didn't actually like it. As per "The Misery Chick", she is irritated that people keep assuming she's upset or wrong somehow because she's not like them.

Daria usually attempts to avoid engaging with the world, preferring to mock and snark at the things that annoy her rather than take action. She is often drawn into situations against her will, either by circumstance or because her parents/school forced her. In Highland, she was pushed into working for the school newspaper by her parents ("Sporting Goods") and while she did take part in a charity walk-a-thons ("Walkathon"), she used it as a way to extort money out of Beavis and Butt-head and cause them physical pain. Sometimes, she decides on her own that she's had enough and is going to sort something out ("This Year's Model") and other times she needs to be prodded ("Fizz Ed"). Sometimes, in order to force things to a head, she will deliberately make things unpleasant and difficult in order to get an opponent to back down ("The Big House"). She has said on several occasions ("Fizz Ed", "See Jane Run") that she avoids action in order to avoid becoming more isolated and seen as more of a malcontent, and that she disengages because she's too sensitive to put up with the world she's in ("Gifted"); she admits this last point causes her to miss out on things, but she believes it "works for me now".

Daria Morgendorffer, trapped in a situation she doesn't understand ("Fire!")

Daria started the series with an unspoken crush on Jane's older brother, Trent Lane, an attractive and cool twenty-something rocker. While Jane and Trent were aware of this, Daria never dared speak about it out loud (with the possible exception of "Depth Takes a Holiday", in which Daria, under the spell of Cupid, admits as much); eventually, after over a year (show time), she admitted a relationship between the two of them would never work. This was her only real experience of romance, and this inexperience and naivete would cause problems in S4 when she found herself becoming attracted to Jane's boyfriend Tom Sloane - and needed to have Trent bluntly point out that Tom had a crush on her and that this needed to be dealt with ("Fire!"). Her inability to handle the situation would cause the temporary dissolution of her friendship with Jane: she badly handled Jane's problems with her and Tom, ended up kissing Tom (and was horrified afterwards and near-immediately admitted it to Jane), and later took Jane at her word when she said she'd be okay with Daria dating Tom (Jane responded "and you believed me?!" when Daria pointed it out). While Daria managed to salvage her friendship with Jane, her own actions could easily have ended it and throughout Season 5 there would be moments where she "jokingly" brought the events up. Despite this, in "Boxing Daria", Daria states than Jane is the person she trusts the most.

Daria dissolves her relationship with Tom in 'Is It College Yet?', citing that they're drifting apart and will be taking two different paths in college. It can be argued that this shows greater emotional maturity (as she's recognizing things won't work) or that this shows she's still not fully matured in regards to romance (CINCGREEN argues this position in an essay on the character's development across the whole of the series). Notably, Tom and Daria are still amiable after the breakup.

In Is It College Yet?, the series' finale, Daria outlines what could be considered her own personal philosophy during her acceptance speech for the Dian Fossey Award:

"I'm not much for public speaking, or much for speaking, or, come to think of it, much for the public. And I'm not very good at lying. So let me just say that, in my experience, high school sucks. If I had to do it all over again, I'd have started advanced placement classes in preschool so I could go from eighth grade straight to college. However, given the unalterable fact that high school sucks, I'd like to add that if you're lucky enough to have a good friend and a family that cares, it doesn't have to suck quite as much. Otherwise, my advice is: stand firm for what you believe in, until and unless logic and experience prove you wrong; remember, when the emperor looks naked, the emperor is naked; the truth and a lie are not 'sort of the same thing'; and there is no aspect, no facet, no moment of life that can't be improved with pizza. Thank you."

Daria and her parents

Daria, embarrassed to receive parental affection.

Her parents had been trying to get her to be more sociable and conventional since a very young age, both out of concern and out of frustration. While their intentions are noble - "Boxing Daria" made it clear they did this because they were upset that their daughter was unhappy, and "Is It Fall Yet?" had Helen admit she was afraid of Daria becoming permanently antisocial - their methods have mostly failed, only causing Daria to become irritated and clam up. Early attempts were shown to be asking Daria to just keep trying to play with the other kids and simply taking a book away from her at Camp Grizzly so she couldn't hide behind it, both options being crude and having the opposite effect.

Most of their modern-day attempts had the same effectiveness, and usually showed them to be somewhat clueless about how to deal with their daughter. Despite that, she's sometimes recognized they're trying to help and she does love them: she's attempted several times to help her parents, usually sounding uncomfortable at the prospect of talking frankly to them, such as when she encouraged her father in "Jake of Hearts" and consoled her mother in "Psycho Therapy". In the latter, she admits she deliberately clams up around them because she knows they'd be attentive and she'd rather they weren't; in "Of Human Bonding", she tries to convince her father not to try bonding with her for the same reasons. In the latter, she also showed problems with opening up to him.

In one of her darkest hours, "Dye! Dye! My Darling", Daria turned to Helen for help and comfort. In "Write Where It Hurts", Helen also showed some sharp insight into parts of her daughter's psyche. IIFY? shows that Helen believes her daughter isn't naturally antisocial but uses it as a mask, and wants to stop this; in "Boxing Daria", she says she and Jake know Daria withdraws from the world as a way of dealing with things.

Jake has a pet name, "kiddo", for Daria and will sometimes turn to her if he needs help or advice, like in "Aunt Nauseum". As he rarely pushes her to do things, she seems to get on more amiably with him than with her mother. In "Of Human Bonding", Daria thought: "he's afraid to be afraid. That's what's so heartbreaking. He's my father; shouldn't I let down the barricades for once and tell him I think he's a hero?" (She didn't.)

Relationship with Quinn

Three year old Daria being irritated by toddler Quinn (Monster)

This can be summed up with two words: total war. The two are very resentful of the other and that their differences regarding social standing and personalities drive a large amount of the conflict in the series; Quinn won't even admit for most of the series that Daria is her sister (which irritates Daria). This goes back to Quinn's infancy: flashbacks to toddler Daria who her angrily wanted to "punish" baby Quinn for being loud, angrily yelling "Why can't I be an only child?!", and trying to stop footage of Quinn being filmed. Photos in "The Daria Diaries" even show Daria opening a door so Quinn, taking her baby steps, may wander outside!

Both sides love to antagonize the other. Daria goes out of her way to go to places where she knows Quinn doesn't want her to go and embarrass her sister by existing in front of Quinn's friends. In "The Invitation", Daria sounded mildly impressed when Quinn got in a really vicious dig at her. Daria has also tried to deliberately ruin things for Quinn: in "The F Word", she tried to 'fail' at preventing Quinn from being allowed to go to a fashion sale.

When they're not insulting or irritating each other, their dealings often resemble a business transaction such as laying out terms of requirements, expenses, exceptions, and final payment. On some rare occasions the two sisters have worked together to achieve some goal, usually to get out of trouble or to avoid it; these earlier team-ups were also done in a business-like fashion, such as when Daria incites Quinn ("That Was Then, This Is Dumb"), with an offer of some form of payment or benefit, to gather scandalous blackmail information about their parents.

In spite of these differences, there does exist a level of sibling love between the two, even if they refuse to openly admit it. Daria has, to her discomfort, sometimes found herself helping Quinn: she backed her up against the Fashion Club in "Just Add Water", guilted herself out of embarrassing her sister in "Monster", and openly told Quinn "there's nothing wrong with you physically" in "Too Cute" when her sister was obsessed with (imaginary) imperfections. When Quinn has come to Daria for serious advice, Daria has given it to the best of her ability.

Daria has shown some sharp insight into her sister. In "Psycho Therapy", she stated Quinn "wears superficiality like a suit of armor, because she's afraid to looking inside and finding absolutely nothing"; in "Lucky Strike", she snaps at Quinn that she knows she's not stupid.

In a Daria-penned essay "Please Pass the Peace Pact", Daria talked about "the Morgendorffer Accords (also known as the "Kitchen Counter Talks")" being "signed" after fifteen years. Both girls agreed to respect bedrooms as sacrosanct and to have equal access to "essential resources" in the bathroom and kitchen ("the refrigerator and the bathroom. No one wants a replay of the bitter Cold Cream War of 1998").

By the final episodes, their relationship warms considerably. In "Aunt Nauseum", she even says to Quinn that they won't be arguing as adults like their mother and aunts do.

Relationship with Aunt Amy

(Which is which?!)

While she only appeared in three episodes, Aunt Amy was highly significant for Daria's character: she shows a possible way an older Daria could turn out, something both of them were aware of in "I Don't". They share similar intellects and sarcastic humours, and were shown to get on extremely well. Later, Daria would be shown turning to Amy for advice and assistance.

In "Aunt Nauseum", however, Daria was disillusioned to find Amy was just as flawed as her mother and Aunt Rita, and was only contributing to a problem. Daria and Quinn had to solve it themselves, and Amy recognized that fact.

Daria and Jane

Hi, I'm Daria, go to hell.

—Jane imitating Daria in "The Invitation",






Jane is the first and only friend Daria has ever made, by her own admission. Despite her history of deliberately isolating people and walling herself off, she almost immediately befriended Jane after the girl showed a similar cynical sense of humour. In "The Daria Diaries", she early on described Jane as "snide, resentful, and anti-social. Finally, a friend."

An absence of Jane, and the fear it'd be permanent, in "See Jane Run" saw Daria begin to talk to herself. (Even she was bemused by this)

In "Is It Fall Yet?", she admitted to admiring and liking Jane's aura of confidence: "you know exactly who you are, and nobody's ever going to con you into thinking you don't." Voice actor Tracy Grandstaff has suggested "maybe she admired Jane so much because Jane was socially at ease, better looking, made out with guys, and didn’t have the same hang ups?" (In a darker side to this, she suggests The Kiss may have happened because "Maybe Daria figured that Jane could land another guy easier than her? Maybe she thought Jane really wasn’t that into Tom?")

Jane is the person Daria trusts the most. ("Boxing Daria")

Relationship with classmates

Daria, Jane, and two people they can never escape
Maybe that [essay] about feeling like a big misfit whom everybody hates. The other kids will really relate to that.

Timothy O'Neill, talking with Daria in "Cafe Disaffecto",


  • Brittany Taylor: A popular, bubbly, air-headed cheerleader, another antithesis of Daria. Despite their wildly different... everythings, Brittany appears to view Daria as her friend and is constantly approaching her to chat, even though Daria views her as an irritant and often makes derogatory comments to or about her. Daria will sometimes find herself helping Brittany ("The Invitation", "The Misery Chick"), while Brittany will sometimes go out of her way to help Daria ("The Old and the Beautiful", "Through a Lens Darkly"). She sometimes mentions Daria's unpopularity or plain looks, but unthinkingly (as if they're simple facts) rather than maliciously. When she found out Daria was dating Jane's old boyfriend, she sounded both amused and impressed.
  • Kevin Thompson: A popular football player and Brittany's boyfriend. Daria enjoys manipulating his stupidity like she did Beavis and Butt-head, and often insults him: he doesn't understand most of her insults. Despite this, as with Brittany, he seems to view her as a friend: often seeking her advice ("The Misery Chick", "Too Cute") while unthinkingly bringing up her unpopularity at the same time, and in "The Big House" and "Ill", being concerned for her welfare. In "Partner's Complaint" though, he panicked at the idea of hanging out with Daria for any length of time. He once thought Tom was joking when he said he was Daria's date. ("Is It Fall Yet?")







  • Jodie Landon: She's one of the very few students that are on Daria's level intellectually. She and Daria sometimes clash over their divergent viewpoints or over Daria's misanthropic attitude ("Gifted", "Partner's Complaint", "Fizz Ed"). Despite their personality clashes, Jodie often starts conversations with Daria and will often seek her advice (Daria will sometimes snark instead). Daria sometimes turns to Jodie when she can't speak to Jane, such as when Jane started dating Tom ("Partner's Complaint") or when there were rumours about the sex life of Daria and Tom in school ("My Night at Daria's"). Notably, in "Gifted" both girls admitted they sometimes wished they could be more like the other. She is socially friendly with Daria: she has invited her to the Landon 4th of July parties; she is concerned with Daria's welfare.
  • Upchuck: The school's horn-dog. He first met her in "The Invitation" and has repeatedly crossed paths with her ever since, nearly always trying to flirt and get a date. Daria responds to this with horror and put-downs; Upchuck views her as "fiesty!", and in "The Daria Diaries" we find out he has included an unnamed outline of Daria in his website's "Gallery of Feisty Babes", implying a genuine crush.
  • Fashion Club: Quinn's fashion-obsessed friends. Daria's path has crossed with theirs several times, much to the horror of both sides; they'll only deliberately seek her out if they're desperate. The Club used to pretend they didn't know Daria was Quinn's sister. Daria and Jane once casually bet on whether the Club would dissolve, and then tried to nudge events ("Fat Like Me"). Sometimes, when Sandi Griffin is clearly trying something against Quinn, Daria will take minor action to help her sister ("Just Add Water"). Daria seems more sympathetic to Stacy ("Fair Enough") than to Sandi ("The Misery Chick").
  • Andrea: A moody Goth. Her one encounter with Daria was in "Mart of Darkness", when Daria and Jane caught her in an embarrassing situation: she angrily challenged them to "cut me up like you do everyone else". (This led to embarrassment all round when Jane admitted she just wanted to buy a shoelace.) This shows Daria is unpopular even with other outcast kids, seen as an unpleasant figure to be avoided.


Despite all these people she knows, and the clear signs that the former three view her as a friend, Daria has referred to Jane as her only friend. She has also referred to being isolated - and most of the school doesn't talk to her - and has made mention of going for days without being approached by anyone. ("Write Where it Hurts") However, Daria's conversation with Helen after her argument with Jodie in "Partner's Complaint" suggests that she sees Jodie as some sort of friend with the question "Do you think I'm a rigid, unrealistic, unforgiving self-righteous jerk who can't hold on to a friend?"

Outside of Jane and (briefly) Ted, Daria never had any real contact or attempts at contact with the other outcast students at Lawndale. (Glenn Eichler has stated this was deliberate: "[we didn't want to] create a comfortable alternative world where Daria and Jane could be stars among their misfit peers... to do a show about the misfits finding happiness through solidarity.")

Relationship with teachers

Any teacher that has Daria for any length of time develops strong opinions of her, and she often finds herself being drawn into their subplots:

DeMartino, turning to Daria for aid in "Just Add Water"


  • Timothy O'Neill, her Language Arts/English/Drama Horizons teacher, first met her as part of the self-esteem workshop she was stuck in. He recognises and admires her writing skills and grasp of literature & art, and often calls on her to give answers in class & volunteer extra work and will sometimes be 'inspired' by things she says to do class assignments (he seems to come up with them himself while she protests). Ever since she graduated from self-esteem class early (by cheating), he's viewed her as someone he's mentoring (and says he's her "writing mentor" in "The Lost Girls"); he never seems to acknowledhe that he's irritating her and that she'd rather he stop bothering her. In "The Daria Diaries" he says that dealing with Daria is emotional bruising for him but he sticks with it because she reminds him of himself as a child. For her part, he's one of her main foes: in "The F Word" she's barely bothered that he's had a major crisis of faith and only helps him to use him against Quinn; she deliberately goes for the jugular in "Cafe Disaffecto"; expresses contempt for his rewriting in "Arts 'N Crass"; and when talking to troubled kid Link, she says that even if O'Neill asked her to talk to the lad "I would never tell him anything anyway".
  • Anthony DeMartino, her History teacher, initially distrusted her because she, alone in his class, knew the answers and snapped at her to not show off. He later warmed to her, as she actually paid attention in class and was competent. She makes him want to kill himself "a little less", he tells her in "Just Add Water"; by the end of the series, he's cheering her as she receives an award for her academic achievement. Daria is quite happy to make sarcastic comments about his angry outbursts but otherwise seems to get on well with him.
  • Janet Barch is a teacher who is in favour of Daria's academic skill (and her being a woman). Daria finds Barch's rabid misandry laughable and is often willing to snark about her (out of Barch's hearing). "The Lab Brat" shows that Daria is adept at manipulating Barch when she so chooses, preying on her hatred for men to achieve her own ends.
  • Ms. Morris was a minor antagonist in "See Jane Run", with Daria finding herself clashing with the gym coach when she tries to sneak cheerleading practice into class. The two dislike each other and Morris thinks little of her, and does eventually force Daria to engage in the practice.
  • Principal Li is Daria's other main foe and, unlike O'Neill, deliberately malevolent: the two have clashed, both verbally and all-out, on occasions. Li is eager to use Daria's academic achievements for the benefit of the school and, along with every other student, force and threaten her into "volunteering" and schemes. Daria will sometimes push back and sometimes brings down Li's schemes outright ("This Year's Model") and a number of times has had to clear up or navigate a mess Li's made ("Just Add Water", "Antisocial Climbers"). The principal had to begrudgingly give Daria an award for academic achievement at graduation and was very unhappy about it, while Jane was surprised Daria didn't assault Li with the award.
  • Back at Highland High, Mr. Van Driessen made favourable comments about Daria's work ("U. S. History") and required her aid in "The Great Bungholio", while Daria seemed concerned for him when he was injured in (non-speaking part episode) "Field Trip"; Coach Buzzcut trusted her enough to be his second in command when he has to take potentially fatal action in "Water Safety"; and early science teacher Mrs. Dickie ignored Daria's protests and forced her to work with Beavis and Butt-head in "Scientific Stuff", saying it'd be a "learning experience" (did Daria piss her off at some point?).

While Daria doesn't think much of any of her teachers, at least during S1 - in "The Daria Diaries" she says she respects her superiors "if only I could find any", in regards to the faculty - the teachers often seem to think a lot of her, with a few exceptions (Morris and Li) who are corrupt and powerful figures.

Daria and Romance

Daria reacting to a compliment from Trent

While a simplistic view of Daria's personal view of relationships with boys can be seen as being summed up in a single line, spoken to Jane in Dye! Dye! My Darling: "Can you picture me making out with anyone? Ever?" (this view made even more so when taking Trent Lane into the picture from his very first appearance in the series) - an in-depth observation of the character reveals her to genuinely be interested in romance. However, she's:

a) Soured by by what she perceives as the idiocy of the young men around her in both Highland and Lawndale - "It's a Miserable Life" outright states exposure to Butt-head destroyed her interest in men (and shows her with a boyfriend from her class (Martin) in a world where Butt-head never existed). She has developed very high standards for men.

b) Unwilling to open up emotionally, and possesses a fear of physical intimacy

Her crush on Trent was never acted upon, even though Trent was aware of it and would sometimes gently play up to it; this was most notable in "Pierce Me", where he told her how "hot" a piercing would make her and in a clearly flirtatious way. She'd try to cover up her crush but sudden loss of speech ("This Year's Model") or outright blushing ("Pierce Me") made it obvious. "Pierce Me" showed a dream about Trent, which turned into a nightmare when she dreamt Trent would have no interest in her at all and find the very idea laughable. MTV's "It Takes Two to Tangle" described the situation as: "Quite a bit of sublimation and projection going on here, and not much action. Here is a rare example of passive-passive behavior."

Daria and Tom on a bad day

She would eventually realize they just wouldn't be compatible ("Jane's Addition"), thought she'd realized before that he would make for an unreliable partner and what made him seem cool now would be pathetic in later: when trying to visualize their future together, her first vision was Trent as an unemployed, lazy failure whom she had to support ("Lane Miserables"). After the end of the crush, her relationship with Trent developed into a good friendship with a lot of trust; Trent even came to her aid with some well placed advice in "Fire!", showing that he isn't as oblivious as he puts on, and was still friendly and helpful towards her even after she was on the odds with Jane.

Glenn Eichler has said he likes the idea of Daria being shipped with Luhrman from "I Don't", and the two did get on well and had similar interests: she even invited him to join her and Aunt Amy, a rare sociable act. It never went anywhere though. "Two to Tangle" described the pairing as doom while they have "compatible energy levels (minimal)", "they both suffer from over-reliance on ironic detachment."

She had a brief sort-of relationship with Ted DeWitt-Clinton, who showed interest in her and which she found herself interested in back; however, she automatically tried to push him away and was highly nervous of the idea of hooking up with him. She eventually decided to give it a try, but it was too late and they drifted apart.

Tom Sloane was her first real boyfriend and she initially tried to push him away, as with Ted; while guilt over betraying Jane played a part, Daria was clearly rattled by Tom's angry point that she was afraid to have a relationship in case it made her "vulnerable". Tom's different class would go on to cause problems, as would her recurring inability to verbalize any problems she had (such as her concerns he was taking her for granted, "Sappy Anniversary"); Daria tended to have a lot of problems, being nervous and edgy on many occasions as she tried to navigate unfamiliar territory. Despite problems, she was insightful enough to notice and eventually apologize when she was being difficult with Tom; the two would usually talk through these issues by the end of the day. Daria would sometimes turn to Tom for advice. "Two to Tangle" described the couple as "[having] a healthy sense of boundaries, probably due to the fact that hers are extra-thick and lustrous. His family background puts him at risk for hyper-exclusivity."


Daria and Tom on a good day

The relationship managed to last for almost a year, but came under clear strain (again) during the college application period, partly due again to differing views & social circumstances, and partly due to actions by Tom that Daria didn't properly challenge: she ended up losing out on visiting Boston campuses after Tom decided, without asking her first, to stay at Bromwell longer to network with a professor (to get "influence" sent both their ways), and didn't view it as a big deal that they'd have less time (and, when they were hideously late, joked it was a good thing they didn't get to Bromwell this late, pissing her off). In one scene in "Is It College Yet?" (cut from the DVDs) Daria had abruptly called off a date a few seconds after agreeing to it. She was also initially put off by his offer to try and use family influence to get her into Bromwell, saying to Jane it felt like "some crappy romance novel where the troubled young viscount decides the lowly stable girl is good enough for him after all" and that she didn't see why their word should mean more than her own abilities.

Soon after, Daria ended the relationship herself, stating they were taking two different paths and becoming bored of the relationship. (She spent the next few days despondent and fearing that "opt[ing] for honesty" was going to leave her alone and unloved) She would admit to Tom that, on reflection, she had enjoyed their time together, and the two agreed to remain on friendly terms.

In Look Back in Annoyance, Jane says that Daria has dated 4 of the 5 members of NSYNC. This is presumably a joke, although Daria seems annoyed with Jane for saying this. In 2012, according to "What I Think About Valentine's Day", Daria was dating an unnamed man who had the same sense of humour as her. She'd also decided she was in favour of Valentine's Day, largely because of the discount chocolates on the day after.

Actress Tracy Grandstaff has suggested that Daria may not have ever "expected a guy to be interested in her—until Tom came along... maybe she sat in the shadows crushing over the unattainable Trent for so long, she was blindsided by Tom’s attention…".

When her romantic fantasies were shown, they were often classically romantic ("Lane Miserables", and "Pierce Me" has her briefly dreaming that Trent wrote a song about her). Her actual relationship with Tom wasn't like that at all: as noted in "Sappy Anniversary", they usually stayed at each other's homes watching TV and rarely went out, and they rarely made romantic gestures. Daria was only bothered by this in "Sappy" when, after a discussion with Quinn, she became worried that the lack of outward romance meant she was being taken for granted.

In "My Night at Daria's", the issue of sex came up: it was said it had previously done so, and Daria hadn't been ready. When she decided to try with Tom, she was annoyed that he was more ready and verbally attacked him for keeping condoms in his wallet; she then bottled it at the last minute, and assumed Tom would want to break up with her over it. She would admit to him that the idea of that much physical intimacy was too overwhelming and scared her, with a secondary fear that Tom would be "disappointed" with her performance. In the earlier, off-canon canon IIFY Post-Movie Chat, Daria - shortly after IIFY? - said she found Tom sexy "in a "don't come near me, I'm not ready yet" sort of way".

Personal Style and Decor

Daria, the anti-Fashion Club

Her view on fashion is summed up in "Sporting Goods": "I hate fashion!"

Daria's personal style is considered off-putting by her mother and sister; Helen thinks she might be more popular with a less formidable look, and Quinn was delighted when she thought Daria had come to her for fashion advice in "Through A Lens, Darkly". She wore no makeup, causing confusion among the early Fashion Club in "The Invitation". In an 'interview' with Women's Wear Daily, Daria remarked "my signature look reflects my belief that you should not be judged by your clothes" and that "my boots send a clear message: "I can kick you" ". She did acknowledge that fashion "has a very important role in society, allowing us to capture the attention of potential sexual partners while signaling our social status to potential sexual rivals. It serves roughly the same function as the brightly colored pads on a mandrill's buttocks."

However, in "Lens, Darkly" she tried going without her glasses out of a desire to look more conventionally attractive; in the end, after accepting her bit of vanity, she decided to go back to glasses and "to hell" with people who found them a problem.

From Season 4, she began wearing light lipstick (or at least, that's what it looked like after the color palette changed). She had previously worn it in "Road Worrier" (because of Trent's presence) but denied she was wearing it. This is the only bit of makeup she has worn.

Aside from lipstick, Daria had - also in "Road Worrier" - changed her look by just wearing normal denim jeans and a black T-shirt, wore a zip-up gray fleece in Season 5 a few times, and has worn hiking gear in "Antisocial Climbers". Otherwise, she has to be forced into wearing or obliged to wear other clothes (such as "I Don't").

Daria's room at home has padded walls, railings, and cut off bars in the windows. She explains that the previous owner of the house had a family member with schizophrenia. Her mother wants to redecorate the room, but Daria manages to keep it the way it is, telling Jane that she "stumbles from time to time" whenever her mother brings it up.

At Lawndale High the only decor in her locker is a photograph of The Hindenburg Disaster.

Despite her non-interest in fashion, Daria agreed to review the notable fashions of 1998 for an off-canon canon piece in People magazine. [1] Likewise, Daria agreed to disclose her "Greatest Retail Regret" to a fashion website in 2011.

Daria's reading material

Books we've seen Daria reading include:

  • Poe's The Telltale Heart and Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness ("Gifted")

She also refers to Dante's Divine Comedy and the works of Henry James in IIFY and stories by Jane Austen in "Write Where It Hurts"; and owns a copy of The Iliad in "The Big House". For class assignments, she reads Henry David Thoreau's Walden ("This Year's Model"), Death of a Salesman ("Quinn the Brain"), Romeo and Juliet ("The New Kid"), Tolstoy's War and Peace ("Fair Enough") and John Gardner's On Moral Fiction ("Write Where It Hurts").

If it's old, morbid, or esoteric, Daria will read the hell out of it.

Daria's writing

I really shouldn't leave my protagonist all alone just after her eyeballs have burst.

—Daria, "Is It College Yet?" (scene missing from DVD),


StoryOfD 01.jpg




Throughout the series, we're told by other characters that Daria is a good writer. We rarely see any examples of Daria's writing, with the following exceptions: "The Daria Diaries" has part of a creative writing homework assignment' "Cafe Disaffecto" and "The Old and the Beautiful" have excerpts of her Melody Powers stories; you can see an English essay about "Death of a Salesman" on the DVD version of "Quinn the Brain"; and "Write Where it Hurts" shows multiple examples of rejected stories and ends with an 'adaptation' of one of her stories.

Outside of "Write", all of the above - as well as the "The Story of D", references to writing "violent revenge fantasies" in "Boxing Daria", and a mention of a story she was writing in "Is It College Yet?" (cut from the DVD) - show that Daria enjoys writing violent, disturbing fiction with a black sense of humor. They appear to be somewhat lurid as well. The first Melody Powers story (and likely the homework assignment in "Write") was deliberately over the top to get back at Mr O'Neill. The virus story in "The Story of D" used a variety of writing styles.

"Write Where it Hurts" has Daria writing a realistic light drama about her own family, depicting how she'd like their future to be. While idealized, she showed an ability to write realist scenes.

She has also written non-fiction, usually articles that launch a blistering attack on things she doesn't like: these include an article about her alienation (where she compares her class to "barnyard animals") in "Disaffecto", an article called "My So-Called Angst" in "The Lost Girls", her essay in "Quinn the Brain" where she argues that "Death of a Salesman" can be viewed as a morality tale with a happy ending, and an attack on the idea of begging for scholarship money as part of a scholarship application in "Prize Fighters". In all three cases, this material was well-received but in the application's case, the intended readers - Wizard Computers - didn't really understand it.

"The Lost Girls" and "The Story of D" have work by Daria (non-fiction and fiction respectively) submitted for publication; in the first case, O'Neill did it without telling her, and in the latter Daria did it after pushing from Tom. She was highly reluctant in "The Story of D", stating she felt she wasn't good enough for publication and being afraid of trying only to face rejection. The article in "Lost Girls" was going to be published in Val Magazine (until Daria annoyed Val); her virus story in "D" was rejected by the magazine Musings as not being suitable, but they encouraged her to submit again, something they rarely did.

Daria's websites

Cyberspace anonymity encourages antisocial, antagonistic behavior without the deterring fear of getting your ass whipped for real if you offend someone. So maybe it's a good thing after all.

—Daria, RPG website,


From the homepage of Daria's Net Nodule of Negativity v2



In "The New Kid", Daria wants to get the software to create a website - and thanks to MTV's own website, we saw that she did indeed create some! Her first two were called the Net Nodule of Negativity.

The first one was made in 1999. It features:

  • Chain Letter: "Forward this email to 10 people you know and trust. If you follow these instructions, within 7 days you will have 10 fewer friends."
  • Wallpapers of herself and .wav sounds of her family
  • A list of tongue-in-cheek hobbies

In early 2000, she updated her website to feature:

  • The Hall of Hobbies, where you could do a quiz to see which was the hobby for you
  • Chain Letter Corner, now where you can create your own chain letter. "Enjoy the illusion of choice, by selecting items from a limited, pre-determined menu."
  • Daria's Party Planner (no, seriously), which gives you random tips on how to make a party less horrible ("upon entering, note all exits") and the ability to personalise your own party invites.

Later in 2000 - when MTV were doing a retro-scifi theme for the millenium - Daria did a page discussing her experiences with online RPGs. She also had created two of her own, DariaMUD and Pseudonym's Quest. The MUD opens telling you "there is no magical land. There is only a gas station and one of those rent-a-mailbox places".

Daria's future

How Daria viewed her future self in "Lane Miserables"

For many years, all we knew about Daria's post-canon life is that she goes to Raft College. We don't know what course she did there.

In 2011 and 2012, two articles by Eichler would reveal some of her adult life: "Daria Morgendorffer's Greatest Retail Regret" has Daria refer to her family and wanting to avoid them, implying she (like many graduates during the economic slump) was still living at home, and "What I Think About Valentine's Day" reveals that Daria has found a new boyfriend. The latter, written in The Huffington Post, says that the Post asked Daria to write for them and gives her job as "Philosopher and Former TV Star".

During her teenage years, Daria (and others) have various ideas on how she might turn out:

  • In Highland, Daria is interested in becoming an investigative reporter/enquiring photographer combo and is left frustrated when the Highland Herald will only let her be a fashion photographer "because I'm a girl". ("Sporting Goods") Later on, in "Career Day", she hangs around the booth for an educational publishing company.
  • In "The Daria Diaries", she expresses a desire to be a writer... "a bitter, angry hack who starts fights fistfights at cocktail parties."
  • She gives an honest view of how she wants things to be in "Write Where it Hurts", during her junior year: in her story, she's a married woman and a crusading writer whose columns influence people. She's getting on well with both her mother and Quinn.
  • "The Daria Database" and other points reveal that during S2, Daria is saving up to buy herself a remote cabin in Montana.
  • Her sophomore year career aptitude test says she has the perfect personality to be a mortician. This pisses her off. ("It Happened One Nut")
  • While imagining how life with Trent would be in "Lane Miserables", Daria sees herself as a lab technician working with genetics. She also sees herself with a son here, where she was proudly childless in her previous fantasy. She also thinks that if she marries Trent, she'll have to support his lazy butt.
  • Helen tells her that she's in serious danger of becoming incapable of human interaction in "Is It Fall Yet?". A year later, after her relationship with Tom failed, Daria is briefly afraid that she'd be lonely forever ("Is It College Yet?").
  • A gag "future ego" at the end of IICY? showed her and Jane as breakfast TV hosts on a self-titled show.


Tracy Grandstaff has said "I hope she’s a journalist and contributes to The Huffington Post… or The Colbert Report…. But that’s just me." (Glenn Eichler, ironically, does contribute to the Colbert Report, and "What I Think About Valentine's Day" was posted at the Huffington Post.)

Fanfic Stereotypes

Main article: Fanfiction stereotypes of Daria

Daria fanfiction has been written on a consistent basis since 1997, not counting Daria appearances in any Beavis and Butt-head fanfiction before and after that. Daria has been portrayed in many different ways in these stories, due both to the character's complexity and to the changing views & tastes of the writers. In fanfiction written during the first and second series, for example, Daria was often written as a hyper-competent victor ("Daria Triumphant") because that was the viewer's initial impressions of her, whereas some later writers would deliberately explore Daria's worst traits and play her as an outright 'bitch'.


Main article: Alternate versions of Daria Morgendorffer


Misc. Trivia

Desiree Morgendorffer
  • In the Dutch version of the Beavis and Butt-Head comic, Daria was renamed "Desiree Morgendorffer" because of having to make the dunderheads' "Diarrhea-cha-cha-cha" chant work. The Dutch word for Diarrhea is "Diarree" (Dee-yuh-ray) and so the name Desiree (In Dutch that name is pronounced "Day-zee-ray") was chosen because of it sounding similar. It's probably the only time Daria received another name in any format she appeared in.
  • In the Latin American dubbing, she was voiced by Laura Torres.

Notes

About Daria's Intelligence and Knowledge

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