Daria

 
Biting social commentary has mature themes.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Peer influence and antisocial behavior are central to the show. While diversity is accepted, stereotypes are used to bring attention to social issues. Many negative roles with negative consequences.

Violence

Very limited acts of violence are visible. But there are many references to potential school violence and extreme security measures.

Sex

Making out, but no simulated sex. Often contains light sexual humor, including the propositioning of teen girls by teen boys.

Language

Mild to moderate: "damn", "hell", "ass," "pissed," etc.

Consumerism

Popular and alternative music is used throughout the show. Few specific references to popular culture icons and musical groups and no discussions of brand-specific clothes, food, or beverages.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Drugs, alcohol, and tobacco are used in some episodes. Any discussion about this use does not look at the consequences of such behavior, especially among teenagers.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that while this animated series provides some important social commentary about teen life, if viewers aren't mature enough to see through its extreme satire, the significance of these messages is easily lost or misinterpreted. Also, while Daria's parents clearly love her, there's almost a complete lack of strong positive adult role models or constructive examples of adult-teen communication. Controversial subjects, such as sexual relationships and drug use, are mocked, and the consequences of these actions aren't fully discussed. 

What's the story?

Television viewers were originally introduced to Daria Morgendorffer (voiced by Tracy Grandstaff) when she appeared as an occasional character on MTV's animated series Beavis and Butt-Head. In 1997 the animated sitcom DARIA -- created by Glenn Eichler -- debuted, showcasing Daria's intelligent-but-antisocial personality as she offers her dark point of view about the trials and tribulations of life in the suburb of Lawndale. Living with her loving-but-dysfunctional parents Jake (Julian Rebolledo) and Helen (Wendy Hoopes), and fashion-conscious younger sister Quinn (Hoopes), Daria spends her days trying to alienate herself from mainstream society. She shares most of her observations with best friend Jane Lane (Hoopes), who usually sympathizes with Daria, despite her own more-positive outlook on life. Together Daria and Jane attend Lawndale High, where they must co-exist with the likes of "dumb jock" star quarterback Kevin Thompson (Marc Thompson), brainless blonde cheerleader Brittany Taylor (Janie Mertz), and Charles "Upchuck" Ruttheimer III (Thompson), whose mission in life is to have sex with any girl who falls for his cheesy and inappropriate propositions.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Daria provides some biting social commentary on many aspects of teen culture -- and on American suburban life in general. This is accomplished by exaggerating and often stereotyping recurring characters' personalities to the point of ridiculousness. Most of the teachers and staff at Lawndale have personality disorders so severe that they (hopefully) couldn't work in a real-life high school. And most of the show's teenagers represent what's most problematic in teen society -- including image consciousness, lack of academic interest, and consumerism. It's all meant to be funny, of course, but .....

And unfortunately, while Daria is particularly critical of her generation's willingness to conform to these mediocre standards, she's never motivated enough to do anything to change it. Instead she spends her time thinking cynically about the world she lives in -- which doesn't exactly make her the best role model for teen viewers.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what things in their community bother them and the pros and cons of choosing to work to change those things. They can also talk about their adult role models at home and at school. Which teachers mean the most to them and why? Which of their characteristics do teens most admire? The show's use of negative stereotypes and inappropriate behavior are also topics that families may want to discuss.

TV details

Cast:Julian Rebolledo, Tracy Grandstaff, Wendy Hoopes
Network:TeenNick
Genre:Comedy
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of Daria was written by

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 16 years old Written byanonmouse November 12, 2010
age 12+
 
I am honestly very disappointed with the "common sense" review. Here's my opinion: Daria is a great show that encourages teens to think for themselves. It suggests that clothes, shopping and boys may in fact NOT be the most important things in life and stresses the importance of political awareness, academics and individuality. As a high school student I think that the characters are not in fact over-stereotyped and that (at least in comparison to my high school) does not exaggerate the dynamics of a 9-12 grade experience. Yes, of course the teachers at my school are not very comparable to those in Daria's world but honestly, the students are very much like Quinn and Brittany. Considering other shows that 12 year olds watch, (reality TV and such) Daria offers a different outlook on high school life that emphasizes diversity in the social spectrum. I highly recommend any teenager to watch this show, not only for it's entertainment value but for it's message. Be different, you don't have to act like your peers to get through the hellish 4 years of high school.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Adult Written byPHS_Togusa April 30, 2014
age 10+
 

A definite must-watch for teenagers and adults alike.

This is one of those shows that both adults and teenagers can really get a lot out of. With all the vapid programming for teenagers permeating every corner of television these days (like 16 and Pregnant, Degrassi, and other such TV shows), Daria offers a different perspective on what life for a (junior) high school student is like. One issue that parents tend to have with Daria is the way that adults are portrayed. They're portrayed as either clueless, condescending, unhelpful, or some combination thereof. The thing is, when you're in (junior) high school, most adults generally DO come off as such. This is something that a lot of parents who lodge this criticism against the show seem to forget. The story is mostly being told from Daria's point of view and not from an adult's point of view. If the story was being told from Helen or Jake's point of view, then all the teenagers and children in this show would be portrayed as how most adults would view a teenager or a child. The major problem that some people will have that start watching Daria is the titular character's constant deadpan voice (and it does get tedious if you watch the entire show in one go, like I did). To someone looking at the show from the outside-in, it'll seem boring and he/she'd be wondering how this show managed to get so popular in the first place. The appeal of this show mostly stems from Daria herself. *** Daria starts out as a cynical 16-year-old high school junior that's more or less an outcast. She's garnered a reputation at school for being a "brain," is anti-social and generally prefers to read books, eat pizza, and watch TV than go to parties and hang out with people. Daria tends to provide the "colour commentary" for what goes on around her and responds to everything with either sarcasm or unbridled cynicism. The first three seasons show Daria tackling various tasks that she ordinarily wouldn't do of her own free will (like taking a self-esteem course, gathering funds for a new coffee house, babysitting, and part-time employment) all the while having to deal with the various . . . "challenges" that await her (like dealing with an overly-sensitive teacher, being reprimanded for not selling chocolate to a hyperglycaemic, dealing with two 'brainwashed' children who pray for world peace every night before bed, and tending to an idiot who can't remember what an almond looks like). Daria remains more or less the same throughout these seasons, and there isn't a lot of development of her character. That isn't to say there isn't any development at all but the only times that Daria gets any sort of character development is if someone dies, or if Aunt Amy or Trent play a major part of an episode,. The last two seasons of the show really delve into Daria's character and some of the challenges she'll face aren't so easy to handle. For example, in the Season 4 finale "Is It Fall Yet?" she has to deal with life without her friend, Jane (who left for an artist's colony for the summer). "Boxing Daria" from Season 5 is another good example of what I'm talking about. In this episode, she recalls a fight her parents had regarding her antisocial tendencies and as a result, she has to deal with the possibility that maybe the adults in her life aren't as one-dimensional as they seem. *** Daria is a show that most people think only teenagers (like juniors and seniors in high school) can relate to, but that's usually not the case. If you have a kid who's bookish and/or socially withdrawn, Daria can definitely be a show the two of you can watch together. Some of the humour might get a little over your kid's head but that doesn't mean you won't get it. Despite appearances, Daria is a show that parents can enjoy just as much as teenagers do (especially if you're into dry humour). The lack of any good role models in this show is actually a good thing. Parents are the most powerful role model in a kid's life, so why even bother shifting that kind of responsibility to a TV show character? Violence? Well there's none of that in this show. Sex? Well it's a show that takes place in a high school setting, so there's bound to be *some* hormonally stressed-out teens and indeed, there are. There's nothing outright shown, and most of the time it's mentioned in-passing. If you have a problem with any mention of sex or any hints of it whatsoever, despite what you might think, most fourth graders tend to have *some* idea of what sex is. Most TV sitcoms, film trailers, pop music videos, popular songs, etc. sort of give away what a man and a woman can do behind closed doors. Check your kid's browsing history while they're young. Swearing? The worst that I've ever heard out of this show is "damn" (which Daria's family tend to say semi-frequently) and the occasional "crap" and let's be honest, those are the kind of swears that get thrown around in the school yard during recess. This show uses a lot of dry humour and sarcastic wit so there's no real need for swearing to begin with. Consumerism? I don't think fan fiction and deviantART entries count. Drugs, alcohol, and tobacco are next to non-existent. Regarding drugs, there's nothing mentioned, however there's a segment of the fanbase that think Trent and his band are stoners (but then again, they could just be good-for-nothing slackers). Alcohol is very rarely shown, and when it is, it's usually in an appropriate setting (i.e. Helen having a little too much champagne at a wedding). As for tobacco, well I think there's one or two scenes where a bystander is smoking, but again. Bystander. Nobody of significance smokes anything.
What other families should know
Great messages
Adult Written byetoile April 9, 2008

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