Back in the '90s, MTV was still awesome, and Daria championed the viewpoint of young people everywhere. She was one of the few MTV characters who gave intelligent, introverted teens a role model that they could look to for inspiration and commiseration.
It’s impossible to overstate the importance of a show about an intelligent feminist who doesn't care about all the things young people are told to care about. At the time, Daria could be held up as a beacon of progressive thought. It’s only in hindsight that you realize the character you modeled yourself after was a complete narcissist and a terrible person.
Every Daria episode is rife with situations that highlight the ways Daria was unlikeable, and posits inexcusable reasons Daria wasn't very nice. As an adult, watching the five seasons and two made-for-TV movies conjures up a lot of confusing feelings.
You can easily lose count of all the times Daria was actually an *sshole to the jocks who, conversely, treat her rather kindly. Reckoning with the the problematic aspects of one of your teen idols is never easy, but the healing begins here.
Daria Doesn't Appreciate Her Parents
Out of all the characters on Daria, the hero's parents receive the shortest end of the stick. They're presented as having no redeeming qualities, and Daria capitalizes on every opportunity to make fun of them.
While it's not abnormal for teens to butt heads with their parents, it's obvious that Daria's father suffers from intense PTSD as a result of being bullied and possibly molested at military school. With this in mind, Daria should have a heart and take it easy on him.
Daria's mother Helen is a force of nature. She's a high-powered lawyer who doesn't take sh*t from anyone, and who provides a stable household in which her daughters can grow up. She should be Daria's role model, but instead Daria is constantly making rude comments about her mother, and looking for excuses to avoid alone time with her.227198Did this change your opinion of Daria?
Daria Can't Take Criticism
In "The Story of D," Daria finally decides to submit her writing to a publication. Like all young artists, she's unsure of herself and cautious about letting others see her work. When she finally allows Jane — a working artist — to read the story and provide feedback, Daria acts like her friend stabbed her through the heart when she suggests that "there were too many influences."
After some hemming and hawing, Daria sends out her story without making the suggested edits, and (big surprise) it's rejected. Daria claims that she'll never submit another piece because it "feels like trying."
Weirdly enough, the episode doesn't end with Daria sitting down to make the suggested edits, or even to write an entirely new story. She just stops writing forever. What message does that send to the audience?163227Did this change your opinion of Daria?
Daria's Constant Asides Are Rarely Constructive
Daria unleashes an aside whenever another character so much as takes a breath. Unfortunately, she never mutters nice things about her friends, family, or teachers; it's always snide remarks that belie her uniformly awful attitude.
As a teenager, it's nice to see someone on TV realistically exemplifying a sardonic adolescent mentality. Most introverted/weird kids make rude comments about whatever they encounter, but at some point — if they are lucky — they learn that the habit of muffled sh*ttalking is a repellant way to act.
Making snide comments about people under your breath isn't just rude, it's cowardly. If you encountered someone who acted like Daria does, you wouldn't think they were cool, you'd think they were a jerk.124224Did this change your opinion of Daria?
Daria Doesn't Do Anything
Throughout the series, it's suggested that Daria wants to be a writer of some sort, but the only whiff of that desire comes in the late season five episode "The Story of D." Aside from that episode, Daria doesn't do anything, and she's incredibly judgmental of people who do.
If you were growing up as an introvert in the '90s, it might have felt cool to see someone on TV who was as nihilistic and anti-extracurricular as you were, but in hindsight Daria's aversion to passion downright embarrassing to watch.128233Did this change your opinion of Daria?