Five Ways Something Ruined My Life Five Ways ‘Daria' Ruined My Life Erin Mallory Long

Daria came into my life at the perfect time for me to become obsessed with it. In 1997 I was finishing up  7th grade and about to turn 13. I hated 7th grade. All I was focused on then was how much of a jerk everyone was to each other and to me and how I wanted to be in high school.

Now, you’d think a show about someone hating everyone at their high school would deter me in that quest, but it didn’t. I just knew that I “got” Daria and that as a result of that, high school would be better (spoiler alert: it was). I also knew how she was feeling and it made me think, “Okay, maybe I’M awesome like Daria Morgendorffer and everyone ELSE is crazy!” I remember being really confused about girls having “boyfriends” at age 12 and crying during school about the drama surrounding their “relationships”. And I pretty much assumed everyone would be as dumb as Kevin and Brittany when we got to high school so I tried not to worry about them too much. (I won 1st place in the science fair in 7th grade so obviously dating was not a problem in my life personally.)

Okay, but Daria was also on MTV which I basically thought was the coolest thing that existed, it was a cartoon (one of my favorite things) and it’s a spin-off! I love weird TV things, spin-offs, crossover events, everything. Just BRING. IT. ALL. ON. So even though I wasn’t a super huge fan on Beavis and Butt-head I was still interested in the idea of Daria. I loved the name Quinn as a result of this show and I directed a scene from Daria for a TV production class in college.

Also, someone pay for me to get Daria nail art like Katy Perry’s, please.

Here are just five ways Daria ruined my life:

1. Hard for Me to Hear People Call Each Other “Babe”

Daria's just helping her with her perspective

Oh, Kevin and Brittany, the dim-witted, though lovable couple of Daria. They’re the standard football player/cheerleader couple we’ve all seen in high school (and, more often, TV shows about high school) but they’re also so much more. Their interactions with Daria are some of the best things around. I just watched the one where they are studying for the SATs again when Daria tells Kevin to answer “cross dressing” on his test and it’s just…awesome.

But what I really took away from the whole Kevin and Brittany experience was their excessive use of the word “babe.” (Or really Kevin’s excessive use of the word “babe.”)

I don’t usually say babe (sometimes baby to the cats but that’s it) so whenever my husband says babe to me he always does it in a Kevin voice. Always.

So whenever I hear someone saying babe seriously I sort of laugh to myself because I’m picturing Kevin and his midriff-baring football jersey saying that to Brittany.

Kevin and Brittany get into amazing situations because of their…lack of intelligence. And they’re absolutely some of the best characters on the show (I love The Fashion Club, too. And everyone. I love every character on this show.)

2. Constantly Upset That I Will Never Be As Good at Witty Comebacks as Daria Morgendorffer

Daria is a MASTER of the witty quip. She is everything I wanted to be as a teen and everything I want to be now.

She was the ruler of Lawndale High as far as I was concerned. And I’m so jealous of her.

“Don’t worry, I don’t have low self esteem. That’s a mistake. I have low ESTEEM for everyone else.”

Or, “I can’t take my glasses off. I need them to see scam artists.”

And, basically everything she says.

I’m just, not as good at the witty comeback as she is. I mean, and Jane is pretty darn good at it too. So I was just like, “Okay, where’s my equally sarcastic BFF where we just sit around making fun of everyone?”

It’s like in You’ve Got Mail when Kathleen Kelly says she wishes she was able to say what she wanted to say when she wants to say it.

Daria can do that. And it sounds awesome.

3. Always Wanted to Have a BFF With a Hot Older Brother

Speaking of Jane, how hot was Trent?

I mean, he’s in a band. He’s even MORE apathetic than Daria and Jane, he has awesome hair, earrings, tattoos. What more could you want in the late 90′s?! (Okay, you could want him to not be a cartoon and maybe be Jordan Catalano. That’s definitely a thing you could want.)

But I never had any BFFs with hot older brothers! Obviously the key to Hot Older Brothers is that they 1. Live in the same house as the BFF 2. Are a senior in high school when you’re an underclassman or are just out of high school entirely and 3. Are involved in some cool extracurricular activity. 4. are just too cool for you to know how to talk to them.

How hard would that have been to make that happen, EVERYONE?!

4. Thought Wearing Glasses Would Be Awesome

Here was my line of thinking.

Daria is awesome.

Daria wears glasses.

Wearing glasses must be awesome.

So, senior year of high school when I started thinking, “Hmm, I kind of have a headache when I sit in the back of the classroom and try to read the chalkboard” I interpreted that as, “Sweet! Glasses time!”

I didn’t even have to wear them that often (only for chalkboards, computer screens and at the movies) but I WANTED to wear them constantly. My first few pairs of glasses were similar to Daria’s in frame thickness (though I definitely didn’t get circular frames – that doesn’t work on my round face) and I thought they were THE BEST.

Now I have to wear contacts all the time because “otherwise I might get a lazy eye” (one eye is near-sighted, one far-sighted) and have glasses that I like but I’m no longer jealous that Daria wears glasses.

Because I know better than that.

5. Informed My Entire Experience of High School Gym Class

I think I’ve highlighted my lack of athletic prowess a lot.

Before I even started re-watching Daria (I SWEAR) I tweeted this:

And then realized it was basically this, from the opening of Daria which I hadn’t seen in years:

So yeah, I think Daria ruined my life.

And sometimes that manifested itself in the fact that I was basically never looking forward to gym class.

Especially not in middle school. I weighed like, 75 pounds, got teased for being flat-chested and for some weird reason signed up to play on the Modified basketball team.

That was basically me in gym class. I mean, granted, I TRIED. I was great at practice. Running around a lot, practicing foul shots, that was where I thrived but once we were actually in a game, I was always Daria with her hand out, not trying quite hard enough.

Whoops.

Also, TWO friends of mine have dressed up as Daria recently for Halloween and obviously didn’t use a store bought costume. Because they are awesome…okay, and it’s a pretty simple costume to get together. But still!

Okay, I have some place to go. Because, as Jane says, “Television counts as a place.”

(All images of Daria screengrabbed by me, pic of Katy Perry’s nails via her twitter)

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  1. Awww, I love Daria. Always see them when I was little but never actually properly watched them. Now I’m trying to get to see each episode as Daria makes witty comebacks and make fun of people with Jane.

  2. Ah, Daria. She was the sarcastic teenager I aspired to be. Daria & Trent 4ever ;)

  3. Love Daria I swear she narrates my inner monologue. Oh and I love the crazy teachers!! Random fact: apparently Trent was inspired by Trent Reznor AND Jakob Dylan. No wonder he’s so crush worthy!

  4. I’m in the UK and I am currently watching a Daria marathon on TV! Great day to be off work with the flu!

  5. Daria made my life better. I have the complete series on dvd.

  6. A friend sent me a link to this page. I of course loved Daria like everyone my age, but I thought Jane was cooler. And of course I had a crush on Trent. I always found that whenever Daria was being aired, it was always the same 1 or 2 episodes I’d already seen, though. I’d like to see all the episodes that were made one day. I feel like in a weird way Daria is a distant cousin of Judy from Doug.

  7. Miss Long, after reading many of your posts I am fearing that we might be the same person..or you might be the voice inside my head that actually puts my thoughts on paper as opposed to my normal way of doing things: thinking about them to the point of obsession and getting annoyed when people can’t follow that crazy thought train…
    In any case, I JUST finished watching the entire box set of Daria. One of my favorite things from the 90s in general. I still have a mix VHS tape a friend made me in high school that is nothing but hours of My So Called Life, Daria, and music videos.
    Thank you for your articles, they are always entertaining :)

  8. I was Daria for Halloween two years ago. I empathize with all of this.
    http://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/75175_548089651880_6506747_n.jpg

  9. I didn’t have cable as a kid, and therefore missed out on a lot of cool shows, Daria being one of them. I remember that around middle school/early high school, people started calling me Daria, though. I didn’t understand why, so I looked into it and eventually was able to watch a few episodes. Yep, they were right. At that age, I was totally Daria… Sarcastic smart-ass. Though I’ve become a lot more friendly over the years, I’ve had a special bond with the show ever since XD

  10. I love this! I have been an avid Daria fan ever since my parents banned me from watching it in the late 90′s (they thought MTV was the devil, I thought anything they banned was the greatest thing ever). I still watch it almost weekly! Thanks for this article.

  11. I loved Daria. She was the first animated character I was ever able to relate to! She was sarcastic and smart and perfect. Though I was probably more of a Jane girl, because I was the “arty” friend. I also had the biggest crush on Trent. That show ruined me for men.

  12. I was never a fan of cartoons. I slept in on Saturdays and woke up to watch Saved by the Bell and California Dreams. The only way I’d ever watch cartoons was if someone else wanted too or if nothing else was on….cartoons have always just bored me to tears…..until there was Daria! I loved this show and it was really the only cartoon that I completely adored and would go out of my way to watch!

  13. i looooooooove Daria, but i don’t like qhen she dates with Tom ¬¬
    Daria y Trent Forever

  14. Daria ruled my life in high school! I also loved how the animators drew all those crazy alter egos in the end credits. And I would totally watch Sick Sad World, it reminds me of Inside Edition.

  15. Best moment has to be when she tries to sell reading “The Illiad” to her sister by making it a relateable story about a popular girl.

    Quinn: How can you sit there and read?
    Daria: I think you’d like this book. It’s about a popular girl that everyone fights over.
    Quinn: Are there any horses in it?
    Daria: Yes, there’s’ a great BIG one!
    Quinn: Is this a trick?
    Daria: …yes.

  16. Daria will always be great. That show made a joke out of a father having a heart attack. “Mom’s…gonna miss…the guacamole!” Most shows could not make a heart attack joke, let alone include an awesome line about one of the greatest dips ever invented.

  17. I loved Daria, I really need to invest in a box set of the series

    • I bought the box set and they couldn’t secure all the rights to the awesome 90′s music. Unfortunately, I think it really detracts from the Daria experience.