Daria never needed a boyfriend.

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010 by Rachel

I just finished watching the complete series of Daria, plus the two movies Is It Fall Yet? and Is It College Yet? This is a DVD set that I’ve been waiting for and wanting for years. And now that I’ve got it? I’m sure of only one thing—Daria never needed a boyfriend.


The first two seasons are solid. These are the ones especially that I remember when I think about the good-ole-watchin-Daria times. These are the ones with gym class, Trent-crushing (my all-time favorite episode with Daria piercing her bellybutton to impress him), and general witty banter. When we got to season three last week, Derrick and I played Monopoly. These episodes weren’t worth watching with 100% attention, and many of them were blatant fillers (for example, the musical episode, which was unnecessary, unfunny, and unfitting to the show).


The biggest change happens in between seasons three and four. First, the “filming” changes. The animation is visibly different, as the “camera” moves differently with character motions, in addition to simpler changes like bolder lines of character drawings. If you don’t notice or aren’t bothered by the bolder lines, watch out for when Quinn’s shirt changes from the short-sleeved happy face tee to the long-sleeved butterfly shirt. This one single unnecessary wardrobe alteration represents how unnecessary all of the other alterations were to me.


Second, Daria gets a boyfriend. The show shifts from a more episodic formula (i.e. Seinfeld) to a sitcom formula (i.e. Dawson’s Creek). You can’t just pick up an episode anymore. There’s an actual plot that revolves around the love triangle of Daria, Jane, and Tom. And, for the most part, I don’t care! Yes, Tom’s a smart guy, sort of a slacker, and he’s sometimes witty and funny, but I never understand Daria’s initial attraction for him. Because I don’t buy this, I don’t buy a relationship that carries on through seasons four,five and through the two movies. I never needed a love interest—this wasn’t why I liked the show. I understand that Daria was growing up and that sometimes antisocial outcasts DO get boyfriends (we know I did!), but why Tom? Could he have been a teeny bit more likeable? And why did he stick around so long?



Maybe I’m just bitter because I was always a sucker for a guy in a band. I think that Trent is the hottest animated character in the history of animation (with the possible exception of Jessica Rabbit, but she’s taken!). He’s musical. He doesn’t have ambition, and Daria doesn’t either most of the time. He’s a rebel, and he’s older. He pushes Daria into sometimes uncomfortable and new situations. If she HAD to have a boyfriend, this makes more sense to me. But why did she ever need one? Daria was smart, funny, and a loner. What happens to a show or a character when a loner becomes codependent? It fizzles and dies.


So I do come out of this Daria DVD watching experience somewhat annoyed. Will I go back and rewatch this? Absolutely, but probably only seasons one and two, with a handful of episodes picked out from the last three seasons, which brings me to commenting on the DVD setup itself. The DVD doesn’t have a “episode list” printed out on the inside or listed on each DVD, so having to manually handpick episodes looks to be a pain that I’ll have to deal with in the future. The DVDs are marked with episode numbers, then once you access the disc menu it says the episode names. I’ll probably just print out an episode list from Wikipedia for convenience sake.


Also a major issue–the soundtracks have been completely altered with the exception of two instances I can think of. Supposedly the rights were too expensive. Every once in a while you’ll hear a song and think “That was supposed to be Green Day”, but you can’t ever really be sure. So if you’re wanting to return to this show for the nostalgic music, don’t bother. Even the Top 10 Animated Music Video Countdown hosted by Daria and Jane, which is included on the special features, has the music videos cut out of it! What’s the point!?


I haven’t watched most of the special features yet, but they look to be plentiful. I’ll get to them in the next few weeks. This is a show that I love because it featured a girl who I could relate to—someone smart, awkward, and rejected most of the time. She was going to college when I was going to college. I felt like we grew up a little bit (and stayed the same) together. This is the reason why I’ll return to the show, not because of some contrived and out of place romance plot. If I wanted that, I’d get myself a dose of Dawson’s Creek. And I do own the entire series of Dawson’s Creek.


  1. When it aired on TV, I actually stopped watching the show after season 2. I think the reason was that I forgot about it starting again and once I found out, and watched the fifth or sixth episode I was confused. Or it could have been that I had my attention focused on another show that shared the same time slot.

    Ultimately, I don’t believe the missing music was that big of deal. The stock music that was used still suited the show for the time period, and most of the time sounded a lot like the song that was replaced. I just wish the music videos weren’t cut because there were some great ones on that countdown.

  2. I didn’t discover Daria until late in high school, when it was being re-run on the N. But I love her wit and sarcasm. Thanks for the review, Rachel. I may want to borrow them from you.

  3. Yes, that guy was so annoying. Daria never needed a boyfriend… and the fact that he cheated on Jane with Daria made me not like him even more.

    Just NO.
    Also, they got lazy with the voice editing and made Daria sound super whiny. Made Tom (that was his name, right?) sound like the voice of reason sometimes… bleh!

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