"I don't have low self-esteem. It's a mistake. I have low esteem for everyone else."
The protagonist of the show, if you didn't figure that out from the name. Antisocial, intellectual, plainly dressed and snarks like nobody's business. Surrounded by living caricatures and all kinds of idiocy and insanity which she has no patience for, she mainly copes by alternately trying to stop things from getting out of control, or just watching and commenting on the madness.Tropes associated with Daria:
Allergic to Love: In "Ill" note The word "ill", as in, sick, she gets a rash that turns out to be a stress reaction to being around Trent.
Ambiguous Disorder: Daria displays most of the characteristics of Schizoid Personality Disorder and some traits of Asperger Syndromenote See the WMG section for an in-depth discussion of this.. A lot of episodes, however, just write her off as being unable to socialize with other kids (including the episode "Boxing Daria," which was all about viewers finding out about Daria's past).
Anti-Hero: Episodes make clear that she's not the most ideal role model and that even she doesn't necessarily see herself as one. Yet despite her apathy she still has a strong enough moral compass and standards to help others when people ask for it.
Burger Fool: In one episode, she worked at a mall stand called "It's A Nutty Nutty World". The uniform included a ridiculous hat meant to look like a squirrel's head, and a long rhyming greeting that the boss wanted to make mandatory to say when customers came up.
Calling the Old Man Out: In "Write Where It Hurts" she doesn't hesitate to skewer Helen when, after being forced to tell Helen what's wrong in-between calls to her boss, Helen starts comparing Daria's difficulty with a writing assignment to Quinn's "challenges" which are more or less coordinating shoe color with her dates' eyes.
Daria: Quinn will never have this kind of challenge. It involves thinking. You make me tell you what's wrong in-between calls, and then you bring up Quinn? Don't you know me at all?
Captivity Harmonica: In one episode when she was grounded. Her parents lifted the grounding just so that they didn't have to hear it anymore.
Child Hater: Invoked but then we see Daria does have the capacity to get along with children, such as the Gupty kids and Link.
Cool Loser: As Brittany puts it: she's not popular, but she's not unpopular enough that she can't associate with popular people.
Creepy Monotone: Her normal voice intonation is very flat which some people find off-putting. This is specifically brought up in contrast to Brittany's bubbly, squeaky voice in "The Old and the Beautiful", where they get volunteered by Ms. Li to read to seniors in a nursing home.
Emotionless Girl: She is shown to have emotions, like when she gets into a fight with Jane, but she has no facial expressions or body language, and compared to most other people, she is indeed emotionless.
Hidden Depths: As the series progresses, her personality is elaborated on to where she notices flaws in her character and realizes that people do hate her for being negative and anti-social.
Hollywood Atheist: Averted on "Groped By An Angel." Her atheism/agnosticism seems to only be based on lack of evidence and she doesn't shove her lack of belief in other characters' faces. In fact, the only person she tells this to is Quinn (who is upset that her guardian angel wasn't around to save her from being embarrassed at a party). Strangely, this takes place after that time she met a leprechaun, a Cherub (or possibly a Greco-Roman love god) and various other supernatural beings.note Though "Depth Takes A Holiday" is considered by many fans to be non-canon. Whether it's out of sheer hate for the episode or evidence that it could be a dream/fantasy episode isn't known.
Ice Queen: Well known for her dispassionate, aloof persona as well as her frostbitten wit.
Informed Loner: She considers herself a loner and prefers to distance herself from the school social circle, but most of her fellow students seem to be fine speaking with her. It's possible that this is because she's (normally) disassociated with the high school drama and is 'safe' for just about anyone to talk to. Considering when she is in the hospital in, "Ill," she is visited by the School President, the Captain of the school football team, the Quarterback and the Head Cheerleader of their free will. Any outside observer would surely conclude that Daria is among the elites of that school.
Morality Pet: In a weird subversion, Daria seems to be this to some of the teachers at Lawndale High due to her intellect and sanity being a breath of fresh air in the quagmire of stupidity the school seems to be seeped in (with exceptions, of course).
Obfuscating Insanity: Often says random, insane things to strangers when she wants them to leave her alone, made hilarious by the fact that she says them in the exact same tone of voice as everything else.
Stepford Snarker: The mask starts to fall when around someone she has a crush on.
Helen: Daria, the easiest thing in the world for you is being honest about what you observe.
Helen: What's hard for you is being honest about your wishes. About the way you think things should be, not the way they are. You gloss over it with a cynical joke and nobody finds out what you really believe in.
The Unfavourite: Early episodes sort of play Daria as this to Quinn; however, as the series goes on the dynamic changes a bit, with their parents not telling Daria to be like Quinn so much as they just want Daria to expand her horizons in general.
Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Justified. The other people in the series are exaggerated stereotypes of annoying things found in high school and suburban America.
"I'm an only child."
Daria's younger sister (though she constantly denied it) and quite deliberately her complete and total opposite. Quinn is Vice-President of the Fashion Club and prides herself on being shallow, vain and fashionable.Tropes associated with Quinn:
Blatant Lies: Quinn acting upset when her male suitors physically assault each other in their competition for her, generally with a smile on her face. Any of her attempts at distancing herself from Daria (usually calling Daria her cousin or the weird neighbor girl who hangs out with her), the most extreme being that Daria is "Our cabana girl's adopted cousin."
Although that last one occurred in a dream Daria was having in Murder She Snored.
Foil: Daria's primary contrast in the series; a person who tends to pride herself on her appearance more than her intelligence (which she tries to hide), and visibly popular yet unable to form genuine relationships.
The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: Played straight to an extent in the first few seasons. But after witnessing how their mom and aunts always fight with each other, it seriously seemed to disturb Quinn that that might happen to her and Daria, and she started trying to get along with Daria more.
Hidden Depths: A lot smarter and deeper than she seems at first. Could probably be as smart as Daria if she put forth the effort (likewise, Daria could be as attractive as Quinn). She acts dumb and shallow because that is what makes her popular, but by the final season she has begun to accept her hidden depths a bit more.
In Love with Love: In one episode Quinn is upset that Daria might be seen as more mature than her because Daria is in a steady relationship with a boyfriend. So Quinn spends the episode frantically trying to get one herself, before her mom tells her that she should want to go steady with a boy because she likes him, not simply for the sake of having a boyfriend.
It Runs in the Family: The musical episode shows how Quinn and Helen are actually much more similar than they appear at first. Whether with fashion or with work, they both share a fiery unhealthy obsession with being the best.
It's All About Me: "Boxing Daria" provides a Freudian Excuse for this. Quinn loves to be the center of attention because when she and Daria were little, their parents were wrapped in Daria's issues at school. Though, Quinn seems to have always been like this and possibly inherits it from Jake.
Not So Different: She's similar to Helen in that they both have a drive to be the absolute best in what they're interested in or at least to the point that they can outdo someone else, and she's similar to Jake in that she feels she absolutely needs to stay the center of attention while hiding behind a veneer of cluelessness.
Stepford Smiler: She admits that the only reason she acts shallow and self-obsessed with pedantic interests in fashion and popularity is because she doesn't think she's good at anything else.
The Starscream: To Sandi. In the earlier seasons Quinn was seen, especially in "The Daria Hunter" actively trying to take Sandi down, but as the show went out Quinn only reacted this way if Sandi provoked her.
"Listen, is this going to require a parent-teacher conference and if so is it something my assistant can handle?"
Daria and Quinn's mother, a professional lawyer. Almost constantly on her phone and seemingly oblivious to life around her, but she's far more on the ball than she seems.Tropes associated with Helen:
Adults Are Useless: Averted with Helen. A lot of episodes show that Helen can be useful in a crisis involving her children (when she's not talking to her boss Eric on the phone).
Beyond "Arts 'n Crass" a decent example of this comes from "Lucky Strike" when, the moment Quinn mentions her substitute teacher was being inappropriate with Tiffany (not that Quinn noticed) Helen snaps into attention, calls the school, and has the guy fired.
Amoral Attorney: What we hear from her work life certainly qualifies her, and her firm, as such.
Helen (on phone): No! No, absolutely not. It's unethical, it's immoral, it may well be illegal, I'll have no part of it. Okay, I'll do it.
Education Mama: Subverted. Helen has never had to worry about Daria's grades but she did a lot of pushing towards Daria taking up extracurricular activities that would look good on her college applications, either to the point of bribery or blackmail.
Not So Different: Regarding Jake and his father issues, Helen is still very bitter about how her mother treated her when she was young and how she still favors Rita and Erin, along with her resentment towards Rita and Amy about how they grew up. The difference between them is that Jake's issues are mentioned in almost every episode which Helen responds to with mild annoyance or complete anger over how Jake won't stop blaming his dad for everything, whereas Jake becomes visibly scared any time Helen gets involved in something with her sisters or mother. In Aunt Nauseem he broke down in tears when Helen decided to help with Erin's divorce, then prepared and drank an entire pitcher of martinis when Rita showed up followed by his spending the rest of the week out of the house.
Parental Substitute: Helen treated Trent like her own son while he was staying with the Morgandorfers.
The Unfavorite: Has a bit of a complex about being this to her mother, although since we never see the two of them interact, it's unknown how bad it really was. Interestingly, which of her own daughters she prefers seems to shift as the series progresses. At first she's more proud of Quinn's superior social skills and encourages Daria to be more like her, while later on she finds Quinn's deliberate airheadedness irksome and is more quick to praise Daria's intelligence.
Well Done Daughter Girl: Helen apparently started working hard at school so that she would get attention from her mother, which has blossomed into full-blown workaholism by adulthood.
Where Did We Go Wrong?: Played with. In Write Where It Hurts, Helen thoughtlessly commented "when Quinn has a challenge" in regards to Daria's difficulty completing an extra assignment. Daria angrily cuts into Helen for having the nerve to compare Quinn's "challenges" which amount to coordinating her shoes with the color of her dates' eyes to Daria having difficulty completing a writing assignment. The next day Helen tries to legitimately apologize for her words and manages to have a decent discussion about what Daria should do. However, this trope is ultimately averted in the long run, as Helen and Jake both recognize that Daria is a smart, perceptive, and talented young woman, and her antisocial tendencies are just part of who she is.
Women Are Wiser: Compared to Jake, though she's far from flawless herself. She's definitely smarter, but he's arguably more moral.
Cloud Cuckoolander: According to what Daria tells the psychologist in "Psycho-Therapy", we can infer that at least some of this behavior is an affectation to hide the fact that he's less ambitious and driven than Helen.
Flanderization: Jake started off a little clueless, but otherwise normal at the very beginning of the first season. By the end of the season, he became a crazy high strung man child who always ranted about his screwed-up childhood and remained that way for the rest of the series. On the one hand, it does provide for a lot of hilarity, especially in episodes that are more dramatic. On the other hand, the Flanderization makes Jake look like Homer Simpson from the days when Homer was dumb, impulsive, and a bit of a jerk, but not a full-blown Jerkass, and, for a show like "Daria" that's trying to be realistic, it's not a good fit.
Hidden Depths: Though Jake is mostly oblivious and somewhat immature, he is capable of reassuring and helping out his daughters in the brief moments of clarity he has throughout the series. He's not perceptive but the show makes it clear that, unlike his own father, he does try to understand and care for his daughters.
Hilariously Abusive Childhood: His dad, "Mad-Dog" Morgendorffer, was an abusive alcoholic who was emotionally distant, manipulative, and didn't care about the feelings of his wife (Jake's mother) or son (Jake). He also tried to mold Jake into a man (by sending him to military school, when Jake really wanted to go to tennis camp — though "The Daria Hunter" revealed that Jake was sent to military school after accidentally stepping on his dad's contact lens), but it really turned Jake into the man he is today.
It's All About Me: Truth be told, he seems to be where Quinn got it from. Daria made an astute observation that Jake's frequent complaining about his childhood and feelings of neglect are how he manages to stay the center of attention.
Man Child: When stressed, Jake generally does one of two things: reverts to a helpless childlike state, or rages against his strict, distant, and long-deceased father. The outbursts are frequently interjected into conversations that had nothing to do with his childhood, and appear to also function as a defense against criticism.
Only Child Syndrome: Averted. Ruth mentions in "Jake of Hearts" that Mad Dog didn't give her enough allowance to take care of the house and the children. Note the plural use. Word of God is that Jake has an older sister.
"Well Done, Son" Guy: Jake continues to be miserable about how little respect he got from his now-deceased father.
"When I was a kid, with Helen and Rita going at it all the time, all they left for me to do was to supply the color commentary. Then, one day, I found myself all grown up with my own point of view, and feeling no particular obligation to listen to anyone else's B.S. Ever."
Helen's sister and Daria's aunt, She's an adult version of Daria, both in personality and appearance.Tropes associated with Amy:
Black Sheep: If nothing else she seems to view herself this way.
This is rather fitting because, as she is seen as an older version of Daria, Amy has her flaws just as Daria does.
The Unfavourite: Feels this way compared to both of her sisters, though she's a bit more forgiving towards Helen than she is Rita.
"Mad Dog" Morgendorffer
Jake's sociopathic father, now deceased, who is largely responsible for Jake's fragile state of mind and neurosis as the result of an abusive upbringing. Despite never appearing onscreen, his influence is felt every time Jake goes off on a tangent about his childhood. It's stated was he dead by the time he was Jake's age.Tropes associated with Mad Dog:
Abusive Parents: He treated Jake like crap and sent him to military school, after Jake mentioned he might've liked to go to tennis camp. Although Jake also says Mad Dog sent him after Jake accidentally stepped on one of his contact lenses.
Awful Wedded Life: Though this is entirely on Mad Dog's end due to the way he treated his wife Ruth. He emotionally abused both her and Jake, even giving Ruth fifty dollars a month for an allowance and expecting that would be enough to take care of the house and the children.
Parental Neglect: Starved Jake and Ruth of love and affection. He refused to allow Jake to come home on holidays for flimsy excuses, and didn't even attend Jake's wedding on the grounds that "the dog needs his toenails clipped."
Posthumous Character: We only find this out in Jake of Hearts during the third season, but Mad Dog died. Jake attributes this to one of the reasons why he's a better man than his father, since apparently Mad Dog died at Jake's current age.
"I like having low self-esteem. It makes me feel special."
Daria's best friend, also antisocial but in a more nonconformist way. Has a bit of a goth streak, at least in her tastes in art, and also some artistic talent that tends to go under-appreciated due to her tastes. Has rather...hands-off parents.Tropes associated with Jane:
The Not-Love Interest: Daria's friendship with Jane is easily her most significant. By the finale, they even end up attending colleges with close proximity
Off Model: Although Jane wears black tights, in many scenes from the first seasons her legs switch between actually being colored black and being skintone, sometimes between cuts in the same episode. In later seasons, the mistake was fixed, and she was consistently drawn with black tights.
Lawndale's star quarterback who constantly wears his football uniform, complete with pads, and makes a box of rocks look smart. Nevertheless he's quite friendly and good-natured, even if his stupidity usually makes him very annoying. In a constant on-off relationship with Brittany.Tropes associated with Kevin:
Dumb Jock: Kevin Thompson is easily a finalist for the dumbest living organism in Lawndale. While not a bully, he's a little narcissistic, dumb as a box of rocks, wears his uniform everywhere, and is in general bad at everything that isn't football. At least he's sweet to his head cheerleader girlfriend, Brittany, genuinely friendly to his teammates, and amicable towards everyone else, including the students who are below him on the high-school popularity hierarchy.
Glass Cannon: He's the head quarterback and looks fairly impressive in regards to strength. But on the outlandishly rare occasion you get to see him outside of his uniform, he's actually a particularly scrawny little guy.
Heroic BSOD: In "A Tree Grows in Lawndale", he tries to do a wheelie on his motorcycle, but crashes into the Tommy Sherman Memorial Tree and sprains his knee. Kevin is utterly distraught, as he as ruined the memorial to his hero, and on top of that he can't play football due to his injury. His whining reaches Wangst territory, Played for Laughs.
Brittany: No! It can be like before! Let me bring you a Gatorade!
Kevin: No, only sportsmen can drink sports drinks! From now on...I drink Yoo-hoo!
Kevin's girlfriend. Brittany is a peppy, bubbly cheerleader, and is definitely the smarter of the two (though not by much). Possibly they only get together because only they can put up with each other. Astoundingly, may be a real person who has found her true calling.◊Tropes associated with Brittany:
All-Cheering All the Time: Sometimes done with Brittany, such as in "Malled" when she tries to start a cheer on the bus ride to a field trip.
Batman Gambit: Brittany, of all people, pulls one on Kevin in "Fair Enough," using his idiocy against him (not that it was difficult to do, mind you).
Characterization Marches On: One episode had Brittany invite Daria to her party for simply helping her in art class and in spite of not being "cool" (not to mention Upchuck getting an invite for helping her dissect a frog). Later episodes make it hard to imagine that she'd be aware of social divisions present in high school, even though it's still an issue. Britney's voice was also MUCH lower-pitched in episode two.
The Cheerleader: Certainly the Brainless Beauty who Really Gets Around, but she's actually a mostly nice person (she only really loses her temper with Kevin, and even then, it's not that often); she's certainly on very friendly terms with Daria.
This could of course be due to her being so dumb she doesn't know how to be bitchy...
Cute, but Cacophonic: With her high-pitched voice, it's very hard to understand her whenever she's hysterical. However, in "The Old and the Beautiful", residents at a retirement home take a liking to Brittany's voice.
Dumb Blonde: Though she is slightly less dumb than Kevin. A Running Gag on the show is that Kevin is either frequently on academic probation because of his bad grades or relies on getting passes from tests because he's the school quarterback. Brittany, however, has never had to deal with any of that onscreen and is implied that she puts in just enough effort to skate by with the bare requirement for staying on the cheerleading team.
This is best exemplified in Partners Complaints when Mrs. Bennett assigned the class a project of starting an economic transaction in pairs, up to a certain point, as practice for the real world. Brittany and Kevin both chose buying a car with their respective partners and Brittany understood that she wasn't actually supposed to buy the car. Kevin, however, spent $18,500 in cash and was a hysterical wreck the next day.
Dysfunctional Family: Her step-mom is more of her friend than an actual mom and her dad spoils her and treats her little brother like crap.
Expy: According to Word of God, Brittany was intentionally based off of former MTV V.J. and star Jenny McCarthy as what they merely imagined how she was as a teenager (although in Real Life Jenny was a straight A student, fairly down to earth although still pretty funny).
Spoiled Sweet: Her dad may be a snob, her step-mom might be a gold digger, and her brother is a spoiled brat budding serial killer, but Brittany is filled to the brim with good intentions and happy thoughts. Unless of course she thinks someone is making a move on Kevin.
Women Are Wiser: Brittany is closer to Earth than Kevin, in the sense that Neptune is closer to Earth compared to Pluto (which isn't even considered a planet anymore).
"At home, I'm Jodie. I can say or do whatever feels right. But at school, I'm the Queen of the Negroes. The perfect African-American teen. The role model for all of the other African-American teens at Lawndale. Oops! Where'd they go? Believe me, I'd like to be more like you."
One of the school's few black students, Jodie is a combo overacheiver and token black kid and knows both facts well, to the point that the demands both bring wear on her. She's also one of the few people in school who Daria and Jane talk to on a regular basis, and is often the one who calls Daria out on her behavior when she's being especially high-and-mighty.Tropes associated with Jodie:
Like Goes With Like: Mack and Jodie, who are two of the few African American students at Lawndale High, are dating each other. While they do like each other, they also feel the social pressure to be good role models for the local black community. It is not clear how much of their relationship is due to one and how much to the other.
Positive Discrimination: The school elect Mack and Jodie as king and queen for the town parade every year to look more diverse and open minded. Jodie also induces this on herself as she is determined to be a good representative of the black community, and be a positive role model to the other black students, even though she points out that there are no other black students (all the other black students besides her and Mack are background characters).
The other token black kid at Lawndale, Mack is Jodie's boyfriend and captain of the football team. As such, he's forced to interact with Kevin on a regular basis, much to his dismay. One of his few defining traits is that he's bad with money, and has been overdrawn on his allowance since elementary school.Tropes associated with Mack:
A freckled, breathy weirdo who appears mostly to hit on the girls and get shot down (though the only girl who actually accepted his advances was Andrea the goth as seen in the series finale movie, Is It College Yet?).Tropes associated with Upchuck:
Casanova Wannabe: Notoriously unattractive but he uses his act on all girls equally, including Daria.
Extraverted Nerd: Pretty much no one gives him any respect, but that doesn't seem to get him down.
Hidden Depths: While he never loses his hormone-driven slimy attitude towards anything female, later episodes show he's actually fairly competent as DJ, magician, anchor, and he's fairly knowledgeable about schoolwork too. If he'd quit sexually harassing the girls, he'd be second only to Jodie in terms of social, extracurricular and academic achievement (and would probably get a girlfriend much easier).
The Daria Diaries reveal he has his own website, that he's a comedy aficionado, and that he collects fast food toys.
He's one of three Lawndale students, the others being Daria and Jodi, to be competing for the Wizard Foundation scholarship prize in "Prize Fighters".
Also he apparently has some artistic talent, as his entry into the art contest in "Arts 'n Crass" was a rather detailed-looking (for comparison, look at Brittany's entry) painting of himself with a Cool Car and two luscious ladies as arm candy.
Hot-Blooded: The majority of his lines are over-the-top flirtations.
Hormone-Addled Teenager: A textbook example. As pointed below, the only things on his mind are sex, sex and more sex.
Self-appointed President of the Fashion Club, and Quinn's main rival. Sandi rules the Fashion Club with an iron fist (albeit a well-accessorized one), making sure that none of the other girls outshine her in popularity. She is constantly browbeating Stacy and trying to undermine Quinn's authority, the latter of which she feels is her main competition.Tropes associated with Sandi:
However, it should be noted that Sandi's bitchiness seems to be concentrated solely within the confines of the Fashion Club, as she spends more time trying to humiliate Quinn and belittle Stacey than she does anyone else.
Characterization Marches On: She was actually pretty nice to Quinn in earlier episodes, as opposed to their heated rivalry throughout the rest of the series.
Took a Level in Jerkass: Sandi was probably nicer to Quinn when the series started because Quinn was new. As soon as Quinn's popularity started to rise Sandi immediately viewed her as a threat and shifted gears.
The Fashionista: President of the Fashion Club, whose purpose is to critique the fashions of their peers.
For the Evulz: Sandi's at her worst in "Daria Dance Party" when she remembers a bad experience planning a dance in middle school, and ropes Quinn into heading the planning committee for a dance at Lawndale High. She then has the Fashion Club turn on Quinn and purposefully plans a party the same night as the dance all in an effort to screw with Quinn with no provocation at all.
Jerkass: Sandi and her mother are the only main or recurring characters who are intentionally mean to those around without provocation who are smart enough to understand what they are doing and are given few if any redeeming characteristics throughout the show.
Manipulative Bitch: Browbeats the whole Fashion Club to her bidding and often takes advantage of her looks and influence to get what she wants. As the seasons went on Sandi's control started to slip, especially regarding Quinn and Stacy.
Pet The Cat: Seems to care a great deal about her cat Fluffy...enough to go to Daria for advice and pay her ten bucks, anyway.
A Fashion Club member who is as brain-dead as she is slimy—she plays both sides of any conflict between Sandi and Quinn so whoever wins, she'll be on the winning side. If not the dumbest character on the show, Tiffany is easily the most self-absorbed one.Tropes associated with Tiffany:
Ascended Extra: Referred to as "Popular Girl #2" in early scripts. Her incongruous name is the result of the writers picking it for her out of the four different Tiffanies (the others being Duke, Hodges and Fairchild) the security guard mentions on the guest list of Brittany's party in The Invitation.
Asian Airhead: Quite possibly the dumbest person in the series, though Kevin gives her a run for her money.
Verbal Tic: It's nigh impossible for her to talk without pausing every two or three words and drawing out the last syllable of said two or three words.
With Friends Like These...: She'll turn on Sandi and Quinn without batting an eye. Probably because she's admiring how shiny the toaster is.
Yes-Man: "The Daria Hunter" and "Fair Enough" are great examples of this.
"Oh God! That's the look my mom always gives me when I say something stupid!"
Fashion Club Secretary, and the most sympathetic of the group. A neurotic pushover, Stacy is constantly bullied and manipulated by Sandi, who threatens to kick her out of the club on a near-daily basis. Will burst into tears at the drop of a hat. Of all the club members, she seems to be closest to Quinn, who she looks up to.Tropes associated with Stacy:
Characterization Marches On: The last season seemed to have been dedicated to showing Stacy develop more of a backbone and personality, culminating in the finale of Is It College Yet? where she decides to take a sabbatical from the Fashion Club rather than demean herself once more to please Sandi.
Break the Cutie: Attempted multiple times due to her fragile emotional state. If Stacy thinks she's done something wrong she becomes hysteric.
The Ditz: Though one tutor pointed out that of all the fashion club members, she's probably the smartest, next to Quinn. The only thing holding her back is her fanatic paranoia of Sandi's wrath.
The Dog Bites Back: A weird case in Is It College Yet? At her birthday party, Sandi kept talking and interrupting her, so for her birthday wish Stacy mentally wished that Sandi would shut up. Sandi pressures her about she wished for, and Stacy says, "Oh, nothing, it didn't come true anyway." But a few days later Sandi contracts laryngitis and can't talk, which leads Stacy to believe she put some sort of curse on Sandi, and she's instantly filled with regret.
Collectively known as the Three J's, they are three boys who sycophantically seek Quinn's attention and approval, usually falling all over themselves to do or get whatever she even broadly hints that she wants. Joey, Jeffy and Jamie are all members of the school's football team.Tropes associated with The Three J's:
Accidental Misnaming/Running Gag: Early in the series, Jamie has been called other names that start with "J" such as Jimmy and Jeremy. On "Fair Enough," Jamie happily declares, "You got my name right!" just before Mr. DeMartino (as The Black Knight) knocks him down.
Cock Fight: The three occasionally have gotten into fistfights, with other boys and certainly amongst each other, for Quinn's attention
Dumb Jock: Though not as dumb as Kevin, they are not exactly book smart. Although in "Lucky Strike" they actually manage to learn enough about Romeo and Juliet that the three of them get good grades on the exam. This is taking into consideration that on Jeffy's test, he wrote about how he thought Mercutio "had a thing" for Romeo and Daria gave him a B because she felt he argued his point well enough even if she didn't agree with him. This is either an example that they aren't quite as dumb as they look, or Daria's just that good of a teacher.
Too Dumb to Live: In "Antisocial Climbers", The Three J's bring Quinn's three bags worth of cute knick-knacks, leaving the survival gear at the buses.
Vitriolic Best Buds: They are friends almost always seen together, despite their constant competition for Quinn's favors, which sometimes leads to fistfights.
"Anybody home in that rotting bag of flesh?"
A goth girl (the only one at Lawndale, by the looks of things) and perpetual background character.Tropes associated with Andrea:
Ascended Extra: A minor example; near the end of the series (including "Is It College Yet?") she became slightly more important, likely because she was popular with the fanbase.
Burger Fool: In "Mart of Darkness", Andrea is found dressed up in full uniform for a wholesale club and tried to escape Daria's and Jane's snarky wrath (until Daria and Jane vowed to keep her embarrassing job a secret).
"Look, just let me get through this part, okay? Then there'll be a video!"
Lawndale's English teacher. Mr. O'Neill is a very, very sensitive man, constantly trying to connect with his students and failing hilariously. Is often seen as Daria's writing mentor (as seen in "The Lost Girls" and "Write Where It Hurts"). Is in an Odd Friendship with the severely stressed-out Mr. DeMartino and in an odder sexual relationship with the man-hating Ms. Barch.Tropes associated with Mr. O'Neill:
Characterization Marches On: There was an early Running Gag where Mr. O'Neill, despite his endless concern for his students, could never remember any of their names. The writers seemed to realize that joke could only be funny so many times and dropped it after a couple of episodes.
Extreme Doormat: Especially around his friend, the high-strung history teacher, Mr. DeMartino, and his lover, the misandristic science teacher, Ms. Barch, who fell for him after O'Neill inadvertently comforted her when she went on yet another rant about being divorced.
Foil: Mr. O'Neil and Mr. DeMartino are both nice exaggerations of 90s-00s teachers. O'Neil is constantly happy, uses positive messages/encouragement and tries to sugar-coat everything so they wouldn't be offended or discouraged. DeMartino on the other hand, is constantly angry and is much stricter on the students.
It's All About Me: Despite his spinelessness he has a tendency to refuse to listen to anyone else's point of view. He would often spin around something Daria was saying into something completely different, such as in Cafe Disaffecto.
Love Martyr: Zigzagged. Mr. O'Neill does have a problem with Mrs. Barch's aggressiveness (on "The F Word," he begs Janet to be more discreet about their secret relationship — just as he's being dragged away to the closet that Mrs. Barch jimmied the lock to so the two could make out in before the maids come in for work), but most of the time, he actually enjoys it.
Pitbull Dates Puppy: The timid puppy to Ms. Barch's snarling, rabid pitbull. Tried to be more assertive to break off his wedding to her (at the advice of Mr. DeMartino), only for Barch to fall for O'Neill's new assertive side along with the passive one (after she gave DeMartino a black eye).
He actually seems to like the few students who seem to learn anything from him, such as Daria and post-Character Development Quinn. But yeah, Kevin and Brittany...not so much.
Butt Monkey: Ms. Barch has beaten him up several times, a classic rock DJ gave him a heart attack and broke his knee during a school-sponsored roller hockey game, he's seen two of his friends (the unnamed childhood friend from "Anti-Social Climbers" and Mr. O'Neill) get married to women he loathes (his mom and Mrs. Barch respectively), he once had to teach a sewing class as part of a deal on his teacher's contract, he grew up with a negligent mom who cared more about the men she dated than her own son, he lost his car in a card game, he was forced to go on a casino cruise despite the fact that he's a recovering gambling addict, he has to deal with moronic students like Kevin and Brittany on a daily basis — it's a wonder he was never committed to a mental hospital. The only times DeMartino ever had a Throw the Dog a Bone moment were when he forced Ms. Li to sign the new teacher's contract that promised a 10% raise in salary, and the events of Is It Fall Yet?.
Damned by Faint Praise: By his standards, telling Daria she "makes him want to kill himself a little less than the sausages that call themselves her classmates" actually is a compliment.
Evil Laugh: The one time he actually laughs. He is on a gambling spree at the time, though.
He actually gets another evil laugh early on at the beginning of the paintball episode after giving the implication that he's going to enjoy taking shots at his students.
Eye Scream: One eye bulges constantly, especially when he's demonstrating his Verbal Tic. In one of the "bloopers" of "Is It Fall Yet?" it actually pops out of his socket.
In Is It College Yet?, Ms. Barch punches him in his good eye (read: the eye that doesn't bulge when he's stressed or demonstrating his Verbal Tic).
Upon overhearing about Mrs. Barch and Mr. O'Neil's engagement, his good eye bulges out as well.
Foil: Mr. O'Neil and Mr. DeMartino are both nice exaggerations of 90s-00s teachers. O'Neil is constantly happy, uses positive messages/encouragement and tries to sugar-coat everything so they wouldn't be offended or discouraged. DeMartino on the other hand, is constantly angry and is much stricter on the students.
Is a bit of this to Daria as well. While both are continually frustrated by the stupidity of other students, their approaches to dealing with it are complete opposites(Demartino's constant overreacting to Daria's snarking).
Hilariously Abusive Childhood: According to "The Daria Hunter," DeMartino lived with his "strange, twisted" neighbors because his mom didn't want any of her dates to know she was a single mother, and like Daria's dad Jake, he was sent to military school. He also had a best friend who married his mother (according to the season four episode "Anti-Social Climbers").
Jerkass: Constantly assaulted verbally, and occasionally physically, his students. Especially Kevin.
Misplaced Kindergarten Teacher: In a weird sort of way. He doesn't fit the traditional trope description, but the young summer campers in "Is It Fall Yet?" latch onto him and declare him "cool", indicating that he would've fared better if he had been a kindergarten or elementary school teacher, getting to the kids when their minds are fresh, moldable, and eager to learn, rather than toward the end of their education and after years of taking blows to the head during football practice. Of course given his current, rapidly deteriorating mental state, it's probably far too late.
Odd Friendship: With Mr. O'Neill as seen in "Just Add Water," "Murder She Snored," and the movies "Is It Fall Yet?" and "Is It College Yet?"
Off Model: In the first three seasons, Mr. DeMartino had one white stripe in his hair. In seasons four and five, he has two (on top of that, the shape of his face became smaller and the whites in his eyes looked purple in some episodes, though that could be from color bleeding).
"22 years of my life — gone! And all I have to show for tending to your every need are the corns on my feet and a big, red rash on my chest!"
Lawndale's science teacher. The biggest man hater in existence who will compare any man with her ex-husband (who left her after 22 years, or as she called it, "Two decades of legal slavery...") but is attracted to Mr. O'Neill's sensitivity/spinelessness (after Mr. O'Neill let her vent her bitterness over being divorced) and definitely wears the pants in their relationship.Tropes associated with Ms. Barch:
Anti-Hero: Type V. Does not come out of this category.
Actually, she seemed to have toned down after the two got together, if only because their relationship became her new shtick. Afterwards her sexism seems to become a lot less vicious unless she was specifically upset about something.
Does Not Like Men: With the exception of Mr. O'Neill as of season two's "The Daria Hunter." Justified as she was in a marriage with a man who most likely neglected her, cheated on her, and abandoned her. She really takes her misandrist frustrations out on Mr.Di Martino, who reminds her of ex-husband.
Early-Installment Weirdness: As mentioned above in Characterization Marches On, Mrs. Barch was a lot meaner to men in the episodes prior to "The Daria Hunter." The later episodes, she was still mean, but since her schtick about hating men shifted to her being in a torrid sexual relationship with Mr. O'Neill, the jokes about her being a misandrist weren't that frequent. Also in the episodes prior to "Too Cute," Ms. Barch mostly ranted about being in a bad marriage and abandoned after 20+ years of marriage. From "Too Cute" on, Ms. Barch has punished her male students for little or no reason (made Kevin ugly for a science project, forced Mac to play a dragon at the school Renaissance fair so kids would beat him up, made Kevin and Mac write lines in study halll, and threatened to punish Upchuck by locking him in a closet [what she calls "Independent Study"]. Also, prior to "The Daria Hunter," Ms. Barch didn't beat up Mr. DeMartino.
The Ghost: Ms. Barch's ex-husband has been mentioned a lot, but never seen, though this could be an Averted Trope if you believe that Rock 'n Roll Randy from "The Big House" was Ms. Barch's ex-husband, which would explain why Barch punched him in the stomach and yelled, "It's payback time now, Randy!" She couldn't have done it to defend Mr. DeMartino, as it would be out of character for her man-hating personality. Plus, later episodes reveal that she targets DeMartino for abuse as well
Karma Houdini: Ms. Barch has gotten away with assaulting Mr. DeMartino several times, gender discrimination, fraternizing with a coworker (her fling with Mr. O'Neill. In "Is It College Yet?", Mr. DeMartino mentioned that Ms. Li has a rule against coworkers starting a sexual/romantic relationship and it's the only rule DeMartino supports), and getting Mr. DeMartino arrested (and almost deported) on a false charge. If the show followed real life, Barch would have been fired, arrested, and sued for all she had (if her divorced husband hadn't cleaned her out already).
Pitbull Dates Puppy: The snarling, rabid pitbull to Mr. O'Neill timid puppy. Double subverted on "Is It College Yet," when Mr. DeMartino coaches Mr. O'Neill to stand up to Mrs. Barch and it looks like it could be over between them after DeMartino tells off Barch for Mr. O'Neill and gets a black eye for his troubles ( The plan fails as Ms. Barch ends up liking Mr. O'Neill's new assertive personality along with the passive one).
Off Model: In the episodes from seasons 1 to 3, Ms. Barch's hair was dark brown, she had dots for eyes, wore a purple skirt and heels, and had ivory-white skin. When the show switched over to digital ink and paint (in seasons four and five and both movies), Ms. Barch's hair was lighter brown, she had whites in her eyes (similar to Mr. O'Neill and Brittany), has on a bluish-purple skirt and heels, and looks as if she had gotten a tan.
Lawndale High's economics teacher and the person in charge of managing the school's budget, which Ms. Li makes into a nearly impossible task by skimming funds for lie detector equipment and satellite jamming equipment. Despite being somewhat childish and known for making incomprehensible chalkboard diagrams, she seems to be one of the saner teachers at the school next to Ms. DeFoe.
Glurge Addict: She collects "Fuzzy Wuzzy Wee Bits" along with her husband.
Happily Married: Implied to be the case with her husband Herbert, who was never shown on-screen.
Manchild: Only slightly. Besides her bizarre chalkboard diagrams and toy collecting, she seems to like the sound chalk makes when you write on a blackboard with it.
Women Are Wiser: She's much more rational than the other Lawndale High faculty members and had once created an assignment that even Brittany was able to understand correctly.
Ms. Claire Defoe
Ms. Claire Defoe
Another one of the Lawndale High's teachers who is relatively sane, Ms. Defoe is the school's hippie-esque art teacher. Very relaxed and calm, she enjoys having creative students like Jane Lane, and conversely she seems to be one of the only teachers Jane and Daria seem to have any respect for. She also tends to get slightly frustrated with students like Brittany and Kevin, who don't seem to have any artistic ability at all.
The Cobbler's Children Have No Shoes: Despite being an art teacher the only time she's ever seen creating something is when she was knitting during a teaching conference, though "The Daria Diaries" mentions she's thinking of putting together a mail order business at some point.
Cool Teacher: As mentioned, Jane seems to actually respect her and Daria doesn't seem to have any problem with her either. Claire enjoys having them in her class, and she's able to have a serious discussion about their submission for the art contest in "Arts n' Crass." When at first put off by the idea that they may have been mocking people with eating disorders, when Daria fully explains what the piece's actual intent was, to make people think about standards of beauty while supporting those who don't want to be judged by their looks, Claire thought it was brilliant.
Surrounded by Idiots: She has to endure a bunch of freeloading roommates she doesn't have the strength to kick out.
Ms. Angela Li
Ms. Angela Li
"Now, I want all of you to go out there and make me — make the school look good!"
Lawndale's corrupt, dictatorial, self-aggrandizing principal. Ms. Li is completely obsessed with bringing prestige to the school (mainly so that she can take all the credit for it), and seems to view school administration (and just about everything, really) as some kind of bizarre contest—one she intends to win at all costs.Tropes associated with Ms. Li:
Karma Houdini: Unless you count ending up on the evening news after a mercenary group comes to school to recruit students ("This Year's Model"), Helen threatening to sue her for stealing and altering the content of Daria's poster in "Arts and Crass" and the cola-induced freak-out in "Fizz Ed," Ms. Li hasn't been punished for any of her unethical actions.
Kick the Dog: Many times. Throughout the entire series she puts the students through ridiculous, unethical and often illegal schemes to raise money so she can spend it on absurd security measures (and possibly embezzle some of it, as implied by certain episodes, such as "Fair Enough," when she used the money for maintenance and repairs on a polygraph machine, which she claims she won in a raffle).
A good case for this was when forced Daria to sell anyway chocolate to a woman who was hypoglycemic, implying that she was not even interested in others' well-being.
Jane's brother, an incredibly laid-back lead singer in Mystik Spiral, a local band. Daria had quite a crush on him, though he seemed oblivious.Tropes associated with Trent:
All Girls Want Bad Boys: A mild case. Trent only has the "bad boy" looks, not the personality. Daria had quite a crush on him because of this . That is until she had to face that facts that while he's nice, he really is just a lazy slacker with no signs of accomplishing anything in life.
Getting Crap Past the Radar: They couldn't get away with showing or referring to actual drug use on camera, but Trent (and definitely his friend Jesse) are very obviously stoners.
Giftedly Bad: As a musician Trent isn't that dreadful a guitarist (at least not by the standards of the average garage band) but as a lyricist he goes beyond awful.
Hands-Off Parenting: When Trent stays with Jane at the Morgendorffers to get away from his elder siblings and wayward dad in "Lane Miserables", he experiences some Hands On Parenting from Helen after staying out too late.
Mr. Fanservice: Is seen streaking in the intro for one of the movies, and wearing a sailor outfit at one point.
The Slacker: What finally breaks Daria out of her infatuation for him is her realisation that if she and Trent did get together, they probably wouldn't get a fairytale ending because Trent is so unmotivated that he'd likely not make anything of his life.
The Social Expert: Despite a personality so laid back that his communiques are seldom and brief, he's often able to identify moments of mounting tension between Jane and Daria. A few times throughout the series he tries to drop subtle (well, slightly subtle) hints that steer the girls towards peaceful resolution.
"Why don't you say what you're really afraid of? The idea that you might actually start caring about someone. 'Cause that would make you vulnerable."
A rich young man, Tom first came into Daria's life when he started dating Jane, and at first Daria hated his guts. Eventually, however, the two gained a mutual respect for each other that turned into more, and after Jane came to peace with it, Daria and Tom started dating. One of the few characters who can match Daria and Jane in quipping speed, and is remarkably down-to-earth despite his privileged upbringing.Tropes associated with Tom:
The Alleged Car: Two of them, actually. The first was an early-1970's Ford Pinto. From the first made-for-TV movie "Is It Fall Yet?" and every episode in Season 5, it was a 1967 Jaguar 420 G that was in better condition.
Satellite Character: Aside from the shipping-related hate, one common fan complaint is that Tom never had his own subplot separate from Daria and/or Jane, and thus remained comparably undeveloped as a character.
"Hey, where are you going? Did someone flash the bimbo signal?"
The king of all Jerkasses and local hero, Tommy manged to tick off everyone he met but soon met his end in a most ironic way.Tropes associated with Tommy:
Hard Head: Is said to have struck his head against goalposts numerous times, once so badly he cracked his helmet and was in a coma for days, yet shows little sign of brain damage. Not until that last time, of course.
Karmic Death: Killed by the collapsible goalpost being dedicated to him and his monstrous ego. Ironically, the collapsible goalpost was built as a safety measure. Sadly, it fell on him before it was installed. Or unpacked from the crate with the sharp edges.
Politically Incorrect Villain: His brief interaction with Mack certainly has shades of this, as does his generally pervy and sexist comments towards the various female characters he comes across.
"The Reason You Suck" Speech: Tries to give one to Daria after she rightfully calls him out on being an insufferable jerkass misogynist, stating she's "a misery chick" who whines and moans so people don't notice she's a loser. Doesn't faze Daria that much until after he died and people started coming to her for advice, saying how Daria is always "thinking about gloomy stuff".