Recap / Daria S 1 E 01

"Esteemsters" is the first episode of Daria.

The Morgendorffer family moves to Lawndale, with varying results on the youth of the family; Quinn is immediately welcomed into the popular circles at Lawndale High, while her sister Daria is forced into self-esteem class, where she finds one new friend named Jane Lane (She is a very good friend). When Jane and Daria decide to graduate from the class early, they must deal with the consequences...

This episode provides examples of:

  • Blah Blah Blah: O'Neill classes are like this. After all, he has a memorized speech.
  • Characterization Marches On: DeMartino comes off as kind of a Sadist Teacher in his first interaction with Daria, while later episodes would play him as a more sympathetic character (and imply that Daria is one of the few students he actually likes). Helen comes off similarly with her "What's WRONG with you?!" outburst. Also, other than "Café Disaffecto," this is the only episode where Mr. O'Neill has a problem remembering his students' names.
  • Fandom-Specific Plot: This episode in general.
  • Giggling Villain: DeMartino, when he asked Daria to raise her hand, and then asked her a question because she had her hand raised.
  • It's All About Me: In an attempt to bond with Daria, Helen takes the afternoon off to do whatever Daria wants. Cut to the mall where Daria is helping Helen shop for a new suit. It doesn't even seem to occur to Helen that this might not be Daria's idea of mother-daughter bonding.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Parodied when Helen takes Daria for "mother-daughter bonding" where she tries on a baby blue version of the suit she always wears.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: Quinn began pretending that she has no sister from the very first episode.
  • "Not Wearing Pants" Dream: A variant: before they go up to talk in front of the whole school, Jane quips that normally she's wearing pink taffeta in this dream.
  • Speak of the Devil: This episodes contain the only references to Highland made in the show... and they are only about the city. Nobody would ever talk about those two guys.
  • Stealth Insult
    Quinn: Nobody told me about any test!
    Daria: Don't worry. It's a psychological test. You're automatically exempt.
    Quinn: Oh. All right.
  • Viewers Are Geniuses: Those who knew what was the Manifest Destiny before hearing Daria say it, raise your hands