is an animated High School Dramedy
about a waifish, sardonic teen girl with coke-bottle glasses, army boots, and absolutely no patience for the idiocy around her (she used to have Beavis And Butthead
for classmates, can you blame her?)
Most of the humor is derived from Daria and her friend Jane's conflicts with the collection of twisted teenage archetypes (and often the adults) around them. The last two seasons departed from the Reset Button
to create a powerful Story Arc
of Daria and her friends coming of age. The show's strong use of Character Development
became a major draw on a network loaded with more superficial programming
. A major part of it is Daria eventually falling for a Tall, Dark and Snarky
boy, Tom Sloane, who is worthy of her and struggling to deal with romantic activities she previously rejected.
from Beavis And Butthead
(though oddly not from show creator Mike Judge
. Rather, a few of his staff came to like the character and asked to use her. He allowed it but had no input with the show,) the show became a quintessential part of The Nineties
Approximately eight years after the series ended, the show finally
got an official DVD release on May 11th, 2010.
Now has a recap
made a fake trailer
for a live action adaptation starring Aubrey Plaza
This series provides examples of:
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- Abusive Parents: "Mad Dog" Morgendorffer, to Jake.
- Accidental Proposal: One subplot of "Is It College Yet?" has Ms. Barch mistaking Mr. O'Neill's attempts at sympathy regarding her ex-husband as a marriage proposal. This cues Mr. DeMartino to try and get O'Neill to get out of it.
- Adults Are Useless: Played with. Most adults in the show, besides the principal, seem to have good intentions to say the least. But a lot of the times they are simply too out of the loop to be much use, or Daria is too cynical to initially take what they say seriously.
- Though Helen is useful when it counts. Her unwanted help to get Daria to partake in 'normal' activities is usually doomed to fail, but when Daria needs the help, Helen's advice does prove she understands her daughter pretty well.
- Adults Dressed as Children: Magazine editor Val. Since she doesn't look like a teenager, no one is really fooled. Not even Brittany and Kevin.
- Aerith and Bob: The Lane siblings qualify, two of them are named Summer and Wind, but then the next three are given the much more mundane names of Penny, Trent and Jane. Maybe after the first two kids the Lanes were all hippie-named out? (Although Penny was possibly named after a song by The Beatles.)
- The Alleged Car: The Tank, Mystik Spiral's main mode of transportation. Also, Trent's car, and probably every other vehicle owned by a Lane. Also Tom's car. He explains that it's not a convertible, but the roof is rusting through.
- Tom's car is so terrible, he's forced to replace it when his parents tow it away in the middle of the night.
- All Guys Want Cheerleaders: The show's universe tends to show this as quite common at Lawndale High where the student body is largely superficial. Then again, most of the guys who date cheerleaders are also shown to be dumber than dirt and characters the audience is intended to like are shown to scorn them.
- All Just a Dream: Most of the episode "Murder She Snored." (Not that there was any doubt, since Daria going to sleep was shown.)
- The episode "Depth Takes A Holiday" is commonly treated as this by the fandom, due to its story of anthropomorphic holiday spirits running away to start a band.
- All There in the Manual:
- The Daria Database, a book containing in-universe materials from the show's cast, contained a great deal of detail on the supporting cast that never comes up in the show. While nothing in the book was vital to understanding the characters, some of it provided some interesting depths to the cast, such as what happened to Brittany's biological mother or that Jodie apparently had a sister we never saw on camera. (Though is mentioned in passing by Jodie's parents in "Gifted.")
- There was also the Daria Diaries, which proceeded Database by a few years, and served much the same purpose.
- All Women Are Lustful: Attributed to all Barksdale women in the episode "I Don't," where Jake Morgendorffer and Rita Barksdale's (current) squeeze trade notes on how "all Barksdale women are tigers in the sack." It seems to be inverted with Quinn, who dates constantly but seems unwilling to even give a goodnight kiss; this has led to some... interesting suppositions about her.
- Alternatively it suggests that despite her boy crazy persona she's actually much shyer than she lets on (or she just likes to use men for little more than dinner, money, and transportation.)
- Early on, she drops hints that's she's not so chaste and definitely not innocent, but that was eventually dropped and she became more of an untouchable Defrosting Ice Queen.
- Alpha Bitch: Sandi and Quinn both qualify on some levels, though Sandi is generally much more deliberately nasty while Quinn rarely tries to be rude to other girls. note Quinn eventually grows out of this phase over the course of Season 5 when she starts to take school seriously. Sandi in particular exploits the other three Fashion Club girls' insecurities for her own personal gain. The few times we see Sandi's mother, the elder Griffin is shown to be of similar temperament. Mrs. Griffin is equally good at manipulating Helen Morgendorffer's insecurities, with a hint that the same drama was played out in their High School days.
- When you get past her exaggerated racial insecurities, Mrs. Landon (Jodie's mother) also comes across as a prime Alpha Bitch.
- Averted with Brittany. Popular, blonde, rich, head of the cheerleading squad, she displays all of the indicators... Except for the fact that she's slightly less vicious than a shoebox full of puppies. The only Alpha Bitchy thing she ever does is... Attempt to get back at her boyfriend. She even ends up thinking of Daria and Jane as some kind of friends and is generally nice to them (though being quite the airhead often lets insensitive remarks about how unpopular or unperky they are, often even trying to help when they have trouble, despite only succeeding once.
- Sandi regularly attempts to find some way to find a weakness in Quinn to emotionally dominate her and naturally makes her seem like she cares very little for Quinn, especially given a few episodes where she seems to relish in spiting Quinn. However, a few episodes have her acting genuinely nice to her friends or even looking out for them. (Mostly shown in the Grand Finale, suggesting she might have been growing up.)
- And Another Thing: "...You look fifty!"
- Animated Actors: Featured in several marathons and specials and media interviews.
- Arch-Enemy: Ms. Angela Li, to Daria.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Quinn on a stalker: "You mean I nearly went out with... A computer geek?"
: Yeah, why should you be afraid of mass murderers, serial killers, torturers, cannibals, puppy kickers...
- Art Evolution: In the first few episodes of season one, they still seemed to be working on character designs for their art style, as several minor characters have faces that can vary between the usual somewhat cartoony look, and unsettlingly more realistic than usual.
- Starting with Season 4, the series uses what is likely digital coloring to make the animation more vivid. The final season's color scheme is upped even further.
- Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Happens throughout the series, as the characters mature. Notably in the Musical Episode when Daria was convinced that Quinn wouldn't even realize she was missing during a hurricane. Fast-forward to the end of the episode, it's shown Quinn really was worried about them the whole time. Jane also thought that Trent Would have no idea she was missing, though due to his sleeping through everything rather than him not caring. she would have been right, had Helen not called and ordered him to put on some pants and come to the house with the others.
- Ax-Crazy: Ms. Angela Li, in "Fizz Ed," shows traits of this, complete with ax.
- Bad Boss: Ms. Angela Li.
- Bare Your Midriff: Quinn; Kevin in a rare male example.
- Jane's outfit when she tries to look "normal" for an assignment.
- Daria's costume when she was in personality drag as Quinn.
- Beautiful All Along: Daria, in "Quinn the Brain;" the scene where she dolls herself up like Quinn is a perfect example. Daria, all dressed up and posed in Quinn's doorway acting like she's doing some last minute primping to go out on a date, is beautiful enough to make Quinn worried that her usual suitors (in on the plan to make Quinn her normal self) might actually go for Daria.
- This kind of bites Daria in the ass in "Through a Lens, Darkly." She gets contacts, but stops wearing them because they're uncomfortable, but goes without glasses anyway because she likes how she looks, despite being Blind Without 'Em. She spends the episode struggling with her vanity, because she likes not having to wear those gigantic Coke bottles, but worries that her core tenets of personal integrity are being compromised.
- Berserk Button; Jake Morgendorffer, Ms. Barch and Anthony DeMartino have them:
- Don't talk to Jake about money, or any subject which might tangentially brush up against the same airspace as a memory involving his father. He so often drops into rage-filled tirades about how unhappy he is with the way his life has turned out, the world in general, or what his father did to him as a child that you have to wonder why his Type A wife never had him prescribed mood altering drugs (or Mary Jane, considering the allusions that are constantly made to both Jake and Helen's counterculture lifestyle in the sixties.)
- Mr. DeMartino's right eye bulges practically out of its socket every time he becomes agitated, and his speech patterns, while halting at the best of times, become even more emphatic. Usually the source of his agitation is a particularly vapid student (Kevin or Brittany are the usual culprits,) but anything that angers him will set that eyeball popping.
- Ms. Barch's husband up and left her after 22 years of marriage. Her response? To drop into anti-male tirades whenever the opportunity arises and to torment and humiliate her male students. A prime example comes in "Too Cute," when she forces Kevin to wear makeup and fake deformities as well as a large wad of cotton in his mouth until "[his] ego is crushed." She also makes no attempt to hide her clearly discriminatory grading practices, in which men are often graded poorly because of their gender while females are given good grades which are not always deserved (see "The Lab Brat.")
- Beta Couple: Jodie and Mack.
- Big Bad: Ms. Angela Li.
- Big Ball of Violence: The Three J's get involved in one with some other suitors of Quinn in "Daria Dance Party." Ms. Barch and Kevin's dad start one in "Mart of Darkness."
- Big Screwed-Up Family: Played for laughs with the Morgendorffers (until "Aunt Nauseum,") but painfully straight with the Lanes.
- Bittersweet Ending: Quinn's subplot in "Is It College Yet?" — she confronts Lindy about her drinking problem and it seems like their friendship is over. They make up, but the implication is that Lindy still isn't willing to accept that she has a problem and will continue drinking.
- Bi the Way: Alison. The "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue implies that Lindy may be as well, though it never comes up in the episode.
- Book Ends: In the first episode "Esteemsters," Daria takes a psych test at school and is berated by her parents for the results (her being assigned to the Self-Esteem Class.) In the final episode "Boxing Daria" we see in a flashback that the same thing happened to Daria when she was a young child.
- Additionally, during the psych test she takes in the first episode, she tells the instructor that she sees "a herd of beautiful wild ponies running free across the plain." In the last episode, while the instructor from several years ago is explaining the Rorschach test, she says that "Another [child] might see a herd of beautiful wild ponies running free across the plain."
- Bowdlerization and Edited for Syndication:
- When the show was moved to "The N" (Nickelodeon's spin-off channel, featuring teen-based shows,) almost every single episode had scenes excised and/or altered from their original versions. Some episode titles were changed ("The F Word" and "It Happened One Nut" were changed, respectively, to "Fail" and "Daria Gets a Job,") and some episodes were simply not aired at all due to their content ("My Night at Daria's" due to sexual content, and "Boxing Daria" for reasons unknown [most likely the censors thought Daria coming to realize that she may be the cause of her parents arguing may be too depressing for viewers].)
- "Arts 'n' Crass" contains a great in-universe example: Ms. Li and Mr. O'Neill want Jane's painting of a lovely young teen girl in Lawndale High's upcoming art show, but without a poem, written by Daria, about the girl being bulimic attached. Li and O'Neill suggest altering the poem to something not associated with eating disorders — "I don't want to change the intent of the poster, I just want to make it more palatable," says O'Neill — but Daria and Jane both refuse on the grounds that making the alterations actually does change the intent of the poem. Ms. Li eventually changes the poem for them and enters the painting into the art show without their permission. As a result, Daria and Jane deface the painting during the art show and nearly get in trouble, until Ms. Li foolishly admits to Helen that she took Daria's poster, altered the content, exhibited the poster without Daria's permission, and now is punishing Daria for defacing something that Ms. Li stole from her.
- Airings of "Depth Takes a Holiday" in the UK have the British swear words like "bollocks" and "wankers" edited out.
- LOGO's airings of Daria are more like the DVD version: The content that The-N edited is there, but, due to music licensing issues, the music is changed to generic, soundalike production music (except for Splendora's "You're Standing on My Neck" [the theme song to the show].)
- Boy Of The Week: There's about a fifty percent chance Quinn will have one in any given episode; if she doesn't the Three J's are likely filling in.
- Daria herself had the title character of "The New Kid," Ted.
- Brand X: Lackluster Video, Deuce Hardware, Pizza King, and Payday (a big-box store).
- Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs:
Jane: You know how fads are. Today, it's brains, tomorrow, pierced tongues. The next day, pierced brains.
- Break the Cutie: Quinn (in "Monster"), Jodie (in "Gifted"), and most notably Stacy (in "Fat Like Me" - also a Crowning Moment of Awesome for her). Arguably the single most defining character trait of Jake. This is pretty much the premise of the show. The world is attempting to screw with Daria, and failing miserably.
- The Brainless Beauty: While Brittany qualifies, she has nothing on Tiffany. Subverted with Quinn, who (until "Is It Fall Yet?") worked at being 'not smart'. Inverted with Daria, who deliberately keeps her appearance plain (and is noticed immediately for her looks whenever she makes any change - "Quinn The Brain" and "Through A Lens, Darkly" are the go-to episodes for this inversion).
- Jesse of Mystik Spiral is a male example, especially in the script for the proposed Mystik Spiral spin-off.
- Butt Monkey: Anthony DeMartino. 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?".
- Tom Sloane has been this sometimes. More specifically in "Psycho Therapy", where he was indirectly humiliated in front of a internet's webcam seen by several people.
- Kevin and Quinn as well, sometimes.
- By the Lights of Their Eyes: Shows up in "The Teachings of Don Jake".
- The Cassandra: Daria certainly fills this role, especially in "Psycho Therapy", when her family is at the psychology "spa":
Daria: Mom's resentful that she has to work so hard, which obscures her guilt about actually wanting to works so hard; Dad's guilty about being less driven than Mom, but feels it's wrong to feel that way, so he hides behind a smokescreen of cluelessness. Quinn wears superficiality like a suit of armor, because she's afraid of looking inside and finding absolutely nothing. And I'm so defended that I actively work to make people dislike me so I won't feel bad when they do. Can I go now?
Doctor: Tell me Daria, have you ever been hypnotized?
- Catch Phrase:
- Daria: "Excuse me..."
- Upchuck: "(flirtatious purr) Feisty!"
- Principal Li tends to use the phrase "Laaawndale High" at least once in any conversation, spoken with a particularly reverential tone.
- Ms. Barch: "Come on, Skinny!" (and some slight variations) to Mr. O'neil whenever she finds a suitable love spot.
- Sandi: "As President of the Fashion Club, I..." and "Gee, Quinn...." (usually preceding a put-down)
- "Those paintball thingies hurt!"
- A squeaky exclamation of "Eep!". Started with Brittany but by the end of the series, nearly every main character had used it at least once.
- Quinn, to Helen: "Muh-om!"
- Jake: "Dammit!"
- Character Title: Made explicit by the title card for every episode, "Daria in..."
- Censored Title: When the show aired on The-N, the season four episode "The F Word" had its title changed to "Fail". Also, season three's "It Happened One Nut" was changed to "Daria Gets A Job".
- Chez Restaurant: Chez Pierre's.
- Clark Kenting: Unintentionally invoked. When Daria started wearing contacts, Mr. O'Neil didn't recognize her at first. Then again, he did have a history of not being able to recognize his students.
- Class Trip: The Mall of the Millennium for economics, paintball with Mr. DeMartino (who used to go to military school) and O'Neill's field trip to the woods.
- Clothing Switch:
- Daria wears Quinn-like hiphuggers and a midriff-baring tee when trying to shock Quinn out of being a "brain" in "Quinn the Brain".
- Quinn wears Daria's clothes for a "Fashion Don't" costume party in "Monster".
- Clumsy Copyright Censorship: The two movies were released on DVD with practically all of the licensed songs excised from the soundtrack and replaced with production music. The DVD version of the entire series is the same (licensed songs replaced with generic music), save for three copyrighted songs that had to be kept because the characters were singing along.
- Glenn Eichler lampshaded this in a note that's included in the DVD release.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Not quite F-bombs, but something similar from the musical episode "Daria!", when Jake is trying to make it home through heavy traffic:
God God dammit! Very Moral Family:
Oh me, oh my! Jake: God God Dammit! Very Moral Family: We hope that you die!
- Comically Missing the Point: During a family trip to an Psychotherapy Spa (not a real spa) Jake loses his temper at Helen and accuses her of only pretending to be a perfect mother when in reality she'd sooner prefer losing herself in her work. This causes Helen to come to the realization that she may actually be a horrible mother, running from the room, with Daria and Jake following her. When the therapist asks Quinn what she thinks of all this, she simply quips: "You'd probabaly get more business if you just offered facials."
- Also, a little bit earlier in the above scenario, Helen and Jake are roleplaying and (very unflatteringly) imitating each other. When it comes to a head, and a chastened, depressed Helen murmurs, "Everyone hates me" before she runs from the room, Quinn asks her, "Are you being Daria now?"
- Kevin and Tiffany are essentially the poster children for this trope.
- Coming-of-Age Story: The later seasons venture heavily into this trope, to great effect.
- Continuity Nod:
- A red stain that is seen and mentioned in the Lanes' freezer in "Lane Miserables" later pops up again in the episode "Speedtrapped".
- Also in the first episode, "Esteemsters", when she take a psychology test, Daria mentions having to take a similar test when she was younger. This test is brought up again in "Boxing Daria". Highland is also mentioned in the very first episode as having uranium in the drinking water. (This explains a lot.)
- Also in the second season episode "Gifted". Jodie, while traveling with Daria and Daria's parents is asked by Helen if she knows Kevin, and mentions that "He and Daria did a science project together." A nod to the previous season's seventh episode, "The Lab Brat".
- "Talking toilet?"
- There is also Mrs. Johannsen, an obese woman who appears a number of times - first she has something like a heart attack while Jane and Daria are trying to sell candy to her (which she's not supposed to eat according to her doctor). We then see her with a doctor, when all the Morgendorffers go to a Spa. Then she's seen again at the Payday store - not supposed to exert herself suddenly, according to her doctor, because she had a seizure a while back. Jane and Daria don't seem to remember her though. This incidental character also appears in a poolside scene at the hotel where the Morgendorffers are forced to live after a house fire. She is in a swimming costume on a recliner, which arouses the wrath of the Fashion Club about how some people have no consideration. The bellboy with a crush on Quinn abruptly redirects the fat woman's drink to her, much to her anger. Later, when Sandy is bedridden with grief due to her weight gain, she is seen wearing the same floral dress worn by Mrs. Johanssen in the majority of her appearances. She also appears in the episode "The Old and the Beautiful"; the Fashion Club is collecting clothes for the homeless for a charity drive. They have just decided to not be picky about what they get and accept whatever people offer, and the next house they visit is Mrs. Johanssen's. They tell her "Never mind," to which she replies, "Are you selling chocolate?"
- An odd case is with a rather trivial detail with Mr. DeMartino's watch. On the episode "Just Add Water", when his gambling addiction sets in, he tries selling his watch for more chips. The person he offered it to remarks that it "looks very cheap". Flash forward a season later, on "Mart of Darkness", when DeMartino loses track of time and missed the beginning of the free samples, he remarks "Damn cheap watch!".
- In "Monster", Quinn borrows one of Daria's outfits for a Fashion Don'ts party. In "The Old and the Beautiful", she finds it still in her closet and yells to Daria about it.
- "My soul's waves of grain?" "I've heard that somewhere before..."
- Near the end of "Is It Fall Yet?", Quinn answers Mr. DeMartino's question about Manifest Destiny correctly but with her own personal spin on it. Daria did the exact same thing in the first episode.
- Quinn brings up Cleopatra inventing mascara in "Fat Like Me", which she first did under past life regression hypnosis in "Psycho Therapy".
- In the episode "Pierce Me" when Daria and Trent are out looking for a birthday gift for Jane, Trent points out a certain outfit that he mentions Daria would look "cute" in. In the end credits of the first season, one of the images is Daria wearing said outfit.
- In the season four premiere, Jodie informs Daria that Mack is bad with money, and has been overdrawn on his allowance since the third grade. In "Is It Fall Yet?", he gets a summer job to finally pay back his dad.
- The diner where Daria and Jane meet up in "Boxing Daria" is the same one where they stopped in "The Road Warrior".
- In "Is It Fall Yet?", Daria is talking to Link and tells him that at his age (12) she used to read George Orwell. In "Camp Fear" we see a flashback of the first time she arrived at Camp Grizzly, and she had the book Animal Farm.
- Corrupt the Cutie: "Pinch Sitter", though it's more like "teach the straitlaced, repressed children to think for themselves".
- Cosmetic Catastrophe: "Dye! Dye! My Darling".
- Crapsack World: The Show Within a Show titled "Sick Sad World".
- Creative Closing Credits: The end credits have a montage of the show characters as different people and things, including:
- Daria as a Greek goddess, Audrey Hepburn from Breakfast at Tiffany's, a jet pilot, a Baywatch lifeguard, a skater girl, a post-apocalyptic warrior, a news anchor, an Olympic gymnast mid floor routine, Mother Goose, Andy Warhol, and a grave digger (Quinn's grave no less).
- Jane as the Statue of Liberty, a geisha, Snow White, an Andy Warhol painting, Frida Kahlo, and a leopard queen.
- Jake as a flamenco dancer, a sushi meal, a DJ, a police composite sketch of the Unabomber, a man in a Bankruptcy Barrel, and The Terminator.
- Helen as Elton John, Carmen Miranda, Medusa, a samurai, a hobo, Lady Godiva, and a Vegas showgirl.
- Ms. Barch as Monica Lewinsky, Xena: Warrior Princess, and a cabaret dancer.
- Trent as a gangster, a cowboy, Indiana Jones, Pinhead from Hellraiser, and a hooker.
- Ms. Li as a hooker standing behind a police line-up height chart, a Power Ranger, a goalie, and Glinda the Good Witch from The Wizard of Oz.
- Stacy as Carrie White, a mental patient chained up like Hannibal Lecter, a boxer, the Coppertone Girl, and Alice from Alice in Wonderland holding a flamingo like a golf club.
- Tiffany as a fat jogger, a leprechaun, a mountain climber, and a marionette.
- Sandi as a garbage man, a French maid, a go-go dancer reminiscent of Rose McGowan's Cherry Darling from Planet Terror, Dracula and The Devil).
- In Is It Fall Yet, the montage shows stills of Hilarious Outtakes from the film and in Is It College Yet, the montage is a joke "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue, showing what could have happened to each character After the End. Most of the "alter egos" shown on the regular credits can be found here: .
- Curse Cut Short: The ending of "Pinch Sitter"
Mrs. Gupty: Tad!
Mr. Gupty: Tricia!
- The Cutie: Can you say "Fashion Club"?. Also mildly subverted by Daria in "Quinn The Brain", in which Daria is shown to actually be rather attractive when she wants to be.
- Debate and Switch: Glasses or contacts? More of an issue than one might think, because Daria equates wearing contacts permanently with being shallow, as she'd be wearing them because she really cares about her appearance and how people think of her. The debate gets discarded when the contacts irritate Daria's eyes so much that she can't stand having them in, and has to go back to the glasses.
- Decade-Themed Party: In the episode "Life in the Past Lane", Jane is dating a guy, Nathan, who is obsessed with swing dancing and the styles and manners of The Forties. They go to a dance party and to a drive-by cinema meeting centred around said decade.
- Depraved Bisexual: Allison in "Is It Fall Yet?" is the second type.
- The Ditz: Brittany, Kevin, and any number of one-shots that seem to crop up entirely to torment Daria by merely existing. The Fashion Club is a whole group of ditzes, though over time, this is shown to be a bit more complicated - while all four have varying levels of this, Quinn is eventually revealed to possess Obfuscating Stupidity, whereas Sandi is the Alpha Bitch. Tiffany approaches Cloud Cuckoolander status and Stacy is quite smart when she applies herself, but has a lot of self esteem issues that hold her back from trying and keep her dumb.
- Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Mrs. Barch certainly seems to think so, and she generally gets away with it, but the show demonstrates that both male and female characters think that she's unbalanced.
- Played straight with Brittany, who has hit Kevin on multiple occasions (even giving him a black eye in one episode), and it's always played for laughs.
- Dreadful Musician: Trent Lane and the other members of Mystik Spiral are intended to be horrible musicians. They still have fans in the Daria fanbase in spite of this.
- Drives Like Crazy: Jake, but only when he's upset… so most of the time.
"Oh dear, your father's braking with his angry foot again."
- Drugs Are Bad: Several times in episode "Road Worrier". For example Jake says, "Hey, stay away from the brown ac... remember Daria, just say no".
- Unfortunately, you miss the subversion if you only watch the music-removed version; later in the episode, when Helen and Jake are shown enjoying their kid-free time, the music was originally "White Rabbit."
- Dude, Not Funny!: In-universe example: in "Life in the Past Lane", Daria, Tom, and Jane all take turns making cracks on the fact that Daria stole Tom from Jane, followed by protests from Daria, Tom, or both.
- Dumbass DJ: Bing and the Spatula Man are mental in the morning. Subverted, as Upchuck seems to be very good at the job (as he volunteered for it, and everyone seemed to like his tunes).
- Dumbass Has a Point: Brittany, in both "The Daria Hunter" (which surprises just about everyone) and "Through A Lens Darkly", when she accidentally says just the right thing to get Daria out of her funk.
- Drill Sergeant Nasty and The Ghost: Jake's late father, "Mad Dog" Morgendorffer.
- Dysfunctional Family: The Morgendorffers have their friction, but compared to Jane's completely screwed up family - who (among other faults) has left her and her barely older brother to fend for themselves - they're The Brady Bunch. In fact, Lawndale could be renamed Dysfunction Junction with very little effort.
Daria: Mom's resentful that she has to work so hard, which obscures her guilt about actually wanting to work so hard. Dad's guilty about being less driven than Mom, but thinks it's wrong to feel that way. So, he hides behind a smokescreen of cluelessness. Quinn wears superficiality like a suit of armor, because she's afraid of looking inside and finding absolutely nothing. And I'm so defensive that I actively work to make people dislike me so I won't feel bad when they do. Can I go now?
- There's also Brittany's family. In fact, Brittany's family even defines this trope in "Groped By An Angel".
- Similarly, Jodie's father (in her words) thinks he's Dr Martin Luther King Jr. and both of her parents are too driven to success to respect her feelings and freedom of choice.
- Egomaniac Hunter: Brittany's dad is a self-absorbed Jerk Ass and is very fond of safari paraphernalia, though how many animals he's actually shot himself is anybody's guess.
- Embarrassing First Name: Apparently, Jane's older brother Wind wanted to change his to "Ronald" when he was a child (possibly because it doubles as a bit of a Gender-Blender Name). He seems to be over it by adulthood.
- His parents, as holdover hippies, viewed "Ronald" in this way, to the point that they made up a story about how his name was chosen by the Heavens and they formally named him in the gazebo in their back yard to stop him from going through with it.
- Empty Fridge Empty Life: The Lanes' refrigerator is a magnificent example.
- Epic Fail: Mr. DeMartino's plan to make Mr. O'Neill more assertive so he can break off his engagement to Ms. Barch would have worked — had Ms. Barch not admit to Mr. O'Neill that she loved his new allegedly assertive side.
- Episode Title Card: Every episode, including the TV movies.
- Everybody Knew Already: Quinn spends 4 and a half seasons telling everyone that Daria is something other than her sister. When she finally admits it, Sandi tries to make a big deal of the situation, only for Stacy and Tiffany to say that THEY KNEW ALL ALONG.
- Extreme Melee Revenge: Apparently the ending to "The New Kid", Daria to Quinn.
- Barch to DeMartino, after the latter cuts her club photo's from the yearbook.
- Expanded Universe: An entirely fan-created one, however. Check out the Daria Wiki to see how that works. Bring a seat belt — and a quick means of escape. It hit the point where the fandom generated its own multiverse. Just look at that page, as it tends to require a lot less Brain Bleach than looking over every story synopsis.
- 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).
- According to a behind-the-scenes special that aired on MTV during the show's run, most of the school kids were designed to resemble young actors of the time such as Jennifer Love Hewitt.
- In "Malled", we have "Fuzzy-Wuzzy-Weebits" - Anyone who remembers a particular fad in the 90s can tell you they're like Beanie Babies.
- Eye Scream:
- Mr. DeMartino's eye bulges out with every few words he says, the veins in it getting more detailed as the series goes on. An outtake photo in the "Is It Fall Yet?" credits has it popped completely out of its socket, dangling precariously by its blood vessels.
- DeMartino got punched in his good eye (the eye that doesn't bulge when he talks) after Ms. Barch got angry over Mr. O'Neill standing up to her in "Is It College Yet?".
- Jake bursts a blood vessel in his eye (then both eyes when he saw the bill for the helicopter ride out of the woods) in "The Teachings of Don Jake".
- Daria's first attempt to put in contact lenses.
- Face on a Milk Carton: In "Lane Miserables"; amusingly, it's the boy from Daria's self-esteem class in the very first episode.
- Fairytale Wedding Dress: Erin's wedding dress in "I Don't".
- Brittany in a story Daria tries writing that rips off the end of The Graduate.
- Fake Band: Mystik Spiral.
- Also Boys Are Guys, a boy band that Quinn and the other Fashion Club members like.
- Fan Disservice: The first shot of "Is It Fall Yet?" is a closeup of Mr. O'Neill shaking his red Speedo-clad ass.
- Fantasy Twist: Daria's college daydream in "College Bored" involves her receiving an offer to teach at a Paris grad school in the first week of her freshman year so her professor can use her dorm room to seduce "more beautiful" students.
- Fashion Hurts: Not surprisingly, it's Quinn who demonstrates this, with a pair of high-heeled sandals.
- Fiction Isn't Fair: As proved with Daria and Jane's poster, it actually is, for a change.
- First Law of Tragicomedies: While the show never loses its sense of humour, later episodes (and especially the series finale movie, "Is it College Yet?") have a much more serious (if not somewhat downbeat) feel to them.
- 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 highstrung manchild who always ranted about his screwed-up childhood and remained that way for the rest of the series.
- Subverted with Ms. Barch following "The Daria Hunter": Barch still remained a man-hating, borderline Straw Feminist divorcee (only now she beats up Mr. DeMartino), but she doesn't act that way around Mr. O'Neill.
- Towards the end of season three's "Jane's Addition", Jake, Helen, and Quinn (after having had no screen time in the episode), each call out off-screen:
- Flowers for Algernon Syndrome: Played with in "Quinn the Brain", though Quinn's sudden intelligence wasn't actually real. It still played out with the "intelligent" Quinn reverting to normal.
- Quinn is occasionally implied to be rather more intelligent than she lets on, but has, as it were, a mirrored version of her sister's self-image neuroses.
- Fractured Fairy Tale: Daria and Jane use a series of them as bedtime stories for the kids they're sitting in "Pinch Sitter".
- In "The Teachings of Don Jake", Jake, Helen, Quinn and Daria both try to tell scary fairy tales around the campfire. Jake's was a Mundane Ghost Story about his father getting drunk during a camping trip in Jake's childhood, Helen's was a racy vampire romance that she had to clean up at the last minute, Quinn's story was more about how badly-dressed Cinderella was, and Daria's version of "Hansel and Gretel" made everyone else sick (but was probably the best one out of the four).
- Fully Automatic Clip Show: In "Antisocial Climbers", Mr. O'Neill has an asthma attack. Ms. Li doesn't want to stop the field trip and suggests that someone short-rope Mr. O'Neill. Ms. Barch thinks back to a Gone with the Wind-esque scene in which she vowed never to carry another man again, followed by the three times she's made out with Mr. O'Neill (in a tent during the paintball trip on "The Daria Hunter", in the Renaissance Fair fortuneteller booth in "Fair Enough", and on the sinking cruise on "Just Add Water".)
- "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: In-universe: in "The Misery Chick", returning alumnus Tommy Sherman manages to piss off just about everyone in the school. Daria speaks of her resentment at the reverence he'll receive for the rest of his life, which Jane follows up remarking he may not live that long. A second later, a goalpost collapses and kills him offscreen.
- Fur Bikini: Jane wears one in a picture during the credits. Daria makes a joke about wearing one in the show proper.
- Gag Boobs: "Um, Brittany, would you mind pointing those things in another direction?" Also the sample implant Daria ends up with in "Too Cute". It effectively scares off Upchuck. Though not for long, as he later uses Quinn as a third party to proposition Daria with a "Deposit" to "Rent that fake boob for the weekend."
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: "Pierce Me" has the following gem when Daria is looking at the list of options at a piercing parlor.
Daria: "I don't think that's how you spell uvula."
Axel: "It's not uvula."
- Kevin delivers an excellent - if unintentional - insult during a break up with Brittany:
Kevin: "Babe, the only wide receivers I've got are my crutches here, and they only catch the sweat of my defeat."
- This beautiful blink-and-you-miss-it line from Jake to Kevin:
Jake: "We didn't call it self-love; we called it self-abuse."
- In Is It Fall Yet, there are a few glimpses of Allison's artwork and most of it is very sexualized, with a few pictures being thinly-veiled representations of genitals and sexual acts.
- One of Ms. Li's credit alteregos is clearly a prostitute (one who has been arrested and put in a police line-up).
- From "The Old and the Beautiful":
Kevin "Darwin is, the monkey guy right? I like monkeys."
Mr DeMartino "A statement one day, no doubt, also made by your mother."
- There are also numerous allusions to drug use, and not always in a Drugs Are Bad way.
- Girl Posse: The Fashion Club.
Sandi: Quinn, no-one is going to pay us to eat carrot sticks.
Quinn: I mean, tell people what's wrong with their outfits.
Tiffany: But, we do that all day for free. That's why everyone likes us.
- The Glasses Gotta Go: Deconstructed in "Through a Lens Darkly": Daria replaces her glasses with contact lenses and everyone reacts positively. Daria is annoyed by this, yet also wrestles with her own newly-discovered vanity and ultimately decides to go back to wearing the glasses.
- Good Cop/Bad Cop: O'Neill and DeMartino, respectively, when interrogating Daria concerning the murder of Kevin (in a dream).
- Good People Have Good Sex: Played straight with Jake and Helen, though the show notes that they seem to have a hard time relating to each other in any other way.
- Good Versus Good: The conflict between Daria and Tom in the seasons 4-5. Agree with the creator of the series, neither of them is malicious, not even touching to be evil. And, agree with some fans, Daria misinterpreted the things in Tom, and well, took them both to have conflicts that later was resolved in a manner not very expected, but not a Downer Ending.
- Gosh Hornet: The episode "Antisocial Climbers", has Kevin giving Brittany a bouquet of freshly picked flowers... filled with bees. It takes a few stings before she starts running.
- Goth: Andrea. and The Living Prop Goth girl who wears black lipstick, dark clothes, and has orange hair.
- Grand Finale: The second movie "Is It College Yet?".
- Grew a Spine: Stacy during the final season.
- Groin Attack: Barch to DeMartino, in "The New Kid". Sandi to Upchuck in "Fair Enough".
- Hands-Off Parenting: Jane's parents led to this trope formerly being named Casa Lane Parenting. The lanes get this tropes bonus points as the mother is an artist.
- Happiness Is Mandatory: On Holiday Island, apparently.
Christmas: Have you ever been forced to spread love and joy 24 hours a day?
Daria: I believe on that one I can go with a definite "no."
- Have I Mentioned I Am Sexually Active Today?: The plot of "My Night At Daria's" hinges on this: Daria is annoyed at the assumption that two people in a relationship must be having sex, while at the same time wondering if there's something wrong with her and Tom's relationship because they aren't.
- Everything that Charles says or does.
- He Is Not My Boyfriend: In "The New Kid", Daria kept saying this about her Guy of the Week, Ted.
- Held Back In School: Kevin flunks his senior year.
- Her Code Name Was Mary Sue: Melody Powers, a recurring anti-Communist character in Daria's stories, who also doubles as a Parody Sue.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Daria and Jane. The Nostalgia Chick even refers to it as one of the most compelling "bromances" (or the female equivalent of such) in television history.
- Hidden Depths: More and more characters begin to develop this as the show goes on; Quinn and Stacy may be the best examples.
- Special credit to Brittany, who turns out to be an excellent military strategist.
- Hippie Teacher: Mr. O'Neill. Could also apply to art teacher Ms. Defoe as well.
- Hitler Ate Sugar: The Trope Namer, from the episode "Pinch Sitter", which made fun of the concept.
- Hollywood Heart Attack: Jake in "Jake of Hearts".
- Homeschooled Kids: Ted.
- Hot for Student: The substitute English teacher, Ken Edwards, had a rather weird thing for Tiffany in "Lucky Strike". It resulted in him getting fired and arrested, and Daria being called in to teach the class instead.
- I Don't Want to Ruin Our Friendship: In the non-canon pilot, Daria engineers a situation where she can say this very publicly to Kevin as part of a revenge plot.
- I Need a Freaking Drink: Helen says this (without the freaking) moments after arriving at her niece's wedding.
- Mr. DeMartino in "The Daria Hunter", when Jake offers him his flask:
DeMartino: Mr. Morgendorffer, I'm a teacher responsible for dozens of students on a fairly hazardous field trip. Do YOU think I should take a little nip?!
Jake: I guess not.
DeMartino: NO! I guess NOT! Gimme that!
(DeMartino starts gulping down like there's no tomorrow)
- Then there was the time Jake chugged a whole Martini pitcher when Aunt Rita came through the door.
- Informed Ability: Daria is very well-read and can rattle off any one of a number of references to books far above her grade level, however she seems kind of blind to applying any of this knowledge to her life and relationships. This is what has fueled fan theories that Daria suffers from any one of several emotional/mental handicaps.
- Insufferable Genius: Jodie and Daria were both selected to attend a school of gifted intelligence only to find that the students fit this trope to a tee. So much so that Jodie (rather than Daria for a change) got fed up and told them off. They both decide to stay at Lawndale.
- I Take Offense to That Last One: This exchange between Sandi and Tad Gupty.
Tad: You're a mean, old witch!
Sandi: I am not old!
- 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.
- In "I Don't", Rita's boyfriend tells Jake that she's great in bed. He casts a nervous look at an increasingly-drunk Helen and comments that it runs in the family.
- Jive Turkey: The magazine editor Val uses language like this in an attempt to seem like she is still in touch with teenagers.
- Karma Houdini: Mrs. Barch has gotten away with beating up a fellow teacher, gender discrimination, fraternizing with a coworker (her fling with Mr. O'Neill), and calling the police on a false report, which, in real life, would have led to her getting arrested, sued, and/or terminated from her job.
- Ms. Li manages to be one to a certain degree. 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). Though she is briefly committed to a mental ward after her freak out in episode "Fizz Ed", she still manages to retain her job (though without her former prestige) by the series finale. Unless the credits of "Is It College Yet?", which show a paranoid Ms. Li hiding out in a cheap motel from the cops, is canon.
- Quinn's behavior was regularly rather irritating, but in "Speedtrapped" her arrogance, snottiness and most of all the trouble she caused (taking the money Daria needed to bail Jane and Mystik Spiral out of jail and letting a con-man trick her out of it by playing on her vanity) ventured into outright unforgivable. And yet she not only received no comeuppance for this, she didn't even seem to feel particularly bad about it- the fact that she and Daria were able to team up to fleece more money out of a bar full of rednecks was seen as somehow "atonement" for her inexcusable screwup. This also lead to a Broken Aesop about Quinn and Daria being a good team when they can work together, even though everything was her fault and she only got them out of trouble by teaming up with Daria to fleece a bar of rednecks.
- Although Daria got a small type of revenge on both Quinn and the hitchhiker Quinn gave all their money to in the first place by calmly attempting to run him over, or at least making it seem like she was going to, scaring the crap out of Quinn in the process.
- Averted with Kevin. Several episodes mentioned that his coach would help him get through classes so he could stay off academic probation and remain on the football team. A few of the other characters lamented that they would probably struggle to get into college while he would get a football scholarship, but in the series finale, it's revealed that he flunked and would have to repeat his senior year while the others graduated.
- Played straight with the burglars that broke into the Internet cafe in "Cafe Disaffecto". They're never caught, and they break into the place yet again at the episode's conclusion.
- Kick the Dog: Sandi gets this moments many times.
- Ms. Li. Notably after Daria and Jane refused to sell their chocolate to Mrs. Johanssen.
- Used In-Universe in "Gifted" when Daria assures Quinn she shouldn't be scared of the town's "mass murderers, serial killers, torturers, cannibals... puppy kickers."
- Kids Prefer Boxes: Deconstructed in "Boxing Daria". It was revealed through triggered flashbacks of seeing a refrigerator box in the backyard that Daria would hide a refrigerator box in her room whenever her parents would fight amongst themselves over Daria's antisocial behavior in grade school.
- Lame Comeback: Kevin and Brittany get into one of their weekly arguments; before stalking off, Britney snaps at him.
Britney: "Don't you fraternize me!"
Kevin: "...You think I don't know what that means? I know what that means!" note
- Lampshade Hanging: Jodie feels pressure, being the perfect role model for all the black kids in school - and she then points out that there aren't any black kids except for her and Mack. (There are a few black students as background characters.) In "Life in the Past Lane" when Jane's new boyfriend means a new retro style, she says "This was so much easier when I only had one outfit."
- A more subtle example is the scene where Jane is packing to go to a family reunion. She is putting numerous copies of the same shirt into her suitcase.
- Another subtle example is a scene in episode 3 where Brittany remarks that Kevin wearing his football uniform was a smart idea while they were fundraising. Really smart, considering that it's the only thing he wears.
- Last Disrespects: In the episode "Murder, She Snored". Although the funeral occurs in Daria's dream, nobody really has anything nice to say. Ms. Barch uses it as an excuse for another feminist rant, Mack's eulogy basically insults Kevin, and to top it off, Daria and Jane wear Hawaiian shirts for the occasion.
- On top of all of that, the Three Js arrive and proceed to test the body in hopes of determining if Kevin is really dead. To continue the cavalcade of detective/murder mystery references, they use the same methods as in the film Film/Charade: sneezing in his face to provoke a reaction, checking to see if his breath fogs a mirror, and jabbing him with a pin.
- Used subtly in reference to Tommy Sherman. He was an ass to everyone in the school, but no one wants to come out and say that because you Never Speak Ill of the Dead.
- Last Episode New Character: Lindy, the college student who becomes Quinn's friend during "Is It College Yet?".
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In "That Was Then This Is Dumb" after Jane explains Trent's "dormant cycle" he opens his eyes and smiles at the "camera" as it shifts left.
- Let Me Get This Straight: Helen Morgendorffer practically says this verbatim to Ms. Li in "Arts 'n' Crass."
- Lighter and Softer: In comparison with his predecessor Beavis And Butthead, and other shows. While the series itself manages some jokes that are understandable only to a mature audience, having some sexual references and have some violent moments, is even lighter and softer compared to other sitcoms such as Family Guy, South Park, Drawn Together, even SpongeBob SquarePants (a kids show) after the movie, that are full to the brim with extreme violence, blood, awful murders and sexual moments on-screen, Comedic Sociopathy, Squick, Dead Baby Comedy, etc. Moreover, Daria manages more realistic themes and doesn't focus on Kafka Komedy.
- Limited Wardrobe: Even the Fashion Club! There's a clever Lampshade Hanging in "The Teaching of Don Jake." While Daria and Jane are having a conversation, Jane is idly packing a suitcase to head off to a family reunion. EVERY shirt she puts in the suitcase is the exact same as the one she's wearing.
- The following exchange in "Too Cute" also lampshades this:
Sandi: "Example: I would never tell Quinn that she looks cute in that "thing" she always wears."
Quinn: "I don't have a "thing" that I always wear!"
- Local Hangout: The Pizza King where Daria, Jane, and many of the other Lawndale High students frequent.
- Love Triangle: Daria/Tom/Jane. (Also Daria/Trent/Monique, but Daria never acted on it.)
- Lovable Alpha Bitch: Brittany
- Quinn may possibly count as this in the very last season.
- Love Martyr: Jane and Trent's older brother Wind spends all his screen time crying about his failed marriages. However, it's clear that Wind is really just a miserable narcissist who feels the need to turn everything into a crying fit about his inability to make a marriage work with no consideration to others.
- Lurid Tales of Doom: A show that mocks cultural trends inside a show that mocks cultural trends? A meta mess next on on Sick, Sad World!
- Mad Libs Catch Phrase: Tiffany has one with "Yeahhh...[key word from previous line]."
- Magic Realism: Has quick brush with the genre in "Depth Takes a Holiday".
- The Mall: The episode "Malled" has the cast visiting the Mall of the Millennium.
- Massive Numbered Siblings: The Lanes barely qualify for this trope with five (Summer, Wind, Penny, Trent and Jane).
- Misfit Mobilization Moment: Real Life example - the creation of the web petition, for the Daria fandom's quest for DVD's of the series. (It eventually reached over 30,000 signatures.)
- Misplaced Kindergarten Teacher: Was hired as a scab teacher on "Lucky Strike". She even put star stickers on the tests; except for Kevin because of his bad posture.
- In a weird sort of way, Mr. DeMartino. 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.
- Mistaken for Profound: Several characters get this.
- Mistaken for Racist: In "Gifted", Helen and Jake meet Jodie's parents, Andrew and Michele Landon. Helen keeps making comments that are seen as having unfortunate implications by Michele, to Michele's annoyance. Andrew however either doesn't notice or simply ignores them.
- Model Couple: Tiffany did this in "Pierce Me" at a mother/daughter Fashion Show; she hired an African-American model to play her mom. Tiffany is... Asian. Yeah, she's special. According to Stacy, she just told the agency to send the best-looking model they had.
- Mood Whiplash: "I Loathe A Parade" ends with Tom walking away with Jane, looking meaningfully over his shoulder at Daria. Daria, for her part, is Alone in a Crowd as she struggles to come to terms with her developing feelings. The shot then cuts to Jake stuck in the bathroom waiting for someone to get him toilet paper.
- Mushroom Samba: The ending of the episode of "The Teachings of Don Jake". Magical Glitter Berries anyone? We see scene from the perspective of Daria, who did not eat the berries.
- Some theorize that "Depth Takes A Holiday" could fit, despite the lack of on-screen mind-altering produxts.
- Musical Episode: "Daria!"
- My Friends... and Zoidberg: When the kids are trapped on the roof of the school during a storm.
Kevin: But by now they're catching on, that two well-liked kids are gone.
Brittany: And I'll bet there's even someone missing you!
- My God, What Have I Done?: Helen in "Pierce Me" and "Antisocial Climbers"; Jake in the beginning of "Arts 'n Crass".
- My Sensors Indicate You Want to Tap That: Trent, on Daria and Tom, in "Fire!".
- Never Speak Ill of the Dead: Deconstructed in "The Misery Chick", Daria refuses to pander to the societal expectation of this trope and is amazed at how easily everyone changes their opinions of Tommy Sherman after his death.
- New-Age Retro Hippie: Willow and Coyote, Jake and Helen's old friends.
- Nobody Touches the Hair: In "Life in the Past Lane", Jane falls for Nathan, a guy with fantastic dress sense, who turns out to be an aficionado of 1950s and '60s fashion. When the two cut the rug at a speakeasy-themed club, she runs her fingers through his... pomade. He freaks out, and runs to the men's room to fix his do.
- No Kill Like Overkill: Daria's dream sequence in "Murder She Snored" featured Kevin being poisoned by Jane, shot with an arrow by Brittany, clubbed by Mack, kicked by Ms. Barch, and strangled and stashed away by Mr. DeMartino after he was dead.
- Noodle Incident: In "See Jane Run", gym teacher Ms. Morris mentions she taught Penny Lane "a thing or two" about the American competitive spirit, to which Jane responds "that's why she's spent the last ten years out of the country."
- Noodle People: A lot of the female character designs, particularly the Fashion Club. Possibly lampshaded with the magazine "Waif"
- No Animals Were Harmed: "other than the ones we sacrificed."
- No Social Skills: Ted. He was homeschooled and does it show. He didn't even know what pizza was before Daria took him out.
- Not So Different: Increasingly common as the series went on—various characters have similar neuroses but react to them in opposite ways (Daria and Jodie both admire each other's outlooks on life, Daria and Quinn both feel inadequate compared to each other, Quinn and Helen both use obsessions to feel important...)
- Nothing Is the Same Anymore or They Changed It, Now It Sucks: Starting with the episode "Jane's Addition", the series changes into becoming a dramedy with a Story Arc about the characters' coming of age and Daria realizing that her snarky attitude is hurting her more than it's helping her. Some of the fans didn't take to well to this, though others liked the stronger Character Development. The introduction of Tom had something to do with this as well (see Die for Our Ship).
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Quinn, and possibly Stacy as well. (In fact, it's hinted on several occasions that Quinn is every bit as smart as Daria, but doesn't care.)
- Possibly Brittany too, mainly because despite her seeming ditzy nature she couples "Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass" and Cloudcuckoolander together on occasion.
- Oblivious Mockery: Daria lets Trent talk her into getting her navel pierced. When Jodi finds out, she thinks it's pretty cool "as long as you didn't do it for some guy," causing Daria to say, "Uh, no, that would be wrong."
- Off Model: Daria's coloration in "The Misery Chick" is far paler than the Series' norm.
- Only Friend: Daria and Jane, to each other, in earlier seasons.
- Only Sane Woman: Daria and Jodie. Brittany in "Through a Lens Darkly".
- Painful Rhyme: In-series example, its a staple of almost every Mystik Spiral song ever.
- Also Quinn's poem in "Quinn the Brain". "The greasy fry, it cannot lie, it's truth is written on my thigh."
- Paintball Episode: "The Daria Hunter". Even provides the page quote.
(Helen aims at Daria with her paintball gun. Daria raises her hands and gun in the air, not caring.)
Helen: Daria, you could at least try.
Daria: I can't shoot my own mother. Not with paint, anyway.
- Parents as People: Helen and Jake, who can be very doting when they focus on their kids but get easily distracted or mess up. Helen had this the most, but also grew out of it more as the series went on. The Lanes have similar issues, but take it so far that it turns into another trope.
- Party Scheduling Gambit: Sandi ropes Quinn into volunteering for the Dance Committee, only to leave her hanging when she rejects her ideas. In response, Quinn passes off the responsbilities to Daria and Jane while Sandi attempts a party of her own.
- Perky Goth: Brittany Taylor in the episode: "Ill". Jane Lane mentions about Brittany the next day to Daria.
Daria: Look, I'm sorry about last night.
Jane: Aw, forget it. It was a rare opportunity, getting to hang out with Brittany in a grunge club, Although her hair did leak onto my shoes.
Daria: You're sure that wasn't her brain?
Jane: No, there was too much of it. Any idea what caused this so-called rash?
- Patchwork Map: Blink and you'll miss it (and perfectly fitting this trope), but in "Speedtrapped" the countryside goes from the lush greens of Lawndale to the dry desert lands of Fremont in an instant when Daria pulls over to let Quinn drive.
- Pimped-Out Dress:
- Quinn's pink fur-trimmed dress for the play in "Fair Enough".
- A few of the costumes in the ending sequences.
- Subverted with Daria's bridesmaid dress in "I Don't"; the seamstress puts next to no effort into tailoring it to Daria's sizes, so it visibly sags, and everybody at the wedding asks her why she didn't get the same style as the other bridesmaids.
- Placebo Effect: Jake appears to be highly suggestible when it comes to this. For example, he's told milk is a natural relaxant, and almost immediately starts exaggerating the effect, to the point where he starts acting like The Stoner.
- Poe's Law: Daria's scathing commentary on a company's employment policies as an application essay for a scholarship offered by that same company is mistaken for a "light-hearted parody" by the grader.
- Popular Is Dumb: Played Straight most of the time, but Jodie is popular largely because of her many activities, while Mack comments at one point about being the only member of the football team who can count by fractions. Quinn turns out to be smarter tha she realizes, and Stacy may be too, despite being hampered by self-esteem issues.
- Power of Love: Parodied in the episode "A Tree Grows in Lawndale" where Kevin walks without his crutches because of the love he and Brittany shared - or the "law" saying that cheerleaders could only date football players.
- Precision B Strike: Daria to Jane, though the jury's out on how serious she was being.
'Alright, you bitch, what do I do?'
- Promotion to Parent: Inverted, as Jane seems to be the responsible one in the Lane household instead of her older brother Trent (even - or especially - when all of the "Wandering Lanes" come back home, which is very rarely).
- The official website describes Casa Lane as the place "where Jane and Trent were raised. By each other."
- Punny Name: Jane and Trent's sister is named Penny ... as in Penny Lane.
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Daria fandom, as a Real Life example.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Ms. DeFoe and Mrs. Bennett are the most rational of the Lawndale High faculty. The former is always being supportive of Jane in art class, and the latter, while having childish hobbies, is able to come up with some original assignments in her economics class and also has to deal with balancing a school budget that Ms. Li keeps tampering with.
- Redemption in the Rain: "Boxing Daria".
- Running Gag:
- Quinn denying that she and Daria are sisters. When she finally cops to them being sisters in the final season, her friends in the Fashion Club admit they already knew that but just kept quiet to keep her happy.
- Kevin continually calling Mack "Mack-Daddy", much to Mack's irritation.
- Mrs. Barch making out with Mr. O'Neill whenever there's a field trip or special event at the school.
- Jake's tirades about his emotionally abusive father.
- Brittany yelping, "Eep!" whenever something bad happens. A couple other characters occasionally adopt that habit as well, even Daria herself.
- "My soul's waves of grain."
- Mr. DeMartino calling on Kevin or Brittany to answer a question and going into a rage when they get the answer spectacularly wrong.
- Many of the early episodes had one in the episode, such the "Sports Shorts" store or "Those paintball thingies hurt!"
- Sick Sad World.
- Mentioning Doo-Dads.
- "Hello, we're Mystik Spiral, but we might change our name..."
- The fat woman with the flower dress, who in one episode exchanges it for a swimming costume, much to the Fashion Club's vocal disgust.
- Daria "having an idea/suggestion" for a school activity, which actually means she made some vague comment that gave her teacher an idea she doesn't even like.
- Everyone forgetting Jeremy's name. "It's Jamie!"
- "Why didn't you get the same dress as everyone else, Daria?"
- People mispronouncing Daria's name.
- Running Gagged: For most of the series, Quinn denies Daria is her sister, and says she's her cousin. However, as she grew and received Character Development, she started sticking up for Daria more. Four and a half seasons in, Quinn is open about the relationship with her sister. This conversation from "Lucky Strike" sums it up:
Quinn:Besides, why *shouldn't* I act sisterly towards her? After all... she's my sister.
Sandi:: [fake gasps] Did you hear that? Oh, my gosh! Quinn just admitted that weird girl is her sister!
Stacey: Well, um, of *course* she is, Sandi! We knew that.
Tiffany: We were just being polite about it.
- Scenery Porn: "Antisocial Climbers" seems to have been made mostly just to show off the kind of scenery that the show's new CG animation could do.
- See You in Hell: "Merry Christmas, Dad...in Hell!"
- Separate Scene Storytelling: When Daria tries to write a story for class, we see these stories shown.
- Serious Business: Nathan treats his love of old 40's-50's fashion this way in "Life in the Past Lane".
- Sexy Discretion Shot: The end of "Is It Fall Yet?", done both with the shades on the Morgendorffer home, and the steamed-up windows on Tom's car.
- Shipper on Deck: Jane takes a few opportunities to try to set Daria up with Trent, though it may have more to do with wanting to get some time alone with Jesse.
- Shout-Out: In one episode, Kevin asks a kid named Milton if he can borrow his stapler. There's also O'Neill's videotaping in "Antisocial Climbers", and Brittany's impromptu demonstration of She-Fu in "The Daria Hunter" - not to mention the way DeMartino and Jake act, or the way Sandi is left behind at day's end, and how Quinn looks back...
- In "Quinn the Brain" Daria is seen reading Catch-22.
- Also, DeMartino's throwing a sink through a window to escape in "Is It Fall Yet?" deliberately mirrors the fountain-throwing scene in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.
- "Murder She Snored" has one to the Audrey Hepburn movie Charade, where the Three J's attend Kevin's funeral, and in turn, sneeze, hold a mirror up to the corpse to see if he's breathing, and jab the body with a pin.
- Show Within a Show: Sick Sad World
- Sick Episode: Daria's mysterious rash on "Ill".
- Similar Squad: In summer camp as a child, Quinn hung out with three girls extremely similar to Sandi, Tiffany, and Stacy and was serviced by three boys extremely similar to Joey, Jeffy, and Jamie.
- Skintone Sclerae: The vast majority of the characters sport them. Ms. Barch had them until the show's animation changed after season three.
- Slap-Slap-Kiss: Tom and Daria.
- Slash Fic: Daria/Jane and Quinn/Stacy are popular pairings.
- Notoriously, the infamous fanfic The Winters of Those Gone Before managed to slash Daria/Quinn and almost Daria/Helen
- Soap Box Sadie: Jane's older sister Penny thinks she can salvage third world economies by selling handmade picture frames and coin purses in little stands. However, Penny clearly has no idea how to speak any language other than English and lacks suitable knowledge of the countries she's trying to "save." According to The Daria Diaries she doesn't even know if Honduras has a government.
- Sound Effect Bleep: One of the Daria Day intros features Daria and Jane in a hair salon. The sound of hair dryers drown them out when they each start talking about each other in less...flattering terms.
- Snowed-In: "Antisocial Climbers".
- Soft Glass: While an epic Awesome Moment (as well as a Shout-Out to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest), DeMartino throwing a kitchen sink through a large window and then climbing through the opening with a dozen kids in tow should probably have caused at least half the kids lacerating their hands on the shards still stuck to the windowsill.
- Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: In-universe, it's shown in Arts and Crass that Ms. Defoe believes this.
- Spin-Off: Daria was originally a minor character on Beavis And Butthead. A Mystik Spiral-based spin-off-spin-off was briefly considered.
- Start My Own: Sandi's party, hosted in retaliation to Quinn rejecting her ideas for the school dance.
- Status Cell Phone: The main character's parents both own cellphones, in the middle-late 1990's when this was comparitively rare and cellphones were the size and shape of housebricks. Helen Morgendorffer carries hers because she is genuinely in a high-status high-wage job (lawyer). Jake Morgendorffer carries his because he aspires to be in a high-status well-paid job.
- Stealing from the Hotel: In an episode where the Morgendorffer family have been forced to live in a hotel following a Jake-induced kitchen fire, a lowly bellhop falls heavily for the airheaded Quinn. Quinn is therefore showered in complimentary food, drink, and an upgrade to the Presidential Suite, which the bellhop claims he has okayed with his uncle, who runs the hotel. Being an airhead and taking it as her due for being cute and pretty and popular, Quinn does not question this until her family are run into the police station for fraud. It turns out the besotted bellhop has been scamming the hotel computer system to pay for Quinn's luxuries, leading to her exclaiming:
You mean... I nearly went out with a... (shocked pause)...computer geek?
- Stealth Pun: "Why are so many Siamese twins being born in this Bangkok hospital?!"
- Jane Lane has an older sister named Penny. Her full name is never stated.
- One of Jake's Alter-Egos is the Pope, whose title is derived from an Ancient Greek word for "father".
- Stepford Smiler: The Guptie children from the babysitting episode. Even after Daria "deprograms" them.
- Straw Fan: In Camp Fear, Daria meets Amelia, a fellow camper and acquaintance who's very happy to hang out with Daria even though Daria can barely tolerate her. Seeing that two other campers were modeled after two fans as part of a contest, Amelia might have been a jab at some overly enthusiastic fans of Daria who gloss over the fact that Daria might not like them all that much.
- Suck E. Cheese's: Pizza Forest.
- Summer Campy: Camp Grizzly in the episode "Camp Fear".
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: "It certainly didn't come up during anything other than normal in-school chit-chat among collegues. Fully Dress. With no oils involved."
- Talking To Yourself : Marc Thompson voices several recurring characters: Mr. O'Neill, Mr. DeMartino, Kevin, and Jamie. Wendy Hoopes voices major characters Jane, Quinn, and Helen. Taken to a new level in "Daria!" (the Musical Episode), where she sings a duet with herself.
- Tempting Fate: Happened once when the class is on a hiking trip.
Ms. Li: We'll have no problem reaching base camp before dark, as long as there are no more surprises.
(cue snow falling)
- The Man: Mentioned by name in one episode where Trent and Jane hire some contractors to repair their collapsed gazebo, but instead of working they're just sitting around drinking:
Trent: Um...what am I paying you for? Uh- get to work!
Contractor: Okay guys, back to work. You heard the Man.
Trent: Whoa. That's just cruel.
- Theme Naming: The Three J's, of course. Fanon takes this a step further, playing off the only one whose surname is ever revealed, Jamie White, the other two's last names are almost universally given as Black & Grey in fanfics.
- Thick-Line Animation: Not as extreme as some of the other examples, though.
- Thinking Out Loud: Happens to Daria in "See Jane Run", when Jane joins the track team and Daria's left without anyone to vent her thoughts to. Eventually all her thoughts just start spilling out randomly, including voicing her process for avoiding dinner with her family right in front of them.
- Those Two Girls: In-universe, Daria and Jane are well known for standing on the sidelines and providing color commentary on events transpiring, though they are not this trope out-of-universe, being the main protagonist and her best friend respectively. This is most prominent in "Fat Like Me", in which they are essentially supporting characters.
- Title Drop: Link does this in "Is It Fall Yet?"
- Totally Radical: Val talks in nothing but these...in particular, she attaches the word "jiggy" to everything.
- Training from Hell: Arguably the point of the entire series — that going through high school is hell. Lampshaded at the end of "See Jane Run" (where D & J look over what happened and admit that "they really are preparing us for the real world"), and in "Is It College Yet?", with Daria's speech at graduation.
Also, Jake's childhood at the hands of his father, Mad Dog Morgandorffer and when Jake was sent to military school. Subverted in that it all arguably made Jake a weaker person.
- Trauma Conga Line: Jane's life, over the entire course of this series, is made of this trope. Absentee parents and she has to raise herself? That's the beginning - and it doesn't get better until Jane manages to get accepted into college - and considering the way things have gone for her so far...
- Trophy Wife: Ashley-Amber, Brittany's stepmother. A former beer spokeswoman, she met her husband at a photo shoot; he is significantly wealthy and presumably quite a bit older, given his children's ages. Interestingly, a tie-in book notes that she's been learning about joint property law behind her husband's back.
- Troubled Child: Link from "Is It Fall Yet?" is an angry, mouthy variant.
- Truth-Telling Session: Devastatingly done in "Psycho Therapy".
- Twist Ending: "Legends of the Mall" ends with Metalmouth apparently chewing a door handle off of Helen's car.
- Two Lines, No Waiting: Notably in "Camp Fear", where a plot focused on the Camp coincided with Trent and Jane at an old-fashion country store. There's also many other examples.
La la la la la.