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Daria is an adult animated High School Dramedy series created by Glenn Eichler and Susie Lewis Lynn, premiering in 1997 on MTV and running for five seasons until 2002. The series is a Spin-Off of Beavis and Butt-Head, 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 granted permission, but was otherwise uninvolved with the show.
The series is centered on its title character, Daria Morgendorffer, a waifish, sardonic teen girl with coke-bottle glasses, army boots, and absolutely no patience for the idiocy around her in the fictional suburban town of Lawndale. (She used to have Beavis and Butt-head for classmates, so can you blame her?) Most of the series' humor is derived from Daria and her friend Jane's conflicts with the collection of twisted teenage archetypes (and often the adults) that Lawndale has to offer, which in turn lent itself to a bevy of satirical allusions to and critiques of pop culture and social classes.
The show's strong use of Character Development also became a major draw on MTV, known for being loaded with more superficial programming. The last two seasons departed from the show's Reset Button nature to create a powerful Story Arc of Daria and her friends coming of age. A major part of it was Daria eventually falling for a Tall, Dark, and Snarky boy, Tom Sloane, and struggling to deal with romantic activities she previously rejected.
Approximately eight years after the finale, the show finally got an official DVD release on May 11, 2010. The five seasons are also available to watch on Paramount+.
Now has a recap page.
CollegeHumor made a fake trailer for a live-action adaptation starring Aubrey Plaza.
In June 2018, MTV announced that a reboot of the series tentatively entitled Daria & Jodie would be offered to streaming services. A year later, the show's title changed into Jodie, which will be the first of planned spinoffs. Tracee Ellis Ross will be voicing the title character and also be its executive producer. The spin-off was picked up and set to air on Comedy Central, but in 2022 the project is now an animated film set to air on Paramount+. Ross is still attached to voice Jodie, with William Jackson Harper now playing Mack and Arden Myrin now playing Brittany.
This series provides examples of:
- Abusive Parents:
- It's mentioned very early that Jake's father, "Mad Dog" Morgendorffer, was verbally and emotionally abusive, leaving Jake bitter towards his old man, and stuck with a few rage issues. What's surprising is that unlike many child abuse cases, Jake never seems to take his anger out on his own daughters, and even tries to be supportive where his father wasn't. A blink and you'll miss it line in "Jake of Hearts" suggests that he knows that he has the potential to turn into his father and is actively working not to.
- The Lanes, to a degree. Jane refers to their parenting style as "benign neglect".
- Academic Athlete: Mack is the only member of the football team to show any signs of intelligence (and according to him, the only one who can count by halves).
- 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.
- Action Figure Justification: After Jake has a mild heart attack, his mother comes to visit, and discuss his abusive late father. Jake talks about a toy he wanted (an Expy of the original G.I. Joe) but his father wouldn't have his son play with dolls. His mother says she wanted him to have that doll, to which Jake angrily replies, "It was an action figure, Damnit!"
- 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 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 family. 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 "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.note
- 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 "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.
- 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.
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.)
- 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 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.
- Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Helen threatened to do this to Daria when she refused to give her the results of the aptitude test she took at school. Helen's threat involved going to her teacher to pick it up personally... during class... while giving Daria a sack lunch. Daria relented, admitting that was very well played.
- And Another Thing...: "...You look fifty!"
- Animated Actors: Featured in several marathons and specials and media interviews.
- Arch-Enemy: Ms. Angela Li, to Daria.
- Armor-Piercing Question:
- It wasn't even a particularly pointed question, but when Jane was furious with Daria in "Dye! Dye! My Darling" over supposedly deliberately ruining her hair out of jealousy of her relationship with Tom, Trent patiently asked Jane to clarify the situation until Jane realised she was being completely ridiculous:Jane: I could kill Daria.
Trent: Whoa. Why?
Jane: I'm telling you, she wanted to screw up my hair. Anyone with the least bit of painting experience couldn't possibly do that bad a job by accident.
Trent: I didn't know she paints.
Jane: Huh? Oh, she doesn't.
Trent: Then why'd she think she could do your hair?
Jane: Well, she didn't... actually I kinda made her.
Trent: Why'd you do that?
- Daria pulls one on Tad and Tricia Gupty when she was babysitting them. They don't take it very well.Daria: Do you always do exactly what adults tell you?
Daria: Do you always believe everything they say?
Daria: But what if two adults say exactly opposite things?
(Tad runs off crying and Tricia yanks on Daria's hair)
Tricia: You're mean!
- It wasn't even a particularly pointed question, but when Jane was furious with Daria in "Dye! Dye! My Darling" over supposedly deliberately ruining her hair out of jealousy of her relationship with Tom, Trent patiently asked Jane to clarify the situation until Jane realised she was being completely ridiculous:
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
- Quinn on a stalker: "You mean I nearly went out with... A computer geek?"
- From "Gifted:"Daria: 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.
- Attempted Rape: In "I Don't", Quinn is cornered away from the reception by the minister, who starts up a lengthy monologue about love and lack of control over it. Her escort found her in time and confronted the minister, but even though she knew they were fistfighting over her, she didn't seem to realize the implications of where things almost headed...
- Minister (to another girl, after being beat up): Don't worry, I'm no stranger to pain.
- Aw, 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.
- Awful Wedded Life: According to ''The Daria Database'', Sandi's parents Tom and Linda have this because the "Family Portraits" section (that covers the families of Sandi, Brittany, Kevin and Jodie) mentions in Tom's profile that he "still questions whether he should have married plain Patty Wells instead" talking up that she was much more pleasant than Linda and happy to see him, but he was turned off by her mole and instead married the beautiful but unpleasant Linda.
- 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:
- 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.)
- 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 boys are often graded poorly because of their gender while girls are given good grades which are not always deserved (see "The Lab Brat".)
- 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.
- Black Republican: The Landons, Jodie's family, is one of the only black families in the city, and they're actually much more conservative than the Caucasian Morgendorffers. This is used on a gag in "Gifted" when they're talking with each other and Helen assumes Michelle would agree with her support for welfare, and she turns out to be against it. Jodie's own politics, however, are more ambiguous.
- Boob-Based Gag:
Brittany: Oh, my gosh! Look at the Jell-O!
- Brittany's Buxom Beauty Standard figure is played for laughs twice in the musical episode:
- The first time is in the early scene in the cafeteria
Daria: It's jiggling.
Jane: Worried about the competition?
Daria: Um, Brittany, would you mind pointing those things in another direction?
- And later when they get inside a compact room and Daria gets uncomfortable by Brittany's breasts being pressed against her
- 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."
- Mentioned in an early episode where Jane shows Daria images from a life drawing class, and Daria can't help but notice how busty the model was.Daria: She's really bursting out of the picture plane here.
Jane: Yeah, that model was quite bursty. I think she had her bursts done.
- Brittany's Buxom Beauty Standard figure is played for laughs twice in the musical 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."
- Also in "Esteemers", Daria is successfully able to answer Mr. DeMartino's question about the meaning of "Manifest Destiny". In the season 4 finale, "Is It Fall Yet?", Quinn answers the exact same question (but with her own twist on it), showing her Character Development of finally embracing her own intelligence.
- 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- possibly the censors thought Daria coming to realize that she may be the cause of her parents arguing may be too depressing for viewers.) Let's not forget that the show had a TV-PG rating on The N while TV-14 rated Degrassi aired mostly uncut and uncensored.
- "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 the theme song 'You're Standing on My Neck').
- 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"). 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.
- Bust-Contrast Duo: Though they don't socialise much, Daria and Jane are very noticeably flatter than Brittany and Quinn is bustier than her older sister.
- 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 "Antisocial 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 work 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?
- 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!"
- Many characters: "What are YOU doing here?" Shows up at least once in most episodes.
- Caught in the Bad Part of Town: The plot of "Legends of the Mall" is driven by the Fashion Club having to catch a bus from the mall and winding up getting off in a less salubrious part of town. Of course, this being Lawndale, the 'bad part' of town isn't too bad.
- 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".
- Character Title: Made explicit by the title card for every episode, "Daria in..."
- Chez Restaurant: Chez Pierre's.
- Clark Kenting: Unintentionally invoked. When Daria started wearing contacts, Mr. O'Neill 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 films 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:Jake: 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?"
- The Compliance Game: One episode sees Daria roped into babysitting a pair of insufferably cheerful kids. Having no particular skill with kids, she at one point resorts to having them play "Lichen", a game where they compete to see who can lie still and silent the longest, allowing her time to summon Jane for help.
- 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".
- "Lane Miserables" itself confirms nuggets of info previously revealed about the Lanes, such as the mentions in "The Teachings of Don Jake".
- Also in the first episode, "Esteemsters", when she takes 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".
- 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 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. In "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 "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 "Partner's Complaint", 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.
- In "I Loathe a Parade", most of the characters that had a speaking role up to that point in the series makes at least a cameo appearance in the parade scenes, Tad Gupty from "Pinch Sitter" in particular as Daria stays with him to help him find his parents.
- Coolest Club Ever: Somewhat averted with The Zon, in that it's dirty, especially with the bathrooms. But it's a fairly large club where the concert goers aren't packed in, they play Siouxsie and the Banshees on the PA, they have local bands headline the club, and it seems to be a decent place for the alternative music fans of Lawndale.
- Corrupt the Cutie: "Pinch Sitter", though it's more like "teach the straitlaced, repressed children to think for themselves".
- Crapsack World: The Show Within a Show titled "Sick Sad World".
- Creative Closing Credits: The end credits have a montage of the 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, a Warhol painting, Frida Kahlo, and a leopard queen.
- Jake as a flamenco dancer, a baby in a high chair, 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, a Las Vegas showgirl, and Madonna.
- Quinn as a nun, a scientist with a pair of test tubes, and a mermaid.
- 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 in front of a police line-up height chart, a Power Ranger, a goalie, a soccer player who's lost her shirt ala Brandi Chastain 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.
- The Croc Is Ticking: In "Legends of the Mall", Metalmouth's approach was heralded by the sound of his metal dentures picking up radio signals and playing music. Oddly, the only thing they ever seemed to play was Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun".
- Curse Cut Short: The ending of "Pinch Sitter".Tad and Tricia Gupty: [singing] I am cool, and that is it, and everyone else is full of... full of... full of.. full of...
Mrs. Gupty: Tad!
Mr. Gupty: Tricia!
- Darker and Edgier: As the series progressed, it became more and more realistic, often dealing with heavy issues that wouldn't be too out of place in a Teen Drama: getting screwed over by a higher authority, a romantic triangle that involves close friends, an identity crisis involving looks, etc.
- 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 "Life in the Past Lane", Jane is dating a guy, Nathan, who is obsessed with swing dancing and the styles and manners of The '40s. They go to a dance party and to a drive-in theater meeting centered around said decade.
- Didn't Think This Through: In "Dye! Dye! My Darling!", Jane asks Daria to put blonde streaks in her hair, but it goes horribly wrong and she winds up with crappy orange streaks instead, angering Jane. However, she didn't take into account that Daria isn't a professional hairstylist, even if she read the instructions, and that trying to dye black hair blonde is more difficult and likely to end in disaster.
- Justified in this case as Jane later admits she was subconsciously looking to start a fight with Daria and chose hair dying, something Daria knows nothing about, as the catalyst.
- Dirty Old Man: The show routinely made light of the fact that teenage girls (specifically Brittany, Quinn, and Tiffany) are constantly getting hit on by middle-aged men who know that the girls are not even old enough to vote.
- 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:
- Ms. 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 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 "The 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.
- 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.
- Sandi has very bratty and out of control younger brothers, a very unpleasant mother that taught her how to be the shallow Alpha Bitch she is today, and a father that lacks a spine who regrets marrying her mother.
- Early-Installment Weirdness: Many of the character's voices and personalities were different in the first few episodes:
- Daria's voice was still monotone, but did show some verbal emotions when she talked.
- Jane's voice was a lot less nasally in first season.
- Brittany's voice wasn't as high pitched and squeaky.
- Jake wasn't as high-strung.
- Trent's wasn't as slow and mellow.
- Tiffany's wasn't monotonous at all, actually expressing some emotions and even had a Valley Girl twang. Surprisingly everyone else's voices have remained mostly the same from day one.
- Initially, Quinn was hinted as being a bit promiscuous. This was changed to her simply enjoying having boys pay attention to her, and is otherwise quite prudish, refusing to even slow-dance until after the fifth date.
- Egomaniac Hunter: Brittany's father is a self-absorbed Jerkass and is very fond of safari paraphernalia, though how many animals he's actually shot himself is anybody's guess.
- Elite School Means Elite Brain:
- In one episode, Daria and Jodie are invited to an elite prep school as prospective students. While it's clear that the students there are, in fact, highly intelligent, they are also snobbish and unpleasant, with Jodie and Daria both opting to remain at Lawndale High.
- In the finale, "Is it College Yet", various students end up going to various colleges of varying reputations, clearly based on their intellectual level. Jane, with prompting from family and friends, gets into a highly regarded arts school. Daria gets into her second choice school, which is still highly regarded. The Cheerleaders (not the brightest bulbs in the bunch) are all elated they got into the same party school "That's really nice of them, especially after everyone else said 'no'." And Kevin? Well, he'll be attending Lawndale High again.
- Entertainment Above Their Age: Our titular character was reading well above her grade level even in elementary school. In high school, she's reading books one would usually see associated with college curriculum. And in fact, at one point had to explain several mistakes in a college paper about D.H. Lawrence to a college student, explaining that there was no apostrophe in the title "Sons and Lovers". She even had a (brief) lucrative career writing essays for college students.
- 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.
- 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 four 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 of course they knew, they were just being polite to Quinn's feelings (making Sandi look like an ass).
- 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.
- Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: Jane does this three times in the latter half of Season 4.
- In "Mart of Darkness", she finally opens up about what started her fight with Tom and ends up realising it was all her fault.
- In "Groped by an Angel", she suggests Daria's stubborn skepticism stems from her fear that there really are higher powers looking out for some people, so what everyone does in their earthly lives ultimately doesn't matter.
- Most achingly, in "Fire!", Jane accuses Daria (who is staying at the Lane home) of intercepting Tom on his way to see Jane because, due to the house's layout, he could not have just stopped by Daria's room unless he had gone out of his way to do so. Only then does it dawn on her that he might have done just that.
- 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.
- Extreme Mêlée Revenge: Apparently the ending to "The New Kid", Daria to Quinn.
- Barch to DeMartino in the same episode, after the latter cuts her club photos from the yearbook.
- Eye Scream:
- 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.
- 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 Model: A few episodes involved modeling, such as recruiters coming to the school to seek modeling talent.
- First Law of Tragicomedies: While the show never loses its sense of humour, later episodes (and especially the series finale film, "Is it College Yet?") have a much more serious (if not somewhat downbeat) feel to them.
- 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:Helen: Meeting!
- Flirty Voice Ploy: Quinn excels at this trope. Her sales pitch for phone cards in "Cafe Disaffecto" stands out as a prime example of Quinn's ability to weaponize flirting.
- "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.
- Foil: In one episode, Daria and Jodie visit a more prestigious school with students that are closer to their intellectual level(or at least academically close). But while Daria's Lawndale classmates were dumb but well-meaning most of the time, the students at the prep school are considerably more arrogant and no less frustrating to deal with.
- Foreshadowing: Some episodes in season 4, such as "I Loathe A Parade" and "Mart of Darkness" show Jane and Tom getting on each other's nerves over petty reasons. It eventually all culminates by the end of the season when Tom and Jane break up, and Tom pursues a relationship with Daria, leading to a fracture in the girls' friendship.
- 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", the Morgendorffers 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).
- Free the Frogs: In "The Invitation" Upchuck reveals that the only reason he was invited to Brittany's party was because he dissected her frog.
- 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".)
- Former Teen Rebel: Jake and Helen were both hippies in their younger days. It's revealed that they spend a night in jail in Boulder in August, 1969 for undisclosed reasons (all that's revealed is Helen may have punched a cop), something Daria once brings up in order to avoid getting grounded.
- It's also revealed in another episode that Helen may have lost her virginity to a stunt driver when she was in her teens.
- Fur Bikini: Jane wears one in a picture during the credits. Daria makes a joke about wearing one in the show proper.
- Genki Girl: Brittany in spades. She's a bubbly, energetic and ditzy blonde-haired Girlish Pigtails wearing cheerleader who just wants to make people happy. There are other examples on the show as well. Quinn lapses into this at times. Stacey maybe even more so.
- 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.
- When Daria dresses like Quinn to get her to stop posing as a brain, Daria forgoes her glasses while in disguise. This occurs before the contacts episode, yet Daria makes no mention of any trouble seeing without them.
- Good Cop/Bad Cop: O'Neill and DeMartino, respectively, when interrogating Daria concerning the murder of Kevin (in a dream).
- Good Versus Good: The conflict between Daria and Tom in 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.
- Goth: Andrea and The Living Prop Goth girl who wears black lipstick, dark clothes, and has orange hair.
Andrea: I'm here. But where are you? Sure, I see your body. Anyone home in that rotting bag of flesh!?
- The words to Andrea's poem in one of the few times she speaks in an episode.
- Got Volunteered: As a Running Gag, volunteering at Lawndale High is always mandatory.
- Grand Finale: The second movie "Is It College Yet?".
- 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 trope's bonus points as the mother is an artist.
- Happy Ending: "Is It College Yet?"'s main story avoids the cynicism of the early seasons and ends on a happy note - Daria and Tom are okay with breaking up and going to different colleges, Jane is accepted to an art college near Daria's, Upchuck gets a girl and even the Fashion Club finally grows up. The only sourish note is Kevin having failed and needing to repeat a year at Lawndale. The end credits (whose canonicity is unclear) reveal an even happier future for all the cast that borders on Happily Ever After - Quinn becomes a successful CEO, Daria and Jane become the hosts of a show similar to Good Morning America, Upchuck becomes a stud, the chubby goth girl becomes a successful bikini model, Quinn's fan club become successful TV presenters, Mack and Kevin own a successful ice cream franchise and etc.
- Happily Married: Played With with Jake and Helen. They have a healthy sex life though the show notes that they seem to have a hard time relating to each other in any other way, and while they have arguments it never reaches the point of being a breakdown.
- 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."
- Hard Truth Aesop:
- While sticking to your personal morals and refusing to take part in a corrupt system is admirable, doing so will also usually make things in life much more difficult. Daria (and once, Jane) would tell several people with questionable ethics off, or quit a project that went against her morals only to have nothing to show for it afterwards (and sometimes, even be punished for it). At least twice they even lampshade this, in Jane's case quitting the track team they point out while Jane refused to take part in a corrupt school athletic system, she also did nothing to try and change said system and both Daria and Jane were punished by the gym teacher for it, and in a later episode after Daria says she had to quit the school yearbook for 'moral reasons' Helen just sighs and says "again?"
- In the episode with the scholarship, the Aesop of "Be yourself" is thoroughly deconstructed. Daria is in the running for a $10,000 scholarship alongside Upchuck and Jodie. The interviewer considers Daria to be the only worthy candidate, since Chuck behaves like an absolute sycophant, and Jodie just gives canned answers to the interviewer's questions. Daria, however, does not alter her behaviour and acts as sullen as she normally is, coming off as outright hostile to the interviewer - sure enough none of them get it, showing that just being yourself won't always get you what you want, especially if "Yourself" is hostile. None of them can understand why they didn't get it.
- The episode with Ultra Cola ultimately ends with what can at best be a Pyrrhic Victory or at worst a The Bad Guy Wins scenario. Because Lawndale High's school is so starved of money (thanks in part to a mixture of the citizens not wanting to actually pay for the school and Ms. Li squandering the budget on frivolous purchases) they accept an advertising deal with Ultra Cola. Daria objects to this because she feels ads have no place in school. While she is proven right that Ultra Cola is pushing a little too hard to sell their product in school, the ads are still there, just pared down in prominence. Ultimately, the school still needs the cash to survive.
- Harsher in Hindsight: 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.
- 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 Upchuck 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.
- Here We Go Again!: At the end of "Ill", after Daria is released from the hospital when her mysterious rash goes away, and the doctors conclude it was brought on by stress, everyone is left to wonder what Daria was so stressed about. Jane then stops by to check on Daria, and when it's revealed she brought Trent along, Daria breaks out in another rash.
- 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.
- Holiday Personification: The episode "Depth Takes a Holiday" has the eponymous character meet up with personifications of holidays, such as the St. Patrick's Day leprechaun and the St. Valentine's Day Cupid.
- Hot for Student: The substitute English teacher, Ken Edwards, had a rather weird thing for Tiffany in "Lucky Strike". He was fired and replaced with Daria.
- 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.
- Mr. DeMartino in "The Daria Hunter", when Jake offers him his flask:
- I Need to Go Iron My Dog:In "Lane Miserables", Trent's father tries to conscript him into some therapeutic role playing with his brother:Trent: I need to go sharpen my guitar pick.
- Inelegant Blubbering: Brittany and Stacy are the main offenders.
- 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.
- Ink-Suit Actor: Alison◊ from the TV movie Is It Fall Yet? heavily resembles her voice actress, Bif Naked.
- 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.
- Intelligence Equals Isolation: This was more prevalent in the first season, after that the show became much less about "Daria vs. the idiots around her". In fact, around season two, we see her getting called out on her antisocial behaviours as well as the isolation being partially her doing - and her Character Development is her not pushing everybody away. The episode, "Boxing Daria" comments on this trope as her parents noted that when she started school, they knew that a little girl with her intelligence would have a hard time getting along with other kids her age.
- Intimate Artistry: The relationships between Jane Lane and others is often conveyed through her art. Her friend Daria is included as a direct representation, but Daria's airhead sister is used in a pastiche/parody of romantic art, and the school's star quarterback is presented as a Neanderthal caveman.
- 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 the end credits for "Is it College Yet?", Quinn may have even surpassed Helen. Helen is the partner at a law firm, while Quinn becomes the CEO of a company).
- 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.
- I Was Never Here: When Daria and Jane find out that the warehouse store employee that they've been trying to track down is their classmate, Andrea, Andrea complains to them how her parents make her work there and tells them to go ahead and insult her like they do everyone else. But Daria was only trying to catch her to ask her where to find bootlaces. Andrea seems to have a moment of relief and tells them where to go, Jane then turns to Andrea and says, "We never saw you."
- Jerk Jock: Tommy Sherman in "The Misery Chick" embodies this trope perfectly. Kevin and the Three J's can fall into this too, though their moments come off more as Innocently Insensitive.
- Jive Turkey:
- The magazine editor Val uses language like this in an attempt to seem like she is still in touch with teenagers.
- Lampshaded in #509- "Life in the Past Lane". Nathan (Jane's Boy of the Week) says Daria "speaks of the jive" after she describes Jane and his matching outfits as "copacetic".
- 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.
- In "Dye! Dye! My Darling," Jane browbeats Daria into helping her attempt to dye her hair into a complex tiger stripe pattern while ignoring Daria's reasonable protests that she knows nothing about that kind of hair styling. When the attempt produces a disastrous mess, Jane flies off the handle with screeching wild accusations that Daria sabotaged it to take Tom away from her. Although Trent later forces Jane to realize that she was totally in the wrong, not once does Jane admit to a deeply apologetic Daria that fact, much less give anything like an apology to her-then again, the events of the episode's climax arguably stripped Daria of any right to said apology.
- Kick the Dog:
- 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."
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: Happens to Sandi several times.
- In “The Daria Hunter”, Quinn plans to shoot her while Sandi uses the restroom, but when finding out the buses are leaving, deliberately convinces the staff that everyone is present so they drive off in time for Sandi to be ditched, while Quinn turns her back with no remorse.
- In "Daria Dance Party", Sandi is locked outside while banging on the door for Sam and Chris, who happily let her and the other Fashion Club members freeze outside in the snow in their bikinis, but considering Sandi spent the whole episode being a massive bitch to Quinn, convincing her to plan the school dance to set her up to bomb, and even going as far to throw a party on the same night to spite her, it’s hard to feel bad for her.
- 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 inside a refrigerator box in her room whenever her parents would fight over Daria's antisocial behavior in grade school.
- Lame Comeback: Kevin and Brittany get into one of their weekly arguments; before stalking off, Brittany snaps at him.Brittany: "Don't you "fratrernize" 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 "College Bored" 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 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."
- 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!
- The following exchange in "Too Cute" also lampshades this:
- Local Hangout: The Pizza King where Daria, Jane, and many of the other Lawndale High students frequent.
- Locked in the Bathroom: "Through a Lens Darkly" sees Daria ditching her glasses in a moment of vanity. When Jane finds out, Daria locks herself in a stall in the girls' bathroom, upset at herself for this brief foray into narcissism.
- Lotsa People Try to Dun It: Played for Laughs in the All Just a Dream episode "Murder, She Snored", in which Kevin is murdered and Daria is the main suspect. As it turned out, everybody but her did it, all unaware of each other's plots and thinking they were the sole murderers. Even though they all fess up when Daria starts pointing fingers, Daria gets convicted anyway.
- Love Triangle: Daria/Tom/Jane. (Also Daria/Trent/Monique, but Daria never acted on it.)
- 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 Sick, Sad World!
- Mad Libs Catch Phrase: Tiffany has one with "Yeahhh...[key word from previous line]."
- 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).
- Mirror Character: 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...)
- 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.
- Misplaced Retribution: Extremely bitter over her divorce, Mrs. Barch turns her anger towards all men (except for Mr. O'Neil). Mr. DeMartino seems to be one of her favorite targets.
- Missing Child: Jake and Helen go through this in the Musical Episode, when Daria doesn't come home as the town is dealing with a hurricane, although Helen is calm enough to realize that Daria would know to find shelter. Daria, along with Jane, Kevin and Brittany discuss this in the song, "They Must Be Worried".
- Mistaken for Flirting: Kevin and Brittany are going through yet another of their frequent break-ups, and Daria offers him some advice. Kevin mistakes this as Daria trying to ask him out, and says, "No offense, Daria, but you're not my type."
- Resident lech "Upchuck" has a tendency to interpret most interactions with his female classmates as their attempts to flirt with him, and when they rebuff him, he'll simply declare that they're "Feisty."
- When former Lawndale legend Tommy Sherman pays a visit to his old school, he insults or propositions almost everyone he talks to. Daria, who is most definitely put off by him, tries to get him to move away from her locker by saying, "Excuse me.", which he interprets as her attempt to flirt with him. Daria points out that she just wants access to her locker, and gives him a brief but on-point "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
- The "Is It Fall, Yet?" special has a more ambiguous example. Jane, spending time at an artist colony for the summer, is befriended by a woman named Allison. Allison interprets some of her interactions with Jane as flirting and plys her with alcohol. When Jane realizes that Allison is trying to sleep with her, she tells her that she's not gay. Allison insists that she's never wrong about these things and that Jane just isn't ready to admit it. The whole thing leaves Jane questioning herself, and Allison later suggests maybe she was just hoping a bit too hard. Then Jane finds out that Allison is sleeping with the pretentious male artist who runs the art colony, and Jane is incensed that Allison would say that she gave off "gay-vibes to get into her pants". The story never makes it clear if Allison was genuinely mistaking Jane's friendship for flirting, or if she was attempting to manipulate her for her own ends.
- 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.
- Modeling Poses: In the episode where Quinn and other students are competing to be models, the recruiter gives them inspiration (such as haughty glee at seeing a rival getting an emergency amputation) for how to do their catwalk moves, so the girls get the proper tone as they strut on the catwalk.
- 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 products.
- 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".
- Daria spends the latter part of "Dye, Dye, My Darling" like this after kissing Tom.
- My Sensors Indicate You Want to Tap That: Trent, on Daria and Tom, in "Fire!".
- Mythology Gag: In one early episode, Daria and Jane went door-to-door trying to sell chocolate bars. In early Beavis And Butthead episodes, the titular duo often went door-to-door trying to get signatures, or just to make profit for school.
- Nemesis as Customer: Invoked in the episode "Mart of Darkness". Andrea works in the local big box store and thinks her classmates Daria and Jane are there to mock her, so she tries to run from them. However, Daria and Jane are just there to make a purchase and agree not to tell any of their classmates about her job.
- 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.
- Amanda and Vincent Lane.
- 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.Mack: Who would do such a thing? (Beat) So thoroughly?
- 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 a Morning Person: Both Jane and Trent. Trent is seldom awake before noon, and when Daria swings by Jane's house so they can walk to school, it takes Jane a while to function cognitively speaking. Quinn generally looks a wreck in the mornings as well.
- 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 hides her intelligence to maintain her popularity, though she breaks out of it by the final season.
- 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.
- One-Word Title: Protagonist Title, first name of protagonist.
- Only Friend: Daria and Jane, to each other, in earlier seasons.
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Two in a row in "Dye! Dye my Darling!"
- Daria, who never wants to hear, much less follow, her mother's advice shows up in the middle of the day at Helen's office looking like something the cat dragged in. Helen recognizes a crossed Godzilla Threshold when she sees one leading to...
- Her boss, who's used to Helen's workaholic nature, quickly piping down when Helen sharply says that her work can wait and she's going to talk with her daughter right now.
- In "Boxing Daria", After Daria runs off upon remembering a fight her parents once had about her and nearly ends up in a car accident trying to reach Tom, she meets up with Jane at a diner. When Jane finally arrives, Daria runs up an hugs her. The surprised/worried look on Jane's face when this happens says it all.
- 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.
- Parental Favoritism: Helen's frequent complaint about her mother was about how she always favored her sister, Rita, going so far as to foot the bill for Rita's daughter's wedding. It's eventually revealed that Helen was so desperate for her mother's attention, she became an overachiever in school (which eventually lead to her becoming a workaholic as an adult), leaving both of her sisters bitter over the fact that they couldn't receive the kind of grades that she did.
- 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.
- Parental Neglect: Jane's parents are known to almost never be around. Both take a lackadaisical approach to parenting their kids as they are off pursuing their own interests, leaving Trent and Jane to take care of themselves. This can explain Trent and Jane's apathetic views on life.
- 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 responsabilities to Daria and Jane while Sandi attempts a party of her own.
- 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.
- 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?
- Petty Childhood Grudge: Daria's mother Helen, and Helen's sisters Amy and Rita, have no problem dragging up past arguments and petty grudges from their youth whenever they get together. Amy, the middle child, will sometimes stoke the fires, such as reminding them of how their mother bought Rita an expensive sports car, while all Helen got was a Dodge Dart. But being the middle child doesn't exempt Amy from being the target of wrath from her sisters, who point out that she hid in her room to avoid them all the time. It takes Daria and Quinn doing a deliberate demonstration of this behavior to get the adult women to recognize the pointlessness of their squabbles.
- 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."
- Protagonist Title
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!:
- "I. Hate you."
- "Take. Her. Now."
- "Just. Get. OUT!"
- Punny Name: Jane and Trent's sister is named Penny ... as in Penny Lane.
- The Quiet Game: In "Pinchsitter", when Daria gets roped into a babysitting gig, Jane gives her some tips, and tells her that if the kids start to drive her crazy, to tell them she knows a great game called "Cemetery". They would have to lie on the floor and pretend that they're dead. The first one to move or make a sound loses. Daria ends up taking her advice at some point in the night.
- Quirky Town: Usually Lawndale seems to be portrayed as Everytown, America but in "Pierce Me" there is an area of Lawndale called Degas Street which unlike the rest of the town seems to be a downtown city street with stores like "Hair for Freaks" and Degas St. Comiks that cater to the Goth, Punk, and some other alternative subcultures, similar to places like St. Marks Place, Manhattan and South Street, Philadelphia (though the real life examples are less so these days thanks to gentrification with much increased rents in those areas).
- In addition is a club called the Zon presumably in the same area of Lawndale that Trent's band Mystik Spiral has frequent gigs at and the DJ plays music from alternative bands, for example the Goth band Siouxsie and the Banshees' song "Kiss Them For Me" is played in the episode "Ill".
- 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.
- Dr. Phillips, who treats Daria's skin rash in "Ill", can tell Jane is Daria's friend and not a relative because "Daria seemed happy to see (her)". This happened after having a brief and casual doctor-patient relationship with her and Daria being Daria, not showing any difference in expression or voice tone whatsoever. He previously had the good sense of giving Daria some breathing space by getting rid of the family for a while.
- Gary, Jane's temporary boss from "Art Burn" is a very reasonable guy who offers Jane excellent terms as painter-for-hire. He was able and willing to recognize her talent and also willing to renegotiate the terms of her work to prevent her from leaving, telling her directly she was his best artist. When Jane finally manages to quit the gig (after going through a personal crisis), Gary says his door was always open for her if she changed her mind. When speaking to Daria about the importance of copy painting, he sounded perfectly honest about it.
- Redemption in the Rain: "Boxing Daria".
- Relative Ridicule: Quinn fears being subject to mockery if people find out that Daria is her sister, and spends most of the series fiercely denying they're related. When the truth comes out in the finale, Sandi does indeed begin to mock her for it... but then the other two members of their Girl Posse reveal that they knew the whole time, and were just respecting Quinn's feelings by going along with it.
- Re-Release Soundtrack: Most of the licensed songs were replaced with generic tracks on the DVDs.
- Resort to Pouting: "This Year's Model", Quinn pouts at the dinner table after Helen attempts to forbid her from participating in a modeling class. Daria notes that it's serious when Quinn doesn't get up to answer the phone. Zig-zagged as Quinn's pouting was only part of why Helen relents and allows Quinn to participate.
- Romantic Ribbing: When Tom and Daria begin their relationship, Tom has a habit of light-heartedly teasing Daria, often when she's overthinking things and he wants to gently point this out to her.Daria: Do you think I complain too much.Tom:(lightly) What are you bitching about, now?
- Rhyming Names: One of Daria's friends is named Jane Lane.
- 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.
- In "Lane Miserables", every time the door rings — and it happens a lot — someone says, "Who could that be?"
- 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.
- Scary Stinging Swarm: "Antisocial Climbers" has Kevin giving Brittany a bouquet of freshly picked flowers... filled with bees. It takes a few stings before she starts running.
- 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.
- Second Year Protagonist: Daria starts off as a sophomore, but the show ends with her graduation. This also had the benefit of letting her younger (by one year) sister and Foil, Quinn, attend school at the same time.
- 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.
- 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.
- Shared Universe:With Beavis And Butthead
- 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.
- This episode is one long shoutout to almost every detective series on TV to that point, including Magnum, P.I., Murder, She Wrote, Charlie's Angels and many others. Justified seeing that the episode was All Just a Dream and Daria had fallen asleep with the TV on.
- Shower Shy: In "Gifted," an Insufferable Genius mentions having a grudge against the quarterback at his old school because he told everyone that he wears a Modesty Towel in the locker room shower.
- 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.
- 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
- Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Mostly on the cynical end, but there is a sense of optimism that is especially shown in the last two seasons.
- Soapbox 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.
- Soft Glass: 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.
- Spin-Off: Daria was originally a minor character on Beavis And Butthead. A Mystik Spiral-based spin-off-spin-off was briefly considered.
- Sports Dad: Kevin's father is ridiculously proud of the fact that Kevin is the quarterback of his high-school football team, and doesn't care that Kevin is in danger of flunking all of his classes.
- Starter Marriage: The title character's cousin gets married in season two. By season five they're getting divorced; apparently the cousin only wanted to get married because her then-boyfriend gave her herpes and she didn't think anyone else would want her. Subverted, however, when they reconcile. (Except for the wedding, all of this happens off-screen, though it affects the Morgendorffers indirectly.)
- 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 "Pinch Sitter", 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".
- Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Quinn spends most of the series pretending that she and Daria aren't sisters, and makes increasingly ridiculous excuses as to why Daria lives with her. Naturally, when she decides to 'reveal' the truth, everyone just shrugs because they all already knew.
- In 'Dye! Dye! My Darling', Jane decides to put blonde stripes in her hair as an homage to 'The Lady Or The Tiger'. However, instead of getting a professional to do it, she forces Daria to do it despite Daria's protests that she doesn't know anything about hairdressing. Naturally, the results are awful. Jane is furious, but when she explains what happened to Trent, he invokes this trope on her again through a series of questions- Jane knew that Daria doesn't know anything about dyeing hair or even painting, so did she really think the results wouldn't be awful, even though Daria was genuinely trying to do her best?
- As it turns out, Status Quo is not God. After Daria and Jane fall out over Daria kissing Tom, it takes some time before they can reconcile.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: "It certainly didn't come up during anything other than normal in-school chit-chat among colleagues. Fully dressed. With no oils involved."
- The Take: Most of the time, the eponymous character defies this trope by rarely reacting to the other characters' antics. At most, she sports a subtle change of facial expression. The only time something is groundbreaking enough to prompt her to make a Double Take is in one episode of another cartoon. "Sporting Goods" from Beavis And Butthead, to be precise.
- Teens Love Shopping: Exaggerated to the point that the teens would rather go outlet shopping than to a music festival.
- 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)
- 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.
- Third-Party Peacekeeper:
Jane: I don't have a leg to stand on, do I?Daria: I don't want to answer that, Stumpy.
- Whenever Daria and Jane have a disagreement, it is usually Jane's older brother,Trent, who will help them reconcile, sometimes by "forgetting" something Jane told him and having Daria check Jane's room.
- After Jane and Tom have a fight about him eating a bowl of gummies bears that she's sorted for an art project, Daria points out that Jane never told him the purpose of the foodstuffs, nor had she labeled them as such
- 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?"
- Titled After the Song: In a variation, "This Year's Model" is named after an album by Elvis Costello.
- Totally Radical: The way Val talks in nothing but these...in particular, she attaches the word "jiggy" to everything.
- Trademark Favourite Food: For Jane and Daria, almost every episode will have them at the pizza place grabbing a slice. In the Mortgendorffer household, the family will almost always be eating store-bought lasagne. There's even announcements when they are having something different that night and one later episode had the family trying to cutback on the lasagne as a way to save money for Daria starting college. Of course, Jake makes a hash of it and instead of getting bulk ribs, he gets bulk hot dogs because of misreading his order.
- 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 Morgendorffer 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-fashioned country store. There's also many other examples.
- Two-Timing with the Bestie: Tom and Daria ended up kissing while he was dating Jane. While Jane is initially angry with this, she and Daria remain friends after taking some space apart.
- Unaccustomed as I Am to Public Speaking...: In the series finale, Daria, at graduation, is awarded for dazzling academic achievement (in the face of near-total misanthropy). As she goes up to accept her award, she gives a speech beginning with "I'm not much for public speaking. Or much for speaking. Or, come to think of it, much for the public..."
- The Unfavorite: Helen and Amy feel this way compared to Rita. Rita, however, seems to feel this way compared to Helen, and argues that Grandma Barksdale only treats her differently because she actually tries to have a relationship with her. The truth is probably somewhere in-between.
- 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. At the same time, they begin to harp on Quinn for not having the same grades as Daria.
- In The Daria Diaries it's implied that Jodie's little sister Rachel feels this way: she's not as smart as Jodie and recently had her position as the "baby" usurped by their new sibling Evan, whom their father seems to openly prefer.
- Unreliable Narrator: In Speedtrapped, Mystik Spiral, while in jail, encounter a guy named Stan, who claims to have influenced, Jimi Hendrix, Sid Vicious, KISS, and introduced rice to the Japanese. Trent ends up being the only one who realizes he's talking out of his ass.
- Unrequited Love Switcheroo: Trent/Daria. The final resolution of which is handled excellently when Trent agrees to contribute music to a school project Daria is working on, then flakes out and doesn't come through in time (or at all). Later they have pizza together, establish that they are still friends, and both acknowledge that they wouldn't actually "work" well together at all.
- Urban Legend: Parodied on the episode "Legends of the Mall", which give three.
- UST: Daria and Tom during Season Four.
- Very Special Episode: "My Night At Daria's", about sex; the Quinn subplot in "Is it College Yet?" (about an alcoholic friend) probably applies as well.
- Villainous Breakdown: Ms. Li has one in "Fizz Ed" when she panics over being unable to sell enough Ultra Cola to satisfy the school's contract, leading her to break open several Ultra Cola machines with a fire axe until she is carted away in an ambulance, telling everyone to keep drinking.
- Vitriolic Best Friends: Mr. DeMartino and Mr. O'Neil, initially. As the series progressed, their friendship became more explicit until DeMartino finally admits O'Neil is his best friend during "Is It College Yet?".
- Jane and Daria, during the events of "Dye, Dye, My Darling" and "Is It Fall Yet?"
- Mack and Kevin have shades of this, at least on the side of Michael "Don't call me Mack Daddy!" Mackenzie.
- Vomit Discretion Shot: Used in the episode "Malled" when Daria gets carsick.
- Vocal Evolution:
- Daria's voice lost a lot of its emotion (and yes, that's possible) in season 5. Glenn Eichler explained in an interview that he didn't have time to direct the show's voice recording sessions that season.
- Brittany's first episode showed her with a much different vocal delivery than the hyper-perky squeaky voice she's genuinely known for.
- Jane started out with a softer, more monotonous delivery that also frequently made her sound like she always had a cold. That developed into a clearer, more emotive and snarkier tone.
- Tiffany represents a form of Vocal De-Evolution, as she started out talking like a Valley Girl and later started talking slower...and slower...
- We Do Not Know Each Other: Quinn tells everyone that she and Daria are not related; Daria doesn't care enough to protest (well, except embarrass her). Subverted in the end: when Quinn finally softens enough to tell her friends the truth, they reveal that they knew all along (perhaps due to an address Daria gave at a school assembly on the issue in the first episode), but were just being polite.
Mildly inverted in "Gifted", when Trent insists on referring to Quinn as simply "'Daria's sister.'" Trent doing this perfectly exemplifies everything Quinn fears from Daria.
- "Well Done, Son" Guy:
- Jake continues to be miserable about how little respect he got from his now-deceased father.
- 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.
- Daria expresses this when Quinn is praised for her successes while Daria toils away in the background, such as when Quinn got $20 for getting an A on a paper whereas Daria has never gotten a reward for her consistently good grades.
- Wham Line: Daria to Jane, in "Dye! Dye! My Darling": "I kissed your boyfriend."
- What Measure Is a Non-Cute?: Quinn's crusade to protect the cute animals.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Andrea's reaction to Quinn trying to use feminist rhetoric to get sponsors for her plastic surgery:Andrea:"Aren't you the least bit worried that there might be a Hell?"
- "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: A montage of images of the cast during the finale's end credits that... Well, essentially serves the same purpose as the usual credit montages; i.e. putting the characters in ironic situations. Presumably non-canon, unless you can seriously buy Daria and Jane becoming perky morning talk show hosts in the future. Maybe if you replace "perky" with snarky. However, Daria fan fiction often likes to deal with Stacy being a stock car racer.
- Another one was created in 2017 by Susie Lewis and Karen Disher, which gives details on what's going on with some of the characters twenty years after the show's premiere.
- Where the Hell Is Springfield?: Lawndale is never given a specific location. While the general consensus among fandom seems to be that it is located in Maryland (the creator says this too, but also brings up Pennsylvania as a possibility), that doesn't quite explain how it can be day-trip distance away from deserts AND snowy mountains. Another issue: in "Camp Fear" Daria and Quinn visit their old summer camp, which seems to be a fairly short drive from Lawndale (they don't have much problem getting rides from friends). But we know from Beavis And Butthead that they grew up in Texas (a fact that wasn't officially canon until that show's revival), which is quite a distance from Maryland, Pennsylvania, or Oregon.
- With Friends Like These...: The Fashion Club. The main basis for Quinn and Sandi's relationship is to make sure the other doesn't become more popular. The series finale showed them eventually dissolving the Fashion Club so they could become genuine friends.
- Word Salad Lyrics: The lyrics in pretty much all Mystik Spiral songs make little to no sense.
- In "Speedtrapped," Daria reads a song Trent's been working on:Daria: "My heart is like an open wound / That reads the tea leaves of its doom." What. "Soothe me with redemption's love / Like a heat-proof kitchen glove." God, I hope this is a first draft.
- "When dead clowns can't clown / We'll still be freakin' friends!"
- In "Speedtrapped," Daria reads a song Trent's been working on:
- World-Weary Waitress: "Road Trip" sees a One-Scene Wonder of a World Weary Waitress who takes one look at the members of the Fashion Club as they enter the diner and then calls out their order for them before they've even said a word to her. She also suggested Daria would have a promising career as a waitress after listening to some of her snark.
- Worst Wedding Ever: The episode "I Don't" has the Morgandorffer family going to the wedding of their niece and cousin, Erin. The wedding starts off wrong with Daria wearing a poorly-tailored bridesmaid dress leading to a Running Gag of her being asked by she didn't get the same dress as the other bridesmaids and the surprise arrival of "unpopular" Aunt Amy, but things get worse from there. At the reception, Helen gets wasted and her hostilities with her older sister and their mother come to the surface, Erin accuses her mother and her boorish boyfriend of ruining the wedding by making the wedding about them, she then snaps at her son-in-law by calling him a neanderthal, setting off a family-wide argument and elsewhere, Quinn's escort and the reverend are engaged in a fistfight over her. This causes Daria and Amy to bail to a local restaurant.
- Xtreme Kool Letterz: Mystik Spiral. In "Road Worrier", Trent wonders aloud whether they should spell their name with two Y's.Daria: [thinks] "And I'll spell my name D-A-R-Y-A and be crowned Miss America."
- You Need to Get Laid: For the first three seasons of the show, Jane's go-to impulse regarding Daria (and she always volunteered her brother, Trent!).
- Your Little Dismissive Diminutive: Lampshaded by Jane when Quinn mentions her "little paintings:" "They are minuscule, aren't they?"