Daria: Esteemsters (1997)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Sitcom [TV], Teen Movie  |   Run Time - 30 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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Sardonic teen misfit Daria Morgendorffer (voice of Tracy Grandstaff) and her dysfunctional family move from Highland (home of Beavis and Butt-Head) to the homogeneous suburb of Lawndale in the inaugural episode of the animated MTV series Daria. Daria's petite, trend-chasing sister, Quinn (voice of Wendy Hoopes), has no trouble getting elected vice-president of the Lawndale High Fashion Club. But Daria, despite wowing psycho teacher Mr. DeMartino (voice of Marc Thompson) with her knowledge of history, soon lands in the sort of hot water that will plague her throughout five 13-episode seasons and two full-length movies: Her smart-aleck answers to a school psych exam convince the administration that she's suffering from low self-esteem. Her parents -- shrill, self-assured lawyer Helen (voice of Wendy Hoopes) and clueless pushover Jake (voice of Julian Rebolledo) -- insist that she attend after-school self-esteem workshops. There, she befriends Jane Lane (voice of Wendy Hoopes), an artist whose wit is as sharp as her asymmetrical, dyed-black bob. Sensitive new-age English teacher Mr. O'Neill (voice of Marc Thompson) leads the seminars with a crunchy, desperate-to-relate earnestness while Jane and Daria make wisecracks to each other and refuse to be assimilated. Eventually, though, after learning that this is Jane's sixth deliberately unsuccessful trip to self-esteem school, Daria convinces her new pal to join her in mouthing the necessary platitudes. Their reward? A school assembly at which they're congratulated for their new self-acceptance. Jane displays typical flair in disrupting the ceremony, but Daria settles for embarrassing Quinn with a great, big public thank-you for her support. This humiliation will provoke Quinn to claim she's an only child for most of the run of the series -- one of many long-running subplots introduced in this episode. A spin-off of MTV's popular Beavis and Butt-Head, Daria was the brainchild of that show's former story editor, Glenn Eichler, who served as Daria's executive producer and wrote numerous episodes, including this one.

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