Synopsis by Brian J. Dillard
Beavis and Butthead, MTV's animated series about a pair of numbskull heavy-metal aficionados, included a number of memorable supporting characters. But only one scored a spinoff of her own: Daria Morgendorffer (voice of Tracy Grandstaff), a brainy, cynical alterna-teen whose eponymous series lasted five seasons on MTV. The creation of Beavis and Butthead story editor Glenn Eichler, Daria premiered in 1997, producing 65 episodes and two movie-length specials before passing into rerun heaven in 2001. A savvy satire -- and celebration -- of teen alienation, the series carved out a wry sensibility somewhere between Sixteen Candles, Heathers, and My So-Called Life. With its blunt humor, abundant subtext, and stellar voice cast, the show captured middle-class suburban teen angst in all its specificity, even as it commented on the self-imposed outsider status of its protagonist. As the series progressed, its snarky humor was leavened by greater emotional depth and a profusion of hot-button topics, including Daria's burgeoning sexuality. When 'tween cable network The N began running the show in syndication, later episodes were heavily censored or, in some cases, left out of the rotation altogether; nonetheless, devoted fans settled for this declawed Daria even as they snapped up DVD releases of the movies Is It Fall Yet? and Is It College Yet? Daria may never have achieved the cultural ubiquity of its parent program, but internet appeals to have the show's full run released on DVD attest to its enduring cult popularity.