If you’re anything like me, Daria wasn’t just a cartoon to you. Daria was a way of life. When I was growing up, Daria Morgendorfer was a breath of fresh air, a girl who wasn’t like everybody else — and didn’t seem to want to be. For those of us in the back of the popularity bus, Daria was a hero. Whereas outcasts like Angela in My So-Called Life yearned for belonging (and the attention of the hot guy), Daria just wanted to do her own thing. She wasn’t too cool for school. Cool wasn’t even a part of her calculation, and when you had friends as kick ass as Jane, who needs popularity? Fuck you, Prom Queen.
I needed Daria, not just as entertainment — but as a coping mechanism and a beacon of hope. Daria and Lisa Simpson were my gateway drugs to Winona Ryder and Janeane Garofalo, whose roles in Beetlejuice, Reality Bites and Romy and Michele showed me that being different wasn’t a burden. It was actually kind of awesome. (Besides, fitting in meant hanging out with a bunch of girls who were all named Heather, which just sounds confusing.) For a generation of outcasts, Daria and her compatriots taught us an important and timeless lesson: High school is bullshit. But you graduate eventually.
Kids of this generation have their own role models, but College Humor’s live-action Daria video shows that they could use some of ours, too. Of any cartoon heroine of her era, Daria still has a lot to say about growing up and how much it sucks sometimes. The times have changed, but high school hasn’t, and we still need Daria to show us the way. With Aubrey Plaza around, a Daria movie practically casts itself, because if there’s anyone who can inspire today’s girls not to give a fuck, it’s April Ludgate. In Daria’s signature glasses, Plaza inhabits the role she was born to play: the acerbic icon of late-90’s disaffection.
If there’s any justice in the world, Hollywood and MTV will take this opportunity to bring Daria to the big screen — and give us the heroine we deserve. The Daria must rise.