“Five great things about Daria?”
I had no idea what to write about for this week’s Friday Five until I flicked on Twitter and saw that MTV were thinking of rebooting Daria. I loved Daria back in the day and used to catch it on Channel 5 every Saturday. I’m not really sure a reboot will work – it’s been twenty years and the world is a much different place. Bear in mind that this is a show that MTV very rarely show now, so it feels a bit cynical on MTV’s part.
However, it’s made me think about why I enjoyed Daria initially. Here are five reasons why;
#5 – The credits
A small touch, but I always liked the credits – usually a cool song over the credits with lots of extra art of the different Daria characters in different guises. It was a touch that made you realise how much thought had gone into Daria. Think about all the extra images made solely for the credits that were never used in the episodes and you’ve got an idea of the amount of extra work that was put in.
#4 – The music
Like Beavis and Butthead before it, Daria was a great source of hearing new songs and bands. It was great to hear Silverchair and Garbage on mainstream TV on a Saturday afternoon pre-2000, when rock music wasn’t as mainstream as it was today.
It was great to hear new songs too. I first heard ‘Drive’ by Incubus via Daria and I’ve loved that song ever since. It’s a really sad but beautiful song and frankly, a song I need to listen to more often.
Sadly, the music is probably one of the series’ albatrosses – as Daria used mainly contemporary artists for it’s incidental music, this means there would be a ton of licensing fees on repeats of the show. This was the main reason that the DVD’s took so long to come and were eventually released with most of the music cut.
#3 – The cast of characters
The supporting cast in any animated show is very important and Daria’s was great. Whether it was the Fashion Club’s elitist planning or Daria’s dad Jake re-living one of his traumatic memories, the supporting characters were always worth paying attention to.
Aside from Jake, my favourites were Mr DeMartino, Daria’s stressed teacher and Kevin, the school’s dumb quarterback. There are probably so many great one liners that I can’t remember from a variety of characters…I do really need to rewatch the show.
#2 – Daria and Jane
I really liked the story of their friendship. It was nice to see two people drawn together by their social status and views and become friends, but I liked the way their friendship developed. It felt natural – they fell out, made up, had adventures and tried to survive the crazy world of high school together.
Daria was always good at portraying relationships – they felt realistic and avoided the usual patronizing writing that shows aimed at teenagers usually gave us.
#1 – Mystik Spiral
As you can probably tell, I’m a big fan of 90’s alternative rock. Everyone knew someone in a band when they grew up and can relate to the brief optimism and inevitable failure of said band. Watching the misadventures of Mystik Spiral really struck a chord (no puns intended) with me. Whether it was singer Trent writing a song based off his craving for nuts (“Moth to a flame/You”ve hijacked my brain and ‘It’s my personal hell/I’ll roast in my shell’ are my favourite lines) their van (The Tank) that would constantly break down or just the idiocy of the band generally (To this day, I’ll still shout “That was the first set!” in my head if someone says something obvious to me). If something makes me laugh and I can relate to it, then that’s great writing in my eyes.
There was talk of a Mystik Spiral spin off after Daria ended and I would have loved that show…alas,nothing came of it.
That’s my five reasons – did anyone else watch Daria? As usual, I’d love to hear any feedback in the comments!