Written by: Glenn Eichler and Peggy Nicoll
Directed by: Karen Disher
Starring the voices of: Tracy Grandstaff, Wendy Hoopes, Marc Thompson
- Two bonus episodes: “Boxing Daria” and “Lucky Strike”
- Character Profiles
- Character Sketches
Released by: MTV
Anamorphic: N/A; footage appears in its original 1.33:1 format.
My Advice: Rent it until MTV releases something better
Daria is something of an oddity on MTV. Instead of following the painful and probably illegal antics of people whose mental facilities are questionable (Jackass; The Osbournes) or titillating their viewer with attractive young people committing acts that come as close to making the Beast with Two Backs as their lawyers will allow (Undressed; any programming during Spring Break), this animated series was actually smart. It followed the adventures of Daria Morgendorffer, a girl who is unfortunately intelligent enough to realize the absurdity of high school, popular culture, and life in general. Daria: Is It College Yet? covers the end of her high school career and her worries about getting into her first choice college, her relationship with her boyfriend, and looking back at her high school years with false fond nostalgia.
[ad#longpost]Daria does seem an unlikely female lead. She’s not a fashion plate, her voice hardly varies from its disinterested monotone, and she’s not a people person. But she has her trusty heavy sarcasm and biting observations of Lawndale High School with its dumb jocks, model wannabes, marginally stable faculty, and all the other facets of high school we suppress from our minds. However the characters, while based on the typical stereotypes from any teen movie, have developed into actual people. They’re exaggerated for comedy, but there is depth in this two-dimensional cartoon. The finale is no exception. This show captures the scary realization that you’re going to college, your life is about to change, and the uncertainty of your future is scaring you silly and still keeps it funny. The acting is especially good since some of the actors voice several roles, but you can’t tell without checking the credits.
Since this was the series finale, this is not the best disc for people to jump on board with. While you won’t be hopelessly lost, you will miss some of the humor if you’re not familiar with the series. To help out, two episodes from the series are included. “Lucky Strike” gives a glimpse of the absurdity of Lawndale High and “Boxing Daria” the absurdity of the Morgendorffer family. One glaring problem is that when Daria was on MTV, actual rock and pop songs were used as incidental music. The two episodes have nothing. The main feature has some generic music, but the episodes have absolutely nothing. You don’t realize what an important element music is to a show until it’s gone. There are also character profiles and sketches which try and familiarize you, but they are both too brief to give actual illumination. When they show the initial sketches of the character, the only explanation we get is some in-screen text. I was hoping for more. MTV could have done a lot better putting the DVD together. Daria: Is It College Yet? is worth renting, but hopefully MTV will be smart enough to give the show the DVD treatment it deserves.