It’s a sick, sad world out there, so we’re turning to Daria, the 1997 animated series following a sardonic and cynical heroine who validated the alienation of an entire generation of teenagers. But which generation? And is it cynicism or pessimism? We’re taking a closer look to find out.
Note: This episode was dangerously close to being too long, so we had to cut some things we’d have liked to talk more about, such as how many people read Daria as queer (particularly romantically with Jane), but how resistant and sometimes hostile the show was to queer readings (such as with the “Is it Fall Yet?” storyline about the bisexual woman pursuing Jane). There are some notes in the full outline that cover some of it—outlines are available to Patreon supporters at the $5+ level.
Some Sources You Might Find Interesting:
The Lost Generation, Fostered By MTV by Candice Frederick
What Nihilism Is Not by Nolan Gertz
‘You’re standing on my neck’: Feminist cynicism and queer anti sociality in MTV’s Daria by Robin Alex McDonald
Daria, Alienation, and the Limits of Irony by Michael Saba