Teen TV Critic

Sick of smiley faces and feel-good vibes? Daria's got the cure.

By Vivian Rose

I finally found a television show that is refreshingly negative. Until now, I thought that I was the only one who found endless optimism a little, well, sickening.

That's what I love about Daria Morgendorffer, the16-year-old old star of MTV's animated show Daria (Mondays, 10:30 p.m. ET). Everyone constantly tells her to improve her attitude, but she stands her ground and remains less than thrilled with basically everything.

If you've ever felt that one more smile will give you lockjaw, this show is perfect. If you've ever become sick of being told to "perk up," this show is perfect. If you've ever been asked, "Can you crack a smile?" by a nosy restaurant waiter (yes, that happened to me once, not on one of my better days), then this show is absolutely perfect.

Don't get the wrong impression. Daria isn't a downer, and the show isn't depressing. Just the opposite. It's amusing enough to make you laugh--continuously. Daria's one-liners are preposterous at times, yet they don't seem contrived. The way a character's voice sounds is especially important in animated shows, and, as voiced by Tracy Grandstaff, Daria sounds very mundane most of the time. She remains perfectly deadpan when delivering those wonderful one-liners.

The show does tackle some serious subjects, such as eating disorders, in a diverting way, without being preachy or forcing a message down your throat. It also informs teens that it's okay to be an individual and not try to conform to everyone else's standards. Daria is as non-conformist as you can get, but she's also very comfortable with herself.

This isn't to say that Daria's all alone. Too many shows build everything around the star and keep the other characters weak and one-dimensional.. But the supporting characters on Daria have almost as much significance and--with the exception of the beautiful, but dumb, cheerleader Brittany Taylor--personality. Daria's parents are realistic in that they're constantly annoying while her friends and classmates provide endless material for her sardonic remarks. (The only minor flaw: Daria's much prettier but less brainy sister, Quinn Morgendorffer, is slightly reminiscent of Brittany Taylor, and isn't one of those types on a show enough?)

Bottom line, Daria is a fabulous show. The writing is brilliant, and it's just the thing to cure the positive attitude that everyone seems to be catching these days.

Totally Teen TV! is delighted to welcome Vivian Rose as a regular contributor. Best known for her daily film reviews on the popular Teen Movie Critic website, the Winslow, Arkansas native began her career at the age of 9 on a local radio show. Now 15, Vivian has been writing celebrity interviews for the Tampa Tribune for the past three years. She also reviews movies with adult anchor Steve Voorhies on the local CBS affiliate KFSM-TV in Fayetteville-Ft. Smith, Arkansas.

To write Vivian about this site,
contact vivianrose@ipa.net (Vivian Rose)

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