Daria is an animated High School Dramedy about a waifish, sardonic teen girl with coke-bottle glasses, army boots, and absolutely no patience for the idiocy around her (she used to have Beavis and Butthead for classmates, can you blame her?).
Most of the humor is derived from Daria and her friend Jane's conflicts with the collection of twisted teenage archetypes (and often the adults) around them. The last two seasons departed from the Reset Button to create a powerful Story Arc of Daria and her friends coming of age. The show's strong use of Character Development became a major draw on a network loaded with more superficial programming. A major part of it is Daria eventually falling for a Tall, Dark and Snarky boy, Tom Sloane, who is worthy of her and struggling to deal with romantic activities she previously rejected.
Approximately eight years after the series ended, the show finally got an official DVD release on May 11th, 2010.
- Abuse Is Okay When Its Female On Male: Mrs. Barch is this trope, both played straight and subverted. She treats all men like dirt and has made Mr. O'Neill her bitch as of "The Daria Hunter." However, it's made clear that what she's doing is wrong (even though she's never punished for what she's done. See Karma Houdini) and Mr. O'Neill is actually receptive to her brutal love-making (but that's because he doesn't have to stones to stand up to her and when he tried to in "Is It College Yet?", it just made her want him even more).
- Adults Are Useless: Played with. Most adults in the show, besides the principal, seem to have good intentions to say the least. But a lot of the times they are simple too out of the loop to be much use, or Daria is too cynical to initially take what they say seriously.
- Adult Child: When stressed, Jake generally does one of two things: reverts to a helpless childlike state, or rages against his strict, distant, and since-deceased father. The outbursts are frequently interjected into conversations that had nothing to do with his childhood, and appear to also function as a defense against criticism.
- Adults Dressed as Children: Magazine editor Val. Since she doesn't look like a teenager, no one is really fooled. Not even Brittany and Kevin.
- The Alleged Car: The Tank, Mystik Spiral's main mode of transportation. Also, Trent's car, and probably every other vehicle owned by a Lane. Also Tom's car. He explains that it's not a convertible, but the roof is rusting through.
- Allergic to Love: Daria in "ill", who seems to suddenly get a horrible rash on her entire body when in contact with Trent.
- All Guys Want Cheerleaders: The show's universe tends to show this as quite common at Lawndale High where the student body is largely superficial. Then again, most of the guys who date cheerleaders are also shown to be dumber than dirt and characters the audience is intended to like are shown to scorn them.
- All Just a Dream: Most of the episode "Murder She Snored." (Not that there was any doubt, since Daria going to sleep was shown.)
- All There in the Manual: The Daria Database, a book containing in-universe materials from the show's cast, contained a great deal of detail on the supporting cast that never comes up in the show. While nothing in the book was vital to understanding the characters, some of it provided some interesting depths to the cast, such as what happened to Brittany's biological mother or that Jodie apparently had a sister we never saw on camera.
- Mind you, in 'Gifted', Jodie's parents make reference to the fact that Jodie has a brother and a sister.
- All Women Are Lustful: Attributed to all Barksdale women in the episode "I Don't", where Jake Morgendorffer and Rita Barksdale's (current) squeeze trade notes on how "all Barksdale women are tigers in the sack." It seems to be inverted with Quinn, who dates constantly but seems unwilling to even give a goodnight kiss; this has led to some... interesting suppositions about her.
- Alternatively it suggests that despite her boy crazy persona she's actually much shyer than she lets on (or she just likes to use men for little more than dinner, money, and transportation).
- Early on, she drops hints that's she's not so chaste and definitely not innocent, but that was eventually dropped and she became more of an untouchable Defrosting Ice Queen.
- Alpha Bitch: Sandi and Quinn both qualify on some levels, though Sandi is generally much more deliberately nasty while Quinn rarely tries to be rude to other girls. Quinn eventually grows out of this phase over the course of season 5 when she starts to take school seriously. Sandi in particular exploits the other three Fashion Club girls' insecurities for her own personal gain. The few times we see Sandi's mother, the elder Griffin is shown to be of similar temperament.
- Averted with Brittany. Popular, blonde, rich, head of the cheerleading squad, she displays all of the indicators... except for the fact that she's slightly less vicious than a shoebox full of puppies. The only Alpha Bitchy thing she ever does is... attempt to get back at her boyfriend.
- The woman even ends up thinking of Daria and Jane as some kind of friends and is generally nice to them, often even trying to help when they have trouble, despite only succeeding once, Daria and Jane, on the other hand never gave her a break.
- Sandi regularly attempts to find some way to find a weakness in Quinn to emotionally dominate her and naturally makes her seem like she cares very little for Quinn. However; in "Fire!", she appears to be showing genuine concern for Quinn because she thinks the bellboy might be a stalker.
- Averted with Brittany. Popular, blonde, rich, head of the cheerleading squad, she displays all of the indicators... except for the fact that she's slightly less vicious than a shoebox full of puppies. The only Alpha Bitchy thing she ever does is... attempt to get back at her boyfriend.
- Ambiguously Jewish: Many fans think the last name "Morgendorffer" sounds Jewish, though Word of God says that that wasn't intentional. Likewise Tiffany, who is Asian but has the commonly Jewish surnames "Blum-Deckler."
- And Another Thing: "... you look fifty!"
- Animated Actors: featured in several marathons and specials and media interviews.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Quinn on a stalker: "You mean I nearly went out with... a computer geek?"
From "Gifted"—Daria: Yeah, why should you be afraid of mass murderers, serial killers, torturers, cannibals, puppy kickers...
- Art Evolution: In the first few episodes of season one, they still seemed to be working on character designs for their art style, as several minor characters have faces that can vary between the usual somewhat cartoony look, and unsettlingly more realistic than usual.
- Starting with season 4, the series uses what is likely digital coloring to make the animation more vivid. The final season's color scheme is upped even further.
- Asian Airhead: Tiffany Blum-Deckler, who's quite possibly the dumbest person in the series. Though Kevin gives her a run for her money.
- Aw, Look -- They Really Do Love Each Other: Happens throughout the series, however a double example occurs in the Musical Episode when Daria and Jane are convinced that Quinn and Trent wouldn't even realize they were missing during a hurricane. Fast-forward to the end of the episode, its shown both their siblings really were worried about them the whole time.
- Although with Trent is was no that Jane doubted that Trent loved her, but more that she was convinced he could sleep through anything and wouldn't notice... which would have been if the case, if Helen did not call and ordered him to put some pants and come to the house with the others.
- Bare Your Midriff: Quinn; Kevin in a rare male example.
- Jane's outfit when she tries to look "normal" for an assignment.
- Daria's costume when she was in personality drag as Quinn.
- Batman Gambit: Brittany, of all people, pulls one on Kevin in "Fair Enough," using his idiocy against him (not that it was difficult to do, mind you).
- Beautiful All Along: Daria, in "Quinn The Brain"; the scene where she dolls herself up like Quinn is a perfect example, although the guys that show up to be her "admirers" were colluding with Daria and not genuinely pursuing her.
- The guys actually did not see Daria in her getup, only Quinn did. As Daria walked past Quinn's room, she waited for Quinn to get jealous of her and abandon her beatnik persona - which she did less than two seconds later.
- This kind of bites Daria in the ass in "Through A Lens, Darkly". She gets contacts, but stops wearing them because they're uncomfortable, but goes without glasses anyway because she likes how she looks, despite being Blind Without'Em. She spends the episode struggling with her vanity, because she likes not having to wear those gigantic Coke bottles, but worries that her core tenets of personal integrity are being compromised.
- Berserk Button: It'd probably be quicker to list the things that don't count as Mr. DeMartino's Berserk Buttons, but Kevin is definitely at the top of the list, followed by Brittany.
- Beta Couple: Jodie and Mack.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Brittany is surprisingly ruthless at paintball.
- Big Ball of Violence: The Three Js get involved in one with some other suitors of Quinn in "Daria Dance Party". Ms. Barch and Kevin's dad start one in "Mart Of Darkness".
- Big Screwed-Up Family: Played for laughs with the Morgendorffers (until 'Aunt Nauseum'), but painfully straight with the Lanes.
- Bittersweet Ending: Quinn's subplot in "Is It College Yet?"--she confronts Lindy about her drinking problem and it seems like their friendship is over. They make up, but the implication is that Lindy still isn't willing to accept that she has a problem and will continue drinking.
- Bowdlerization: When the show was moved to Nickelodeon spinoff network "The N", almost every single episode had scenes excised and/or altered from their original versions; some episode's titles were changed, and some episodes were simply not aired at all due to their content. "Antisocial Climbers" got a full 20 edits to its content, the most edits out of the episodes that made it to air. A really bizarre cut from "Lucky Strike": the scab teacher of Quinn's class hits on Tiffany, which leads the school to replace him with Daria. All of the scenes with the scab teacher were removed, so Daria basically came in from left field. The only remnant of the whole incident is Ms. Li's cryptic reference to "reasons" during the announcement of the replacement. The official DVD release used the series' original masters from MTV, which meant the DVD had no censorship (aside from the music cuts, of course).
- "Arts 'n' Crass" contains a great in-universe example: Ms. Li and Mr. O'Neill want Jane's painting of a lovely young teen girl in Lawndale High's upcoming art show, but without a poem, written by Daria, about the girl being bulimic attached. Li and O'Neill suggest altering the poem to something not associated with eating disorders -- "I don't want to change the intent of the poster, I just want to make it more palatable", says O'Neill -- but Daria and Jane both refuse on the grounds that making the alterations actually does change the intent of the poem. Ms. Li eventually changes the poem for them and enters the painting into the art show without their permission; as a result, Daria and Jane deface the painting during the art show, an act which brings about one of the show's most fondly remembered Crowning Moments Of Awesome.
- Boy Of The Week: There's about a fifty percent chance Quinn will have one in any given episode; if she doesn't the Three J's are likely filling in.
- Daria herself had the title character of "The New Kid," Ted.
- Brand X: Lackluster Video, Deuce Hardware, Pizza King, and Payday (a big-box store).
- Break the Cutie: Quinn (in "Monster"), Jodie (in "Gifted"), and most notably Stacy (in "Fat Like Me" - also a Crowning Moment of Awesome for her). Arguably the single most defining character trait of Jake. This is pretty much the premise of the show. The show is all about the world's attempt to screw with Daria, and failing miserably.
- Brainless Beauty: While Brittany qualifies, she has nothing on Tiffany. Subverted with Quinn, who (until Is It Fall Yet?) worked at being 'not smart'. Inverted with Daria, who deliberately keeps her appearance plain (and is noticed immediately for her looks whenever she makes any change - "Quinn The Brain" and "Through A Lens, Darkly" are the go-to episodes for this inversion).
- Jesse of Mystik Spiral is a male example, especially in the script for the proposed Mystik Spiral spin-off.
- Bumbling Dad: Jake. Zigzagged in that Jake tries to be a good dad in spite of his screwed-up childhood at the hands of his father, Mad-Dog Morgendorffer. The success rate of Jake trying to be a good father to his daughters varies from episode to episode (though it should be noted that, unlike some parents who were abused as children, Jake doesn't take out his anger on his wife or daughters -- opting instead to blame himself, his deceased father, and others who had nothing to do with his life).
- Butt Monkey: Quinn and Mr. Demartino
- By the Lights of Their Eyes: Shows up in "The Teachings of Don Jake".
- Casanova Wannabe: Upchuck.
- Catch Phrase:
- Upchuck: "(flirtatious purr) Feisty!"
- Principal Li tends to use the phrase "Laaawndale High" at least once in any conversation, spoken with a particularly reverential tone.
- Sandi: "As President of the Fashion Club, I..."
- Characterization Marches On: One episode had Brittany invite Daria to her party for simply helping her in art class and in spite of not being "cool" (not to mention Upchuck getting an invite for helping her dissect a frog). Later episodes make it hard to imagine that she'd be aware of social divisions present in high school, even though it's still an issue. Britney's voice was also MUCH lower-pitched in episode two.
- In Beavis and Butthead, Daria was originally a Teacher's Pet who had her self-esteem ruined by Beavis and Butt-head's constant taunting.
- Given a Continuity Nod in the first episode, where she is sent to a self-esteem class.
- Don't forget Tiffany - in the first season, she actually doesn't sound like she's huffing her make-up material.
- A minor one involves an early Running Gag where Mr. O'Neill, despite his endless concern for his students, could never remember any of their names. Eventually the writers seem to just drop it.
- In Beavis and Butthead, Daria was originally a Teacher's Pet who had her self-esteem ruined by Beavis and Butt-head's constant taunting.
- Censored Title: When the show aired on The-N, the season four episode "The F Word" had its title changed to "Fail." Also, season three's "It Happened One Nut" was changed to "Daria Gets A Job."
- Chez Restaurant: Chez Pierre's.
- Class Trip: The Mall of the Millennium for economics, paintball with Mr. DeMartino (who used to go to military school) and O'Neill's field trip to the woods.
- Clothing Switch:
- Daria wears Quinn-like hiphuggers and a midriff-baring tee when trying to shock Quinn out of being a "brain" in "Quinn the Brain".
- Quinn wears Daria's clothes for a "Fashion Don't" costume party in "Monster."
- After about two episodes, Jake Morgendorffer established himself as the show's main Cloudcuckoolander. "Yay! Hello, front lawn! Hello, garbage truck! Merry Christmas, you wonderful old garden gnome!"
- Tiffany comes off like this due to her astounding self-absorption. "This toaster's reeeeeally shiiinyyy..."
- Kevin and Brittany, of course.
- Clumsy Copyright Censorship: The two Daria movies were released on DVD with practically all of the licensed songs excised from the soundtrack and replaced with production music. The DVD version of the entire series is the same (licensed songs replaced with generic music), save for one or two copyrighted songs that got by.
- Glenn Eichler lampshaded this in a note that's included in the DVD release.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Not quite F-bombs, but something similar from the musical episode "Daria!", when Jake is trying to make it home through heavy traffic:
Jake: God God dammit!
Very Moral Family: Oh me, oh my!
Jake: God God Dammit!
Very Moral Family: We hope that you die!
- Comically Missing the Point: During a family trip to an Psychotherapy Spa (not a real spa) Jake loses his temper at Helen and accuses her of only pretending to be a perfect mother when in reality she'd sooner prefer losing herself in her work. This causes Helen to come to the realization that she may actually be a horrible mother, running from the room, with Daria and Jake following her. When the therapist asks Quinn what she thinks of all this, she simply quips: "You'd probabaly get more business if you just offered facials."
- Coming of Age Story: The later seasons venture heavily into this trope, to great effect.
- Continuity Nod:
- A red stain that is seen and mentioned in the Lanes' freezer in "Lane Miserables" later pops up again in the episode "Speedtrapped."
- Also in the first episode, "Esteemsters", when she take a psychology test, Daria mentions having to take a similar test when she was younger. This test is brought up again in "Boxing Daria." Highland is also mentioned in the very first episode as having uranium in the drinking water. (This explains a lot.)
- Also in the second season episode "Gifted." Jodie, while traveling with Daria and Daria's parents is asked by Helen if she knows Kevin, and mentions that "He and Daria did a science project together." A nod to the previous season's seventh episode, "The Lab Brat."
- "Talking toilet?"
- There's also an obese lady who appears a number of times - first she has something like a heart attack while Jane and Daria are trying to sell candy to her (which she's not supposed to eat according to her doctor). We then see her with a doctor, when all the Morgendorffers go to a Spa. Then she's seen again at the Payday store - not supposed to exert herself suddenly, according to her doctor, because she had a seizure a while back. Jane and Daria don't seem to remember her though.
- An odd case is with a rather trivial detail with Mr. DeMartino's watch. On the episode "Just Add Water", when his gambling addiction sets in, he tries selling his watch for more chips. The person he offered it to remarks that it "looks very cheap". Flash forward a season later, on "Mart of Darkness", when DeMartino loses track of time and missed the beginning of the free samples, he remarks "Damn cheap watch!". You call it a coincidence, I call Continuity Nod.
- In "Monster" Quinn borrows one of Daria's outfits for a Fashion Don'ts party. In "The Old and the Beautiful" she finds it still in her closet and yells to Daria about it.
- "My soul's waves of grain?" "I've heard that somewhere before..."
- Near the end of "Is It Fall Yet?", Quinn answers Mr. DeMartino's question about Manifest Destiny correctly but with her own personal spin on it. Daria did the exact same thing in the first episode.
- Quinn brings up Cleopatra inventing mascara in "Fat Like Me", which she first did under past life regression hypnosis in "Psycho Therapy".
- In the episode "Pierce Me" when Daria and Trent are out looking for a birthday gift for Jane, Trent points out a certain outfit that he mentions Daria would look "cute" in. In the end credits of the first season, one of the images is Daria wearing said outfit.
- In the season four premiere, Jodie comments to Daria that Mack has owed his dad a large some of money since the second grade. In the season finale, he gets a summer job to finally pay him back.
- Cool Aunt: Daria's Aunt Amy.
- Cool Loser: Why Daria and Jane never seem to have any other friends to hang out with. They are, however, on good terms with the student council vice president (Jodie), cheer captain (Brittany), football captain (Mack), and quarterback (Kevin).
- Cool Old Lady: Aunt Amy, though she's the youngest of Helen and her sisters.
- Corrupt the Cutie: "The Pinch Sitter", though it's more like "teach the straitlaced, repressed children to think for themselves".
- Cosmetic Catastrophe: "Dye! Dye! My Darling."
- Crapsack World: Lawndale, in a comically Lighter and Softer variant.
- Creative Closing Credits: The end credits have a montage of the show characters as different people and things, including:
- Daria as a Greek goddess, Audrey Hepburn from Breakfast at Tiffany's, a jet pilot, a Baywatch lifeguard, a skater girl, a post-apocalyptic warrior, a news anchor, an Olympic gymnast mid floor routine, and a grave digger.
- Jane as the Statue of Liberty, a geisha, Snow White, an Andy Warhol painting, Frida Kahlo, and a leopard queen.
- Jake as a flamenco dancer, a sushi meal, a DJ, a police composite sketch of the Unabomber, a man in a Bankruptcy Barrel, and The Terminator.
- Helen as Elton John, Carmen Miranda, Medusa, a samurai, a hobo, Lady Godiva, and a Vegas showgirl.
- Ms. Barch as Monica Lewinsky, Xena, and a cabaret dancer.
- Trent as a gangster, a cowboy, Indiana Jones, Pinhead from Hellraiser, and a hooker.
- Ms. Li as a hooker standing behind a police line-up height chart, a Power Ranger, a goalie, and Glinda the Good Witch from The Wizard of Oz.
- Stacy as a bride in a blood-stained dress, a mental patient chained up like Hannibal Lecter, a boxer, and Alice from Alice in Wonderland holding a flamingo like a golf club.
- Tiffany as a fat jogger, a leprechaun, a mountain climber, and a marionette.
- Sandi as a garbage man, a French maid, a go-go dancer reminiscent of Rose McGowan's Cherry Darling from Planet Terror, and The Devil).
- In Is It Fall Yet, the montage shows stills of Hilarious Outtakes from the film and in Is It College Yet, the montage is a joke Where Are They Now? Epilogue, showing what could have happened to each character After the End. Most of the "alter egos" shown on the regular credits can be found here: .
- The Cutie: Can you say "Fashion Club"?. Also mildly subverted by Daria in "Quinn The Brain", in which Daria is shown to actually be rather attractive when she wants to be.
- Darker and Edgier: Considering what it was spun off from.
- A Day at the Bizarro: There are fans who refuse to consider "Depth Takes A Holiday" as a canon episode. You should see how the fans treat that episode in Fanfic... "Daria!" may also count.
- "Murder, She Snored" and "The Lawndale File" also count as borderline examples, though one is All Just a Dream and the other is just the town's collective idiocy biting it in the back door.
- Deadpan Snarker: Daria and Jane first and foremost, obviously, but also Tom, Trent, Jodie, and Mack to somewhat lesser extents. And then Helen has her moments, and obviously Aunt Amy... yeah, the series made the most of this one.
- Debate and Switch: Glasses or contacts?
- Depraved Bisexual: Allison in Is It Fall Yet? is the second type.
- The Ditz: Brittany, Kevin, and any number of one-shots that seem to crop up entirely to torment Daria by merely existing. The Fashion Club is a whole group of ditzes, though over time, this is shown to be a bit more complicated - while all four have varying levels of this, Quinn is eventually revealed to possess Obfuscating Stupidity, whereas Sandi is the Alpha Bitch. Tiffany and Stacy are pure ditzes, with Tiffany approaching Cloudcuckoolander status and Stacy is more of a toady with no self-esteem.
- Stacy actually isn't quite that dumb. If she applied herself, she could easily succeed, but she just has some emotional issues, especially self-esteem related. (Sandi naturally exploits this and dominates her.) Even the tutor said that she was actually much smarter than Sandi and Tiffany. Brittany is also shown to be more street-smart than book smart.
- Does Not Like Men: Janet Barch, unless the man in question happens to be Timothy O'Neill.
- Nobody Touches the Hair
- Dreadful Musician: Trent Lane and the other members of Mystik Spiral are intended to be horrible musicians. They still have fans in the Daria fanbase in spite of this.
- Drugs Are Bad: Several times in episode "The Road Worrier." For example Jake says, "Hey, stay away from the brown ac... remember Daria, just say no".
- Unfortunately, you miss the subversion if you only watch the music-removed version; later in the episode, when Helen and Jake are shown enjoying their kid-free time, the music was originally "White Rabbit."
- Dude, Not Funny: In-universe example: in "Life in the Past Lane", Daria, Tom, and Jane all take turns making cracks on the fact that Daria stole Tom from Jane, followed by protests from Daria, Tom, or both.
- Dumbass DJ: Bing and the Spatula Man are mental in the morning. Subverted, as Upchuck seems to be very good at the job (as he volunteered for it, and everyone seemed to like his tunes).
- Dumbass Has a Point: Brittany, in both "The Daria Hunter" (which surprises just about everyone) and "Through A Lens Darkly," when she accidentally says just the right thing to get Daria out of her funk.
- Drill Sergeant Nasty and The Ghost: Jake's late father, "Mad Dog" Morgendorffer.
- Dumb Blonde: Brittany.
- Dysfunctional Family: The Morgendorffers have their friction, but compared to Jane's completely screwed up family - who (among other faults) has left her and her barely older brother to fend for themselves - they're The Brady Bunch. In fact, Lawndale could be renamed Dysfunction Junction with very little effort.
Daria: Mom's resentful that she has to work so hard, which obscures her guilt about actually wanting to work so hard. Dad's guilty about being less driven than Mom, but thinks it's wrong to feel that way. So, he hides behind a smokescreen of cluelessness. Quinn wears superficiality like a suit of armor, because she's afraid of looking inside and finding absolutely nothing. And I'm so defensive that I actively work to make people dislike me so I won't feel bad when they do. Can I go now?
- There's also Brittany's family. In fact, Brittany's family even defines this trope in "Groped By An Angel".
- Similarly, Jodie's father, in her words, thinks he's Dr Martin Luther King Jnr. and both of her parents are too driven to success to respect her feelings and freedom of choice.
- Embarrassing First Name: Apparently, Jane's older brother Wind wanted to change his to "Ronald" when he was a child (possibly because it doubles as a bit of a Gender Blender Name). He seems to be over it by adulthood.
- Empty Fridge, Empty Life: The Lanes' refrigerator is a magnificent example.
- Epic Fail: Mr. DeMartino's plan to make Mr. O'Neill more assertive so he can break off his engagement to Ms. Barch would have worked -- had Ms. Barch not admit to Mr. O'Neill that she loved his new allegedly assertive side.
- Episode Title Card: Every episode, including the TV movies.
- Extreme Melee Revenge: Apparently the ending to "The New Kid," Daria to Quinn.
- Everybody Hates Mathematics: Jane's least favorite and worst subject is math.
- Expanded Universe: An entirely fan-created one, however. Check out the Daria Wiki to see how that works. Bring a seat belt -- and a quick means of escape. It hit the point where the fandom generated its own multiverse. Just look at that page, as it tends to require a lot less Brain Bleach than looking over every story synopsis.
- Expy: According to Word of God, Brittany was intentionally based off of former MTV V.J. and star Jenny McCarthy as what they merely imagined how she was as a teenager (although in Real Life Jenny was a straight A student, fairly down to earth although still pretty funny).
- In "Malled", we have "Fuzzy-Wuzzy-Weebits" - Anyone who remembers a particular fad in the 90s can tell you they're like Beanie Babies.
- Extroverted Nerd: "The Upchuck"
- Eye Scream:
- Mr. DeMartino's eye bulges out with every few words he says, the veins in it getting more detailed as the series goes on. An outtake photo in the "Is It Fall Yet?" credits has it popped completely out of its socket, dangling precariously by its blood vessels.
- DeMartino got punched in his good eye (the eye that doesn't bulge when he talks) after Ms. Barch got angry over Mr. O'Neill standing up to her in Is It College Yet?.
- Jake bursts a blood vessel in his eye (then both eyes when he saw the bill for the helicopter ride out of the woods) in "The Teachings of Don Jake."
- Daria's first attempt to put in contact lenses.
- Fairytale Wedding Dress: Erin's wedding dress in "I Don't".
- Britney in a story Daria tries writing that rips off the end of The Graduate.
- Fake Band: Mystik Spiral.
- Also Boys Are Guys, a boy band that Quinn and the other Fashion Club members like.
- Fantasy Twist: Daria's college daydream in "College Bored" involves her receiving an offer to teach at a Paris grad school in the first week of her freshman year so her professor can use her dorm room to seduce "more beautiful" students.
- Fashion Hurts: Not surprisingly, it's Quinn who demonstrates this, with a pair of high-heeled sandals.
- Fiction Isn't Fair: As proved with Daria and Jane's poster, it actually is, for a change.
- Fiery Redhead: Quinn (and Daria, as she is auburn-haired).
- First Law of Tragicomedies: While the show never loses its sense of humour, later episodes (and especially the series finale movie, Is it College Yet?) have a much more serious (if not somewhat downbeat) feel to them.
- Flowers for Algernon Syndrome: Played with in "Quinn the Brain", though Quinn's sudden intelligence wasn't actually real. It still played out with the "intelligent" Quinn reverting to normal.
- Quinn is occasionally implied to be rather more intelligent than she lets on, but has, as it were, a mirrored version of her sister's self-image neuroses.
- Foil: Mr. O'Neil and Mr. DeMartino are both nice exaggerations of 90s-00s teachers. O'Neil is constantly happy, uses positive messages/encouragement and tries to sugar-coat everything so they wouldn't be offended or discouraged. DeMartino on the other hand, is constantly angry and is much stricter on the students.
- Fractured Fairy Tale: Daria and Jane use a series of them as bedtime stories for the kids they're sitting in "Pinch Sitter."
- In "The Teachings of Don Jake," Jake, Helen, Quinn and Daria both try to tell scary fairy tales around the campfire. Jake's was a Mundane Ghost Story about his father getting drunk during a camping trip in Jake's childhood, Helen's was a racy vampire romance that she had to clean up at the last minute, Quinn's story was more about how badly-dressed Cinderella was, and Daria's version of "Hansel and Gretel" made everyone else sick (but was probably the best one out of the four).
- Fully-Automatic Clip Show: In "Antisocial Climbers," Mr. O'Neill has an asthma attack. Ms. Li doesn't want to stop the field trip and suggests that someone short-rope Mr. O'Neill. Ms. Barch thinks back to a Gone with the Wind-esque scene in which she vowed never to carry another man again, followed by the three times she's made out with Mr. O'Neill (in a tent during the paintball trip on "The Daria Hunter," in the Renaissance Fair fortuneteller booth in "Fair Enough," and on the sinking cruise on "Just Add Water.")
- Funny Aneurysm Moment: In-universe: in "The Misery Chick," returning alumnus Tommy Sherman manages to piss off just about everyone in the school. Daria speaks of her resentment at the reverence he'll receive for the rest of his life, which Jane follows up remarking he may not live that long. A second later, a goalpost collapses and kills him offscreen.
- Fur Bikini: Jane wears one in a picture during the credits. Daria makes a joke about wearing one in the show proper.
- Gag Boobs: "Um, Brittany, would you mind pointing those things in another direction?" Also the sample implant Daria ends up with in "Too Cute." It effectively scares off Upchuck. Though not for long, as he later uses Quinn as a third party to proposition Daria with a "Deposit" to "Rent that fake boob for the weekend."
- Generation Xerox: Daria's Aunt Amy has the same color hair as she does, wore similar glasses to Daria (before contacts), and more importantly, developed a sarcastic and cynical attitude in order to deal with the pressures of her family and life.
- Genius Ditz:
- Brittany's sudden tactical skill in "The Daria Hunter", a send-up of the original film version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She also manages to come up with just the right thing to say to Daria in "Through a Lens Darkly".
- According to "A Tree Grows in Lawndale" Kevin is apparently the only talented quarterback in the school.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Pierce Me has the following gem.
Daria: "I don't think that's how you spell uvula."
Axel: "It's not uvula."
- Kevin delivers an excellent - if unintentional - insult during a break up with Brittany:
Kevin: "Babe, the only wide receivers I've got are my crutches here, and they only catch the sweat of my defeat."
- This beautiful blink-and-you-miss-it line from Jake to Kevin:
Jake: "We didn't call it self-love, we called it self-abuse."
- One of Ms. Li's credit alteregos is clearly a prostitute.
- From "The Old and the Beautiful":
Kevin "Darwin is,the monkey guy right? I like monkeys."
Mr Demartino "A statement one day no doubt, also made by your mother."
- Girlish Pigtails: Brittany. Could also apply to Stacy if you count twin braids as pigtails.
- Girl Posse: The Fashion Club.
Sandi: Quinn, no-one is going to pay us to eat carrot sticks.
Quinn: I mean, tell people what's wrong with their outfits.
Tiffany: But, we do that all day for free. That's why everyone likes us.
- The Glasses Gotta Go: "Through a Lens Darkly".
- The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: Quinn and Daria, as well as Helen and her sisters.
- Good Cop, Bad Cop: O'Neill and DeMartino, respectively, when interrogating Daria concerning the murder of Kevin.
- Good People Have Good Sex: Played straight with Jake and Helen, despite her worrying in later episodes that the romance from their marriage is dying; subverted hard in the strange case of Janet Barch and Timothy O'Neill. While these two do have sex (definitely at Ms. Barch's request), they're far from good people. Ms. Barch is a psycho Straw Feminist stuck in her personal black hole of being rejected and blames all men for it (often dishing out cruel and unusual punishments, such as locking Upchuck in a closet [what she calls "independent study"] or forcing Kevin to pose as an ugly man as part of a science project, or inflicting violence on them, like she did with Mr. DeMartino in "The Daria Hunter" and "The New Kid") while Mr. O'Neill, despite being a Hippie Teacher and Extreme Doormat, is a horribly self-centered man who convinces himself that he’s some sort of altruist while trying to shove his pie-eyed beliefs down the throats of his students who either don't agree or don't care (Translation: in a fridge brilliant way, these two were made for each other based on their unsymapthetic personalities).
- Gosh Hornet: The episode "Antisocial Climbers", has Kevin giving Brittany a bouquet of freshly picked flowers... filled with bees. It takes a few stings before she starts running.
- Goth: Andrea...who may as well be the goth since she's the only one ever depicted on the show.
- Grand Finale: The second movie Is It College Yet?
- Granola Girl: Mr. O' Neill is the male equivalent of this.
- Groin Attack: Barch to DeMartino, in "The New Kid". Sandi to Upchuck in "Fair Enough".
- Hands-Off Parenting: Jane's never-seen parents led to this trope formerly being named Casa Lane Parenting.
- Although Jane's mother is once seen in a PoV shot, from the waist down, answering a phone call from Jane. She is barefoot with her feet up, there is a haze of cigarette smoke, and incidental detail shows she is also an artist. As this is a PoV shot, her face remains hidden.
- Jane's parents have made a few appearances, most notably in the episode "Lane Miserables" where mother Amanda's parenting technique comes back to bite her in the ass, as most of her children have grown up to be bitter, damaged, or just plain unhappy.
- Happiness Is Mandatory: On Holiday Island.
- Have I Mentioned I Am Sexually Active Today?: The plot of "My Night At Daria's".
- Arguably, everything that Charles says or does.
- He Is Not My Boyfriend: In "The New Kid," Daria kept saying this about her Guy of the Week, Ted.
- Hidden Depths: More and more characters begin to develop this as the show goes on; Quinn and Stacy may be the best examples. *
- Hilariously Abusive Childhood: Jake's many tirades about how his father's efforts to try and make him a man (including shipping him off to military school) when he was a kid and ended up crushing his self-esteem; Mr. DeMartino (the high-strung history teacher) confessed on "The Daria Hunter" that his mother sent him to live with the neighbors (who were strange, twisted people) because she didn't want her dates to know she was a single mother.
- Hippie Teacher: Mr. O'Neill. Could also apply to art teacher Ms. Defoe as well.
- Hitler Ate Sugar: The Trope Namer, from the episode "Pinch Sitter", which made fun of the concept.
- Hollywood Heart Attack: Jake
- Hollywood Pudgy: In "Fat Like Me" when Sandi puts on a few pounds after breaking her leg, the rest of the fashion club is immediately horrified by her slightly chubby status. Of course, Sandi brought it on herself by instituting a weight limit just before the accident.
Quinn: Now swim, you cow! Swim!
- I Can't Believe a Guy Like You Would Notice Me: In Is It College Yet?, Andrea is very surprised when Upchuck hits on her. He is equally surprised when she accepts his offer.
- I Don't Want to Ruin Our Friendship: Daria engineers a situation where she can say this very publicly as part of a complicated revenge plot.
- I Need a Freaking Drink: Helen says this (without the freaking) moments after arriving at her niece's wedding.
- Mr. DeMartino chugging nearly a full hip flask of liquor on a paintball excursion. Hilariously, this was literally seconds after rejecting an offer of a drink from its owner (Jake).
DeMartino: Mr. Morgendorffer, I'm a teacher responsible for dozens of students on a fairly hazardous field trip. Do YOU think I should take a little nip?!
Jake: I guess not.
DeMartino: NO! I guess NOT! Gimme that!
(DeMartino starts gulping down like there's no tomorrow)
- Then there was the time Jake chugged a whole Martini pitcher when Aunt Rita came through the door.
- In Love with Love: In one episode Quinn is upset that Daria might be seen as more mature than her because Daria is in a steady relationship with a boyfriend. So Quinn spends the episode frantically trying to get one herself, before her mom tells her that she should want to go steady with a boy because she likes him, not simply for the sake of having a boyfriend.
- It Runs in The Family: The musical episode shows how Quinn and Helen are actually much more similar than they appear at first. Whether with fashion or with work, they both share a fiery unhealthy obsession with being the best.
- Jerkass: Sandi, especially towards Quinn. Tommy Sherman and Ms. Barch also qualify.
- Jerk Jock: Mildly subverted by Kevin; he's so dim that he usually doesn't go much further past inconsiderate on the jerk scale, and seems to consider Daria a friend. Played straight with Tommy Sherman in "The Misery Chick".
- Jive Turkey: The magazine editor Val uses language like this in an attempt to seem like she is still in touch with teenagers.
- Karma Houdini: Mrs. Barch has gotten away with beating up a fellow teacher, gender discrimination, fraternizing with a coworker (her fling with Mr. O'Neill), and calling the police on a false report, which, in real life, would have led to her getting arrested, sued, and/or terminated from her job.
- Quinn's behavior was regularly rather irritating, but in "Speedtrapped" her arrogance, snottiness and most of all the trouble she caused (taking the money Daria needed to bail Jane and Mystik Spiral out of jail and letting a con-man trick her out of it by playing on her vanity) ventured into outright unforgiveable. And yet she not only received no comeuppance for this, she didn't even seem to feel particularly bad about it- the fact that she and Daria were able to team up to fleece more money out of a bar full of rednecks was seen as somehow "atonement" for her inexcusable screwup. This also lead to a Broken Aesop about Quinn and Daria being a good team when they can work together, even though everything was her fault and she only got them out of trouble by teaming up with Daria to fleece a bar of rednecks.
- Karmic Death: The aforementioned Tommy Sherman, killed by the collapsible goalpost being dedicated to him and his monstrous ego. Ironically, the collapsible goalpost was built as a safety measure due to Sherman's history of head injuries from ramming into goalposts. Of course, such a safety feature works better when the goalpost isn't still in a heavy wooden crate with sharp edges.
- Keep Circulating the Tapes: Even though MTV released the entire series uncut and uncensored, a lot of purists are still trying to get the episodes via tape-trading and torrent downloading, as the DVD version has a lot of the soundtrack replaced with generic music. Quoting the DVD's insert:
99 percent of the music has been changed, because the cost of licensing the many music bites we used would have made it impossible to release the collection (and for many years did). [...] To put it bluntly, replacing the music had to be done.
- Both the stand-alone DVD release of "Is It College Yet?" and the version on the full series set is cut and censored. The original master had music that wasn't licensed for DVD, and MTV lost the audio edit points that would allow re-integration of the clipped material into a releasable product. The extra material was included in re-airings of the movie on The N in exchange for censored content; The N had the rights to the original music.
- Kick the Dog: Used in universe in "Gifted" when Daria assures Quinn she shouldn't be scared of the town's "mass murderers, serial killers, torturers, cannibals... puppy kickers."
- Lame Comeback: Kevin and Brittany get into one of their weekly arguments; before stalking off, Britney snaps at him.
Britney: "Don't you fraternize me!"
Kevin: "...You think I don't know what that means? I know what that means!" 
- Lampshade Hanging: Jodie feels pressure, being the perfect role model for all the black kids in school - and she then points out that there aren't any black kids except for her and Mack. (There are a few black students as background characters.) In "Life in the Past Lane" when Jane's new boyfriend means a new retro style, she says "This was so much easier when I only had one outfit."
- The Lancer: Jane Lane.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In "That Was Then This Is Dumb" after Jane explains Trent's "dormant cycle" he opens his eyes and smiles at the "camera" as it shifts left.
- Let Me Get This Straight...: Helen Morgendorffer practically says this verbatim to Ms. Li in "Arts 'n' Crass."
- Limited Wardrobe: Even the Fashion Club! There's a clever Lampshade Hanging in "The Teaching of Don Jake." While Daria and Jane are having a conversation, Jane is idly packing a suitcase to head off to a family reunion. EVERY shirt she puts in the suitcase is the exact same as the one she's wearing.
- Local Hangout: The Pizza King where Daria, Jane, and many of the other Lawndale High students frequent.
- Love Triangle: Daria/Tom/Jane. (Also Daria/Trent/Monique, but Daria never acted on it.)
- Lovable Alpha Bitch: Brittany
- Quinn may possibly count as this in the very last season.
- Magic Realism: Has quick brush with the genre in "Depth Takes a Holiday".
- Make-Out Kids: Kevin and Brittany.
- The Mall: The episode "Malled" has the cast visiting the Mall of the Millennium.
- Mama Bear: If you threaten either Daria or Quinn, Helen will use all of her knowledge of the law - and a well-placed threat or two - to bring you down.
- A Man Is Not a Virgin: Arguably Upchuck's sole motivation in the series. And at the very end of Is It College Yet?, the series finale movie, it's implied he finally achieves his goal, with Andrea of all people (who had actually turned him down in a previous episode!).
- Massive-Numbered Siblings: The Lanes barely qualify for this trope with five (Summer, Wind, Penny, Trent and Jane).
- Meaningful Name: "Daria" is Persian for "queen."
- Misfit Mobilization Moment: Real Life example - the creation of the web petition, for the Daria fandom's quest for DVD's of the series. (It eventually reached over 30,000 signatures.)
- Misplaced Kindergarten Teacher: Was hired as a scab teacher on "Lucky Strike." She even put star stickers on the tests; except for Kevin because of his bad posture.
- In a weird sort of way, Mr. DeMartino. He doesn't fit the traditional trope description, but the young summer campers in "Is It Fall Yet?" latch onto him and declare him "cool", indicating that he would've fared better if he had been a kindergarten or elementary school teacher, getting to the kids when their minds are fresh, moldable, and eager to learn, rather than toward the end of their education and after years of taking blows to the head during football practice. Of course given his current, rapidly deteriorating mental state, it's probably far too late.
- Mistaken for Profound: Several characters get this.
- Model Couple: Tiffany did this in "Pierce Me" at a mother/daughter Fashion Show; she hired an African-American model to play her mom. Tiffany is... Asian. Yeah, she's special.
- According to Stacy, she just told the agency to send the best-looking model they had. Although there's actually a bit of Fridge Brilliance there: many fans suspect Tiffany's adopted based on her non-Asian surname, so even if that wasn't her real mother people in-universe might not have been surprised. (We never see her family, incidentally.)
- Morality Pet: Without Jane Lane, Daria would be, well, unpleasant to be around. Jodie mentions this on "Partner's Complaint."
- Mushroom Samba: The ending of the episode of The Teachings of Don Jake. Magical Glitter Berries anyone? We see scene from the perspective of Daria, who did not eat the berries.
- Musical Episode: "Daria!"
- My God, What Have I Done?: Helen in "Pierce Me" and "Antisocial Climbers"; Jake in the beginning of "Arts 'n Crass."
- My Sensors Indicate You Want to Tap That: Trent, on Daria and Tom, in "Fire!".
- New Age Retro Hippie: Willow and Coyote, Jake and Helen's old friends.
- Nobody Touches the Hair: In "Life in the Past Lane", Jane falls for Nathan, a guy with fantastic dress sense, who turns out to be an aficionado of 1950s and '60s fashion. When the two cut the rug at a speakeasy-themed club, she runs her fingers through his... pomade. He freaks out, and runs to the men's room to fix his do.
- No Kill Like Overkill: Daria's dream sequence in "Murder She Snored" featured Kevin being poisoned by Jane, shot with an arrow by Brittany, clubbed by Mack, kicked by Ms. Barch, and strangled and stashed away by Mr. DeMartino after he was dead.
- Noodle People: A lot of the female character designs, particularly the Fashion Club. Possibly lampshaded with the magazine "Waif"
- No Social Skills: Ted. He was homeschooled and does it show. He didn't even know what pizza was before Daria took him out.
- Nothing Is the Same Anymore or They Changed It, Now It Sucks: Starting with the episode "Jane's Addition", the series changes into becoming a Dramedy with a Story Arc about the characters' coming of age and Daria realizing that her snarky attitude is hurting her more than it's helping her. Some of the fans didn't take to well to this, though others liked the stronger Character Development. The introduction of Tom had something to do with this as well (see Die for Our Ship).
- The Not-Secret: Quinn spends 4 and a half seasons telling everyone that Daria is something other than her sister. When she finally admits it, Sandi tries to make light of the situation, only for Stacy and Tiffany to say that THEY KNEW ALL ALONG.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Quinn, and possibly Stacy as well.
- Possibly Brittany too, mainly because despite her seeming ditzy nature she couples, "Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass" and Cloudcoocoolander together on occasion.
- Oblivious Mockery: Daria lets Trent talk her into getting her navel pierced. When Jodi finds out, she thinks it's pretty cool "as long as you didn't do it for some guy," causing Daria to say, "Uh, no, that would be wrong."
- Off-Model: Daria's coloration in "The Misery Chick" is far paler than the Series' norm.
- Official Couple: Brittany/Kevin, Jodie/Mack.
- Only Friend: Daria and Jane, to each other, in earlier seasons.
- Only Sane Woman: Daria and Jodie. Brittany in "Through a Lens Darkly".
- The Other Darrin: Mack Mackenzie had a total of 4 (count 'em FOUR) different voice artists over the 5 seasons of the show. Another example was Sarah Drew (yes, the same Sarah Drew that is currently on Grey's Anatomy) replacing Jessica Zaino as the voice of Stacy mid-way through season 1.
- Painful Rhyme: In-series example, its a staple of almost every Mystik Spiral song ever.
- Also Quinn's poem in Quinn the Brain. "The greasy fry, it cannot lie, it's truth is written on my thigh."
- Paintball Episode: "The Daria Hunter".
(Helen aims at Daria with her paintball gun. Daria raises her hands and gun in the air, not caring.)
Helen: Daria, you could at least try.
Daria: I can't shoot my own mother. Not with paint, anyway.
- Parental Substitute: Helen treated Trent like her own son while he was staying with the Morgandorfers.
- Parents as People: Helen and Jake, who can be very doting when they focus on their kids but get easily distracted or mess up. Helen had this the most, but also grew out of it more as the series went on. The Lanes have similar issues, but take it so far that it turns into another trope.
- Party Scheduling Gambit: Sandi ropes Quinn into volunteering for the Dance Committee, only to leave her hanging when she rejects her ideas. In response, Quinn passes off the responsbilities to Daria and Jane while Sandi attempts a party of her own.
- Perky Goth: Brittany Taylor in the episode: Ill. Jane Lane mentions about Brittany the next day to Daria.
Daria: Look, I'm sorry about last night
Jane: Aw, forget it. It was a rare opportunity, getting to hang out with Brittany in a grunge club, Although her hair did leak onto my shoes.
Daria: You're sure that wasn't her brain?
Jane: No, there was too much of it. Any idea what caused this so-called rash?
- Pimped-Out Dress:
- Quinn's pink fur-trimmed dress for the play in "Fair Enough".
- A few of the costumes in the ending sequences.
- Placebo Effect: Jake appears to be highly suggestible when it comes to this. For example, he's told milk is a natural relaxant, and almost immediately starts exaggerating the effect, to the point where he starts acting like The Stoner.
- Poe's Law: Daria's scathing commentary on a company's employment policies as an application essay for a scholarship offered by that same company is mistaken for a "light-hearted parody" by the grader.
- Popular Is Dumb: The popularity of a character seems to be entirely proportionate to their intelligence, though Quinn is a stark exception. Stacy isn't actually as dumb as she appears; more hampered by self-esteem issues. Jodie and Mack are aversions.
- Power of Love: Parodied in the episode "A Tree Grows in Lawndale" where Kevin walks without his crutches because of the love he and Brittany shared - or the "law" saying that cheerleaders could only date football players.
- Precision B Strike: Daria to Jane, though the jury's out on how serious she was being.
'Alright, you bitch, what do I do?'
- Promotion to Parent: Inverted, as Jane seems to be the responsible one in the Lane household instead of her older brother Trent (even - or especially - when all of the "Wandering Lanes" come back home, which is very rarely).
- The official website describes Casa Lane as the place "where Jane and Trent were raised. By each other."
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Daria fandom, as a Real Life example.
- Really Gets Around: Brittany and Kevin.
- Redemption in the Rain: "Boxing Daria"
- Running Gag:
- Quinn denying that she and Daria are sisters. When she finally cops to them being sisters in the final season, her friends in the Fashion Club admit they already knew that but just kept quiet to keep her happy.
- Kevin continually calling Mack "Mack-Daddy", much to Mack's irritation.
- Mrs. Barch making out with Mr. O'Neill whenever there's a field trip or special event at the school.
- Jake's tirades about his emotionally abusive father.
- Brittany yelping, "Eep!" whenever something bad happens. A couple other characters occasionally adopt that habit as well, even Daria herself.
- "My soul's waves of grain."
- Mr. DeMartino calling on Kevin or Brittany to answer a question and going into a rage when they get the answer spectacularly wrong.
- Many of the early episodes had one in the episode, such the "Sports Shorts" store or "Those paintball thingies hurt!"
- Sick Sad World.
- Mentioning Doo-Dads.
- "Hello, we're Mystik Spiral, but we might change our name..."
- The fat woman with the flower dress.
- Daria "having an idea/suggestion" for a school activity, which actually means she made some vague comment that gave her teacher an idea she doesn't even like.
- Everyone forgetting Jeremy's name. "It's Jamie!"
- "Why didn't you get the same dress as everyone else, Daria?"
- People mispronouncing Daria's name.
- Running Gagged: For most of the series, Quinn denies Daria is her sister, and says she's her cousin. However, as she grew and received Character Development, she started sticking up for Daria more. Four and a half seasons in, Quinn is open about the relationship with her sister. This conversation from "Lucky Strike" sums it up:
Quine:Besides, why *shouldn't* I act sisterly towards her? After all... she's my sister.
Sandi:: [fake gasps] Did you hear that? Oh, my gosh! Quinn just admitted that weird girl is her sister!
Stacey: Well, um, of *course* she is, Sandi! We knew that.
Tiffany: We were just being polite about it.
- Sadist Teacher: Mrs. Barch, and Mr. Demartino.
- Satellite Character: Due to the writers never really finding a voice actor they liked, Mack isn't particularly fleshed out, and is mostly there to react to Kevin and Jodie.
- Scenery Porn: "Antisocial Climbers" seems to have been made mostly just to show off the kind of scenery that the show's new CG animation could do.
- Screwed by the Network: Even though there were five seasons and two made-for-TV movies (and the creative team decided when the series was to end), fans would argue that this still fits because the entire series wasn't released on DVD until 2010 (and, even then, some purists will argue that MTV should have kept the licensed music instead of redubbing it with generic production music), not to mention the reruns that aired on Noggin/The-N that edited out the more disturbing, sexual, and/or depressing content, yet they let Degrassi reruns air uncut and uncensored. Even though the reason the DVDs took so long was to get as much of the licensed music as possible and getting all of it had, clearly, become a legal impossibility.
- See You in Hell: "Merry Christmas, Dad...in Hell!"
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Timothy O'Neill and Anthony DeMartino respectively. Mr. O'Neill does have a backbone, and Mr. DeMartino does have a sensitive side, they just hide them really well - it seems almost like an Out-of-Character Moment when they do show them.
- Separate Scene Storytelling: When Daria tries to write a story for class, we see these stories shown.
- Serious Business: Nathan treats his love of old 40's-50's fashion this way in "Life in the Past Lane."
- Sexy Discretion Shot: The end of 'Is It Fall Yet?', done both with the shades on the Morgendorffer home, and the steamed-up windows on Tom's car.
- She Fu: Brittany's paintball game plan in "The Daria Hunter".
- She Cleans Up Nicely: In "Quinn the Brain", Daria makes herself look pretty - not for a date, but to make a point to Quinn - and essentially makes it clear that she looks the way she does out of principle. There was also the end of one episode where Daria fantasizes about a beautiful future with Trent, where they both look elegant and stylish.
- Subverted in "I Don't". Daria's bridesmaid dress is a very nice style and should have looked great on her, but the seamstress put zero effort into fitting it to Daria, blaming her "lack of hips" as the reason, and she spends the rest of the episode enduring complaints on why she didn't get the same style as the other bridesmaids while wearing it.
- Shipper on Deck: Jane takes a few opportunities to try to set Daria up with Trent, though it may have more to do with wanting to get some time alone with Jesse.
- Shout-Out: In one episode, Kevin asks a kid named Milton if he can borrow his stapler. There's also O'Neill's videotaping in 'Antisocial Climbers', and Brittany's impromptu demonstration of She Fu in 'The Daria Hunter' - not to mention the way DeMartino and Jake act, or the way Sandi is left behind at day's end, and how Quinn looks back...
- Also, Demartino's throwing a sink through a window to escape in "Is It Fall Yet?" deliberately mirrors the fountain-throwing scene in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
- Show Within a Show: Sick Sad World
- Shrinking Violet: Stacy from The Fashion Club.
- Sick Episode: Daria's mysterious rash on "Ill".
- Similar Squad: In summer camp as a child, Quinn hung out with three girls extremely similar to Sandi, Tiffany, and Stacy and was serviced by three boys extremely similar to Joey, Jeffy, and Jamie.
- Skintone Sclerae: The vast majority of the characters sport them. Ms. Barch had them until the show's animation changed after season three.
- Slap Slap Kiss: Tom and Daria.
- Slash Fic: Daria/Jane and Quinn/Stacy are popular pairings.
- Small Name, Big Ego: Ms. Li is self-aggrandizing, dishonest, callous, cares only about improving her image, is often foolish, and treats students like livestock. Naturally, she believes herself to be a wonderful principal. Not to mention Upchuck, who thinks he's God's gift to women.
- The Snark Knight: Daria was such a striking examples of the trope, she was its original Trope Namer. She despises the world she aches to mend, but is in no position to act. The frustration and anger behind that still expression flows out endlessly in her quips. She devotes considerable intelligence and energy to her snarky retorts that all too often fail to find purchase -- her target just does not have the depth. She is quite aware of her own nature: in the final regular episode, where she has a personal crisis after finding a refrigerator box in the backyard, Daria fears that she unfairly burdened her parents by being that way due to all the teachers telling Helen and Jake about Daria being antisocial. Her parents firmly reassure her that they consider her personality worth the price for such an intelligent and principled daughter.
- Snowed In: "Antisocial Climbers".
- Soft Glass: While an epic Awesome Moment (as well as a Shout-Out to One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest), DeMartino throwing a kitchen sink through a large window and then climbing through the opening with a dozen kids in tow should probably have caused at least half the kids lacerating their hands on the shards still stuck to the windowsill.
- Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: In-universe, it's shown in Arts and Crass that Ms. Defoe believes this.
- Sound Effect Bleep: One of the Daria Day intros features Daria and Jane in a hair salon. The sound of hair dryers drown them out when they each start talking about each other in less...flattering terms.
- Spin-Off: Daria was originally a minor character on Beavis and Butthead. A Mystik Spiral-based spin-off-spin-off was briefly considered.
- Spoiled Sweet: Her dad may be a snob, her stepmom might be a gold digger, and her brother is a
spoiled bratbudding serial killer, but Brittany is filled to the brim with good intentions and happy thoughts. Unless of course she thinks someone is making a move on Kevin.
- Start My Own: Sandi's party, hosted in retaliation to Quinn rejecting her ideas for the school dance.
- Stealth Pun: "Why are so many Siamese twins being born in this Bangkok hospital?!"
- Jane Lane has an older sister named Penny. Her full name is never stated.
- Stepford Smiler: The Guptie children from the babysitting episode. Even after Daria "deprograms" them.
- Straw Fan: In Camp Fear, Daria meets Amelia, a fellow camper and acquaintance who's very happy to hang out with Daria even though Daria can barely tolerate her. Seeing that two other campers were modeled after two fans as part of a contest, Amelia might have been a jab at some overly enthusiastic fans of Daria who gloss over the fact that Daria might not like them all that much.
- Suck E. Cheese's: Pizza Forest.
- Summer Campy: Camp Grizzly in the episode "Camp Fear".
- Suspiciously Similar Song: The long-awaited DVD set occasionally opts for these in place of the more generic cues that comprise the majority of the music. One of the more notable ones was Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun", because despite MTV's best efforts to license the song, Lauper refuses to license it anymore.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: "It certainly didn't come up during anything other than normal in-school chit-chat among collegues. Fully Dress. With no oils involved."
- Tall, Dark and Snarky: Both Tom and Trent, in their own ways.
- Talking to Himself : Marc Thompson voices several recurring characters : Mr O'Neill, Mr Demartino, Kevin, and Jamie. Wendy Hoopes voices major characters Jane, Quinn, and Helen. Taken to a new level in Daria! (the musical episode), where she sings a duet with herself.
- Tempting Fate: Happened once when the class is on a hiking trip.
Ms. Li: We'll have no problem reaching base camp before dark, as long as there are no more surprises.
(cue snow falling)
- Their First Time: Subverted; Daria makes a big deal about having her "first time" with the more experienced Tom, but backs down at the last minute and has to deal with the fallout.
- Theme Naming: The Three J's, of course. Fanon takes this a step further, playing off the only one whose surname is ever revealed, Jamie White, the other two's last names are almost universally given as Black & Grey in fanfics.
- A much more subtle example: Over the course of the series, Daria only ever shows any romantic interest in three boys (unless you count brief interest with Upchuck's cousins in Daria Dance Party). Their names? Trent, Ted & Tom.
- Thick Line Animation: Not as extreme as some of the other examples, though.
- Thinking Out Loud: Happens to Daria in "See Jane Run," when Jane joins the track team and Daria's left without anyone to vent her thoughts to. Eventually all her thoughts just start spilling out randomly, including voicing her process for avoiding dinner with her family right in front of them.
- Title Drop: Link does this in "Is It Fall Yet?"
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Daria and Quinn.
- Totally Radical: Val talks in nothing but these...in particular, she attaches the word "jiggy" to everything.
- Training from Hell: Arguably the point of the entire series -- that going through high school is hell. Lampshaded at the end of "See Jane Run" (where D & J look over what happened and admit that "they really are preparing us for the real world"), and in Is It College Yet?, with Daria's speech at graduation.
- Also, Jake's childhood at the hands of his father, Mad Dog Morgandorffer and when Jake was sent to military school. Subverted in that it all arguably made Jake a weaker person.
- Trauma Conga Line: Jane's life, over the entire course of this series, is made of this trope. Absentee parents and she has to raise herself? That's the beginning - and it doesn't get better until Jane manages to get accepted into college - and considering the way things have gone for her so far...
- Tricksters: Daria and Jane, sort of. Daria is an admitted slacker.
- Trophy Wife: Ashley-Amber, Brittany's stepmother. A former beer spokeswoman, she met her husband at a photo shoot; he is significantly wealthy and presumably quite a bit older, given his children's ages. Interestingly, a tie-in book notes that she's been learning about joint property law behind her husband's back.
- Truth-Telling Session: Devastatingly done in "Psycho Therapy".
- Two Lines, No Waiting: Notably in "Camp Fear," where a plot focused on the Camp coincided with Trent and Jane at an old-fashion country store. There's also many other examples.
- The Unfavorite: Helen and Amy feel this way compared to Rita. Rita, however, seems to feel this way compared to Helen, and argues that Grandma Barksdale only treats her differently because she actually tries to have a relationship with her. The truth is probably somewhere in-between.
- Early episodes sort of play Daria as this to Quinn; however, as the series goes on the dynamic changes a bit, with their parents not telling Daria to be like Quinn so much as they just want Daria to expand her horizons in general.
- In The Daria Diaries it's implied that Jodie's little sister Rachel feels this way: she's not as smart as Jodie and recently had her position as the "baby" usurped by their new sibling Evan, whom their father seems to openly prefer.
- Unrequited Love Switcheroo: Arguably, Trent/Daria. The final resolution of which is handled excellently when Trent agrees to contribute music to a school project Daria is working on, then flakes out and doesn't come through in time (or at all). Later they have pizza together, establish that they are still friends, and both acknowledge that they wouldn't actually "work" well together at all.
- Urban Legend: Parodied on the episode "Legends of the Mall," which give three.
- UST: Daria and Tom during Season Four.
- Very Special Episode: "My Night At Daria's," about sex; the Quinn subplot in Is it College Yet? (about an alcoholic friend) probably applies as well.
- Villainous Breakdown: Ms. Li in "Fizz Ed" (granted "villain" is a bit of a stretch). Long story short, she ends up being taken away in an ambulance.
- Vomit Discretion Shot: Used in the episode "Malled" when Daria gets carsick.
- Vocal Evolution: Brittany's first episode showed her with a much different vocal delivery than the hyper-perky squeaky voice she's genuinely known for. Jane started out with a softer, more monotonous delivery that also frequently made her sound like she always had a cold. That developed into a clearer, more emotive and snarkier tone.
- On the flipside, Daria's voice lost a lot of its emotion (and yes, that's possible) in season 5.
- We Do Not Know Each Other: Quinn tells everyone that she and Daria are not related; Daria doesn't care enough to protest (well, except embarrass her). Subverted in the end: when Quinn finally softens enough to tell her friends the truth, they reveal that they knew all along (perhaps due to an address Daria gave at a school assembly on the issue in the first episode), but were just being polite.
- Mildly inverted in "Gifted", when Trent insists on referring to Quinn as simply "'Daria's sister.'" Arguably, Trent doing this perfectly exemplifies everything Quinn fears from Daria.
- "Well Done, Son" Guy: Jake continues to be miserable about how little respect he got from his now-deceased father.
- Helen apparently started working hard at school so that she would get attention from her mother, which has blossomed into full-blown workaholism by adulthood.
- Well, Excuse Me, Princess!: Daria, Quinn, Helen - oh, hell, all of the "Barksdale Women".
- Wham! Episode: "Dye! Dye! My Darling."
- "Boxing Daria" gives the above episode a run for its money.
- What Could Have Been: Although the creative team ran out of ideas by then, consider this exchange in Is It College Yet?:
Jane: To college! I can't wait! What do you think we'll find when we get there?
Daria: Hmm. That the students are shockingly ignorant, the professors self-centered and corrupt, and the entire system geared solely to the pursuit of funding?
- What Measure Is a Non-Cute?: Quinn's crusade to protect the cute animals.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Andrea's reaction to Quinn trying to get sponsors for her plastic surgery:
-Andrea:"Aren't you the least bit worried that there might be a Hell?"
- Where Are They Now? Epilogue: A montage of images of the cast during the finale's end credits that...well, essentially serves the same purpose as the usual credit montages; i.e. putting the characters in ironic situations. Presumably non-canon, unless you can seriously buy Daria and Jane becoming perky morning talk show hosts in the future. Maybe if you replace "perky" with snarky. However, Daria fan fiction often likes to deal with Stacy being a stock car racer.
- Where the Hell Is Springfield?: Lawndale is never given a specific location. While the general consensus among fandom seems to be that it is located in Maryland (the creator says this too, but also brings up Pennsylvania as a possibility), that doesn't quite explain how it can be day-trip distance away from deserts AND snowy mountains.
- Oregon is actually like this, despite the whole "Other Rainforest" thing. (Desert: John Day area and Kah Nee Ta resort; Mountains: Mt. Hood and Mt. Bachelor.)
- Wicked Stepmother: Subverted; Brittany and her stepmother, Ashley-Amber, have a close, sisterly relationship. Possibly because there's only a decade difference between their ages.
- With Friends Like These...: The Fashion Club. The main basis for Quinn and Sandi's relationship is to make sure the other doesn't become more popular. The series finale showed them eventually dissolving the Fashion Club so they could become genuine friends.
- Women Are Wiser: Brittany is closer to Earth than Kevin, in the sense that Neptune is compared to Pluto.
- Helen to Jake, though she's far from flawless herself. She's definitely smarter, but he's arguably more moral.
- Word Salad Lyrics: The lyrics in pretty much all Mystik Spiral songs make little to no sense.
- In "Speedtrapped," Daria reads a song Trent's been working on:
Daria: "My heart is like an open wound/That reads the tea leaves of its doom." What. "Soothe me with redemption's love/Like a heat-proof kitchen glove." God, I hope this is a first draft.
- Workaholic: Helen is an extremely career driven parent that can be easily distracted by her job over her family. However, she's also frequently a voice of reason for her daughters and often spends a great deal of time babysitting her neurotic husband.
- Write Who You Know: Daria's assignment in "Write Where It Hurts".
- You Need to Get Laid: For the first three seasons of the show, Jane's go-to impulse regarding Daria (and she always volunteered her brother, Trent!)
- Zettai Ryouiki: Stacy's most common outfit, at least early in the series, is a grade C. Make it a C+ for the twintails, although no stretch of the imagination will ever put her in Tsundere category.
- Daria herself counts too, lest we forget. Though her high boots obscure quite a bit.
La la la la la.
- Both are frequently dismissive of their boyfriends, dates, and admirers, but that's another trope.
- He doesn't know that that means.