Five Great Daria Musical Moments in Honor of the Recently Released Faux Movie Trailer
It's hard to overstate how fantastic the MTV series Daria was or to exaggerate the influence its (anti) heroine had on pop culture's current crop of droll leading ladies. Some see Napoleon Dynamite, American Pie, or Juno (one of our beloved misanthrope's many progenies) as definitive millennial fare. Others tie millennials to the consumption of vampire lit and wizardry. None of that is untrue, but for those on the generational cusp, who are post-Gen X but feel closer to Fight Club than to The Social Network, Daria hit all the deadpan notes about the failed idealism of our baby boomer parents and the consumerist culture we didn't ask to grow up in (but for which we are constantly blamed).
The show's music -- most of which does not appear on the 2010 DVD box set due to licensing issues -- represented that sort of generational no-man's land too. Daria, the character, might have walked the halls at Highland High School with Gen X's pubescent male music critics Beavis and Butthead, but Daria the show highlighted Beck, Cake, and referenced Jane's Addiction, the Misfits, and Nirvana alongside Korn posters and Will Smith's "Gettin' Jiggy With It" -- sometimes ironically, sometimes not so much so.
Daria hasn't aired in ten years, not counting some badly edited episodes on the N. Thus it's easy to understand the social media frenzy and enthusiasm exhibited by certain news outlets over a faux/"real life" movie trailer that stars Aubrey Plaza and imagines Daria's high school reunion. Daria epitomizes the substance that older, smugger generations deny millennials. Damn the fact that a human cast would probably result in an abysmally shallow representation of the show and play right into stereotypes about millennials.
Either way, here are five musical moments or facts from Daria that demonstrate the show's place in the pop culture canon. This is in no way an exhaustive or even a "best" list. There are too many Trentisms and too few embeddable YouTube clips for that. (Though you can catch all episodes on Hulu.)
5. "You're Standing on My Neck"
La la laaa la la. The show's theme song, this 30-second grunge-pop number by New York band Splendora is as much a part of our adolescent memory as gym-class apathy. It's almost too obvious/easy a choice for this list, but it's ultimately worth mentioning as fans' go-to anthem of disenchantment. Plus, Daria's detached athletic gesture really needs to be a secret salute of alienated (i.e., all) millennials.
4. Dave Grohl as Daniel Dotson
Nirvana drummer, Foo Fighters frontman, and generational straddler Dave Grohl lends his voice in Is It Fall Yet? -- one of two Daria movies -- as Daniel Dotson, Jane Lane's creepy, pompous summer art-camp director. An icky philanderer who takes advantage of his starstruck and ambitious female students, Dotson is best-known for a questionable sculpture called "Paper Plate Genocide." Fast-forward to minute 42 in the video linked above to hear how he's "young at heart."