For five years and five television seasons spanning 65 episodes, Daria Morgendorffer was the best friend every late '90s/early '00s teen wished they had. She wasn’t cool, calm and collected in the typical TV high schooler manner. Instead, she was a cynical outsider who embraced the fact she was different from her peers, while also grappling with the reasons behind her adolescent misanthropy.
And she knew that pizza was the answer to everything. Who can argue with that?
Daria was also a movie star. That’s something the Lawndale resident would never want, of course, although featuring on her favourite TV show, Sick, Sad World, would likely raise a wry smile. But Daria’s story continued beyond the regular series. While the show charts the character’s daily high school reality, including everything from field trips to dances and class projects to cheating scandals, two made-for-TV films offer an extended dose of her sardonic exploits.
Is It Fall Yet? explores Daria’s summertime antics, while Is It College Yet? wraps up her tale as she applies to college — and they’re airing on SBS VICELAND this month.
What does Daria get up to when school is out, it’s the summer before her final year and her parents haven’t realised it’s break time? That’s one of the questions Is It Fall Yet? asks. Set between the show’s fourth and fifth seasons, it takes a rare look at Daria’s life between semesters. She dreams of sleeping all day and doing whatever she feels like, but her mother eventually signs her up as a counsellor at the It’s OK To Cry Corral, a summer day camp for sensitive kids. It’s supposed to help her connect with other people, rather than shut herself off from the world — her default antisocial mode — and she’s even less thrilled than usual.
Still, Daria’s camp duties provide a much-needed distraction from her uncharacteristically messy personal life. She’s just started dating rich kid Tom Sloane — and her relationship with her best friend, Jane, who previously dated Tom, is suffering as a result. Jane spends the summer at an artists’ colony, while Daria struggles with Tom’s family, their wealth and the way the rest of the town hangs on their every move. Meanwhile, Daria’ fashion-obsessed sister, Quinn, decides to get a tutor to improve her college prospects, and their Lawndale High classmates bide their time at various summer jobs.
Airing after the end of season five, Is It College Yet? is Daria’s true swan song. Where the show’s last regular episode left Daria wondering about her impact on those around her — specifically, whether her less-than-chipper personality made her a burden — the filmic finale plots out the character’s course for the future. Does she become a late-night TV writer? A talk-show host with Jane? Does she simply — finally — escape Lawndale?
Daria is excited about leaving for college — well, as excited as she can get — although her great grades mightn’t be enough for her Ivy League university of choice. Tom also applies to the same school, and given his family ties (and money) span generations, his prospects appear much brighter. As Daria confronts this reality, change awaits the rest of the Lawndale gang as well. Jane has her sights set on art school in Boston, but doesn’t want to put in the effort if she’s just going to be rejected. Quarterback Kevin is keeping his plans secret, including from his cheerleader girlfriend, Brittany, while class valedictorian Jodie is eager to make her own choices. As for Quinn, she mightn’t be graduating yet, but she’s entering a new realm of her own: a summer job in hospitality.
As the group face the future, rest assured it still involves pizza.
Watch Is It Fall Yet? on SBS VICELAND at 9pm on Thursday and anytime after that at SBS On Demand.