Daria (1997-2002)

Daria is among the triumvirate of my favorite american animation series (the other two being Duckman and Invader Zim). It takes your typical school stereotypes and through the eyes of the most overused stereotype of all, the outsider, Daria in this case, tells its story of growing up. At times, actually very often, it panders to these stereotypes, but there are also moments when the series allow its characters to grow beyond their basic molds .

The best part of the series is how it defies at times cliched storytelling. Daria’s first infatuations doesn’t work out, later her first real love is broken up at the end of the series, not with a big fight, but in a rather mundane manner. No big soap opera sob story. Her friendship with Jane, her best friend, isn’t all good and perfect, but has its lows and at times can be very brittle.

The most realistic parts are those moments, when the series questions the stereotypes it has established for its characters, for example when Daria realizes that she has a vain side as much as anyone else, despite her playing the role of the outsider who doesn’t give a damn. The series shows its characters as humans with all their endearing qualities, good and bad ones, and with most of them outgrowing their initial mold a bit at the end.