utilizing “more direct forms of risky truth-telling at her disposal as
she aims at the transformed care of self” (Salvato 150).
Daria came into existence with the purpose of elevating the
intellectual content of MTV programming (especially compared to
Beavis and Butthead) while appealing to new, female audiences as “a
girl hit!” The creator explains that, as a character, Daria developed
from the cultural milieu, taking snippets from Janeane Garofalo on
The Ben Stiller Show and Sara Gilbert’s Darlene Conner character
from Roseanne. She was supposed to be “pretty and plain,” simple,
but not ugly (Andrews). Daria represented a countercultural cynic
produced from the heart of corporate production; an ironic,
feminist hero encapsulating the “riot grrrrl” movement of the early
‘90s with the purpose of creating and integrating uncharted
audience territory through a narrative of teenage resilience. In a
Foucauldian sense, the power that created Daria was a productive
parsing together of cultural fragments, resulting in a text where
reality and fiction coalesce (Baudrillard “Ecstacy” 126).
A spin-off of MTV’s Beavis and Butthead, Daria echoes the
countercultural skepticism and alienation emblematic of her
origins. Kellner characterizes Beavis and Butthead as a “subversive”
criticism of MTV itself through depictions of their alienation from
pop culture and the typical ambitions of modern life. Beavis and
Butthead signifies the all-consuming force of pop media; as
characters, they “get all of their ideas and images concerning life
from the media and their entire view of history and the world is
entirely derived from media culture….with a sense of no future”
(Kellner 145). Viewers were drawn to the anger, frustration, and
meaninglessness of the nihilistic characters but insulated through a
sense of safe yet ironic relatability. Individuals could consume
music videos through the show before Beavis and Butthead came on
and then laugh along with the characters as they mocked the same
music videos played 20 minutes earlier. Daria shares the disdain for
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