Tuesday, May 3, 2011
I am a huge fan of Mike Judge. I've mentioned King of the Hill and Beavis and Butthead a few times before because it is really easy for me to relate to these two shows. When I first moved to Texas I noticed that everything any non-Texan had ever taught me about Texas was wrong. But every Texan I've talked to agrees with me that King of the Hill, lovingly but also critically, captures Texas better than anything else. As for Beavis and Butthead, the connection is more obvious - I was a teenager in the 1990s. I could always sense the brilliance of Daria, but I had trouble connecting because of how fantastically Judge connects to '90s girls in the series.
Daria is the bridge. It speaks to being a teen int he '90s like Beavis and Butthead, only with more depth and with characters we're more likely to recognize. It also speaks to timeless issues of family like King of the Hill, but the location (I believe they move away from Texas in the first episode - Daria was originally a character on Beavis and Butthead, as was Hank Hill) is not as limited; Daria is less committed to provincial stereotypes. I think that with Daria, Judge steps out of his skin. A man from Texas writes for non-Texan females, and he does it gracefully. Daria is one of the most important shows for teenage girls in the '90s (the other, I would argue, is My So-Called Life), and honestly, for all of us.