Morgendorks: A Daria Podcast

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September 26, 2019  

3.01 | Through a Lens Darkly | 9.26.19

It’s time for Morgendorks! We squint and hesitantly shuffle into the extraordinarily blurry future of season three with “Through a Lens Darkly,” wherein Daria decides to try contacts instead of her iconic glasses—and immediately struggles with questions of vanity and identity. Come for the Daria commentary, stay for Rob and Nissa’s Bespectacled Adventures!

For our cultural context this week, we’re digging into just how glasses impact the way others view us and come to be a part of our own identities. From “She’s All That” to modern psychology, we run the gamut!

Also, stick around toward the end for some very important scheduling information! This is gonna be the last Morgendorks until sometime around mid-November.

Links:

Atlas Obscura | The Enduring Mystery of ‘Jawn,’ Philadelphia’s All-Purpose Noun

Psychology Today | 6 Messages Your Glasses May Be Sending People

The Jury Expert | Is Justice Blind or Just Visually Impaired? The Effects of Eyeglasses on Mock Juror Decisions (PDF)

Outpost Daria Reborn

Website: morgendorks.podbean.com

Patreon: patreon.com/morgendorks

Email: morgendorks@gmail.com

Twitter: @morgendorks

Facebook: fb.me/morgendorks.podcast

September 12, 2019  

2.xx | Season 1 and 2 Retrospective | 9.12.19

As we come to the end of the second season, it's time to take a look back and think about where we've been—so join us for a special retrospective episode of Morgendorks, where we discuss the highs and lows of Daria's sophomore effort (and how it compares to the first season)!

We also share some awesome stuff that our fans have said and done over the past week or two. Seriously, we cannot thank our community enough. Y'all are wonderful.

This was a fun and kinda loopy one, folks. Rob's basically frenetic by the end of it. And speaking of Rob, there's some rather important scheduling information toward the end of the episode, so you're going to want to stick around for that!

Links:

Outpost Daria Reborn

Website: morgendorks.podbean.com

Patreon: patreon.com/morgendorks

Email: morgendorks@gmail.com

Twitter: @morgendorks

Facebook: fb.me/morgendorks.podcast

August 29, 2019  

2.13 | Write Where it Hurts | 8.29.19

It's time to explore the recesses of Daria's writerly mind, with "Write Where it Hurts," this week on Morgendorks! When Daria receives a special assignment from Mr. O'Neill to write a short story about people she knows, she runs headlong into a gnarly case of writer's block. Meanwhile, Helen's doing everything she can to help her daughter out—and running into blocks of her own.

We also take a look at moral fiction—a partial focus of this episode. Tune in to see how cantankerous we can get when talking about John Gardner's take on what art actually is. One of us may or may not have implied he's burning in hell. So there's that.

Also: Fan mail! And Patreon news!

Also also: Nissa has compiled a season two playlist over on Google Play! You can check it out here. Get those good good 90s vibes.

Links:

John Gardner | Moral Fiction | Hudson Review

Leo Tolstoy | What is Art? | Open Library

Outpost Daria Reborn

Website: morgendorks.podbean.com

Patreon: patreon.com/morgendorks

Email: morgendorks@gmail.com

Twitter: @morgendorks

Facebook: fb.me/morgendorks.podcast

August 15, 2019  

2.12 | Pierce Me | 8.15.2019

Time to hit the local piercing parlor and adorn our bare midriffs with a nice little chunk of 90s nostalgia with “Pierce Me,” here on Morgendorks! When Daria goes and does something silly (read: gets her belly button pierced) for a boy (read: Trent), it makes her re-examine a few things. Also: Quinn and Helen in a mother-daughter fashion show! It’s an episode packed with wonderful character interactions, and we enjoyed the hell out of it.

And for our cultural context, we dive a bit into the navel piercing phenomenon of the mid-90s! Where did it originate? What made it blow up? Find out, here on Morgendorks!

Links:

Body Modification Ezine

YouTube | Aerosmith - “Cryin’”

BME Encyclopedia | Aerosmith

AV Club | With “Cryin’,” Aerosmith Sparked the Piercing of a Million Belly Buttons

Why the Belly Button Ring Is Set for a Comeback

BoingBoing | Jim Ward Interview

Outpost Daria Reborn

Website: morgendorks.podbean.com

Patreon: patreon.com/morgendorks

Email: morgendorks@gmail.com

Twitter: @morgendorks

Facebook: fb.me/morgendorks.podcast

August 1, 2019  

One Year In: A Q&A with Nissa and Rob!

Hello, everybody! It has been just about a year since we started Morgendorks! It is positively crazy that we've been at this for one full trip around the sun. It has been a tremendous amount of fun, though, and we plan to keep going—but not this week! Life and such got in the way, as it will do now and then, and so we've gotta miss a week for the very first time.

To make up for it, though, we figured we'd put together a small retrospective Q&A kind of thing—so you can check out where we stand with some aspects of the show, maybe learn a little more about us, and see just how deeply ruinous the episode-ranking process has been for our collective psyche and friendship! Or something.

We'll be back on our grind and posting our regularly scheduled episode on August 15th, then resuming the every-other-week release schedule you've come to know and love (or tolerate). In the meantime: Thank you so, so much for listening, for making this podcast an absolute blast, and for sharing this nostalgia trip with us! We really do appreciate every bit of it.

We know what the super-official Daria episode rankings say, but what has been your personal favorite episode of the show thus far?

Nissa: “I’m tempted to choose from any of the episodes that highlight Quinn’s intelligence and complexity—’Quinn the Brain,’ ‘Monster,’ etc.—but in all truth, my favorite is ‘Pinch Sitter.’ It’s just so frigging irreverent and delightful.”

Rob: “Maybe it’s that I’m a sucker for morbidity in my storylines, or a sucker for stories that drive at the heart of Daria as a character, or an extra-huge sucker for episodes that hit upon both of those things, but ‘The Misery Chick’ is definitely up there for me. I feel like more than any other episode in season one, ‘The Misery Chick’ built the foundation for season two episodes like ‘Gifted,’ ‘I Don’t,’ and ‘Arts ‘N Crass,’ where we got to learn more about Daria and the people around her.

What's an episode you think was ranked too high?  

Nissa: “‘Arts ‘N Crass.’ I’m still hung up on just how “meh” Daria and Jane’s art contest submission is. This is probably completely unfeasible, but it would have been more effective if we had no idea what the poster looked like or what the poster said. Monsters in horror films are more terrifying when hidden in the shadows. Show them head-to-toe in the full light of day, and it’s a silly slapdash of poorly painted modeling putty and fur rugs from Ikea.”

Rob: “As it turns out, Nissa and I have rather different opinions on ‘Pinch Sitter’ and ‘Arts ‘N Crass.’ If I were rearranging these things to look like my own personal rankings rather than a collaborative set, I think I’d have ‘Pinch Sitter’ down around ‘Malled,’ toward the middle of the list—but I’d probably send it there as a package deal with ‘Cafe Disaffecto.’ I still love that episode … but now that we’ve gone through so many episodes of this show with an analytical eye, I don’t know if it holds up to some of the others it’s currently sitting above. Like ‘Arts ‘N Crass’!”

What's an episode you think we were too harsh on?

Nissa: “I’m still heartbroken that the pilot ‘Sealed with a Kick’ sits so low in the rankings. But that is for logistical reasons: It’s a five-minute pilot. Very hard to compare with 20-minute episodes where the animation is fully inked and the characters fully developed.

“Other than the pilot, I’d have to say we were too harsh on ‘The Daria Hunter.’ Sure, it doesn’t have the Daria audience in mind … at all ... but it was clever and so, so bizarre. I even remember Daria and Jane’s weird journey to see The Great White Shark (tooth) with fondness.”

Rob: “There are a lot of episodes above ‘I Don’t,’ and when I hold a number of those episodes up directly against ‘I Don’t,’ it beats ‘em pretty handily. I understand why we reached the conclusion we reached, but it’s hard to look at that spot in the rankings and not think we did that episode a little dirty. Aunt Amy, drunk Helen, Barksdale family dynamics, motherflippin’ Luhrman! Episode had everything.

“Nissa is spot-on about ‘Sealed with a Kick,’ by the way. It’s a bizarre, wonderful five minutes spent in an alternate universe, and I love it dearly.”

Favorite character?

Nissa: “Jane Lane: bucking creative person stereotypes since 1997. She’s offbeat and artsy AND a highly functional human being. More of this character type in everything, please.”

Rob: “I mean, yeah. If you aren’t expecting me to say Jane here, you haven’t been listening. It has been awesome discovering through an in-depth rewatch that the crush I had on her character was mega-justified.

“I’ll also throw a word out here for Jodie. Talk about a character ahead of their time! She’s speaking truth to power, she’s acting as a voice for the underrepresented, she’s out there Doing The Damn Thing—20 years ago! This rewatch has given me a whole new appreciation for her, and I’m stoked to see what happens with her upcoming series.”

Least favorite character?

Nissa: “I feel like I’m supposed to say Upchuck here. He’s an awful human being, but he’s a fantastic character, particularly because of the way Daria writers use him. In other shows, he would be the typical creep, the potential rapist downplayed as an everyday nuisance. In Daria, he’s become an object of ridicule (at the least) and a tool for building larger arguments about everything from hypersexualized consumer culture to toxic masculinity and rape culture. 

“On the other hand, I’m getting a bit tired of Ms. Barch as the angry feminist. I wholly recognize that part of the reason I don’t like it is because it’s dated. But as it stands, it’s a one-note joke. Part of the charm of Daria is that the women are complex characters and the men are objectified, one-dimensional stereotyped characters. Barch doesn’t fit.”

Rob: “Hard to add a whole lot to this when Nissa went and answered it perfectly. There’s room for an objectively grotesque character in an otherwise progressive show, if they’re used right—and Upchuck is absolutely used right. When taken in context of the shows and characters that were milling around in the late ‘90s, it’s a hell of a thing.

“Ms. Barch does stand out among the female characters of the show as being oddly shallow and more frequently brought in for the joke than to actually say anything. She’s up there among my least favorites, for sure. For the sake of adding something to the conversation, though, I’ll go ahead and drop in: Jake! Can’t stand him. Get annoyed every time he’s on the screen. I absolutely love that the men of this show are largely one-note stereotypes, as Nissa said, but something about Jake’s note in particular drives me nuts.”

What are you looking forward to as the podcast goes on?

Nissa: “Unearthing Rob’s fanfiction. Despite his protestations, I’m pretty sure it exists.”

Rob: “I can say this with complete honesty: I have never, in my life, written Daria fanfiction. I have, however, read way too much of it.

Way, way, way too much of it."

Favorite song used thus far?

Nissa: “The soundtrack to Daria is such a trip down memory lane. So many of the songs (even if I don’t recognize the titles or artist names) are earworms of that era. However, one song that escaped me at the time was David Bowie and Trent Reznor’s ‘I’m Afraid of Americans.’ Now, it’s a staple on my playlist. I especially recommend watching the music video, which features Bowie (in a magnificent red paisley suit and yellow turtleneck sweater) running from people with imaginary guns. Now that I’m a mother, gun violence in the US—especially in our schools—is a very real and palpable fear humming in the background. For all its hokeyness, I can appreciate how this music video articulates that fear. “

Rob: “This really, really heavily depends on when you ask. If you asked a few weeks ago, I’d have told you it was Jamiroquai’s ‘Virtual Insanity.’ Today, I’d tell you it’s Radiohead’s ‘Paranoid Android.’ Over time, though, there is only one song that I remember very specifically first hearing on Daria—one song that is inextricably linked to the show for me, is in a ton of my playlists, and is to this day stuck in my head more than it should be. That’s Cake’s ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Lifestyle,’ from ‘The Road Worrier.’ Cake was featured a *lot* in Daria, especially early on, and something about the sheer … crunchiness … of ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Lifestyle’ just works perfectly to evoke the feeling of tuning in to watch the show on MTV when I was in high school.”

Has your opinion of the show changed at all since you started doing this podcast?

Nissa: “At the beginning of Morgendorks we established that I am a relative newcomer to the show. I remember some of the episodes, and I remember loving Daria, Jane, and Trent. Their aesthetic and their attitude toward a dysfunctional adult world very much appealed to me and gave me strength. I still feel that way. But now when I watch the show, I’m surprised at how often the titular character’s actions do not drive the plot. It drove me crazy at the start. But it must be difficult for writers to handle a TV protagonist who is quiet and often paralyzed by social anxiety. I think the issue improves in the second season. I’m looking forward to seeing how Daria develops as both a person and a protagonist.“

Rob: “Obviously I’m the other side of the coin, the co-host who’d seen Daria tons of times and knew lots of the episodes by heart. Even so, there is *so much* of this show that I’d never noticed or given any thought to before, and it has been tremendous fun going through every episode with a fine-toothed comb to see what we can pluck out of it. Nissa has made me appreciate Quinn in a way I never thought possible! And as I noted earlier, I now have an incredible amount of respect for Jodie as a character. It has been *awesome* coming back to a show I thought I knew and realizing I was only scratching the surface. Nissa’s good that way.”

July 18, 2019  

2.11 | See Jane Run | 7.18.19

See Daria. See Jane. See Jane Run. See Daria lose her ish. Lose your ish, Daria, lose your ish! Or maybe don't? It's weird. It's time for "See Jane Run," here on Morgendorks! When a mix of libido and family pride convinces Jane to join the Lawndale High track team, Daria's left in the dust—and it does not go well for her at all. It's an interesting episode with a few really odd notes, and we had a lot of fun with it.

And for our cultural context, we look at the under-the-table perks of being a student-athlete. How prevalent is academic fraud, like what we see in this episode of Daria? (Spoiler: Super. But there isn't much data on the high school side of things.)

Links:

USA Today | NCAA Reports Revenues of More than $1 Billion in 2017

NJ.com | Scoring Grades: How Schools Cheat to Keep Athletes in the Game

Outpost Daria Reborn

Website: morgendorks.podbean.com

Patreon: patreon.com/morgendorks

Email: morgendorks@gmail.com

Twitter: @morgendorks

Facebook: fb.me/morgendorks.podcast

July 5, 2019  

2.10 | Fair Enough | 7.4.19

Gather thine woolen fabrics and ready thine legs of turkey, it's time for "Fair Enough," here on Morgendorks! When the Lawndale High Library collapses in on itself and Ms. Li can't find the funds to fix it outright, the school throws a Renaissance fair to raise money. It also strongarms everybody into participating. What follows is a tightly written romp that has a little something for everybody. Dainty garlands! Jousting! Ferris wheels! Weaponized turkey legs! It's all here.

Also, for our cultural context, we take a brief and refreshingly light glimpse into the history of the Renaissance fair. Felt good to be coming out of cultural context without a heavy existential weight on our shoulders, if we're being honest.

(Note: Toward the end of this episode, Rob mentions a painter from the 1800s who sent a rather immaculate painting of her own chest to a prospective lover in what was an extraordinarily early version of sendin' nudes. The painter was Sarah Goodridge, and the painting was "Beauty Revealed." You can read more about it here.)

Links:

Faire History | The History of the Pleasure Faire

Outpost Daria Reborn

Website: morgendorks.podbean.com

Patreon: patreon.com/morgendorks

Email: morgendorks@gmail.com

Twitter: @morgendorks

Facebook: fb.me/morgendorks.podcast

June 20, 2019  

2.09 | Ill | 6.20.19

It’s time for splotchy redness and the questionable misplacement of enema bags, as we cover “Ill” this week on Morgendorks! When Daria’s stricken with a bizarre rash, she ends up in the hospital—while Jane tries (and kinda fails) to cover for her. What’s behind the rash? How were that many women in one bathroom stall? What happened to poor Mrs. Sullivan? We don’t have all the answers, or even many, but we’ll give it a go anyway.

Also, for our cultural context we take a dive into the epidemic of teenage anxiety. It’s way, way more prevalent than you might think, and it’s almost certainly an older problem than you might realize.

Also also! We answer a question from one of our fantastic Patrons! And talk about some really fantastic Daria-related news that you’ve probably seen this past week!

Links:

Tracee Ellis Ross to Star in, Executive Produce ‘Daria’ Spinoff Series at MTV | Variety

For 80 Years, Young Americans Have Been Getting More Anxious and Depressed, and No One Is Quite Sure Why | The Cut

The Age of Anxiety? Birth Cohort Change in Anxiety and Neuroticism, 1952-1993 | Journal of Personality and Social Psychology

Studies Show Normal Children Today Report More Anxiety than Child Psychiatric Patients in the 1950's | American Psychological Association

Most U.S. Teens See Anxiety and Depression as a Major Problem Among Their Peers | Pew Research Center

Outpost Daria Reborn

Website: morgendorks.podbean.com

Patreon: patreon.com/morgendorks

Email: morgendorks@gmail.com

Twitter: @morgendorks

Facebook: fb.me/morgendorks.podcast

June 6, 2019  

2.08 | Gifted | 6.6.19

You can take the girl out of Lawndale, but you can’t make her think her present company is any less idiotic. It’s time for “Gifted,” here on Morgendorks! When Daria and Jodie get selected to tour a prestigious prep school, the duo learn all too quickly that while the greener grass on the other side may be smarter and destined to one day run the world, it’s also much more likely to be a smarmy ass about it. Also: Quinn and Jane! Together!

We also take a deep and disheartening dive into the elephant in the room with regard to private school demographics (specifically: they are very, very rich and white). It’s a fascinating subject we’ll likely cover more over on the Patreon in the near future!

Links:

Washington Post | The Overwhelming Whiteness of U.S. Private Schools, in Six Maps and Charts

Council for American Private Education | Facts and Studies

U.S. Census Bureau | Real Median Household Income by Race and Hispanic Origin: 1967 to 2017

Nonprofit Quarterly | The Racial Makeup Of Private Schools—Often Nonprofit—Is Very White

Outpost Daria Reborn

Website: morgendorks.podbean.com

Patreon: patreon.com/morgendorks

Email: morgendorks@gmail.com

Twitter: @morgendorks

Facebook: fb.me/morgendorks.podcast

May 24, 2019  

2.07 | The New Kid | 5.24.19

What happens when you take someone who basically wandered out of a long-abandoned bomb shelter with no contact from the outside world and drop them into Lawndale? You get an episode of Daria like “The New Kid,” which we’re covering this week on Morgendorks! Ted’s been homeschooled his whole life and is pretty sheltered as a result. He’s so sheltered, in fact, that Daria’s rather hum-drum life seems downright tempting. Even more interestingly, she’s developing something of a crush on him. It’s a whole thing.

We also take a dive into homeschooling’s 90s-era explosion. How fast did it grow? Why do parents do it? Is it really not considered a war crime to forbid your kid from even learning about the concept of pizza?

P.S.: Sorry this episode's coming out a day late! We had kind of a catastrophic software failure when we tried recording this episode the first time around.

Links:

Homeschoolers: Estimating Numbers and Growth

Homeschooling in the United States: 1999

Issue Brief: 1.1 Million Homeschooled Students in the United States in 2003

2.04 Million Homeschooled Students in the United States in 2010

Statistics About Nonpublic Education in the United States

Outpost Daria Reborn

Website: morgendorks.podbean.com

Patreon: patreon.com/morgendorks

Email: morgendorks@gmail.com

Twitter: @morgendorks

Facebook: fb.me/morgendorks.podcast