Important Question: Are You A Daria Or A Jane?

by S. Atkinson

Daria was the smartest cartoon on TV for a long while, boasting not just one, but two amazing female leads. Daria was a depressive genius of a high-school student with an inability to make her vocal chords produce more than one tone. Jane Lane was her best friend, aspiring artist and sister to the lead singer of their town's premiere musical act, Mystik Spiral. And yes, although there was engaging, witty dialogue and occasionally the odd bit of plot (though to be honest, not so much – this was the Kevin Smith black and white student art film of cartoons), there was only ever one focus while watching Daria: were you a Daria or a Jane?

Maybe you wanted to be a Jane, because her hair was amazing, she had a voice like a blues singer who smoked five packs a day, and no one gave better life advice than Jane Lane. Or maybe you were desperate to be Daria, because she was so smart and cynical and authentic that even punk rock seemed quasi-inauthentic to her.

Whatever. You don't pick the character; the character picks you. So are you ready? Is this the day that you concede to yourself, admit in your heart of hearts, that you are a Jane or a Daria? Then read on, brave one.

1. Your Compliment-Insult Game Is Flawless

Why hey there, Daria Morgendorffer made flesh. If there was one thing the queen of passive-aggressive excelled at, it was the most amazing backhanded compliments. While Jane Lane also did a nice line in catty comments, she was far too chill to reach the dizzy heights of the monotone Queen of Mean.

2. Your TV Addiction Is Getting Serious

Shout out to all the Jane Lanes skipping parties to watch Sick Sad World in their bedrooms.

3. You're Famous For Your Positive Attitude

JK, JK, you're a grouchy so and so. But hey: that's why your friends love you. Anyone can be sunny, but it takes real strength of character to respond to just about everything with a cynical one-liner.

4. You Have A Crush On Your Best Friend's Family Member

Since you're not one of this century's great socialites, this means your opportunities for meeting that special someone are, ahem, a little limited. The inevitable trade-off? That you have an obsessive crush on your best friend's brother/sister/step-brother/step-sister/cousin. That's OK. You're trading off a long list of crushes against really getting to grips with all those books you wanted to read. What's that Italian guy from your local bar vs. finally tackling Crime and Punishment, anyway?

5. People Assume You're Bisexual

Fun fact: people often make assumptions about gender and sexuality based on little more than 2D generalisations. So is it any wonder that just because you're arty, you like pushing your own boundaries, and you dress a little alternative, everyone just assumes you're into equal opportunities when it comes to gender and making out? In Is It Fall Yet? Jane gets the opportunity to spend the summer on an artists' colony. She dismisses pretty much everyone as poseurs — everyone but Alison, an artist who's a few years older and who makes a pass at her after a boozy dinner. Jane rejects Alison, but Alison remains convinced that Jane's just a bisexual lady who's a little young and shy. If any part of that story sounds relatable to you, you're probably a Jane. (Although, fun fact take two, co-creator Glenn Eichler said in a 2005 interview that Jane was "straight and curious," so there's that.)

6. You Might Be Cynical About Everything, But You're Still A Worrier

Because that carefully-curated jaded exterior masks the anxiously pulsing heart of someone who actually kind of cares about stuff and maybe even worries sometimes. You're a Daria for sure.

7. You're Basically Best Friends With Your Sibling

Yup, Jane Lane again. Jane and Trent are almost as close as Jane and Daria. They both share artistic aspirations, lead similar lifestyles, and hate routine.

8. People Accuse You Of Being Cynical, But You Know You're Just Realistic

One of the tensions of the show is that of an unusually realistic girl being placed in an exaggeratedly suburban, optimistic setting. The teen cheerleaders, muscular jocks, and almost delusionally positive views the citizens of Lawndale held about America, politics, and society placed Lawndale squarely in caricature territory while Daria's ultra-grounded, often-sceptical values were almost always at odds with her environment. The next time someone accuses you of being cynical about the world, just accept that your grounded attitudes are making them uncomfortable.

9. You're Probably Too Principled For Your Own Good

Because principles are great, but 24/7? There's no need to be a hero, Daria.

10. Life Sucks, But That's OK Because You Find Solace In Your Art

While Daria's writing seems to give her more headaches than respite from the world, Jane takes a chilled out approach to her art: it's not just her passion, it's her leisure time and it makes her happy. So if you find writing or painting or photography makes the world seem like a happier place, you're more of a Jane than a Daria.

11. Sometimes It's A Little Hard To Read Your Reactions

Maybe it's because you only have one facial expression, like Daria.

12. You Do Stuff You Hate To Make Your Best Friend Happy

Like keeping your friend's hair in prime punky condition with some blue highlights. But hey. She's worth it, right, Daria?

13. You're Epic Levels of Chill

Only Jane Lane could reach the zenlike levels of chill when even your low self-esteem becomes a plus point.

14. You're Not Superficial And You Wish The World Wasn't, Either

You're not superficial, and that's great. You're not obsessive about looks and would rather spend your time reading The Beauty Myth than buying into the beauty myth. But sometimes it bums you out. Can't everyone else be like that, too?

The good news? Whether you're a Daria or a Jane, hard scientific evidence tells us that you're already a better human being than 90 percent of the rest of earthlings. So go forth and spread the word, and introduce a few more people in the world to the best show to ever grace the programming schedule of MTV.

Images: Tenth Annual Industries; MTV Production (2), Giphy (12)