'Daria' ends 1st season in first-rate fashion
By Eric Mink
From the New York Daily News

'Daria,' MTV's inspired animated series, ends its debut season tonight  at 10:30 with a typically smart and surprisingly touching episode.

The star of the show, of course, is 16-year-old Daria Morgendorffer (the  voice of Tracy Grandstaff), who sees no reason to apologize for her intelligence or her low tolerance for the ignorance and mindless conformity of all but a few of the other humans she has ever met.  

Daria's low-key, sardonic comments and observations are cleverly cynical, withering and, to viewers, immensely entertaining. But the real beauty of this show is Daria's own acute awareness of being an outsider. She knows she's right to reject phoniness, but she can't fully grasp why that leaves her socially isolated.

Tonight's season finale brilliantly weaves this essential adolescent  theme into its story lines. The plot revolves around the triumphant return to Lawndale High of a former football hero. It's no surprise the guy proves to be a jerk and that Daria and her friend, Jane Lane, seem to be the only two people who see him for what he is.   An unexpected tragedy spins the story around, though, with class mates desperate for Daria's advice and strange tensions between Daria and Jane.

Writers/producers Glenn Eichler and Susie Lynn and their staff could hardly have come up with a more intriguing and, yes, sensitive way to end their first triumphant season. Even an ultra-cynic like Daria, we see, has moments of doubt and weakness.

  After tonight, "Daria" reruns hold forth until its second season starts early in 1998

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