By Arturo R. García
So late last week, this fake trailer for a live-action Daria movie started going around online:
The premise, which brings the eponymous anti-heroine back to Lawndale for her high-school reunion, is clever. And the casting of Aubrey Plaza is not only a great comedic fit, but it would be another great spotlight for her as a biracial actress in a lead role; if it were to come to pass, it wouldn’t be a bad follow-up at all to her work in The To-Do List.
But, while the trailer does maximize its time in showing us updated versions of Daria, Jane Lane, Daria’s family and representatives of the student body and town Daria was so glad to leave behind, Tanya at Geekquality noted the first glaring absence: no sign of Jodie Landon.
Longtime readers will recall Lois Payne’s great analysis of Jodie’s importance in the Dariaverse:
I used to bask in the Daria comparisons. To be called “Daria” was considered an acknowledgment of your mental acumen, acerbic wit, and general allure as a disgruntled misanthrope. Now that I’m grown, I can’t help but think that however “Daria” I may be, the person I truly relate to is Jodie. In a sea of white faces, who couldn’t even begin to comprehend the term “privilege”–yet alone unpack it–she was the lone POC girl.
“Daria” is a feminist show with a feminist main character, with that teen angst telegraphed through sarcastic quips. Jodie isn’t really that different from Daria, except she’s black, more tolerant of her less-than-stellar classmates, and further out in the sidelines. Although it’s Jodie’s standing as one of the “cool kids” that makes her a secondary character, her marginalization is an accurate reminder of the real life standing WoC often have in feminist spaces.
It’s hard for me to know where to begin talking about some of the issues I have in regards to feminism and the limited spaces it offers PoCs. As of late, I’m more and more disappointed in my supposed allies when attempts to talk about my individual experience as a feminist of color go nowhere. This isn’t a new complaint, either. One of the repeat offenses of postmodern feminism is the mammoth failure to factor race and privilege into the ongoing dialogue. When you’re a person of color, there is no such thing as separating race and gender–it’s a package deal, baby. It shouldn’t be that great of a stretch to acknowledge that race is an enormous factor in how a woman lives and perceives her experience; it’s her race that sets the tone of how others will approach and treat her as a woman. If you get the urge to tell me that I’m wrong, you probably aren’t a person of color and you should just sit back down and pay attention.
Film critic Monika Bartyzel also pointed out that there was no sign of Jodie’s boyfriend, Mack Mackenzie. And Comics Alliance editor Joe Hughes spotted the biggest error of all: the trailer shows Daria presented as the valedictorian, when in fact it’s Jodie.
“That takes this from ‘mildly annoying’ to ‘kind of insulting,’ Hughes wrote on Twitter Sunday.
It also shows a short-sightedness on the part of the creative team, listed on CollegeHumor as Sam Marine and Anu Valia (producers), Paul Briganti (director) and writer Pat Cassels in their determinations of “who fans wanted to see.” Luckily, Tanya did offer up a solution: “Really the only thing to do is for someone to film a response vid, from Jodie’s perspective.”
Anybody know anybody who can get on that? Because we’d watch the hell out of it.