Where Are TV's Smart, Sassy Girls?

In the '90s, smart, sassy girls had plenty of television role models: My So-Called Life's Angela Chase, Darlene from Roseanne, and—arguably most memorably—Daria Morgendorffer from MTV's animated show Daria. The Paris Review pays tribute to the sardonic character, and laments that there are so few like her on today's TV shows:

So where did all the Darias go? Eight years after the show went off the air, the super-smart, dry, withering, righteously angry girls are largely absent from pop culture. For every sassy adolescent as played by Juno's Ellen Page, our current teen cultural landscape is clogged with heroines whose principal interests, as on Gossip Girl, are status and men. It's a transition that happened gradually from the late nineties to the present: There was the dry-humored Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the earnest clique on Dawson's Creek, Mean Girls, the teen magazines that brazenly suggested $400 APC wedges for fifteen year-olds, the endless YA series that read like junior versions of Danielle Steel novels.

Read the full story at The Paris Review.

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Eleanor Barkhorn is a former senior editor at The Atlantic.

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