‘Daria’: The Show’s Main Character Was Named After a Classmate Mike Judge Called ‘Diarrhea’

Nothing is much more nostalgic than ’90s TV shows that call out ‘the cool kids’ or question some people’s absurdity with sarcasm and wit like Beavis and Butt-Head and Daria. There’s also no denying the sardonic comedy that made its way into every episode without skipping a beat.

In particular, Daria — a character who wasn’t just a figment of imagination but based on a real person from animation writer Mike Judge’s high school classmate. In fact, her whole design was based on real people!

‘Daria’ was a spin-off of ‘Beavis and Butt-head’

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In Beavis and Butt-head, Daria was a considerably ‘cool’ friend of the main characters who is probably one of very few who they never hit on. She held her own with the two goofballs pretty well and was much less bothered by the boys’ antics than other classmates.

Following their ‘death’ at the end, however, she didn’t react much because they didn’t have much to look forward to anyway.

Not long after, Daria premiered without mention of Beavis and Butt-head, focusing more on the outspoken, witty, and quite frankly plain character herself.

She takes on school with no interest in being a cool kid, a lot of hilarious quips that go over everyone’s head, and with a true misfit outlook and fashion.

Her name came from a classmate of Mike Judge

Mike Judge
Mike Judge | Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for HBO

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Judge is an actor, animator, voice artist, TV producer, and more who wrote and directed some of the most popular pieces we know today — particularly Beavis and Butt-head Do America and its animated series on TV from 1993 to ’97

Although he did give permission for the Daria spin-off (and inspired the name), Judge otherwise had no part in the production of his beloved series’ hit spin-off.

According to Mental Floss, Judge knew a Daria in high school that he used to call ‘Diarrhea,’ and that’s where he got the inspiration for the character’s name. However, she wasn’t the inspiration for the character as a whole. 

“The character was created in response to an MTV directive. It was decided by the Beavis brain trust that the Daria character should be a mixture of Janeane Garofalo and Roseanne’s Darlene Conner. ‘Morgendorffer’ was the maiden name of an MTV writer’s mother.”

As for her image, that was inspired by sketch artist John Garrett Andrew’s high school girlfriend, who was “a smart but shy teenager with a sarcastic wit.” I think we can all agree that’s fitting. 

She even had a ‘Dear Diarrhea’ column in the ‘Beavis and Butt-head’ comic

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Linking her to Judge’s high school classmate even more, Daria was even referenced in the Marvel Beavis and Butt-head comics as ‘Diarrhea,’ as her character takes on a small role as a columnist. 

“She has even appeared in some of the early Beavis and Butt-head comic books. In the Marvel spin-off comics, she was a minor character like on the show, but she also had her own special column in each of the issues,” Channel Frederator reveals about the character.

“It was called Dear Diarrhea, where fans had the chance to write to Daria and ask her questions.” 

Although it is weirdly ironic that someone actually named ‘Butt-head’ would have the audacity to twist someone’s name into ‘Diarrhea,’ at least we all know the real story behind the name and nickname. It goes to show just how much of real-life seems to seep into our shows without us even knowing.