Of the countless number of films and television series I’ve seen over the years, none have been quite as relatable as MTV’s Daria and the made-for-TV movie Is it College Yet? works brilliantly both as the show’s finale and as a more narrowly-focused character study, tying up all the loose ends from previous seasons while simultaneously giving thought to the different stresses each of the main and recurring characters would go through while applying for college.
In the film, the show’s protagonists, Daria and Jane, are both on different college paths—Daria worrying about whether she will be able to get into her first choice college and Jane worrying if she will get into college at all. The execution of Jane’s plot in particular is wonderfully handled, focusing on her getting into a college based on her portfolio’s artistic strengths despite lackluster academics and test scores that got her rejected from two less art-focused schools. All of the characters in the series are incredibly unique in the way in which they approach school and, in turn, how they approach college and this film recognizes that fact in its exploration of each of their individual fears and anxieties surrounding their future.
Perhaps the most interesting plotline of this kind is Jodie Langdon’s. Frequently pointed out in-series as one of the school’s only black students, Jodie has a private dilemma in Is It College Yet? about whether she should go to an all black college and be allowed to relax and be herself or go to a more “esteemed” school with a largely white student body and continue to be seen as a representative for her entire race. Airing at a time when television was dominated by shows with entirely white casts, it’s a nice side plot that gives light to an important issue faced by countless teens across America in similar situations.
Daria as a series is timeless in its handling of stories about coming of age and its finale is no different, allowing the individuality of the cast to shine as each character prepares for their futures outside of high school. It’s a perfect send-off for the show, expertly directed by Karen Disher.