|“||You see, you can't have Emerson without Lake and Palmer (well, technically you can but why would you want to?), and you can't have a successful television series without a whole lotta people milling around in the background so everything looks normal.||”|
Backgrounder is old fandom slang for the background characters in each episode, after website Backgrounders which researched them. Some of these, mainly by accident, have names (like through a seating chart in "Cafe Disaffecto") but they almost all lack a voice - and if they have names, our main cast never refer to them. They rarely, if ever, interact with the main cast but can implicitly have been people the cast talked to 'off screen', such as the backgrounders filling up the Lawndale High Track Team with Jane.
Because the backgrounders appeared often enough to be recognisable, Guy Moore pitched an episode where we'd follow the backgrounders' stories and Daria and Jane would be the voiceless background people. Karen Disher believed they couldn't do it because fans complained whenever Daria & Jane weren't the focus.
Fans have habitually borrowed these characters for fanworks, as they're recognisable figures with blank slate personalities.
List of backgroundersEdit
Nicknamed after a fanfic writer from the time. A punk-ish student in Daria's history and economics classes, recognisable by her shaggy, Farrah Fawcett-esque punk hair.
She has often been seen hanging out with Shaggy, starting with "Esteemsters" - as Shaggy had only just joined Lawndale High, they must have hit it off early on. In "Pinch Sitter" Shaggy either transformed into her or she magically switched places with him in the middle of class, that's how close they are! She has also been seen hanging out with Bob a few times, as well as several times with Dawn and once with Burnout Girl (Bob was with both Angel and Burnout).
"It Happened One Nut" showed her getting her career aptitude test results; she looked somewhat bemused by them.
While appearing mildly punk-ish, in "The Lost Girls" she was one of the many students wearing school colours to mark Val's visit.
Named for her denim suspenders with a bib pocket, this short black girl keeps her hair in a bun and generally goes around with a wide-eyed expression. She appears in numerous class and lunchroom scenes, both alone and with other characters, making it difficult to pin down her clique or friends. In "The Invitation," she and Pie Cap may be flirting with each other. We also know that she's on the yearbook staff ("The New Kid") and she switches her outfit to the school colors in "The Lost Girls."
One interesting sighting comes from the episode "Art Burn," where she can be seen at the Art in the Park festival. She seems to be walking with an older black man who is holding the hand of a younger, Caucasian child. Could this be Bib with her father and (adopted? step-?)sister?
Named for his blue rugby shirt, this tall, stocky backgrounder is generally seen in the hallway or cafeteria scenes. He usually has a smile on his face, but not always, as the picture to the right shows.
He seems to be a friend of "Happy Girl", as the two have been seen eating together on multiple occasions--once along with White Sweater, whom Blue Shirt may also be hanging out with in "Jake of Hearts". "The New Kid" shows him on the yearbook staff. In "The Lost Girls" he changed into a yellow shirt for School Colors Day...not that he needed to, since his normal blue shirt would have fit the occasion fine.
In "The Invitation" he shares an Art class with Daria, implying they're in the same grade, but during her graduation in "Is It College Yet?" he can be seen in the audience (next to Brittany's family).
Named for the two buns that resemble chipmunk ears; usually seen with a sad expression. When not participating in track, her shoes and pullover blouse are chocolate brown, her long pants are burnt orange, and her midriff shows.
Most significantly, she's a member of the Lawndale High Track Team in "See Jane Run" and implicitly was friendly with her for weeks, before joining the team in helping Ms. Morris menace Jane into rejoining. In a rare facial expression, she's seen celebrating Jane's victory.
In "Monster, she actually has a speaking part, saying "God, I thought I was the only one ashamed of my pores" to Quinn.
Green Cap DudeEdit
Green Cap Dude is a black student in Daria's year, recognisable by his nickname-gaining green cap. He dresses in a slightly hip-hop style.
He's one of the Fashion Club's fans, especially Quinn: he picked up their newsletter in "The Story of D" solely because they wrote it, queued for the chance to be Quinn's boyfriend in "One J at a Time", and cheered the idea of Sandi's party and Quinn hosting the school dance in "Daria Dance Party". (He chose the party, then ran off to the dance) He's mates with the Three Js and Pie Cap & Jade Hoodie, hanging with them after school ("Dance Party").
This character has a somewhat odd-looking face, shoulder-length black hair and a shirt with a yellow stripe across the chest (hence his earlier Backgrounder name of "Yellow Stripe"). He also has a shirt with a mauve strip.
Guy's most notable appearance is in "Malled", when the Fashion Club drafts him into driving them to the Mall of the Millennium in exchange for letting him hang out with them. They act dismissive of him the whole time, however, and both Quinn and Daria simply refer to him as "guy", apparently not knowing his name.
(His car reappears in "The Big House", dropping Daria off. Is he driving it...???)
He makes a few other background appearances throughout the series. Despite his nebbishy appearance, in "The F Word" he's watching the Lawndale football game and is angry that Kevin fumbled the ball.
He seems to have found an actual girlfriend by "Is It College Yet?" where he can be seen embracing Petite Red.
This blonde girl in Daria's year is most recognizable for her nearly perpetual smile. In "Esteemsters" she smiles when she first sees Quinn and is still smiling when Quinn gets humiliated by Daria later in the episode. She can often be seen walking down the halls or in the lunchroom, sometimes in the company of other students (particularly Blue Shirt).
She tried out for track in "See Jane Run" (to the Fashion Club's bewilderment), but did not make the team. She is seen carrying the school's banner in "I Loathe a Parade," however, which presumably makes her a member of the Color Guard.
Jade Hoodie is named for his jade-coloured hoodie; he has swept-back light brown hair and is an easy going, oft-happy dude. He's in Daria's year, and also in her classes. Friends with the Three Js (and shares Jamie White's hairstyle), Green Cap, and Pie Cap. Has been seen once or twice next to Jennifer, and may be friends with her too. He was really pleased with his results from the test to work out your future career in "It Happened One Nut".
One of the Fashion Club's fans; when caught in the Sandi/Quinn spat in "Daria Dance Party", was the second to admit his head hurt. He was the most bored of them all at Sandi's party, lying on the floor.
In "Pinch Sitter", he somehow teleported from DeMartino's classroom to some distance down the corridor walking back to the class...
Nickname from a contemporary fanfic. A commonly seen scrawny Asian goth in Quinn's year, usually wearing a thin black jacket and a long mauve skirt.
She has been seen many times in the company of Cindy, indicating they're close friends. She's been seen at the Zon. In "Quinn the Brain", she wore all-black after Quinn set the trend, the only real time she's changed her outfit, as she ignored School Colours Day in "The Lost Girls".
Like Cindy, she somehow graduated with Daria's class in "Is It College Yet?".
"Layered Blonde" is so named for her hair. She's one of Quinn's classmates and shares her English classes - in "Quinn the Brain", Quinn and Stacy are sitting behind her and "Layered Blonde" is politely ignoring their conversation.
In "Antisocial Climbers", she's seen early on walking quite closely with Rob as if they're friendly. Later, she looks miserable and cold as the blizzard sets in, and the one directly listening to Janet Barch's abortive attempt at a rallying speech.
These three guys are friends of The Head, and they sit together with him at lunch. They were first pointed out to us in "Quinn the Brain"; Daria and Jane used their existence as a taunt to Quinn, and presumably aren't too impressed with them either. From left to right, Nerd 1 (blond), Nerd 2 (fat), and Nerd 3 (black male). They're rarely seen, presumably avoiding everyone else; Nerd 2 did witness Ms Li's freakout in "Fizz Ed". Nerd 2 can sneeze milk from his nose, which the others find hilarious.
An oft-seen African-American girl in Daria's year, this character is most notable for her distinctive orange dress. She also wears pinkish earrings and leggings; in the opening of "Is It Fall Yet?" she has a green swimsuit.
Orange Girl seems to be one of the popular students; she and The Popular Girl seem particularly close, often talking or walking together, despite being in different grades. She also joined the Fashion Club admiring Brooke's new nose in "Too Cute." In "It Happened One Nut" she can also be seen hanging out in the mall with Bib Overalls and Tank Top. (And Jodie says there are no other black girls in the school.)
Petite Red is a short, skinny girl with red hair. She wears a denim jacket, blue skirt and glasses. She first appeared in the episode "College Bored", showing up twice at Middleton College: once talking with the blond frat boy who would later bother Helen, and then in the line of girls consulting Daria on their schoolwork. Strangely, in season two she begins appearing at Lawndale High School instead - was she just visiting? Is she one of the students mentioned in "The Daria Diaries" who hacked the Lawndale High systems to get themselves admitted to colleges on fake grades and then got caught & returned?
Petite Red's grade is unknown, but she does not seem to share any classes with Daria or Quinn. She shows up in various school scenes and at least once at Pizza King. Her final appearance in "Is It College Yet?" shows her and Yellow Stripe embracing in a way that looks pretty romantic.
Pie Cap has grey hair and a very distinctive pie-shaped cap. He seems to be one of the more popular students in Daria and Jane's grade. In "Daria Dance Party" he's shown hanging out with the Three Js, Green Cap and Jade Hoodie. He winds up going with them to Sandi's boring party, then ditches to go to Quinn's dance.
Pie Cap seems to be a bit of a lady's man, since he's often shown around various girls. He may be flirting with Bib Overalls in "The Invitation" though later he seems to be dancing with The Popular Girl. He is also a fan of the Fashion Club, and was in line to become Quinn's potential boyfriend in "One J at a Time."
Named in a contemporary fic (as she looked pissy). Taller than most of her classmates; dresses conservatively, with a blouse buttoned up to the neck and a long-sleeved button-down sweater. Usually has a very dour expression on her face.
Priscilla joined Lawndale High on the same day as Daria. In "Esteemsters", she was standing next to Daria until Daria made a sarcastic comment: Priscilla glared at her and then side-stepped away. Somehow ended up at Brittany's party in "The Invitation", so she must have some degree of popularity (or did someone a favour). Runs the auditions stand for The Canterbury Tales in "Fair Enough", so she's in the school Drama Club. She fell for the Daria-is-an-alien-communist scare in "The Lawndale File".
"Red Cap" is named for his headgear. That's all he gets.
In "Antisocial Climbers", he stands behind Angela Li as she schemes about money and when she abandons the kids to retrive the video camera, he's the first one to walk off and keep going for the cabin. The whole affair has him smiling!
A slender redhead in Quinn's year, always wearing a sleeveless blouse and slacks. Also known as Sour Red, due to a pissed-off glare she gives Daria in "Lucky Strike". Ruby since supplanted this nickname as "Cafe Disaffecto" says there's a "Ruby" in O'Neill's freshman class, which is probably this girl cos she's a redhead and writers are lazy.
She's one of the popular girls at Lawndale High: "The Daria Diaries" show she's even been/is a model for Waif! She was the example photo of a popular person for their "How Popular Are You" quiz. At school, she was one of the girls following Quinn's all-black trend in "Quinn the Brain". She's not very good at English, getting a score she was angry about in "Lucky Strike".
Spike, named for reasons that are visually obvious, is a tall, lanky punk with an eyebrow piercing, always seen in his black wifebeater shirt. Hopefully he cleans it.
He was most prominent in "Ill", where he stumbled coughing out of the girl's toilets at the Zon, apparently too drunk to realise it wasn't the men's. Since he's a Lawndale High student, that means (like Bob) he's drinking early.
"The Smirker" usually wears a maroon T-shirt over a long-sleeved green sweatshirt, baggy light-gray pants, and a light-gray duck-billed cap turned backwards, but more commonly has this amusedly smug look on his face. Like he knows something we don't know.
He was one of the kids that was sent to the self-esteem class in "Esteemsters", sitting at the back of the class. Despite this and his smirky nature, he was one of the kids who conformed and wore school colours in "The Lost Girls".
His smirk was wiped off his face when he got a bad grade in "Murder, She Snored"; he looked quite fed up as he looked at it, rather than upset or surprised.
Named for a contemporary fanfic writer. She usually wears a plain pastel green dress, which makes her look staid and demure. Her usual facial expression is no expression at all.
She was once seen sitting in the cafeteria with Scarlett in "Too Cute" and another time with Dawn - and in "The Lab Brat" she went from being Brittany's partner to abruptly being with Dawn instead - which are her main social interactions. She has a mauve party dress which she wore to go to the dance party in "Daria Dance Party" and the boat party in "Just Add Water", but didn't hang with anyone while there. She was in the Yearbook team in "The New Kid" - and even there, she was seen looking tired and bored in one scene before DeMartino dropped the sports teams.
She was one of the kids betting that DeMartino would fall or die in "The Big House", and showed a rare expression - anger - when he didn't.
Her known interests are sports, cheering the track team in "See Jane Run" and watching the cheerleading tryouts in "The F Word". She also, sad to say, was a fan of Mental in the Morning's DJs. Try to work out Tank Top's social status and your head will hurt: she's been seen alone at parties ("Groped by an Angel "and "Is It College Yet?") and eating alone at school and outside of it ("The New Kid"), but someone keeps inviting her and she's been hanging around Sandi's crowd more than once. It was only her and Bib Overalls that cared enough to help Brittany when she fell over in "See Jane Run".
Long haired Asian-American girl, in several of Daria and Jane's classes; wears a light green T-shirt, tan jeans, and a necklace most of the time. Named by TAG for her distinctive white blazer. A fan of Mental in the Morning, based on "Jake of Hearts".
"White Sweater" has been seen hanging around a lot of people when outside of class, a number of them popular and photogenic: Jennifer, Joey, and she was also part of the in-crowd admiring a newly-thin Sandi in "Fat Like Me". She was also flirted with by Les in that episode, himself a Lawndale High Track Team dude. She's also been seen with less popular people, including sitting with Shaggy and Burnout Girl in "Cafe Disaffecto". "White Sweater" appears to be both popular and a nice, sociable person.
V-Neck is nicknamed for his V-necked teal-blue sweater. He's in Daria's year and classes, and joined Lawndale on the same day as her. He almost always has the same vacant, uninterested expression, no matter what's going on - in "Lucky Strike" during a lesson with Mrs. Stoller, he fell asleep.
He's been seen walking with a few girls from time to time, including Andrea and "Tank Top", but never more than once and doesn't seem that socially engaged. Despite that he got involved in school colours day in "The Lost Girls".
He was one of a dozen students attending the Push Comes to Love college prep course; he looked unimpressed with the instructor's patter.