"Mad Dog" Morgendorffer
Deceased father of Jake Morgendorffer. We do not know the real name of Jake’s father, only his grotesque nickname.
“Mad Dog” Morgendorffer does not appear in the Daria show, but his legacy does in the form of Jake Morgendorffer, Daria and Quinn’s neurotic father. Mad Dog's presence is felt in many episodes in the series as Jake rants about his rage at the way his father treated him. The most telling line in the show on this issue probably comes in “Jake of Hearts,” when Jake tells Daria, “My father always had to point out how I was screwing up, and that screwed me up. I just want to make sure I never make you girls feel that way—less worthwhile or intelligent than your old man.” It appears Jake was successful in this endeavor, though the struggle with his past cost him dearly.
It is generally accepted in Daria fanfic that "Mad Dog" was a career military man, and that he served in either WWII or Korea. (Involvement in the Korean War is most often seen because of the time issue.) He has been portrayed as both a front-line hero and a gung-ho noncom who suffered from his war experiences. While this is not the only view of Jake's father, it is the most widely used explanation for his bad reputation, resulting in Jake Morgendorffer's rants and Ruth Morgendorffer's complaints about him.
Richard Lobinske offers a sympathetic view of Jake’s father in “Chosin Fate,” the tenth story in the Falling into College series. While transcribing reporters’ audio recordings from the Korean War, Daria discovers taped interviews with one Corporal Nathan W. Morgendorffer, U.S.M.C, newly arrived at Inchon in 1950, then later recordings as the now-sergeant is being shipped home. Jake’s father was a survivor of the battle at Chosin Reservoir, consumed with hatred for the enemy and probably suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. He has become bitter and vengeful, missing all the good qualities that earlier recordings with him revealed. In the Daria Von Doom Series, the same author presented another alternative, Maxwell Dean Morgendorffer, a B-25 pilot who flew in the Pacific during WWII and was later mustered out of the service after radiation poisoning during the Bikini Atoll nuclear tests. Ben Grimm considered him to be a hero. In "It's All About Respect," Brother Grimace offers Sergeant Major A.H. Morgendorffer, veteran of World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, a Medal of Honor winner.
A True "Mad Dog"
Some fanfics explore dreadful possibilities for Jake's father as the worst of fathers and human beings.
- First March 2005 interview with Glenn Eichler on DVDaria, with some discussion of Jake's father and his possible wartime involvement.
- “Mad Dog” character description at the Daria Character Database on Glitterberries.com