God Save The Esteem is an alternate universe fanfic series by Charles RB, spinning out of discussion in the Iron Chef: Modern Day Daria thread. Add all 42 'episodes' and the Sideways In Time sub-series together, and you get a fic that's 259,000 words long (dear oh dear...).
The series has Daria arriving in Lawndale in 2010 - as a result of the timeline change, Helen and Jake were not hippies but instead were part of the hardcore punk scene. In this timeline, they never stopped being punks and "Killer" Quinn has been raised in their image - Daria, to their disappointment, dresses and acts mostly like she does on the show. They are, however, supportive of her sullen and questioning attitude, causing her to be more comfortable with herself and her family.
Brian Taylor's fanfic Moving Pictures, which spun out of the same Iron Chef thread, takes place in the same "punkverse" as the Esteem series and tells the tale of a teenage Amy and the Barksdales, right as their family started to disintegrate.
The series brought a lot of backgrounders into fanfiction, giving them names, roles, and basic personalities that later fics would play off of.
The entire work is collected at Fanfiction.net, as well as scattered across PPMB.
- Ep 1: God Save The Esteem (FF.net; PPMB I, II, and III): Crude, rude, bad attitude, and messily eating food - and that's just Jake! The Morgendorffers come to Lawndale, while Daria watches all with detached amusement.
- Ep 2: Fight For Your Invite To Party (PPMB, FF.net): Brittany's throwing a party - Quinn's not invited, but is preparing to crash it and make some noise. Daria is tasked to back up her little sis and has to face her greatest horror, actually meeting her classmates.
- Ep 3: Family Devalued (PPMB, FF.net): The extended family is coming to town, with Aunt Amy investigating a local legend and Erin and her fiance Brian Danielson moving in... and then there's the reason why Jake wants both girls out of the house that Friday...
- Ep 4: Melody Power To The People (PPMB, FF.net): Daria's fed up with the draconian rule at school, and a comment by Mr. O'Neill inspires her to take action. After a clash with the far-right Jodie, the incident inspires Daria to write Melody Powers. What could possibly go wrong?
- Ep 5: And The Mall Won (PPMB, FF.net): The Mall of the Millennium is dying on its feet in the recession, but thanks to bribes Daria's class have a field trip there whether they like it or not. Pity the trip coincides with one of Jake's more creative bits of consulting...
- Ep 6: Model Students (PPMB, FF.net): With the Amazon Modeling Agency in town, Daria is considered too dangerous (and sarcastic) to be allowed in school. While her mother fights the suspension, Daria decides to use her spare time productively: forcing Brian to do actual work!
- Ep 7: I Am A Scientist (PPMB, FF.net): When Daria is forced to work with Kevin on a science project, rumours start to spread that she's visiting him for... other reasons. Can Daria's sarcasm get her through this one?
- Ep 8: Eff Christmas (PPMB, FF.net): Christmas is coming to Lawndale, and with it the annual Morgendorffer Christmas party. Daria's got a bigger problem though: trying to date Tom Sloane, and the inevitable horror of him meeting her parents... (Includes several 'Moving Pictures' scenes)
- Ep 9: Pop Cult (PPMB, FF.net): Daria faces a waking nightmare when she has to babysit the Gupty children, but that's nothing compared to Helen's: having to sell out.
- Ep 10: Hell Is Other Parents (PPMB, FF.net): Tom's parents have decided it'd be a nice idea if they got together with the Morgendorffers. With no way to prevent the atrocity, Daria and Tom are going to have to find a way to escape before it's too late...
- Ep 11: Ridin' Slowly (PPMB, FF.net): Thanks to Jake, Mystik Spiral have got their first Alternapalooza gig - now they just have to get there. On time. Can Daria and her parents make this impossible task merely an implausible one?!
- Ep 12: Misery, Clicked (PPMB, FF.net): Daria, along with the school's other malcontents, come under suspicion from Li when she discovers the Lawndale Leaks website. Will Daria be found out? And will everything be sorted out in time for the visit of Tommy Sherman?
- Ep 13: Art of Darkness (PPMB, FF.net): A statewide art competition is announced, and Jane Lane's sick imagination is unleashed upon the world! Unfortunately, so is something worse: renewed conflict between Helen and Grandma Barksdale.
- Ep 14: Splatoon (PPMB, FF.net}: Feeling threatened by the relationship between Daria and Tom, Sandi rallies together the queen bees of the school to put Daria in her place. Unfortunately for them, they're idiots.
- Ep 15: Kneel Before Zon (PPMB, FF.net): The Maleficent Eleven are looking for a fight. The Sloane siblings are looking for a solution. Awesomely Amy is looking for anything good enough for Sick, Sad World. The Lawndale PD are looking to see if they can fix their image. Upchuck is looking for porn fodder. Where will they find these things? Why, at The Zon of course!
- Ep 16: Wedding Hell (PPMB, FF.net): Erin and Brian's big day has finally arrived! With so many combustible elements inside the walls of the Windsor Hills Resort, it's only a matter of time until it all blows up...
- Ep 17: Bits and Pierces (PPMB, FF.net): Jake and Helen are shocked and dismayed when they find out that their old friends the Yeagers have gone corporate! Can they convince Dingo and Willow to return to the ways of tripling bodily fluids instead of profit margins before it's too late?
- Ep 18: A Gran Day Out (PPMB, FF.net): With her relationship with her immediate family at an all-time low, Daria is ditching school to go to Grandma Barksdale's for the day. Surely Grandma has an ulterior motive...
- Ep 19: Shock Of The New Kid (PPMB, FF.net): Worlds collide when Quinn, Andrea and Spike join the yearbook team (it makes sense in context) and meet Ted, the implacable object to their unstoppable force. Who will survive, and what will be left of them? And will Erin be able to go one day without puking on someone?
- Ep 20: Bearing Gifts (PPMB, FF.net): Judgment day is looming for Daria, as she must decide whether to stay in Lawndale with her family **Bonus Features: Rejected Endings
- Ep 21: Good Sports (PPMB, FF.net): In an attempt to stick it to The Man... er... Ms. Morris, Jane tries out for the athletics team... and makes it! Meanwhile, Jake and Helen try to bond with Daria... by being normal and sharing an interest in her hobbies?
- Ep 22: Anarchy in the Lawn-D (PPMB, FF.net): Daria turns whistleblower on the Lawndale High grade-fixing scam, earning the ire of Ms. Li, her lawyers (including the magnificent bastard himself, Jim Vitale) and pretty much the entire student body, as well as heroic adulation from her family. And it all builds up to an ending you'll be telling your children about...
- Ep 23: Week Can Be Heroes (PPMB, FF.net): Spend a week with the good people of Lawndale as they return to normal life after the apoca-Li-pse.
- Ep 24: Write in the Nads (PPMB, FF.net): Lawndale High re-opens under new management and new teachers... including Ken Edwards, who is making his class write about 'romantic awakenings'. Will anyone twig what he's really asking? Can Daria survive having to examine her deepest feelings? And what is it about Cindy that makes her so gosh darn adorable?
- Ep 25: Exam Nation (PPMB, FF.net): After discovering that grade averages are critically low, Principal O'Neill starts student-to-student tutoring sessions. And Daria has been tasked with helping not only Kevin, but The Maleficent Eleven (hey, accidental rhyme)! Will all the pain and suffering be worth the $15 she got for taking the position? No.
- Ep 26: Quaran-Tommed (PPMB, FF.net): Daria joins Tom, Angier, Kay and Elsie in going to The Cove, where she becomes the target of the extended Sloane family's superiority complexes. Meanwhile, Erin is introduced to Buzzdome's new intern... Jodie Landon!
- Ep 27: Live Fast Die Old (PPMB, FF.net): The students of Lawndale High are set loose upon the public when Principal O'Neill embraces his inner Li and starts the Awareness of Others volunteer program. Lawndale never saw it coming... Tom, meanwhile, adjusts to life back at Fielding.
- Ep 28: Punk Takes A Holiday (PPMB, FF.net): Things take a turn for the excessively bizarre when the physical manifestations of Saint Patrick's Day and Cupid seek out Daria to help round up some rogue holidays. (Yeah, we went there.)
- Ep 29: Daria's High Score (PPMB, FF.net): Daria and Tom tried to lose themselves in homework and snark, but ended up losing something else... their virginity! Will The Morgendorffers celebrate with the mother of all parties when they find out? Who... I mean... what was Tori Jericho doing out so late that she saw Tom leaving? And how will the eventual rumour-spreading affect the arrival of Val?
- Bonus Features: Rejected Scene
- Ep 30: Dance Noon (PPMB, FF.net): Quinn and The Maleficent Eleven confront a new wave of oppression... misogyny from other punks? Will the might of punk law win Janet Barch victory over the school district or will dirty tricks bring her down? Will the odd alliance of Mack and The Fashion Club struggle to organise a successful school dance? And if Daria decides to do something as well, how great a mess will she create this time?
- Ep 31: Achy, Jakey Heart (PPMB, FF.net): It's unadulterated chaos when the wandering Lanes return home... all at once! How will Jane and Trent cope? Meanwhile, the Morgendorffers are rocked, but not in a good way, when Jake suffers a near-fatal heart attack. [Originally entitled "Lanes in the Butt" to cover up the incoming heart attack]
- Ep 32: Nuts to Work (PPMB, FF.net): Career aptitude test results are back, and they make for interesting reading to say the least. Can Quinn manage to avoid a career in petroleum dispensation and find an even suckier job? Well, that nut store in the mall is hiring...
- Ep 33: A Headbutt of Dollars (PPMB, FF.net): Just when they are about to have a weekend to themselves, Daria and Tom have to deal with an emergency... Jane, Jake and Mystik Spiral being arrested and thrown in jail out in the middle of nowhere! With Quinn and Stacy in tow, can our intrepid heroes bail them out? Or will they be forced into a life of breaking rocks in the hot sun?
- Bonus Features: Alter Egos
- Ep 34: Tom's Addition (PPMB, FF.net): The already-twisted dynamic of Tom and Daria's relationship is tested when Tom befriends Astrid, a girl at Fielding. Meanwhile, Mr. DeMartino, Ms. Defoe and Mr. Ewing fight for the very future of the school as they try to stop Principal O'Neill from hiring a new Language Arts teacher.
- Ep 35: I Don't Like Anyday (PPMB, FF.net): Thanks to a simple school shooting drill, Daria is trapped in her school, unable to use her weapon of choice (her snark) to cope. However when she finds out that The Maleficent Eleven are still on the outside, Daria decides that she has found a way to cope after all...
- Bonus Features: Alter Egos
- Ep 36: Occupational Hazard (PPMB, FF.net): The freakin' friends are thrown out of their depth when they are separated for an economics project. Can Daria put ideological differences aside and get the job done with Jodie? Can Jane manage to survive and not have Upchuck get the job done with her? Meanwhile, the Lawndale upper class sign their own death warrants when they "occupy" Dega Street.
- Ep 37: CSI Don't Care (PPMB, FF.net): Someone has whacked Kevin, and it's going to take a whole lot of pain, suffering, and human contact by Daria to find out who!
- Ep 38: Highland Lassie (PPMB, FF.net): It's a hardcore homecoming as the Morgendorffers return to Highland for the anniversary party of some old friends. What kind of chaos will ensue, especially when Daria inevitably meets up with that certain pair of idiots? And what about Lawndale? Surely nothing will happen there with the Morgendorffers out of town...
- Ep 39: Epic F Word (PPMB, FF.net): Lawndale High has become the laughing stock of the state, and the teachers want to throw in the towel... Not on Coach Sherman's watch! With the students rallied into a frenzy, Lawndale High is on a mission to get their street cred back!
- Ep 40: This Is No Fun (PPMB, FF.net): The mission failed. Lawndale High is closed, the future of their students is in serious doubt, and Daria has spiralled into the mother of all depressions having blamed herself for all of it. It's going to take the combined efforts of family and friends to try and get her out of her funk... but is it all for nothing?
- Ep 41: Is It Fun Yet? (PPMB, FF.net): In the first part of a movie-length epic, Erin and Amy have been handed down the thankless task of rebuilding a shattered Daria. Can they pull it off? And how does a dangerous biological weapon end up coming into play? Meanwhile, Jane confronts her sexuality at an art retreat in Ashfield, Mr. DeMartino tries to fulfill a childhood dream (with Trent and Jake's "help") and Quinn is forced to face the scariest thing a punk can face... reality.
- Ep 42: Combat Rock (PPMB, FF.net): In the thrilling conclusion of the series, Ashfield and Lawndale become the twin theatres of chaos as punks and pigs finally collide. Who will be left standing when the smoke clears?
- Bonus Features: Soundtrack
- Coda: Punk is Dead (PPMB): At the end of 2017, the cast gather to pay homage to the greatest among them (and get drunk).
Meanwhile, Sideways in Time...
This an ongoing sub-series of mini-fics where the reality is inverted, and Daria is the only punk in the Morgendorffer family. These are usually posted after the completion of a fic in the main series, and come after the Author's Notes in the collected Fanfiction.net versions.
- Part 1 (Esteemsters): Another reality got the wrong Daria. (Achy, Jakey Heart)
- Part 2 (The Invitation): Daria sends Upchuck to another reality. (Nuts to Work)
- Part 3 (College Bored): Heather learns why you don't pay a punk up front. (A Headbutt of Dollars)
- Part 4 (Cafe Disaffecto): O'Neill learns you don't put two punks in the same place. (Tom's Addition)
- Part 5 (Malled): Daria learns how her bodily fluids can be the most dangerous biological weapon of them all. (I Don't Like Anyday)
- Am I Fired Yet?: Small, impressionable children learn things you never want them to... (Longer 'special' episode)
- Part 6 (This Year's Model): Claude and Romonica learn... well... nothing. They were KO'ed as soon as they got in the door. (Occupational Hazard)
- Part 7 (The Lab Brat): Upchuck learns to fear. (CSI Don't Care)
- Part 8 (Scientific Stuff): Beavis and Butt-head are mentally incapable of learning but they're here anyway. (Highland Lassie)
- Part 9 (Pinch Sitter): Daria's learnt the perfect response to O'Neill. (Epic F Word)
- Part 10 (Too Cute): Sandi learns to be careful. (This Is No Fun)
- Part 11 (Combat Rock): You learn what happens if Dire Daria gets power. (Combat Rock)
- A fanart of Killer Quinn was created by Quiverwing in late December 2010, followed by a punk "Dire Daria" in June 2011 and "Punklings" in July.
- Untitled Worldburner tie-in by Erin Mills: Set during "Wedding Hell", this shows Judith visiting the wedding to watch the carnage unfold.
- Use Your Head by Raskolnikov: This is a second Worldburner tie-in, one which has Judith running afoul of Quinn and The Maleficent Eleven.
- Crazy Punk Self-Insert by Wassersauefer: A short self-insert fic, this details his day at Lawndale High and run-ins with The Maleficent Eleven.
- United States of Stacy by The Excellent S: Set after "Anarchy in the Lawn-D", this shows Stacy at home trying to juggle her multiple identities.
- Terror on Dega Street by Jim North: Another Stacy-centred fic, this features an odd new development with one of Stacy's identities, a development we've seen before...
- Lighting the Fuse by The Excellent S: Set after "Daria's High Score", this shows Stacy confiding in Mack and telling him about her multiple identities.
- Killer Quinn and the Kitten of Anarchy by Jim North: thematic relation to "Happy Quinn meets the Kitten of Awesomeness"
- God Save the S Team by Smijey: A merciless piss-take, where the Morgendorffers are not punks, but A-Team fanatics.
- This Is Yes Fun by Smijey: Erin's out to cheer up Daria after This Is No Fun. This will end well, right? ...right?
- Soul Reforged by baelparagon: Death Rowe meets Canon Stacy.
Fan sequels and spinoffs
- Where Lives End, Another Life Begins by The Excellent S: Whatever happened to Stacy...?
Differences from canon
The timeline jump from 1997 to 2010 has caused many facets of the series to get changed. Some of these are minor cosmetic changes, like country-western bar Mad Dawg's being a hippie bar, more 'out' LGBT secondary characters, or a version of "Citizen Butt-head" having Obama visit Highland High instead of Bill Clinton; or plays on the canon (Jake yelling about his dad is Jake on a bluetooth yelling at his dad). Internet saturation allows Mystik Spiral to have greater reach (and Upchuck to get even more porn), and greater medical advances mean "Mad Dog" Morgendorffer is still around.
Major differences come from the War on Terror starting years in the past and the then-recent 2008 recession - Lawndale High is now even more security intensive, Jodie Landon starts out as a Tea Party hardcore (spinning off her family's canon conservatism), Tommy Sherman went into the army, the Sloanes are going to Lawndale (initially) due to financial hits to Grace, Sloane, and Page, and the sluggish economy looms over much of the story. (As the years go on, this "Modern Day Daria" take runs increasingly prey of the Datedness of Daria)
Daria is mostly the same as she was in canon but more confident, having never had the equivalent events of "Boxing Daria" and having grown up navigating a violent, chaotic environment. The other Morgendorffers are not quite as different as they seem at first, despite being ultraviolent, anarchic, beer-swilling superpunks: Helen is still a driven lawyer and matriarch, Jake is still a good-natured bumbler with angry outbursts, and Quinn, despite leading an army of backgrounders rather than being in the Fashion Club, still wants to be popular (in her chosen clique) and be noticed.
Recurring original characters (all available as shared universe characters for other writers) include:
- Steve: The head security guard at Lawndale High, surname unknown to anyone. Described as a "huge mountain of meat". Takes a laid-back, almost bored approach to the increasingly ludicrous activities he had to do under Li, and is on first-name basis with the regular malcontents at school. Also works occasionally as the head guard at Crewe Neck and The Cove. Interests include beer, cool-looking security gear, porn, at least one James Joyce novel and more beer. Steve made the jump to shared character status when he turned up in RX-87's Armored Cynic Daria and then peetz5050's "One Little Thing".
- "Foggy" Murdoch: Lawndale High's highly-stressed, hyper-neurotic, pill-popping attorney at law, dealing with their constant legal messes. He very soon gave up on assuming his clients could do anything sensible and by ep 30 he'd given up on hope and life. In contrast to Steve the security guard, his first name is unknown to anyone.
- Jasper Ewing: Maths teacher at Lawndale High, a man so boring you'll forget he exists by the time you finish this sentence.
- Mohammed: Angela Li has him on a watchlist, which he's just grown to accept as the way the world is by now. He's a wheeler-dealer and fixer around school, the man you want to get in on the will-DeMartino-die pool.
- Superintendent Pascal: The superintendent from ep 23 to 41. A sneaky, blatantly corrupt man, he tried to stabilise Lawndale High and, if and when that didn't work, pin the blame on anyone else. He got the job due to some level of competency (and because the President of the Board of Education really hated him).
- Astrid Magnus: An aristocratic Norwegian student at Fielding, who started hanging out with Tom in order to escape all the hangers-on in the school. In a running gag, she's not having an affair with him (honest!).
- Coach Mandana Nikahd: Replacement coach for Ms. Morris. A firebrand true believer in the glory and might of sports (until Lawndale killed her love of life), from a family of sportsmen. Married. In ep 25, she accidentally mentions the great childhood trauma of coming fourth-last in Sport's Day and her family being ashamed of her.
- Stephen Pierson-Wells II: One of Tom Sloane's friends from Fielding Prep, he appeared in ep 11 driving a Corvette XR1, is nicknamed 'Pee Wee' for undisclosed reasons and nearly suffered a nervous breakdown after being exposed to Daria's family but rallied enough to make out with Death Rowe. He only made brief appearances in the series afterward.
Fandom nods and concepts
God Save The Esteem makes reference to several other fanfics and fandom terms:
- Parts of Fielding were based on a popular fanfic from the time (now off the net).
- Daria is given a cousin, Finn, inspired by HolyGrail2007's Finn Morgendorffer series. He was later given a brother called John, inspired by Richard Lobinske's John Lane series. This gave both of the most famous "female character as male" AU series a nod.
- Sick, Sad Message Board members include PenguinLover, a reference to The Angst Guy.
- Amy's stage name, "Awesomely Amy", was meant as a reference to Kara Wild's Abruptly Amy series. However, the author misremembered it as Awesomely, and the new name stuck.
- Stacy's vigilante guise uses a paintball mask and was described as resembling "a goggle-eyes man", a reference to the villain in Jim North's horror fanfic Sleepwalker. The Goggle-Eyes Man name was itself first coined by Charles RB.
- The idea of Tom and Elsie having an older brother named Angier Sloane II was inspired by getrealordie187's Legacy series.
- Website Subversion Is We from Canadibrit's The Look Alike Series is mentioned in "Anarchy in the Lawn-D", as a rather crap website.
- Jim Vitale, a character originally from Scissors MacGillicutty's Where's Mary Sue When You Need Her? that became one of the most popular and most used antagonists in Daria fanfic, makes an appearance in "Anarchy in the Lawn-D", taking care of business as only he can.
- "Dance Noon" was based off a suggestion by Roentgen, about touching on misogyny in the punk scene.
- A scene in "A Headbutt of Dollars" where Daria and Tom are participating in cross-dressing role play was inspired by the Scent of a Man and Scent of Humiliation fanart by breitasparrow. The hippie bar was a suggestion from Roentgen.
- The teacher Ms Onepu is taken from J-D's gender-swap serial "Not So Different".
It also uses several ideas from fandom:
- Jodie and Upchuck's twists (as hard right winger and porn lord, respectively), as well as the background character of Mohammed, come from comments made by Brother Grimace and The Angst Guy in the Modern Day Daria thread.
- The name of Stacy's punk persona "Death Rowe" was nicked from a superhero Iron Chef written by Staticblast.
- Helen and Jake's friends the Mackenzies were made into Mack's parents after several posters asked if that was who they were.
- "Slutty Girl" filled out The Maleficent Eleven numbers based on a suggestion by GlitterShrooms.
- The background character Bob appeared thanks to Backgrounders and old The Angst Guy posts at Daria Fandom Blog indicating he could be a cool character.
- Dave was originally an original character with no visual hint except "big and ugly"; The Excellent S noted a specific backgrounder that fitted the bill, a red-mohawked footballer.
Daria Fanworks Awards
God Save The Esteem has been nominated for a total 18 awards over its lifespan, winning 10.
- Favourite Comedy - Tied, for "And The Mall Won"
- Favourite School-Centered - For "And The Mall Won"
- Favourite New Series - Tied
- Favourite Overall - For "Wedding Hell"
- Favourite School-Centred - For "Anarchy in the Lawn-D"
- Favourite Alternate Universe - For "Anarchy in the Lawn-D"
- Favorite Use of a Background or Supporting Character from the Television Series - For Erin Chambers in "Wedding Hell"
- Favorite Ongoing Series
- Favourite Overall - for "Combat Rock"
- Favourite Alternate Universe - for "Combat Rock"
In addition, Quiverwing's "Killer Quinn" and "Dire Daria" fanart won Favourite Visual Inspired by a Fan Written Work in both 2010 and 2011 respectively, as well as Favourite Alter-Ego in 2010.
God Save The Esteem holds the unique honor of being the very first Daria fanfic series to have a page on TV Tropes, and it's since spawned a YMMV page and leaked onto other trope pages. This may mean the fic has sold out. That's just sick, man.