In the context of Daria fanworks, angst is a style in which psychological suffering and mental anguish are the major themes. Conflict is common in angst writing, though it is rarely physical in nature, tending to deal more in intellectual/emotional conflict between two or more characters, or an internal conflict with a character's self.
Angst is a sub-set of the drama genre, and thus combines well with many of the same other genres and sub-genres, particularly melodrama, romance, and hurt/comfort stories. It is only rarely mixed with comedy, usually for the sake of satire or parody.
Angst in Daria Canon
In response to a question from Kara Wild, show creator Glenn Eichler remarked, "We didn't want to do a show about the misfits finding happiness through solidarity. We didn't want anyone finding happiness, period. A basic tenet of the Tao of Daria is that life is not fair, and any fan fiction that concludes differently violates the secret Daria rulebook buried at the base of an unmarked peak in the Alleghenies."
While it is debatable whether or not any of the characters truly did find happiness at any point, this statement seems to confirm that angst is very close to the heart of the Daria universe. Examples of angst within the series are numerous. Included among them are Stacy's perceived "doormat" tendencies, Daria's continual strife with her family, Jake's rants about his father, and Mr. DeMartino's anger management issues. These were primarily used for humour in the show itself, but would sometimes be used for dramatic purposes: "Jake of Hearts" shows Jake, in bed as he recovers from his first heart attack, worrying about repeating his father's mistakes. He confesses to Daria that he has done everything he can to be the best father to his children, yet still fears the possibility of doing harm. Perhaps this is why Daria looks up to Jake as a hero during the airline flight with him in "Of Human Bonding."
Perhaps the most prominent and controversial examples of ongoing angst in the series, however, are the events leading up to and following The Kiss, and the later "Boxing Daria."
Angst in Daria Fanworks
While angst writing has long been known to this fandom, it became more common after the end of the TV series. Though for some angst has begun to wear thin, it is still currently one of the preferred styles of storytelling for many fanfic authors and readers.
- "Angst Nauseum," by MMan (dead-on parody of the angst style)
- "Be Careful What You Wish For," by Angelinhel
- "Bringing the Angst," by Jim North
- "Daria 2007: The Girl from Hope," by The Angst Guy
- "Love is a Series of Burning Sensations," by undefinedlust
- "The Misery Chicks," by NightGoblyn
- "My Best Friend," by Smileyfax
The Angst Lords
Having honed their angst-writing craft in both quality and quantity, the Angst Lords are a group of fan fic authors that have gone above and beyond the call of duty in inflicting mental pain and emotional torture upon the characters in their stories. Being named as one of their number is an honor in the Daria fandom.