Dramatic Comedy is a genre in which comedy and drama are mixed in roughly equal amounts. "Dramatic comedy" is the preferred term in the Daria fandom, though comedy-drama, tragicomedy, dramedy, and seriocomedy are occasionally used.
The creation of a story in the dramatic comedy venue can be achieved through the mixing and matching of the various sub-genres present in the respective parts of the overall genre, such as action comedies or parodies that operate more as an homage to the original work than a mockery of it. While some dramatic comedies blend each part together seamlessly, others will switch back and forth between the two throughout the story, often starting off comedic, then becoming serious toward the end.
Dramatic Comedy in Daria Canon
While dramatic elements existed in Daria since the series' inception, these elements became more and more prominent as time wore on, and the odd episodes like "The Misery Chick", "See Jane Run", and "Through a Lens Darkly" were dramatic comedies. From the introduction of Tom Sloane in "Jane's Addition", however, the show began to move entirely into the realm of dramatic comedy, and (outside of Fizz Ed) every episode of the fifth season was a dramatic comedy.
Comedy continued to play a large part through the use of satire, parody, clever dialogue, and comedic characters such as Tiffany, Kevin and Brittany, but the inclusion of stories about love triangles and a damaged Daria/Jane friendship ("Fire!" through "Is It Fall Yet?"), relationship difficulties ("Sappy Anniversary"), sex ("My Night at Daria's"), examinations of the characters psyches ("Psycho Therapy", "Boxing Daria") and the characters' possible futures ("Prize Fighters", "Is It College Yet?") ensured that there was also a rough balance of drama.
Dramatic Comedy in Daria Fanworks
There is some confusion in the fandom as to where drama and comedy end and dramatic comedy begins, as it is difficult to quantify exactly how much of each is required to cause the flip from one genre to the other. This has caused problems in the past in making nominations for the Daria Fanworks Awards, and there tends to be a fair amount of overlap between the categories of Favorite Drama, Favorite Dramatic Comedy, and Favorite Comedy.
While a hard line may never be drawn between these genres, there are still some stories that most fans agree fit in the dramatic comedy listing.