Jodie Landon

From DariaWiki
Jodie Landon
First appearance The Invitation
Last appearance Is It College Yet?
Voiced by Jessica Cydnee Jackson
Episode count 42 (1 non-speaking)
2 TV movies
Gender Female
Age 16-18
Occupation Student at Lawndale High
Student at Turner University (by the end of the show)
Family Andrew Landon (father)
Michele Landon (mother)
Evan Landon (brother)
Rachel Landon (sister)
Significant other(s) Mack Mackenzie (boyfriend)

Jodie Abigail Landon, better known as Jodie, is a character in the MTV television show, Daria. Jodie dates football player Mack Mackenzie. She first appeared in the episode "The Invitation."

In 2019, it was announced that she'd be co-starring in a reboot titled Daria & Jodie. In 2020, she got promoted from co-star to star when the reboot was changed into a spin-off titled Jodie, which was announced to have been retooled as a movie in early 2022.

Character Overview[edit]

In Daria[edit]

Landon lives in the town of Lawndale. She is an intellectual girl bound for a prestigious university, but she feels tremendous pressure from her parents, Andrew and Michele, to excel in school.

Jodie tries to comfort Daria about her contacts situation ("Through a Lens Darkly")

An African-American, Landon is one of few black students seen at Daria's new school, Lawndale High. Unlike many teenage female black television characters (both cartoon and real), Landon is not a member of a group of popular girls, though she is considered "cool." She is a rather lonely girl who maintains a casual friendship both with Daria and with Daria's best friend, Jane.

Heavily involved in school activies - "I'm president of the French Club, vice president of Student Council, editor of yearbook, and I'm also on the tennis team" (Gifted) - Landon sees herself as a future leader of American black society. Being one of the few black students in her school inspires her to be more aware of black issues, although she is simultaneously bitter about having to always play the part and having to always be calm, reasonable, and carefully spoken. In "Gifted" she went so far as to refer to her perceived role as "queen of the Negroes" (adding a sarcastic "oops, where did they all go?") and described herself as being at "breaking point" playing that part. In "I Loathe a Parade", both she and Mack expressed irritation with being made Homecoming King and Queen every year, knowing this was so Lawndale High could make claims of diversity. In "Is It College Yet?", she decided to go to Turner, a traditionally black university, for at least a year before going to the elite Crestmore University, so she could relax socially for a time.

Andrew Landon patronizing his daughter ("Is It College Yet?")

Despite all the above, however, Jodie is hardly ever seen hanging around any of the other black students in her year (except Mack). "It Happened One Nut" shows several black "backgrounders" (including Jennifer) have hung out before.

Jodie does a lot of volunteer work, internships, and extra-curricular courses at the behest of her parents. In "Is It Fall Yet?", she was working for most of the summer and could barely see Mack. In "The F Word", she'd tried to get some time off and failed, sounding defeated and later stating bitterly that "my parents would rather I drop dead from exhaustion than miss the opportunity to shred some bribe-taking congressman's incriminating phone bills." She would apply to Turner behind her father's back, only to let him push her into choosing Crestmore despite being miserable about the decision. When Mack pointed out to Andrew that she'd applied without telling him, however, her parents let her choose Turner. (Michelle appears to have pushed Andrew into this. In "Gifted," there were implications she'd done the same thing so Jodie could avoid Grove Hills.)

The Daria Diaries: "Living up to your Potential"[edit]

In The Daria Diaries is an editorial for the Lawndale Lowdown, written by Jodie, about "living up to your potential." As the editorial goes on, it becomes steadily more bitter as Jodie covertly refers to trying to please two unrealistically high (and mutually contradictory) expectations from her parents (corporate activity from Michelle and political legislation from Andrew), asking "what if she [Jodie] really wants to be a ballerina?"). She rerports being so pushed to succeed that she feels she's not allowed to take a break ("Fun is a luxury you cannot afford") and her belief that she's "not all that superior to the so-called 'norm'" but is terrified that if she makes a mistake, she'll slide into disgrace. As noted earlier, she even wonders whether she dates Mack because she really likes him.

"Always do your very best," ends the editorial, "never mind the terrible, terrible toll it may take on your spirit. Have a great summer!"

In Jodie[edit]

In Jodie, Jodie's left college and is working for the tech start-up Firstfinity. She's still dating Mack and made a new friend in college, a party-loving finance genius called Cas.

Jodie and Daria[edit]

Jodie and Daria ("Fizz Ed")

Jodie is equally as intelligent as Daria, and one of the few characters who attempts a casual relationship with her. She sometimes looks for Daria to ask her a question or an opinion on something (and sometimes gets sarcasm back, to her annoyance). In return, she is one of the few people of Daria's age whom the cynical girl respects. She's also able to 'get' Daria's humour, unique among most of the students, and is capable of doing her own sarcasm that flies over the heads of the dimmer kids.

Despite this, the girls differ on their points of view and their general behaviour: Jodie is more gregarious and tends to favor a certain practicality with her ethics, while Daria is a firm loner prefers to be more rigidly principled with her own. This divergence has lead to a few arguments, notably in "Partner's Complaint" when Jodie, after being angered that a bank manager ignored her over her age (and possibly colour) until he knew she was Andred Landon's daughter, mentions her father's name immediately at the next bank. Daria saw this as hypocritical, while Jodie defended herself as adapting to a situation like an adult would and was angry that Daria was condemning her over it. She also tells Daria in "Gifted" that Daria's misanthropic habit of keeping people out is ultimately "self defeating".

Ultimately, there is a mutual respect between them. Jodie admitted in "Gifted" she'd like to be more like Daria sometimes, to which Daria admitted she'd like to be more like Jodie sometimes.

To some extent, Jodie is a spin on Daria: both are intelligent and both consider themselves outcasts. In Jodie's case - brought up in "Gifted", "I Loathe A Parade", "IICY?", and even at the end of "Daria!" - she feels apart from her peers and under pressure because of her race and the imposed pressure, as one of the few black girls, to be 'representative'. Like Daria, she also seems to have few friends (other than Mack) on her mental level.

Jodie and others[edit]

Jodie in a rare moment of blasting someone, in "Gifted"

Much like Mack is always around Kevin Thompson, Jodie finds herself always hanging around and giving advice to Brittany Taylor. She would sometimes like to snap at Brittany for being stupid, but usually checks herself. But all the same, she can't resist in jabbing her every so once in a while. This is usually in a very subtle way that she knows will go over Brittany's head, such as in "The Lab Brat" ("I can't believe anyone would try to take Kevin away from you") and "The Big House":

Kevin: "They did mental stuff to her, I can tell."

Brittany: "Nobody better try that on me!"

Jodie: "Yeah."

The only explicit jab was in "Gifted", where she just told her "rent a brain".

Jodie had launched another jab in "Gifted", where she tears into Grove Hills student Graham for his banal elitism. Before that, Jodie had been trying to give everyone a chance and make friends with the others; Graham had just pushed her to the edge. Normally, she swallows her anger and contempt for someone and puts on a nice front.

Jodie and Mack suffer being the Homecoming couple ("I Loathe a Parade")

Jodie's relationship with Mack runs throughout the series, and they're often seen together as a stable unit. We rarely see them being that romantic, though they do engage in Daria/Jane style banter on a regular basis and "My Night at Daria's" reveals they're having sex. The relationship is hinted to be under strain during the series and in the spin-off books, with Jodie unable to fully commit to time with him. In the MTV feature "It Takes Two To Tangle", this stress and frustration is presented as the defining factor of their relationship and it adds "they should sign up for a 12-step program--but she only has time for two." . In The Daria Diaries, Jodie even questions why she dates him, whether it's because she genuinely likes him or "because he's who he is and you're who you are and others don't care to question the equation?"

Jane seems to trust Jodie. She twice tells Jodie about Daria's problems (Ill, Through a Lens Darkly), and tells Jodie about her problems with Tom and Daria (Fire!).

Jodie Landon's home in Lawndale

Fanfic Portrayals[edit]

Allied Jodie[edit]

A common approach is the one from canon: Jodie allied to and friendly with Daria. This was especially common with older fanfics like "On the Outside" by Jon Kilner or C.E. Forman's "The Lost Seasons" series. It's also common to see Jodie presented as really good friends with Daria, such as in John Lane - more so than in the show itself. A rare variation, Kristen Bealer's "Two Under Par", has Jodie becomes friends with Jake.

Powderkeg Jodie[edit]

Jodie is often portrayed in fanfic as being under tremendous pressure from her parents to succeed, to the point where their only interaction with their daughter is to push her to extend herself further and further. As a result of this pressure, Jodie internalizes resentment and frustration until she eventually loses control and rebels against her parents' wishes. In some stories, this rebellion takes the form of an emotional confrontation with her parents wherein she tells them that she cannot take their demands and expectations anymore, or she begins dating people her parents would consider wildly inappropriate for her; in other cases, she acts out her frustrations more aggressively, dropping out of all her activities and refusing to accept her parents' value system (often with the help of Daria and Jane). In a few fics, her frustration is expressed in extreme fashions, such as suicide or violence, as she sees no way out from under her parents' unrealistic expectations.

While this portrayal certainly does have a basis in canon, the series itself never shows Jodie expressing any more than a mild exasperation at her parents. Also, while her parents are certainly contributors to her overachievement, Jodie also places a great deal of pressure on herself, as well; her extreme amount of activity cannot therefore be laid completely at the feet of her parents.

Cut-loose and running free Jodie[edit]

Jodie cuts loose, sort of

Another popular portrayel of Jodie in fanfics and fan art is of Jodie-post Lawndale high, free from her parents able to live her life without the strict direction from her parents. Most often that leads to her and Mack making up for lost ground, this has roots in Jodie and Mack's canon behavior, most notably in "Is It College Yet?" where the two of them are seen kissing after Mack has talked with Jodie's father pursauding him to let Jodie off.

Negligent Girlfriend Jodie[edit]

In canon, Jodie is often depicted as being too busy with her many projects and responsibilities to give much time or attention to her beau, Mack. This is used in some fanfics as the springboard to an eventual breakup of the couple. A detailed look at this issue appears under "Joma."

Evil Jodie[edit]

More common as time has gone on and fanfic writers have started to look at the characters in new ways, these fanfics show Jodie as flawed to antagonist to outright villain. "God Save The Esteem" had Jodie as a secondary antagonist, driven by far-right views, until over time she became just does-not-like-Daria antagonistic. TAG and Brother Grimace's horror story "Gimme Skelter" has a sociopathic Jodie looking to make the apocalypse far worse.

Referee Jodie[edit]

Jodie is briefly seen as a referee for a boxing tournament in the fanfic Million Daria Baby by tommyXmaserati.

Misc. Trivia[edit]

  • In the Latin American dubbing, she was voiced by Liliana Barba.

External Links[edit]

Jodie-centric Fanfiction