Tuckerization

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Dawn, a background character named for an MTV staff member
Burnout Girl and her designer/inspiration, Karen Disher (MTV Daria flipbook, online).

Tuckerization is the act of naming a person, place, or thing in a work of fiction after a living person either as a homage or as an in-joke. The word is derived from 1950s science-fiction writer Wilson Tucker, who would name characters in his works after friends and family. In current science fiction, successful science-fiction authors have been known to auction off Tuckerizations for charity; the winner gets to have a character named after him in the next book.

A Tuckerization, however, is not a "guest appearance," where the character named after a living person is actually meant to represent that living person. Tuckerization is the naming of characters who are essentially different from their real-life counterparts, although they might have some similarities.

The MTV feature "The Transformed Staff" revealed that a number of background characters are tuckerisations of MTV staff, including Burnout Girl, Cindy, and Dawn (the last based on a former MTV production assistant). The names of two staff members, Cindy and Shane, even turn up in one of O'Neill's seating charts in "Cafe Disaffecto", and for a class where their tuckerisations will appear, no less.

"Camp Fear" would feature tuckerisation of two fans: Michelle Klein-Hass,then the operator of Lawndale Commons and a writer of articles on the show, and Erin Mills, who won a trivia contest on MTV's Daria website with the cameo as the prize. (Further details are available here.)

A variant of Tuckerization is frequently used in Daria fanfic, in that the online screen names of fans, authors, and artists are used in stories instead of those persons' real names: these have been used for the names of characters, such as in The Angst Guy's "Scarlett" and "A Hard Days' Night."

Examples of Tuckerizations in fanfic[edit]

A partial list of Tuckerizations in current Daria fanworks follows. Almost any appearance of a penguin, particularly if named Tux, is assumed to be fanservice for TAG.

Falling Into College:

John Lane:

Legion of Lawndale Heroes:

Mad Dog

Visitations:

  • Two villains in "Visitations" are named after James Bowman and Thomas Mikkelsen, two fan fiction writers.