I decided to start with the hardest one. There is, after all, so much canonical stuff out there, and a lot of it is done very well. In the end, I couldn’t narrow it down to one story all at once – I had to pick an author. Again, there are numerous possibilities, but in the end, I chose someone who hasn’t gotten the recognition he deserves for his work.

The award for the best canonical fiction goes to…

“End, weekend, end…”
“Hotter than Hades”
“A Lousy Deal”
“Satura Tota Nostra Est”
“A Sick, Sad Goodbye”

Here’s an author who has mastered the idea of the situation comedy – take a situation, and make it funny.

In his story “End, Weekend, End…” he manages to make an interesting story based on a boring weekend. His interaction between Daria and Helen is particularly good in this script. Without giving too much away, let’s just say that throwing Daria into a positive thinking seminar is one of the more hilarious concepts I’ve seen. Jake is shown at his manic/clueless best. I had no trouble whatsoever imagining the show in my head, hearing the lines spoken by the characters, as the script rolled on. This is true for all his stories, but in this one in particular is one of Daria’s finest hours, real episodes included.

“A Lousy Deal” shows that Daniel is capable of handling characters such as Jodie, Jane, and the fashion club as well. He avoids the “Evil Sandi” trap nicely, and the interaction between the club members is perfectly handled. His portrayal of Jodie is right on the money. Incidently, the story is about a lice infestation at Lawndale High, which makes for a lot of plot and humor possibilities that Daniel takes full advantage of.

“Hotter than Hades” again takes a simple situation (a massive heat wave hitting Lawndale) and turns it into a comedic romp. Once again, plotlines that seem thin at the outset turn into nicely crafted work.

In “Satura Tota Nostra Est” Daniel remembers that part of the job of the canonical writer is to occasionally allow a character to experience some growth. Specifically, I’m talking here about O’Niell. He can be an easy character to write about, as long as the author just makes him his usual doormat self. But to have him grow a bit and still keep him Timothy O’Niell, that takes some work. Daniel pulls it off.

“A Sick, Sad Goodbye” is probably the least canonical of the above five, but it’s still nicely done. It’s difficult to realistically portray Daria as passionate about something, and once again, Daniel rises to the challenge.

Finally, there’s his “How deep it Goes” series. I didn’t include it in the above list because it’s not canon, but that doesn’t mean it’s not good. Read it and draw your own conclusions, I’m not going to say anything about it here.

By the way, check out this guy’s website. He shows a level of cynicism that would make Daria jealous.