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Reuters/Danny Moloshok
Tracee Ellis Ross says the upcoming animated series “Jodie” will be a “smart, funny workplace comedy full of commentary about everything from gentrification to sex to tech to call-out culture.”
GOT TO BE DIRECT

A spinoff of MTV’s “Daria” will take on the Gen Z experience of working in tech

Sarah Todd
By Sarah Todd

Senior reporter, Quartz and Quartz at Work

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The Happier Office

Whether you work in a cubicle, café, or corner office.

The classic MTV animated series Daria was beloved for its satirical take on the suburban high-school experience. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the Doc Martens-clad title character was a beacon of light for smart girls everywhere, casting a witheringly witty gaze on school dances, gym class, and the concept of popularity itself. Now MTV is rebooting the series, with plans to bring its trademark sarcasm to a new setting: the modern workplace.

The main protagonist of the new spinoff, Jodie, will be Jodie Landon. One of the few black students at Daria’s high school in the original series, Jodie was a high-achieving, well-liked student who nonetheless frequently felt like an outsider in her conspicuously homogenous surroundings. At the end of the series, she decides to go to a historically black college. The new series, created by Grace Nkenge Edwards, who was a story editor and writer on Netflix’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, will pick up after Jodie’s graduation, following her as she lands her first post-grad job in the tech industry.

Black-ish star Tracee Ellis Ross will voice Jodie in the new series, and serve as an executive producer on the show. Ross said in an MTV statement, “Jodie will be the first adult animated show in almost 20 years that will star a black woman. It will be a smart, funny workplace comedy full of commentary about everything from gentrification to sex to tech to call-out culture.”

The startup culture of the aughts is certainly ripe for parody. Shows like Silicon Valley  have already found boundless opportunities to ridicule the tech industry, from megalomaniac founders to management tools like the “Conjoined Triangles of Success.” But as a show focused on “unapologetically smart and ambitious young female characters,” in Ross’s words, the jokes on Jodie are likely to zero in on the absurdities of work that have particular resonance for women and people of color. In this way, Jodie may become to Gen Z what Daria was for so many Gen X-ers: An emblem of sanity, humor, and clear thinking in an often-inane environment.

MTV hasn’t yet announced when the reboot will air. But while we wait for Jodie to debut, here are just a few suggestions we have about the kinds of plot lines Jodie might find herself navigating:

  • Jodie considers taking advantage of her company’s egg-freezing benefit.
  • Jodie debates whether to tell her employers that their implicit bias training is based on flawed science.
  • A hilarious mixup ensues when Jodie takes a job posting for “coding ninja” literally.
  • Jodie’s office tries out a new dog-friendly policy in which the C-suite is made up entirely of canines.
  • Tech bros force Jodie to compete in a ping-pong tournament, during which she is hit in the head by a stray ball, comes down with a case of amnesia, and temporarily experiences life without imposter syndrome.
  • Jodie organizes a walkout to protest racism and sexism at her company, and also ping-pong tournaments.
  • Jodie grapples with the question of how to manage a sarcastic employee. The employee is Daria.
  • Jodie takes a new job at a VR company and cannot for the life of her figure out what the point of the company’s product is.
  • Jodie tries speaking with a deeper voice to get people to take her seriously, and comes to the depressing realization that it works.
  • The possibilities are truly endless.