Darkly Sardonic Geek Girls: The role models for snark


With newlywed Reese Witherspoon all over the internet this week at the absolute peak of perkiness, we’re grateful that Salon.com provided the antidote: A celebration of Darkly Sardonic Geek Girls (DSGG).

Although Salon felt compelled to define the DSGG — she of no-bulls–t attitude, snarky quip and lack of interest in helping a poor schmuck figure out his life — we can identify these women at a glance. They, after all, are us.

Let’s take a look at Salon’s favorite DSGGs and add a few of our own.

Daria Morgendorffer

“People call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat or a prostitute.”

One of the best things to come out of Beavis and Butt-Head, Daria started as the anti-B&B but took her monotone and one-liners to her very own series. Daria was not a lesbian (that we know of), but she certainly preferred her best friend Jane to the boys she dated.

Logo airs repeats of the series daily (check listings for time) and it holds up well after a decade off the air. And, after watching a recent Daria marathon, I realized why she seems so familiar. She is exactly like Dorothy Snarker. As far as I know, she is Dorothy Snarker. Has anyone ever seen them together?

Lizzy Caplan

Guy in class: Nice wig, Janis. What’s it made of?

Janis: Your mom’s chest hair!

I was watching Mr. Sunshine this week and the new secretary in the office seemed familiar to me. But without the sarcastic personality that usually marks her roles, I didn’t immediately recognize Lizzy Caplan.

We know her best as Janis Ian from Mean Girls, but her DSGG persona continued in Party Down and will pop up again in the upcoming HBO series I Don’t Care About Your Band. I can’t blame her for taking a more traditional role in a network series, but I hope the sardonic side of her never goes away for good. She’s one of the best.

Janeane Garofalo

“Is being an idiot like being high all the time?”

Janeane Garofalo built her comedy career on being her DSGG self. When she began, she seemed destined for failure — she was tiny, mordant, full-figured and wore chunky thick glasses before they were cool. Actually, she probably had a lot to do with making geek specs cool.

I know people who have walked out on her comedy act, but I’m not sure what they expected. With Garofalo, as with most DSGGs, you know exactly what you’re going to get.

Lindsay Weir

“We’re all unhappy. That’s the thing about life.”

I missed Freaks and Geeks the first time around — hard to believe that the entire series was just 18 episodes. But watching it recently on IFC, I was amazed at its cast. And the heart was Linda Cardellini as Lindsay Weir.

While Lindsay was, by definition, not a geek, she definitely was dark and sardonic. So, we’ll go with it, Salon.

Salon’s other DSGGs are Dawn Weiner (Welcome to My Dollhouse), Agent Dana Scully (The X-Files), Angela Chase (My So-Called Life), Natalie Hurley (Sports Night), Thora Birch as Enid (Ghost World) and Dr. Ellie Sattler (Jurassic Park).

Of course, some of our best-loved DSGGs were missing.

Ellen Page

“I’m a legend. You know, they call me the cautionary whale.”

I’ll probably always think of Ellen Page as Juno, even though she’s starting to play all grown up in movies like Inception. But Page has an edge, no matter what character she plays. I have a feeling it’s because her real life character is a total DSGG.

Effy Stonem

“We’d all love to see Pandora get her own missionary position.”

Before I get in all sorts of trouble, I know that Effy Stonem is much more than a Darkly Sardonic Geek Girl. And she may not even be the best DSGG from Skins — she’s certainly not the only one. But when Effy is happy (for Effy) and doesn’t descend into total darkness, she is a priceless, hysterical smart-ass. Besides, I just watched her episode again, so I am newly smitten.

Wanda Sykes

“No, you weren’t born black. The Bible says Adam and Eve, it doesn’t say Adam and Mary J. Blige.”

If you’ve never seen Wanda Sykes do stand-up, you may never have seen her at her DSGG best. Nothing escapes her sharply biting wit — especially herself. One of my favorite bits from her is “Dignified Black People,” from her stand up act. It is NSFW, but is the perfect example of why she is one of my favorite DSGGs.

I know you’re thinking of some I’ve missed. That’s exactly what the comments are for — to ask how I could’ve possibly left out (your DSSG goes here). So tell me, who is your favorite Darkly Sardonic Geek Girl?