The strong matriarch of the local Morgendorffer clan. A constantly busy lawyer by trade, she still finds time to do her share (and often Jake's share too) of parenting of Daria and Quinn. She often mentions trying to spice up her marriage, and makes numerous attempts when she has time to try to bond with her daughters.
Helen is the hard-working attorney, like Jake, can be short-tempered due to a busy schedule and stress. Despite this, she is compassionate, caring, motherly, and tries her best to give Daria advice on different moments in her life, even if it's not the best advice.
Helen's formative years were spent in the shadow of her sister Rita Barksdale, whom her mother favored & spoiled constantly with money. Helen grew up determined to be the best at whatever she did, mainly so she could finally feel like her mother was proud of her. This caused resentment to fester from Rita & Amy Barksdale, who felt they were expected to equal Helen in their studies. Helen & Amy never got along, but the two have bonded over the fact that their mother never gave them any attention, love, or affection. As an adult, Helen intended to stay in contact with her Mother but rarely is able to due to time constraints, a demanding job, & raising a family. It is also possible that she just didn't want to commit to the idea. Once Helen entered Middleton College, she became a hippie, & met Jake Morgendorffer & quickly began dating. The two bonded over their shared familial issues, & both got arrested in the summer of 1969. The two graduated in 1972, & quickly moved into a commune with their friends before getting married on June 26, 1975. When Helen enrolled in high school, she gave up the hippie lifestyle & embraced the capitalistic corporate American dream. On occasion, she is known to feel guilty about not retaining her hippie ideals. Helen became a corporate lawyer, & despite having two daughters, she continued to work & remained the main breadwinner of the family, often at the expense of her family.
Jake Morgendorffer- Jake often frustrates Helen with his personality quirks. cluelessness, neuroticism, & crazy antics, which she often plays off as background noise but really gives her great discontent. She can be very vicious to Jake, & berates him for not getting over his childhood. The couple has tried to rekindle their marriage on multiple occasions, but their romantic retreats & therapy often fails to reignite that spark. Helen is the lead parent, & Jake's lack of initiative irritates Helen. In general, Helen truly cares about Jake, & often apologizes to him for her angry remarks.
Daria Morgendorffer- Helen is constantly pushing Daria to be more involved in school activities, make friends/social network with popular students at Lawndale High, open up to her, be more positive, & be more of a conformist. She often bribes or pressures Daria into going along with her demands. She believes Daria is hiding behind an antisocial mask & refuses to let her 'become that mask'. Daria speaks to Helen more than Quinn, & her conversations have an adult level of maturity. Helen understands Daria more than she gets credit for, & fears she emotionally shut her out. She also has a huge fear of Daria becoming sexually active. Despite Daria being sardonic & cynical, she is proud of her for being gifted, perceptive, & committed to her principles.
Quinn Morgendorffer- Helen is very supportive of Quinn, & often cheerleads her in everything she does. She views Quinn as well-engaged & social (the antithesis of Daria). She is concerned that Quinn is too shallow or to likely of being taken advantage of, & is more concerned about this with Quinn than Daria. She is also more concerned about Quinn's welfare because she believes that Daria is capable of taking care of herself. During psychotherapy, she unwittingly reveals that she considers Quinn one of her failures, revealing "Quinn...well, I can't even think about what happened there, not right now". Naturally, she is horrified by this, & tries to explain.
Rita Barksdale- Helen never got over Rita being the favored daughter, & is irritated that she still is. She is shocked when Rita reveals that she resented Helen too because Helen was so academically achieving & made the other girls look lazy in comparison. Though they both resent each other & argue whenever they meet, the two still maintain contact with each other. Helen tends to try to make up with Rita, but the two will begin to argue intensely, which pushes away their younger sister, Amy. Rita denies that she was ever their mother's favorite, & thinks Helen deliberately worked in order to make Amy & Rita look bad. Eventually, Daria & Quinn sufficiently shame their mother & aunts into calling a truce over the major argument the women were having.
Amy Barksdale- Helen believes Amy used her & Rita's bickering as an excuse to get out of family responsibilities. Amy, in turn, accuses Helen of nursing a grudge against Rita into adulthood & ruining their family dynamic, which is pretty accurate. Amy commends Jake for staying with Helen, saying it takes "formidable fortitude", which is a particularly nasty jab that Helen ignores. When Amy comments on Rita & Helen's fight, she blames Helen for it, saying she's jealous that Rita got a new car during high school, which turns out to be correct. Amy does not maintain contact with Helen.
Grandma Barksdale- Helen is resentful of Grandma Barksdale because she always favored Rita, & showered her with gifts & money. The majority of her life, her drive, her work ethic, her job, etc. have all been based on making her mother proud of her, & finally being the favorite. She never succeeds in the latter part, her mother paying for Erin's (Rita's daughter) wedding, Rita's new living room, & Erin's time in Switzerland during Rita's marital crisis. Rita has never been employed because her mother pays for all of her material things.
Helen is a Type A personality, who is driven to succeed & be the best at everything. She often neglects her family as a result, which she somewhat regrets on a regular basis. She has a strong drive to succeed in the corporate world, but that drive also carries over to succeeding as a mother, wife, & daughter. When Helen sings a duet with Quinn, she admits to Daria that "I could do a half-assed job & nobody would care" but she's too addicted to work & being the best. She keeps those feelings to herself. Daria notes that Helen is both resentful about needing to work so hard and guilty that she enjoys working that hard. She is driven to despair by the idea that she is only pretending to care about her family & is consequently ruining her daughters' lives.
- Helen is from Virginia
- Helen becomes a partner
- She is the middle daughter
- In the Latin American dubbing, she is voiced by Rocío Garcel and Araceli de León
- Helen has 3 alter egos; Evil Helen, Human, but Fallible Helen, & Sapphic Helen