Sick, Sad World is a fictional, in-universe TV show in Daria. It was watched mostly by Daria and Jane. The show was never fully watched; only the leading teaser was shown. The teasers are a running gag throughout the series that offer one note visual gags and not much else to the series as a whole, the exceptions being the episodes Just Add Water and The Lawndale File. They were likely added as filler to increase episode run time for some episodes that were considered too short for broadcast otherwise.
The program's bombastic continuity announcer is played by MTV Animation producer John Lynn. It is hosted by a blonde woman who is never named. The show's announcer typically asks an outrageous question, or gives a statement about the program in question before announcing the title during each teaser.
For the most part, the show is seen only through its opening teasers. The sole exception was in The Lawndale File where bits and pieces of the show were shown throughout, revealing that the show conducts interviews with people about these strange occurrences and even creates reenactments based on what the interviewed person has said.
The show features such questionable news stories such as the uncovering of Thomas Jefferson's pornographic "tell-all" sex journals ("The Declaration of In My Pants! Next on Sick Sad World") and "exposing" the habitual defecation of fish into the ocean ("Are fish using our oceans as their own private toilets??!!").
A number of the stories have a quite surreal or paranormal bent to them, such as stories about bats disguising themselves as squirrels to infiltrate neighborhoods ("Rabid Rodent Rip-offs!"), mountaineers scaling a mountain of seagull droppings ("Guano see some gutsy climbing?"), or zombies causing traffic accidents ("Brought back from the grave by black magic, but no one taught them to cross at the green! The Jaywalking Dead!"). It's unknown if any of these stories have any bearing on fact.
Sick, Sad World is popular enough to have a competitor: Poor, Pathetic Planet. (The Daria Diaries)
The Daria Database shows the letter they send to wannabe-writers, cheerfully making it clear that they're uninterested in being accurate and that they'll steal any story you pitch to them ("we have a large staff of full-time lawyers").
Artie has appeared as a guest at least twice, in Esteemsters and The Lawndale File. In the latter, he accused Daria and Jane of being "alien love goddesses" who stole his skin and made him lose his job (again).
In Just Add Water, Daria and Jane watched a very long marathon of the show all night and spend the next day trying to sleep it off.
In the game Daria's Inferno, the game play hints are presented as SSW clips.
Appearances & Descriptions
SSW Announcer: And now, back to Sick, Sad World.
[The SSW logo is replaced by the image of a woman and a very elderly man, each seated in high-backed leather chairs in a fancy-looking study.]
SSW Reporter: This is just astounding! Here you are, blind, deaf, and barely able to walk, yet you conducted simultaneous affairs with three members of the Royal Family! The question on all of America's mind is: how did you do it?
Old Man: (leans forward) What?
Daria! - The Inappropriate Alto - "They broke into her bedroom. She burst into song."
Jake of Hearts - Rabid Rodent Rip-offs - "Are bats sneaking into your neighborhood disguised as cute flying squirrels?"
Is It Fall Yet? - Rats on Ritalin - "Are drug-crazed rodents raiding your child's medicine cabinet?"
Camp Fear -There's Something about Hitler - "Meet the psychic Nazi hunter who says the Fuhrer's been reincarnated...as a madcap leggy blonde!"