The Derry Girls are pure Irish delight, if we do say…
Maybe it’s because I was also a teenager in the 90s, going to high school in a country alive and rumbling with politics. Maybe it’s because I too had Sinead o’Connor and The Cranberries on high rotation and came from a small town where “everybody knows everybody knows something about everybody, and sometimes all I really want is to be simply left alone.”
Derry Girls season one, now streaming on Netflix, is hilarious and oh so relatable. With only six 23-minute episodes, I’ll wager that Derry Girls and its light-hearted comedy saved Christmas for some viewers.
Created by Lisa McGee, a play- and screenwriter who was born in Derry in Northern Ireland (true story), the series is produced by Channel 4 and follows the lives of 16-year-old Erin and her cousin the spacey Orla, their friends Claire and Michelle, and Michelle’s cousin James who is English and has been placed in the all-girls Catholic school.
The not-so-fearless five navigate the 90s in Northern Ireland, dealing with bomb scares, school bullies, startlingly handsome priests, weeping Madonna statues and being banned from the local chippie shop.
The comedy can be a bit slapstick at times, with that famous accent coming out thick and strong and the facial expressions being a wee bit OTT. That’s my sole criticism; otherwise, Derry Girls is a delight.
My favourite character is Sister Michael played by Siobhan Sweeney, who is the headmistress of Our Lady Immaculate College and is marvellously droll. She reminds me of Dermot Morgan in Father Ted. Oh, ye of little faith but plenty of stinging one-liners.
It’s hard not to draw comparisons between Derry Girls and The Inbetweeners, another coming-of-age tale with an all-male cast of teens who go to Rudge Park comprehensive in a small British town. The Inbetweeners wrapped after three seasons in 2010, and it’s just been announced that they are coming back for a 10-year reunion and that the Derry Girls will be making an appearance.
Is it Christmas again, already?