Derry Girls is a Northern Irish sitcom created and written by Lisa McGee. Produced by British production company Hat Trick Productions and starring a predominantly Northern Irish cast, the show is set in Derry, Northern Ireland, in the 1990s. It premiered on 4 January 2018 on Channel 4 and, following an early series renewal, production of a second series began later that year on 8 October 2018. The show follows the lives of Erin (Saoirse-Monica Jackson), her cousin Orla (Louisa Harland) and their friends Clare (Nicola Coughlan), Michelle (Jamie-Lee O’Donnell) and Michelle’s English cousin James (Dylan Llewellyn), as they navigate their teens in Derry during the Troubles.
A show where the only male main character is marginalized. But this show doesnt discuss gender politics. It discusses politics in conflict in Norther Ireland during the 90s. Actually it doesnt discuss that either. This is a show about 5 teenagers who happen to be living where this conflict is taking place.
I always commend a show that makes me research. Though the history of the place isnt brought any specific attention to, the fact that its woven through the six episode first season so well, is brilliant. It only made me curious about the place and the events the show shows as backdrops to the teens adventures. Erin, Orla, Clare, and Michelle are four teens living in Derry, Northern Ireland. They are joined by Michelle’s English cousin, James, the first male addition to their Catholic all girls school, as student anyway. Now, I went to a Catholic school growing up, albeit not in Ireland. But I have to say, things are not that different school wise. The fact that James attends the same school as the girls, for fear of his life, is simply amazing. Better yet, the fact that no one regards him as anything special. Though they constantly criticize him for no reason and are always in contempt of his actions, its quite sweet how they naturally accept him into their group of friends. Somebody really needs to give that poor boy his own toilet at the school though. I am surprised that never came up again after the first episode.
This is another show where teens act as teens. They are bumbling, awkward, silly but also ingenious sometimes. Although most of their plans lack foresight and they are not one to follow any kind of rules or instructions, they are all rather sweet and smart, in their own way, kids. The Derry Girls is a brilliant comedy that retains its childlike innocence despite being setup around a political conflict. The supporting cast in the form of the kids’ families is brilliant too. Erin and Orla’s parents are more under focus than others. Now I have not met any Irish people in real life, so I find it hard to comment on the genuineness of the show, but most of the jokes seem to land with me and the show seems to be grounded in reality to some extent. I really appreciate the sort of realistic setting of teens being teens too. There are instances where the kids go so far as to torch someones house, but everything has consequences. Its quite reminiscent of ones own school days. We all tried to bunk classes, change our uniforms to suit our style, beg our parents to pay for the school trip. Though I never had the luck of Mother Mary smirking down at me right before an exam. The show has a very cosy and congenial feel to it. Which I found fascinating because I have never been to Ireland. The show is a light watch with great pacing. Never once does it have a boring or slow spot.
The cast is on point. I did feel like Jackson and Coughlan were overacting in the first episode, but their style soon grew on me. All the characters are really endearing. Its commendable how they decided to take a majorly Irish cast too. I mean, why not? The supporting characters are all brilliant too. This isnt a show with crazy antics or dirty humour. You could say its a lighter and a little more realistic version of Inbetweeners and Bad Education, other teen shows I enjoy very much. They are all like vignettes and anecdotes from childhoods. This show is that and a period drama, which is a bonus. Definitely a must watch. Thankfully I found this show while its still ongoing. Cannot wait for season 2.
Until next time