Review of Channel 4’s Derry Girls

After six hilarious weeks of far-too-short episodes, Channel 4’s smash hit comedy Derry Girls has come to an end. Writer Lisa McGee has truly shown how a supposedly bleak historical setting can be transformed into the backdrop of a brilliant comedy.

For most of the series, McGee has made light of the troubles in Northern Ireland during the 1990s, with the girls rolling their eyes as the school bus gets searched and the inconvenience of bomb disposal affects their fake-tanning plans. The conflict in Northern Ireland has mostly been an extraordinary framework for our characters’ everyday lives; whether the girls are involved in setting fire to a fish and chip shop, claiming to have had a religious experience or explaining the death of a nun, the episodes have had very funny (if slightly predictable) storylines.

However, the largely lighthearted coming of age story was intruded upon at the end of this week’s episode in a heart wrenching and dramatically successful way for a powerful final moment, bringing the violence between the unionists and nationalists to the forefront of the action. As our protagonist Erin (Saoirse-Monica Jackson) and her crew of friends supported each other dancing on stage at their school’s talent show in an innocent and touching moment, the adults were at home, somberly watching the news about a fatal bombing. This was a painful reminder that, despite the carefree, funny nature of most of the episodes, growing up in Northern Ireland for people like Lisa McGee was by no means a normal childhood.

The slightly stereotypical but loveable teenagers at the center of the action put on impressive performances, but it was the parents and adults in the background that really stole the show. Sister Michael (Siobhan McSweeney) has been a comic highlight as the cynical headmistress of the girls’ Catholic school, and Tara Lynne O’Neill gave a stellar performance as mother Mary throughout.

With its fantastic soundtrack, 90s nostalgia and never insensitive comedy, Derry Girls has deserved its success and glowing reviews, and hopefully won’t disappoint in the just confirmed Series 2.

 

IMAGE SOURCE; Channel 4 

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