Derry Girls ,written and created by Lisa McGee, follows five teenagers live during the 1990’s Ireland. The main characters are Erin, Orla, Michelle, Clare and James. Erin Quinn (Saoirse-Monica Jackson) is an aspiring writer with the ego of one as well. Orla McCool (Louisa Harland) is Erin’s sweet but invasive cousin, so as most close family members do, she reads her diary, walks in on her bath. Michelle Mallon (Jaime-Lee O’Donnell) is the fiery, raunchy friend who gets the gang into trouble, a must for each friend group. Clare Devlin (Nicola Coughlin) aka ”The Craic Killer” is the best representation for the nerds who love rules because she has the brains to think but not the guts to do. James Maguire (Dylan Llewellyn), Michelle’s cousin, might be an English boy but he is a Derry Girl at heart and soul with the knight in shining armour quality.
The girls’ many adventures also coincide with The Troubles, ”the conflict between Catholics and Protestants”. The way McGee connects the ordinary lives of the girls and the historical events is excellent; some great moments of joy like dancing with friends are joined with the heartbreaking truths of war. Everything from the music, the clothes, the accents is so genuine and realistic, and this authenticity comes from both the creators and the actors who lived in the 90s and Derry. Lisa McGee says that she even remembers going to a ”scheme” just like the girls do in the first episode of season two. The things they go through ,good or bad, are derived from real life experiences.
Another wonderful fact about Derry Girls is; it is a comedy show that centres around women. ”So many women from there (Derry) are very outspoken, the men are just a support act” says Lisa McGee. Erin’s mother Mary for example, is the one in charge of the family, she says the last word and everyone has to obey. Even the oldest man in the house, Erin’s grandfather, listens to her and her loving husband is there to support her, which is highly unusual for TV these days. The comedy derived from the family is not ”they are different and now that they are married they hate each other” it comes from the loving dynamic they have.
The show also involves a variety of women and different relationships they have. For instance, Aunt Sarah is traditionally feminine while Sister Michael is not but both of these women are remarkably strong and self assured.
I could just list all of the good things about Derry Girls but we do not have all day so to conclude; go watch this, incredibly entertaining show if you haven’t.