Netflix original “Derry Girls” provides fresh comedy


Screenshot from Netflix’s “Derry Girls,” of the main characters. From left to right: James Maguire (Dylan Llewellyn), Michelle Mallon (Jamie-Lee O’Donnell), Erin Quinn (Saoirse-Monica Jackson), Orla McCool (Louisa Harland), and Clare Devlin (Nicola Coughlan).

Bianca McCarty, Co-editor

Anyone with a Netflix account knows that the platform is saturated with dozens of Netflix originals, ranging from fantastic to awful. Derry Girls stands as a beacon of hilarity in a sea of mediocre content.

The basic premise of Derry Girls is this: four girls and one boy who live in Northern Ireland in the nineties and all attend an all-girls Catholic school. The show mainly centers around Erin Quinn, a boy-crazy lover of literature, and the trouble she and the others get up to.

Given that our main characters are Catholic, much of the humor centers around Catholic culture and certain oddities of our faith. But the Protestants need not worry, they get made fun of, too.

Derry Girls is uniquely capable of poking fun at religion without being disrespectful to anyone’s beliefs. They never go as far to contest theology or doctrines of the Church, rather point out little quirks of Catholicism that will make any Catholic, and anyone familiar with Catholicism, howl with laughter. Especially as someone raised in Mississippi, it is so novel to see a show that relates to and respects Catholics. Personally, my favorite instance of this religious humor is when our characters list the differences between Catholics and Protestants, examples that get more and more ridiculous as they progress.

“Catholics really buzz off statues.”

“Protestants like to march and Catholics like to walk.”

“Protestants love cleaning!”

“Catholics have more freckles!”

“Protestants hate ABBA!”

As a born and raised Catholic, I agree with the statue one, because I do enjoy a good statue.

Accompanying the fantastic humor are equally wonderful characters. The main crew of teenagers— consisting of Erin, Orla, Michelle, Clare, and James—feel like a real group of friends. Each character is distinct and hilarious in their own way. Their relationships with one and other feel genuine. They go through ups and downs, but they always come back to other, just like a real family.

A “Derry Girls” mural on the side of Badger’s Bar in Derry, Ireland.

Derry Girls is set during the Troubles in Northern Ireland and the way the show handles the political conflict is incredibly true to life. As it follows the lives of normal people, the actual conflict is not the central aspect of the show, rather a background element that occasionally makes an appearance. The elements of a war-torn community are presented without much fanfare, as they are normal for the characters. Soldiers stopping school buses, bombings, and Irish Resistance graffiti on the garden wall. The light tone of the show makes these serious moments resonate more deeply. Derry Girls portrays normal people continuing to live their lives in the middle of a civil war, because that is all one can do.

Derry Girls is one of the best series on Netflix, and I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone.