Review: Derry Girls, season 1

Nicola Coughlan, Dylan Llewellyn, Louisa Harland, Jamie-Lee O'Donnell, and Saoirse-Monica Jackson in Derry Girls

Derry Girls is an Irish sitcom about a group of Catholic school girls. It’s set in Derry, Ireland in the 1990’s, which was the time of the Troubles in Ireland. Season 1 has 6 half hour episodes, so it is a fast watch. It’s funny.

Derry Girls is about creator Lisa McGee’s home town. The central character is Erin (Saoirse-Monica Jackson). Her friends and her family form the basic ensemble. Her cousin Orla (Louisa Harland) lives with her and attends the same school: Our Lady Immaculate College.

Also living in Erin’s house are her parents, her grandfather, her aunt and her baby sibling. The adults are as funny as the children. The adults get in clever one-liners, while the children are funny because they are idiots most of the time.

Nicola Coughlan, Dylan Llewellyn, Louisa Harland, Jamie-Lee O'Donnell, and Saoirse-Monica Jackson in Derry Girls

Nicola Coughlan plays Erin’s friend Clare. Jamie-Lee O’Donnell plays Michelle. Michelle brings her cousin James (Dylan Llewellyn) to the first day of school. He’s English. They were afraid to send him to the boys school because it was assumed he be beaten up for being English. Obviously, the sensible solution is to put him in an all girls school, right?

In six half-hour episodes there isn’t much time to give each character depth, but they are distinctive in personality in spite of that limit. This is not deep material. Characters are drawn with broad strokes. Situations are funny because they are ridiculous.

The music is fabulous. The Irish accents are impenetrable. Plan to turn on close captions. It’s available in the US on Netflix, after appearing in the UK on Channel 4.

Have you watched Derry Girls? What did you think of it? Did you have a favorite character?

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