- Film & TV
- 19 May 22
If it's the fact that your mammy won't let you wear your denim jacket to school, the fact that your cousin is doing her book report on your diary, or the simple fact that your uncle is the ultimate bore-bag, there is a Derry Girl in all of us.
As the bonus episode of Derry Girls drew the sitcom to a close last night, it pushed itself to new heights and, in typical Derry Girls fashion, brought us many laughs along the way. From several celebrity cameos to an “absolutely cracker” soundtrack, this feature-length episode acts as the ultimate love letter to Derry, Northern Ireland, the 90s, and growing up.
Written around the Good Friday Agreement cramping Orla (Louisa Harland) and Erin’s (Saoirse Monica Jackson) style as it interferes with their 18th birthday celebration, this episode was set a year later, in 1998. This is just one of the many things that make us love Derry Girls the way we do, adding comedy against the backdrop of serious political events.
The Good Friday Agreement single-handedly ended most of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. It was essentially a major development in the peace process that brought forward issues relating to sovereignty, governance, discrimination, and much more.
“The Good Friday Agreement was hard-won and hard-fought-for and the people of Northern Ireland voted for it and now it’s in danger of being attacked through ignorance," said Siobhán McSweeney, who plays Sister Michael.
Although, in typical Derry fashion, Lisa McGee dips her pen into the ink of mixing trauma with comedy, amalgamating the incredibly bleak and traumatic events of the Troubles with witty one-liners and bizarre narratives. But, it’s important to note that such comedy does not take away from the magnitude of such a shifting political landscape. For example, Erin and Michelle (Jamie-Lee O’Donnell) butt heads over which way they were going to vote in the historic referendum. You may think it would be difficult to fit a joke about paramilitary prisoners into a series like this, but it works. Everything about Derry Girls fits together like pieces in a jigsaw.
The hour-long special opens with Orla registering to vote. She’s handed a copy of the Good Friday Agreement and is instructed to read it before she votes. “Is it any good?” she asks, “Because I’ve just read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and….” she mimics having her mind blown. The innocence of it all.
With special appearances from Chelsea Clinton and Bronagh Gallagher, the episode was indeed jam-packed as Jenny Joyce (Leah O’Rourke) decides to have her party on the same night as Erin and Orla’s. To make matters worse, Claire (Nicola Coughlan), in all her wee lesbian glory, has moved to Strabane (although she’s going on as if she’s moved to Papua New Guinea) so the gang is separated. Naturally, Claire attempts to create peace and harmony within Michelle and Erin's tiff through her landline, that’s the shape of a Big Mac.
Ending with ‘Dreams’ by The Cranberries, they cast their votes at long last while Erin conducts an emotional monologue about not wanting to grow up. She wishes things would stay the way they are. “If our dreams get broken along the way, we have to make new ones from the pieces,” she concludes.
Without a doubt, it has earned its right to bid farewell with not one, but two final episodes. However, last night's bonus episode showed the girls and “the wee English fella” in an entirely new light. It’s almost like they have grown up so much in such a short period of time, which is what moves a lot of us most. The concept of time is drilled into us as teenagers. Family members will always tell you, “School days are the best days of your life, you’ll never be this young again,” and, although true, you never really listen because you think the world is on your shoulders, and you have more important things to worry about. But, the truth is, being young and being able to be that little bit stupid sometimes should be celebrated, and Lisa McGee showcases this idea beautifully, through all of her weird and wonderful three seasons.
Check out our interview with Lisa McGee here.
Revisit 'Dreams' below.