A Love Letter to Derry Girls, the Show That Reminds Us Why Life’s Worth Living

The third and final season of the beloved coming-of-age story is now on Netflix

Derry Girls Why Its Good

Deep in the endless scroll of Netflix’s catalog, there exists a tiny little show called Derry Girls. It felt like something of an outlier when I discovered it in the fall of 2019 — just two seasons of six, twenty-minute episodes each — but I pressed play out of sheer curiosity. You know, the kind of curiosity that hits you when you’ve run out of anything to watch and decide on a whim to start something entirely new and entirely original.

Set in the town of Londonderry, Northern Ireland, Derry Girls debuted in 2018 and tells the story of a group of teenagers coming of age in the 1990s. And yet it almost feels disrespectful to parse this lovely, little show down to a simple logline. Because at its heart, it’s so much more than that.

I fell in love with the world of Derry Girls almost instantly, from the second the opening notes of The Cranberries’ “Dreams” started playing under the narration provided by 16-year-old Erin (Saoirse-Monica Jackson)’s diary. And by the time the premiere ended with a madcap tornado involving detention, a dead nun, stolen lipstick, an abandoned hunger strike and the aforementioned diary acting as the episode’s proverbial Chekov’s gun that sets the whole thing in motion, I was sold hook, line, and sinker.

See, Erin and her friends — her delightfully kooky cousin Orla (Louisa Harland); bleeding heart hypochondriac Clare (Nicola Coughlan); rebellious, foul-mouthed, perpetually horny Michelle (Jamie-Lee O’Donnell) and Michelle’s perpetually put-down English transplant of a cousin, James (Dylan Llewellyn) — may see themselves as a band of outsiders. But they’re actually the coolest kids at Our Lady Immaculate College, though that’s probably a fact they won’t realize for another good six or seven years.

For now, though, they’re stuck growing up in a world where nothing ever comes easily. Not sneaking to Belfast for a Take That concert or paying for the class trip to Paris. Not taking over the school paper or performing step aerobics in the school talent show. And yet, despite these struggles, little do they know that things in life will probably also never be any better.

If you’re like me, Derry Girls may even teach you a key bit of history. It’s almost embarrassing to admit now — though not quite as embarrassing to Michelle as having an English cousin — but I only learned that Northern Ireland was a separate country from, you know, Ireland Ireland thanks to the show.


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