What happens when you have four out-of-their-mind teenage girls and their pitiable English tag-along and set them up against the backdrop of civil conflict? You get the brilliant show Derry Girls!
The show follows Erin and her friends as they cross the usual hurdles of being 16: parents, independence, romance, school. But where Derry Girls stands out in its references to checkposts, army officers, and the ever-present threat of clashes between Irish republicans and British unionists.
Maybe unexpectedly, Derry Girls is absolutely hilarious. Bad luck seems to constantly follow Erin and her gang, putting them in awkward situations, which include witnessing a false miracle, housing a Russian immigrant, and finding a stowaway in their car while crossing the border to the Republic of Ireland.
The teenagers are ridiculous in their comedy and actions, but the stars of the show are their school’s headmistress, who is sarcastic and clearly has put up with fumbling teenagers for too long, and Erin’s family, which has a realistic and quirky dynamic. Needless to say, each scene is jam-packed with action even if it is the most mundane of situations.
Derry Girls is unique in the fact that not many Irish television shows have gained its level of international success, especially as it features young women in starring roles. It shows us how even in places of conflict, ordinary lives exist and still have to go on, though interrupted as they are.
It resonates especially with me because I grew up in conflict-ridden Lahore, Pakistan, but our day-to-day life continued nonetheless. I wish someone made a series like this about Lahore!
The show not only made me laugh but also taught me about an important historical decade that I did not know much about, which led me to research more on the issue. You’ll fall in love with the characters, that’s a given, but you’ll also begin to love Derry itself.
With only six episodes at about 20 minutes each — which are all readily available on Netflix — what are you waiting for?