Utter, complete eejits. Bumbling, self-absorbed teens stuck in messes completely of their own making. Sixteen and packed with scheming shenanigans but void of any true malice. Yup, you can’t help but fall in love with the five teenage dirtbags in Derry Girls as they rally against the injustices of their small Northern Ireland town during the “Troubles” of the early 1990s. Their hairbrained schemes, like attempting to avoid a history exam or make enough money to go on a class trip to Paris, are a stark contrast against the armed men with balaclavas roam the streets. But this isn’t a history lesson — just a charming sitcom about restless teens attempting to make it through high school with minimal embarrassment… failing epically.
Each of the girls brings her own special brand of lunacy to the table. Erin, played by Saorise-Monica Jackson, mixes self-righteousness with an astounding talent of not thinking before she speaks. Her grave-voiced cousin Orla (Louisa Harland) fancies herself gifted at step aerobics and enjoys reading aloud from Erin’s introspective diary. Angel-faced Clare can’t keep a secret and seemingly in on the brink of a nervous breakdown. That frazzled attitude isn’t helped by the crazy antics of foul-mouthed Michelle whose talents consist of rounding up mischief and cute boys. James, the “wee English fella” and Michelle’s cousin, tags along on their misadventures at their all-girls school because education officials were concerned the lads may beat him up for his nationality at a boys school. James’ (Dylan Llewellyn) English outlook is hilariously and continuously shot down as girls often bully him back into a beta spot.
The crackling comedy and sharp dialogue are highlighted against the background of the teens’ day to day life. Throughout the 10 episode series, the posse fails and fall through numerous mortifying situations, proving girls can do a coming-of-age comedy just as (in my opinion better) than the lads.