‘Derry Girls’ On Netflix Is A Bingeworthy Treat Of Irish Teen Angst In The ’90s

Derry Girls cast hurling
Netflix

If you are looking for a great weekend binge on Netflix, Derry Girls now has a second season available on the streaming network.

According to The New York Times, the show covers serious subject matter, yet it’s laugh-out-loud funny while still being very real. Derry Girls is all about everyday teen angst in the conflict zone of Northern Ireland in the 1990s.

Writer Lisa McGee is the creator of the show and grew up in Derry during the time of The Troubles. Any given day could bring gunfire, bombings, and kidnappings, but McGee and her friends were still teen girls navigating the usual struggles that girls face everywhere. So in her story for Netflix, McGee created an alter ego, Erin, and her friends, Orla, Clare, and Michelle (plus James) who attend a small Catholic school in Derry (or Londonderry if you are living on the other side of the wall), subtly raging against their parents, the church, and what is expected of them by society.

Erin, in particular, takes herself very seriously, which makes her even more amusing, though you are laughing with her, not at her. The strife of The Troubles is almost mundane, but the concern about crushes, clothing, and getting to see your favorite band in Belfast are all deadly serious.

The series opens in 1994, and a bomb threat will make it difficult for the school bus to make it through. However, Erin’s mum isn’t concerned with the bombing but with the idea that she can’t have children in the house for one more day of summer vacation. Orla’s mum is annoyed she won’t be able to make it to the tanning salon.

An armed British soldier toting a machine gun walks onto the school bus, and Michelle can only think of flirting with him.

McGee explained that though the struggles of the time were heavy, she wanted to show that through it all, kids were still kids.

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“We couldn’t present that dreary Northern Ireland again, where it’s always men in leather jackets, everything’s gray and nobody has a sense of humor.”

McGee’s “squad” are all self-absorbed and single-minded in their own way, but they have each other’s backs. The Verge suggests that a virtual trip to the Derry of the ’90s is filled with great music, big laughs, and amazing characters which capture something seldom seen on television. Amid the struggles and the violence is an amazing innocence and level of hope that prevails and speaks to the issues of today.