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Why Derry Girls Is An Underrated Coming-Of-Age Comedy Series

Why Derry Girls Is An Underrated Coming-Of-Age Comedy Series

A Hidden Gem

Derry Girls is a Force to be Reckoned With 

Hollywood is certainly no stranger to the classic “coming-of-age” genre. Many coming-of-age films and television shows, such as The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Ladybird, Heartstopper, and Sex Education are all examples of media from the coming-of-age genre that have had a significant impact on society. There is something about audiences seeing fictional characters  grow up on screen that resonates with people. An even more niche example of this genre would be “coming-of-age-sitcoms,” such as Mindy Kaling’s Never Have I Ever and Netflix’s Atypical. There is nothing better than being able to add humor to the never-ending story that is being a teenager. The beautiful thing about the coming-of-age genre is that people of all ages can truly enjoy this content because people are either currently growing up, or can resonate with the feelings that came with growing up. One coming-of-age comedy series that is severely underrated and deserves more recognition is Derry Girls. 

Derry Girls is a teen sitcom show that is set in Derry, Northern Ireland during the 1990s. The series follows five teens: Erin (Saoirse-Monica Jackson), Orla (Louisa Harland), Clare (Nicola Coughlan), Michelle (Jamie-Lee O’Donnell), and James (Dylan Llewellyn) as they navigate their high school years while also dealing with the political tensions that took place in Ireland during the 1990s. The five teens attend an all-girls Catholic high school, with Michelle’s cousin James also attending this school out of fear that he would not fit in at the all-boys school due to the fact that he is British, and not Irish. The series also features the teens’ parents, specifically focusing on the home lives of Erin and Orla’s family, who all live together in one house. 

Derry Girls was created by showrunner Lisa McGee and premiered on the network Channel 4, as well as being released internationally on Netflix. The show ran for three seasons, with only nineteen episodes to account for the entire series. The final season of Derry Girls was released on Netflix on October 7th, 2022. 

Quality Over Quantity 

One of the main reasons that Derry Girls is often overlooked is due to its limited screen time. Each season of the series had six or seven episodes, with each episode averaging anywhere between 20-30 minutes long. For many comedy series, this is considered an incredibly short run. However, instances like Derry Girls prove that the quality of the television show is more impactful than the quantity of the episodes. Many people would rather have nineteen fantastic episodes as opposed to seven seasons full of filler episodes. The small amount of episodes also means that this show is an incredibly quick watch and perfect to throw on if you are in a pinch and looking for something fun and lighthearted.

Why Derry Girls Is An Underrated Coming-Of-Age Comedy Series

Derry Girls’ Take On Religion 

Another unique aspect of Derry Girls is its take on religion. All of the main characters in the show go to a Catholic school, and the show often touches on religion both in and outside of the school setting. One prominent character in the show who expands the show’s portrayal of religion is Sister Michael, who is a Catholic nun and the headmistress of Our Lady Immaculate College, the characters’ high school. Sister Michael is an incredibly sarcastic and humorous character, always providing some kind of comedic relief throughout the episode. Derry Girls strays from a stereotypical portrayal of a religious figure by making Sister Michael someone who is very blunt, straightforward, and seemingly not very religious. Sister Michael is an incredibly complex character with many hidden layers, but she is by far one of the show’s most beloved characters and is often credited for making the show as humorous as it is. 

Derry Girls often refers to the societal battle that took place between Catholics and Protestants during the political tensions of the 1990s in Northern Ireland. The show does a great job of using this religious setting to show both the good and bad sides of religion. Many people can relate to the main characters and their feelings of growing up in a world where there is religious conflict and religious rules to follow, and this makes the show even more relatable. 

Perfect Balance of Comedy and Dramatics 

Although Derry Girls is mainly known for being a comedy series, the show does not shy away from dealing with heavy topics, such as sudden family deaths, political and religious troubles, and growing up in a world where violent and cruel things happen every day. What makes this show stand out from others is that it has a perfect balance of comedy and serious storylines. It is not surprising to be watching this show and hysterically laughing one minute, and then being heartbroken the next. Derry Girls uses its setting to showcase how quickly bad things can happen. One minute you can be goofing around and laughing with your friends and family, only to turn on the news and realize that something terrible has happened. The show prides itself on being a realistic portrayal of what it was like to grow up in Northern Ireland during the years of “The Troubles.” Viewers of this show who did not experience growing up in Northern Ireland during the 1990s can still very much relate to the series due to its comedy and authentic portrayals of growing up as a teenager. 

Anyone Can Be a Derry Girl!

Derry Girls is truly one of the funniest and most underrated comedy series. Each episode will take you on a wild ride as you follow Erin, Orla, Clare, Michelle, and James in whatever newest adventure or challenge they face. Check out all three seasons of Derry Girls streaming now on Netflix!

Why Derry Girls Is An Underrated Coming-Of-Age Comedy Series

Derry Girls Season Three (2018) Channel 4 Comedy Official Trailer

Source: Dead Talk Live

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Hanna Zabski is a current undergraduate student at Marist College majoring in Media Studies and Production with a concentration in Film and Television. She is incredibly passionate about the entertainment industry and storytelling, and hopes to one day pursue a career in this field.