If you own a television and aren't living under a rock, chances are you sat down to watch the season two premiere of Derry Girls as it aired on Channel 4 last night.
Across Ireland and the UK, fans of the smash hit show were eagerly awaiting the return of Erin, Orla, Michelle, Clare and the Wee English Fella (sorry, James) to our screens. While many series with such a huge cult following after just one season can hit a plateau with their second, there was no danger of this for Derry Girls — it's back and better than ever.
A worldwide success
While a series about a group of teenage girls from a small corner of Northern Ireland might not immediately seem like it has universal appeal, the figures say otherwise. The series was Channel 4's biggest comedy launch since 2004, and with its addition to Netflix late last year (not in the UK and Ireland, unfortunately), it has garnered fans from all over the world.
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Scenes poking fun at the Troubles, punt purses and, in last night's episode, the differences between Catholics and Protestants, seem so unique to our island, but the show's humour and the young actors' brilliant timing have ensured that it crosses borders (excuse the pun).
The highly anticipated return
Last night's episode kicked off with a premise that we knew would be good from the outset — the girls are setting off on an outreach programme with Protestant boys in an attempt to overcome religious prejudices. But, as they're teenagers, of course, the girls' main objective isn't to gain peace; it's, as Michelle so eloquently puts it, "to get a piece of that fine Protestant ass".
The episode descends into a mess of teenage hormones, drinking, abseiling, and as we've come to expect, hilarious one-liners. The scene in which the teenagers are asked to come up with similarities between Catholics and Protestants (so as to make them see that we're not all that different), is particularly hilarious and it has been doing the rounds on social media since last night. Spoiler — they can't find any similarities, but they can think of plenty of differences, such as:
- Catholics go to Bundoran, Protestants go to Newcastle
- Protestants hate ABBA, and
- Protestants keep their toasters in the cupboard (if you know, you know)
But as much as the episode seems to be making light of the strained (and seemingly hopeless) relationship between the two groups, by its end, we can see that the teenagers have more in common than they once thought.
This is what Derry Girls, at its heart, does so beautifully — by poking fun at subjects and history that so many comedians would shy away from, it actually brings the audience together. If this is just episode one, we can't wait to watch the rest of the series.
Derry Girls airs on Channel 4, Tuesdays at 9:15 pm
Photo: Derry Girls, Channel 4
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