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All of the highlights from the return of Derry Girls and how the show was received by both fans and critics


DERRY GIRLS MADE a long-awaited return to Channel 4 last night, and many joked that the fact that the first episode of season two debuted on Pancake Tuesday made it an extra special day for all of the Catholics out there.

There were a couple of highlights, which we will run through right now, so if you haven’t watched it yet: TURN BACK NOW

PastedImage-62377 Source: Channel 4

Now as you expected, after watching all of the promotional videos ahead of the show’s release, the girls were set to meet some Protestants for some cross community relations. The episode opened up with Orla being Orla, and everyone acknowledging Clare’s sexuality. Granda Joe leaned in and told Clare, “I heard that KD Lang on the radio yesterday. Christ, she’s some set of pipes on her. You’re very talented people.” 

Moments after, Michelle arrived and relayed a message from her mother to Mary, telling her that she can hang onto that big bowl she got a loan of. The entire episode was punctuated by Mary trying to understand how another woman would be happy away to give away a lovely big bowl like that, much to Erin’s frustration. 

PastedImage-76591 Source: Channel 4

Once the girls met the Protestant lads, they were sat down with Father Peter, who asked the Protestants and the Catholics to do an exercise which would encourage them to see that there’s more that unites them than divides them. Father Peter asked Erin to name one thing she had in common with the boys, and she struggled to come up with anything. Instead of naming their commonalities, all of the teens began shouting out their prejudices against each other, which in fairness, were gas. 

They ranged from “distance between eyes” and “Catholic gravy is all Bisto” to “camogie v hockey”, and “Catholics love JFK”. The usual stuff you’ve probably heard from your grandparents. While we’re on the topic, my nana was always scandalised by the idea that Protestants pray in their beds, rather than saying the rosary beside their beds before they get in and go to sleep.

You might think that all of this is too absurd to be realistic, but one viewer on Twitter spoke about his awful 90s cross community initiative flashbacks, saying, “In 1994 I was legit blindfolded and tied to a Protestant and we had to find our way out of a forest to solve The Troubles.“ 

Look at that remark about where Protestants keep their toasters. One viewer at home uploaded a video simply captioned, “It’s true”, which featured his dad opening the press to reveal a toaster.

If the video won’t play, click here.

At this stage, the episode had already established its brilliance, and any anxiety that this wouldn’t be as good as the first series was completely quelled. It only got better from this point onward, with the boys and girls partnering up, and James trying his very best to be as manly as possible (which eventually upset his male partner, who called him weird and sexist). The girls tiptoed out of their dorm room that night to join the lads and try and get stuck into them, which made the boys very uncomfortable.

PastedImage-77246 Source: Channel 4

Eventually Clare’s partner, who was deaf in one ear, lost his temper and told her how he really felt about Catholics. 

I hate them. I think they’re all arseholes. It’s true. They’re all thick as shit. I DESPISE THEM. I really do. 

As Clare was alone during this exchange, nobody else witnessed this chap’s outburst. So when they got paired up for an abseiling exercise the next day, Clare was terrified about the prospect of putting her life in this maniac’s hands. She kept telling Father Peter and her pals that she wasn’t sure about it, but everybody else volunteered her to go first. This resulted in what was quite possibly one of the best scenes in this show to date.

PastedImage-66306 Source: Channel 4

Our meek, cheerful and friendly Clare absolutely lost it when her partner nearly dropped her down the side of the cliff, as she screamed:

He’s trying to kill me! He wants to kill us all! All of us Catholics! Look at his eyes! He’s a mad man! A fenian-hating mad man! Don’t let the Jaffa bastard hurt me! PLEASE!

As Michelle and Erin grew increasingly surprised (and amused) by Clare’s terror, Clare tried to explain herself and told everybody what her partner had said to her the night before. He flat out denied it, insisting that he had misheard her, and was actually expressing his distate towards athletes, rather than Catholics. 

Then one of his mates chimed in and said, “They’re all arseholes.” 

[Pointing to James] This guy’s really creepy, and a bit, sorta, sexist. [Pointing to Orla] And she carries a knife and makes people bury their own excrement!

Someone at the back of the group shouted, “Fuckin’ Catholics”, to which Michelle angrily asked “Who said that?!” Naturally, a brawl began.

PastedImage-44380 Source: Channel 4

After all of the drama, there was a heartwarming end to the episode, when Erin and her protestant partner realised that the one thing they had in common was having mad parents. Is it any wonder parents were mad, bringing kids up during The Troubles? 

The episode was sheer entertainment from start to finish, and the reviews from critics back that up. 

Personally, I’ve now seen the episode twice, because I needed to go through it a second time to gather everything for this piece and on the second viewing I realised just how funny it was. There is not one scene that doesn’t have a cracker of a joke, or a moment that’ll compel you to laugh out loud. 

The Guardian gave it five stars and said that the magic of Derry Girls “shows no sign of fading”.

The new series retains all the unmistakable genuine flavour of teenage life, and does that rare thing of concentrating on all that was good about being an adolescent girl. Instead of the inner torments, it showcases the overwhelming confidence that somehow co-existed in equal proportion to the angst. The unabashed sexual curiosity alongside the nervousness. No half measures, no doubts, no second-guessing, just a headlong, passionate rush at everything.

The Irish Times were similarly entertained and said that “Derry Girls enjoys the mayhem”, while Ross O’Carroll-Kelly creator Paul Howard called the show “hilarious and brilliant.” Journalist Philip Nolan remarked, “Every single line of Derry Girls cracks me up.” While Donald Clarke from the Irish Times said he laughed so hard that he “spat whiskey on the cat”. 

The response from fans on Twitter was just as positive. 

The praise was heaped onto Sister Michael too, and so many viewers were tormented by the big bowl saga going on with Erin and Michelle’s mams. 

Spectators on Twitter even noticed that Derry Girls had given politicians in the North some common ground, with Sinn Fein’s Sinéad Ennis, the Alliance Party’s Kellie Armstrong, and Social Democratic and Labour Party leader Colum Eastwood all taking to the social media platform to commend the show and Lisa McGee’s writing. You couldn’t make it up. 

We look forward to seeing what’s in store next week. 

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About the author:

Kelly Earley

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