Derry Girls finale: A fitting farewell to a future classic sitcom


There’s a part of me that doesn’t really want to grow…but things can’t stay the same, and they shouldn’t,” Saoirse-Monica Jackson’s Erin Quinn notes near the end of this unique hour-long episode. . send for Channel 4’s Derry Girls.

Lisa McGee’s sitcom is retiring at the top of its game after three seasons, rather than keeping its teenage characters (and stars in their 20s and 30s) frozen in a state of perpetual adolescence. This last extended hurrah, a year after the heartbreaking about-turn of the final episode of S3 (which saw Nicola Coughlan’s Clare hurtling from the euphoria of her first kiss after learning that her father had suffered a fatal aneurysm) feels like a a fitting farewell to a show that deftly weaved the personal with the political in surprising and hilarious ways from the moment Aunt Sarah (Kathy Kiera Clarke) worried that a bomb threat was across town. wreaks havoc on her tanning date in the very first episode.

Erin, Clare (now living 20 minutes down the road “if traffic is good” and therefore subject to the vagaries of Ulster bus times if she wants to find her gang), Michelle (Jamie-Lee O’Donnell), Orla (Louisa Harland) and James (Dylan Llewellyn) are now 18 and preparing to vote in the referendum on the Good Friday Agreement.

To help his family make an informed decision, Granda Joe (Ian McElhinney) took it upon himself to break down some of the denser sections of the deal into simple terms, presenting them with an explanatory bulletin board covered in Post- Its and Tayto, connected with a red string. Each point only seems to raise more questions. If there’s going to be a new police force, Aunt Sarah mused, then surely they’ll need a new uniform: “If they want Catholics to join, they’re going to have to find something that works with our complexion.”

Channel 4

The Tayto packages are Granda’s way of pointing out that the ‘two types’ of paramilitary prisoners are at risk of being released from prison sooner under the Accord, and it’s this news that ends up creating a fault line. in the group. Michelle’s brother, we learn, is one of these prisoners; Erin, meanwhile, thinks her crime is “black and white” and should be punished as such.

Their argument threatens to overshadow Erin and Orla’s joint 18th birthday celebrations (merged because their moms are “tight holes”), with its mixed theme of “Literature Greats” (Erin) and ” Monkeys” (Orla) – much like the fact that Jenny Joyce (Leah O’Rourke), insufferable resident of Our Lady Immaculate College, throws a much more expensive party the same night, with the promise of a performance of a Commitment ( singular), a caricaturist and a few small horses. All Erin’s Rival can offer are terrifying and towering homemade cardboard cutouts of these literary greats. “Is that your Uncle Colm?” Michelle asks Erin, before the row. “It’s Samuel Beckett,” she hisses back, prompting a late contestant for Michelle’s zinger from the show: “One annoying bastard is a lot like another, I guess.”

Friendship factions torn between two parties on the same night – it’s a classic high school trope, and you can guess how it ultimately plays out, but McGee always had a knack for playing with these scenarios, investing them with heart. and character. advanced humor. We see the ever-confident Michelle crumble when Jenny starts talking about the ski season in Val d’Isere (“Cool Runnings is probably one of my favorite movies,” she offers in response), while that Orla is brilliantly bullshit: “How many pieces of Communion do you think it would take to eat a whole Jesus?” she’s thinking, about nothing (while we’re on the subject of religion, I’d say this episode may not have enough Siobhán McSweeney’s Sister Michael, though her disdain for the execrable peace-inspired interpretative dance of Jenny be a treat).

Channel 4

Orla also has a belated realization that largely sums up the joy of the Derry Girls. As the gang hurriedly retreated from Jenny’s 18th, Orla notes that the party “had it all, a magician, fireworks, a karaoke machine, Riverdance, a little horse…and all that it did, c is that I realized that I would still rather be standing here on the walls with you guys. This is, among other things, a show about having friends you would gladly do anything and everything with.

Soon it’s time to vote and the cast of characters at the polls – from the main actors to the faces of support and even Liam Neeson reprising his cameo as a protesting police officer – cut with news footage and overlaid with the voice Erin’s tentative off (“Things, they might just change for the better”) is enough to bring the holy statue of Mother Mary to tears.

It’s a perfect, hopeful endnote – and one that’s perhaps all the more powerful in a week as Northern Ireland protocol has returned to the headlines – but before the credits roll, it it’s time to make another appearance. In present-day New York, a woman receives a letter just delivered to her, inviting her to hang out at the Derry pool wave machine while she’s in town with her parents. It may be 25 years too late, but Erin and co’s message finally got through to Chelsea Clinton. Goodbye Derry Girls – it’s been absolutely brilliant.

All three series of Derry Girls are available to stream on All4 now


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