The second episode of Derry Girls’ third Season aired last night, and the nineties nostalgia is real.
When the boiler breaks yet again, Erin’s Ma cracks and decides it is time to do something (or someone) for herself.
Meanwhile, ‘Children in Need’ fever has come to Our Lady Immaculate College, so the gang tries to win the school talent show in aid of sticking it to their nemesis Jenny Joyce.
Every actor is at the top of their game as always. Saoirse Monica-Jackson can be a bit cartoonish, but this is very much the vibe of the show, and her physical comedy really sets her apart.
It is refreshing that her character is allowed to just be herself. She is patronising, self-absorbed and trying desperately hard to be pretentious.
And yet, she isn’t forced into a bit of neat character development where she turns into some old producer’s idea of a ‘nice’ female character. She is young, selfish, and brilliant.
She is incredibly relatable to small-town teenagers everywhere who think they’re the next unappreciated genius just because they know who Sally Rooney is.
Damien Molony guest-starred last night as the smouldering Bronte-reading plumber. You may remember Damien from Channel 4’s 2016 sitcom Crashing, which was sadly cancelled after one season but showcased the talent of Phoebe Waller-Bridge, pre-Fleabag mania.
Shout-out to the subtle Father Ted reference through Father Peter’s (played by Peter Campion) costume. His glittery pink get-up is a lovely tribute to the Irish Channel 4 sitcom which walked so Derry Girls could run.
So far Orla has been underused aside from some scene-stealing one-liners. Louisa Harland, who plays her, has such an expressive face but she has the potential to be so much more.
It would be great to see an episode with Harland at the forefront, but Lisa McGee has so many other stories to tell in just one season, that it is hard to see how she’ll fit it all in.
A lot of this episode focuses on Tara Lynne O’Neil’s character, Ma Mary. She portrays a Derry mammy with ease, and it was a surprise to see how much depth the character was given in this episode.
This is a testament to Lisa McGee’s writing. Irish Mothers have long been reduced to being the neurotic foil in the protagonist’s otherwise fun plans.
But McGee lets Mary have desires other than the well-being of her family.
It’s nice to see this depicted at a time when woman’s rights, and many other societal problems, were ignored due to the political unrest.
Although this bit of commentary is clear to anybody familiar with the social landscape of the north, it doesn’t distract from the rest of the antics on screen.
However, Tara Lynne O’Neil’s slippage into her native Belfast accent might catch some nit-pickers off guard.
Also, a warning to all music aficionados. There is a particular singing scene where the lip-sync doesn’t exactly match up.
While the singing isn’t necessarily bad… some words should be had with the sound department.
Still, Lisa McGee continues to nail it with her love letter to her home town and succeeds in making us fall in love as well.
Derry Girls Airs every Tuesday at 9.15 pm on Channel 4
Featured Image Credit: Channel 4