A Solemn Goodbye to Derry Girls as Final Season Airs on Netflix


Image Courtesy of The Guardian

By Angela Hickey

Fans of the Northern Irish series have had to say goodbye this month as Netflix finally aired the third and final season of Derry Girls (2018-2022) in the US some time last week.

A coming-of-age story set in 1990s Northern Ireland, Derry Girls follows sixteen-year-old Erin (Saoirse-Monica Jackson) her cousin, Orla (Louisa Harland), and their friends, Clare (Nicola Coughlin), Michelle (Jamie-Lee O’Donnell) and James (Dylan Llewellyn), as they attempt to navigate a world of armored Land Rovers, British Army Checkpoints, and growing into oneself. Written by Being Human (2011-2014) screenwriter, Lisa McGee, Derry Girls is a reminder that the teenagers of Northern Ireland dealt with the same growing pains as the rest of the world.

The final season, consisting of six thirty minute episodes with the seventh episode (and series finale) coming in at forty eighth minutes, making it the longest episode in the entire series. The season was first aired on Channel 4 in Ireland between April 12th and May 18th, 2022, concluding the series before there were even talks of making it available in other countries. 

The show keeps an excellent balance between comedy and historical accuracy, mentioning the ongoing conflict going on in Northern Ireland at the time of the Troubles while not making it the shows’ main focus. At its core, Derry Girls is about friendship, family, love, and what it means to grow up backlit by the troubles that come with living in an ongoing conflict. 

“It’s so easy to tell either side of this story, to romanticize either side of the political fence and landscape at home,” said Saoirse-Monica Jackson in a recent interview with The Cut. “But to take it back down to the bare roots of teenagers working out something so personal, I think is just absolute genius by Lisa McGee.”

In the very first episode of the season the visual nerves of the girls receiving their GCSE results overshadows the mentions of peace talks that flicker across Erin’s family’s TV screen, alluding to the developing Good Friday Agreement, which is mentioned in the series finale as Erin and Oral attempt to keep their 18th birthday celebration from going off the rails.

“It’s been very intense,” said screenwriter and show creator, Lisa McGee in a recent interview with Vogue. “I’m the only writer on the show, so it’s kind of been my life for the last five years, although we had a gap because of COVID. It’s been surreal because the show is based on my life and inspired by my teenage years, so, you know, the house that the Quinn family lives in was very much designed using pictures of my family’s house. The uniforms are basically the same as my school uniform; they even have the same model on the crest. People always say they’d never want to go back and relive their teenage years, but I kind of did, and it’s been so weird and lovely.”

Although the goodbye is bittersweet, Erin says it best for the viewers who know it is time to come to terms with the loss of a beloved show, 

“I’m not sure I’m ready for the world. But things can’t stay the same. And they shouldn’t.”

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