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Series / Derry Girls

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Erin Quinn: Teenagers have rights now, ya know?
Mary Quinn: ...Don't be ridiculous.
Erin Quinn: They do, Ma. It's true. Sure, Macaulay Culkin might be divorcing his parents!

Derry Girls is a Channel 4 British-Irish comedy set in Derry/Londonderry in the 1990s, created and written by Lisa McGee. It features a group of teenage schoolgirls and James as they get into mischief. They are: Erin, an aspiring writer; her cousin Orla, a naive cloudcuckoolander; and best friend Clare, a nervy wannabe-activist; their friend Michelle, a loud-mouthed party girl; and Michelle's cousin James, a soft-spoken unfortunately English boy.

The third and final series, after repeated delays to filming due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, began airing on 12 April 2022 and wrapped up with an extended-length special set in the week of the referendum on the Good Friday Agreement on 18 May.

Available on Netflix outside the UK and Ireland. May not be comprehensible outside the latter.

Derry Girls provides examples of:

  • Academic Alpha Bitch: Jenny Joyce is a brown noser who gets top marks and frequently rubs her wealth in the other characters' faces. She's also quite prone to snitching.
    Sister Michael: Jenny, you'll go far in life, [beat] but you will not be well liked.
  • All Men Are Perverts:
    • According to Grampa Joe, when he learns in Episode 3 that James is sleeping over with Erin. Even though Joe thinks he's gay.
    • The girls believe this of the Protestant boys at Friends Across the Barricades, but they turn out to be rather shy and chaste.
    • When Sister Michael gets the girls to drive to Donegal to clean up her recently deceased aunt's house, the girls all talk of finding lads to hook up with, except Clare, who Michelle reassures can be found a lesbian farmer. When James enquires about possibly finding a girl, the girls treat him with total disgust.
  • A Day in the Limelight: The mothers get one in s03e05 (which doubles as a Girl's Night Out Episode for them).
  • Ambiguous Criminal History: Aiddeen, a childhood friend of Mary's has just gotten out of prison... for something. Meanwhile, Joe also has moments showing solidarity with Republican militants and hints at having "people looking into" Gerry and mentions having heard Gerry Adams speak in person. Michelle's brother is in prison for something that would see him released under the conditions of the Good Friday Agrement, suggesting he was involved with a paramilitary, and the crime is something serious, as the possibility of him getting out enrages Michelle, who also hasn't mentioned his brother before this
  • Apathetic Citizens: Armed british soldiers and terrorist bomb threats are just annoances at best to most characters, except new arrival James, who is disturbed by both the presence of the conflict, and everyone else's nonchalant attitude about it.
  • Apathetic Teacher: Sister Michael can't be bothered to even try to care about her job or any of her students. Also, despite being in a religious order, she is very jaded about miracles and the effectiveness of prayer. In the second series she briefly mentions that the only reason she became a nun in the first place was the free housing and meals.
  • Awesome McCoolname: Averted with the family McCool which no one ever comments on, as it is just a normal Irish name.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other:
    • In the Season 1 Finale, Joe pats Gerry on the back as they watch a news broadcast on the aftermath of a bombing on television.
    • While usually strict and overbearing, Mary comforts Erin after her date stands her up for the prom, and calls on James to go with Erin.
    • In the season 2 finale, James tells the girls that he's leaving Derry to go back to London with his mother. Michelle follows him and chews him out for it, saying that his mother will let him down and she only wants him back for "free labour". When James bites back and says he never belonged in Derry, Michelle disagrees.
      Michelle: You're a Derry girl now, James [...] I'm serious. It doesn't matter that you've got that stupid accent, or that your bits are different to my bits...because being a Derry girl, well, it's a fucking state of mind. And you're one of us.
  • Beauty Is Bad:
    • James' mother is a glamorous lady who was apparently well-known among her peers for her impeccable eyebrows. Sarah makes note that they're enviable as ever, but her perfectly chic façade belies a pathetic and negligent parent.
    • Subverted with Sarah, who, though a Cloud Cuckoo Lander who rubs some people the wrong way, is caring and supportive, especially to her daughter.
  • Berserk Button: Don't mention Maureen Malarkey around Granda Joe.
  • Big Fancy House: By Derry standards, Jenny's 8 bedroom house is considered positively palatial by all the other characters. Guests keep getting lost in it and Orla is shocked to discover that some of the bedrooms have their own bathrooms.
  • Black Comedy: All of the adult characters make shameless jokes about how annoying the frequent bombings are to their town.
  • Brainy Brunette: Inverted. Brunette Aunt Sarah and Orla are both ditzy and weird, while blonde Erin and her mother are relatively down-to-earth. Among the girls, the fair-haired Clare is acknowledged as the most academic.
  • British Brevity: All 3 series have only 6 episodes, although an hour-long special ends the third.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Erin often winds up in embarrassing situations, most of which arise from her impulsive behavior and inability to keep her mouth shut or her emotions in check.
    • Clare is often the butt of a lot of physical gags in the show.
    • James, especially when Michelle is involved.
    • Gerry is a Henpecked Husband who is constantly dumped on by everyone but especially his father-in-law, even when it's something they agree on. Especially when it's something they agree on. He's always ignored and pretty much never gets his way.
  • Call-Back: The final episode of Series 1 ends with the Quinns watching a news report about one of the worst atrocities in the Troubles yet, juxtaposed with the girls joining in with Orla's "Like a Prayer" dance routine at the school talent show. The penultimate episode of Series 2 deliberately inverts this; finishes with the Quinns hearing the news that the IRA have called a ceasefire and the community's immediate reaction, which is this time intercut with the girls getting covered with tomato sauce intended for Jenny at the school prom.
  • The Cameo:
  • Cerebus Retcon:
    • The Troubles setting is mostly played for Black Comedy until the Season 1 finale, which closes with a sad scene of the Quinns watching a report about a violent bombing that killed at least twelve people. Lisa McGee said of the scene...
      Lisa McGee: There were lots of times when your family stood around the TV and just couldn’t speak because this was people in your own place doing it to each other. I just wanted to nod to the fact that there were those times as well.
    • James' mother leaving him behind was initially Played for Laughs, or rather, played for Black Comedy, but in the series 2 finale this is treated very seriously, with multiple characters expressing disdain for his mother and pointing out that she abandoned him and only wants him back because he could be useful for her new business venture.
  • Character Catchphrase: Pretty much every scene featuring Dennis seems to end with him shouting "GET OUT!".
  • Clashing Cousins: The core group is 3 friends + 2 tagalong cousins.
    • Erin and Orla. The very first episode ends with Erin threatening to ram her diary far up Orla's — Curse Cut Short.
    • Michelle and James. Although James doesn't seem to have a problem with Michelle, Michelle forever speaks of her utter loathing for James.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Both Orla and her mother show traits of this frequently.
  • Comedic Work, Serious Scene: The show is usually a comedy focused on the exploits of five Northern Irish teenagers during the 1990s which treats the events of The Troubles as Black Comedy, but it does have its serious moments:
    • The final episode of Series 1 ends with a scene of the Quinns watching a report about a violent bombing that killed at least twelve people that isn't Played for Laughs at all, a scene emphasized by it being intercut with a happier scene of all five friends dancing to "Like A Prayer" at the school talent show.
    • Series 3 has Clare's father dying of an aneurysm, right after Claire has her first kiss with another girl.
    • The series finale has the conflict between Michelle and Erin over Michelle's incarcerated brother, which culminates in Michelle having a serious monologue about her feelings about her brother's actions. The episode also ends with a montage of the characters voting on the Good Friday Agreement, intercut with real life footage of the event.
  • Cool Car: Sister Michael drives a De Lorean (which were actually made in Northern Ireland)
  • Culture Clash:
    • English-Irish culture clashes between James and his friends are frequently Played for Laughs. For example, when the gang go to a wake in 2x04, James is horrified by the casual way the dead body's laid out for people to view and that visitors can touch her. The girls are baffled by the fact that it's the first time he's ever seen a dead body, due to British funerals being far more formal and even clinical; open caskets aren't as common, bodies are often removed to a funeral parlour rather than being prepared at the family home, and wakes are usually held after the person's already been buried.
    • at Friends Across The Barricade, the assembled Catholic and Protestant kids are asked to list things that are different and things that are the same for both of them, however the blackboard just becomes a Long List of differences ranging from toasters in cupboards to Catholics loving statues. At the end of the episode, Erin walks up to the Similarities blackboard to write the first thing everyone silently can agree on: "PARENTS"
  • Deadpan Snarker: Many characters, but Sister Michael's continuous snark is the most notable. It seems she can't open her mouth without making some kind of sarcastic comment.
  • Diegetic Switch: Both at the beginning and near the end of the first episode when it seems like Erin's giving An Aesop by Voice Over Narration, it's really just her cousin reading from her diary. The second series opens similarly, only that time it is Erin fantasising about being on Wogan.
  • Double Standard Rape: Female on Male:
    • Discussed when Katya spontaneously starts kissing James. The girls worry that James may not want it, but they don't do anything to get her off of him. He ends up liking her, so that concern isn't brought up again.
    • Michelle also flippantly mentions two fourth year girls who had tied down an attractive male teacher and started “dry riding” him.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • The first season episodes don't have titles, and are instead referred to as Episode 1, Episode 2, etc. The second season introduces titles for each episode.
    • Sister Michael's reaction to Sister Declan's death in the first episode is slightly odd—believing there to be foul play worthy of a full investigation (Played for Laughs in that all the adults are weirdly resistant to considering the possibility that a woman in her late 90s simply died of old age). Even by the third episode, she plays the role of the Only Sane Man, not believing the weeping statue story.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: James is usually "Dick-face" to Michelle.
  • Embarrassing Tattoo: the girls' mothers got tattoos of a skull and crossbones as teens. They have managed to keep them hidden even through years of marriage.
  • Epic Fail: As punishment for Michelle stealing the bulletin board from Finnoula's chip shop, all of them have to clean the shop. They end up making it even worse than before, and then almost burn down Finnoula's apartment.
  • Eternal Sexual Freedom:
    • Despite all the major characters being Catholic, and the early 1990s being a less liberated time than the late 2010s, no-one on the show has a problem with gay people. Many of the adult characters consider James being gay as his only redeeming feature (which makes it awkward for him, as the only thing people like about him is a quality he denies possessing), and when Clare comes out as a lesbian only Erin, of all people reacts negatively, and then only briefly before getting past it. Even Sister Michael, who you'd expect to be a Heteronormative Crusader type if anyone was, only objects to printing a positive article about a lesbian student in the school paper because of the hassle she'll get from higher-up, and actually seems quite happy to read about it herself.
    • Michelle's Anything That Moves tendencies don't appear to be a major concern among the parents. Orla's mum seems to be a single parent with no judgement cast on her. Basically, everyone's pretty laid back about anything other than Protestants and English people; possibly Justified in that those are the main source of their problems at the moment, and everything else takes a back seat. Also, the main source of Northern Ireland's social conservatism is the more politically active segment of the Presbyterian community, typified by Ian Paisley's Free Presbyterians, rather than the Catholics who have usually supported left-wing parties such as the SDLP.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: James has this for Father Peter, and even tries to copy his clothes and hair.
  • Everyone Has Standards: While at the same time obviously Played for Laughs.
    • James' aunt sometimes can't even look at him for disgust because he's so English, but she won't stand for anyone discriminating against him because he's gay. ("I'm not gay!!!")
    • When Clare immediately rats the whole group out to Sister Michael, the Sister simply says that they've all lost a bit of respect for her.
    • None of the Derry Girls likes Jenny Joyce one bit, but all five of them consider Mae's planned prank on Jenny at the prom (dumping tomato juice on her à la Carrie) to be far too cruel.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: Common. The pilot takes place over one day, as do episodes 2 and 4. Episode 5 covers half a day.
  • Floorfilling Song and Dance: On different occasions, the girls immediately hit the floor along with several others to dance to "Rock the Boat" by The Hues Corporation and "Saturday Night" by Whigfield.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling:
    • Mary, (Erin's mother), is the responsible to Sarah's (Orla's mother's) foolish.
    • Michelle's mother is the responsible to James's mother foolish; with no-nonsense nurse Deidre raising both cousins after Cathy abandons James in Derry where he's never been before, during The Troubles, with no indication of if or when she'll be back.
    • James and Michelle inverting their mothers' dynamic (in a cousin variation), with James as the responsible to Michelle's foolish.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The main characters are all attracted to Father Peter, barring Clare. Clare comes out as a lesbian in episode 6.
    • Clare is the most opposed to the idea of printing the anonymous confession of a lesbian attending their school, saying she's afraid this will go on her permanent record. It's because she's the person who wrote it.
  • Funny Background Event: Often courtesy of Orla:
    • In Season 1, Episode 2, when the gang enters the room where Michelle has got the music on, everyone is shocked — apart from Orla, who starts dancing.
    • In Season 2, Episode 3, when Sister Michael asks around on the bus who the girls' suitcase full of vodka belongs to after Michelle denies that it's theirs, Orla raises her hand, only for James to grab her and cover her mouth to shut her up.
    • In Season 2, Episode 4, when they are flushing the spiked scones away, Orla is trying a more effective method of disposal — eating one (and then suggests hiding them in the other end).
  • Guilt by Association Gag: In the first two episodes alone, all five of them get punished for Michelle's actions.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Gay?: A downplayed example with Clare. After her coming out, she doesn't actually bring it up much, but people bring it up a lot to her. However at no point does she display any attraction to any actual women. Subverted by the end of Season Three, in Halloween has a subplot about Clare trying to find her lesbian crush at a Halloween party.note 
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?: James.
  • Heh Heh, You Said "X": Michelle sniggers anytime an adult says a word that has a sexualized double-meaning.
  • Henpecked Husband: Erin's dad Gerry. Hardly an episode goes by where he doesn't have to put up with being bossed around by his harridan of a wife or the verbal abuse of his father in law. Any attempt to stand up for himself — to either one — is promptly followed by him folding like a cheap suit.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • When Michelle raids Finnoula's liquor stash in Season 1 episode 2, she has the nerve to imply Finoula is the one with a drinking problem.
      Michelle: (sing-song) I think Finnoula has a bit of a problem!
      Erin: You think FINNOULA has a bit of problem??
    • Michelle says she can't understand Donegal accents. The Derry accent is known for being harsher than the Donegal one.
    • Clare and Erin are the most vocal about not being racist towards the Travellers, and then they're the first to call them psychopaths and run away.
    • When James finally cracks after being they can't go to the police about a probable criminal stowaway. The girls, who are all more hammy than him (led by Clare, who has just melted down about a lost bookmark), tell him he needs to calm down.
    • Likewise when watching the "vodka suitcase/bomb disposal" incident, James resignedly asks, "Why is this place so mental?" only to be told that's enough and he has "serious fucking anger management issues".
    • Mae Chung is slightly offended (or at least, not endeared) by Clare only wanting to be friends with her because she's Asian... until she learns Clare is a lesbian, at which point she immediately wants Clare to be her Gay Best Friend.
    • The girls spend several minutes discussing all the Donegal farmers they plan to ride at Sr. Michael's aunt's house, including a lesbian farmer for Clare, but disgustedly accuse James of objectifying women when he suggests they might also help him find a girl.
    • Erin and James are caught kissing, and get castigated by nymphomaniac-in-chief Michelle (she even brands them incestuous).
  • I Choose to Stay:
    • James in the season 2 finale deciding to stay in Northern Ireland.
    • Sister Michael in the series finale, refusing to be transferred from Our Lady Immaculate.
  • Incendiary Exponent: Michelle calls an impromptu break from cleaning Fionnula's shop in 1.02 with a tray of flaming Sambucas, which she promptly drops. Only James' quick action with an extinguisher prevents a House Fire.
  • Informed Attribute: The basis of a Running Gag between Michelle and James. For example, she calls James "gay" in the 1.06, and when he replies that he isn't, immediately accuses him of being "such a fucking homophobe." In Season 2, James merely says something in his usual soft-spoken tone, and Michelle yells at him for his "anger issues."
  • Insistent Terminology:
    • The setting is officially called Londonderry, but all the characters refer to it as "Derry". During The Troubles, whether one called it "Londonderry" or "Derry" was used as a Shibboleth to determine one's allegiance.
    • The business James’ mother is starting is on “self-adhesive labels”, thank you very much. NOT stickers.
    • Janette Joyce formerly O'Shea
  • Intoxication Ensues: Granda Joe eats one of Michelle's scones, not knowing they contained hash. Erin realizes that he's high because he's nice to her father for once.
  • Jaw Drop: Various characters, usually thanks to Michelle. Example — Fionnula, on seeing the shambles of her room after the incident with the flaming shots.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Michelle is a domineering Jerkass to her friends a lot of the time, but when she tells Erin and James that them dating is a bad idea because their break-up would force the group to take sides, Erin admits that she has a point.
  • Like Father, Like Son: Gender-flipped; ditzy, dark-haired Cloud Cuckoo Lander Orla is exactly like her mother, Sarah.
  • Maybe Ever After: The series ends without resolving Erin and James's romantic feelings towards one another, although it's pretty clear in the finale they're still into each other even a full year after Michelle convinces them not to start dating. This is probably quite deliberate, as Lisa McGee reportedly initially considered never having them acknowledge their attraction to each other at all during the course of the series, but was always of the opinion that something might have happened between them later.
  • "Mister Sandman" Sequence: Clips from several of that era's songs in every episode.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Inverted with Uncle Colm. He constantly tells outlandish stories of him being tied up by robbers or a bride getting lifted up into the air by a gust of wind, but his flat monotone and complete inability not to mention every extraneous detail that comes to mind make him horribly, unbearably dull.
  • The New Irish: James is an English boy (though the son of an Irish woman), there's an episode involving Eastern European exchange students and another with two second-generation Asians from Donegal.
  • Newscaster Cameo: In series 2, real life BBC news presenter Donna Traynor plays herself reading various news broadcasts.
  • The '90s: Even if you knew nothing about The Troubles, you could tell by the music, the cars, the cultural references and the utterly spot-on fashions. Hooped jumpers and yin-yang chokers abound.
  • Nun Too Holy: Downplayed and Played for Laughs. Sister Michael notes that Sister Declan was a noted thief. Sister Michael's snarky behaviour is constantly used as evidence for this, such as her unwillingness to break up the fight in 2.01.
  • Nuns Are Funny: Lots of jokes are made of Sister Michael's dissonant behaviour, like her judo. She also jokes that she only became a nun because of the "free accommodation".
  • Nuns 'n' Rosaries: All the main characters are Catholic and there are plenty of jokes based on various aspects of Catholicism.
  • Obnoxious In-Laws:
    • Joe never stops slagging off his son-in-law Gerry. Gerry endures it with the patience of a saint.
    • In 2.04, it's implied Joe received similar treatment from his own in-laws.
      Bridie: Still a prick, I see, Joe. Christ knows what our Marie ever saw in you, God rest her soul.
  • Occupiers Out of Our Country: often thrown at James, even though both his mother (and presumably father) are from Northern Ireland, he is still considered an Englishman for his birthplace and accent.
  • One-Gender School: Common for Northern Ireland at the time, but James is made to attend the girls' school for fear of what would happen to him if he were thrown in with the boys.
  • One of the Girls: James hangs out with the titular girls. At first it's because he's forced to attend the all girls' school, as he's English and there are concerns he'll be beaten up if he goes to the boys' school. However, he does seem to enjoy spending time with the group, even taking Erin to the prom. The girls do seem to consider him one of them. Michelle even calls him a "Derry Girl" when she tries to get him to stay in Northern Ireland, instead of going back to England with his Mum.
  • Only Sane Man: Gerry fills this role for the adults, but no one pays him any heed. James is in the same situation with the teenagers. May or may not be related to the fact that neither of them are originally from Northern Ireland; James is English, and Gerry is from the Republic.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
    • The bombing at the end of season 1 is so serious and heart-breaking that Joe actually gives Gerry, his hated son-in-law, a reassuring and comforting hand on the shoulder.
    • On a lighter note, in 2.04 when the girls are attempting to get rid of the hash scones without arousing the suspicion of the adults, Erin notes that Joe has obviously had one... because he's been behaving nicely to Gerry.
  • Period Piece: It's set in The '90s and is about the Troubles, but not a period piece in the sense of Costume Drama. However, some critics of the show claim it's taken inaccuracies with real history for the sake of a better story. It was made in 2016, but the small details and background elements (such as vintage cars etc.), and clothing indicate it's very clearly The '90s.
  • Practically Different Generations: Erin is 16, and her little sister Anna is a baby.
  • Present-Day Past: Despite the 1990s setting, several more modern cars appear in the background, such as a 2012 Chevrolet Cruze sedan, the Ford Focus, and BMW 5-Series stationwagons. Also spotted a Travellers trailer fitted with 1997 onward Saxo VTR wheels at least a couple of years before the Saxo was released.
  • Previously on…: The hour-long finale special opens with clips of the whole series' high and lows.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Nicola Coughlan had a scheduling clash with Bridgerton when filming the third series, and as a result Clare's role was reduced for some of the episodes (such as being left behind at a train station in 3.03 and spending the rest of the episode waiting futilely for the next train, while the others in the gang get up to their usual shenanigans; or the series finale, where she and her mother have moved to another town after her father dies and she only shows up in phone conversations and at the climax of the episode, saving Erin and Orla's party).
  • Re-Release Soundtrack: In the Netflix version, near the end of Episode 6, Season 1, Madonna's "Like a Prayer" is replaced with Take That!'s "Pray".
  • Reverse Psychology: In Sister Michael's more kindhearted moments, this is her default method. Examples include forbidding the school paper to publish Clare's anonymous confession of being a closeted lesbian...only to smile proudly to herself when she sees they defied her, and do absolutely nothing about it. This is also how she handled Bill Clinton's visit in the season 2 finale — rather than encourage her students to attend the speech, she outright forbid it and declared that school would function business as usual the next day. This ensured the entire student body skipped school to attend as an act of protest. Sister Michael is seen smiling, not even wearing her full habit as she makes casual rounds of the school to confirm this.
  • Rewatch Bonus: If you rewatch all of season 1 after it's revealed that Clare is a lesbian, all of the hints are much more obvious.
  • Running Gag:
    • Uncle Colm and his longwinded, boring stories. Come Season Three, Erin actually weaponizes it to get the police off their backs.
    • Jenny Joyce's truly terrible school assembly performances.
  • Sanity Ball: On the rare occasion that James cracks, it goes to Clare or Erin.
  • Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior!: Grandpa Joe lives and breathes this trope. It's his ambition to shamelessly split his son-in-law and daughter up.
  • Serious Business:
    • Do not trash talk Gary Barlow around James. It is what convinces James to continue the journey to Belfast despite getting along so well with the Travellers beforehand (Jonjo dismisses Barlow's songwriting capabilities).
      James: I'm sorry Jonjo, but you've just crossed the line there.
    • From the same episode, Rita the beer-drinking opera enthusiast. She doesn't think much of Luciano Pavarotti and much prefers Andrea Bocelli.
    • Do not get in the way of the main characters (or many of the minor characters, for that matter) if they're at a party and about to take their positions for a Rock the Boat-routine.
  • Sexy Priest: Father Peter. All the girls (including James, though excluding Clare) adore him. Sister Michael is less impressed. Downplayed in season 3, in which he grows out a ponytail which nobody likes.
  • Ship Tease: Erin and James have a few moments including Erin not wanting him to have sex with Katya in Season 1 and James taking Erin prom after she's stood up in Season 2. Season 3 gives them a kiss after James admits his feelings.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Skewed Priorities:
    • Due to The Troubles being a fact of life, most of the characters are simply annoyed with bombings and mostly complain about how such incidents will interfere in their daily routines.
      Deirdre: Sorry I'm late, sister, couldn't get over the bridge — this bloody bomb — I begged the Brits to let me take my chances but the awkward bastards made me go the wrong way.
      Joe: Health and safety gone mad!
    • This is lampshaded in S01E05 where the protagonists get caught in an Orange Ordernote  parade. Despite being in a perilous situation, Mary panics that she's forgotten her purse with Irish puntsnote  and Clare freaks out that she's lost her place in her book.
  • Status Quo Is God: The show always finds ways to keep the status quo — which is that the main characters are a bunch of normal girls (and a boy) leading hilariously boring, incredibly frustrating lives (despite all the fighting and prejudices that are affecting the nation). A huge example is in series 3, episode 2. They perform as the Spice Girls and are actually doing very well. It would've aired on TV too... but then Erin spots her Mum with Gabriel, a guy she believes to be having an affair with her, so she walks out in the middle of a performance that could've changed their lives in some way.
  • Stern Nun: Sister Michael, as she is also a teacher at the school.
  • Tattooed Crook: Subverted. When the girls accidentaly take the bag of another passenger on a train, they find a gun, money and snacks in the bag. The man is heavily tattooed but later is revealed to have been safekeeping the bag for Aiddeen, the woman who recently got out of jail. The mothers of the girls also got DIY tattoos as kids they have since kept hidden for twenty years as they thought getting tattooed without a licence was a crime.
  • Twerp Sweating: Joe continues to try and run Gerry off, even though Gerry's been married to his daughter for 17 years.
    Joe: I'll find some dirt on you yet, boy. I've a few people working on it!
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: A typical episode involves an A plot with the teens and a B plot with the adults of Erin's family.
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Most of the characters are awful people, to one degree or another, save for Gerry, Orla, Clare, and James.
    • Erin, thinking that Father Peter was talking about her when he said he'd been a crisis of faith and felt an attraction to a girl he'd met until the supposed miracle the girls had witnessed, gleefully tells him that the miracle was a fraud. On another occasion, she swoops in on some guy she has a crush on literally seconds after his girlfriend dumps him, totally focused on her chance and evincing no empathy whatsoever.
    • Michelle frequently gets her friends in trouble with her reckless behavior and shows absolutely no remorse. She's also quite abusive to James, who's done nothing to deserve it.
    • Come to that, the whole group is abusive, dismissive at best, of James despite him being a perfectly nice guy.
  • Wham Line:
    • In the series 1 finale, it goes from the group getting up and dancing at the talent show without a care in the world to Erin's parents, aunt, and grandad solemnly watching a news report of the aftermath of a bombing.
      News Reporter: what has already been described as one of the worst atrocities in the Northern Irish conflict. At least 12 people are thought to be dead and many more wounded. Emergency services are urging anyone with medical training to come to the scene immediately. The device was detonated at 3pm this afternoon. The RUC say no warning was given.
    • Season 2, episode 5 gives us a similar but contrasting experience when Gerry finally gets the TV working again, and they're greeted by the news of the IRA ceasefire.
    • The season 2 finale features a scene when random stranger tries to give them a ride, and Erin and Clare think they're being kidnapped until:
      James: Hello, Mum.
  • Women Are Wiser: Inverted, with James and Gerry being the most level-headed of the characters, while the women range from simply high-strung and over-dramatic (Erin and Mary) to being on utterly different planets (Orla and Sarah).


Video Example(s):


Sister Michael's aunt

Sister Michael tells the girls that her aunt just died, but she freely admits that she was "an absolute arsehole".

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / SpeakIllOfTheDead

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