Hilarious situations and marvellous dialogues, as well as memorable performances from a group of unknown young actors, are enough reasons to give a second chance to the British series Derry Girls, which had gone unnoticed in its premiere on Netflix last year, although it was a big hit in Great Britain, and especially in Northern Ireland, with an audience share of over 60%. The reviews are also unanimous and consider it one of the best comedies to have been broadcast on television recently. Now Netflix has just released the second season, which continues to relate the daily life of a group of teenagers from Derry — Londonderry for British unionists — during the 1990s, amid the Northern Ireland conflict. That an acidic and shameless comedy can be made set in that context and at that time is a sign that some wounds are still healing. The first episode begins with the start of the school year, the day the IRA decides to place a bomb on one of the bridges of the town, forcing people to make detours from their usual routes. “I’m pretty sure interfering with your sunbed sessions isn’t very high on anyone’s political agenda,” one of the main characters, Erin, replies to her aunt when she complains about the headache the detours have caused.
At this start of the school year, Erin meets her friends on the way to school — a girls only religious school — and discovers that one of them, Michelle, is accompanied by her cousin James. And she’s not surprised that he’s a boy, but that he speaks in such a strange way. It turns out that James is British — his mother went to London for an abortion but has now returned with him 16 years later. Fearing that his physical safety might be in danger if he goes to school with Irish boys, the local authorities enrol him with the girls. Thus, James ends up becoming a kind of appendix to this group of girls with crazy ideas that cannot stop getting into trouble and live their lives despite the political challenges of the times.
In the six episodes of season one, we find all kinds of references to the period — starting with the soundtrack, which includes songs by Madonna, REM, The Cranberries, Genesis, The Corrs... — which make the exaggerated mischief and misunderstandings brought about by the girls actually seem credible and, above all, extremely funny. Because this is a series to watch uncritically — perhaps the girls do look a little older than they are supposed to be — and in which to enjoy the nostalgia of an era free from mobile phones, not as long ago as it might seem. Some mention is also due to religion: the episode in which the girls pretend they have witnessed a miracle to avoid an exam they have not studied for is unmissable — as the tears from a statue of the Virgin Mary prove to be of less than divine origin.