Derry Girls

TV review by
Jenny Nixon, Common Sense Media
Derry Girls TV Poster Image
Popular with kids
Irish teen comedy set in the '90s is raunchy but hilarious.

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 12 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The friends and families depicted in Derry Girls might drive each other up a wall, but it's also clear that these are people who ultimately love and support one another. The girls act up a lot, and definitely face consequences for it.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The show is pretty remarkable in the way it centers almost entirely on female characters, and the characters are written as fully-realized, believable people -- not always the case when it comes to comedies.

Violence

A recurring theme throughout the series is the dangers faced by Catholics in Northern Ireland, references to the IRA and terrorist bombings. Military checkpoints with soldiers brandishing weapons are shown, characters joke about smuggling "incendiary devices" in their backpacks. Erin's parents watch TV news footage covering the aftermath of a bombing, references to death. A character is the victim of a "home invasion"-style robbery, but his description of the event is retold comedically.

Sex

No nudity or sex scenes, but frequent sex jokes and references which can sometimes be graphic. A male character is frequently referred to as "the gay lad" and such, although he keeps protesting this isn't the case.

Language

"Damn" and "hell" are probably the mildest words uttered in this "f-bomb" heavy series. The girls are pretty foul-mouthed on the whole although some terms are regionally based and might not register with American audiences (such as "fanny", which has a very different meaning in Ireland). A character goes through a phase of constantly using the term "motherf---er" after viewing a bootleg copy of Pulp Fiction.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink and smoke; one of the girls in particular always seems to have a bottle of something alcoholic stashed away on her person. Characters eat weed-infused scones in one episode.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Derry Girls is an Irish comedy series centered on a group of high school girls in the early 1990s, against a backdrop of the Northern Ireland conflict (commonly referred to as "The Troubles"). The show references guerilla warfare, bombings, and the military but it is presented very matter-of-factly and at times like an inconvenience (a character's parents seem more concerned about a potential bomb scare causing the school bus to be delayed than about the actual bombing). The girls often joke around about sex and make crude references -- one talks excitedly about a potential class trip to Paris in terms of all the Frenchmen she'll be able to "ride," their male sidekick is constantly being referred to as "gay" against his many protestations), but there's no nudity or actual sex scenes. Some "funny scones" are eaten (think the Irish version of pot brownies), characters smoke and drink (and have hangovers to prove it).

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bychocolatecake123 January 5, 2020

A sitcom with a historical twist

Derry Girls will make you laugh, but it may also make you learn. It chronicles the lives of a group of girls (and a wee English fella) living in Northern Irelan... Continue reading
Parent Written byRivertown Mom August 2, 2019

But watch it WITH your kids......

This is hysterically funny and also (for US families who may not be familiar with "The Troubles") gives a historical perspective that is not taught in... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byRoseClara March 3, 2020

Funny and interesting, easily suitable for teens

I definitely recommend Derry Girls! It's heartfelt, interesting, and reliably hilarious. There's a fair bit of swearing, but I don't think it... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byAmafrey July 13, 2020

Good if you don't mind swearing and innuendo

Great show, unless you aren't ok with swearing and innuendo, the historical element to it is great and the actual comedy is class. There are also a few dru... Continue reading

What's the story?

DERRY GIRLS takes place in Ireland in the early 1990s, a time of tense political and religious conflict -- but to the quartet of teen girls at the heart of the show, military checkpoints are just another fact of life to roll their eyes at. They're more concerned with issues like how to raise money for their class trip to France, given that none of them have trust funds like their schoolmates, or how to sneak out of detention in time to see a cute boy's band perform. Erin (Saoirse-Monica Jackson) is the self-styled intellectual of the bunch, dropping references to Samuel Beckett that fly over everyone's heads. Her drifty cousin Orla (Louisa Harland) has her head in the clouds and thinks nothing of stealing Erin's diary and doing dramatic readings from it. Foulmouthed, Pernod-swilling Michelle (Jamie-Lee O'Donnell) has a bark worse than her bite, and is totally boy-crazy. High-strung but sweet Clare (Nicola Coughlan) is a well-meaning ball of nerves who doesn't know when to quit when it comes to chugging energy drinks or crying. Michelle's cousin James (Dylan Llewellyn) is the sidekick of their group -- and an Englishman to boot, which finds him attending their all-girls Catholic school for fear of what might happen to him if he were lumped in with other boys.

Is it any good?

The jokes come fast and furious in this series, delivered by a crew of actors with the chemistry and comedic chops to pull them off; that so many of the characters are female is a wonderful bonus. Derry Girls explores teenage life from a lowbrow, imperfect, fully-realized-female point of view; which is a perspective that's unfortunately not seen very often in the comedy milieu. These girls are by various turns wisecracking bullies, sensitive cream-puffs, pretentious blowhards and flighty eccentrics, but they're all treated with an underlying tenderness no matter how outrageous their antics may get (burning up a neighbor's apartment thanks to a clumsily-handled tray full of flaming shot glasses and faking a religious apparition to get out of taking a test come to mind). There's an impressive amount of comic lunacy packed into each 30-minute episode, making the series an ideal choice for a weekend binge-watch.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the role "The Troubles" play in Derry Girls. Do you think the show accurately portrays what it would be like to grow up in an environment of ongoing terrorism and oppression? Do the titular girls seem overly concerned by the goings-on between the British and Northern Irish? How does it affect the way they get along with others?

  • How many other television comedies can you think of that focus exclusively on the lives of teenage girls? How do the way those shows depict the female experience in comparison to Derry Girls?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love teen comedy

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