At a time when life felt off and grieving the loss of a longtime pet felt impossible to get past, something as simple as the series Derry Girls led me out of a destructive inner cycle. Life is ups and downs, with some rough news coming out lately and personal troubles affecting almost everyone, but there’s a shelter in the distraction that some shows and media can bring temporarily to us. I was reluctant to shift what I had on my screen, to acknowledge the anxiety and depression navigating a hamster wheel in my mind. The rough news lately circulating felt like it belonged with the grief of saying goodbye to my cat. It felt like no show or moment with family could bring me out, but one day my folks made a suggestion and that was to watch Derry Girls with them.
Becoming resistant to connecting to something new or anything that could potentially distract my mind from existential thoughts and unfair doubting felt impossible. With a deep inner sigh, I said yes to watching the series they deeply wished to show me since it was a favorite of theirs. I’d try anything, even if it meant putting down shows I gripped onto as if they were my only coping skills.
In my eyes, Derry Girls has become one of my favorite shows of all time. Even with only three seasons, consisting often of short 22-25 minute episodes & based on both comedy and real events from Ireland decades ago, it remains a beautiful example of exceptional writing and character work. These became characters to fall in love with and I found myself witnessing very unique personalities from the very first episode. The quick wit and expert timeline the series worked with became a huge factor in distracting me from getting in my own head. What could have become another moment of nervousness leading to physical terrors of anxiety, instead became distracted by a story that I became engrossed by almost immediately. It also became a method of engaging with and connecting to a part of my family I hadn’t seen since the pandemic began years ago.
Derry Girls is a truly rewatchable show and I find myself picking up little details I missed previously. It felt familiar and comforting even with the storyline revolving around teens in Northern Ireland in the 1990s. Jokes continue to hit the mark each and every time I hear them. The routine, the soundtrack, and the inside jokes picked up along the way somehow broke that hamster wheel in my mind that would randomly pick up in speed and feel unending. For a moment, I not only found a distraction but I also found one of the best shows I’ve ever watched.
There were impactful characters in Derry Girls like Orla, James, Clare, Michelle, Erin, every parent on the show, Sister Michael, and what the hell I’ll throw in Colm as well. Responses and little personal details became a part of every moment in the series, so it’s no wonder why I got drawn in as I did. As I laughed a lot and cried a little, I gave myself room to breathe and step away from doubts and my inner critic. Sometimes we take for granted the positive power of television and media in general. We grab and critique some days without noticing we’re doing it or because it feels like the cure alongside a cynical society. We’ve got to stop doing that to ourselves, because not letting some amazing content into our lives may just be stopping us from living it.