TV Review: Derry Girls Season 3

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Warning: Spoilers for Season 3

I had long been anticipating Season 3 of the Northern Irish sitcom, Derry Girls. Last season, one of the main characters, Clare, came out as a lesbian. Although her coming out had a rocky start with protagonist Erin, eventually, the rest of the Derry girls wear rainbows to show their allyship. I was hoping that Season 3 would continue showing Clare’s journey with her sexuality. I also worried that she would be more absent from this season, as actress Nicola Coughlan has also been in Bridgerton.

Clare’s does come up again, in Season 3 Episode 5, “The Reunion” when Erin’s grandfather mentions that one of the parents’ high school reunion attendees is gay. Clare’s parent’s say that their daughters is a lesbian, “what are the odds.” It’s clearly meant to be a joke, as the parents say that Clare is “not an established gay such as yourself.” But it’s pretty non-offensive and it’s nice to see Clare’s parents be supportive.

I was then excited to see Clare meet (and crush on) another lesbian character, Coco in Season 3 Episode 6, “Halloween”. But did feel a bit contrived because Michelle told Clare that Coco is lesbian, expecting Clare to find a girlfriend in Coco. Clare tells her that just because they’re both lesbian, doesn’t mean they should be a couple. But she does end up having a crush on Coco despite this, so it seems like the joke is that all gay people are actually attracted to each other after all. Also, Michelle keeps calling Coco a lezzie, which I think is a slur? And Clare tells her to stop, but she doesn’t. But Clare and Coco kiss which is nice. I was just surprised because they hadn’t known each other for very long. It doesn’t seem like they know anything about each other other than that they’re both lesbian. This contrasts heavily with James and Erin who have a long slow-burn romance, being friends for a long time before they kiss.

In addition to this, Coco is not around in the finale. It seems like she was just there so that Clare could have her first kiss only to be tossed aside. This is particularly troubling keeping in mind that she is a Black character. Too often Black characters are only around to prop up the white protagonist. I have mixed feelings about this kiss scene because, on one hand, a same-sex kiss is rare on mainstream television. I feel like I should for grateful for this onscreen kiss. On the other hand, I think it could have been better. I understand not wanting to mess up the Derry girls’ group dynamic by making Coco part of the group like James, but maybe Clare could have befriended Coco on her own before the kiss. Or they could have gone on a date first. I hope this doesn’t sound too puritanical of me, there’s nothing wrong with kissing someone who you don’t know very well. Even if Coco had gone on a date with Clare afterward, I would have been happy. But instead, the kiss is really all we get.

Still, I think that’s my main complaint about this final season of Derry Girls. All of the romantic plotlines were dropped in the finale. After James and Erin kiss, Michelle tells her that she doesn’t want them to be together because it will cause problems for her if they break up. So they say that they’re not going to be together. But in the finale episode they clearly still have chemistry, they just don’t act on it. This is a poor way to end a romantic plotline that fans were so ready to see concluded.

Ultimately I would recommend this season because it was still very humorous which is the main reason I watch sitcoms. But also I appreciated that this season was gayer than the previous ones, even if I think it could have gone further. While the finale episode didn’t conclude the romantic plotlines very well, I do think it concluded the rest of the plot nicely. So I think it’s definitely worth a watch even though I was a little bit disappointed with certain aspects of the plot.

Derry Girls. Saoirse Monica Jackson, Louisa Harland, Nicola Coughlan, Jamie-Lee O’Donnell, Dylan Llewellyn. Hat Trick Productions. Netflix.

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