A tribute. By Dan Kois
What makes Derry Girls so great? The comedy series, a huge hit on Channel 4 in Britain and streaming on Netflix in the U.S., is set in Northern Ireland in the 1990s. I love it for its sharp-edged view of the Troubles and the way politics inflects the daily life even of high-schoolers. I love it for its snappy writing (by series creator Lisa McGee) and wild, twisty plots. I love it for its irreverence toward the twin pillars, so often lionized in Irish fiction, of the Church and family. But mostly I love it for Erin’s crazy faces.
Erin, played by Saoirse-Monica Jackson, is the 16-year-old heroine of Derry Girls, and what is most heroic about her is the faces she pulls. Erin is not reserved. Erin shows her emotions. Erin gurns.
Saoirse-Monica Jackson’s performance in the six-episode first season is a master class in the value of making big acting choices. Saoirse-Monica Jackson is not interested in playing it safe or underplaying to the camera. Saoirse-Monica Jackson is going for it. [ . . . ]