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Derry Girls recap: Nineties music and a secret Take That trip

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Anna Fielding
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Derry Girls series two episode three: the gang take a booze-filled trip to Belfast to see Take That and it ends, as expected, in hilarity. 

It’s all about the power of escalating lies, this week, lies and fake news. The gang are off to go and see Take That, happily driven to Belfast and chaperoned by Gerry. 

But news of an escaped polar bear puts Mary into Worried Mother Overdrive and the trip is called off. The girls (and James) decide to, in Michelle’s words “lie our holes off”. Things escalate, fast.

An attempt at getting the bus to Belfast is thwarted by yet more lies. The group deny all knowledge of a booze-filled bag, leading to the bus being cancelled and a bomb disposal squad called in. They eventually end up hitching with a merchandise seller in a van full of mis-spelled t-shirts (I’m with Claire on this one, that would bother me too). 

Back in Derry, the adults – with the exception of Gerry, who this series is frequently the only sane person in the room – have reached peak polar-bear hysteria, ready to barricade themselves in the house.      

There were some great throwaway moments in this episode (Sister Michael reading The Exorcist as a comedy; Michelle, when accused of packing a whole suitcase with vodka, responding “there’s mixers too. I’m not a savage”), but it did feel like one of the programme’s weaker ones. Sadly, it was the music that did it. 

There were some great bits on being a pop fan - like Michelle being convinced Robbie Williams was talking just to her. But the over-frequent use of tiny snippets of the cheesiest pop started to grate – it’s the audio equivalent of someone walking through each scene with a giant sign saying ‘LOL, remember the Nineties!’. 

Urban Cookie Collective popped up again, and I swear to you as someone who was there and old enough to buy records, no one paid them this much attention even in 1993 when the bloody song came out. It’s a double shame, because when Derry Girls gets music right, it gets it so right. 

Erin’s love of The Cranberries is perfect for a mid-Nineties teen girl who takes herself a bit too seriously. The choice of Madonna for Orla’s step-aerobics performance was spot on. Season two Derry Girls seems to have forgotten that the music forms part of the characters. Michelle was cool enough to be watching pirated Tarantino films in series one. And now she’s describing Right Said Fred as one of the greats?. (This disappointment also extends to seeing the special character playlists on Spotify - they’re Nineties as a genre, without much thought given to what each individual would listen to).

There was redemption at the end. As the furious mothers discussed what to do with their wayward teens, footage of the Take That gig appeared on the news. “We just need concrete proof they were at that concert,” says one. Gerry, facing the television, suddenly sees footage of his daughter and her friends, who are bouncing and joyful and full of all the good things pop music brings. He does nothing but chuckle, Good man, Gerry.

Images: Channel 4

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Anna Fielding

Anna Fielding is the associate editor of Stylist. She looks after the magazine’s front section and features pages.

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