Ms de Brun’s Girls


The usual suspects may have been making life difficult for Theresa May at Westminster tonight but it was the Bryan Singer film that was on the mind of Ma Mary in ‘Derry Girls’.  Erin’s mum was tormented when a screening of the film at their local cinema was halted due to a “wee security alert”.

And when it turned out that that was the final screening at their local multiplex, she was left wondering which character was Keyser Soze?

The latest episode of Lisa McGee’s Channel 4 sitcom was concerned, however, with another film, as it set its sights on parodying Peter Weir’s ‘Dead Poets Society’.

After the delivery of the Bishop’s Child of Prague statue to Our Lady Immaculate College, which a gushing Sister Michael announced would be stowed away in her office, Erin, Clare, Michelle, James and Orla were mesmerised by their new English teacher, Judith Roddy’s Ms de Brun.

She savaged school lick Jenny Joyce’s poem about a flower but she wasn’t all that impressed with the other poems from her students about various dogs, a tree, the odd cat or James writing about being an English rose among thorns.

Michelle’s poem was naturally about boys, Clare’s about school and Erin wrote some pretentious nonsense about bullets in the street and bullets inside her head.

Orla simply drew a picture of a dog – a pretty good one, it has to be said.

Like Robin Williams’ John Keating, Ms de Brun sought to inspire her pupils with speeches about poetry being “raw, ready and messy”.

While he got his pupils to read poetry by hoofing a football, she got hers to whack a camogie ball and shout the thing that they most despised.

For Erin it was injustice, Clare’s was prejudice, James was the use of the word “wee” to describe everything, Michelle’s was a long Mass and Orla’s beef was her own socks.

Then there was a visit to Me de Brun’s house after school hours, where Clare downed several glasses of wine and Erin tried to impress her teacher with her own poetry.

Things came to a head, however, when they ran into Jenny Joyce in her Girl Guides uniform on the way home and she noticed Clare was drunk.

After last week’s strong start to the second series, episode two of McGee’s sitcom felt a little flat.

There were some laugh out loud moments – mostly involving Erin’s parents and extended family.

Erin’s father Gerry was exasperated when a date night at the pictures with Mary ended up with Aunt Sarah and her weird boyfriend Ciaran in tow.

Grandpa Joe turned up as well, while Kevin McAleer’s Uncle Colm made a cameo appearance at the sweet counter with a bizarre, long drawn out tale about a Ballynahinch lad, whose name escaped him, who died choking “on a pear drop or was it a clove rock?”

Gerry got further riled when Joe shouted at one of the characters on the cinema screen not to trust another character because he was “a fly bastard”.

While these moments undoubtedly generated laughs, the ‘Dead Poets Society’ send-up didn’t quite work.

Roddy’s Ms de Brun seemed to self absorbed for it to work and it raised fears that McGee’s sitcom might become too reliant on parody.

Even the jokes around Ma Mary’s Christmas chocolates cupboard being raided felt a little tired and overplayed.

While the episode ended with an amusing ‘Usual Suspects’ visual gag, there was a slight air of anti climax after last week’s exuberant start.

Of the teenage characters, Louisa Harland’s Orla remained the most amusing but McGee needs to do more than just send up movies to get her series back on track.


Imagine festival 202

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