The Comeback Kids

Clintonmania was the order of the day in the final episode of the second season of ‘Derry Girls’.
The Stars and Stripes were being erected on a lampost near Free Derry Corner as the city was gripped with anticipation of President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton’s visit to the city.
Even Grandpa Joe was excited and was determined to meet the President.
However it emerged that that was because Uncle Colm managed to get one over him by meeting JFK when he visited Dublin.
Gerry felt sorry for JFK.
“JFK met Uncle Colm? God, that man did not have much luck,” he mused.
Joe enlisted Big Jim from across the road to track CIA agents on his CB radio to find out the location of the President’s base camp.
Meanwhile Ma Mary was worried about the state of her house 24 hours before the President and First Lady’s arrival.
“It’s like Beirut in here,” she said with a sense of shame as she gazed at her skirting boards.
At Our Lady of Immaculate Conception College, the school assembly was being treated to another butchering of a song by Jenny Joyce.
After Jenny tortured her fellow pupils with her version of Cliff Richard’s ‘Mistletoe and Wine’,  Sister Michael opined it was the most God awful song ever written.
She went on to buck the expectations of her students by declaring that they would not be getting the day off for the President’s visit, prompting Clare to agree for once with Michelle’s suggestion that they should all play truant.
The gang made their way to Dennis’s Wee Shop to purchase merchandise, only to discover the grumpy shopkeeper was selling red, white and purple American flags minus 20 stars.
Dennis tried to spoof that 20 states left the USA the day before but he was met with scepticism.
As they left the shop, a woman pulled up in a car, leading the neurotic duo of Erin and Clare to believe they were about to be kidnapped.
It turned out, however, to be James’ mum, Bronagh Waugh’s Big Cathy who had come back to Derry to see her son and brag about being a successful businesswoman in London with her own self adhesive label firm.
Mary and Sarah were quick to puncture her by claiming she was making stickers.
Much to Grandpa Joe’s disgust, Big Jim enlisted Uncle Colm to help them find where the Clintons were staying.
Soon they had Gerry driving them over the border to Burt after they picked up a signal that featured the words Bill and base.
After the disappointment of last week’s school prom episode, Lisa McGee delivered arguably the best episode of the entire series.
It was well constructed, moved along at a lively pace and had a wealth of laughs.
As we have seen throughout the second series, when McGee’s writing is on song – as in the first and fourth episodes – the cast really shines.
Kathy Keira Clarke’s Sarah and Tommy Tiernan’s Gerry turned in their best performances of series two.
Bronagh Waugh was also on form as Cathy – enjoying a showdown with Tara Lynne O’Neill’s Mary in the Quinns’ living room.
Director Michael Lennox kept the action moving and ended with a particularly touching excerpt of Bill Clinton’s speech at the Guildhall, with Enya’s ‘Carribean Blue’ again featuring.
Despite three disappointing episodes in this run, the final episode suggested there is plenty of mileage yet in McGee’s sitcom.
For all the flaws that emerged in the second series, the fact is ‘Derry Girls’ remains the best sitcom to have come out of Northern Ireland by a country mile.
Roll on series three.
Imagine festival 202

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