Every Derry Girls character ranked from worst to best
You'd want to catch yourself on
Derry Girls series two finished with another deeply satisfying instalment last night, leaving us with a long and testing wait ahead for the next series to emerge.
So what better way to pass that time than by needlessly ranking the main characters from worst to best? Right?
The criteria is very simple, the characters are being judged based on their commitment to banter and general enjoyability to be around, along with their overall effect on the show.
While this was a tough process, I must stress that all decisions are final.
Unfortunately someone has to come last in this merciless list, but that doesn't make James a bad character, it merely serves as a barometer of the calibre of the other personalities that follow. James officially transitioned into being a Derry Girl during the series two finale and it was a much-deserved promotion. As is his role in the show, James gives quite an understated version of himself, often forced into playing the role of the straight man to emphasise the girls' heightened dispositions, as well as acting as the official punching bag for the troubled Irish/British relations in 1990s Ireland. He's the cousin we all would've publicly ridiculed but secretly treasured. James' best moment (so far) was when he threw a fit in the chip shop, reaching boiling point and deeming the food as being "much, MUCH too greasy", forcing Fionnula to evict him from the premises. He'll learn the ways of the world yet.
Tasked with being the official worrier and rule-adherer-to of the group, Clare can sometimes verge on killing the vibe, but usually requires little persuasion to get on board with the Derry Girls' trademark antics once she calms down. She's a loyal friend and easy company. Everyone knows a Clare (or Claire) and recognises them to be what is affectionately known as 'a special case'. Clare's golden moments in the show always occur when the gang are being confronted by their parents, Sister Michael or anyone of a slightly higher ranking than themselves. Clare sells the others out with great ease, eager to clear her own name and sacrifice everyone else for slaughter. She's a bit of a self-serving rat, but an undeniably entertaining character.
Although she's the main character, Erin's role isn't to steal every scene. She provides the backdrop of a lunatic family and an overly-ambitions, often deludedly-optimistic attitude towards life. Erin can, at times, be a bit much, but it's funny to watch the extremities of her facial expression ranges. You must ask yourself, if you were a Derry Girl, would you enjoy spending time with her? Sure. But would 35 minutes a day be the absolute maximum you could tolerate? Yes, probably. Erin acts as a facilitator for disaster with her wild ideas and eagerness to be involved in everything, while trying desperately hard to fit in. Despite her bananas family, she somehow manages to pull together a reasonably normal personality. Sometimes she's a melt, but a beloved one.
7. Sister Michael
Sister Michael falls victim to circumstance here as unfortunately someone exceptional has to land outside the top five in this unforgiving list. She's infuriating because the excellent writing causes you to fear Sister Michael in the same way that you feared every teacher at school who wasn't desperate to be liked by their students. Sister Michael is a brilliant character because she holds such blatant contempt for all who inhabit God's earth, as all of us should. As a viewer, you identify with her dry sense of humour and overall exhausted attitude towards life, but put yourself in the shoes of the Derry Girls. Go back to your schooldays. You would've feared an appointment in Sister Michael's office with more intensity than you'd ever recognise in yourself. Incredible acting. Incredible writing. A loveable villain, despite the odds.
6. Ma Mary
The fact that an individual of her calibre is finishing in sixth place serves as a chilling reminder of just how good the rest of the characters are. Mary's outfits alone perfectly encapsulate what it was like to be a Mum in 90s Ireland, choosing style over comfort but still trying to operate on a very minimal level of fashion-consciousness. Her best moment came in the most recent series when Mary arrived home to see that Erin and the gang had decimated her Christmas Cupboard™ that she had been doing a doomsday-level of preparing long before the big day came remotely close. She's a devoted mother and loves her family more than anything in the world, but if someone's going to launch into the secret stash of Tunnock's tea cakes before December 25th, woe betide every last one of them, family or not.
5. Aunt Sarah
Orla's mother slash Erin's aunt brings a sizeable dose of whimsy to proceedings, as well as some over-the-top glamour, sufficiently answering all queries wondering why Orla is the way that she is. Aunt Sarah has a delightfully dozy disposition, always falling short of being fully clued into what's happening around her. She takes change after depositing a £5 note in the church collection plate, provides dubious fortune-telling services, participates in UTV News interviews and we still haven't even scratched the surface of Aunt Sarah's skillset. She's a scene-stealer and if her and Orla ever move out of the Quinn's house, it'll be a soulless place. She deserves the absolute world and I will personally see to it that she gets it.
4. Da Gerry
Set aside the fact that it is Tommy Tiernan playing the role of Da Gerry because that is an unfair advantage from the outset. We must look at the character from an impartial perspective. His love for his family is blatant, his desire to protect them is palpable, his devotion as a tentative father is evident, but above all else, his eagerness to earn his father-in-law's respect, or even acknowledgement, is devastating. He and Mary are 17 years deep into their marriage and Gerry's quest to be accepted into the extended family (exclusively in Joe's eyes) provides some of the best comedy interactions we've seen on tellybox in a very long time. God bless you Gerry. God bless you to the end and back. Yours is a fight fought hard and we appreciate every moment of it.
Has a more wholesome, 'thrilled off away in her own little world' and aptly-named character than Orla McCool ever emerged in a TV series? The answer is no. Orla is the perfect offspring to Aunt Sarah, providing a refreshing and unique outlook on life in comparison to her peers. Orla keeps a lighter on hand at all times because she simply likes to burn things, she openly reads her cousin's diary and brings it to school, enjoys chocolate fountains more than the average person, basically the girl is living her best life and the world would be a much better place if everyone had a smidge of Orla in them. Her pièce de résistance came during the finale of season one when Orla took the school talent show by storm with her stunning step aerobics routine soundtracked by Madonna's 'Like A Prayer'. Absolutely stunning television. Please rewatch it immediately.
Both admired and feared in equal measure, Michelle is a force in Derry Girls. Everything she says is a 100k RT viral tweet. She's the girl you would've been petrified of at school, but also secretly curious to know more about, possibly even tricking her into accepting your friendship. Most of the other girls live vicariously through her, standing on the sidelines acting as yes men, ensuring no fatalities occur during battle. Michelle despises but also loves her cousin, as evidenced by her willingness to include him in her little misfit group of friends. She rarely shows a hint of emotion, which resulted in the second series finale catching viewers completely off guard as she informed James "You're a Derry Girl now", which is about as close to affection as we're likely to ever get with Michelle. A magic moment and a fitting end to another perfect series.
1. Granda Joe
Cursed with a plague of a brother who's the most insufferably boring man alive, Granda Joe makes up for his family's shortcomings with his typical grumpy-yet-adorable Irish Grandad persona. He disapproves of pretty much everything, his perfectly palatable son-in-law of 17 years included, and is firmly set in his ways. He shouldn't be likeable. On paper, this man is the very *very* worst person alive. But for some reason, he is impossible to dislike. It defies logic, science and religion. Joe accidentally spikes his entire family with ~*spicy*~ scones that he brought home from a wake because he really enjoyed them, and you forgive him, even encourage the mishap because he simply can do no wrong. He goes to the school prom with his granddaughter Orla, no questions asked, simply because he is her favourite man. Joe is precious and although a fictional character, we must do our utmost to protect him at all costs. Give Granda Joe His Own SpinOff Show 2020.
Images via Channel 4