High Hopes

After the lows come the highs?

Four episodes into a very uneven second series, Lisa McGee’s ‘Derry Girls’ decided to call in some reinforcements.

Not content with having one stand-up legend Tommy Tiernan among its cast, Channel 4 viewers were also treated to the reappearance of Kevin McAleer’s Uncle Colm and the debut of a third Irish comedy hero, Ardal O’Hanlon.

The setting was a family wedding where Aunt Sarah was dressed up to the nines and managed to upstage the bride.

This drew the ire of many of the guests and as Ma Mary winced in embarrassment at the reception, Uncle Colm made a beeline for the Quinns.

“Run girls. Save yourselves,” Grandpa Joe urged his daughters.

However it was too late and soon Colm was regaling his nieces with stories about gallstones and bad weather.

They were soon joined by Joe’s sister-in-law, Eleanor Methven’s battleaxe Bridie who he alleged had been necking all the drink.

With her came O’Hanlon’s placid Eamonn in tow.

Bitchy comments were exchanged as Bridie told Sarah she ought to be ashamed of herself for upstaging the bride.

Mary politely asked if Eamonn would be the next to walk down the aisle but his mammy was certain that “Eamonn will never marry”.

Gerry was quick to interject: “Is that a feeling or an instruction?”

As the disco slowly cranked into gear, Erin and Orla were relieved to see Clare, Michelle and James.

Michelle announced she had arranged for a dodgy character with a broken nose and tattoos called Macca to get some cannabis.

This appalled Clare who urged her friends to just say no.

This prompted Erin to ask what if the gear’s dodgy?

“Dodgy?” Michelle asked.

“What is this? ‘The Bill?”

Michelle’s scheme was almost forgotten when ‘Rock the Boat’ came on, sparking chaos on the dance floor.

In the resulting melee, Eamonn sustained a bruise which prompted Bridie to march over to Gerry, Mary, Sarah and Joe’s table and launch into a tirade.

Mary eventually snapped and told Bridie to drop dead, which she duly did, prompting rumours that her niece had put a curse on her.

Gerry gave his wife a nickname: “The Wicked Witch of the North West” while Erin and Orla, fearing she had supernatural powers, offered to do all the housework.

Soon the Quinns were round to Eamonn’s for Bridie’s wake but chaos ensued when Michelle decided to bring a consignmént of cannabis scones because she did not have the recipe for brownies.

Episode four found McGee back on form, with some of the sharpest writing of the series so far.

As a result the cast were also at their best, with Tiernan, Ian McElhinney, Kathy Keira Clarke, Dylan Llewellyn, Jamie Lee O’Donnell and Siobhan McSweeney all having laugh out loud moments.

Just when you thought Gerry’s wicked witch moment could not be bettered, there was the spectacle of Uncle Colm engaging McSweeney’s rather bemused Sister Michael on a sofa at the wake.

“What’s happening?”, the girls’ disorientated headmistress wondered out loud.

“Am I dead? Is this my wake? Am I in hell?”

Then there was Joe’s unexpected words of praise for Gerry.

O’Hanlon did a decent job as Eamonn, while Methven made an effective battleaxe and McAleer delivered some laughs.

With two episodes left, ‘Derry Girls’ may have got its groove back.

The only question is: can it maintain it?