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‘Derry Girls’ season three: Growing up and heading out

On Oct. 7, the third and final season of the hit show “Derry Girls” was added to Netflix. After months of waiting patiently, international fans were finally able to watch. Premiering in 2018,  “Derry Girls” follows five working-class friends at a Catholic school during the 1990s. It is a show about the mishaps of adolescence as well as the Troubles in Northern Ireland. The gang consists of the soulful but misguided Erin (Saoirse-Monica Jackson), the ditsy Orla (Louisa Harland), overdramatic Clare (Nicola Coughlan), sassy Michelle (Jamie-Lee O’Donnell) and her quiet, English cousin, James (Dylan Llewellyn). Together the five of them are the “Derry Girls” who deal with a range of teen issues, from money, romance, breaking rules, as well as the rules that come with living in Northern Ireland in the ‘90s. One example is when Michelle tries to smuggle a bag of vodka onto a bus, denies ownership of it as she is a minor and the unclaimed bag gets literally blown up by the bomb squad.

Season three of “Derry Girls” is a season of change. The gang is growing up and soon graduating from high school, which means leaving their childhoods behind. In the same way, Derry is also growing as it contemplates a peace agreement for the first time. As well, it is a season about reality. Clare’s father dies unexpectedly, and we see her and the others mourn for his loss. It is the first time that “Derry Girls” has touched on death and grief, as if the innocence of their childhoods is slowly being lost with time. Similarly, Michelle and Erin get into a fight about Michelle’s brother who is in jail. With the peace agreement, he will be able to walk free even though he killed someone. The two girls discuss what it means to take a life, but also what it means to love someone who has done bad things. This scene reflects the growth the characters have had throughout the show and how now they are no longer the kinds from season one. 

The last episode really struck a chord with me. Toward the end of the episode, Erin asks her Grandpa Joe (Ian McElhinney), “What if we vote yes and it doesn’t even work?” Grandpa Joe is holding her little sister when he looks at her and responds, “And what if it does? What if no one else has to die? What if this all becomes a ghost story you’ll tell your wains (children) one day? A ghost story they’ll hardly believe.” 

That scene was beautifully done as it reflected the old generation passing wisdom down to the younger generation to make the world a better place for the future. The last scene is also beautiful. It shows the cast voting on the 1998 Good Friday Agreement referendum. As they cast their ballots, “Dreams” by The Cranberries plays. The last second of the scene is Grandpa Joe and the little sister walking hand-in-hand out of the voting room. The “Derry Girls” are no longer children and are headed out the door toward adulthood. It reminds us all that like our youths, they do not last forever. We too will walk out of the doors of college to adulthood one day. I hope to make an impact during my time as a young adult, although it definitely will not be as big as signing the Good Friday Agreement. 

Overall, “Derry Girls” was a hilarious, tear-jerking show that left me wanting more. I will miss the gang, but as they say, all good things must come to an end. 

Title: “Derry Girls”

Starring: Nicola Coughlan, Saoirse-Monica Jackson, Louisa Harland

Creator: Lisa McGee

If you like: “Sex Education,” “The Good Place,” “Kim’s Convenience” 

Shamrocks: 5 out of 5 

Contact Rachel Hartmann at rhartma4@nd.edu.

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Lizzo’s new album ‘Special’: All about love

When Lizzo’s album came out, I had to take a moment of silence because I knew the moment I listened to the album everything would change — and it did. “Special,” the new album by Lizzo is about loving yourself unequivocally and allowing others to love you as well. The 12 songs in the album are a gorgeous mix of pop, R&B and hip hop and invite the listeners on a journey of discovering yourself, and loving that self. With such a massive debut of “Truth Hurts,” Lizzo had a high bar to live up to and she did just that. 

The album starts off with the twerk anthem of “The Sign” a funky, groovy song in which Lizzo asks the listener, “Did you miss me?” and explains her break from music as her time preparing for this album and working on herself (as well as, you know, a pandemic). Then the next album is the 80’s-esque song “About Damn Time,” a fun song about how it’s finally time to do what you need to do and be a bad bitch. “Grrrls” is the re-released song about supporting your BFFs and having each other’s backs. One of my favorite songs on the album and the song that really struck a chord with me is “2 Be Loved (Am I Ready).” This song is an anthem to all the people who never felt they were ready to be loved by someone. Lizzo sings, “How am I supposed to love somebody else when I don’t like myself?” It is a powerful song that forces the listener to recognize that we all deserve love. Lizzo’s album ends with her song, “Coldplay” which is an homage to Coldplay’s song “Yellow.” It is a beautiful and literal song which portrays her musicality.

The two most special songs on the album for me are “I Love You B**ch” and “Special.” “I Love You B**ch” is Lizzo’s song to herself as she recognizes how amazing she is regardless of the hate, while “Special” is Lizzo’s song to us as she tells us how fabulous we are regardless of how we feel. These two songs are warm, vibrant, touching and vulnerable in a way a lot of music is not. It touches our hearts and makes us feel good. 

Lizzo’s album means a lot to not just her fans, but anyone who has felt inadequate or has a hard time loving themselves. For me, Lizzo is my inspiration and someone I look up to. I have loved her since freshman year of high school. She has motivated me through difficult times and brought so much joy into my life. As a bigger girl myself, I never really saw myself in pop culture very much, especially big girls who were not the butt of the joke or the sidekick. For the first time, Lizzo embraced the fullness of herself and lifted up other big girls with her. She is the main character and will never be the end of someone’s joke. I also love that she doesn’t shy away from describing the struggles of self-love and letting others love you. She is genuine, resilient and an icon. We all deserve to love ourselves no matter who and what we are. As Lizzo sings, “In case nobody told you today, you’re special.”

Artist: Lizzo

Album: Special

Label: Atlantic Records

Favorite tracks: “2 Be Loved,” “I Love You B**ch,” “Special”

If you like: Chloe x Halle, Tinashe, Janelle Monáe, Normani

Shamrocks: 5 out of 5

Rachel Hartmann

Contact Rachel at rhartma4@nd.edu