#CrazyStupidTV: Derry Girls – 3×02: ‘The Affair’

Now, it’s been a while since we’ve been able to say that a Derry Girls episode combines a Ma Mary-centric storyline, complete with all the 90s references and some absolutely iconic one liners. But for this week’s episode, we got hooked up and then some. And on with the show…

We open at the Quinn household kitchen. Ma Mary is but a bit half torn this week. Not only is the hot water on the blink, Aunt Sarah’s trying to regale her with the fact she can only use a makeup offer voucher once (although she’s planning multiple disguises to circumnavigate this). Da Gerry is nowhere to be seen to fix the hot water issue. Granda Joe is naturally triggered by his son in law as per usual. Erin can’t find her fountain pen and wants to know what she’s done with it, and Orla’s not happy about having to eat Strawberry Pop Tarts instead of Chocolate Pop Tarts.

At which point, Ma Mary does what my sister would call “pulling a John Cleese” and promptly loses her rag at everyone, saying that she’s had enough of being the one who does everything in this house. She storms off upstairs to go and take a bath, but not before Da Gerry has reminded her the hot water is on the blink.

Meanwhile, over at Our Lady Immaculate College this week, it is Children In Need Week. We know this on several counts.

Firstly, Jenny Joyce and Aisling are – Jesu – doing a sponsored 24hr danceathon, part of which entails them dancing to “Hot Hot Hot” in assembly whilst looking like MC Hammer threw up on them. It’s as bad as it sounds, yes.

Secondly, Clare is doing a 24hr sponsored silence (and we’ll see how well that goes). Orla is not breathing oxygen for 24hrs. Whilst talking and breathing in oxygen. Michelle says she’s gonna cut her hair for the wains. She could do with the money for her next holiday.

And pray, what is Erin offering to the philanthropic efforts?

It’s at this point an elated James arrives to join the others. No, he hasn’t opened his GCSE results a week after the others. He’s passed his driving test. This despite the fact Michelle just thought he was meeting up with a creep after school at the gates…

Sister Michael quickly brings everyone to order, as she stresses the serious side of what they’re doing for Children In Need Week. Mainly, that it involves Father Peter – with new ponytail that nearly makes Michelle boke up her breakfast – coming into tell them all why it’s so important. Oh yes. And to make an announcement. Drum roll please…

Said announcement is that there’s going to be a school Stars In Their Eyes contest held at the end of that week to raise money. And the prize for the winner is to appear performing as their soundalike on BBC Ulster News. Jenny and Aisling think they have it sewn up. Or at least, that’s what they think…

Back at the Quinns, there seems to be no abating in Ma Mary’s strike. She’s sat on the sofa reading, of all things, Wuthering Heights – and is by all accounts enjoying it. She’s also talking about joining the Women’s Coalition. More worryingly for Da Gerry, Aunt Sarah (who now resembles Bubble from Absolutely Fabulous) is taking it upon herself to defrost a chicken for dinner. With a hair dryer.

It’s at this point that a visitor arrives. Feel free to play Etta James’ “I Just Want To Make Love To You” off the Diet Coke adverts for this next GIF…

Their reactions are… well. As you might well expect…

This is Gabriel, the plumber (guest star Damien Molony). He’s from Kildare, and he’s otherwise unattached. And also happens to share Ma Mary’s rediscovered love of English Literature. Both her and Aunt Sarah are full of admiration, the latter more so as good looks and intelligence shouldn’t go hand in hand with plumbing. She says you should at least have the common decency to be a bit thick if you’re that hot.

Da Gerry gets a bit tired of all the Gabriel worshipping – not least because Ma Mary keeps proffering him cups of tea almost every 30 seconds.

Meanwhile, the girls are in intense rehearsals for the school Stars In Their Eyes contest. Which start off promisingly enough…

…before quickly descending into the usual hot mess they always do…

After Erin and Michelle come to blows over pedestrian choreography, and the latter berates a still mute Clare for doing a Haka, Clare then storms out. But not before she witnesses Ma Mary and Gabriel from the landing, arranging what appears to be well… a clandestine affair. At which point her inability to play charades renders her 24 hour sponsored silence a failure as she tells the others.

Later, over Aunt Sarah’s still raw chicken dinner, Ma Mary suddenly appears looking very glitzy and announcing she’s off out for drinks. The gang immediately have their suspicions, and so decide to follow her in Da Gerry’s car. With James driving it at the pace of an actual snail.

They eventually reach where Ma Mary has said she was going (at the wee house over the Craigavon Bridge). Gabriel happens to be at said wee house. Drinking wine. With Ma Mary. And as the curtains are pulled shut, the girls – most of all Erin – are horrified.

A few nights later, it’s the school Stars In Their Eyes contest for Children in Need. Father Peter is donning a besequinned jacket, Sister Michael is disposing of her backstage Walkie Talkie in the bin, whilst insisting to parents they’ve already donated to charity and therefore don’t need to sit through this horror show.

Amongst the star transformations are Wee Tina as Meat Loaf (I now refuse to sing “I’d Do Anything For Love” in anything besides a Derry accent) and Jenny and Aisling as Shakespears Sister doing “Stay”.

Meanwhile, the gang are backstage getting ready. They’re all a bit concerned that Erin isn’t reacting more strongly to the fact that Ma Mary is well… Having an affair. But why should she be? They’re on stage in five.

So, with white dressing gowns concealing their outfits, they head to stage to be introduced by Matthew Kelly – sorry, Father Peter.

So then. The clues as to who they’re gonna be:

  • There’s five of them.
  • They’re one of the biggest bands in the world.
  • They’re English – but they still love them…

Yes people, your eyes aren’t deceiving you. That is our wee doofuses as the Spice Girls. We are especially living for James as Posh.

Father Peter is digging it. Sister Michael and Siobhan Fahey – sorry, Jenny Joyce – are less so…

But Erin then spots that Ma Mary is in the audience with Gabriel, and suddenly, whilst still in full Ginger Spice regalia, stomps off the stage to confront her ma’s infidelity (bravo Lisa McGee on the accuracy of ‘Geri’ being the first to leave)…

And then fisticuffs erupt between Da Gerry and Gabriel (and also Granda Joe, who seems to be a little bit more enthusiastic about hitting Da Gerry, let’s be honest…)

And then all is revealed as to what’s actually been happening. Ma Mary was over at Gabriel’s to discuss going to university. And then… Well. The speech is a bit of a tearjerker…

The next night, the barely on-key strains of Jenny Joyce singing “Stay” are emitting from BBC Ulster Tonight (much to the gang, but more so Michelle’s absolute raging). And then Ma Mary discovers Da Gerry’s car has had a driving ticket…

Next week: a train trip to Portrush…

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