Everybody knows that one of the best parts of being a sports fan is debating and dissecting the most (and least) important questions in the sporting world with your friends. So, we’re bringing that to the pages of LGHL with our favorite head-to-head column: You’re Nuts.
In You’re Nuts, two LGHL staff members will take differing sides of one question and argue their opinions passionately. Then, in the end, it’s up to you to determine who’s right and who’s nuts.
Today’s Question: What’s your favorite non-Notre Dame Irish thing?
Jami’s Take: ‘Derry Girls’
I thought a lot about this, but I think the best Irish thing (and certainly the Irish thing that has most changed my life) is the coming-of-age TV series “Derry Girls.”
The teen sitcom, written and created by Irish screenwriter and playwright Lisa McGee, follows 16-year-old Erin Quinn, her cousin Orla, her best friends Clare and Michelle, and Michelle’s English cousin James as they grow up in mid-1990s Derry in Northern Ireland, during the final years of The Troubles.
The girls attend Our Lady Immaculate College, headed by the absolutely iconic Sister Michael, a no-nonsense, acid-tongued nun who has comedic levels of disdain for both the students and the priests.
We also spend time with Erin and Orla’s family: Erin’s parents, Orla’s mum, and their granddad, who all live together.
One of the things that makes “Derry Girls” such a special show (in addition to its absolutely immaculate use of “Dreams” by the Cranberries) is its ability to show how the girls’ teenage life goes on despite the political upheaval around them.
Just like teenagers elsewhere in the world, the Derry Girls are more concerned with dating, finding a good party, and passing school than they are with the Troubles. But the show smartly infuses its incredible comedy with moments of seriousness, where the news and the world around us become bigger than our daily lives.
We’ve all experienced those moments, where the bad date that felt like the end of the world no longer does because something bigger than us happens around the globe. And in that, there is something so relatable about this show, whether you grew up in Northern Ireland or not.
We see actual events referenced: The 1994 IRA ceasefire announcement, the Good Friday Agreement, etc. But we also see the girls living their lives like normal teenagers—studying for exams, getting into friendship squabbles, getting in trouble with their parents.
The series is based on McGee’s own experiences as a teenager in Derry in the 90s, and the show is full of laughter and heart and serves as a reminder that coming-of-age is one of the most universally awkward, terribly wonderful times.
I suggest if you plan to watch it, you wait until after Saturday because the Buckeyes don’t need your bad juju this weekend. But “Derry Girls” is available on Netflix in the U.S., and it’s the best that Ireland has to offer (and that’s saying something because Ireland gave us Guinness AND Saoirse Ronan).
Matt’s Take: McDonald’s Shamrock Shake
Let’s cut to the chase, the best thing that McDonald’s does every year is not bring back the McRib, it is to fully embrace its Irish heritage and roll out the Shamrock Shake in late February/early March in anticipation of St. Patrick’s Day.
As a kid, mint chocolate chip was my favorite ice cream, so I was predisposed to liking the Shamrock Shake, but it has become more than just a tasty treat to me. It has come to symbolize the changing of seasons, the end of the often brutal winter that brings its cold, gray, leaden skies to Ohio and the Midwest.
When Ronald decides that the time is right to bring back the bright green concoction, it means that warmer weather, brighter colors, and a waning of Seasonal Effective Disorder are all right around the corner. The appearance of this vaguely toothpaste-tasting dessert is far more reliable than some rodent climbing out of a hole to see his shadow.
Now, in an effort of full disclosure, I have lived in Florida for nearly a decade, so the only seasons we have are summer and hell, and I haven’t had sugar in two and a half years, so my fondness for the Shamrock Shake is almost exclusively nostalgic because if I’m being quite honest, I do think that it lost a little bit of his specialness when they tried to make it far fancier than anything from McDonald's’ has any business being.
They took it out of the cheap paper cup and put it in the slightly less cheap plastic cup. They put that domed lid on it. They started putting whipped creme on top to fill the dome. No one asked for that stuff. No one needs that stuff.
Just give me a generic, artificially flavored milkshake that tastes like it came out of a machine that only works half of the time. I don’t come to McDonald’s for froufrou treats; for that, I go to classy restaurants like Steak ‘n’ Shake or Shake Shack.
So, I guess my submission is the old Shamrock Shake. The one you could get before McDonald’s tried to compete with the fast-casual restaurants rather than embracing the fact that they have served billions of people because they provide cheap, lowest common denominator that in some cases makes you question all of the life choices that led you there, but in others delivers a thoroughly enjoyable, artificial-tasting dining experience.
Who has the right answer to today’s question?
This poll is closed
Jami: Derry Girls
Matt: Shamrock Shakes