Derry Girls season 3 makes a scriptwriting cliché clever by using it to give a key character, Michelle, even more depth.
Derry Girls season 3, episode 4 ("The Haunting") sees James finally confess his feelings to Erin, with the two sharing a kiss.
However, a horrified Michelle walks in on them, telling them she would have to pick a side between Erin, her best friend, and James, her cousin if they ever broke up.
The episode ends with Erin concluding that a relationship between them might not be such a good idea, and James claims that he will wait for her.
The well-worn cliché of a young romance prevented by family ties goes back centuries to Romeo and Juliet, becoming a favorite of melodramas, sitcoms, and romcoms.
With Michelle as James’ cousin though, there has always been the problem of how she would react, and whether this could fall into the usual sitcom tropes Derry Girls so cleverly subverts.
Erin and James’ romance is never explicitly touched upon again from there to Derry Girls' extended final episode
It adds another dimension to Michelle and brings home the foundation of loyalty that holds Derry Girls together.