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The Hilarious Netflix Comedy You Didn't Know Bridgerton's Nicola Coughlan Is In

In Netflix's new hit show Bridgerton, a period dramedy set in 1813, actress Nicola Coughlan plays Penelope Featherington, a young woman from a wealthy family who prefers standing on the outside watching the party than being the center of attention. Her parents, who clearly don't understand her intelligence and personality, force her to be presented to society during the 1813 debutante season with her older sisters, despite Penelope wanting to wait a year for her friend Eloise Bridgerton (Claudia Jessie) to be in the debutante mix as well. The Shonda Rhimes-produced series takes on Regency era England with honesty, humor, and, well, a whole lot of sex. However, given Penelope's reluctance to involve herself in everyone else's desire to match up and get married, preferring to study instead, she's a little out of the loop. 

Coughlan's character Penelope stays on the perimeter of high-society drama and simply observes everyone else — like Phoebe Dynevor's Daphne Bridgerton and Regé-Jean Page's Simon Basset – fall easily into romance and passion. A lot of people can empathize with Penelope and her situation, but as quite the gossip, she doesn't always come off so well. Coughlan brings empathy to Penelope as she faces off against an unwelcoming society — and this ability to mix emotion with humor is evident in another hit show she stars in: Derry Girls. If you've been hiding under a rock and haven't heard about the comedy series, currently available to watch on Netflix, then now's the time to check it out.

Bridgerton's Nicola Coughlan plays Clare in Derry Girls

Set in the 1990s in Derry, Northern Ireland, 2018's Derry Girls follows a group of young students who go to an all-girls Catholic school. The series stars Saoirse-Monica Jackson as the unlucky leader Erin, Louisa Harland as her quirky cousin Orla, Jamie-Lee O'Donnell as their bold friend Michelle, Dylan Llewellyn as Michelle's awkward English cousin James (who attends the all-girls school for safety reasons), and, of course, Bridgerton's Nicola Coughlan as the goody two-shoes Clare. 

Initially, Coughlan's Clare appears to be there to anxiously question her friends' plans for fear of getting in trouble, then ultimately go along with it.While Clare definitely does this — and regrets it later — she also goes through her own emotional journey in the show. In Derry Girls season 1, Clare opens up to her friends in a huge way. Without spoiling anything, Derry Girls addresses Clare's revelation perfectly within the series' setting and the crew's friendship, but it never takes itself too seriously. 

Clare is a fan-favorite on the show, though all the characters are unique and hilarious in their own way. Quick-witted, with dark humor and surprisingly touching storylines, Derry Girls found critical acclaim upon release, and a second season followed in 2019. A third season was expected in 2020, but it got pushed back due to the pandemic. 

If you haven't seen Derry Girls, you are seriously missing out and should rectify this immediately — if only to see Coughlan's hilarious turn as Clare.