“Derby Girl”, the series that popularizes roller derby and its culture

Track, skates, contacts, solidarity and ingenuity, this is the recipe for roller derby, a discipline highlighted by the series “Derby Girl”, whose second season premiered in early April on France TV Slash. “Derby Girl” follows the team from a small town in France called Mézières. The players, a group of friends, fight daily for recognition of their discipline, roller derby.

Roller derby is a contact sport that is practiced with skates on a track. The goal: for a player to pass the opposing team’s block without shooting on the ground or off the court. Born in the United States, the discipline has gradually spread to all continents. In France, 4,500 licensees today practice roller derby, according to the French Federation of Skates and Skateboards.

“I know the roller derby after quelques années, notamment depuis qu’il s’est développé aux États-Unis, avant son essor en France. Et surtout parce que sport a des accointances avec la scène punk et glam, qui m’intéressent on the other hand”explains series creator, author and screenwriter Nikola Lange. “That was what made me want to do a comedy about it”.

In “Derby Girl”, he strives to highlight the values ​​of roller derby: solidarity, social inclusion, “do it yourself”. “In this new season, I wanted to show the culture of ingenuity, the players who do everything on their own, the empowering side of this sport.”, he assures. These values, the heroines also try to apply daily in their personal lives, while facing the challenges of the transition to adulthood.

The series is also an opportunity to talk about women’s sports as it follows a team of young women. “It’s inherent to roller derby, which is a predominantly female sport, unlike all other contact sports”explains Nikola Langen, who therefore focused on an adventure with female main characters and heroines.

Behind the scenes, the director has also surrounded himself with qualified players, in particular from the Paris Rollergirls, one of the best teams in France, to train and support the actresses. “It was great working with them, having their perspective and experience, they did a great job”he says.

However, it could be regretted that the scenes of sports practice, training and matches are not so numerous and do not allow a full understanding of the rules of the discipline. “Derby Girl” continues to be an entertaining series, accurately portraying the challenges of life as a young adult, with roller derby as its backdrop.

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