(Note: remember I am not talking about the characters or actors I like or dislike, but rather about the characters whose storylines worked or didn't work for me in season 22!)
FIA. Season 22 will be remembered as the season in which Fia lost her damn mind, and we loved every minute of it. Her year truly did veer back and forth between the sublime and the ridiculous, but she certainly gave us one of the season’s most scream-at-the-TV-in-horrified-delight highlights, which started with Máire walking in on her having sex with Pól, continued with the two women chasing each other down the street while pushing Liam Óg’s stroller so fast sparks flew out, and culminated with Fia slapping the hell out of her grandmother in the middle of the road. I mean, it’s really impossible to top that. Things hit a rough patch for Fia during the ill-advised late-season storyline in which her feelings for Niall inexplicably went from “stay away from me, you perv!” to “put another baby in me RIGHT NOW!” in 2.5 seconds, which was rather embarrassing for all of us, but on the other hand, she also made the season very educational in that I did not know “influencer” is apparently an occupation now until she kept banging on about it. She ended the season bopping around Europe, leaving a trail of broken Póls, burning youth hostels, and Interpol investigations in her wake, but I can’t imagine she’ll be gone too long, and I for one hope the cloud of surreal chaos that follows Fia wherever she goes is dialed up to 11 next year.
PÁDRAIG. Ireland’s most dashing restaurateur’s season got off to a rocky start: most of the Gaudi drama never panned out for me, no matter how exciting it was that someone called in sick and Siobhán, whoever the hell she is, wasn’t able to cover for them, and while it made for some hilarious group puking, I still have no idea what kind of head injury caused him to go temporarily insane and poison half the town with his mussels. (That’s not a euphemism, though it should be.) He made up for lost time, though, with the Sam/Sonia storyline in the second half of the season, in which we discovered he had been married (wuh?) to a woman (buh??) and had a son (guh?!?), which means he presumably had sex with said woman at least once (AIEEE!!). Sonia was, of course, a complete dumpster fire of a human being, a cross between Doctor Doom and that weird smell in your fridge that you can’t get rid of no matter how hard you try, but hopefully during the summer hols she’s crashed her Moped into another Pizza Hut, this time at a slightly higher rate of speed that will ensure we never have to see her again. It was a good story for Pádraig, though in some ways it raised as many questions as it answered and I somehow suspect we will never get around to answering them, but it was nice to see him have something to do that was actually about him and not in service of somebody else’s story for a change. I’d be happy to have Sam back from time to time next season, and not just because he’s played by an absolutely terrific young actor, but I’d also like to see Pádraig develop a life for himself outside work. I’ve been wanting him to have some romance in his life for years, and while my initial prediction that Briain was introduced to clear the cobwebs out of Pádraig’s hot press didn’t pan out, I’m hoping somebody will finally sex him up in season 23. I mean, even the virtuous and virginal Maggie managed to get some action once every 40 years. Let's see our Pádraig bust out the leather chaps and riding crop and get freaky for a change.
DEE. Last but not least, nobody had a more up-and-down season storywise than our favorite barrister, lawyer, or solicitor Dee. Early on we had several rounds of character assassination I still don’t entirely understand that kept taking her from “mildly annoying” to “WTF is up with this wagon?,” such as all the episodes early on in which she tried to make friends by being completely awful to everyone, suggesting she was raised in a cave by wolves with only The Real Housewives of New Jersey to teach her how humans act. Things picked up mid-season as she allied herself with Frances and became a giver of advice, both vaguely legal (“this Wikipedia article says you are entitled to antimony”) and personal (“it gets Mack’s attention when I hit him in the nuts with a tennis racket, so maybe you could try that with Tadhg?”). Of course, things really went through the stratosphere with Dee in the final episode of the season, in which we learned why you should never let children play with extremely shocking DNA test results. We have no idea how little Jay’s trip to the seaside with Auntie Dee is going to turn out, but it was delightful to see her go completely Dark Phoenix and start destroying the universe, especially since Katy had spent weeks being simultaneously despondent and smug in that way of hers that makes it hard to remember why we like her. It’ll be interesting to see whether Mack spends more of season 23 trying to clean up Dee’s mess or being dismembered by various villagers with pitchforks, but the important thing is that no matter how lurid things get, Dee’s hair will look AMAZING.
BOBBI LEE. It was another season in which our favorite cowgirl didn’t have any giant storylines of her own but was semi-involved in everybody else’s business at all times, which is really where she thrives anyway. Her new radio show was a recapper’s dream come true, and I hope it’ll continue next season, especially if Micheál did not murder her while we were away for the summer. I’ve been wanting to see Bobbi Lee be successful at something for ages now, so I hope her show will become a huge hit. She’ll bollocks it up in the end, of course, but it’ll be fun until then, especially when Caitríona has to admit that the only reason her stupid station is still on the air is because of Bobbi Lee’s patented brilliant nonsense. I’d also like to see Ros na Run’s self-proclaimed gay icon spend more time with Pádraig and Adam next year because the three of them are a riot together. (I’ve been saying for ages that it would be heaven to see Bobbi Lee and Pádraig share a house, at least for the two or three weeks until it burned to the ground under mysterious circumstances.) Of course, the energy of any scene shoots up as soon as Bobbi Lee enters, and because Annamaria Nic Dhonnacha is one of the funniest actors on TV, even if she’s just standing behind the bar painting her nails and looking bored, she’s absolute gold.