Normal People: Full Season
May 17, 2020 4:38 PM - Season 1 (Full Season) - Subscribe

Follows Marianne and Connell, from different backgrounds but the same small town in Ireland, as they weave in and out of each other's romantic lives.
posted by roolya_boolya (8 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Normal People is streaming via Hulu in the US.
posted by Etrigan at 7:07 PM on May 17, 2020 [1 favorite]

Yay, so glad to see this post! I hadn't heard of Sally Rooney or either of her two novels, but checked out this show based on several very enthusiastic early reviews, and wound up binging all 12 episodes over the course of a weekend. And although it ached terribly having to say goodbye at the end of their story, two weeks later I feel changed by the presence of these characters, as though Connell and Marianne are somehow still part of my life. (And in our current moment, there's hardly been a more welcome time for such an unexpected and newly beloved pair of companions.)

I don't feel hyperbolic calling this one of the finest tellings of a love story I've ever seen on television, and I have seldom rooted for a fictional character to find happiness as much as I find myself rooting for Marianne. Not to give Connell short shrift, for whom I feel increasing compassion as the story proceeds, but Marianne has no good reason to forgive him for the way he wounds her, except maybe the most important reason of all, which is that in his presence she seems to experience the feeling of "home" for perhaps the first and only time in her life. Watching their sex scenes, the emotional nakedness - the sense of seeing two people come home to each other - is often more intense than their physical nakedness. Also just some incredible acting. Too many moments to list off, but the quiet ratcheting of tension during Marianne's first encounter with Connell at Trinity, and during a certain pivotal moment at her family's Italian summer home, is riveting to experience. And I really wish that Connell's mom Lorraine could be Marianne's mom, too.
posted by Dixon Ticonderoga at 3:13 PM on May 19, 2020 [3 favorites]

I've also really enjoyed these two nice long interviews with the creators and main actors: Edith Bowman interviews director Lenny Abrahamson, and actors Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones for BAFTA Guru; and Will Rycroft interviews author Sally Rooney, Lenny Abrahamson, and Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones for Waterstones Booksellers.
posted by Dixon Ticonderoga at 3:30 PM on May 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

I read the book just a couple months ago and while I liked it overall, I was disappointed in the ending. Not that I wanted Connell and Marianne to live happily ever after, but the unresolved decision made me feel like the author, herself, didn't know how to wrap it up. It turns out, the show on Hulu gave me a better ending. It's not all that different from the book, but the small changes made the story more satisfying for me. I hope that’s not too much of a spoiler.

My favorite episode was set in Italy. The scenes around the pool, the bike ride, Marianne’s wardrobe, even the argument – were so well done! (Except, who eats ice cream in Italy? Surely that was gelato!)
posted by kbar1 at 10:27 PM on May 19, 2020

I was totally underwhelmed by the novel "Normal People" even as a beach read (which it literally was for me). Just didn't really get Sally Rooney's writing at all.

For example, an early description of Marianne in the book: "Her face lacks definition around the cheeks and jaw. It's a face like a piece of technology, and her two eyes are cursors blinking. Or it's reminiscent of the moon reflected in something, wobbly and oblique. It expresses everything all at once, which is the same as expressing nothing."

I mean that description conveys nothing to me, does not make me think of a single face I've ever seen (and how does something resemble both a piece of technology, angular and hard, AND a wobbly reflection of the moon?)

Anyway the Connell of the show could have been the Connell of the book, and Paul Mescal did excellent work. The Marianne of the show is physically very different from the Marianne of the book (to the extent you ever really get an idea what Marianne is supposed to look like in the book). No one could say that Daisy Edgar-Jones's face lacks definition or is not pretty! Trying to make her seem not-pretty in the early eps must have been a challenge (and didn't really succeed). But DE-J took Marianne's character and brought all her vividness and vulnerability and damage and outsider status and straight-up fuck-you honesty, anyway. I think she saved the show from the source material, which is actually interesting considering how closely the show hewed to the book story.

So Connell and Marianne were just exceptionally well-cast. Also I adored Connell's mom in the book, and I think Sarah Greene is a gem as well, so that casting worked great for me too! ...Overall, C+ or B- on the novel, and a solid A on the show. 
posted by torticat at 2:20 AM on May 20, 2020 [2 favorites]

I’m four Or five episodes in and so far it’s landing like a teen flick (jock can’t be with girl because gorgeous girl is made ugly for tv?) except for Irish accents and boobs. She’s mean and haughty because...? I can’t see what the fuss is.

My husband and I did note that the characters are unusually clear about themselves and direct with each other - Is that a millennial thing? And the sex scenes are refreshingly normal. Otherwise maybe I’m missing something.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 3:56 PM on May 24, 2020

jock can’t be with girl because gorgeous girl is made ugly for tv

Connell is hardly a jock. Part of this is him being inarticulate and unable to understand [let alone express] his feelings.

Marianne doesn't fit in at school, but she's not ugly. She gets jibes about 'ugly' because she doesn't fit in, rather than the converse. What's really going on with her is slowly uncovered in later episodes.

I found this series hard to watch at times[*], but compelling.

[*] Not because it's bad, but because it's good, and deals with some difficult issues.
posted by HiroProtagonist at 8:55 PM on June 9, 2020 [1 favorite]

Currently sitting at #156 on IMDB's list of best ever TV shows. For me, I saw it on that list, decided to watch it and realised I'd read Sally Rooney's book last year.
posted by rongorongo at 4:18 AM on June 21, 2020

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