Cover art by @picchura on Instagram
By Alena Nguyen
The show definitely lives up to its title- “Normal People” is about two on-and-off again friends/lovers named Marianne (Daisy Edgar-Jones) and Connell (Paul Mescal) as they navigate life and their paths intermittently collide. But the relationships in the show are far from normal- the layered teen romance continues to build over time as
The 12-episode Hulu original series, adapted from Sally Rooney’s novel, starts at the end of high school where Marianne, the smart but lonely girl, meets Connell, the super popular soccer (or should I say football) jock. The show often skips through the timeline and every one or two episodes is a segment of Marianne or Connell’s life when their paths intertwine. This was one of the things I really liked about the show- while it is technically told in a linear fashion, we got to see each character grow as the years pass on and how they choose to integrate each other into their lives reflects their inner growth. The show focuses more on the characters’ lives as maturing young adults instead of what we initially would think as a cheesy teen romance to demonstrate how love can be a familiar figure in the midst of self-exploration and reminiscing on what could’ve been.
If I could describe the series in one word, it’d be “quiet”- we get to hear their intimate conversations with the other characters as well as the unspoken words when Marianne and Connell are quiet around each other when they meet. The rural fields and towns of Ireland juxtapose the chaos in their young adult lives as they try to learn from their pasts to build the future.
In one of the episodes, Connell’s friend commits suicide and Connell seeks out a therapist to talk about how his friend’s death has greatly affected him and his growing depression. This is one of the biggest events that we see in Connell’s life- he became a more reserved person from the social jock he was in high school and has to learn how to live without a dear friend. The episode and its lessons highlight a serious motif of the show- time goes on so people’s lives should too. This was also one of the more unique parts of the show- it breaks the idea that the emotional character is the female lead because Connell is actually the one with the confusion, somber-ness, and anxiety that the audience can relate to. Marianne, on the other hand, is often more angry and stern. Their yin-and-yang personalities blend together very well and is one of the unmoving aspects amongst all the growth the characters are doing within themselves.
“Normal People” will make your life seem not as boring anymore- it highlights the value of the small, quiet moments in one’s life and the importance of maintaining relationships.