Normal People is an Irish drama TV series based on Sally Rooney‘s 2018 novel of the same name. The series follows the relationship between Daisy Edgar-Jones‘ Marianne Sheridan and Paul Mescal‘s Connell Waldron. Together, they navigate adulthood from their final days in secondary school to their undergraduate years in Trinity College. We’re not even half an episode in and I’m already getting triggered.
After much begging from my BFF, I finally watched Normal People, and here are my final thoughts:
NORMAL PEOPLE | PILOT EPISODE
Within the first five minutes of the pilot episode, I can already tell that Marianne seems like a very nice girl with a damaged past. Although Lorraine mentions her mom, it seems as if her home life is nothing but painful silence – especially with the melancholy music. But, is there something going on between Marianne and Connell? Why does everybody make fun of her? Why hasn’t he done anything whenever his “friends” make fun of her?
Seven minutes in and that’s the only time we see her mother and her brother. And, I don’t think I like them. Her mother is dismissive while her brother’s a fucking bitch. Especially when he dropped her off in the middle of the fucking rain. Then, soft music plays as Marianne watches Connell win the match. They are actually pretty cute. Especially, with the secret glances between them and the short interactions that seem to mean so much to Marianne.
Then, the kiss. It was short and sweet and well, a little bit awkward. However, I hate the fact that it would all be just a secret. Then, after the kiss, there was some kind of ominous music box playing in the background – which scares the hell out of me. Okay, never mind, they kissed again and it wasn’t sweet. It was all kinds of sensual and steamy.
The dialogue between them in the first two minutes of this episode remained realistic. Although I was kind of irked that the second episode was going to start with a sex scene, I was glad that it actually had some depth to it. It wasn’t just pure lust. They incorporated the use of contraceptives and the fact that Connell actually asked for consent – which was a good thing for a show rated for 16+. Everything was going well, though. Then, Connell’s friend invited her to dance. When she said no, he acted like some typical man and insulted the way she looked. Her face as she looked to Connell for some kind of help – my heart just cringed for her.
I am… triggered. Marianne just got groped and Connell’s friends were laughing at him. I thought it was going to be a happy episode because she really did make an effort on how she looked. Karen was kind to her and defended her from these assholes. Connell took her to his home and they both admitted their love for each other. But… he just fucking backtracked and asked that blonde asshole to the dance. Not only did he hurt Marianne’s feelings, but he’s also stringing that blonde shithead along.
Now, Marianne’s crying, and I’m hurt. YES, LORAINNE DRAG HIM!!! DRAG YOUR SON!!! Connell went to the dance with the blonde bombshell. And, he ended his day drunk and upset as he leaves yet another message to Marianne, saying how much he loves her. And, to be honest, I think he kinda deserved the pain. Especially with her constantly being hidden away because he wanted to fit in with the popular kids.
The fourth episode starts with boring school stuff. We see Connell struggling to fit in and having a hard time interacting with people. We’ve yet to see Marianne… Five minutes into the episode, we have yet to see Marianne. I don’t know if that’s a good or a bad thing, though. Oh, my God. Don’t tell me Connell’s now a friendless loser and Marianne’s the popular one. Ha! I don’t know if I should laugh or feel bad that he doesn’t have any friends, though.
She’s clearly moved on, dating Gareth, and interacting with many people. Marianne’s thriving! The makeup she wore became a juxtaposition to the fact that she didn’t even know how to put it on during the earlier episodes. Dating a problematic asshole can do so much to a person. Although she looked like she’s thriving, I fear that she might become a problematic person herself.
This episode shows how different they have become. During the earlier episodes, we would see Connell hanging out and smoking with his friends. Now, that they are college students at Trinity, Marianne is now the one doing the interacting and smoking and laughing. Although he finally has friends that he could interact with, they’re all in Marianne’s clique. She, then, came clean to Connell about how she would feel embarrassed if her friends found out about their past. Their heart-to-heart conversation came a little too late, though.
She had finally moved on. But, he still feels bad about it despite the fact that she had forgiven him. Did their talk prompt her to break up with Gareth? Probably, yeah. But, it’s not like they were actually meant for each other like Marianne and Connell were. The morning after the party, they go back to Marianne’s place and sleep with each other. And, to be honest, I don’t know how I feel about it. She literally just broke up with her boyfriend and isn’t he seeing another girl? I’m so confused.
As of this writing, consider me confused. I started watching Normal People thinking that it was going to be some joyous show about being normal.
But, nooooo. I closed down the tab on my laptop as the sixth episode makes past the 10-minute mark with a heavy heart, unable to watch more. And, just like with every other series I’ve watched, I researched what will happen in the upcoming episodes. Yes, I spoiled myself and TBH, I don’t fucking care. As I read about what the next few episodes will bring, all I want to do is curl up in my bed and stare at the ceiling. This series is too realistic and too heavy for my depressed mind to take. If you like those kinds of shows, this is perfect for you.
Ugh, I’m watching a comedy after this. Kbye.
Angela Grace P. Baltan has been writing professionally since 2017. She doesn’t hesitate to be opinionated in analyzing movies and television series. Aside from that, she has an affinity for writing anything under the sun. As a writer, she uses her articles to advocate for feminism, gender equality, the LGBTQIA+ community, and mental health among others.