At the time of first writing this post, I was on my fourteenth watch through of Normal People. Don’t judge me. I did what I could to get through the infinite lockdowns we had during the pandemic. In my case, that was putting myself through the intense emotional trauma that is Normal People, while counteracting it with Paul Mescal and his beautiful face. Anyway, I was up to what was probably my 10th watch or so, when I started considering whether or not my intense thirsting over Paul would make some good blog content. I’ve mentioned Thirsty Thursday before, which is a horrifically sad routine I established during the first lockdown – basically, I do my nails, get hammered, and watch Normal People. Yeah I know – U OK hun. Anyway, I debated for a while whether or not to do any blog content related to the show, but my obsession didn’t really become apparent until the second or third watch through, by which most people were over it. However, the release of the DVD and book of the scripts inspired me to go with it. Especially given that I regularly struggle to come up with blog content. Say what you want about this blog, you can’t say that I’m not honest.
So, I’ve essentially come up with one of those “things I’ve thought while watching” posts. I’ve made some notes during each episode of the series, documenting my general thoughts over what happens in each one – honestly, it’s not just about Paul taking his shirt off. I’ve tried to give them a bit of structure, but the aim isn’t to do much of a synopsis type post – it’s more my thoughts around certain scenes. One thing I’ve included in each episode review though, is my favourite scene and my favourite songs featured, because we need to give some attention to how awesome the soundtrack to this whole show is – I mentioned a few months ago how much I love some of the songs, and with each watch through, I end up falling in love with another one.
During the first watch, in all honesty, I wasn’t all that interested – I didn’t know what the fuss was about – ah, simpler times. Following my first watch through, I decided to give the book a read (I’m ashamed to say that I’d never actually heard of it prior to the show launching) to get a bit more of an insight, and one I finished it, I felt I needed to go through the TV show again. With that, I ended up becoming obsessed.
IMDB Synopsis: “In modern, rural Ireland, Connell and Marianne, on different ends of their school’s social scene, begin an intense, secret affair.”
As I briefly mentioned, I went into Normal People not really knowing what it was about. With that in mind, I’ll be perfectly honest – I had absolutely no idea what was going on in the first episode, and I’m ashamed to say that during the first watch, I was actually bored. I know right? How things change. Anyway, just something to bear in mind with my opinion of the characters early on.
At first, I thought that Marianne was a bit of a dick. Very full of herself and just unnecessarily sassy towards the teachers at school. At the same time, the people at my school who gave sass to the teachers (admittedly it was a lot less witty and a lot more sweary) are now the people who have criminal records – getting a scholarship at a prestigious college was in no way at the top of their list of priorities.
Anyway, as the episode went on, I started to like Marianne a lot more and felt sorry for her on numerous occasions, the first being the scene where she’s eating dinner by herself and Denise comes home. My first thought about Denise was that she was as tight as a duck’s arse – moaning about the heating being on full and the curtains being open – like hun you’re a solicitor and you live in a massive bloody mansion, I’m sure you can afford a slightly higher than usual gas bill but whatever.
There was one scene I found particularly relatable, where Marianne sits alone reading and eating a yoghurt while Connell’s friends make fun of her. I’ve 100% been that girl who’s spilled food down her shirt while being labelled “tragic” by the bunch of dickheads in the corner, so I definitely felt for her there. You’ve then got the scene where Alan boots Marianne out of his car on the way to school so that he can go back and give his friends a lift, forcing her to walk in the rain and arriving late to class completely drenched. You can’t help but feel sorry for her – her brother is clearly a massive twat. Her witty comebacks she makes when Rob and co. make fun of her are just gold though – they genuinely made me wish I had that kind of sass back in school rather than just silently calling them c**ts in my head.
Initially, you get the impression that Marianne isn’t all that bothered with what people think about her and the fact she’s a bit of a loner, but you get that first inkling of that not being the case during the scene where she’s talking to Connell and confesses that she likes him. Plus, Connell is just HAWT.
Favourite Scene: My favourite scene of the episode is where Connell goes to pick up Lorraine at Marianne’s following his success at the match. After a bit of an awkward exchange, they have their first kiss, and afterwards Connell tells Marianne not to say anything to anyone at school. Bit of a dick move, but you know – he’s hot, I’d have punched a child if it meant I could make out with him.
Music Highlights: The song I loved the most in this episode was Never Ending Circles by Chvrches, which featured during the party scene at Rachel’s house. It’s upbeat and I just love the synthy sound of it – it’s a song that goes straight on whenever I need a bit of a boost.
IMDB Synopsis: “Marianne and Connell’s affair continues, but the pressures of the outside world start to take their toll.”
Well, this was one episode that didn’t fall short of the banging did it? I was quite surprised when I read the book after watching this episode – my thinking was that given how intense the initial sex scene in this episode was, the book would be graphic AF, but I was quite surprised to see that wasn’t the case.
The scene overall is probably one of the most realistic I’ve seen in a TV show – there’s a fair bit of awkwardness and it was also quite refreshing to see a ‘first time’ sort of situation that actually looked like a first time, something you rarely see in telly and films.
Okay, so we’ve gotten this far ignoring the elephant in the room – this was the eppy that started off my Connell obsession. Shit the bed. It’s this bit that’s just HOT AF:
We also need to talk about how considerate Connell was in this whole scene – that in itself is just incredibly hot. The part where he says to Marianne that they can stop if she wants and it won’t be awkward? Holy shit. Then there’s this whole thing:
JUST TAKE ME.
Apologies, I got a bit carried away there.
Moving on. One scene that I really liked was the exchange between Marianne and Denise when they’re discussing her Trinity application. You get a little glimmer of positivity between them and a hint of a normal mother-daughter relationship, right up until Alan puts a damper on the whole thing by just being a sulky little shit.
It all seems to be going well for Connell in this episode – he comes across pretty well until he just sits silently while Eric brands Marianne an “ugly, flat chested bitch.” WTF Connell. In the words of Lorraine in the next episode: “YOU’RE FUCKING HER,” standing up for her is the least you could do. Fair play to Marianne for confronting him about the whole thing though. If that were me I would have dragged that out for weeks until I end up snapping when he puts too much milk in my tea.
Favourite Scene: It has to be that first scene where Marianne and Connell sleep together. It’s just so brilliantly acted by Daisy and Paul. And it has nothing to do with my thirst over Paul Mescal…well, not much anyway.
Music Highlights: I have two songs that stood out to me in this episode. The first is Did It To Myself by Orla Garland, which plays while Marianne gets ready to go to Connell’s house. You literally just get a snippet of the song, but I would honestly urge you to listen to the whole thing – it’s a BOP. The other is Hide and Seek by Imogen Heap, which plays over a montage of Connell and Marianne passing each other in the hallway at school while intertwined with snippets of them banging in Connell’s car. The song itself is just emotional AF but at the same time, I can’t listen to it without imagining being in the back of Connell’s Ford Fiesta.
Soz. Say what you want about my blog but you can’t say it’s not honest.
Anyway, I’m aware this is getting a bit long now, so we’ll end it there.
What did you think of the first two episodes? Let me know in the comments!
Catch Up With the Rest of the Series
Featured image credit: Collider.com.