What brings to people together? I don’t think there’s a formula for it. Hulu’s ‘Normal People’ is a love story between Connor and Marianne. Based on Sally Rooney’s book, there are times when, while watching it, that I would think to myself, there is nothing happening here story wise. But so much happens in every scene, and every glance, every kiss forwards the story that I can’t remember the last time I watched two characters on screen and felt like I know them inside and out, I binge-watched this in a weekend, and felt so intimately involved with the characters that I felt like they were life-long friends by the end. And we follow their love story through a lot – starting from high school till when Conner gets an MFA offer in New York City.
Conner and Marianne are perfectly cast in Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones. They start out as unlikely pairs in secondary school – he is a football hero and she is an intellectual outcast. His friends make fun of her, she broods on her own. His mother works as a housekeeper in her house, and that’s when they begin a sort-of friendship that ultimately brings them together. And the clandestine relation ship is instantly sexual. You feel bad for her because she has to hide it, but he hides a lot – his one word answer on everything shows that he has his guards up all the time. Their relationship ends with him asking someone else at their final school dance. They meet up later at Trinity College in Dublin, and of course, there is rekindling,
What I love most about the show is the element of melancholy that permeates in every pore of these characters. They are damaged, for sure, but among all of us, who isn’t? And they do break up and get back together a number of times in the show which can make it exhaustive, but then again relationships are exhaustive, and for me, everything still made sense. there is an awful lot of sex scenes in the show (and flesh shown) but somehow it never felt gratuitous – through them we seen the inner bearings of both characters. I loved living in their world, and I remember sitting at the main square of trinity College in Dublin thinking how life might be for students there – this show gave me a nice glimpse.
And it ends wonderfully – it is not a happey-ever-after, nor a can-never-be-together, Just like real life and love, there are maybes, and even if the maybes turn to yes or nos, there will always be somehows. With love, one never truly knows.