I, like many others this week, spent six hours binge watching the entire season of Hulu’s “Normal People“. It honestly took me on an unexpected emotional roller coaster. The story of two young people in love, but also in denial. I’ve never been so frustrated in my life. Like JUST DATE AND BE HAPPY. Ya know??? I cried, I gasped, and I even screamed “OMG THEY’RE SHOWING HIS DICK”. So yeah, if you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend!
It’s almost difficult to rank these characters, because they are all so sh*tty at one point or another, but that’s what makes it fun I suppose. Here’s my ranking of the characters from worst to best.
10. Jamie (THE Absolute Worst)
I debated the worst character for a moment, because there are a few options here. Quite honestly, if you’ve watched this show, you know that just about every single character is the worst in one way or another. But, after some glasses of wine and deep thinking, I settled on Jamie. Jamie is a rich, smart, prissy boy. But, not the kind of rich that makes him attractive. The kind of rich where he complains that they’re drinking Champagne from the wrong glass (maybe he should befriend Dorit Kemsley). He was cast perfectly, because he’s tiny and dweeby, which makes it that much more irritating when he’s rude and plays the tough guy act. Without giving away too much detail, Jamie is insecure, manipulative, and a loser. In other words: the worst.
9. Denise (Also Basically the Worst)
Denise was also in the running for the worst, but her evil antics seem to stem from somewhere, so she landed at number nine. Denise remains mysterious, but they do not shy away from showing how awful she is during her few moments of fame. She’s widowed, which gives her an excuse for being closed off. But, she’s still a mom, and it’s actually sad to watch how she treats Marianne. I get the wannabe Devil Wears Prada vibes from her, but without the valid excuse to do so. By the end of this show, you essentially want her to get hit by a bus, so, I’ll leave it at that.
8. Alan (Again, Also the Worst)
Alan. If you’re like, “who tf is Alan”, he’s Marianne’s brother. I clarify this only because I didn’t remember his name either, but loathed him as a human. Alan is the conceited red head that everyone hates. He’s also born rich, but is dumb, so he doesn’t have the perks of coasting through school like his peers. Every time he pops on screen, I cringe, because I know he’s here to make us miserable and he succeeds at doing so 10/10 times.
7. Rob, Eric, and Rachel (Different, But The Same)
I’m grouping this trio as one ranking, because they are three versions of the same human. Boring, angry, popular kid who bullies you because they have a crush on you type. They’re the kids who peak in high school, and then go on to be the weird, single, 38-year-olds sliding in your DMs with some pyramid scheme BS. Obviously, the plot twist with Rob is quite jarring (no spoilers here), but it still doesn’t take away from his slimy personality. It just makes him slimy with some deeper issues than we realized.
6. Helen (Blah)
Helen is kind of boring, but kind of important. I honestly feel bad for her, being the rebound is never fun. She handles it with poise, at first, and I can’t decide if it’s because she is clueless, or because she wants to be the cool girlfriend. Either way, Connell is always like “I LOVE HELEN” while jerking off to Marianne, so thats where she stands. All I’ve got to say is, Helen never had a chance.
5. Marianne (Damaged Goods)
It was hard for me to find a place for Marianne. On one hand she is a broken soul, but on the other hand, she’s kind of annoying. Like, why must you make so many average situations so miserable? That said, we see a lot of growth in Marianne throughout the show. In episode one, she’s a virgin, and by episode 12 we’ve seen her naked banging multiple guys about 25 times. Most of us call that one semester of college. Hats off to Daisy Edgar-Jones, though. She was very convincing, and very brave. If someone asked me to go on TV at age 22 and show my ~everything~ it would be a hard pass.
4. Peggy (Also Blah)
Peggy felt so irrelevant to me, until I realized she was essentially in every episode. I am not ranking Peggy number four because she’s fun. I’m not even ranking Peggy number four because I like her. But, she is simply not as evil as all of her predecessors. She doesn’t start drama, she’s a ride-or-die friend, and she’s a hoe but makes it normal. She’s the type of friend that you only bring to a party if you’re okay with her sleeping with more than one of your friends (at the same time). But, she keeps it real, and most of the characters in this show lack that quality. So, cheers to Peggy.
3. Connell (My New Crush)
CONNELL. I have so much to say about this boy (man?) For starters, I’ve never questioned myself more when watching a show. Connell is not traditionally hot, yet so sexy. But, he’s portrayed as a high schooler for two episodes, so am I going to jail for thinking that? I googled and he’s 24 IRL, which is still too young, but less repulsive. There are so many layers to Connell, and I’m pretty sure every viewer wants to peel them back. He’s the token good guy who is peer pressured into being a dick because his friends think it’s cool. I feel like he never REALLY grows out of that, but by the end we’re all so blinded by love that it doesn’t really matter.
2. Karen (DUNF)
Karen is an underlying hero throughout this show, despite the fact that she doesn’t make a ton of appearances. Karen is the the designated ugly nice friend, and we love Karen. I feel like her character was handed to us simply so that we are not emotionally distraught every time Marianne gets bullied, and it works. I think the irony of this is that her name is Karen. We all know that Karens typically ask for the manager to complain, but this Karen asks for the manager to compliment an employee’s hard work. Love that for her.
1. Lorraine (Queen!)
Lorraine is a sweet angel on earth, and a saving grace to this show. I mean, obviously I enjoy the evil characters, but we needed Lorraine to balance things out. She is the light, and the rest of Ireland is the dark in this case. Lorraine looks like she is 30, but her son is 20, so that is unique. She is just all around a nice gal, and proves that you don’t need to be rich to be happy (don’t tell the Kardashians that). By the end, you want Connell and Marianne to work out, simply so Marianne can call Lorraine mom. Lorraine FTW!
If you haven’t watched this show, please do. This is not an ad, but as someone who has watched more hours of TV during quarantine than in my entire life combined, this show has stuck out to me more than most. Be prepared for an emotional roller coaster, and to lust after Connell. Let me know if you agree with my rankings, and slide into my DMs if you want to argue. There will be no bashing of Lorraine, and no complimenting of Alan, but everything else is fair game.
Images: Courtesy of Hulu
With my semester on Zoom University coming to a rapid end, this past weekend was the weekend before Finals Week. So, naturally, what did I do? I decided to give Hulu’s Normal People a shot to see what the fuss was all about. Just to give you an idea of how thirsty this show is making everyone, there is an Instagram account with over 27k followers dedicated to the NECKLACE that Connell, the male lead, wears during the show. The necklace! And it’s not even a particularly interesting necklace, it’s just a simple chain. So safe to say, this show has been making people lose their minds, and it feels like everyone is talking about it, and I’m here to tell you why.
The series, based on the Sally Rooney book of the same name, is set in Ireland and follows the on-again, off-again relationship of Connell and Marianne. First of all, the entire series only has 12 episodes that run 30 minutes each, so it’s a pretty low-commitment binge. You could probably finish the whole thing in one day (not that I did that or anything…), so it’s not as exhausting of a task as, say, trying to catch up on Game of Thrones.
While the premise of Normal People is not revolutionary in any way, as the title would indicate, I think it captures the essence of modern love in a pretty wholesome manner. Relationships are often messy, especially when we’re young, and Normal People portrays that messiness realistically. Marianne is a headstrong and talented woman from a well-to-do background who has gone through a lot sh*t. Connell, who comes from a much humbler family background, is similarly talented, but uniquely damaged in his own right. (I know, it’s a tale as old as time.) Together they are sort of perfect, but never quite on the same page at the same time. Anyone who’s had a years-long situationship with some guy because the “timing was never right” can relate (even though, in your case, he probably was just never that into you and you were his safety net—sorry).
Finished #NormalPeople this morning and it’s fair to say pic.twitter.com/rQc0zYyRDc
— Michael (@FindTheSausage) May 4, 2020
The fragility of Connell and Marianne’s dynamic is what makes this show so interesting. And while the intimate scenes in the series faced some controversy in Ireland, I’m sure Americans will have no problem. You know, since quarantine horniness is all we can think of. More than anything else, this is a coming-of-age story that follows two people who always find their way back to each other. We see them experiencing intimacy with other people, but somehow it never feels right. Normal People feels like what we all thought our high school relationships would be—two star-crossed lovers who find their way back in each other’s arms no matter what happens because it’s meant to be—when in reality, the second you both set off to college you went your separate ways and barely spoke again.
I’ve also accumulated a decent amount of Irish slang (they call their mothers “Mam”!?) after watching this show, so if any Irish cuties reading this want to hit me up, that would be swell. Speaking of Irish cuties, Paul Mescal is a site for my sad quarantined eyes. Aside from obviously being hot, there is an innocence in Connell’s character that Paul Mescal pulls off spectacularly.
Fans of the book, you’d be glad to hear that Sally Rooney is not only a producer of the show but also co-writes many of the episodes. And to anyone who’s read the book and watched the show, this is overwhelmingly clear. The best dialogue from the book makes it to the screen, but we have the added treat of Lenny Abrahamson’s directorial vision.
You might start Normal People for the pretty faces and the steamy scenes, but you will definitely stay for the storytelling that keeps you pulled in until the very end. Overall, I would recommend this show to anyone who wants to get in their feels. Even if you cannot #relate to the toxicity of the relationship being portrayed on screen (congrats on being better than me), you will still find yourself rooting for Connell and Marianne to get together. I wasn’t raised to give out spoilers like that, but if you want to talk about that ending sequence, pls hit me up.
Images: Giphy; Hulu; FindTheSausage / Twitter