Top 50 TV shows of 2020, No. 4: Ordinary people Television & radio

Top 50 TV shows of 2020, No. 4: Ordinary people  Television & radio

A.ll way back in 2018, even among fans, it was easy to feel that Normal People Sally Rooney is the strongest theme of the year. The novel, about two young people falling in and out of love in Ireland after an accident, became a big book as soon as it arrived, behind an almost universal critical acclaim and a mouthpiece. passionate narration. The naming of Man Booker came; Obama liked it; within two books, Rooney had become a Genealogical Voice. And as with the modern approach to cultural rubbing, we almost destroyed something admirable and popular with a study blockchain. Countless thinkers have claimed that we have kept a future classic in our hands, or the worst book ever written. Before the Lenny Abrahamson and Hettie MacDonald change for BBC / Hulu even started filming, it was hard to imagine that there would be anything new to say in two years’ time.

But despite the noise surrounding Normal People, the TV transition is surprisingly quiet. Just like the original materials, it’s intimate and tender, an age-old story told through heartfelt silence and calm whispers more often than a whiz-bang dialogue. But where the book is cool and sharp, the show is more dreamy, narrower as it is on a grassy evening sun pouring over a shabby, summery city in an Italian city, a dense canopy of flowing skin.

Normal People wear the usual teenage habits that transcend class division: Marianne Sherridan is rich (Daisy Edgar-Jones) precious, brittle and not at all liked, while Connell Waldron ( Paul Mescal) in the lower middle class gets respect for his smarts, his athletic ability, elegant face. The pair get to know each other as Connell’s young mother cleans the Marianne family home. Free from the sad eyes of their peers, the two embark on a vigilant sexual relationship, which reveals a much-needed candlestick for each other. Connell, expecting ridicule from his friends over the relationship, seeks secrecy; Marianne is spoiled enough to accept these conditions. This painful choice will drag both of them for years to come, even when they leave Sligo behind for Dublin and the dynamic moves of power: at university Marianne is in high demand, while Connell is. struggling to make friends.

Like the book, Normal People was acclaimed and popular, seeing less successful numbers on iPlayer, doubling the record previously set by Killing Eve. Somewhere along the line we started talking about Marianne and Connell as if they were real people: “Ordinary viewers horrified by full-faced nudity from both Marianne and Connell,” the Sun fled, as if the two had managed to let everyone down. Connell became an internet lover, as his fine silver chain rose to the status of James Dean’s T-shirt image, earning both his own song and his Instagram page yourself. We were instructed on cutting the “Marianne fringe”, and the book’s fans debated whether Marianne’s TV was too hot. A “horn cut” of 22 minutes of sex scenes was re-uploaded and then removed from porn sites. Even the smallest elements were examined; The Cut asked the important question: “Is drinking tea sexy now? ”

Somehow, this did not deter him. Screenwriters Rooney, Alice Birch and Mark O’Rowe quickly leave silence for all that can’t be said. This show, don’t tell, is the approach that best literature performs better than most TV and film; which is why we often feel more moved by a nostalgic eye over a crowded room than by making muscle love. (Not that there isn’t enough of that, especially skillfully choreographed, too.) But the strength of the show is that it’s the smallest movements that make us squeaky: Connell kissing Marianne’s bare shoulders while and it gives a full view of their friends, a small gain; a gentle smile over a high dinner table; rubbing foreheads.

We all know the story told in Normal People, if we are lucky, at least once in our lives. The skill required to express knowledge is as universal and inconsistent as first great love; to express it honestly, more. Even for readers of the book, it ‘s hard to watch Connell and Marianne wander around each other without feeling the need to be together, despite knowing how the story will end. . “It’s not like this with other people,” Connell says, in a minute halfway through the series that also covers the entire show. “I know,” Marianne replied. “I think we will be fine. ”