By now, you’ve probably heard of Sally Rooney’s acclaimed novel Normal People about a brooding love affair between students Marianne and Connell. You also probably know that the TV adaptation has already aired on Hulu in the U.S. and BBC in the UK and has turned certain corners of the Internet into horny teenagers. Well, now we can join in on thirsting after sad, hot Irish people because the show is finally coming to Canada.
The 12-episode series will start streaming on CBC Gem on May 27, with two new episodes dropping each Wednesday after that. For the uninitiated, Normal People follows the complicated on-and-off again relationship of Marianne (Daisy Edgar-Jones) and Connell (Paul Mescal) as they navigate high school in small-town Ireland and then university at Trinity College. Marianne and Connell come from opposite ends of the popularity spectrum — he’s cool and she isn’t — and their unlikely bond grows when they realize Connell’s mom cleans Marianne’s house. Their connection becomes more complex when they go off to college and their social situations flip: She’s now the popular one and he’s the outcast.
If you’ve heard anything about the show, it’s probably that the sex scenes are borderline pornographic (in the best way) and that the overwhelming advice from people who have seen it is to “watch Normal People alone with a vibrator.” Whether you choose to binge this show with a self-pleasure accessory or not (here are the best of the bunch if you do), it’s no secret that this series is steamy. But that’s not the only reason to add Normal People to your TV watch list.
Lovers of Rooney’s book know that Marianne and Connell’s relationship goes well beyond what happens between their sheets. The couple is juggling coming-of-age and working through their individual issues — messy, emotional, tortuous issues — together as well as on their own. The book does an incredible job of getting to the nuance of first love and finding your place in the world. “It wasn’t the topless shots that made me glad not to be watching with my parents," wrote Refinery29’s Gwendolyn Smith in her review of Normal People. "It was the show’s focus on the emotions and behaviours adjacent to sex — the laughter, the tenderness, the white-hot desire — that felt the most radical."
There’s also the fact that the show is set on the Irish countryside and the filming locations are just as dreamy as leading man Paul Mescal (he’s also high up on the reasons to watch). The show shot at the real Trinity College in Dublin, but subbed Finland in for the scenes that are supposed to take place in Sweden. No spoilers, but there is a brief stint in Italy that will have you swooning at the romance as well as the locale.
Plus, there’s a stellar soundtrack and gorgeous clothes that are characters in themselves. After all, you can’t watch two beautiful young people fall in and out of love without sweeping songs about heartbreak and pretty outfits to put you in the mood.
Normal People has it all.