Saturday, August 8, 2020

Emmy Catch-Up: Normal People

Every year, I watch the six submitted episodes of every series I don’t regularly watch that’s up for one of the Emmy series prizes. This year, I’m watching the entire season of every series nominated in the top category, as well as this one, which netted a few important nominations even if it missed the main limited series race.

Normal People: Season 1, Episode 2 (B+)

This is one show whose pilot I liked a lot but I unfortunately decided not to keep watching when it premiered at the end of April, which was a busy time of TV for me. Nathaniel, the editor at The Film Experience, has raved about this show, and anyone I’ve spoken to who kept watching insisted that it was absolutely wonderful. Because it earned bids for star Paul Mescal and for directing and writing, I decided that it was worth checking it out, even a few months after I missed my first chance. I have to say that it is truly captivating, and part of that has to do with the very strong music choices used. But it also may well be the most immediately immersive and intimate thing I’ve seen in a while, wisely choosing to spend most of this episode getting to know its two protagonists as they get to know each other. The sex scenes are both passionate and reserved at the same time, and there’s a real sense that everything we’re seeing is completely necessary rather than gratuitous. The way that Connell and Marianne talk to each other is mesmerizing, and that of course stands deeply apart from the way that they (don’t) interact when they’re around anyone else. They’re so incredibly honest with each other, and I’m definitely on board to see how this romance is going to play out over the course of the next month or so before Mescal competes for his chance to win an Emmy.

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