Patrick Freyne’s TV moments of 2020: I've replaced my college memories with Normal People

In a year when TV had a lot of heavy lifting to do, let's celebrate some small screen highlights

Normal People’s Marianne (Daisy Edgar Jones) and Connell (Paul Mescal). Photograph: Enda Bowe/ Element Pictures

Normal People’s Marianne (Daisy Edgar Jones) and Connell (Paul Mescal). Photograph: Enda Bowe/ Element Pictures

For a lot of us TV had to do a lot of heavy lifting to replace family, friends and outdoor activities. I initially feel obliged to add “this year” to the end of this sentence but I know what you lot are like. Still, in the Covid era TV did its job reasonably well and I’d like to celebrate the television moments of the year in an end of year “listicle”.

Normal People (RTÉ 1/BBC 1)

Normal People: Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones as Connell and Marianne. Photograph: Enda Bowe/Element/RTÉ
Normal People: Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones as Connell and Marianne. Photograph: Enda Bowe/Element/RTÉ

Like most of the country during the trauma of the first lockdown I successfully replaced my own memories of college with footage from Lenny Abrahamson’s excellent adaptation of Sally Rooney’s novel Normal People. I now easily recall the way that I, as a callow youth, would cleverly discuss books at fancy dinner parties or soulfully gaze at paintings in Italian galleries when I wasn’t, of course, being a tender and effective lover. I was also often moodily taciturn while wearing small shorts. I’m now recategorising my memoir, Disappointing Girls While Wearing an Army Surplus Parka And Talking Too Much, as a novel.

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