Scores (out of 5):
Characters' emotional intensity: 5
Reviewers' emotional intensity: 4.5
As the credits rolled on the final episode, I said, "Oh, that episode was only written by Alice Birch - normally, it's written by Alice Birch and Wayne Rooney." This was a joke, playing on the fact that author Sally Rooney, who wrote the novel on which the series is based as well as co-writing the series, shares a last name with former England soccer player Wayne Rooney.
Zanna ignored the joke and said, "What do you think happened after that scene?"
I said, "Well, it ended, and the person who wrote it - Wayne Rooney - had to get to soccer practice." Again, she ignored me.
She said: "The story in many ways is about raw young love: a very passionate, electrifying connection that they'll probably never have with anyone else."
In what turned out to be a mistake, I asked if she was talking about the sex.
"Oh God," she said. "You're incapable of having a conversation about this."
I said: "I thought that's what you meant by electrifying."
"That's part of it," she said, "but you make it sound ... you're so juvenile in this discussion."
"I'm not," I said.
"Honey, you are," she said. "You're not actually capable of talking about this relationship with any level of earnestness."
Maybe she was right. I consciously shelved the juvenilia and, for a while, we discussed the complexities of the relationship between the very hot but desperately insecure Connell and Marianne. Then I said the show reminded me of the inspirational poster, "If you love something, let it go ..."
"Yeah, well," Zanna said.
"In fact," I went on, "I would say Wayne Rooney had that poster on his wall when he was writing."
Zanna said: "You calling Sally Rooney Wayne Rooney is really f***ing annoying. And I'm going to put it in the review."
"Why is it annoying?" I asked.
"I don't know. It just is."
I said: "I just feel like everything I say at the moment is annoying to you."
"No," she said.
"The sex thing, the Wayne Rooney …"
"Well I do think having these conversations with you can be annoying. I do find them frustrating sometimes.
"Why?" I asked.
"Because A) you're usually just joking around, so it's hard to have a proper conversation about it, because you keep making ridiculous jokes like 'Wayne Rooney, Wayne Rooney', and B) you tend to come in with a very dominant white male energy, like: 'No, well, this is what's going on here.'"
"That's just insecurity because I feel like you're coming in with a very dominant white female energy and I'm like, 'Zanna's is going to overpower me unless I defend myself.' And the jokes, as you know, are insecurity too."
"Wow," she said. "You're Connell."
I had never felt sexier but I didn't tell her that, in case it annoyed her.
I asked Greg several times during Normal People whether particular moments closely mapped on to the book but he remembered nothing of it - zilch. It's a truly astonishing feat of erasure that has me wondering how he's so good at pub quizzes. What an enigma my husband is: mysterious yet simple.
I thought having read the book might impede his enjoyment of the series in the ubiquitous "It's not as good as the book" sense but his apparent literary amnesia gave him the ultimate upper hand. He can casually drop: "Oh yes, I read Rooney's original text" in bookish circles but also come to the series devoid of expectation.
Normal People is an unusually small story by today's standards. Typically peak television has 800 complicated storylines happening all at once but Normal People is a wonderful departure from that with Marianne and Connell's love story being the only significant story.
A couple of episodes in I found myself sobbing uncontrollably. The performances are so good and the messiness of young love so eloquently told, it hit me hard. Okay, look, no one's claiming it's hard to make me cry. I'm a bag of repressed sadness who only lets her emotions out through cathartic crying at the TV.
But I was unprepared to be so affected by a story about a jock not inviting an outcast to the school dance - a credit to the sensitivity of Sally Rooney's writing. I was willing to throw away my own physical and emotional wellbeing to fall deeply into this show and if it wasn't for Greg's sensible bedtime initiative, I would have recklessly consumed all 12 episodes of Normal People in one night.
About mid-series, the on-again-off-again nature of their relationship threatened to get a bit tiresome but as the show delved deeper into the individual character studies, miraculously it didn't.
There is a lot of sex in this show and there's been a lot of talk about that. Those scenes are beautifully done but don't watch it with your parents or children if you ever again want to be able to look them in the eye.
I can't imagine why any normal person wouldn't want to watch this series. Greg and I have probably discussed it more than anything else we've reviewed. There's a lot to mull over, deep psychological analysis to be done, issues of class, gender, power, loneliness and S&M to be picked apart. It's so, so good.
I wonder if Greg will remember any of it in a year.
Normal People is now streaming on TVNZ on Demand.