The crossover none of us expected but all of us needed
When news hit that RTÉ would be airing a special episode of Normal People as part of their Comic Relief programme, fans of the show waited with bated breath to see what would emerge. We knew there would be a special guest star, but who could it be? How would Marianne and Connell interact? Would we finally be gifted with the chemistry we’ve been missing all these weeks?
Well, we got everything we dreamed of and more with last night’s Comic Relief offering. The special episode sees Connell venturing into a local church for guidance during a confession. He begins to tell the priest of how he loves Marianne, but can tell that his actions are hurting her. It’s rare that a man of the cloth might be able to relate to such matters – but Connell’s confidant knows the experience all too well.
That’s right folk – it’s only the Hot Priest from Fleabag. Andrew Scott appeared in the Comic Relief special last night to global delight (I’ve seen Twitter users from the U.S, Spain and the U.K scream about it on my timeline this morning), (over)sharing his own experiences of fraught love to a confused Connell on the other side of the partition.
— RTÉ One (@RTEOne) June 26, 2020
The scene only gets better as Hot Priest is joined by Marianne on the other side of the booth, confessing that, while she has no time for the Catholic Church, she felt compelled to confess that she has stolen the item that the whole world is lusting after – Connell’s silver chain (told you it was the stuff of dreams).
Connell and Marianne begin to talk over Hot Priest, who is as frustrated as we are at the couple’s inability to communicate clearly. And then, there’s a musical number which shows that, on top of everything else, Paul Mescal can sing. We don’t know what to do with this information.
We were a little concerned at how Normal People could fit into a comedy slot, but the scene between Paul Mescal, Daisy Edgar-Jones and Andrew Scott was hilarious – subtle, well-written and absolutely perfect in how it depicted two of our favourite shows of the past 12 months.
Fleabag and Normal People are similar in so many ways – their delicate but raw depiction of love and loss, their subtly perfect reflections of the flaws of communication – but no one could have predicted a crossover that would make us laugh this much. Great work RTÉ.
You can watch the full episode, plus the rest of the RTÉ does Comic Relief special, on the RTÉ Player
Read more: An ode to Fleabag and this photo of Phoebe Waller-Bridge
Read more: An open letter to Paul Mescal (and a polite request to just stop it)
Read more: You can rent the Italian villa from Normal People on AirBnb, fraught romance not included