The New Normal
Tuesday | 9:30 pm | NBC
The New Normal is Ryan Murphy’s first foray into sitcoms and his influence is clear here, which can be a strong plus or minus depending on how you feel about Glee and Murphy’s other work. The family in question is gay couple David (Justin Bartha) and Bryan (Andrew Rannells) who want to have a baby with the help of surrogate Goldie (Georgia King), who comes as a package deal with her daughter and grandma.The show aired a sneak peek Monday night, before moving into its regular timeslot last night, as well as being available early on Hulu.
If I wasn’t doing this project, The New Normal is exactly the kind of show I would avoid. I was once a Ryan Murphy devotee, but the last two and a half seasons of Glee (and the shameful joy that is watching The Glee Project) have wearied me to his particular brand of soapbox moralizing and whiplash-inducing tonal shifts. The only thing The New Normal could do to get me to stick around is be something completely different, which I doubt is possible.
The lead actors of Bartha, Rannells, and King were strangely endearing to me – although it was mostly Justin Bartha, and that could just be my strange, abiding love of National Treasure – but I still cringed repeatedly at the hokey dialogue and lame stereotypes they were forced to portray. Goldie’s daughter, Shania (Bebe Wood) was mostly precocious, but with swings of wild stupidity (although, the second episode’s extended Little Edie impression was pretty impressive). This is probably incorrectable, as Murphy consistently sacrifices any and all character traits in the name of a quippy one-liner.
The worst character, by so, so far is grandmother Jane. Ellen Barkin is a great actress, no one can argue with that, but the character is clearly a paler imitation of Jane Lynch’s Sue Sylvester: less funny, more racist, and ten times more homophobic. Whatever lesson Murphy is trying to preach, and to who is unclear, but so far all the anti-example of Jane has amounted to is hateful and unnecessary diatribes. Anyone who actually thinks like Jane isn’t watching this show anyway.
Long Term Prediction:
I will shamewatch the requisite 5 episodes, hoping it gets canceled before then to put me out of my misery.