The New Normal
Tuesdays at 9:30 on NBC
The year is 2012 and yet, there are still groups out there protesting a sitcom about two gay men trying to have a baby.
"The New Normal," debuting Monday at 10 p.m. on NBC, follows the efforts of a committed gay couple having a baby through a surrogate. A couple of weeks ago, a Mormon Church-owned NBC affiliate in Salt Lake City, Utah, refused to air the show, calling it "inappropriate." And the group One Million Moms organized a movement to bombard NBC executives and advertisers with complaints over the show, without even seeing it, saying that the sitcom's goal is to "desensitize America and our children."
After reading all that, I'd planned to watch "The New Normal" out of spite. Lucky for me, it's actually pretty funny and has tons of heart.
It's from Ryan Murphy, the creator of "Glee" and "American Horror Story," and stars Justin Bartha (the lost guy in "The Hangover") and Andrew Rannells ("Girls," "Book of Mormon"). Bryan and David are a sweet, loving, responsible couple who seem like they'll be great parents, gay or not. Rannells in particular gets loads of great lines, and totally won me over with his Mary Tyler Moore bit in the opening scene.
Filling out the cast is Ellen Barkin as the bigoted Archie Bunker-esque grandmother of the surrogate Goldie, (Georgia King). Goldie had a daugther when she was 15, and the interactions between 9-year-old Shania (Bebe Wood) and Bryan (Rannells) are worthy of a sitcom of its own. The show also has NeNe Leakes, the "Real Housewife" from Atlanta, who does a solid job here as Bryan's assistant.
Oh, and it's not a ripoff of "Modern Family," either. Surely you have room in your heart -- and in your DVR -- for more than one gay couple starting a family, right?
In the first episode, airing Monday night at 10 right after "The Voice," Bryan and David meet Goldie and her family and they put the surrogate plan in motion. "The New Normal" then returns Tuesday night at 9:30 in its regular timeslot, right after Matthew Perry's new sitcom "Go On."
(Note: "Go On," about a radio sports personality forced by his employer into group therapy after his wife dies in a car accident, debuted during the Olympics, and that pilot episode airs again Monday night after "The New Normal." "Go On" also moves to its normal timeslot on Tuesday at 9, as the lead-in for "The New Normal.")