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The New Normal & The Same Old Cliches

The New Normal poster

Written by : published Monday 17th September 2012

The New Normal, NBC’s latest attempt at a smash hit comedy, tries to redefine what a “normal” family is. Despite this, the series relies on tired stereotypes of minority characters that seems to contradict its core message.

Justin Bartha and Andrew Rannells star as David and Bryan, a couple who are trying to start a family, After a false start with a potential surrogate who tried to blackmail them (played wonderfully by Leslie Grossman), they meet Goldie (Georgia King). Goldie is in the process of restarting her life, after discovering that her husband of 8 years has been cheating. After realising that her relationship with her grandmother, Jane (Ellen Barkin), is holding her back, she and her daughter Shania head to LA where Goldie turns to surrogacy to raise funds to put towards their future. On paper, the series sounds promising but I think predictable characters lets it down.

David is anything but a stereotypical gay character; he’s drinking beer and watching sports when we first see him and he's on a basketball team with his colleagues but Bryan fulfils almost every gay stereotype in the book. He’s obsessed with fashion, ditzy and bitchy. I find it strange that a series that aims to show how a gay couple is just like any other loving couple would have such a cliché as one of its leads. On top of that, I don’t buy David and Bryan as a couple. David is an obviously intelligent gynaecologist while Bryan is his complete opposite and I couldn’t see them existing in real life.

Jane, Goldie’s grandmother, is the typical prejudiced older woman and she is extremely bigoted. She refers to David and Bryan as “salami suckers” and “bugle blowers.” Charming. She does provide some comedy however, such as when she confronts Goldie’s husband Clay with a handgun that she seemingly carries around in her purse. Nene Leakes plays Rocky, Bryan’s assistant, and this character is also pretty formulaic. She’s a token sassy and loud-mouthed African American character that seems anything but realistic.

So far I’ve been pretty negative in my review of this show but it’s not all bad. It does have a number of funny moments, it has a great message at its core and Justin Bartha and Georgia King bring a certain warmth to their characters. However, I think the show took the easy option by giving us characters that aren’t necessarily representative of a “normal” person. I have only watched two episodes, so perhaps the writers will make these problem characters more three-dimensional as the series moves forward.

About the author David


I'm a 21 year old English student from Ireland. To put it simply, I love TV, Some of my current favourites include Parks and Recreation, Community, Veep, Parenthood and Revenge. Follow me on Twitter @losingstreak12

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