Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The New Normal (2012)

Created by: Ryan Murphy (1) and Ali Adler

Cast: Justin Bartha (2), Andrew Rannells, Georgia King (3), Bebe Wood, Ellen Barkin, NeNe Leakes, Jayson Bair

I love the month of September because that is when all my favourite American television series come back! Also, it is the time when a horde of new television series becomes available for my viewing pleasure. I usually pick up a new television series to watch only when my friends have tried and tested it and swears that it's awesome. So by the time I get to it, the season is either nearly finished or already over. This time, as I was scouring EZTV for my favourite television shows, I decided to take a leap of faith on a couple of new series and that is when I found this gem. 

Currently The New Normal is only three episodes in and I usually give a television series about five episodes of chances before I dump 'em or keep 'em. And I got hooked in episode three! And luckily too because there's only been three episodes to watch.

I recently watched the film The Kids Are Alright which is about a lesbian couple who each gave birth to a child using the sperm of the same man so that they can have a family. I'll elaborate more about that film another time, but the reason why I bring that film up is because this television series' theme is similar. 

The New Normal is about a gay couple who decide to have a baby and do so through a surrogate. The series' main cast include the two daddies-to-be David Murray (played by Justin Bartha) and Bryan Collins (played by Andrew Rannells), their surrogate Goldie Clemmons (played by Georgia King), her daughter Shania Clemmons (played by Bebe Wood), and Goldie's grandmother Jane Forrest (played by Ellen Barkins). Nene Leakes plays Rocky who seems to be working for or with Bryan and Jayson Blair plays Clay Clemmons, Goldie's husband. 

While I still don't know if this television series will stick for me, but it's off to a good start. The characters are rather lovable but grandma Jane gets on my nerves A LOT! Throughout the first two episodes, and even through most of episode three, I've been asking myself if I could stand any more of Jane Forrest enough to continue watching The New Normal. And in the last seven minutes of episode three I fell a little in love with nana Jane Forrest. I don't want to spoil anything for you so I'll let you find out why yourself. 

Now let's talk about the casting in The New Normal. Justin Bartha first caught my eye in the film National Treasure and I have been keeping a lookout for him ever since. He sorta reminds me a little of Topher Grace, but thats beside the point. I think he's done a really great job in the role of David and I am looking forward to seeing more from him in the role. The only other person I recognised in the series is Georgia King. I remember her as the obnoxious head girl in the film Wild Child. And in all honesty I was wondering if she could pull off an American accent considering she's Scottish. That and the fact that I really didn't like her character in Wild Child and cannot shake her persona in that film from my mind. After three episodes of The New Normal, while I still think of Georgia King as Harriet, the pompous head girl in Wild Child, she is fast becoming to me, Goldie Clemmons, the young and sweet woman determined to make a better life for her daughter and herself. I've never seen the work of the other cast members but I must say that I am intrigued by all the characters in this new series and the actors who play them do a good job in the roles. 

There really isn't much to go on for now considering I've only watched three episodes, but check back from time to time to see my updates and thoughts as the series progresses. 


Episode 1: Having a child is a big thing. It is a decision you shouldn't take lightly. It is something that will change your whole life. That is the overall theme of this first episode. It is a pilot after all and while it does a number of expositions regarding some history of the characters, I guess it is unavoidable. In this first episode, some of the characters break the fourth wall and talk directly to the audience like side excerpts in the film He's Just Not That Into You. Initially I found it a little jarring, but I got used to it after a while. 

My favourite lines - "Face it honey, abnormal is the new normal", "Family is a family, and love is love""You know I've delivered a thousand babies in my life and I don't think I've ever held one that's over 4 minutes old. What if I'm not ready to be a dad?"& "The baby I want to carry for David and Bryan will have two loving parents who desperately want a child, who's to say that's not normal?"

(1) Ryan Murphy has created or co-created the television series Popular (1999-2001), Nip/Tuck (2003-2007), Glee (2009-present), and American Horror Story (2011-present). He has also directed the films Running With Scissors (2006), and Eat Pray Love (2010).

(2) Justin Bartha has acted in films like  National Treasure (2004), Failure To Launch (2006), National Treasure: Book Of Secrets (2007), The Rebound (2009), The Hangover (2009), New York, I Love You (2009), and The Hangover Part II (2011).

(3) Georgia King has acted in films like Wild Child (2008), The Duchess (2008), St Trinian's 2: The Legend of Fritton's Gold (2009), Chalet Girl (2011), and One Day (2011).   

The Eclectic Reviewer thinks… The New Normal has great potential to be a big hit. The aptly titled series feels to me like its a step in the right direction in the hopes that same-sex marriages, families with same-sex parents, and homosexuality becomes the norm on television. While the subject matter might not fly with some, I think that if you watch this with an open mind, you will realise that "family is a family, and love is love". Like any other family themed comedy series, it focuses on a parent's love for his or her child, the desire or lack of to have children, and growing up. So give it a chance and make up your own mind about it. 

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