The New Normal – Premiere Date: September 11, Tuesdays at 9:30/8:30c
Synopsis: These days, families come in all forms – single dads, double moms, sperm donors, egg donors, one-night-stand donors… It’s 2012 and anything goes. Bryan (Andrew Rannells, Girls) and David (Justin Bartha, The Hangover) are a Los Angeles couple, and they have it all. Well, almost. With successful careers and a committed, loving partnership, there is one thing that this couple is missing: a baby. And just when they think the stars will never align, enter Goldie (Georgia King, One Day), an extraordinary young woman with a checkered past. A Midwestern waitress and single mother looking to escape her dead-end life and small-minded grandmother (Ellen Barkin), Goldie decides to change everything and move to L.A. with her precocious eight-year-old daughter. Desperate and broke – but also fertile – Goldie quickly becomes the guys’ surrogate and quite possibly the girl of their dreams. Surrogate mother, surrogate family.
What We Focused On:
This pilot was crammed with a lot of set up but I thought it was a brave little show by Ryan Murphy who created Glee, American Horror Story and Nip/Tuck. I think the pieces and parts fit well and there’s some potential for a meaningful ”dramedy” here. Now, that doesn’t mean it will be universally-received or that it fires on all pistons from the get-go, but I know I want to see where it goes from the point where the pilot leaves us. Like Go On, The New Normal tries to balance out the tone of the show between some real drama and some uncomfortably funny moments and there’s enough there to believe this show could have legs.
The pilot is uneven, but I’ve never been one to judge a promising series off of the first episode alone. The New Normal is impressionable though, cute at times, but not quite as dynamic as I originally hoped and yet I’m encouraged by what I’ve seen so far. It puts a lot out there to discuss and sometimes a show is commendable on that alone, but knowing NBC, this is going to need a great deal of live support and great word-of-mouth to get us to those less-traveled roads that Murphy is hoping to embark upon. Speaking of Bark, Ellen Barkin’s Jane is definitely going for Archie Bunker in a dress and it will be interesting to see how long her character can maintain such a hateful disposition. Bigotry is not easily scrubbed away but I want to know how Jane will continue to interfere in Goldie and Shania’s lives. Jane reminds me of Jessica Lange’s politically incorrect Constance in AHS, but the difference being that Lange had the flexibility to do so much more without speaking a word that was just as devilish as her words. In a half-hour comedy, we may not have that luxury to just sit back and watch Barkin move. That puts a lot of emphasis on her lines, and real care that Jane doesn’t tire the audience with her rhetoric. The New Normal is an underdog for sure, so if you like it as much as I do, you better tell your friends.
BuzzFocus Verdict: Tune In!