The New Normal
Created by Allison Adler and Ryan Myurphy
Pilot Written: by Allison Adler and Ryan Murphy, Directed by: Ryan Murphy
Starring: Justin Bartha, Andrew Ranells, Georgia King, Bebe Wood, NeNe Leaks, and Ellen Barkin
I wanted to love this show, like a good gay you are supposed to like the everything about you. The problem with this logic is that as someone who critically analyzes popular culture is that, quality and content matter more than connection to a community. Ryan Murphy has a created another heavy handed show using his own personal opinions, and logic with creating the bulk of this show. Through in Allison Adler who has been an executive producer on No Ordinary Family, Chuck, and Glee. Together these two have created a pilot, that tries too hard to be funny, and work to be progressive as well.
The pilot follows David (Bartha) and Bryan (Rannells) as they attempt to find a surrogate for their baby. Within the same time frame Goldie (King) and her daughter (Wood), the best part of the show, flee Ohio to walk away from lives. In the attempt to find this surrogate the gay couple quickly find Goldie and she offers to be the surrogate. Enter two polar opposites Goldie's grandmother (Barkin) who is racist, sexist, and has every other type of ism making Ohio a bastion for evil, Bryan's assistant Rocky (Leakes) who can't act her way out of a paper bag.
The show has a cute premise with this hopeful couple wanting a young baby, the couple is cute, and this has a lot of fun elements, which could make a great sitcom. The problem with the pilot alludes to a show operates in absolutes, and is far too preachy like the latter days of Glee. Murphy has momentary glimpses of talent, but too often his show have an incredible lack of focus. With a small ensemble this could become something better the pilot feels like something forced and contrived rather than well written or heartfelt.
Bartha and Rannells are solid enough, King is cute, and the young actress Bebe Wood who plays her daughter, is a talented young lady. Then throw in Barkin's sassy Nana, and Leakes fiesty assistantand you get one big hot mess. I feel like Ryan Murphy is trying to recreate Sue Sylvester with Barkin; he forgot one thing, Sue Sylvester stopped being funny after the first season because the character got written into a corner too many times. Barkin spews lines like "I feel like I just ate a black and gay stew" "You know your kind is so good with computers, and thanks for the railroads." While Barkin is a funny lady she can't make this awful dialogue work. Leakes assistant seems like a waste, and could take away from the dynamic.
Murphy tries to hard to complicate his life, and writes characters as though he were a caricaturist; he loses depth when these people have one note they always sing. In the future his attempt to humanize people like Barkin will seem forced, and won't work. I will give the show one more try, but The New Normal, may just be something won't work.(You can watch the first episode below)