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Television: NBC, Ryan Murphy (‘Glee’) unveil ‘The New Normal’

By Ed Kennedy
After Elton
Saturday, May 19, 2012
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One of the most anticipated shows for the fall 2012 season will be The New Normal, from Ryan Murphy and Allison Adler. The show features Andrew Rannells (The Book of Mormon) and Justin Bartha (National Treasure) as a gay couple trying to have a child via surrogate. They settle on Goldie, played by Georgia King (a British actress with little name recognition in the U.S.), who already has a daughter of her own, and brings her opinionated, bigoted mother, played by Ellen Barkin, to the mix.

The supporting cast is vast and full of familiar names, with Jayson Blaire (Hard Times of RJ Berger), NeNe Leakes, and Michael Hitchcock (MADtv) among the more recognizable names, but many more with a Broadway background.

The show is obviously written to portray Rannells and Bartha as a bit of an Odd Couple-vibe, with Rannells in bright, flashy clothing, popping off gay one-liners, and his partner Bartha a serious t-shirt sporting doctor, which I’m sure will be played for laughs. And while we only get a hint of Ellen Barkin in the trailer, she’s no doubt there to provide an acid-tongued commentary on those in society who oppose gay parents, gay couples, and basically anything gay other than a yuletide. And her modern daughter King is determined to prove that she’s nothing like her mother.

Watch a preview:

It’s so difficult to tell from a two minute trailer from the pilot, but the sitcom rhythm is fairly classic and other than the gay leads, wouldn’t have been out of place in the 1980s, which could be a good thing. On the other hand, one can’t help but have doubts about Ryan Murphy’s ability to provide continuity for a show dealing with serious issues in a funny way.

With a cushy launch after The Voice on Tuesday nights this fall, The New Normal has a chance to really be a hit, bringing another kind of gay family into the living rooms of millions of Americans, in an election year. Plus, the later timeslot will give the show a bit more freedom with displays of affection and humor than Glee has been allowed at 8 PM.

Will you be watching?

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