A Gay Teen’s Thoughts on The New Normal

These two have made me cry twice in six episodes. Not bad, if I may say so myself. Image via nbc.com.

For those of you living under a rainbow-colored rock, The New Normal is a television comedy series about a Los Angeles gay couple who have decided to have a child. However, Bryan (left in the above photo) and David’s reproductive organs are unable to do so on their own, so they hire a surrogate by the name of Goldie Clemmons, a bright, blond, and affable 24-year-old. Along for the ride come Goldie’s precocious, eight-year-old daughter Shania, Bryan’s sassy assistant Rocky, and Goldie’s racist, bold, and bitterly homophobic grandmother Jane.

I usually don’t watch television, so don’t peg me as an expert – the only three shows I can say I’ve watched through and through are Lost, Heroes, and So You Think You Can Dance? After a somewhat stressful day of school this week, I went home and decided to watch The New Normal on the NBC website. One of my best friends had urged me to do so earlier, and even my AP Government teacher recommended it to me.

After watching five episodes back to back, I fell in love. The New Normal is exactly what its producers and its title says it’s about – a loving couple who desire a child after having been committed for quite some time. While their relationship may seem uncouth because of their sexuality, they are the new normal. Bryan and David’s affection for one another shows sweetly and realistically, and the other characters contribute to the show’s somewhat crazy yet completely entertaining feel. Shania’s wisdom beyond her age always impresses me and makes me chuckle, and so do Jane’s forward comments sometimes, even though I think she deserves several good slaps to the face. Goldie’s struggle to break away from her family’s legacy and traditions to become an independent role model speaks to me, and Rocky always knows how to accent Bryan with her individual fierceness.

Beyond the humor (which does make me laugh out loud at least once an episode) and the phenomenal cast of characters, The New Normal takes on themes that desperately need to be addressed. Bryan’s battle against homophobia in “Baby Clothes” left me crying like a little baby, and the subtly strong message about unintentional racism and hypocrisy in “Obama Mama” portrayed a plight common to those who have good intentions. The tone of the show does not scream melodrama or condescending comedy, rather, it blends touching, gentle moments with humorous ones to create a wonderful combination.

Rumor has it that Matt Bomer will be starring as Bryan’s ex later in the season. Hallelujah! Image via justjared.com.

I’ve heard that some people are disappointed in the show because they feel that certain aspects of it are offensive – such as how some of the humor relies on stereotypes, and how Bryan seems to want a baby solely for the purpose of dressing it up. I find these comments ridiculous. Just because a show is about a gay couple who wants a child does not mean it has to avoid stepping on everyone’s toes in all ways possible. I am not condoning stereotypes, but if they are used clearly for laughs and in a parody-like way, it’s not the end of the world. Myriad TV shows use them. Furthermore, just because Bryan is gay and wants a child does not mean he has to be perfect. No one is perfect, and The New Normal does a fantastic job of showing that. Bryan likes to buy clothes and make absurd comments about attractiveness and fashion, but he has feelings, too – true feelings, as one can see after watching “Baby Clothes.”

I could probably write multiple posts about this show (which I might end up doing… episode reviews, anyone?) but there is one reason why I absolutely love this show to death. It’s a personal one.

When I watch The New Normal, I see two successful gay men in a committed, loving relationship. They are living on their own with a house and belongings they bought with their own hard-earned money. Neither of them are perfect, but to each other, they are perfect enough. And when I watch these things, I feel this sense of hope, and of empathy. Hope that maybe one day I’ll be able to break away from my socially conservative family and make it out in the big, wide world no matter what my sexual orientation is. And empathy for what Bryan and David have to go through while having their child and for being gay in general.

Six hours before starting The New Normal, I felt a sense of shame that the country I live in legally supports gay marriage in only six states. After watching five episodes of The New Normal, I felt a sense of hope that one day people will see how family is family, and love is love.

That one day unconditionally loving another person irrespective of gender will become, indeed, normal.

True words from a wise show. Image via The New Normal’s Facebook page.

For those of you who have seen it, what do you think of The New Normal? Love it, hate it? I am always welcome to dissenting opinions. For those of you who have not seen it, I hope I have persuaded you to do so!

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17 Comments

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17 responses to “A Gay Teen’s Thoughts on The New Normal

  1. I heard about this show a few weeks ago, but for some reason I thought it was going to be shown next year! If it’s as good as you say, I’m definitely going to see if I can watch and episode or two and get into it. 🙂

  2. Alex

    I’m watching this show too! You should totally do episode reviews if you have the time. I do like David’s and Bryan’s relationship…but I’m not a big fan of Bryan because he acts like a stereotypically gay guy, but whatever, it seems like every TV show that has gay characters needs one that fits the stereotype (such as in Modern Family). I’m really glad that Goldie isn’t like her grandmother at all….and Jane needs to be punched in the face and I felt like I shouldn’t have felt sorry for her in the last episode because I did feel really bad for her when that guy ended up using her. Well, hopefully as the number of shows with loveable gay characters increase (because TV is mind control), people will begin to accept homosexuality as the new normal.

    • I’m not 100% sure how I feel about Bryan, but I don’t think we can blame him for acting like a “stereotypical gay guy.” Even though stereotypes should not be applied to everyone of a certain ethnicity or sexuality, sometimes they do – like, I’m sure there are Asians who excel at math, and gay guys who do like fashion. So for me it’s just another facet of his character, not an attempt by the producers to establish that image. As for Jane, I don’t think I felt sorry for her, as bad as that sounds. It’s good that she learned her lesson though, and in the end she did walk away victorious.

      I agree, I’m glad that shows like The New Normal are being produced and are well-accepted! People need to understand that homosexuality, while not as common as heterosexuality, is still normal.

  3. Becky

    Reminds me of Luana Reach Torres’ latest novel, “I Heard the Pastor’s Daughter Is Gay.”

    http://www.luanareachtorres.com/

  4. I love this show to death and I think it’s a 110% spot on example of what this country and the world should all move towards equality for same sex marriages.
    And I would be lying if I said I watched this show because it dealt with a gay couple, and problems the LGBT community has to over come. But I only started watching it because of my girl NeNe Leakes *Rocky* from “The Real Housewives of Atlanta,” I love her and I think she is super funny! I loved the episode when Shania was going to have her pretend wedding and Rocky recited shania favorite pome “Nicki Minaj~ Right thought me.” that was priceless XD

    • Totally agree. The fact that it’s centered on a gay couple is only a plus – I tried watching Partners, another new show that features a gay couple, and I couldn’t get past five minutes of the first episode. The New Normal is actually touching and comedic and wonderful – and I agree once again, when she read “Right Thru Me” I laughed out loud. The atmosphere and timing was just too funny.

      I’m glad I’ve found another New Normal fan! 🙂

  5. Matt

    Ohh I cried like a baby too when Bryan stood up to the homophobe in the store…I didn’t like the first 2 episodes mainly because of Bryan’ shallowness, but all that changed in Episode 3… totally coverted now. Hi from Melbourne, Australia! x

    • Yes, the tears came pouring down when they were in their bedroom and Bryan started his beautiful soliloquy on how he doesn’t want this child to be hated! I think I’ll watch that scene every time I want to cry. And, yes, it’s great that they showed Bryan’s not so shallow side. Woo Australia, that’s very far from the US – thank you for reading and commenting!

  6. Steven

    Let me start first by saying how wonderful your article is! While reading, I do deeply share some common thoughts with you.
    My affection for this show lies in the portrayal of all the characters. As a very new even controversial type of family, they also have their own struggle and problems, moments of tears and laughter, just like the others.
    And…YES, you definitely should go on doing reviews!
    Greetings from Shanghai, China!
    (bumped into your blog accidentally, plz forgive my abruptness)

    • Yes, I think the driving force behind the show is its characters! They are imperfect, but their imperfections make them whole and relatable. It’s great that a guy from China has watched the show and connects to it – and it’s superb that you’ve somehow managed to find my blog. When the show comes back on I’ll try to do more reviews, thank you for reading and commenting, and I hope to hear from you again soon!

  7. I like the idea of the new normal…..just hate that they took all the stereoptypes they could find about gays .Then they squeezed,compressed and condensed them into a human shaped mass. And christened it Bryan. Its almost as if they’re overcompensating. Otherwise…its pretty cool. But my favorite show of all time will always be Glee! Power to the Glee!

    • I actually love Bryan. Just because he perpetuates stereotypes doesn’t mean he’s a bad character – he’s developed and has already shown that he will care deeply for his child. I’m not a huge fan of Glee, but I’m glad you enjoy the show!

  8. It’s shameful that I’ve only just found this post, but I am in absolute agreement with everything. The New Normal was absolutely brilliant and I got teary too. No bad feelings about admitting that. Bryan and David’s dynamic is so well constructed; I think that’s why it becomes so hard to watch the tough scenes because they are just real people. It’s funny too, of course, and they get the balance exactly right between laughs and tears. I was devastated when I learnt that it’s not returning. Why are the best shows always cancelled?! Just thought I’d share my thoughts. (:

    • I agree with all of your thoughts and I’m also sad that it was canceled so early. 😦 Have you watched Queer as Folk – while it’s more scandalous, I felt that it was even more emotionally entrenching than The New Normal. Thank you for reading and commenting!

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