The New Normal (Episode 2) and What to Watch Tonight
*******Spoilers******* Please note that some plot points from last night’s episode of The New Normal are discussed in this post.
If the show remains centered on Goldie, Shania, David and Bryan (and have the dogs prominently featured) then this show may stay on my DVR queue. Grant you; I doubt show runners are really concerned with my queue, it isn’t as if that ensures series longevity or is indicative of Nielsen ratings. I came into last night’s episode with an open mind and while I found it to have much more heart and mercifully less Ellen Barkin and NeNe Leakes, it still wasn’t really funny. I enjoyed the scenes between Shania and Bryan, sweet though they were, they didn’t exactly make me laugh. There are times during shows like the New Girl, Big Bang Theory, The Middle or Modern Family where I literally laugh out loud, so far that moment has not occurred with The New Normal.
As for some of the things that worked and a few that didn’t:
- Do not start the show with NeNe Leakes seemingly indicating that one of the dogs was found dead at the bottom of the pool. I almost turned off at that point, I mean seriously if you have not watched you have not seen how cute the dogs were. Why was this comment uttered you ask, well she wanted to break the news to Bryan that someone wrote on his couch and she wanted him to put it in perspective.
- The young actress playing Shania is excellent. She convincingly carried on a site gag throughout the episode where she answers anything directed at her as if she is a character from the docudrama The Grey Gardens. I would like to learn more how this little girl was able to develop such a strong sense of self while being surrounded by an idiot father and a vile great-grandmother.
- There was less of Ellen Barkin’s “Nana,” and while the sequence where she tries to coach Goldie’s cheating ex-husband through a speech to reconcile was not terrible, again her interactions with other cast members were belittling and offensive. This to me is in direct contrast to Goldie’s stated goal of showing her daughter a better life. Obviously Ellen Barkin is going to be featured on this show, so how as a mother would you allow her to continuously be around your impressionable daughter, family or not. The great-granddaughter she refers to as “Goggles,” by the way.
- The sequence where David in an exam room with Goldie, Bryan and his nurse tries to convince everyone that a baby only changes your life as much as you allow it, was funny, particularly due to Goldie and the nurses’ reaction. I am sure many parents viewing laughed the same way. That scene worked without any vitriolic statements and without trying too hard to be edgy.
I think it is sad that any station refused to air this show due to the premise involving a gay couple working with a surrogate to start a family. However, I do wonder if the show continues in the vein it is going what audience will be turning in week after week. Eventually its stated time slot will be opposite NCIS LA (which has a built-in and established audience) and The Mindy Project (which has quite a bit of good buzz from critics). I have invested in other Ryan Murphy shows in the past, particularly Nip/Tuck and Glee, and worry that over time the shows seemingly go off the rails. So after episode 2 I remain skeptical about this show.
- If you are looking to watch a train wreck – Guys with Kids (NBC 10:00pm EST), has been universally panned by critics. I will be watching the first episode so that I can rank it in my “What show will be cancelled first” poll. Also, it is sometimes fun to watch a show where you utter the phrase, “How did this get green lit?” or “Seriously, I could write better than this.”
- If you are a fan of reality competition shows – X Factor (FOX 8:00pm EST), 2 new judges, including Britney Spears premieres. I typically do not watch these shows during the preliminary stages as I do not find watching horribly delusional or intentionally bad performers attempting to get on television entertaining, but I am intrigued as to how Britney will handle her judging duties.
- If you haven’t yet caught The New Normal the last 20 times NBC has shown it (ok, ok I guess it is only the 3rd time) they are re-airing the pilot episode at 10:30pm EST. I am not sure if this is to see if the show performs better on different days / times, or if they just really have nothing to put on and figure why not.