“The New Normal” incites both controversy and praise
Published: Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 20, 2012 16:09
“The New Normal,” Ryan Murphy’s newest show about the lives of a gay couple and their surrogate, premiered on national television Monday, Sept. 10 to some unnecessary controversy. The hilarious sitcom stars Georgia King, whose character, Goldie Clemmons, is attempting to provide for herself and her daughter. Goldie gave birth to her daughter at the age of 15, and presently, as an adult, moves the family from Ohio to California in order to save money for law school.
Enter David Murray and Bryan Collins, played by Justin Collins and Andrew Rannells, respectively, a gay couple seeking a surrogate to help them have their first child. The story line gets a twist with Ellen Barkin’s fabulously wicked character Jane Forrest, Goldie’s grandmother, who will do anything possible to thwart the trio’s plans. However, Forrest isn’t the only threat to the happy event.
KSL-TV, the NBC affiliate for the Salt Lake City area, chose not to air the show citing a dissatisfaction with the show’s subject matter and language. “After viewing the pilot episode of ‘The New Normal,’ we have made the decision to keep it off our fall schedule,” stated Jeff Simpson, the CEO of Bonneville International Corporation. Despite being affiliated with NBC, KSL-TV is owned by the Bonneville International Corporation, which in turn is owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Simpson added, “For our brand, this program simply feels inappropriate on several dimensions, especially during family viewing time.”
Simpson and his brand aren’t the only people who view the show as “inappropriate.” The organization One Million Moms called American mothers to arms by issuing a press release that claims, “NBC is using public airwaves to continue to subject families to the decay of morals and values, and the sanctity of marriage in attempting to redefine marriage. These things are harmful to our society, and this program is damaging to our culture.”
In the other corner of the ring is the president for the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) Herndon Graddick, who said in a statement, “Same-sex families are a beloved part of American television thanks to shows like ‘Modern Family,’ ‘Glee,’ and ‘Grey’s Anatomy.’” He continued by calling KSL-TV “deeply out of touch” with the rest of American society.
Although outright refusing to air “The New Normal” is a little drastic, the show might not be suitable for younger viewers. The over-the-top bigoted rants of Goldie’s grandmother Jane Forrest are too abrasive for young ears. However, with a 9:30 p.m. air time, the show is hardly scheduled during “family viewing time.”
For people who are mature enough to understand the past and present of discrimination, “The New Normal” is not only perfectly appropriate, but also a must-see. The show is not just about a gay couple trying to have a baby—that would be far too one-dimensional for writer and creator Ryan Murphy of “Glee” and “Nip/Tuck” fame. It’s about a woman trying to empower herself and her young daughter, an inspirational free spirit who motivates her mother on a daily basis to achieve her life goals. It’s about outdated social prejudices clashing with modern, independent people. The title doesn’t reference marriage equality, racial equality or a godless society. It refers to family, defined by the people who truly love one another and rely on each other for support.