Sunday, 21 April 2013

Five Reasons Why You Should Love The New Normal

Created by Ryan Murphy and Ali Adler, 'The New Normal' follows the lives of Bryan and David, a gay couple who want to start their own family. Upon meeting single mother Goldie, the pair realise that she is the surrogate of their dreams but by choosing her, the rest of Goldie's family become involved too. Daughter Shania couldn't be happier but Republican grandmother Jane is less than pleased with Goldie's choice...

I'm obsessed with 'The New Normal'. It's easily one of my favourite programmes and there's nothing else quite like it on TV right now. 'The New Normal' has hilarious moments and some extreme personalities like any great sitcom, but the show also touches upon serious dramatic issues that viewers can relate to on a personal level. The subject matter has inevitably drawn some controversy in the States and of course the bigots out there will never bother to actually watch the programme but if they did, then they might actually end up enjoying themselves. For anyone else who is on the fence regarding Ryan Murphy's latest show, I say read on to discover five reasons why you should love 'The New Normal'!
1. It's Not Just A Cliche

One of the things that I love most about 'The New Normal' is how each of the characters are very well rounded in the way that they're represented. The central relationship between Bryan and David is shown to be natural and loving in a way that defies bitchy gay cliches and any physical contact between the two is far from gratuitous. Moments where Bryan and David do kiss or hold hands are depicted naturally and the pair come across just like any other TV couple, except they just happen to be gay. Sure some stereotypical traits are present at times - Bryan is definitely the more flamboyant of the two - but a much wider range of sexuality is explored here that defies obvious TV cliches.

2. Bryan's Face!

Sure Bryan looks great but I'm not talking about that. Whether he's glaring or putting on puppy dog eyes, Andrew Rannell's face is just SO expressive that you can't help but laugh every time he's on screen. One of my favourite scenes from the whole series so far is when Goldie's grandmother releases a private video that Bryan made just for David on Twitter. It's the most ridiculous thing you'll have ever seen and I love it! Here's a clip.

3. Jane Forrest - Best/Worst Nan Ever!

Another standout character for me is Goldie's grandmother, played by the always incredible Ellen Barkin. You may have seen her before in films such as 'Palindromes' and 'Drop Dead Gorgeous', but I think the Tony winning actress has found her best role on 'The New Normal', playing the bigoted Republican Jane Forrest. 

The writers use Forrest as the mouthpiece for everyone out there who may disagree with the liberal philosophy of the show. Her hilarious rants often end up being episode highlights but what's great though is that while Forrest may have some extreme views that don't fit with other characters on the show, her opinions are still presented as potentially valid alternatives and are not completely ignored. As the series progresses, Forrest's character subtly develops by becoming more tolerant but she still retains her fiery spark throughout. I just love her. Here's Ellen Barkin talking about her role on the show.

4. Awesome Guest Stars

While I am obsessed with pretty much every regular on the show, 'The New Normal' has attracted a number of brilliant guest stars in its first season. From John Stamos and George Takei to Gwyneth Paltrow, there's always a random cameo that makes you go " oh look, it's so and so!" The standout for me though had to be Matt Bomer's appearance as Bryan's ditzy ex boyfriend Monty. Annoyingly, I can't find a clip ANYWHERE that's available in this country but google image him and you'll know exactly what I mean!

5. Shania Clemmons

Child stars can be annoying. Intelligent and precocious child stars wise beyond their years are just unbearable. But there's something about Bebe Wood's portrayal of Goldie's nine year old daughter Shania that transcends the usually obnoxious cliche. Yes she is crazy quirky and talks like an adult but Shania is also very vulnerable with her insecurities and that's what is so loveable about her. Some might find Shania annoying but you can't deny that she steals every scene she's in, particularly when she bounces off Bryan's quick one-liners. At the end of the day, any nine year old who sings 'Half-Breed' on stage, decked out in a Native Indian Cher outfit just for a school project is all right by me! 

Sure 'The New Normal' isn't perfect. I recently watched the episode where Bryan tries to practice breast feeding with fake plastic breasts and I found myself cringing throughout but I still find myself coming back to this show again and again, for these five reasons and many more. But what is it you love about 'The New Normal'? Do you agree with my reasons or do you have any of your own? And who's your favourite character on the show? Let me know what you think by commenting, liking and sharing below.   

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