What is normal? That's the question Ryan Murphy seems to be asking with his sitcom "The New Normal." Murphy, who has created shows as diverse as "Nip/Tuck," "Glee," and "American Horror Story," now brings viewers a glimpse into the lives of a non-traditional family -- two gay men in a loving committed relationship and the surrogate who his going to give them a baby. She already has a daughter and a super-right-leaning grandmother not afraid to speak her mind. It all adds up to a funny and yet heartwarming look at how the family unit has changed and how some people's attitudes have not.
The couple is Bryan, played by Andrew Rannells ("The Book of Mormon"), and David, played by Justin Bartha ("The Hangover"). Georgia King ("One Day") portrays their baby mama, Goldie. In a recent conference call interview, Rannells, Bartha, and King talked about the concept of normal and why viewers can relate to the show.
'The New Normal' is causing controversy
Not surprisingly "The New Normal" has struck a nerve and started yet another conversation about gay marriage, gay parenting, and surrogacy. These lifestyles are still not considered "normal" by many, and the show is being met with some resistance. An affiliate in Utah even went so far as to ban the series calling it "offensive."
The actors commented on the censorship. Justin Bartha boldly said, "I actually do hope that people are offended by it, and I think that hopefully it will be a conversation piece in family's homes… hopefully they will talk with other people about why they're offended by it and what actually does strike them as offensive and wrong… Possibly our show can help them usher in a little more acceptance."
King agreed with her co-star, "It's a privilege to be doing something [to] create conversation and create ideas and thoughts and just get people thinking about what's happening today."
Rannells pointed out that the ban in Utah occurred before the show aired, He stated, "It's a shame... that the decision was made and the controversy started before anyone even got to see any of it." He pointed out that no one should make a decision about what offends them without watching the program. He continued, "People who have seen the pilot know that it's a story about love and creating a family, and there's very little certainly that we find offensive in it."
Can America relate to 'The New Normal'?
So the question remains, is this a show average America can relate to? King urged those who are offended to remember that the show is more than just a gay couple. That it's about a single mother and a young girl and an older woman all trying to find their places in the world. She commented, "There's lots of different situations a lot of people can relate to."
In fact the story has been the premise of dozens of sitcoms throughout the years -- a family unit with a wide range of crazy characters with opposite viewpoints trying to co-exist. Rannells claimed, "I don't think we're telling a necessarily a new story, but we're just showing what's already happening and what's already out in the world. Everybody has some crazy characters in their family, and I don't think that's new news for anyone."
He continued, "The family that we're creating is perhaps no different than yours… It might seem awfully different than a lot of people's families. It might seem a little specific, but the story we're telling is really universal and my hope is that people will see themselves in the story."
Watch "The New Normal" on Tuesday nights at 9:30PM EST on NBC.
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