In the premiere episode, "The New Normal" united newly single mom, Goldie, with a peppy gay couple, Bryan and David, in search of a surrogate. Desperate for cash and eager to rebel against her racist, homophobic "Nana from Hell," Goldie agreed to bake the couple's cupcake. Despite all the gay jokes, clichés, and annoying stereotypes, the show broadly defined the new normal to include all types of families.
The second episode, "Sofa's Choice," which aired September 11, stays true to the premise, but mercifully moves away from the heavy-handed social statement about abnormal being the new normal. It has better pacing and focuses on the characters as Shania, Goldie, Bryan, and David all make big transitions.
Goldie's adorkable daughter, Shania, quickly went from quirky to annoying during the premiere. Sweet, smart, and odd, she seemed like a ridiculous composite of other strange but loveable kid characters. She looks like Abigail Breslin in "Little Miss Sunshine" with a weird personality a la Atticus Shaffer in "The Middle."
In the second episode, 8-year-old Shania overcomes the clichés with a frighteningly accurate impression of Edith Bouvier Beale from "Grey Gardens." She has difficulty transitioning to her new school and wants to hide her unique personality. Somehow, she decides Little Edie is a better option. Her spot-on impression spans most of the episode before Bryan exercises his dad skills and gives her the confidence to be herself.
Bryan and David's meet-cute
A quick flashback shows the couple meeting in a club. With his puffy hair and bowtie, Bryan looked a lot like Kurt Hummel from "Glee." Lance Bass stood him up, and David nervously happened to swoop in at just the right moment. Add David's giant Urkel glasses and Bananarama's "Cruel Summer," and it is a perfect meet-cute for the couple.
David's basketball buddies, who are married with children, make him doubt the joys of parenthood. He turns to Bryan, who makes it all better with a song:
"First comes love, then comes the inability to marry, then comes a stranger, and an invasive medical procedure, then comes the baby in a baby carriage."
Maybe it was the silly work uniform and apron, but Goldie seemed a bit dim in the premiere. She had a deer-in-headlights vibe when she asserted herself and walked away from her cheating husband. Her big move was more flighty and naive than bold.
She surpassed that simple persona when Bryan used his best Oprah voice to offer the posh guesthouse to her and Shania. Surprisingly, Goldie makes a mature decision and declines the offer because she wants to be a strong, independent role model for her little girl. Her dream of being a lawyer suddenly seems more attainable.
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