September 10, 2012

Quick Thoughts: THE NEW NORMAL, "Pilot"

Anyone who has read this blog or listened to the podcast knows that I'm oddly devoted to Ryan Murphy, and the funny thing is I have no idea why. It's probably all Glee's fault, which still doesn't make much sense since I agree that it's an extremely flawed show, but I'm entertained by it at the end of the day. People probably also know that I was a big Chuck fan, and Allison Adler was one of that show's MVP's during its strongest run, so it was only natural that I'd check out their newest show, The New Normal.

Admittedly, I was a little unsure about this one after I read about its premise because it clearly felt like a Modern Family knock-off, but I knew that Murphy and Adler would bring their own voice to the project, which also didn't ease any concern because their sensibilities don't scream sit-com. At first glance, I knew that The New Normal would be better suited for an hour-long dramedy setup, and I wasn't sure how it would play as a 30-minute comedy. After watching the pilot, I'm still convinced that it should be an hour, but I was won over and excited to see if they can pull this off.

Right off the bat, the things that worked for The New Normal was its concept, a gay couple decide to have a baby with the help of a surrogate, because it's time for this kind of story to be on television. Sure, we have Cam and Mitchell (and possibly others) who have waded in similar waters, but they just got a baby and we didn't see their journey up to that point. Incorporating surrogacy should be enough to make this one feel different enough.

Other strong points were some of the performances. Even though I felt like I was watching an alt-reality version of Glee characters (Bryan as Kurt, David as a gay Will, Goldie as a blond Rachel), I liked what the three leads brought to the table. I know that Bryan's already being labeled as "insufferable" and a "stereotype," but he didn't play that way to me. Maybe it's because I know people like Bryan, but he came off as heightened version of a relatable character. Then again, maybe I just know a lot of people who are stereotypes. Regardless, I can understand why people were turned off by Bryan, but it's too early to say that he's nothing more than a one-dimensional cliché.

The only aspect of the show that didn't win me over was Ellen Barkin's Jane who did feel like a cartoon character masquerading as a person. While I'm not going to be off the deep end and call her horrible or anything like that, she did feel all too familiar thanks to Sue Sylvester. The biggest difference between the two is Sue was actually funny in her devilishness whereas Jane fell flat. Ultimately, I'm willing to give Barkin the chance to flesh out her character, but it doesn't help that Jane's starting off from a point when I started to dislike Coach Sylvester.

After one viewing, I'm confident that The New Normal will have the right combination of edge and heart to keep me watching even though it will be coming in sixth in the Tuesday night sit-com pile-up. No matter when I'll be tuning in, I want it to be successful because despite the fact that the thought of two men raising a child has already offended some, we live in a new world where this truly should be the new normal.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Updates Via E-Mail