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Series / The New Normal

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The New Normal is a comedy show which ran for one season in 2012 and 2013. It was created by Ryan Murphy and Ali Adler, and starred Andrew Rannells, Justin Bartha, Ellen Barkin, NeNe Leakes and Georgia King.

The story is about an affluent Los Angeles gay couple: Bryan, a co-creator and showrunner of a musical teen show called 'Sing', and David, a gynecologist, who decide to have a baby through a surrogate, Goldie. Goldie has come to LA all the way from Ohio with her daughter Shania, in order to give them both a better life. They were followed by Goldie's incredibly bigoted grandmother, Jane.

This series provides examples of:

  • Actually Pretty Funny: When Jane refers to Bryan and David as "salami smokers", Bryan replies, "That's a good one. That's new."
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Jane can withstand the concept of a gay couple and Clint flirting with Goldie, but she draws a line at no turkey on Thanksgiving.
  • Author Avatar: Bryan for Ryan Murphy.
  • Author Tract: "Obama Mama" makes it very clear who the writers probably voted for in November 2012, although we do get to hear a couple of legitimate reasons why someone would have voted for Romney.
  • Be Yourself: You'll hear this very often.
  • Big "WHAT?!": How Goldie reacts to hearing that Shania scribbled on Bryan's couch.
  • Book Dumb: Goldie didn't finish high school, so there are times when Shania knows more about intellectual stuff than her. That said, she does have a lot of life and parenting experience to share with Bryan and David.
  • But Not Too Gay: Averted. Bryan and David get to show a normal amount of affection for a committed couple.
  • Camp Gay: Bryan, albeit not an extreme case. He is obsessed with home design and pop culture, but he does not have very effeminate mannerisms. Also, a fairly extreme case by Chris, Rocky's love interest in "Gaydar".
  • Camp Straight: Bryce from "Gaydar", so much so that Jane finds it necessary to put on an elaborate show to determine whether he's gay or straight.
  • Casting Gag: Gwyneth Paltrow as Abby, the egg donor who looks a lot like the Iron Man actress and Leslie Grossman as the threatening surrogate.
  • Character Development: Jane quickly loses her hatred over the first season. She's still snarky but does so in a sort of Black Comedy sort of way. She even calls Rocky her best friend.
  • Closer to Earth: Not so much gender wise as role wise; Goldie and David are the sane man to everyone elses' crazy.
  • Debating Names: One episode has homosexual couple David Sawyer and Bryan Collins discussing what to name the child they're expecting (via surrogate). At one point, they consider Tom, then change their minds when they realize this would make the child's name Tom Sawyer (like the literary character) or Tom Collins (like the drink).
  • Defied Trope: Goldie turns down Bryan and David's guest house to defy Never a Self-Made Woman and set a good example for Shania.
  • Disability as an Excuse for Jerkassery: The guy at the health club probably qualifies for this trope.
  • Disappeared Dad: Goldie's mother left her to be raised by her grandmother. No mention is made of what became of her father.
  • Dumb Muscle: Clay is quite buff, but considerably less intelligent than any adult ought to be.
  • Epunymous Title: Just about every episode has one.
  • Expy: Ryan Murphy said Bryan and David are based on him and his husband.
  • Evil Matriarch: Jane sees herself as trying to guide her granddaughter and great-granddaughter down the "right" path in life. Ironically, despite her self-proclaimed belief in traditional values, good manners are not among those traditions she practices and she is incredibly rude to other people almost all of the time. Also racist, homophobic, anti-Semitic and every other known form of prejudice.
  • Flashback: The second episode uses an extended flashback to show us the first meeting of Bryan and David.
  • Frameup: It looks like Shania ruined Bryan's upholstery, but Jane set her up. She wanted to discourage Bryan and David's interest in fatherhood.
  • Freudian Excuse: Jane hates gay people and black people because her husband cheated on her for years with a black man.
  • From the Mouths of Babes: Shania: "You're a bigot, Nana. I'm unfriending you right now."
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Goldie is a (bottle) blonde who is incredibly sweet, kind and loving.
  • Informed Judaism: David self-identifies as a Jew, but admits to being of a secular mindset. He also observes Christmas and goes along with Bryan's desire to have godparents for their child.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Bryan and Shania clearly are very close, often sharing similar views and attitudes and often hanging out together in whatever scheme or plot they might be involved in for the week.
    • Jane and Rocky, they didn't like each other at first, and are still drastic opposites by the end of the series, but respect each other for being strong, independent women.
  • Jewish Mother: Frances is pretty much a stock example in appearance, behavior and voice.
  • KidAnova: There's one in Shania's class. He even hits on Nana.
  • Kissing In A Tree: A more bitter version:
    Bryan: You know, the old the playground song? Bryan and David sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G. First comes love, then comes inability to marry, then comes a stranger with a invasive procedure, then comes the baby in the baby carriage.
  • Little Miss Snarker: Shania is pretty sardonic for a girl her age.
  • Memetic Mutation: Invoked in-universe with the "Gayest Video Ever", which takes the internet by storm.
  • Missing Mom: Goldie's mother left her to be raised by her grandma.
  • Moral Myopia: Jane seems to exhibit this on a range of issues. But most striking is her willingness to collaborate with Goldie's adulterous husband in challenging for custody of Shania just to try to force them to move back to Ohio. Made all the more appalling by her pontificating about the sanctity of marriage and her claims of caring about their well-being.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Goldie's very buff, if very stupid, husband Clay is repeatedly seen in bed nearly naked.
    • David's "young clothing" also counts
    • Bryan's ex-boyfriend Monty is shirtless more than he's not and played by Matt Bomer.
  • N-Word Privileges: Nope. Shania sings Cher's "Half-Breed" in a school performance and is promptly suspended for it.
  • No Bisexuals: "Gaydar" has our motley crew putting on a elaborate game to determine whether Jane and Rocky's new love interests are gay or just Camp Straight, but never actually considers the possibility bisexuality as an option.
  • No Name Given: Goldie's mother. Her name is deliberately left out.
  • One Head Taller: Not quite one head, but David is clearly shorter than Bryan. Noticeable only because the show doesn't seem to bother to try and make the two seem the same height as with other TV couples.
  • Pink Boy, Blue Girl: Bryan and his sister, according to him.
  • The Reliable One: David is usually the voice of reason and the one who concerns himself with the practical details of his and Bryan's lives.
  • Sassy Black Woman: Rocky lives the stereotype.
  • Sickeningly Sweethearts: Their moments are usually well done, but Bryan and David verge on this at times.
  • Silver Fox: Jane is a very attractive woman for a great-grandmother. Once she truly learns to take advantage of that fact she starts to enjoy it.
  • Straight Gay: David loves sports and is often clueless as to Bryan's pop culture references.
  • Take That Me: In 'Sofa's Choice' Bryan breaks up the main couple in his show just so he can start a Twitter war, thus showing him as a pretty unprofessional and fickle writer. Series co-creator and writer of the episode Ryan Murphy has been known to toy with relationships for his own amusement in his other hit show.
    • And keeping in mind that Bryan is supposed to be an expy of Ryan...
      Bryan: Well if it's good enough for Saved by the Bell then it's good enough for me!
      Rocky: Oh I know, I watch your show.
    • "Stay-at-Home Dad" has a scene where Rocky bashes the idea that a high school girl wouldn't be singing anything but Barbra Streisand. Sound familiar?
    • Really, anytime we actually see anything with "Sing", there's a 99% chance they're going to make fun of Glee.
  • Teen Pregnancy: Jane only appears to be in her sixties and is already a great-grandmother. She had her daughter when she was extremely young and her granddaughter got pregnant at around the same age. It's mentioned that Goldie's mother was also very young. Jane calls it "the family tradition" and hopes her great-granddaughter will break it.
  • Thanksgiving Episode: 1 x 10: "Pardon Me".
  • The Cast Show Off: Andrew Rannells shows a fraction of his singing skills in Bryan's video.
  • Title Drop: In the pilot: "Face it. Abnormal is the new normal."
  • Title-Only Opening: At first.
  • The Un Favourite: Bryan felt like this with his parents because he was so different from his siblings. He still feels this somewhat as an adult, especially since his mother gets along very well with Straight Gay David. Plus David's own mother is so adoring of her son that it gets on Bryan's nerves.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Jane and Rocky started out as plain enemies but are now buddies without losing their insults to one another.
  • Wham Episode: 1x11, The XY Factor. The baby's sex is revealed. It's a boy!
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: Shania