Recaps for The New Normal

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The New Normal Season Finale Review “Finding Name-O; The Big Day”

The New Normal ended its first season with a pair of strong episodes focused on David and Bryan’s wedding and the long-awaited birth of their son, Sawyer Collins. Though not every loose story thread was tied up, "Finding Name-O" and "The Big Day" were filled with enough returning characters and solid bits of character development to serve as a solid ending if the show isn’t renewed for a second season. Though still funny, the first half-hour was the weaker of the two. The show has steered away from dealing with issues in heavy-handed ways, but it still feels like David is frequently at the center of every blow up on the show. Here, though, it felt like the show was a bit too quick to punish him for his behavior. His mother’s behavior was every bit as controlling and judgmental as he felt it was, so having him get so frustrated made sense. As a result, the way he finally made up with his mother felt like it was avoiding some of the deeper issues between the two. Still, the moment David and Bryan finally came up with the idea of using their last names to name the baby was a great one. READ MORE...

The New Normal Season One Review “About A Boy Scout”

Earlier this season, an episode of The New Normal like "About a Boy" would’ve had me ready to bury my head in the sand. When the show was just starting out, its focus on "big issues" tended to devolve into heavy-handed arguments between the characters, making for plenty of talking heads, but little humor. Now, though, the show has managed to move away from becoming too preachy with its messages. As such, this week’s episode was a well-handled look at homophobia on both an institutional and personal level. The moment when David admitted to the other Boy Scout dads that he was gay was full of tension, especially when the scene switched to David and Bryan decked out in every stereotypical image available. For a moment, I was wondering if that was the way the dads were seeing them, an effective way to boost the awkwardness. READ MORE...

The New Normal Season One Review “Blood, Sweat, And Fears”

As The New Normal reaches the end of its first season, it’s started to finish covering the last few topics about pregnancy a sitcom is expected to. In this week’s episode, "Blood, Sweat and Tears," the focus fell on who would be in the delivery room and an exploration of alternate birthing practices. So far, The New Normal has done a solid job of covering familiar ground with Goldie’s pregnancy, but it’s yet to do much new with the material. The scenes dealing with alternate birthing methods avoided going for the easy jokes, but there was the usual dismissive tone as a girl in labor was rushed to the hospital at the end. Ultimately, the focus of the episode was on Bryan facing the delivery room and finding the strength to operate in a stressful situation. READ MORE...

The New Normal Season 1 Review “Para-New Normal Activity”- The Halloween Episode That Never Aired

You might recall that during Halloween week in October of last year, Hurricane Sandy hit. The coverage cancelled a lot of pre-scheduled shows, like The New Normal. So, the episode we saw Tuesday night, "Para-New Normal Activity," is now being shown. That makes this review a little…interesting. It’s almost a moot point to talk about this episode since we’ve already seen what comes after it. At this point in the show, Clay was still a deadbeat dad, but he showed signs of wanting to change. Now, he’s fully committing to changing for the better. Back then, Jane was still racist and homophobic (but made a great Endora–if anyone’s casting for an updated Bewitched, get Ellen Barkin). Now, Jane is not so racist and is friend with Rocky. Back then, Goldie was only like one or two months pregnant. Now, she’s nearly bursting. Even Rocky’s changed–she’s now a mom (and, arguably, more of a character). The only people that haven’t really changed are Shania, Bryan and David. It’s okay for Shania not to change–she’s got a built-in moral structure that rivals that of a 30-to-40-year-old feminist. What is bad is that Bryan and David haven’t really changed. They are still being themselves, for better or worse. READ MORE...

The New Normal Season 1 Review “Rocky Bye Baby” – Rocky Becomes a Mom

In this episode of  The New Normal , "Rocky Bye Baby," we discover Rocky’s longstanding dream of having a child of  her own. By the end of the episode, she’s adopted the little girl she’s always wanted. Strangely enough, though Bryan and David wanted to adopt the same girl earlier in the episode. This the beginning of my gripe with this episode. The show’s conceit is two dads raising a child, correct? So when in the world are we going to see this kid born? The show doesn’t have to draw this pregnancy out as if it’s happening in real-time; let’s just get to the kid, because them actually raising the child is where the comedy is really going to be. The guy at the adoption center is right to say to David and Bryan that they just wait until they actually have their own child. Learn how to parent one kid, first, then think about adding on. I don’t understand their constant need to jump the gun on things. You won’t know how to be a parent until you are one. End of story. READ MORE...

The New Normal Season 1 Review “Dog Children” – Harvey Milkbone Teaches a Valuable Lesson

At first, I thought this episode of  The New Normal , "Dog Children," was going to be like the rest have and will be up until the birth of  the baby. But, even though it was still in the ballpark of those filler episodes, it did have something new to add–the terrible reality of potential loss. Bryan and David’s new puppy, Harvey Milkbone (clever name), has been giving the two a crash course on how to take care of a smaller being. They have another dog (more on him later), but this dog has helped them get acquainted with losing sleep, crying and first words (or, in Harvey’s case, first barks). But the biggest lesson Harvey teaches them is how to deal with the death of a loved one. READ MORE...

The New Normal Season 1 Review “Dairy Queen” – Milk, Milk, Everywhere

There was a longer title for this review of  The New Normal  episode "Dairy Queen"–"Milk, Milk, Everywhere, But Not Enough for Shania to Drink." Shania’s odd (but endearing?) fixation on getting her mother’s breastmilk is really what 1/3 of the episode is about. The second third of the show is equally as creepy–Bryan wants to be able to bond with his child so much, he buys a very fetish-looking milk harness for men. Gross. The other third I felt could have been fleshed out a little bit more. But first, let me write a little bit more about the creepy parts. As you can probably see from my byline below this post, I am a woman. However, what you can’t see is that I’m an unmarried woman without child. I’m also a woman who was  not reared on breastmilk. I got good old-fashioned, vitamin-enriched formula. I say all of this because I don’t want to come off as insensitive–some women might feel very strongly about breastmilk and breast-feeding, and it’s your right to do whatever you want for your children’s health. Just know that when I say "creepy," when referring to this episode, the creepiness is coming from the fixation on breastmilk, not the actual usage of it. There–my probably necessary disclaimer is over. READ MORE...

The New Normal Season 1 Review “Gaydar” – Stereotypes And Sexuality Discussions

The New Normal ‘s "Gaydar;" it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Well, I guess it wasn’t that melodramatic of a show, but, to echo a little of what I said last week, there are some themes the show retreads often and sometimes not in the most imaginative way possible. Sure, a story about the gay and straight stereotypes, bending gender norms and accepting possible sexual fluidity is a great subject for an episode, but I think the episode handled some of those issues a little too ham-fisted for my liking. Here’s what I’m talking about: David’s big confession:  David admitting to being a bully to percieved gay kids because he didn’t want to be ridiculed is a really good character flaw to explore. But, for some reason, the show decided not to go into flashback with this particular scene. Sure, it wouldn’t be a hilarious flashback like Shania giving the gardener a Les Miz screener, but I think highlighting this dark period in David’s life would have gone much further in showing how conflicted he was a kid and how he lashed out because he felt like he wouldn’t be accepted. It’s just a thought. In any case, I do know that having David and Bryan say really cliche stuff–no matter how true it is–was a little painful. To quote my sister (who often watches the shows I review with me), "Stop beating a dead horse." READ MORE...

The New Normal Season 1 Review “Stay-at-Home Dad” – Bryan and David Try Out Parenthood

Okay, I suppose I have not been as forthright as I could be with my recaps about  The New Normal . I am, in my heart, kind to this show . I do like it. But, I guess I’d better put my foot down and say what needs to be said–there are some drudging moments in this show. I think I kind of got to my limit with this episode, "Stay-at-Home Dad." The idea for the episode, which deals with Bryan and David taking care of a child by using Shania as a test run while Goldie goes to aspa resort  for the week, is great, but here’s what pushed me over the edge: Déjà vu:  Haven’t we seen this story before on this show? I mean, we haven’t seen them take care of Shania in this fashion before, but we’ve had a lot of episodes about them learning the same thing about parenthood. By this time in the series, they should know that parenthood is hard. You cannot control any aspect of parenthood, Bryan and David. READ MORE...

The New Normal Season 1 Review “The Goldie Rush” – Everyone Wants a Baby

It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed  The New Normal , so much so that I almost forgot the characters’ names. But it’s time to get back in the saddle;  The New Normal  is back and this week’s episode, "The Goldie Rush," reminds us why this show is fuzzy, entertaining television. Bryan is happy to be interviewed by one of his favorite magazines,  Ladies’ Home Journal , but when the interview turns towards children, Bryan realizes that he’s a bit bamboozled when it comes to family planning. Luckily, both Bryan and David know they want three children–it’s obvious they’re soulmates, unlike Bryan and his ex-boyfriend Monty (the recently "out" Matt Bomer), someone who didn’t want any children and viewed being gay as a lifetime rave. READ MORE...