I am obsessed with gay culture; I analyze, praise, and sometimes denounce every piece I come in contact with. That is why I was excited by the announcement of Ryan Murphy’s new show baby, The New Normal.
The basic premise is about a gay male couple that seeks out a surrogate mother in order to start their own family. Toss in a misunderstood daughter, a sassy black personal assistant, and a homophobic and racist grandmother and you have the perfect grounds for a hilarious sitcom.
Sounds like the perfect show for me, right? Wrong. While I wanted this to be my new favorite show, I was bitterly disappointed by the execution.
The show’s pilot relied on stereotypes to the point where all of the characters seemed to be over the top and obnoxious. Nene Leakes’ character as a pilfering moocher did not appeal to me and every word that came out of Ellen Barkin’s mouth made me cringe. I may have a boring sense of humor, but I did not laugh the entire time.
I was hoping that The New Normal would break down barriers regarding gay families and the struggles they go through in order to create their families. They have to make the decision to start a family and choose a method (surrogacy or adoption) that is right for them; it is not as easy as not using a condom and finding out they are pregnant three weeks later.
The show, however, downplays this huge decision to having “the next best thing” or a fashion commodity. As a gay man that might want to have kids someday, I think this decision is a disservice to others like me. I will not decide on the fly, “Oh hey, I want a baby so we can dress him up and show him off to our friends and family!” It will be a laborious process that would take months or maybe even years to prepare for.
I will admit that I may be coming down too hard on the show. It is supposed to be a light comedy with serious overtones and implications towards acceptance. Justin Bartha and Andrew Rannells have some seriously cute cuddling scenes that you do not see on primetime television too often. Even if they do play into gay stereotypes.
This is a great leap forward for gay visibility, but sometimes I wonder if it takes a few steps back at the same time. Will others think that gay men are all rich and simply want a baby because of the clothes they can buy them? Even though I’m obsessed with baby clothes, I will still watch, but you will not see me raving about how funny and groundbreaking the show claims to be.