The New Normal Pilot.

Huss417
Broadway Star
joined:5/15/03
The New Normal Pilot.
Posted: 8/29/12 at 08:20pm
Just finished watching The New Normal Pilot on NBC. I really liked it and wonder if it would do better on Cable over NBC?

Ellen Barkin has some great lines. I won't spoil them or the show but I do recommend it. Hulu is now showing it prior to the premiere on 9/11/12

http://www.hulu.com/watch/395910


"I hope your Fanny is bigger than my Peter." Mary Martin to Ezio Pinza opening night of Fanny.
Updated On: 8/29/12 at 08:20 PM
strummergirl
Broadway Legend
joined:12/8/09
The New Normal Pilot.
Posted: 8/29/12 at 08:56pm
I liked it too and I was waiting to hate it. Not as crazy as I thought it would be but knowing Ryan Murphy that can change in a matter of episodes. Bartha and Rannels have really good chemistry and I even like the kid (I do fear how she will be written as too precocious in future episodes). Barkin seems bound to be the 'Sue Sylvester' of the show with the irreverent one-liners. NeNe was not that bad either, not as broad as her role on Glee that was screaming (literally in most cases) to be a Loretta Devine circa Boston Public role, though I worry about her role being an equally abrasive foil to Barkin's abrasive character just for the sake of conflict.

And if you did not realize this was a Ryan Murphy show there are cameos a-plenty to remind you on that front. Some are obvious, others not quite (hint: If you liked the show Popular....).

Updated On: 8/29/12 at 08:56 PM
Phyllis Rogers Stone
Broadway Legend
joined:9/16/07
The New Normal Pilot.
Posted: 8/29/12 at 09:56pm
I didn't really like it. It wasn't terrible, but I didn't think it was particularly funny. Andrew Rannells' character is like a grown up, even more horrible Kurt Hummell and Ellen Barkin's character seems to exist only to be able to say horrible things.

Nothing makes sense, but it's a Ryan Murphy joint, so that's the be expected. I guess this is a semi-spoiler, but I thought it was funny that they struck out with Leslie Grossman's only-on-tv character for the surrogate, so the company then hooked them up with someone who more or less just walked in off the street.

It's typical Ryan Murphy fare, so this will probably be a big hit.
EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
The New Normal Pilot.
Posted: 8/29/12 at 10:03pm
I was hoping co-creator Ali Adler (Sara Gilbert's ex)'s voice might come in and help get rid of some of what I most dislike with Murphy shows--I mean he's also still working on Glee, and American Horror Story (although co-creadtor Brad Falchuk is meant to be more involved with that this season) *and* preparing the film of The Normal Heart--but I guess he did direct and co-write the pilot, and Ali Adler has worked at Glee so maybe she can mimick his voice anyway...

That said I didn't hate it.
AEA AGMA SM
Broadway Legend
joined:8/13/09
The New Normal Pilot.
Posted: 8/29/12 at 10:17pm
I didn't HATE it, but it didn't really thrill me either. This will probably be one that I'll throw into my Hulu queue, but not necessarily be in any rush to watch. I know it's only the pilot, so the characters have to be painted in fairly broad strokes, but I really hope that they can move away from reinforcing the standard stereotypes and actually make these character a bit more human.
Did you know that every day Mexican gays cross our borders and unplug our brain-dead ladies?
EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
The New Normal Pilot.
Posted: 8/29/12 at 10:30pm
I admit I'll prob PVR it, at least at first, to see how it goes--and I could see it being one of several shows I sorta half watch when I'm preparing work notes, etc. I think the problem is Murphy has proven in the past that he has a hard time moving away from fairly broad stereotypes. That works for me sometimes--i loved Popular's first season, I enjoyed American Horror Story where the sheer WTF-ness worked alright for me on a horror show, I initially liked Glee and still half watch it. But, I hope this somehow manages to break away from that--I fear the characters could just get increasingly annoying.
ucjrdude902
Broadway Legend
joined:3/11/07
The New Normal Pilot.
Posted: 8/29/12 at 10:54pm
Agreed. Wasn't incredible, wasn't horrible. Then again, its JUST a pilot.
Phyllis Rogers Stone
Broadway Legend
joined:9/16/07
The New Normal Pilot.
Posted: 8/29/12 at 10:59pm
I just didn't think it was funny. I admit, I predisposed to hating Ryan Murpy and all that, but I like Justin Bartha and Ellen Barkin a lot in general. I want to like the surrogate girl, but there's something about the way she talks that gives me the willies.

But yeah, I just didn't think it was funny.
Updated On: 8/29/12 at 10:59 PM
wickedfan
Broadway Legend
joined:12/25/03
The New Normal Pilot.
Posted: 8/30/12 at 11:10am
What annoys me about Ryan Murphy is that I used to love his work. Popular in its prime was brilliant television and Nip/Tuck for the first four seasons was always pulpy fun. But success has gotten to him and he's putting far less effort in his shows. Add to that, he's spreading himself thin with three tv shows and an upcoming movie so he's really not caring about quality these days.

I didn't hate the pilot either, but as PRS said, it's just not very funny. There were a couple of good one liners and it's well cast (Justin Bartha is incredibly charming), but Murphy has definitely lost the quirk from his Popular days. And I don't know if Ryan Murphy is trying "break new ground" with this show, but he's not doing the gay community any favors with Andrew Rannell's character who is more concerned that his baby be blonde and the birth mother not be fat than having, you know, a healthy baby.
"Sing the words, Patti!!!!" Stephen Sondheim to Patti LuPone.
Phyllis Rogers Stone
Broadway Legend
joined:9/16/07
The New Normal Pilot.
Posted: 8/30/12 at 11:13am
Yeah, I found Andrew Rannells' character to be kind of repulsive.
JohnyBroadway
Broadway Star
joined:4/10/12
The New Normal Pilot.
Posted: 8/30/12 at 12:46pm
Great cast, fabulous plot, but the writing could be toned down a bit, but then again Ryan Murphy is all camp.
AC126748
Broadway Legend
joined:7/15/06
The New Normal Pilot.
Posted: 8/30/12 at 12:57pm
I really disliked the relationship between Bartha and Rannells. Of course, one of them has to drink beer and watch football, while the other one wears tailored cargo pants and swishes around. Because there's obviously no other way to present a gay couple without falling back on a masculine/feminine/husband/wife dichotomy.

Barkin was funny in her stock role.
"You travel alone because other people are only there to remind you how much that hook hurts that we all bit down on. Wait for that one day we can bite free and get back out there in space where we belong, sail back over water, over skies, into space, the hook finally out of our mouths and we wander back out there in space spawning to other planets never to return hurrah to earth and we'll look back and can't even see these lives here anymore. Only the taste of blood to remind us we ever existed. The earth is small. We're gone. We're dead. We're safe." -John Guare, Landscape of the Body
Phyllis Rogers Stone
Broadway Legend
joined:9/16/07
The New Normal Pilot.
Posted: 8/30/12 at 01:06pm
I really disliked the relationship between Bartha and Rannells. Of course, one of them has to drink beer and watch football, while the other one wears tailored cargo pants and swishes around. Because there's obviously no other way to present a gay couple without falling back on a masculine/feminine/husband/wife dichotomy.

This. I couldn't even put my finger on it when I was watching it, but yes. I still maintain that Ranells' character is just Kurt Hummel grown up and more awful.
strummergirl
Broadway Legend
joined:12/8/09
The New Normal Pilot.
Posted: 8/30/12 at 01:17pm
I have to admit. Andrew's character on Girls would tell his character on The New Normal to tone it down.
AEA AGMA SM
Broadway Legend
joined:8/13/09
The New Normal Pilot.
Posted: 8/30/12 at 02:26pm
The other issue I think I had with it was how lightly the decision for these two to have the baby was glossed over. Rannells sees a baby at Barney's, decided he MUST have one, and then a week later (if that) they are already looking for surrogates? Then, like a few others, I wanted to smack them because of the superficiality displayed (the blonde haired, blue eyed, no "fatties" thing, which was just a re-hash of the same joke that the gay couple was used for in that one scene in Baby Mama that I didn't find all that funny there either).
Did you know that every day Mexican gays cross our borders and unplug our brain-dead ladies?
Phyllis Rogers Stone
Broadway Legend
joined:9/16/07
The New Normal Pilot.
Posted: 8/30/12 at 03:09pm
I would never expect Ryan Murphy to craft gay characters that weren't repulsive. I don't think he knows how.
broadwayjim42
Broadway Legend
joined:5/19/03
The New Normal Pilot.
Posted: 8/30/12 at 03:47pm
Liked Bartha, the surrogate, her daughter and the few moments of genuine sentiment.

Overall though, I found it obnoxious. Rannell's character is especially bad, all stereotype and no substance and whether he was directed that way, made his own acting choices or the character is unplayable as written, I didn't think he came off well at all.

Making Barkin basically the great-grandma version of Mechagodzilla doesn't help either. No subtlety at all in writing or performance.

Better than "The Mindy Project" though--barely made it through that.
EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
The New Normal Pilot.
Posted: 8/30/12 at 04:32pm
"And I don't know if Ryan Murphy is trying "break new ground" with this show, but he's not doing the gay community any favors with Andrew Rannell's character who is more concerned that his baby be blonde and the birth mother not be fat than having, you know, a healthy baby."

But that's Murphy's thing--I don't think he could get away from it if he could try. Of course he defends it all as being equal opportunity in his humour (and I suppose equally offensive). It's like those whiplash moments, even on Glee, where they want you to laugh at a repulsive character is constantly called out on being jewish, and then a few moments later you're meant to learn a lesson about how we should accept everyone, and teasing can lead to suicide.

I'm all for equal opportunity humour, if that's what he wants to call it, but it's hard to pull off genuinely mean spirited humour in shows (and I assume New Normal is meant to be one) where you're also meant to have a feeling of acceptance and sentiment. Of course his characters change so wildly from episode to episode without any motivation that maybe Rannell's well be butch in episode 2 (actually, I can already imagine a "hysterical" episode where he decides he has to be more butch, and goes through the motions poorly, only to learn the life lesson that everyone should be who they are...).

(Popular, maybe because it was so much a cartoon, worked tone wise way better for me, though Heaven knows what a season 3 would have been like. He also had Gina Matthews, its co-creator who he apparently had a huge falling out with during season 2 of the show, which may have helped. Falchuk has written some of the better Glee and AHS episodes, and I know he doesn't like to do interviews unlike Murphy, but I don't get a sense that he would ever say no to any of Murphy's ideas).

His style doesn't bother me nearly as much when he does gothic/seriousness--even if I get the impression he still thinks he's being deeper than he is, but I enjoyed American Horror Story, and really enjoyed the sleazy fun of maybe the first three seasons of Nip/Tuck (I kinda lost it after the way too long rapist storyline and the lack of the character having a penis--even if before that I was willing to go with the wild changes in character from moment to moment and dropped storylines which are another trademark of his--starting even in season 1 with the son's car accident). Even the actors were pretty vocal about, I believe season 4 (but it could have been 5) of Nip/Tuck being an awful experience because they just had no idea how to play their characters as written from episode to episode anymore, and had all seemed to be wanting off the show by its end. And yet Ryan Murphy continued to discuss Nip/Tuck as being a show like Six Feet Under that was all about examining the truths in life (to paraphrase him--I'm not sure if Alan Ball ever claimed SFU was meant to be doing that).

I really wonder about The Normal Heart. It sounds like he wants to remain true to the script, but then what exactly is he bringing to the table? His film of Running With Scissors, despite a perfect cast, and material (no matter what one thinks of the truth in the original "memoirs") that would seem to be *ideal* for Murphy, was pretty awful. I never saw it, but I guess he managed to keep his auteur tendencies in check when he filmed Eat, Pray, Love.

*end rant*
MrMidwest
Broadway Legend
joined:2/8/05
The New Normal Pilot.
Posted: 8/30/12 at 07:51pm
"And it's not even just that. Like the guy who's into fashion is actually put into the role the woman would be put into in every romantic comedy. He sees a baby and goes crazy. And then "the man" has to remind him that he can't take a baby back to the store and that it's a huge decision. We've seen that it, like, every single comedy about a couple wanting a baby.

And then "the man" gets to be the bio dad and gets to go into the room with the surrogate while the eggs (and his sperm) get put into her. While the other guy just sits out in the waiting room because he's "grossed out by vagina."

He didn't really try to challenge any of those stereotypes at all. It's okay to have one like shopping and the other like sports, but don't actually place them in a "man and woman" role."


ONTD
"The gods who nurse this universe think little of mortals' cares. They sit in crowds on exclusive clouds and laugh at our love affairs. I might have had a real romance if they'd given me a chance. I loved him, but he didn't love me. I wanted him, but he didn't want me. Then the gods had a spree and indulged in another whim. Now he loves me, but I don't love him." - Cole Porter
Phyllis Rogers Stone
Broadway Legend
joined:9/16/07
The New Normal Pilot.
Posted: 8/31/12 at 12:00am
This will run forever.

As awful as the show is, I'm beginning to get more irritated by the comments about how it's ripping off Modern Family. Yes there are two gay men. Yes, they want to be (and I assume they will be) parents. That's about the only similarity I saw. That and California.
EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
The New Normal Pilot.
Posted: 8/31/12 at 12:12am
I guess some might think they both aim for a sorta sentimental family show, but with an edge? But the humour and characterization is vastly different. I'm not a huge Modern Family fan, but it seems to like to have what seem like stereotypes, and then for its humour flip those stereotypes on their head. Whereas Murphy kinda does the opposite--like in the scene on this pilot where he showed how there are no normal families, and then would ge a laugh with some cheap joke (ie a little person talks about how she decided she would risk getting pregnant no matter if her kid would be small or "normal size" and then the punchline is they drive off in her pink toy car... Oooh, edgy AND heartwarming).

I realy am starting to think Murphy believes gay relationships (except when they are ugly lesbians, which he loves, or evil male or female bisexuals) firmly do fit into the "50s ditzy wife/50s manly men" type. You even saw it to an extent with the gay ghosts on American Horror Story.

It may be good that that area in Utah isn't airing this. While I think a TV show's first responsibility, if it even has one, is to entertain--the pilot seemed to illustrate so many reasons why many extreme conservatives believe two men shouldn't have a kid. Two, rich gay guys who seem to have reached a level of familiarity in their lifes, decide to move from dogs to a child even though the man who wants the child doesn't actually want to do anything with looking after him, they go through a questionable service to find a donor quickly, and somehow the father who was undecided has a sudden epiphany that a baby would help fulfill his life while watching eggs get implanted.

(Of course this is a not subtle, comedy, so it's way too easy, and kinda pointless, to complain but... Really? The main woman seems fairly well adjusted and level headed, yet she dated for 9 years that idiot who apparently she constantly served with food, cleaning and sex? And in this same environment+a bitchy grandma who is unable to show love, they somehow raised a near brilliant, not even slightly angsty, young daughter? That may be the cliche I buy the least--I've met people who are less exagerated versions, I hate to admit, of nearly every character--but not with this mother and daughter).

Phyllis Rogers Stone
Broadway Legend
joined:9/16/07
The New Normal Pilot.
Posted: 8/31/12 at 12:30am
God, I'd forgotten all about the gays from American Horror Story. You are so right, though, Eric about the gender roles of these couples. I still think about that time Zac Quinto minced furiously about the other guy getting an "unprotected blowjob" and feel so befuddled.

I know everyone is going to be watching this show, so I have to decide if I'm gonna watch it to see if it gets better/hate-watch or just step away.


EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
The New Normal Pilot.
Posted: 8/31/12 at 12:39am
I admit, I think I have a habit of enjoying hate/watching Murphy's shows--although at this point I turn on Glee and barely pay attention.

ANd right, Quinto's character was also always going around like some housewife modeled after Bree on Desp Housewives--apparently causing his boyfriend to cheat, because he would yell at him too much about getting the exact rare type of apple, or colour of paint. It really seems to be a hangup for Murphy. As I said, it does bug me less in his gothic shows like AHS and N/T where I can sorta see them saying "Hey we're playing with cliches the way horror often has", even if that's not a great excuse, but it bugs me even more on shows where he seems to also think he's teaching some big lesson about human acceptance. (And I had forgotten all about that "unprotected blowjob" line, which really says it all).
wonderfulwizard11
Broadway Legend
joined:7/30/05
The New Normal Pilot.
Posted: 8/31/12 at 12:55am
I have to agree with the general consensus that the show just isn't very funny. There were one or two moments where I chuckled, but it's just not a comedy. I also thought it moved awfully fast for a pilot. I mean, in 22 minutes, the couple has decided to have a baby and has a surrogate. I feel like they could have done a lot with that decision-making process, and they kinda just skipped it.

Off-topic, but I actually really liked The Mindy Project. I'm sure I'm biased because I love Mindy Kaling, but I thought the show had a lot of promise. Certainly more than this show.
I am a firm believer in serendipity- all the random pieces coming together in one wonderful moment, when suddenly you see what their purpose was all along.
Phyllis Rogers Stone
Broadway Legend
joined:9/16/07
The New Normal Pilot.
Posted: 8/31/12 at 01:09am
wiz, I just watched The Mindy Project and I agree.
ljay889
Broadway Legend
joined:8/4/04
The New Normal Pilot.
Posted: 8/31/12 at 03:01am
I was hoping for better, but I'll give it a chance. Bartha is a adorable. Rannell's displays every damn gay stereotype, but that's the fault of the writing. Barkin is funny, as expected. And it's fun to see NeNe in an acting role (I don't watch Glee)... hopefully she'll get more than one liners.
#sadandtransparent

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