Saturday, October 13, 2012
The New Abysmal
Ryan Murphy's The New Normal is a sitcom that has a prefabricated and self-congratulatory smarm all its own. It feels so plastic that you want to throw it into the recycle bin in hopes it gets turned into something quiet and useful, like maybe a beach ball or an umbrella. When it goes caustic and mean, in the guise of Ellen Barkin's caricature of a conservative Ohio grandma, it comes off as gay self-hatred championing openmindedness, and when it goes all sweet and kind it feels like a horrible cartoon of actual feeling. Everybody in it is so amped up that there's no human left -- just these off-kilter stereotypes chiming in, like Murphy's Glee without one speck of glee, added to a propensity to be offensive just for shits and giggles. The two gay guys are having a baby with a blond, dewy-eyed surrogate straight out of central casting who has a daughter who I think was cloned from the twee little girl twerp in Little Miss Sunshine.
The three or so episodes I've seen play out like parodies of some other show about two gay guys having a baby with a blond surrogate that's not that good but at least might be trying harder to get at something beyond the homosexual/heterosexual divide. The New Normal has a distinct Romney era feel, as if Murphy and his creative team are prematurely welcoming in a new kind of zeitgeist in which gay people and straight people live separate lives and only come together for baby-making and bitching at each other.
God help us. What's the word? Forward. This thing is backwards to the extreme.