Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Gays Want All Your Babies

Andrew Rennells and Justin Bartha play dads-to-be in new comedy series The New Normal (2012) on NBC
 I was watching the aptly named The New Normal (2012 - ) on Hulu because I had woken up an hour and a half before I have to start getting ready for work (for the love of god why) and I was actually pleasantly surprised. Like most new comedy series, it has some big names (Ellen Barkin, Justin Bartha) and then a bunch of nobodies, building their career with television (Andrew Rannells, Georgia King). It concerns a gay couple who stumble upon a preggers lady who's kind of a quirky ditz because being at all like Zooey Deschanel is a fucking velvet goldmine these days, and decide they want the baby inside of her because they are desperately ready to be daddies...well, mommies who don't breastfeed. Hilarity ensues. Turns out the oven their using to cook their bun has got a conservative grandmother (oh snap!) who is not going to let a couple of Oscar Wilde reading, sweater-vest wearing, marathon knit-club presidents make her grandchild carrying their baby vote for Obama. When usually this is a tired comic ploy, the writers actually made it work pretty brilliantly when Jane (Ellen Barkin) accuses Bryan and David (Justin Barha and Andrew Rannells) that they don't even have any Afro-American friends, so to prove that they aren't hypocrites they have basically what can be referred to as Look-at-How-Many-African-American-Friends-We-Have party. They implore the only African-American person they know, one of their co-workers, to show up and bring her friends. She is played shockingly well by, wait for it...Nene Leaks of Real Housewives of Atlanta fame. If you're having trouble placing her, just think of some of the following catchphrases; 'I'm rich, bitch' and 'close ya legs to married men'. Got it now? But when she shows up at the party and all of her 'friends' are a bunch of white skinny bitches who probably had 'ambien sex with Tiger Woods', it creates quite an awkward situation.
film veteran Ellen Barkin and reality star Nene Leaks make surprisingly awesome additions to the cast.
This is catching unto the idea of gay couples becoming domesticated on television since Modern Family (2009 - ) began the trend a few years ago. While in th 90's it was taboo to even show a gay couple together on primetime, now television execs are taking it a step further and finally bringing us gay parents, albeit it seems like they are always male gay parents. I suppose it's assumed that gay males are naturally very maternal because of the stereotype that they're effeminate, but does that mean that if there was a show about lesbians raising a baby, there would be scenes of the child being strapped to the front of a motorcycle and trying on leather pants at the Baby Hot Topic?
Justin Bartha and Andrew Rannells do play characters somewhat similar to Mitch and Cam (Eric Stonestreet and Jesse Tyler-Ferguson) in that one is uptight and obsessive-compulsive, while the other is highly effeminate and sensitive, but the light somewhat sarcastic humor makes it work, even though they are constantly feeding into gay stereotypes like obsessions with gift-wrapping and frequent trips to the Farmer's Market.

Mitch (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) and Cam (Eric Stonestreet) are the prototypes who paved the way for domesticated gay couples on television with Modern Family.
This is just one in the growing trend of domesticated same-sex situation comedies. Another one along somewhat similar lines is Partners (2012) with David Krumholz and Michael Urie that premiered yesterday but is not quite as interesting. If you think about it, any show that follows this trend has something regarding this in the title MODERN Family, The NEW Normal, I guarantee the next one is going to have the phrase 'now-a-days' in it. It's a niche in TV that is working very well these days, and just like Will & Grace (1998 - 2006) had done almost 15 years ago, shows like The New Normal are helping tear down the remaining few taboos about the gay community, and doing it tastefully, sweetly, and comically. It's a good thing. 

Below, a promo. 

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