Friday, August 29, 2014
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The New Normal is old-fashioned

A postmodern traditional sitcom

The New Normal is old-fashioned

So what if I can watch The New Normal's gay cuties cuddle on my smartphone?

NBC's new sitcom about a postmodern family is so resolutely old-fashioned, it could be on a DuMont station -- if that '50s network had broadcast from, say, Provincetown.

Couples making babies have made TV comedies click since I Love Lucy. And if Monday's New Normal preview is an accurate glimpse of what's to come, the fact that both halves of the central duo are male seems almost incidental.

Few things are more traditional than pairing handsome (Justin Bartha) with zany (an excellent Andrew Rannells).

Also standard: The overbearing mother-in-law (Ellen Barkin!), the overly cute kid (Bebe Wood), and, alas, the over-the-top Sassy Black Woman (NeNe Leakes, who's pretty fabulous anyway).

And the show's sole non-traditional character -- the surrogate mother -- is played by Georgia King, who so resembles Amy Pohler she seems familiar, too.

Details, details. Viewers like me, who remember the bad old closeted days of TV gays (Paul Lynde, RIP) can surely welcome The New Normal,  even if it has as much to do with the reality of our lives as a reality show.

"There's not usually a lot of time to work out subtleties in a pilot episode," notes Steven Capsuto, author of a book about the history of homosexuality on TV called Alternate Channels.

In other words, stay tuned.

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