Created by Nip/Tuck and Glee mastermind Ryan Murphy, in collaboration with Still Standing and Family Guy writer Ali Adler, The New Normal is a modern sitcom that doesn't depend on a laugh track to accompany the jokes, because its viewers are doing all the laughing out loud themselves.
Here's the setup: David and Bryan (played by Justin Bartha and Andrew Rannells) are a gay couple trying to become parents through surrogacy. Goldie (played by Georgia King) is a single mother who has just discovered her husband has cheated on her. So, she does what anyone would do in the same situation. She steals her nana's (played by Ellen Barkin) car and leaves Ohio for Los Angeles with her daughter, Shania (played by Bebe Wood). It isn't long before Goldie is selected by David and Bryan to be their surrogate — but not if her "nana from hell" has anything to say about.
I have nothing but praise for nana-from-hell Ellen Barkin. Racism and homophobia has never been so funny. Her comic timing is seamless. In fact, the whole cast blends well together, with each individual actor also standing on their own, even Real Housewives of Atlanta star NeNe Leakes, who plays Bryan's assistant, Rocky.
With a touching premise, fast pace and wit, The New Normal has the potential to be one of the most beloved (and important) major network sitcoms since Will & Grace.
Here are my favourite lines from the pilot:
"Nana, you're a bigot. I'm unfriending you."
-Shania, looking up from her phone after her great-grandmother calls two lesbians with a baby "ass-campers" and "ugly men."
"I thought your mother was a fibroid tumour. By the time I found out, she had a face, and I was screwed."
-Nana, on how she should've had an abortion.
"Honey, we need to talk about your diet."
-David to Bryan, when Bryan shows him a baby outfit he bought.
"I woud like a skinny blonde child who doesn't cry. Is that extra?"
-Bryan, when telling the surrogacy agency what kind of child he wants.
“I had to ride the bus today. The bus. I was sitting next to a man with no arms. He was drinking a thermos of mushroom soup with these little stublets coming out of his shoulder. It was like watching Flipper try to drink a beer.”
-Nana, on . . . riding the bus.
"Just let me know if you're pregnant. I'd like to send a congratulations card to Satan."
-Nana, in the preview for next week's episode, which I'm all over.
The New Normal airs on NBC Tuesdays at 9:30/8:30 central.