Fall TV Preview

The New Normal: Will You Join This Family?

The New Normal NBCNBC’s The New Normal officially debuted Monday night and instantly made its mission clear: to prove that something some might see as “abnormal” is actually — wait for it — “the new normal.” And now that you’ve had a chance to process the surprise greatness of Real Housewife NeNe Leakes‘ comedic timing, we want to know if you’ll be adopting the series as your own this season.

A brief refresher: From Glee/American Horror Story mastermind Ryan Murphy and former Chuck EP Ali Adler, the Peacock Network’s latest comedy offering centers on Goldie (played by Georgia King), a young, single mom who hits the road in search of a new life with her wise-beyond-her-years daughter. Once partially settled in on the West Coast, the bubbly blonde agrees to become a surrogate mother for a same-sex couple (Andrew Rannells and Justin Bartha) — though not without much objection from her bigot of a grandma (Ellen Barkin). (The series returns Tuesday night with another episode in its regular time slot at 9:30/8:30c.)

RELATED | Go On: Did Matthew Perry Give Good Grief?

Now it’s your turn, TVLiners: Hit the poll below to let us know what grade you give The New Normal, then back up your pick in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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    • dude says:

      THIS! All that needs to be said. Great new show although I don’t know if I’m going to buy Goldie staying in the child’s life once it’s born to help raise it (which is the obvious workaround to keeping her on the show once the child is had). I think it’s dangerous keeping a surrogate in that proximity to the child they carried for 9 months.

  1. Alex says:

    Another stinker. No laughs at all.

  2. Sara says:

    I watched a little more than half of it and changed it. I wasn’t offended just not entertained. For me, there are better shows to fill my time. I may try one more but doubt it.

  3. Really wasn’t expecting to like it but I did! I just set the seasno pass on my DVR

  4. StupidPeopleShutUp says:

    Postively grating and abrasive. Has no dynamics, just like every show these guys create. A great cast, wasted.

    • Elf says:

      Completely agree. I feel like Ryan Murphy’s MO is to cast a diverse group into potentially controversial situations- for the (bad) jokes. Look, Ellin Barkin can make horribly offensive and stale jokes because obviously we’re not homophobic or racist. We love the gays, they’re the main characters

      Just because you have a gay couple featured on the show doesn’t mean you can call them “salami smokers.” It’s still offensive. That particular joke is like on Seinfeld when Tim Watley converted to Judaism just for the jokes. It doesn’t offend me as a homosexual, it offends me as a comedian.

  5. Joseph says:

    I enjoyed it very much. I don’t know how this is would be considered offensive. I’ve seen far more offensive stuff on the regular reality shows than this is. So if this is controversial I can’t imagine how far the show would have to go for me to find it offensive. There is real quality in this show -and I’m hoping people will give it a chance.

    • dude says:

      It’s offensive to bigots because they don’t like gay couples presented as loving human beings. They like to think of them as disgusting perverts.

      • Ann says:

        The show is offensive because it thinks that anyone who doesn’t agree with them is a “bigot.” When in fact, people like Ryan Murphy are the bigots because of their superiority complex. This show is too political. It makes the show about being gay first and foremost as their identifying character…everything else is secondary. Truly awful! Take a show like Modern Family, which has the same concept of a gay couple adopting a child and raising their child as a normal family. That show is less in-your-face than the New Normal. The writers of Modern Family made it about a family first and foremost, one of which just happens to be a gay couple…

        • KSM says:

          The main characters are gay. It is a story about a gay couple trying to have a kid in a society that makes it hard form them to do so. I don’t know how you think that is political… what do you want them to do, make them less gay? This is exactly what gay couples face every day in real life. In Modern Family, it is more of an ensemble show, so obviously they are going to focus less on each of the characters. I don’t know, I didn’t see it as political at all, just a true depiction of what people I know often face.

          • Elf says:

            I mean, they did say “Are you now or have you ever been a secret operative of the Republican Party?”

            I actually found that joke to be one of the funnier ones, but to say it isn’t political is inaccurate. I think the point is it just doesn’t need to be this in your face. They have strong characters in a loving family. We don’t need Barkin constantly reminding us that some people won’t like them just because of their sexual orientation. We get it. Just show the family and make those people love them anyway.

        • Strepsi says:

          Not to be Captain Obvious, but anyone who does not think gay people should be allowed to be legal parents IS a bigot. And considering many States pass laws limiting our parenting civil rights — and 30 out of 50 States have made our marrying illegal — I am glad Murphy has the clout right now to call a bigot a bigot.

    • MM says:

      It’s offensive when the humor on a pro-gay show has to come from someone slurring and belittling gays. It’s like sue sylvester again. Ugh

  6. Jared says:

    Loved! Thought it was so smart and funny!

  7. rebecca says:

    I thought it was wicked funny

  8. murley says:

    my husband and i really enjoyed it. i came into it looking forward to the show and he came into having no clue whatsoever and just wanting to watch t.v. with me. he actually commented first “wow, this show is really good!” it has a ton of potential and moved past the awkward pacing issues of pilots pretty quickly. plus ellen barkin was hilarious and the whole thing was surprisingly touching and emotional.

  9. David says:

    Exceptionally funny! Ellen Barkin is the Archie Bunker of the 21st century. And NeNe Leakes is very funny. I hope it’s a hit.

    • Adam says:

      I wouldn’t compare Ellen Barkin’s character to Archie Bunker. Archie had deeply rooted bigotry, but he had more endearing aspects to make him lovable. Furthermore, the humor of his bigotry came from his ineptitude to understand whereas Barkin’s character is meant to be funny through offensive zingers.

  10. CJ says:

    I liked it enough to see how the first few episodes shake out. I enjoyed it more than I expected to and I’m looking forward to another episode tomorrow.

  11. Tom Charles says:

    I’d like it a lot better if this NeNe Leakes woman was not on it., To me, she’s not funny, she’s just loud and obnoxious.

    • rowan77 says:

      Thank you! She plays every scene, delivers every line the exact same way. Her character on this show is no differently played than her character on Glee. She’s a one trick pony and after a while she just grates on me. The rest of the cast is fantastic. Barkin is genius and Andrew Rannells is really great. But some of the scenes in the pilot sounded like they were writing for Glee. I definitely got Rachel’s “voice” in some of Goldie’s lines and Fin’s in Justin Bartha’s. With a hyper-real show like this, they need to be sure they have a real separation between how The New Normal and Glee sound and look.

      • Tiff says:

        THIS. I found NeNe Leakes annoying. I think Barkin did a great job, but I’m not in love with her character. Basically, I felt that if we had taken out all of the “you’re a bigot” joke with Barkin, and taken out Leakes altogether, I would have enjoyed the show more. Also, it totally felt like Glee for Adults Who Want A Surrogate Mother/Baby.

        That said, I LOVED Georgia King and I thought the daughter was brilliant. Rannells and Bartha were very watchable. I just want Ryan Murphy and Co. to stop preaching and make this just about the two families together.

    • Sheila says:

      Agreed! She’s the same annoying character from Glee without the stopwatch!

  12. Adam says:

    I normally like Ryan Murphy shows – especially his pilots – but I think that this particular pilot was dragged down by heavy exposition and repeated promotion and statement of the theme (as positive as it may be). I also felt that the dialogue given to Ellen Barkin’s character was too over the top for her to be a believable character – she is just an embodiment of intolerance, not a person or character. I think the series will improve the further it strays from making a point and the more it focuses on being a comedy.

    • Marco says:


      The pilot showed promise, but it came off as waaaaay too preachy.

    • Tiff says:

      I think it shouldn’t be focused on being a comedy, it should focus on making the characters real characters – not just caricatures. I felt they were mostly successful with this on Goldie, the daughter, and the two guys. Not so much with NeNe Leakes and Ellen Barkin.

      The problem is the Ryan Murphy feels he needs to hammer a theme down your throat instead of making characters believable and having story flow naturally from that. If he works towards believability and authenticity, he’ll have a great show.

  13. lariet50 says:

    I don’t care for Ryan Murphy or Ellen Barkin in general, but I decided to check this out anyway. I have to say that there were moments of greatness – the kid is hilarious – and moments of sheer nonsense. If they keep up like this for long, the show will lose all its scenery to the chewing of Barkin and NeNe Leakes. Plus, I didn’t appreciate the snotty reference to bigots being from the South. Yeah, we all hate gays down here. This show was so full of stereotypes – including one half of the gay couple. Can we for once have a main gay character on a TV show who doesn’t act like Kurt from “Glee”?

    • dude says:

      It’s a stereotype. Sometimes stereotypes are used in comedy for a laugh. Even the most respected shows have done it. Ellen Barkin also said that all asians are good with computers.

    • Car says:

      If you’re looking for a show with a gay character that doesn’t match the stereotype you listed above, you should check out Happy Endings on ABC.

      • dsm says:

        Exactly – Max is one of the few gay characers on TV that is just like any other normal human being (he just happens to sleep with me)!

    • Marco says:

      The character is called bRyan and is the showrunner of a teen musical show. It’s basically a self-insert, and apparently that’s how Ryan sees himself.

    • KSM says:

      Um, the Justin Bartha character didn’t act like Kurt from Glee. So, there you go.

  14. Leo says:

    Justin and Andre have an amzing chemestry. Will watch this for sure. :D

  15. blaster freak says:

    I was embarrassed to be gay the entire time I watched this.

    • Sam says:

      Exactly. Naturally this is the man we’ve ordained to represent us. Way to go, gay community. We’ve effed up yet again.

    • Amit says:

      THANK YOU. This! So much this.

      I’m sorry, but no, I will not be tuning in for more. I love Justin Bartha – I think he’s incredibly handsome, and with the right script, he a good actor. But good scripts simply do not come from Ryan Murphy when he tries to go for the comedy route. The fact of the matter is that Ryan Murphy’s a one-trick pony (or a one way monkey as Dmitry on Project Runway would put it) who only recreates the same characters and puts them in a different setting. Andrew Rannells’ character is essentially Glee’s Kurt all grown up. Ellen Barkin’s character is simply a new take on Ms. Glass from Popular and Sue Sylvester from Glee. Nene Leakes’ character is ever sassy Murphy character all rolled into one. There’s nothing new, fresh, or compelling here, I’m sorry.

    • TKD says:

      Couldn’t agree with you more. As a gay male I thought i’d give it a chance. It was unwatchable, after 5 minutes I got angry and had to change it. #FAIL

  16. Ron Shoust says:

    More gay characters right out of La Cage…….come on, not all gay men are screaming queens!! Boring !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. Chuck Finley (AJ) says:

    I didn’t care for it. If you are going to have a gay couple why does one always need to be very feminine and one very masculine? I didn’t find it funny really and using a id to call grown adults bigots for their views is shameless.

  18. Jeff says:

    Re-watched the pilot tonight…still didn’t laugh. I’ll give the 2nd episode a shot…but if that’s not a vast improvement I probably won’t tune in again. Sadly I thought NeNe was the best part of the show. I couldn’t stand Andrew Rannells or Ellen Barkin. Rannells was over the top in a not good way…also why did it look like he was about the cry the whole show? Barkin was to abrasive to make the in your face bigotry the least bit funny. Jane Lynch does mean a lot better.

  19. JohnnySueded says:

    This was absolutely horrible. I give 10 episodes at most.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Where is everyone’s sense of humor. Brilliant and ultra sophisticated writing and you haters just don’t get it. IT IS THE NEW NORMAL and if you don’t understand, you are narrow minded and quite prejudiced. BRAVO for it andcI hope it runs for several seasons. PS. I am straight if that makes any difference.

      • Eli says:

        sophisticated writing… really? Look, everyone can have their own taste for what they like, but do you even know what sophisticated means? There’s nothing sophisticated about Ryan Murphy’s writing here.

      • Marco says:

        Sophisticated?? Try preachy. I agree with the point but jeez, patronizing much?

      • Chuck Finley (AJ) says:

        Someone is a big fan of indoctrination. Do you talk to kids like that? Jesus people that think like you are a fungus on this country. You also need to purchase a dictionary and look up sophisticated because you obviously have no idea what that word means.

      • dickawesome says:

        Sophisticated? I’m unsure about that claim.

        I DO think the show is funny, though. Nene has great comedic timing and IMHO, zingers thrown with extreme bigotry was great for a laugh.

        Will this show reach the likes of other modern comedies? At this point it really can’t compare to the likes of Community, Parks & Rec, Happy Endings, Modern Family etc. but it could turn into that. It took me a whole season to recognize Community’s charm and now I think it’s the best comedy out there.

        There are much worse ways to spend twenty minutes!

        Oh and I’m gay if that makes a difference (it doesn’t.)

  20. Cathy says:

    I saw it online already. For me, it’s the little girl; she steals the show.

  21. Eli says:

    D for Disappointing.

    This show IS exactly like Glee, the SECOND season that is, except without the musical numbers and with less likable characters. Ellen Barkin basically plays another Sue Sylvester, only weaker. It’s the same over-the-top gay/different propaganda (I don’t mind the gay/different part, I do mind the propaganda part) as Glee but without all the redeeming factors Glee has and frankly that mostly just makes it very boring and unfunny.

    Any positives? Well, the little girl had the only funny lines in the entire episode imo and Justin Bartha is tolerable in anything, but that’s really about it.

    Also, Andrew Rannells’ character is offensive to me in just about everything except him being gay.

  22. Claire says:

    This show is so heavy-handed, it gets bogged down in its own self-importance. it is neither wise nor funny, and that’s too bad, because the message they are trying too hard to send is necessary.

  23. Britta Unfiltered says:

    Wish I could rate it, but I have the luck of living in Utah. I haven’t even seen ads for it, I had no idea it was premiering tonight. I was checking out the TVLine fall calendar and it showed it as airing on Tuesday nights after Go On? I thought that must be its normal airtime because here in Utah on KSL after Go On, apparently a show is airing that’s called My Family Recipe Rocks! Insultingly wholesome. And a terrible lead-in for Parenthood, a show which could use a good lead-in. It doesn’t really help Go On either.

  24. asd25 says:

    It wasn’t bad but lately I am having trouble identifying what being a comedy means. This made me smile at times, some lines were witty but is this supposed to make laugh? The girl seems to be the character with the greatest timing and expressions. I know NeNe Leaks only from Glee and it seemed precisely the same character with the plus that she buys stuff using her boss’ credit card. The Nana character is lost on me. I think she’s supposed to be the equivalent of a Maggie Smith in our times but I just don’t see it.
    It wasn’t bad but I was expecting a lot more and I hoped to find some LOL moments. Go on seemed a lot funnier even though the subject is not gleeful at all.

  25. John Berggren says:

    Nene was awesome.

  26. Barbie says:

    I guess I’m watching a different show than everyone else here, cause I loved it. Rannells and Bartha make a great pair. I hope this show goes far.

  27. Jared says:

    Loved the pilot and NeNe and Ellen Barkin were so funny. I’ll definitely be joining this family every Tuesday!

  28. Gil says:

    I’ll give it another chance tonight….but I am not totally sold on it. We’ll see…

  29. shelly says:

    I thought this was just ok. I was mostly bored and actually fell asleep so needed to rewind and re-watch the last 10 minutes. I feel like this was a case of a concept being good on paper, but not entirely succeeding in execution. The biggest issue for me is that I didn’t find it funny at all. Sweet at times, but it just didn’t make me laugh. I’ll give it a couple of episodes to see what happens, but I think this may be like Up All Night for me in that it has the potential to be way funnier than it is, but never quite gets there.

  30. Hgmer says:

    So they want a baby as a fashion accessory? Why has no one addressed that? I couldn’t watch after 15 minutes. Won’t bother watching again.

  31. Manda Kay says:

    New Normal? This show perpetuates gay stereotypes and bullies all other races, orientations, belief, etc. It’s actually just more od the same stupid crap. No thanks.

  32. Kelly says:

    I liked it, but am I the only one that found it strange the way Goldie drove away with her child and left the father as if it were no big deal? I assumed that the father was out of the picture and the guy she left was just a boyfriend until she made the comment about her soon to be ex husband. Not that she shouldn’t have left the jerk, but if he really is the father, it seemed weird the way they did it. I was confused!

  33. Ashley says:

    The racial and sexually biased comments grandma made really offended me. I get that her role on the show is to be a bigot but the whole bathroom thing and the statement about slavery was a bit much to me. Let’s face it, it’s pretty difficult to make bigotry funny. Some things just aren’t funny. The men on the show are super stereotypical which I also found offensive. After the first six minutes Ellen Barkin’s character gave me the go ahead to turn the channel. It’s definitely cool to see a spotlight on the generational transition into different types of family structure but this show takes it way too far mainly because of the offensive sexual and racial context. Won’t be watching this. Pretty disappointed.

  34. Ashley says:

    While the pilot wasn’t instant greatness, it showed enough potential that I watched it a second time and I thought it improved on the second watching. LOVED the second episode!!

  35. k-man says:

    The ‘New Normal’ was surprisingly dull. It seemed like I was watching a PC after school special. They need to push the main boring plotline to the background, focus on self-contained-episodes, and explore the characters in more out of character situations. They need to allow all the characters to make big mistakes and show their faults. The writers need to loosen up and focus on the humor. I try not to be hard on the pilot episodes since it’s hard to introduce all the characters, show the premise of the show and have an intersting enough episide in 22 minutes. However; the daugter in the second episode was just acting weird which they could have easily made funny-weird or cute-weird instead of uncomfortably weird. They also have to allow the mom to have her quirks. Just focus on writing a funny entertaining episodes instead of delivering a message of “Let’s all be inclusive of everyone!” since the boycotters aren’t watching the show anyways, and won’t hear it.
    I’m not a big fan of Ryan Murphy. Hopefully the writers will avoid emulating Glee’s horrible writing style of spiraling into an absolute mess, since they already have the token Sue Sylvester.

  36. Brian says:

    The show is way too political. We get it, if you’re a Republican, you’re evil- if you’re a Democrat, you’re good. Just way too many political references for my taste. It fret like Obama propaganda. (and I’m not some far right conservative..just calling it like I see it)

  37. kim LEE says:

    to boring for me i tur the channel