Direct from the pages of our brand new, just released, first annual, Fall TV Preview eBook appropriately titled “Thank Goodness It’s Fall” comes a closer look at NBC’s new Ryan Murphy project, THE NEW NORMAL.

Premieres: Tuesday September 11 at 9:30 p.m. on NBC (CTV in Canada).
In A Nutshell: Two gay men looking to have a baby turn to a young woman looking to escape her life and willing to be their surrogate. Wacky chaos ensues.
Names You’ll Know: Andrew Rannells (GIRLS) and Justin Bartha (The Hangover) are the dads, Ellen Barkin (Ocean’s Thirteen) has the thankless job of being the shrill voice of right-wing America and NeNe Leakes (THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ATLANTA) is the sassy black woman. But perhaps the most familiar name is that of creator/executive producer Ryan Murphy (GLEE, AMERICAN HORROR STORY, NIP/TUCK).
What They Say: Wanna hear someone try and sell a controversial show while at the exact same time playing down the controversial elements? Here’s NBC’s president of entertainment, Jennifer Salke, discussing THE NEW NORMAL: “It’s by no means centered on just the gay couple in the middle of it. And the title isn’t meant to push the idea that that’s a more normal family than everyone else. It’s just meant to… bring a family show to the public that we feel captures the zeitgeist of what’s going on in the country right now and being inclusive.” As for Barkin’s character, whose bigotry would make Rush Limbaugh cringe? “You do get some irreverent comedy from [her]… she is exploring an extreme side of the audience that may have different attitudes about family.”
What Others Say: Daniel Fienberg of Hitfix.com wrote that the pilot “packs an impressive amount of whiplash into 22 minutes, and I was laughing and really annoyed in equal measures.”
What We Say: Like every other Murphy project, this one tries too hard — to be sweet, to be offensive, to be whimsical, to be sentimental — and, as usual, it is wildly hit and miss. How much you like or loathe this series will no doubt depend almost entirely on how you feel about Murphy’s other shows. More than perhaps any other currently-working writer/producer, his programs — no matter the genre they reside in — carry his distinctive mark. Similar characters pop up time and again. Barkin’s Nana is an extreme version of GLEE’s Sue or AMERICAN HORROR STORY’s Marcy (the realtor played by Christine Estabrook) or POPULAR’s Mary Cherry. What has yet to be established is how the NBC audience will react to Murphy’s particular brand.

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