This fall, NBC will premiere The New Normal, a sitcom about two gay men who decide to become parents with the help of a surrogate. There’s only a little information about the show available yet, but here are the pros, cons, and concerns, as I see them now. Add your own in the comments, and watch the trailer after the jump.
- It’s the first fiction series on television to focus on gay parents. ABC’s Modern Family includes two gay dads, but they form only one storyline among those of an ensemble cast.
- With Glee’s Ryan Murphy, Dante Di Loreto, and Allison Adler (a lesbian mom!) at the helm, the show has a good chance of being one of the most gay-positive shows on television.
- It’s good to see gay families on TV who have created their families in different ways. The New Normal shows a couple who used a surrogate; Modern Family shows two gay dads who adopted internationally. (The New Normal contrasts itself somewhat snarkily with ABC’s Modern Family by using the tag line, “The Post-Modern Family,” but I assume that’s just a jab at a competitor, and not any real assertion that surrogate-created families are better than adoptive ones.)
- It looks like the surrogate will be an ongoing part of the men’s and their child’s lives, one of the first times we’ve seen a donor or birth parent involved in a continuing way with a same-sex couple from the start. (On Glee, character Rachel Berry reconnected with her birth mother only later in life.) That’s a reality for many families today, and good to see.
- The surrogate already has an eight-year-old daughter, a nice twist, and another way they can explore the many branches and relationships in today’s families.
Cons and concerns:
- Do we really need another show featuring an upper-middle class, white, same-sex couple (Modern Family; The Kids Are All Right; The L Word)? Data shows that Black and Latin@ same-sex couples are twice as likely as white ones to be raising children, and more likely to be struggling economically. No, television doesn’t always have to reflect reality (in fact, I think there’s too much reality TV), but there’s also something to be said for variety, especially if it highlights a social truth.
- Based on the trailer, the surrogate is from a lower socioeconomic class than the men. The writers had better be sensitive to issues of class and how it plays into women’s reproductive choices, as well as to issues of sexual orientation.
- If the writers use the same “out-diversifying in order to get into prestigious nursery school” plotline used by The L Word and Modern Family, I will have conniptions.
- I’m guessing actors from Glee are likely to guest star. (NeNe Leakes (Glee’s Coach Roz Washington) will be a The New Normal regular, as an assistant to one of the dads.) I’ll put in a request for Dot Jones (Coach Beiste), perhaps as a quirky babysitter. (On television, is there any other kind?)
- Can a sitcom about lesbian moms be far behind (even on another network)? What plotlines and/or actors would you want to see in such a show? (I’m thinking real-life lesbian mom Wanda Sykes, among others, would be awesome.)