The team of Ryan Murphy and Ali Adler sold a sit-com to NBC, to which CTV bought the rights in Canada. The series debuts in September. The social media savvy producers put the pilot on iTunes as a free download this week. I’m not one to ignore instant gratification, so I took advantage and previewed the brilliant pilot.
The premise is simple. A fertile single mum seeking a new start for her precocious tween daughter agrees to be a surrogate for a gay couple who want to become parents. One half of the couple is the boss of an abrasive NeNe Leakes. Ellen Barkin plays the single mum’s nana, a bigoted, real estate selling, Archiebella Bunker. The six core characters will navigate the gestation period, birth, and growing pains during the first season.
Nana hasn’t found a cause, group or belief that she doesn’t hate with candor. Barkin is fearless, delivering the lines staccato. Keep up, she isn’t taking prisoners. Only the best actresses can play The Bitch, while giving us glimpses of her vulnerability and humanity. And Barkin is the best! Her nana may be the finest new original female character on television this fall.
The New Normal is not a one-note sitcom. It is an ensemble piece with strong performances from everyone. Every comedy needs a straight man – this one has two, played by Justin Bartha and Andrew Rannells. The pair will inevitably be compared to Modern Family’s Mitchell and Cameron. Based on their pilot performance, this gay couple is less fabulous and more boy-next-door.
My one nit to pick is that the tween was on Facebook. The social network’s safety policy is designed for youngsters 13 and older. Under 13s should not be encouraged to be on it. Even in a fictional sit-com.
Don’t wait for the premier, download from iTunes. Why put off funny and fresh when you can have it today?