Coming up in the back half of the first season of The New Normal, the show is out to tell stories about breast-feeding and "how that's pretty hard for two men to accomplish," as well as what a "new normal" family looks like, not just for two male parents raising a new baby but also two parents who are not living in the same home (Georgia and Clay). It is also turning the lens on society's perception, namely with a special episode tackling "preconceived notions about how someone 'looks' or 'acts' gay."
"We pull from what's happening in society and culture and gay or not gay, we're just hoping to tell interesting stories that people will relate to...Sometimes the issues that we hit are just life's issues that we decide to put inside a story," The New Normal executive producer Ali Adler said when LA TV Insider Examiner visited the Los Angeles set last week.
"'Gaydar" is about that gaydar doesn't work anymore. Whatever we set it to in the '90s or the '80s or whenever, it's just not working anymore in this millenium. We can go 'He's a florist, he's gay!' Well, those notions are ultimately going to hang us, and that's what we explore with John [Stamos], and Mark Consuelos, as well."
Consuelos comes in for a guest spot on The New Normal as a potential love interest for Rocky (NeNe Leakes), who Shania (BeBe Wood) thinks is gay. Stamos, on the other hand, plays an equally "ambiguous dude" (according to the actor himself) who mixes things up with Nana Jane (Ellen Barkin).
"My second day I got to kiss Ellen Barkin, and I thought I'd surprise her...so I kiss her, and I jam my tongue down her throat, and she didn't even flinch," Stamos laughed on-set.
"We just wanted to tell stories that are making people feel, whether they are making them laugh or cry. I just think our cast and crew and everyone that's been involved in this production are so amazing, we're just finding people's strengths and playing to them," Adler said, noting that the show would soon show off yet another killer impression by Wood and a whole new side of Jane.
"Jane is a work in progress. She's struggling with letting go of her past, her old hairstyle, her old home," Adler said, though noting that just because Jane might be changing her outsides doesn't mean she will bite her tongue from the zippy judgments.
"She's still who she is, and that's a slower process that we're exploring."
And Barkin elaborated on that point: "I think she's just kind of slowly being affected by her environment and by the very positive nature of her environment-- not only the strangers around her but also her own family. She's seeing what's happening with her granddaughter and how she's blossoming. That is happening because of those two men and what that means to her and what's happening to her great-granddaughter and how she's gaining her strength. Little but little she's just dipping her feet. 'What happens if I do it? What happens if I get one of those cool haircuts that Rocky has?' I think she's on that tipping point of she wants to be apart of it, but she's afraid-- she's afraid of everything."
Adler is not holding back in this first season of The New Normal. The twenty-two episodes she has been given are being stuffed full of conflicting emotions and a whole lot of pregnancy plots to get to the point where season two would show the world with a baby ("There is a due date! It's a show with a baby!" Adler said). But it's nice to see that in addition to the typical baby shower, Lamaze class, nursery preparation moments, there is time being taken to explore and evolve the characters around the expectant mother. As Adler pointed out, Bryan (Andrew Rannells) and David (Justin Bartha) are an engaged couple, and the show hopes to revisit that, too.
The New Normal airs on Tuesday nights at 9:30 p.m. on NBC. "Gaydar" airs on January 22nd 2013.
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