Gay TV show “New Normal” gives Republicans a voice

Reuters | by JIll Serjeant | 09/26/12

Creator Ryan Murphy speaks at a panel for ”The New Normal” during the NBC television network portion of the Television Critics Association Summer press tour in Beverly Hills, California in this July 24, 2012 file photo.
Credit: Reuters/Mario Anzuoni/Files

(Reuters) – Gay TV comedy “The New Normal” takes a surprising political turn on Tuesday with an episode touching on hot button election issues – from all points of view.

The NBC show about the efforts of two gay men to have a baby through a surrogate, takes on racism, health care, abortion, religion, same sex marriage and the Republican and Democratic contenders for the White House in the episode called “Obama Mama”.

Creator Ryan Murphy, one of Hollywood’s prominent supporters of President Barack Obama, said he wanted to give as many points of view as possible through the show’s different characters.

“I thought it would be interesting to do an episode that is not what you would expect us to do,” Murphy told reporters in a conference call on Tuesday.

“You have two clearly gay liberal guys at the heart of the show. But we all thought it would be great to do an episode where we presented Ellen Barkin’s character’s point of view, the conservative point of view, the Republican point of view, in a way that hopefully was as eloquent,” Murphy added.

“The New Normal” is based on Murphy’s own life as a gay TV producer and writer who is exploring surrogacy with his partner. NBC’s Salt Lake City affiliate, owned by a subsidiary of the Mormon Church, in August said it would not broadcast the show as it felt “inappropriate on several dimensions, especially during family viewing time”.

Tuesday’s “Obama Mama” plot revolves around an upcoming school mock election debate that sees couple Bryan (Andrew Rannells) and David (Justin Bartha) at loggerheads with their hard-core Republican future mother-in-law Jane, played by Barkin.

In a stand-off with Jane over Obama, and a failed bid to prove they have plenty of black friends, Bryan and David are forced to admit that in some ways they are “phony liberal frauds” who “talk the talk but don’t always walk the walk”.

Murphy said he was “very proud of the episode” to be aired on Tuesday night on NBC, adding that he was inspired by 1970s TV comedy “All in the Family” and the heated debates between its characters on social and political issues.

NBC, Murphy said, gave the episode the network’s full support.

“I have never been part of or written something that was so politicized so I was anticipating a little bit more push and pull because it is an election year, but they were very supportive,” he said.

Murphy, who also created edgy high school musical comedy “Glee,” and “American Horror Story”, said “The New Normal” is very close to his heart.

But he added, “One of the fun things about this show is the ability I have to send myself up. I like to make fun of myself and to skewer what people think of me.”

“The New Normal” is getting an average audience of 6.4 million viewers, and is particularly popular with 25-54 year-old women, NBC said.

NBC is majority owned by Comcast.

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