Season 1, Episode 4, “Obama Mama”
After last week’s preachy musings on bullies, I was hoping The New Normal would get off its soapbox. Surprise, surprise: It didn’t. But at least this foray into presidential politics was mostly entertaining.
Bryan and David freak out when they catch Goldie eating fast food, which could be a problem for the baby. (Also, gross, fast food.) But their horror over the hamburger takes a backseat when they learn Goldie is planning to vote for Mitt Romney. “Goldie, you are carrying our Democratic baby,” Bryan laments. “Our beautiful little donkey fetus.” Now there’s a terrifying visual for you.
Big shocker: Nana is a staunch Republican. (“I will not have you leftwing nancyboys poisoning her with your ‘Hug a Muslim’ bullcrap.”) She accuses Bryan and David of not practicing what they preach — do they even have black friends? No, they’re characters on a network sitcom, of course they don’t. To spite Nana, Bryan decides to invite his close personal friends of color to a party to prove how much of a melting pot his life is. (Naturally, he has to ask Rocky to bring people.)
If you guessed that Rocky’s friends are mostly white, you’d be right. The party is a diversity disaster, so Bryan decides to hire the black waiter to play his best friend. (We could get into the distressing racial politics here, or we could just assume it’s all intentional.) Rocky’s brother Clint does show up, and he and Goldie instantly hit it off. But the mood is ruined with an impromptu political debate, culminating in Nana reminding Goldie that she would never have been born if her mother had gone through with the abortion she wanted. Cool, thanks, Nana!
Determined to put an end to the budding Goldie/Clint romance, Nana encourages Bryan and David to announce their pregnancy — thereby outing Goldie as pregnant. (Turns out she dodged a bullet: Clint is a Republican.) Goldie runs off to her local fast food establishment, because damn the gays and their rules. When the family finds her, she reveals why she’s really upset: she’s being sued for custody and will need to take Shania back to Ohio.
I’ll go out on a limb and say Goldie and Shania find a way to stick around. Either way, the damage is done — Shania throws her preteen support behind Barack Obama, because he treats the gays like equals. It’s a little heavy-handed, and it’s only made worse by Bryan’s instant bonding with two ethnic parents who conveniently show up to bring some color to his world. In the end, it’s all about tone — if this is meant to be tongue-in-cheek, I can appreciate the sentiment. But if The New Normal is actually trying to be sincere, it might need to think about what message it’s really sending.
Louis Peitzman is a freelance writer in Los Angeles, spending most of his time as the weekend editor at Gawker and a contributor to WitStream and TV.com. He’s a little bit Dorothy, a little bit Blanche. You can follow him on Twitter.