‘The New Normal’: How controversial can a loving family be?

Listen to this article

by David-Elijah Nahmod

NBC’s new sitcom The New Normal certainly sounds harmless enough. The series, which debuts on most NBC stations on Tuesday, September 11, is about two people who love each other deciding to start a family. They’re both men — which might be a bit much for KSL TV, Salt Lake City’s NBC affiliate. Salt Lakers will have to wait until Saturday, September 15, when The New Normal will instead be seen on KUCW TV.

KSL spokesperson Tami Ostmark provided QSaltLake with an official statement regarding KSL’s decision. “We did not cancel this show because it features gay characters,” the statement reads. “We have viewed the pilot. This program features sexually explicit content, demeaning dialogue and inciting stereotypes. The dialogue is excessively rude and crude, the scenes are too explicit, and the stereotypes are offensive on all sides.”

KSL, it should be noted, does not air NBC’s long running, often ribald sketch comedy series Saturday Night Live, which also airs on KUCW. Ostmark told QSaltLake that KSL did air Will and Grace for all eight seasons. She also said that the now cancelled NBC soap opera Passions, which featured lesbian and transgender characters, was never made available to the station. They currently air Days of Our Lives, which features two gay characters.

Actor Andrew Rannells, who plays Bryan, one half of New Normal’s gay couple, feels that KSL created an unnecessary controversy.

“It was a shame that the announcement of it came out before anyone got to see any of it,” he said during a telephone press conference. “We were lucky that another station in Salt Lake City decided to air it instead. I don’t think we’re telling a necessarily new story. We’re just showing what’s already happening and what’s already out in the world.”

The New Normal is the creation of openly gay Ryan Murphy, the man behind Nip/Tuck, American Horror Story and Glee, which has been television’s gayest show these past few years. The New Normal was co-created with Glee writer Ali Adler, who’s a lesbian.

The series premise is simple. Gay couple Bryan and David want children. Goldie (Georgia King), a single mom who wants to go back to school, is hired as their surrogate. Over the course of the show’s run, viewers can watch a new family come into being.

“One of the things I love about the title of the show is that it seems so blunt and obvious,” said Justin Bartha, who’s been cast as David. “We still live in a time where there are people who object to showing what most people would consider reality. I actually do hope people are offended by it. Hopefully it will be a conversation piece in families and that families will love it for what it is. Possibly our show can help usher in a little acceptance.”

“It’s a story about creating family,” said Rannells. “And about the love it takes to start a family.”

“It’s a privilege to be doing something that creates conversation and ideas and thoughts,” offered Georgia King. “And to get people thinking about what happens today. It’s very current. There are a lot of situations that a lot of people can relate to. I would like the story to remind people how beautiful, no matter what your family is, how absolutely wonderful and beautiful it is to have family and unity and love. It’s really a very positive story.”

The three stars were asked what they thought of their characters.

“The character isn’t defined by his sexuality,” said Justin Bartha, who’s straight. “None of the characters I’ve played has been defined by their sexuality, and so it really makes no difference to me if the character is gay or straight.”

“I have so much respect for anyone who would be willing to carry a baby and enable a couple to have a family,” was Georgia King’s reply. “That’s one of the most selfless, wonderful things you could do for someone. It’s so generous.”

And would openly gay Andrew Rannells himself want to be a dad? “I haven’t made up my mind concretely about having kids. But I’m happy to practice on TV.”

The New Normal begins airing in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Sept. 15, 10 p.m. on CW30.

To watch the pilot episode, go here.

Related Articles


  1. Excellent article. I'm really looking forward to watching this series. I only wish it had been on when my 18 year old was younger. Children of LGBT parents deserve to be represented in the media. They are the chosen ones. We gays don't have kids by accident.

  2. QSaltLake gets The New Normal actors to weigh in on KSL's decision to not air the series, gets new statement from KSL.

  3. I would love a critical analysis of the pilot to parse what KSL claims are "sexually explicit content, demeaning dialogue and inciting stereotypes. The dialogue is excessively rude and crude, the scenes are too explicit, and the stereotypes are offensive on all sides". I believe such an analysis, along with a comparison of content of the other sitcoms that KSL happily broadcasts would expose the pathetic and sad obviousness of their lie. Is there anyone who really thinks that is why it won't play on KSL? They are now guardians of appropriate non-strepotypical images of Gays, women and African Americans? Laughable.

    I've seen the pilot, and am mystified by their claims.

  4. The only scene I could think of was the "cheating scene" near the beginning. That was probably a bit graphic for KSL's sensibilities, but I don't really watch many other NBC shows to know if it was really anything more explicit than other shows they carry.

  5. I find it interesting that if one has Dish Network, and goes to the tv scheduling on your television, you do see that at 9 PM tonight, KSL has "The New Normal" scheduled. What's up with that?

  6. Is there anyone who really thinks that is why it won't play on KSL? They are now guardians of appropriate non-strepotypical images of Gays, women and African Americans? Laughable.

  7. I think KSL is telling the truth, that it did not ban the program because it has gay characters. It's because these gay characters have the unspeakable audacity to think they should be treated like normal human beings instead of being in reparative therapy and moaning about how bad their lives are. And because the disapproving mother of the surrogate is portrayed as an unreasonable bigot, which of course they take great offense at.

  8. Those schedules are assembled several weeks in advance. I'm taking the ones off of KSL's on-air channel in a few minutes. The satellite and Cable companies probably won't get updated for another week.

  9. http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/opinion/54873005-82/normal-http-ksl-gay.html.csp

    A new normal.
    First Published Sep 15 2012 01:01 am • Last Updated Sep 15 2012 01:01 am.

    It’s no surprise that LDS-owned KSL refuses to air "New Normal," the NBC sitcom with two gay dads.

    Much like Sharon Teal Coray, a Christian ("Good for KSL," Forum, Sept. 8), The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints fights against gay marriage even in the civil domain, and its official website explicitly cites Romans 1:24-32 and Leviticus 20:13 as "basic beliefs" regarding homosexuality. These scriptures castigate gay lovers as unrighteous, malicious, murderous and deceitful "inventors of evil things," who Heavenly Father demands "be put to death."…(Cont'd).

Back to top button