This third episode of The New Normal seems to be the moment when the series has begun to hit its stride. The show is delving into some deeper issues when it comes to gay parents and their surrogates. In short, this is good television.
This episodes three storylines revolve around hearing the baby’s heartbeat, dealing with hate and Shania’s budding sexual maturity. That last part sounds a bit disgusting when you write it out, doesn’t it?
Anyway, David is busy trying to deter Bryan from buying baby clothes due to excitement. David’s gynecology brain is aware of all of the complications and risks, and wants Bryan to wait until some of the preliminary tests are completed first. This doesn’t temper Bryan’s excitement though–he’s still giddy about baby clothes while he, David and Goldie are at the outlet mall.
The one thing that does erase all of the Bryan’s glee is when, after sharing a tender moment with David, a bigoted man and his family walk up. The man creates a scene, saying that they shouldn’t be kissing in public because he “doesn’t want to have to explain this to my kid.” Bryan gets in an argument with him, while David wants him to simply ignore the guy. When the man says that David and Bryan’s intention to build a family is disgusting, Bryan becomes a shell. Meanwhile, Goldie has heard the whole thing, but doesn’t speak up out of fear.
At home, Bryan tells David that he’s not upset about the man being rude to them; he’s more upset about the world his child might grow up in. The last thing he wants his child to be is hurt from someone else’s prejudice. Bryan also brings up a good point about the culture surrounding same sex relationships. For the longest, they have been told to ignore prejudicial idiots, and it’s true that ignoring is a good thing to do. But what upset Bryan is that ignoring has become the general default. What Bryan really wants to do is take a stand and change the world for his child. I think this well-acted scene really speaks to some real issues that aren’t always discussed when people think of same-sex parenting.
Another good moment is when David decides to become more proactive. While in line with his friend for some smoothies, a guy behind them is yelling out his frustrations at the handicapped person who is holding up the line with his order. David punches the rude guy, only to have the handicapped person call him the F-word. What I really liked about this scene is how cliches are turned on their heads–you expect David to be lauded by punching the guy, but that doesn’t happen. The only thing that does happen is for David to get insulted by the last person he’d expect it from.
Goldie does eventually apologize about her inaction and declares that she will stand up for them whenever the need arises. While I do like the fact that Goldie acted in a typical fashion when she was faced with the bigot, what I am getting a little tired of is her meek personality. I know it’s only been the third episode, but she has little to no character. She’s on the border of just being a female vessel instead of being a woman with emotions. I want some more “oomph” from her next time.
Shania learns more than she probably needs to learn about sexual education thanks to her decision to turn a baby skirt into a crop top. She wears her creation to school in an attempt to be taken seriously by the cool kids, only to be shunned. However, she does attract the attention of a pervy boy. When Jane comes to pick Shania up from school, she finds them making out in near the cubbies. She snatches them up and takes them to Planned Parenthood so they can learn about intercourse. All of this leads to a parent-teacher meeting
At the meeting, Goldie apologizes to the boy’s son, saying it was wrong of her grandmother to kidnap the child and take him to Planned Parenthood, but the boy’s mother actually thanks Jane, saying that because of her actions, she and her son had a long talk about sex and relationships. After the meeting, Jane tells Goldie that her actions were all with the intent of stopping their family’s cycle of young women become mothers before their time. For once, Jane has some good advice to give Goldie on parenting!
If I’m speaking honestly, I’m not sure Goldie has raised Shania up until this point. She seems too much like a pushover parent. Maybe I’m wrong. At any rate, she’s certainly not very decisive about much. The aforementioned scene between Jane and Goldie is another that highlights Goldie’s non-characterization. Make some decisions, Goldie!
The whole episode wraps up with Bryan, David and Goldie hearing the child’s heartbeat for the first time and David and Bryan realizing that their love for their child and each other outweighs the hate that might surround them. And, in another twist, Jane and Bryan find common ground when they both invoke With Six You Get Eggroll. As Jane, Bryan, David, Shania and Goldie all sit down for dinner, you can see the makings of a warm–but highly dysfunctional–family.
“Baby Clothes” is great episode with tremendous acting and heart; I can’t wait to see what happens next week.