This episode of The New Normal might be the best ever, and we’re not even deep into the season yet! I’ll talk quickly about what happened in the episode, then I’ll give my reasons for why I loved it so much.
Bryan and David confront Jane about her intentions to vote for Mitt Romney. The funny thing about the confrontation is that even though the episode was filmed way before the “47 percent” remarks said by Romney, the episode still seems to reference what he said somehow. Anyway, Jane rounds back on them saying that their voting for President Obama is racist because they’re voting only because he’s black. I think what she’s referencing is the “White Guilt” syndrome that some people seem to carry with them. She also gets under their skin by telling them they’re playing at being liberal while not having any black friends in their circle. To spite her, Bryan invites her to their dinner party that will be rife with diversity, including their black friends. However, they weren’t planning on having a party. Even worse–they don’t have any black friends.
Bryan invites his assistant Rocky simply because she’s black; he believes she’ll bring her black friends. All of their other efforts to bring in diversity fail, not counting David inviting his friend Amir (Ravi Patel), and when Rocky shows up with her friends, Bryan finds out her friends are all white. Rocky takes him to task a little for stereotyping, but then says her brother is coming. After arriving, her brother seems to take a shine to Goldie, and both Rocky and Jane don’t want them to get together (each person with their own reasons, of course).
Everything hits the fan when they all sit down for dinner. Most of the table rounds on Jane for her conservative views, but she also gives them a lecture about why she has those views, which included stopping her daughter from aborting Goldie. To paraphrase Jane, if she hadn’t taken away her daughter’s right to choose, Goldie wouldn’t be sitting at the table with them. To make things worse, Jane sets the stage for Bryan and David to announce they were expecting, only to publicly shame Goldie for being their surrogate. Rocky’s brother seems like he could have a problem with her pregnancy, but his issues aren’t explored because Goldie runs out of the room, crying. One thing we do learn about Rocky’s brother is that he’s voting Republican.
Bryan, David, Jane and Shania find Goldie at the fast food restaurant, chomping down on greasy food. (She’d been denied fattening food throughout the episode by David in the hopes of keeping their baby healthy). Bryan and David apologize for announcing the pregnancy without her consent, but she’s not angry about that–her ex-husband is suing her for custody rights.
The episode ends with what it started with–politics. Shania attended a mock election at her school and voted for President Obama due to his stance on gay marriage, even though she was leaning towards Romney due to his foreign policy platform.
When Bryan and David asked who Goldie was voting for, she wisely withheld her answer. Earlier in the episode, we find out Jane would steal Goldie’s ballots and vote Republican in order to keep her family firmly in the Republican Party ever since she first voted in the early 1970s. (“The party that freed the slaves!” said Jane). For once, Goldie is not giving into someone else’s wishes and is doing what she wants to do. Also, Bryan and David make friends with an interracial couple–an Asian woman and a black man–and their son. Ironically, the couple were looking for gay friends to make their circle more inclusive.
Okay, what I loved about this episode is its focus on the elephant in the room when it comes to most Americans–discussing race relations in the 21st century. It’s so true that quite a few liberals act a certain way in order to fit in while not really living up to the standards they preach. As a minority, I can tell you that sometimes, the most truthful people are the racist ones because at the very least, they’re honest about who they don’t like. Of course, I’m not saying Bryan and David are racists, but I am saying that everyone doesn’t do what they preach all of the time. However, it is good to have certain ideals, so Bryan and David aren’t wrong in wanting to be better people.
It’s also true that all of us stereotype. Bryan stereotyped Rocky, Rocky stereotyped her brother and, of course, Jane stereotyped everyone. The fact that the show boldly addresses the types of unclean thoughts that go through people’s heads with humor and verve is just what television needs, I think. I’ve been waiting for a show to entertain people while making them slightly uncomfortable, and it seems like The New Normal is that type of show.
Before I end this review, didn’t anyone else think the chocolate pie Rocky brought was going to have overt The Help jokes trailing it?