The New Normal Season 1 Review “Pardon Me”: Turkeys, Fights and Vegetarianism

What a wild ride of family dysfunction this episode of The New Normal was! The episode, entitled “Pardon Me,” was all about pardoning the family members that make life tough. As expected, the pardon doesn’t exactly work.

Bryan, David, Goldie, Shania and Rocky share painful memories of their past Thanksgivings, only to come to the conclusion that Thanksgiving with relatives is terrible. So they decide to have Thanksgiving just by themselves. The plan changes when Shania and Bryan decide to buy all the turkeys from a turkey farm because they couldn’t bear to see them slaughtered in front of their eyes.

The pardon inspires Shania to not only request a meatless Thanksgiving, but also to pardon other family members that might need a little forgiveness. Chief among that list is Jane, but also on the list are David’s divorced parents (particularly David’s dad, who cheated on his mom years ago), Goldie’s dumb ex-husband Clay and Rocky’s brother, Clint. David is relieved not to have to invite his parents, since they’re on a cruise he paid for.

It goes without saying that the dinner is a disaster. David’s parents pretend to like each other for the sake of the baby, only to scowl and argue behind David’s back. Clint and Goldie flirt, only to send Rocky and Jane in rage (Jane’s rage is obviously more racist, but it’s not exactly clear why Rocky doesn’t like it. Something about being involved with her employer’s baby mama). Jane’s racist, maniacal rant about being at what she considers an un-American Thanksgiving gets really hard-hitting, more incendiary than usual. She even goes so far as to call Clint a “black boy,” something that even had me seeing red even though I know its her character. Thankfully, she gets hers back when Bryan unleashes his own can of rage on her, saying that their Thanksgiving is what Thanksgiving now looks like for tons of Americans and that it was his idea to invite her in the first place. She’s promptly put in her place and she sulks for a moment, obviously embarrassed and annoyed that she’s being forced to change her idea of what America is. But that’s when she gets the idea to massacre Shania and Bryan’s turkeys.

Shania has to save the turkeys from Jane, so she puts two of them in Bryan’s study and the other two in the guest house. The guest house is also where David ends up finding his parents having sex. Disgusted by the two of them and their pattern of arguing until they make out, he orders them to leave. Bryan also orders Jane to leave, and she declares she’ll celebrate Thanksgiving in her hotel room with alcohol.

Clint and Clay get into it over Goldie and Goldie demands Clay leave as well. Clint decides to let himself out–since he was also in the fight, he felt it unfair if he stayed.

So the episode ends as it began in a way–with the core five of them sitting around the table for Thanksgiving. Pardoning the family didn’t work, so they decide to dive in the tofurkey themselves. After spitting it out, they order vegetarian pizza instead.

As I said on my review of the Thanksgiving episode of The Neighbors, I am glad that my family gets along. Apparenlty we get along inhumanly well, and I am thankful for it.