The New Normal Season 1 Review “Baby Proofing”: A Locked-Up, Drunken, Stuffed Christmas

The New Normal Episode 12 Baby Proofing

This episode of The New Normal, “Baby Proofing,” was a little bit uneven, I felt. It was still a good episode, but it felt a lot more low-key than other episodes. We did get a return visit from Cheri Oteri, so that’s always good.

Oteri’s character, the baby-proofing expert, was back to fill Bryan and David’s heads full of what not to do around a baby, how to baby-proof their entire home, and what objects could be potential hazards for their son. Of course, there’s still five months until the baby comes, which leads me to the question as to why they’re baby-proofing stuff now. Even after the baby is born, he’s just going to be held everywhere anyway and won’t be getting into a lot until he learns to crawl, which takes a while. Once a baby reached the crawling stage, that was when it was time to start baby-proofing. Perhaps it worked like that in your family. In any case, to start baby-proofing before the child gets out of the womb is a bit early.

The baby-proofing shenanigans is rightfully making Bryan crazy–he’s the only one who seems to know that it’s going to be a while until the baby actually makes it into the world. The poor man has to use the bathroom in the sink instead of in the baby-locked toilet, for goodness’ sake! In order to ease his frayed nerves, he’s been dipping into the wine bottles a little too regularly, so regularly that David is beginning to get worried about possible alcoholism.

David’s not being a model of perfection himself, however–because it’s Christmastime (and because a very pregnant Goldie’s been scoffing away everything) David’s become a big of a pig. It is the holiday season–mostly everyone becomes a bit of a pig around this time–but since Bryan’s annoyed at David’s worried scolding about the alcohol, Bryan decides to bite back about David’s weight.

Bryan also has to go to a social function and because Jane is such a nice person when she’s drunk on egg nog, he decides to take her as his date. At the function, they meet the local real estate shark, Nancy Niles, played by Marlo Thomas. Jane also reveals to Bryan that she’s intimidated by Los Angeles. The amount of culture (and PC-ness that you have to be aware of) makes her feel like she fits in better with her small town in Ohio and she doesn’t know exactly how she’s going to cope being in such a big city. Bryan gives her advice to just “find a spot, plant a seed and watch it grow.” She appreciates what she calls “very gay advice.”

As they’re driving back home, Bryan offers to set up a meeting for Jane to meet the real estate mogul. Jane is surprised by the kind gesture and is thoroughly touched. Before they make it back home, though, they’re stopped by the police, who are doing sobriety checks. A crazy episode with a drunk Jane brandishing her glittery handbag that supposedly contains a gun happens, but somehow she and Bryan–who were drunk–don’t get put in jail. I’m not really sure how that went down. Seems like a plothole to me.

However, while Bryan gets skates by serving jailtime, he doesn’t get by with old ornaments on the tree. The baby-proofing expert chides him for using ornaments, especially a rusty antique one that is painted with old lead paint. Byan’s annoyed again, but instead of going for a drink, he does come to the conclusion that he needs to baby-proof himself, so he throws away all of the wine he has.

David also comes to grips with his own demons, too; before Bryan’s “take responsibility” moment, Goldie and David have decided to lay off the sweets for a while in order to set a better example for the unborn child and Shania, who has been drinking egg nog and eating just as many cookies as they have been.

Jane does make it to her meeting and, at first, it doesn’t go well. Nancy basically insults Jane, saying that Jane reminds her of herself when she first started out as a homey woman, and she doesn’t want to be reminded of herself way back when. However, when Jane lets the ruthlessness out and tells Nancy that she should lower Bryan and David’s property value due to a property code they weren’t informed about, Nancy starts seeing Jane in a new light and happily takes Jane under her wing. I hope Nancy will be back in future episodes.

At the end of the episode, Bryan and David apologize to each other about being each other’s nagging good angel and together, they decide to both be better examples. David takes the making-up even further by showing Bryan a fully baby-proofed (and still beautiful) tree, including an ornament made of their child’s sonogram picture. A very sweet ending.

I will say that this episode has cemented something I’ve begun thinking of after watching and reviewing last week’s episode. Now, yes, I did love last week’s episode, but last week’s episode–and especially “Baby Proofing”–are erring on the side of filler. The story is just waiting for the birth of the baby now, and it’s getting tougher to “raise the stakes” as it were until the baby arrives. Things are getting a little comfortable in terms of storytelling, and we need something that’s going to keep the “edgy” factor up, I think.