‘The New Normal’ Is Beyond the Pale in Salt Lake City

A local television station does away with the “viewer’s discretion is advised” option.
Executive Producer Ryan Murphy, left, and actor Andrew Rannells speak with the press about the television show The New Normal. (Frederick M. Brown / Getty)
Aug 27, 2012
A former Gourmet staffer, Lawrence enjoys writing about design, food, travel, and lots of other stuff.

One person’s normal is another person’s abnormal. It all depends on your point of view. Which brings us to the upcoming television show The New Normal, which for some people isn’t normal at all.

“It’s that time of year again, when NBC’s Salt Lake City television station—owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Letter-day Saints—lets America know which of NBC’s new prime-time series it will not air,” reports The Washington Post. This season’s winner: The New Normal, a comedy series about a gay couple having a baby via a single-mom surrogate who comes with a ‘small-minded’ (says NBC) grandmother, played by Ellen Barkin.”

Considering that The New Normal is from Ryan Murphy, the creator of Glee, Nip/Tuck and American Horror Story, I suppose we shouldn’t be terribly surprised that Jeff Simpson, the CEO of Bonneville International, the parent company of KSL-TV, said, “For our brand, this program feels inappropriate on several dimensions, especially during family viewing time.” (The show airs at 9:30 p.m. I don’t know about you, but my parents had me in bed by then.) As an aside, The Post noted that Simpson’s station has also declined to air Saturday Night Live.

MORE: Boy Scouts Say Excluding Gays ‘In Our Best Interest’

But Mr. Simpson may not have noticed that television's gays are simply pouring out of the closets these days. In May, The New York Times observed that, “On “Glee” this spring, a transgender character named Unique is competing in a sing-off. On “Grey’s Anatomy,” Arizona and Callie are adjusting to married life, having been pronounced ‘wife and wife’ last year. On “Modern Family,” the nation’s most popular television show, Cameron and his partner Mitchell are trying to adopt a second child.”

The Times goes on to ask: “What’s missing? The outrage. The cultural battlefield of television has changed markedly since the 1990s, when conservative groups and religious figures objected to Ellen DeGeneres coming out and “Will & Grace” coming on.”

Indeed, gays have become so ubiquitous on television that the website AfterElton (Brother site to AfterEllen. How gay is that?) has even released a list of “The 8 Most Annoying Gay Male Characters in TV History.” And let me tell you, my friends, when people start creating lists like that, you know you've become part of the cultural Zeitgeist.

Even CBS News has a 21-click slideshow on their website devoted to gay TV characters and they noted that, “LGBT characters on television have increased for the third year in a row, according to the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.”

What The New Normal should be most concerned about is that, as The Post points out, KSL-TV has an incredible knack for picking out fall TV shows that don’t click with viewers. In past seasons, they’ve objected to The Playboy ClubCoupling, and the animated comedy God, the Devil and Bob.

A small television station in Utah being able to predict the success of Hollywood-produced programming? That’s just queer.

Have you seen the promos for The New Normal? If so, do you think the content looks like it will be objectionable? Leave your critique in COMMENTS.

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