Media

So Long to The New Normal

New NormalLast month, I wrote about seeing ourselves in mass media. When it was originally announced, I had high hopes for The New Normal, but also large fears. Namely based on the fact that it was being brought to us by Ryan Murphy – one of the creators and the show runner over at Glee. And anybody who knows me could probably tell you, at length, my objections to Glee.

I tried to set that aside, however, and give the show a fair chance. I watched the first few episodes, and then a few more over the season, but I have to say that I wasn’t all that saddened – or surprised – to hear that it had been cut from the line-up for next year.

Over at The Back Lot, Chris O’Guinn wrote about the cancellation. He gave a couple of good reasons that it may have been cancelled, but placed a lot of weight on the viewers of America, and what the corporations running our TV networks think they want to see, saying, “There was never really any doubt that such a concept would alienate most of the populations of Idaho, Utah and Mississippi.”

I think that’s taking the easy way out, though, and not giving the viewers of middle-America the respect they deserve.

Don’t get me wrong – I know that there are many people here in America that aren’t going to dig the queers, or be okay with a show with a gay couple as its focus. But I think that that is side-stepping the real problems with the show.

Instead, I think Chris actually nailed it with his note about Nana, when he says, “One of the cornerstones of New Normal‘s humor was the idea of mocking stereotypes by showing them in exaggerated forms.”

You say mocking stereotypes by showing them in exaggerated forms, I say playing a storyline out with caricatures.

That was the real problem, to me. The New Normal presented us with interesting people, but didn’t go any further than skin-deep. Instead, we were presented with stereotypes – not just of people from the gay community, but of people from all over. And, as I said on other social media outlets this week, I am past the point in my life where I find caricatures as the main basis of a television show interesting.

I’d like to think that that’s what other people saw, too. That it was cancelled not because it was a show centering around gay men starting a family, but instead because, for as pretty and witty (and gaaaaaaaaaaaay – sorry. couldn’t help it) as it was, there just wasn’t enough meat below the skin.

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.N.B. – I fear this may also be the road of Vicious, a BBC Comedy with Sirs Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi. One episode in, I’m definitely uncomfortable, but I’m determined to give it a few more episodes.

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  1. I totally agree with you. We stopped watching after a couple of episodes because the stereotypes were just annoying, and wrong. I know that we want to see ourselves represented on Network TV, but at least do it without subscribing to mainstream stereotypes.

  2. I watched one episode but didn’t like the main couple so never watched again. Not sad that it got cancelled. I do have to admit that I enjoy Glee though I am not blind to the millions of issues it has (and didn’t watch this season). I’m a sucker for some singing!

  3. Agree, agree!

    I watch my share of crap tv, so I’m not all high and mighty, but I am just so sick of the bigoted sidekick as a stock character. It’s cheap and boring, and I’d rather watch a million reruns of Here Comes Honey BooBoo (swing by my house for free beer and class analysis).

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