The Peacock Network has unveiled a show that might just change the TV landscape forever. Ryan Murphycreator of Glee, Nip/Tuck and American Horror Storyoffers not a show with gay characters, but a series that's about its gay characters. Murphy, who's openly gay, co-created The New Normal with Glee writer Ali Adler, who's lesbian.
Andrew Rannells and Justin Bartha head the cast as Bryan and David, a gay couple starting a family with the help of surrogate mom Goldie (Georgia King). A short preview clip at NBC's website promises a show that will be topical, deal with real issues, and make us laugh, all at the same time.
Rannells is an openly gay actor who's made his mark on Broadway. Appearances on the Great White Way include Hairspray, Jersey Boys, and The Book of Mormon, for which he received a Tony Nomination.
"I immediately jumped on board," said Rannells, "Because, as a gay man, it's hard to find projects where you can play a gay man that feels like it's a fully developed character that's not just the best friend or the bitchy boss. This is a fully developed person that I get to play. And certainly the gay is a big part of it, but the gay is also just a fraction of what I get to do in the show."
Bartha is best known for his roles in "straight-guy" films such as The Hangover and National Treasure. The actor, who's been romantically linked with several women, jumped at the chance to play Rannell's on-screen partner.
"I just look to do quality," he stated. "I was sent some television stuff that I didn't think was quality or relevant. I had read about Ryan doing a show with AndrewI'd also seen The Book of Mormon and thought he was brilliant. So I called, I kind of initiated it. It just seemed like the best quality project out there. It talks about love, and it talks about real issues in a non-trite way that is also entertaining. So it's a show that I'd want to watch, and I wanted to be a part of it."
The cast also includes Ellen Barkin as a character who's not quite as liberal as she thinks she is. While she professes to love her gay hairdresser, she's, in truth, not that far removed from the infamous One Million Moms, who organize boycotts against any and all gay images that appear in the media.
"I think every person in a group has a right to protest and not like something," said Murphy. "I always find it to be interesting when people take that position before they've seen it. I think if they [One Million Moms] watched the show, they would love it because for the first time they're represented."
For Rannells, the series is also a chance to lighten his intense work load: "I love musical theater, and I love Broadway, but I don't miss that schedule. I'll be honest, it's nice to have weekends again and things like that."
The New Normal runs Tuesdays on NBC.