New Fall Shows Reviewed: ‘The New Normal’, ‘Go On’, ‘Guys with Kids’

The New Normal: Tune In

While the premise for this show might have been scandalous a few decades ago, it says a lot for how far the entertainment world has come that a series centered around a gay couple adopting is somewhat mundane.

Ryan Murphy’s new NBC comedy makes up for lack of shock factor with its impeccable cast.  Andrew Rannells (hilarious as Elliot on Girls) is spot-on as the flashy, more fashionable half of the couple.  Justin Bartha (The Hangover) provides a reliable straight man (no pun intended), who is the necessary, more level-headed partner.  The show would be lost without the perfect chemistry between the two central characters. 

The show picks up speed as the couple decide to make a baby using a surrogate mother—enter Goldie (Georgia King), a woman who’s at the end of her rope after finding out her husband is cheating on her. But what comedy would be complete without a supporting cast of crazies?  Ellen Barkin is a shining example of how to pull off a bitchy, bigot—she provides some of the show’s most outrageously funny lines as Goldie’s grandmother. (You should tune in merely to see how many analogies she can come up with for being a homosexual.) 

Casting also got it right with the little girl who plays Goldie’s daughter.  Bebe Wood is adorable without being cloying.  Add NeNe Leakes, from The Real Housewives of Atlanta fame, to the mix, and you have an ideal comedy maelstrom.

Go On: Tune In

Every actor from Friends has tried to break out from behind the curse of being pigeonholed.  It looks like Matthew Perry might have finally found the role that will help audience’s forget about Chandler.

The NBC comedy focuses on Perry’s character, Ryan King, who loses his wife and is mandated to group counseling in order to return to work.  While the pilot’s writing is a little rough, Perry shines with his quick delivery and genuinely funny mugging.

The casting of the counseling group is priceless—with standout Julie White as a grieving widow with some serious anger issues.  It’s easy to see how the show can build on the original premise, with the stories surrounding the other therapy members.  Also, group members can come and go, depending on their story arcs, while still leaving space for some guest stars.  Perhaps a Friends reunion?

Guys With Kids: Skip It

NBC completely misses the mark with this comedy series, about three stay-at-home dads struggling to wrangle their kids. Comedy has come a long way since the usage of a laugh track, so the show seems ultra cheesy when anyone delivers a line followed by canned laughter.

The actors deserve way better than this script—including Jamie Lynn Sigler, best known as Meadow on The Sopranos.  The jokes are all utterly predictable.  It’s hard to imagine guys are really this clueless when it comes to kids…and pretty much every other aspect of life.

This show is more painful to watch than listening to a baby crying.

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