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The New Normal: Why a Utah ban won't hurt NBC's gay-friendly sitcom
A Mormon-owned TV station insists that a show about two gay men who want to be parents is "inappropriate on several dimensions." Most critics disagree
 
NBC's The New Normal, which follows gay characters Bryan and David as they hire a surrogate to have their child, was deemed too inappropriate for one Utah station.
NBC's The New Normal, which follows gay characters Bryan and David as they hire a surrogate to have their child, was deemed too inappropriate for one Utah station.
Trae Patton/NBC

Salt Lake City's NBC affiliate KSL-TV recently announced that it won't show Glee creator Ryan Murphy's latest show, The New Normal, which is scheduled to debut on Sept. 11. The sitcom, which centers on two gay men who hire a surrogate mother to carry their baby, was deemed by the Mormon-owned station to be "inappropriate on several dimensions, especially during family viewing time." In a statement, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) denounced KSL-TV's decision as "deeply out of touch," and The New Normal star Ellen Barkin took to Twitter to chastise the station for rejecting her show while airing Law & Order: SVU, a drama that sometimes centers its plotlines around "rape & child murder." But in the end, the KSL-TV ban and the controversy that has sprung up around it may turn out to be a boon for the fledgling sitcom. Here, four reasons why this ban won't hurt The New Normal

1. It makes The New Normal seem edgy and cool
The New Normal creator Ryan Murphy is "no stranger to controversy," says Dorothy Pomerantz at Forbes. Murphy's musical comedy Glee, which remains one of Fox's most successful series, has routinely drawn the ire of the Parents Television Council, a watchdog group that "has been issuing angry press release about Murphy for years." And Murphy's adult-oriented American Horror Story, which premiered on FX last year, earned 17 Emmy nominations and a second season despite plotlines that included "sex with ghosts" and "a prominent abortion theme." Clearly, the outcry over Murphy's shows has never hurt their ratings before; in fact, it "just makes them seem edgier and perhaps more appealing to the desirable 18 to 49 demographic."

2. No one is surprised by KSL-TV's decision
KSL-TV "has a long history of steering clear of NBC programs it deems of questionable content," says Bill Carter at The New York Times. The local station made headlines last year when it refused to air NBC's ill-fated period drama The Playboy Club, and in 2003, the station passed on sex-and-relationships-themed Coupling, an American adaptation of a popular British sitcom. This latest ban isn't exactly earth-shattering. 

3. KSL-TV is hardly the only game in town
A KSL-TV ban isn't necessarily the kiss of death for a series, even locally. For example, the station has "refused to carry one of the pillars of NBC entertainment, Saturday Night Live," for years. Instead, that hugely successful show is broadcast on the independent Salt Lake City station KUCW. It's likely that The New Normal will find a home on KUCW, too, reports K.L. Martinez at Examiner.com. Plus, Utah viewers can always catch the show online, or via on-demand services. "Why should it matter which electronic device you watch it on?"

4. Plus, The New Normal isn't even that controversial
The New Normal may depict "a gay couple in a partnership who want to have a child," says Alyssa Rosenberg at Think Progress, but "it's not a particularly challenging depiction." The gay couple, played by Justin Bartha and Andrew Rannells, "conform to butch-femme stereotypes" and "don't have much in the way of sexual chemistry," which makes the series feel far less boundary-pushing than Glee, which "equated a gay teenaged couple losing their virginity with a straight one." 

 

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