NBC's freshman sitcom The New Normal hasn't even premiered, but it's already become a popular target for conservative groups.
The show, created by Glee's Ryan Murphy, features a gay couple (Justin Bartha and Andrew Rannells) who try to have a baby via surrogate (Georgia King). It has already has been boycotted by One Million Moms, and a Mormon-owned Utah NBC affiliate has vowed not to air the program. (The same station refused to air NBC's The Playboy Club last fall.)
Series star Ellen Barkin, who plays the hyper-conservative grandmother Jane, became the center of a media firestorm earlier this week when she tweeted her irritation at Utah's KSL-TV for their stance against the show. But it appears the actress has no regrets. "Quite frankly, I felt good about it," Barkin told reporters Wednesday of the responses she got to her tweets, some which were quite volatile. "Yes, it is their right to ban something, but I do think it's a form of censorship."
In KSL-TV's explanation for cutting the same-sex family comedy, they referred to the series as "explicit," "offensive" and "crude." Yet Barkin noted the station has no problem airing series which feature graphic violence and explicit language.
Utah station refuses to air The New Normal
"I don't understand why a show that I happen to love, like Law & Order: SVU ... is acceptable, but a show about a very loving, committed same sex-couple wanting to raise a child... is explicit and offensive," she said. "So yeah, I did take a position on that, and being responded to on both sides made people pay attention. And I think that is what matters."
What Barkin seems to seek is honest dialogue between the polarized stances, something she first tried to achieve after the One Million Moms boycott in July.
The New Normal's Ryan Murphy on One Million Moms boycott: I think they would love it
"I sent out a tweet asking the One Million Moms, who I think are 3,000 moms, to meet me for tea and let's talk about it," she said. "You know, they didn't answer back. I guess their position would be, 'We know where she stands and where Ryan Murphy stands, so we have nothing to say to them' and that's what makes this country divisive."
Barkin believes The New Normal has the potential to help mend this gap, by evolving society's current notion of what an acceptable family might be. "I hope everyone starts maybe opening up a tiny bit and are able to redefine what normal is," Barkin said.
Want to see what all the fuss is about? Watch the pilot episode, which is now available online, below.
The New Normal premieres Tuesday, Sept. 11 at 9:30/8:30c on NBC.