(I’m still swamped with TIFF, so regular blogging won’t resume until the end of the week. Be sure to check out @jen_mcdonnell and MSN.ca for all my TIFF updates. Tonight I’m checking out Rachel McAdams in Passion, and tomorrow I get to watch/swoon over Aaron Paul in Smashed. He’s been spotted at the DJ booth at the Soho House. Sigh.
In the meantime, my BFF Nicole and I have been IM’ing about the five buzziest fall TV shows. Check out our previous posts on Elementary, The Mindy Project and Last Resort. Today’s target: The New Normal!)
Premieres: Sept. 11 @ 9:30 p.m. on NBC and CTV
Up Against: NCIS: Los Angeles, The Mindy Project, Don’t Trust the B—- in Apt. 23, Emily Owens M.D.
Premise: In Glee creator Ryan Murphy’s new show, a gay couple (Justin Bartha and Andrew Rannells) hire a surrogate (Georgia King) to have their baby. But by inviting the woman into their lives, they’re also welcoming her 8-year-old daughter and her homophobic, racist grandmother (played brilliantly by Ellen Barkin). Nene Leakes from The Real Housewives of Atlanta rounds out the cast as Bartha’s assistant.
Nicole: This one’s a question mark for me so far, but there is some promise. I’m just not sure I can admit to watching a show with Nene.
Jen: I know!
Nicole: Love Ellen Barkin, though.
Jen: Ellen Barkin as the hateful grandmother kills me. So good!
Nicole: I kinda feel like they ripped off the Modern Family template for this one. It might be too similar in terms of the chemistry.
Jen: Yes, you just know NBC was like “We need our own version of Modern Family. Let’s just amp up the gayness!” But the cast is good, even if the characters are a little stereotypical.
Nicole: Yeah! I wish we had Will and Grace back.
Jen: Indeed. Right now, the only thing that is keeping me tuning in for episode 2 is Ellen Barkin’s amazing one-liners.
Nicole: I’m actually not sure about each of the families. I don’t know if I’m going to like them as much as I like the Modern Family version. They have to be likeable, you know?
Jen: Well, the good news is that Modern Family nose-dived in quality last season, so they’re no longer hard to top.
Nicole: All we need is one sharp episode. That’s how we got roped into Cougar Town, remember? We saw the “single ladies” episode and just kept tuning in.
Jen: That’s true. Though that might have been because we related to that episode a bit too much. 😉
Nicole: If they keep Ellen Barkin’s writing sharp, there’s a chance this show will work.
Jen: My fave Ellen Barkin line (so far): “I thought your mother was a fibroid tumor, and by the time I figured it out she had a face and I was screwed.”
Jen: I tend to give comedies more time to find their rhythm. It took me two whole seasons to not hate Parks and Recreation, and now that show is total perfection. I wasn’t immediately sold on Community or New Girl either.
Nicole: Oh man, Parks is the best comedy on TV and I skipped a whole season before it got good. So I’m not sure about The New Normal, but I’ll give them a few episodes to settle in.