Sunday, September 30, 2012
Why One Gay Couple Hates "The New Normal"
I've posted several times about how I like "The New Normal." I can identity with most of it, which is one of the reasons why I like it so much. I thought I would be in the majority on this, but last night I found out I was wrong.
Tony and I have two very good old friends, a gay couple who have been together since 1975. They were only in their very early twenties when they met, so they aren't that old now. One is a retired English professor and the other has been working in publishing since the 1970's. We don't see them that often anymore because they live between NY, Key West, and New Hope.
We started a tradition about fifteen years ago where a group of us would get together and celebrate individual birthdays at different times of the year. The birthday group started out with about fifteen people, and now it's dwindled down to just the four of us. Some moved; some passed away. Tony and I were always the youngest in that particular group and we've made a lot of new friends since. But it's nice to get together with old friends you don't see often. In this case, it's like family. As a side note, when Tony was hospitalized in 2007, near death, with pneumonia, these were two of the very close friends who were there when I needed them. You'd be amazed at how you learn who your true friends are during a time of crisis. A lot of people disappear, which you tend not to forget.
In any event, we started talking about gay fiction first. My friend in publishing is always amazed at how straight women have embraced gay fiction in the past few years. He's more concentrated in non-fiction and mainstream fiction, so anything LGBT oriented is a novelty to him. Then the conversation moved on to LGBT TV shows and I mentioned how much I love watching "The New Normal." Both my friends looked at each other and made faces, and then they went into long individual reasons why they don't like "The New Normal" at all.
While they spoke, Tony and I just listened because we both like the show. They seemed to think it's just more stereotypical nonsense that doesn't depict the way real gay male couples live. Again, we just listened without speaking. I found their POV interesting, not offensive. They were especially annoyed...the the point of frustration...with respect to all the talk about gay men having kids on "The New Normal." And it's not the first time I've heard this. Many older gay couples don't want kids, never wanted kids, and can't seem to understand why any other gay couples would want them. In fact, in this case, this older gay couple can't stand kids in general and they will proudly state this to your face. I'm not exaggerating either.
I tend to think this is generational, and for a myriad of reasons I won't get into in one short blog post. But it wasn't just the "kid" aspect of "The New Normal" they didn't like. They thought one of the main characters (can't remember his name) was far too effeminate...which is also why they refuse to watch "Modern Family." And, this part blew me away. My friends thought the gay bar scene in the first episode of "The New Normal" was totally fake. For those who didn't see this scene, it's basically centered around the two characters going to a bar, sitting there bored, and acting as if they are too old to be out in a gay bar. My friends thought it was a cliched spin on straight married couples, and they don't identify with straight married couples...at all, not ever. They also thought this was completely unrealistic, especially since my friends are much older and they still enjoy going out to gay bars.
We eventually moved on to other topics, but I couldn't help thinking about how different their reaction was to our reaction to "The New Normal." Again, I think it's generational. It was also difficult to argue the points they were making because I knew deep down they weren't completely wrong. But it really is all debatable. The only reason I'm saying this is because Tony and I have thought about adopting a child more than once. And, Tony and I have been in that bar scene ourselves that was depicted on the TV show and we were both bored to death and we are only in our early forties. So I guess it's hard to please everyone, especially in a community where people are all so very different. I'm also starting to wonder if it will ever be possible to please all gay people at the same time with anything. It will be interesting to see how "The New Normal" moves forward with future episodes. I'm going to be watching closely just to see if I feel the same way in the future as I do now.