Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
John Stamos dropped by a TCA panel discussion today for NBC‘s The New Normal held on the set at Paramount featuring the cast and executive producer Ali Adler (co-creator with Ryan Murphy). Stamos is guesting in an episode in which he plays a character of ambiguous sexual orientation (to explore the fallacy of “gay-dar”). Stamos was asked to compare today’s TV sitcom world — which can accommodate the “new normal” of a gay couple who are expectant parents via a surrogate — to his days on Full House. “It was three men living together in San Francisco raising a couple of kids. It’s the same thing,” Stamos quipped.
Ellen Barkin, who portrays the bigoted mother of the pregnant surrogate (Georgia King), said she was not surprised by the controversy surrounding the show (a Utah TV station has refused to air it). “It’s part of the reason why many of us got involved in the show, it was saying something that is not always said in a sitcom,” she said. Barkin last summer told Deadline she believes an affiliate has the right to ban something, but considers it censorship.
Joked Stamos with mock-smugness of the TV station ban: “They did get Full House. Cast members pointed out that fans in that market are viewing the show online.
Cast member Andrew Rannells said he has been gratified by the fact that so many young viewers have gravitated to New Normal. He attributed the phenomenon to audiences coming to the show from Murphy’s popular Glee.
Adler said she is gratified that examining gay issues has won praise from GLAAD but episode topics are “sometimes just life’s issues.” An upcoming episode, she said, will explore the topic of breastfeeding, which is “hard for two men to accomplish.”