Actress Ellen Barkin recently defended her character on The New Normal amid heated controversy surrounding the upcoming NBC comedy about same sex parenting.
In The New Normal, starring Andrew Rannells and Justin Bartha as a Los Angeles couple who find a surrogate in a newly relocated single mother (Georgia King), Ellen Barkin plays a small-minded, homophobic grandmother who doesn’t agree with her granddaughter’s decisions.
Created by Ryan Murphy of Glee, The New Normal aims to open the minds of America to re-evaluate what it means to be a normal family.
Following a recent move by Salt Lake City’s KSL-TV not to air The New Normal, Ellen Barkin sparked more online controversy through Twitter by calling the KSL-TV decision “homophobic.”
On Wednesday of this week, The Deadbolt joined a conference call with Ellen Barkin who spoke to reporters about the The New Normal and how she views the show and her character.
“Ryan Murphy and Ali [Adler] have found a way to reach out to a very divisive country about some very, very important issues, ” Barkin explained to the press. “And I guess the big overriding issue is, what makes a family? They’ve done it with an enormous amount of love, sensitivity and more fun than a barrel of monkeys.”
Although The New Normal uses humor and comedy to highlight same sex couples and their options as parents, some critics are seeing Barkin’s grandmother in the same light as the small-minded, bigoted Archie Bunker character from the groundbreaking 70s comedy All in the Family.
Despite what critics have said about her role in the upcoming NBC comedy, Ellen Barkin came to her character’s defense.
“This is a very un-PC character,” Barkin continued about her role on The New Normal. “But she’s whip-smart, she’s extremely well-informed, and extremely articulate. So this isn’t a stereotypical, liberal version of what someone who doesn’t disagree with their positions – whatever they are, anti-choice, anti-gay, anti-ethnic, anti-foreigner, xenophobic – character. She’s not that. She’s informed. She’s passionate about her commitments. And they’re informed positions.”
Still, amid all of the controversy surrounding the issue underneath the show, Ellen Barkin called for patience and tolerance when it comes to judging her character.
“I would beg, like Ryan Murphy did, for people to just not judge this character until they get to know her. People are going to be very surprised. And like all TV series’, no character is fully revealed in the first episode, the pilot episode, or the second episode. I would beg that audiences stick with her and hear her arguments, which are extremely intelligent, that come from her heart and come from her gut. They come from her own life experience.”
The New Normal airs September 11 at 9:30/8;30c on NBC.
Check out the pilot early at NBC.