New Show Recap: The New Normal, Episode 1.07, “The Godparent Trap”

Bryan and David start to consider what kind of religious background they’ll raise their child with, since both of them are somewhat estranged from their respective faiths (Bryan was raised Catholic and David is Jewish). They decide that they need to find godparents for their child who can help give them the kind of spiritual guidance and understanding that Bryan and David may be a little rusty with. So, the mission to find some godparents is on!

While Bryan and David are deciding this, Goldie meets with the fertility coordinator, Gary, who wants to make it clear that her closeness with Bryan and David will end once the baby comes. Shania insists that Bryan and David will never keep her away from “my baby brother or sister” and even once Goldie explain the genetic specifics of surrogacy, Shania still believes that they’ll all be one big happy family post-delivery. Goldie looks less sure. Shania firmly considers Bryan and David members of her family, and Goldie is trying to gently talk her out of this conviction because Goldie believes that when the baby comes everything will change. Which is true. Oh, and Shania is hauling around her class pet, a guinea pig named Marshmallow, which will lead to exactly the plot you think it will.

Bryan and David interview their friends Victoria and Tiffany to see if they’d be interested in being their baby’s godparents. Turns out Victoria and Tiffany have been spending years trying to have their own children, unsuccessfully, and aren’t very into the idea of giving the benefit of their spiritual guidance to someone else’s child.

Bryan, in an effort to rediscover his spiritual roots, goes back to church and encounters the hippest and most progressive Catholic priest who ever sprang from the pages of a manuscript. As Bryan tells the priest about his uncertainty in raising his child with a faith that doesn’t accept him, the priest encourages him to stick with Catholicism and kind of badmouths the Pope as a crotchety old uncle everyone rolls their eyes at. I think this is less than accurate. The priest also describes Jesus as “the Chuck Norris of his day, except his beard wasn’t nearly as well groomed,” so, yeah. Anyway, he says that the church can change, and Bryan should be a fighter because Jesus was. Bryan tells David that he’s trying to reconnect with his religious roots, so David says he’ll also go find a temple to join. Yay, existential crises resolved in under 25 minutes!

Oh, so, the guinea pig dies. Because of course it does. They decide to buy a new one, which Rocky points out has never worked in any sitcom ever. Of course, Shania can tell it’s a new pig immediately (because it doesn’t have boy parts anymore), and Bryan starts trying to talk about the transgender guinea pig movement which, Ha! But Rocky steps in and tells Shania the truth, along with a bit of wisdom about life and death. Shania takes it all very well, and it’s kind of a sweet moment. They hold a little funeral for Marshmallow and Shania gives a nice little eulogy about living in the now.

In the aftermath of the funeral, Goldie confesses to Bryan and David that she was unsure of her place in their life but Shania never doubted them. While they say they’re her family, she says that everyone in her family has left her or broken her heart, so that’s not what she wants to hear. They assure her that they’re not going anywhere.

Because even when things are resolved on this show they’re not, Bryan and David have another conversation about the comfort that their faith gave them and how they need to find godparents still. In the conversation, they decide that Shania’s “live in the now”  philosophy and Rocky’s deep knowledge of scripture and her take on it are what they’re looking for in godparents, and ask the two ladies if they’d agree to be the spiritual guides for their child. They both accept and while it’s nontraditional it is a very nice idea and ties up the problem of keeping Goldie and Shania in their lives. Of course, some script writer ruins it by having the nine-year-old who didn’t know what a Polaroid was earlier in the episode mention old episodes of “Quantum Leap.” Because, you know, Shania’s not an actual nine-year-old but a 32-year-old hipster in the body of a nine-year-old.

Bryan goes back to church and encounters the same priest who says he’d love to see Bryan and his family at mass. Bryan notices the girls on the altar and asks when girls got to be altar services, and the priest uses it as an example of how things in the church can change. You know, once every few thousand years. Forgive me if I don’t hold my breath.

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