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New Show Recap: The New Normal; Ep. 1.11 “Baby Proofing”

It’s the holidays and Bryan and David are under some stress. Stress of it being the holidays, stress of waiting on a baby, and the stress of attempting to prematurely baby-proof their house. I mean, seriously, Goldie’s like maybe six months along? I know it’s best to be prepared ahead of time, but it’s a little absurd for them to already be worried about toilet cover locks. Anyway, Bryan and David are handling the stress in different ways; Bryan with wine and David with cookies. Mmmmmm, delicious coping mechanisms.

David’s decided to bring in a baby-proofing expert, played by Cheri Oteri, to help he and Bryan prepare the house for their little one. Bryan is kind of resistant from the get-go about turning their house upside down for a baby that’s not even outside the womb yet, never mind wandering around rooms that will presumably be off limits (like his office). Still, David makes with the corner padding, toilet and cabinet locks, and tries to get Bryan to put away baby-inappropriate ornaments even though the baby won’t be showing up while the tree is still up at all. Bryan eventually does it, figuring it’s better not to fight his suddenly zealous partner on this.

To blow off some steam, Bryan goes out to a holiday party hosted by a real estate agent he knows played by Marlo Thomas. It’s revealed in this episode that Nana’s kryptonite is eggnog, which turns her into a very sweet and good natured woman, and so Bryan brings her to the party since she’s suddenly much better company. They talk a bit about how Nana sees her life and the fact that she’s scared of Los Angeles, that she’s not really prepared to throw herself into this giant ocean she’s found herself in that doesn’t resemble the Ohio town she called home in any way. Bryan encourages her, and even gets her an interview with his real estate agent friend. He comes to regret his friendliness, though, when he’s pulled over at a random sobriety check after Nana totally blurts out that he had ONE glass of champagne TWO HOURS ago, so he’s totally fine, officer and then gets out of the car to argue more and admits to carrying a weapon. Fun gal, Nana. Anyway, nothing really bad happens to Bryan, but he gets a wake-up call about drinking and resolves to change his habits before the baby comes and pours his wine down the sink as a gesture of sincerity.

David, meanwhile, is feeling stress related to the fact that in a few short months he will be responsible for keeping a tiny person alive and healthy. This is causing him to flip out about child proofing the house and eat lots of cookies. Cheri Oteri (I know her character has a name, but this is how I think of her) has David completely on the “DISASTER IS INEVITABLE AND ALL AROUND YOU” page for most of the episode, until even he has to realize that childproofing a Christmas tree the infant will never be around for is just one step too far, and he calms down a bit. He and Goldie bond a bit over how they are both becoming Christmas cookie monsters, David because of stress and Goldie because she’s growing a person inside her. But when they see Shania imitating some of their bad behavior, they decide that they need to clean up their acts as well and agree to put the cookies down. Or at least most of the cookies down. You can’t quit cookies completely around Christmas, it’s impossible.

Bryan does get Nana an interview with Marlo Thomas, and she’s completely dismissive of all Nana’s (whose name is Jane, and I should probably start using that) experience in Ohio. She dismisses Jane after saying she just doesn’t have the smarts and sophistication for LA. Jane starts to walk out, but then throws out an aside that Marlo hadn’t mentioned to Bryan and David that the property their house sits on is classified in such a way that they’re entitled to pay less on their income taxes, and she’s already helped them get some of that money back. A little surprised, Marlo says that maybe she will give Jane a chance, but warns her that she might have to be a bit of a bitch to make it in LA. Jane just smiles a little and says she thinks she can give that a try. Guess someone’s going to be putting down the eggnog and picking back up the bitchface.

The episode ends with David doing crunches to work off the cookies, and Bryan apologizing for saying anything to him. But David says that he was right and that they’re just going to have to change and be better, even if it’s uncomfortable. Then he takes Bryan downstairs and shows him the Christmas tree, covered in soft, ethically made, baby-proof ornaments. Including one that’s a 3-D ultrasound picture in a popscicle stick frame that says, “Baby’s First Christmas.”

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