New Show Recap: The New Normal, Episode 1.16, “Dairy Queen”

This week on The New Normal: Bryan and David visit some friends of theirs who have an infant, and Bryan is enchanted while watching the baby breastfeed.

We hear all the standard talk of the benefits of breastfeeding. We also learn that David was breastfed until he was four. Surprisingly, while this is played for laughs, David is totally comfortable with talking about it and it’s not implied that he was in any way “damaged” by this, which is nice. Bryan and David decide they’re going to ask Goldie to pump some milk for them so their baby can get the benefits of breastfeeding. Bryan then hears that his friend was asked to leave a restaurant because she was breastfeeding and vows to help her organize a flash mob in protest.

Goldie, Bryan, Rocky, and Bryan’s breastfeeding friend Megan go to a store that sells lactation related products. Bryan reveals that he’s jealous of the closeness a mother gets from breastfeeding her child, and is introduced to a special vest with chest-mounted bottles so men can simulate breastfeeding with their babies. Bryan is, of course, intrigued and buys it. David is not exactly supportive of it, though he does try it on to humor Bryan. Honestly, though, I’m not seeing a significant difference between cradling a baby and feeding it with a bottle in your hand and feeding it from a bottle strapped to your chest. But hey, at least Bryan seems care deeply about his connection with his child.

Bryan and his friend go back to the restaurant that asked her to leave because she was breastfeeding and after the manager confronts her again, Bryan cues up Kelis’s “Milkshake” and a whole squad of mothers and infants break into a choreographed routine in the middle of the restaurant.

It’s all going great until Bryan hops up with his own vest mounted bottles. His friend hisses at him, “A man dancing around with fake breasts just makes this whole thing look like a joke.”

Afterwards, Bryan laments to David that no one takes his desire to breastfeed his baby seriously even though he realizes it sounds kind of ridiculous. Bryan reveals that he wasn’t breastfed. Furthermore, his mother was very cold to him, and he worries that it’s because they didn’t share that special breastfeeding bond. David points out what we all know, that this has nothing to do with nursing, and that breastfeeding isn’t everything when it comes to connecting with your child, which is a nice message.

In the tag, Megan and her husband are over for dinner and we find out that she’s bullied her husband into purchasing the breastfeeding vest himself. After Bryan sees the vest in action he admits that it’s a bit ridiculous.

When Bryan and David ask Goldie to pump breast-milk for them, she happily agrees but reveals that she didn’t breastfeed Shania. Shania, shocked, asks why not given all the health benefits that breastfeeding gives the baby. Goldie points out that she was still going to high school and working, so she really didn’t have time. Shania gets obsessed with the idea that because she wasn’t breastfed, she’s missed out on her full potential. Apparently all her friends at school were breastfed except some kid who’s not super bright and/or potty trained. Goldie does apologize for not breastfeeding Shania, but points out there’s nothing she can do about it now. Except that Shania found a story about an 8-year-old who’s still breastfeeding and thinks Goldie could just help her out with some milk for cereal so she can make up for lost time. This request complete ignores the fact that most of the health and development benefits from breastfeeding are in an infant’s first year of life. But hey, Shania’s finally sort of acting like she’s a child with illogical ideas and petty obsessions, so let’s just roll with it.

Shania then goes full-on crazy and orders some breast-milk online and threatens to drink it in front of Goldie. Goldie refuses to let her daughter drink a stranger’s breast-milk she bought on the Internet, with Shania continuing to argue that it could be the difference between failure and an Ivy League college. The struggle ends with the milk all over both Shania and Goldie, and as Goldie’s apologizing we learn that Shania is actually worried that the baby will take up all of Goldie’s time. Goldie reassures Shania that she is Goldie’s only baby, and promises her an hour of cuddle time every night no matter what.

Over in the C-plot, Jane is still interested in John Stamos’s Bryce at her office. They go out on a date to a food truck, where Jane is forced to be in a neighborhood that clearly makes her uncomfortable. Then, Bryce clearly and unapologetically calls her on a racist joke and she actually looks abashed. Could Jane actually be growing as a person? Maybe. Anyway, at the office she and Bryce arrange for another date, but then she see Bryce warmly greet a very young woman in a lovely red dress and leave with her. Jane instantly suspects the worst and becomes wildly jealous. When Jane confronts Bryce, we learn that young woman was Bryce’s daughter and Bryce sensibly points out that they only went on one date anyway so they should be able to date other people if they wanted to. Jane just hears the part where he said they were dating. And the slow shift of Jane from caricature to person continues.

Honestly, given what’s been happening on some of Ryan Murphy’s other shows this season (*coughAmericanHorrorStorycough*) I felt like the exploration of breastfeeding was extremely even handed. We got a message supportive of breastfeeding without putting down Goldie for not breastfeeding Shania. Rocky even said she wouldn’t want to breastfeed because of the affect it could have on her figure and no one challenged her. And David pointed out that the parent/child connection is forged in many ways, not just sticking a boob in an infant’s mouth, so I think it was a pretty successful episode in that way. But I haven’t had to negotiate the breastfeeding waters yet myself, so for those of you who have been there, thoughts? Reactions?

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