New Show Recap: The New Normal, Ep. 1.20 “About a Boy Scout”

This week on The New Normal, we actually have some problems that aren’t resolved within the episode! Amazing! And kind of sad, but I’m just surprised they decided to let something about Bryan and David’s life be less than perfect.

David goes for a hike with his friend and his friend’s son son, Donnie. His friend mentions that they have a Boy Scout event the next day, and David says he wishes that he could come along and that he plans to enroll his and Bryan’s son. David was an Eagle scout, and he’s a big believer in scouting even though Bryan points out that the scouts aren’t especially gay friendly. David insists that the virtues the scouts teach are valuable even if their views on homosexuality are regrettable, and he agrees to accompany Donnie’s troop on their camping trip.

David gets all kitted up in his scouting uniform (which I’m pretty sure isn’t required attire for camping) and goes camping. He has a great time, and was a huge hit with the younger scouts since he’s apparently super good at camping. However, he never mentioned that he was gay. David’s planning to lead another meeting, and Bryan challenges him to hold the meeting at their house to see how cool the Boy Scouts really are with David’s lifestyle.

The meeting is going well, with David commanding the rapt attention of all the young Boy Scouts and the esteem of the other fathers. When Bryan gets home, David introduces him a bit awkwardly and we get a fun flash of what it feels like to David (him in a leather daddy outfit and Bryan in a metallic suit while disco music plays and a rainbow flag unfurls behind them). But the other fathers recover quickly and seem entirely accepting of Bryan.

Bryan and David talk later, about how David’s devotion to the Scouts comes from the role models he found there as a child and how it felt so much like family. He thanks Bryan for keeping him honest with the Scouts, so of course now is when Bryan says he got a letter from the Boy Scouts, which says they heard about his “coming out” to the troop and have revoked his Boy Scout membership. When David goes to break the news to the troop, all the kids are thrilled to see him but David just goes to tell the troop leaders that he’s been kicked out for being an “avowed homosexual.” All the dads insist they didn’t tell, and that he can still work with the troop. But David feels betrayed by the Scouts, and he leaves.

Later, though, one of the dads (Scoutmaster Pat) comes over to David’s house to tell him that his son quit because the Scouts kicked David out. David says that’s very brave, and Pat confesses that he’s the one who blew the whistle on David. He did it because he saw his son emulating David, and he was scared about his son having a gay man as a role model. Pat points out that David has a perfect life; beyond being the epitome of an Eagle scout, David also has a great career, a loving partner, and a beautiful home. But he has it with a man, and that’s not something he wants his son to idolize. He insists he’s not a homophobe and that he likes David but that he wants his son to be “you know, normal.” David thanks him for his honesty and quietly shuts the door.

The B and C plots are sort of combined tonight. We learn that in addition to helping Goldie find a retail space, Bryce (whose name is apparently spelled “Brice” in the show but too late now) gave her an old computer with business software on it and has generally been at her beck and call. Rocky is suspicious of his motives and her suspicions seem to be confirmed when Rocky goes to a Love Addicts Anonymous meeting and runs into Bryce. Bryce confesses his habit of making women fall in love with him “no matter how much chaos it causes.”

It seems that Shania is babysitting Nikki unattended, and Rocky takes advantage of the time without Goldie to question Shania about how often Bryce has been visiting, especially when she sees some more supplies he brought over to help Goldie with her business. She gets more suspicious, though asks Bryan if she should tell the truth even if it would hurt someone else’s feelings. Bryan’s all for letting the light in, based on David’s success with the Boy Scout troop. So Rocky confronts Bryce about Goldie, but Bryce insists his intentions are entirely pure. That he’s trying to be a more caring person, and be of service to others. Rocky doesn’t believe him.

Rocky goes to tell Goldie that Bryce is trying to take advantage of her, but Goldie says he’s been nothing but a gentleman and she’s the one who keeps asking him to come over because she’s got a bit of a crush on him. Rocky tells Goldie that she realized that she had been spending too much time focusing on a man and not enough time focusing on her own goals and since she stopped her life has been going great. I suspect there’s some of this plot line that got left on the cutting room floor, because this is sort of coming out of nowhere. Anyway, she encourages Goldie to do the same and Goldie seems to heed her advice.

The end of the episode shows David packing away his Boy Scout things, but hopeful for the day when real change comes along and lets him take part in Scouting with his son. Goldie turns down a call from Bryce to work on her business paperwork, and Rocky offers Bryce a seat at their Love Addicts meeting. It’s a bit more bittersweet than most endings on this show, and there were some good moves by the writers. David encountered discrimination that wasn’t cartoonish in nature, lost something he loved, and couldn’t do anything to fix it. There are, of course, plenty of rational arguments against Pat’s discomfort, but I think David recognized that his feelings were coming from a place beyond rational argument. It’s a much more realistic storyline than some of the others on this show.

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