New Show Recap: The New Normal, Episode 1.8, “Para-Normal”

This week on The New Normal we get the episode that should’ve aired the week Sandy hit. Because of this, Goldie’s a lot less pregnant, and we’re getting Halloween long after the Christmas episode. The good news is there are actually some important plot lines that get wrapped up! Mostly, anyway.

Also, apparently this show might not be entirely based off Ryan Murphy’s life. Figure skater Johnny Weir-Voronov also finds it relatable:

Tweet by Johnny Weir-Voronov reading "When I catch an episode of The New Normal I swear Ryan Murphy has surveillance cameras set up in my house."
This man is a delight on Twitter and elsewhere

Onto the episode!

Bryan is thrilled about Halloween and explains that it’s like gay Christmas, only you get to invite people you actually like. Not only has he completely decorated the house and picked out some prime pumpkins with best friend and guest star Nicole Ritchie, he’s decided on a group costume for him, David, Goldie, and Shania! They’re going as the family from Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo, which was slightly more topical back in October. And he’s told Rocky who she has to be for Halloween as well! Then David’s friend Ian comes by with his son, Avery, who has long hair and is wearing a pink tunic. Ian is struggling with the fact that his son would rather be a fairy for Halloween than a Teenager Mutant Ninja Turtle or a super-hero. Bryan encourages Ian to let Avery pick his own costume, even if Ian isn’t thrilled with it. This leads to a minor uprising that begins when David puts his foot down and says that this year, he’s not going to be what Bryan wants him to be and decides to go as Tom Brady.

Bryan And David talk about Bryan’s choices in costumes and why they bother David, who finds them to be very cliche. Other guest-star George Takei (playing Bryan’s makeup artist) discusses how femme-men get the chance to really indulge themselves on Halloween, as opposed to most days when they have to be more careful of their behavior and mannerisms. David sympathizes, but is sticking with the shoulder pads.

Then Shania gets a fit of conscience and says she doesn’t want to be Honey Boo-Boo because it feels like they’re laughing at them, and she doesn’t want to support something that sexualizes children and plays on negative stereotypes. Also, “I don’t want to waste Halloween on a costume that champions irony over authenticity,” which is a great sentiment, but not one a nine-year-old is likely to be able to vocalize clearly. The group ends up changing to Frankenstein costumes, with Shania and Clay playing the monster, Bryan playing Dr.Frankenstein, and Goldie playing Frankenstein’s bride. Rocky has also ditched Bryan’s suggestion of Matt Lauer and has dressed up as Serena Williams. Jane also shows up as Endora from Bewitched. This is right after Shania’s play wedding that Jane ruined, so Goldie isn’t happy to see her and tells her she’s not welcome. Shania says that she called her grandmother, though, so it looks like she’s here for the night. So the gang heads out for some trick-or-treating.

They go by Ian and Avery’s house and find both Ian and his son dressed in full-on fairy costumes. Bryan and David compliment Ian on being brave enough to wear the costume his son wanted, but Ian says he actually gave in after Avery threw a tantrum. Still, it’s not every dad who’ll strap on a pink tutu and fairy wings for their son. After trick-or-treating, Bryan and David talk about how having a child changed their friend Ian for the better. The both look forward to how having a kid will change them.

Meanwhile, we see Clay trying to be involved with Goldie and Shania for Halloween, but this is back when Clay was suing Goldie for custody so he could take Shania back to Ohio, so he’s more of an immature jerk. Shania’s glad to see him, but Goldie’s not thrilled to have a grown man trying to scare her with masks, teasing her with fake hands, and delighting over squeezing pumpkin innards. Though Goldie does recognize that she doesn’t want to keep Shania from her father. Goldie kind of dresses Clay down about his parenting, but Clay insists that he acts like a child because Goldie treats him that way. What’s more, she won’t let him be with Shania and that’s why he’s suing for custody. It seems like Shania overhears this conversation.

Clay and Shania are sorting candy when Goldie talks with Jane about how Jane really was always there for her, and Goldie knows that she always will be. And while she gets mad and yells at Jane sometimes, it’s because she knows that she’ll always be there for Goldie and Shania. Jane tries to distract Goldie, but it’s obvious she’s deeply touched. Goldie looks at her and sincerely says, “I love you Nana.”

Meanwhile, Shania is talking to Clay about how being a dad can be fun but there are also responsibilities that go along with it. Responsibilities that Goldie has under control but Clay doesn’t. Shania tells Clay that he seems more like a friend than a dad, and she loves him but she needs a Dad-dad. Clay says he does want to be a good father, and that he’s trying, but he was only 15 when he had her so it’s hard for him. Clay then announces that he’s dropping the custody case because he wants to do what’s best for Shania, and what’s best for her is to be in California with her mom. And he decides that he’s staying there too, and that he’ll become an actor. Bryan quips that he may be too smart for the job. Rocky and Jane decamp for West Hollywood to drink while the two families curl up on the couch for scary movies.

So this does wrap up some lingering issues from earlier in the season with regards to the reintroduction of Nana/Jane after Goldie blew up at her and Clay deciding to stay on in California instead of dragging Goldie back to Ohio to fight her for custody of Shania. Although Goldie’s throw-away line in a recent episode about the judge awarding her full custody now seems out of place, I’ll give the writers the benefit of the doubt and assume they wrote it in figuring this episode wouldn’t see the light of day until the Season 1 DVDs came out. I’m glad they decided to air it, even if it’s hideously out of order.

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