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New Show Recap: The New Normal, 1.06, “Bryanzilla”

Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday. Mawage, that bwessed awangement, that dweam wifin a dweam is the focus of tonight’s episode.

Shania announces at dinner that the kid she made out with a few weeks back (named Wilbur!) proposed to her with a Ring-Pop and is getting pretend-married. Awww. Bryan is immediately excited about this and we see in flashback that he’s always had very romantic notions about marriage and commitment, and wants to get married and live happily ever after. David thinks that marriage means nothing unless the government signs off on it, and takes the “until everyone can get married, I won’t even think about it side.” So, you know, that’s the completely obvious and not at all surprising subtext to Shania’s pretend-wedding.

In one of those moments when children unwittingly say horrible things to their parents, Goldie asks Shania if she’s sure Wilbur is ready to “settle down” as far as pretend-marriage goes, and Shania says, “Mom, I’m not you, and Wilbur’s not dad. We love each other.” so we get to see Goldie’s engagement, which took place in a bowling alley while she was hugely pregnant. So, you know, more impulsive than romantic.

Bryan immediately takes over the planning of Shania’s pretend-wedding and David tries to reign him in a bit considering they’re arranging food, flowers, and guests for a nine year old who got engaged with candy. Which, you know, it is a bit much. Nana then shows up to yell some things about marriage being a sacred vow that can’t be taken by children (or gay men) and not something to be made light of. I get her point but I married my Beanie Babies and I still have plenty of respect for marriage. Anyway, Nana enlists some of the more conservative girls in Shania’s class to disrupt the wedding in the name of sanctity of marriage because that makes sense.

The pretend wedding is all very lovely with a beautifully laid table and nice decorations.  Shania’s dress of autumn leaves that Goldie made is gorgeous. Bryan is giving Shania her pep talk, David is with Wilbur who’s starting to freak out and David assures him that this is all pretend and doesn’t matter in real life anyway so he has nothing to worry about! He’s not signing a piece of paper or taking on new legal obligations, so it’s totally cool. Bryan over hears a lot of this and isn’t particularly happy with David’s point of view even though in this instance David is, in fact, correct. These kids are in fourth grade. This is fun, but it’s not real and it doesn’t mean anything. But since Bryan and David can’t currently sign a piece of paper or change their taxes in their state, I guess it hits a bit close to home for Bryan.

Oh, also Clint (Rocky’s brother) shows up to officiate the proceedings and flirt with Goldie, but Goldie’s not ready to go on dates just yet. Clint seems disappointed, but still interested, so that should be interesting a little way down the road.

During the actual ceremony, things are going well until the three girls that Nana recruited stand up and accuse Wilbur of grade school infidelity. Either it’s true, or Wilbur just decides to go along with it because he’s not really as invested in Shania is in the wedding. He takes off, and Bryan has a bit of a fit while Goldie runs after Shania to comfort her.

Goldie then confronts Nana about Nana’s general awfulness, and tells Nana that she needs to protect Shania from Nana before telling her to go back to Ohio. Nana says she won’t abandon her family, giving us the usual quota of like, one thing that Nana is decent about per episode. Seriously though, how do you tell someone that their version of “love” is toxic and damaging to their grandchild?

Shania herself is disappointed in the outcome of her wedding, but seems fairly emotionally hardy. She also clearly loves her mom, while saying that Goldie is a great example of what NOT to do and that she won’t have sex and she definitely wants to go to college. Goldie takes it in stride, probably because she wants those same things for Shania, and leaves her daughter alone to experience her first real heart ache for a little while.

The episode ends with David inviting Bryan out for some Chinese, but instead David takes him to David’s office where Goldie is prepped for an ultrasound with flowers and candles all around her. David brings up the image of their baby on the ultrasound and as Bryan looks at the tiny image on the screen David gets down on one knee. David explains that he always knew Bryan loved weddings, but seeing him at Shania’s wedding made David realize just how much it means to Bryan and that having a child together is such a huge commitment that getting married seems easy now. Bryan points out that David doesn’t believe in marriage, and David says that he believes in their relationship and Bryan believes in marriage so they’ll get married. Goldie then pulls out a Ring-Pop to hand David as he asks Bryan to be his husband, Bryan says yes, and they kiss as we fade out. On one hand it seems kind of sudden, on the other hand it is true that having kids together is a bigger commitment than marriage in a lot of ways and if you’re going to have children together being married does make some aspects of caring for them easier. Of course, there’s also plenty of good reasons to not get married. I’d be happiest if all adults got to decide the issue of whether they got married or not and who they wished to marry on their own or with their significant other but unfortunately that’s not entirely possible. Yet.

As a tag, we head back to post wedding where Bryan teaches Shania how to eat her feelings. Setting her up for an extremely healthy and well adjusted relationship with food later in life, I’m sure. Also, I didn’t realize that needed to be taught.

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