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New Show Recap: “The New Normal,” Episode 1.17*, “Rocky Bye Baby”

This week on The New Normal, we deal with over-enthusiastic present-givers and becoming a foster parent. Though we talk way more about the first than about the second.

We open on Bryan and David sitting on the couch wearing uncomfortable smiles as Rocky gushes about the baby shower she wants to throw for them. We flash back to a conversation between Bryan and David as they’re arranging things in their baby’s room, discussing how they don’t really need anything from anyone and they’d prefer people not get them presents at all. They agree that they won’t let anyone throw them a baby shower, and back in the present, David punts the question to Bryan. Rocky’s ecstatic smile and Shania and Goldie’s presence seems to have weakened both men’s resolve, though, and so Bryan says yes. He does tell them no presents, but as soon as the men have left the room the women basically say, “Who goes to a baby shower without presents!” so that’s not going to work either.

Even before the shower, people are sending Bryan and David presents and they both lament all the things they’ve gotten that they’ll never need or use. Rocky lectures them on being ungrateful, and that people love buying baby gifts. This is true, I think my mom makes friends with people who are pregnant just so she can buy baby clothes. Anyway, David decides that they graciously accept the presents and then donate all of them to charity. Not a bad idea, actually, if they were receiving anything practical anyway. At the baby shower, Bryan and David get ridiculous gifts like a claw foot baby tub, a crystal-encrusted potty training seat, and the previously mentioned mink onesie. Bryan does make the case to keep the mink onesie, but David says it all goes.

When they haul it down to the children’s shelter, the manager there gives them some shit for trying to “drop off some guilt” and the ridiculous and impractical nature of the stuff they’re bringing by. He then apologizes and says that he’s just having a rough day because several kids are losing their placement. While Bryan and David stand there looking abashed, another worker comes through with a boy named Malcolm who’s demanding in a profanity-laden tirade that she tie his shoes because it’s her job. Also arriving on the scene is a baby girl named Nikki. Bryan and David hold Nikki while Malcolm gets his shoes tied and are instantly charmed by the little girl.

Back home, the men discuss fostering, and whether it’s a good idea to bring a child into their home when their baby will be born so soon. We learn that they considered adoption and decided against it, but now they’re reconsidering. Both men thought Nikki was beautiful, and Bryan asks why they don’t just bring her home. So they’re going to go and try to foster Nikki, yay! But before that, Bryan breaks the news to Jane and Rocky that they gave away the gifts. Both the ladies are upset that he gave away the gifts picked out for them, but Bryan doesn’t back down.

Bryan and David go back to the shelter to “place Nikki on hold” while they complete all the steps necessary to becoming foster parents, but they find out she already has a new foster parent. And her new foster parent is”¦ Rocky!

Their plans to take home an adorable baby girl foiled, the men go back to the shelter to adopt the mouthy Malcolm where they find out that he’s actually the son of the guy in charge of the shelter. Whoops. Bryan and David are told that while they’re obviously excited about being parents and their enthusiasm is admirable, they should maybe hold off on a second child until they get their first. I do think a lot of the guys’ feelings about fostering or adopting comes from the general broodiness of having everything ready for a baby but no baby yet. Hopefully it sticks around even after their son is born, but it is probably better that they don’t get a kid right away.

B-plot! Part of the reason Rocky wanted to throw a shower for David and Bryan is to help fill the hole in her own life she’d like to put a baby in. She and Jane go in together on a gift for the men, assuming their “no presents” stance just means “no cheap presents” and buy the baby a ridiculous mink onesie. We also learn that Rocky met Bryan while she was working as a waxer, and actually used the phrase, “Hire me and I’ll do anything, I’ll work from the bottom up” as she rips a strip of wax off his undercarriage. Bryan took her at her word, and it looks like it’s worked out very well for both of them. Though while Rocky has the career she wanted, she still doesn’t have a family. At least until Rocky and Jane go down to the shelter to get the onesie back. They make asses of themselves, but then Rocky happens to meet Nikki. Turns out, Rocky had been thinking about becoming a foster parent and had taken all the classes and filled out the forms already, off screen. She didn’t tell them because she was afraid that Bryan would think she wasn’t putting her career first, but he’s excited that their kids will grow up together.

And, C-plot: Goldie never got a baby shower when she gave birth to Shania despite dropping some pretty obvious hints to Clay. When looking at all the extravagant gifts at the baby shower, she does say that when Shania was born, “Nana got me a bus pass, so that was pretty cool.” Shania tells Clay that Goldie needs a shower, and so the two of them throw Goldie an extremely belated baby shower. There’s no presents, but a lot of decorations, and it does look like Goldie is genuinely touched.

The episode ends with everyone happy (obviously): Rocky’s happy with her new daughter, Bryan and David are volunteering at the shelter, and it looks like the Goldie and Clay reunion is on track. I do wish the show would address some of the frustration Goldie must feel watching Bryan and David. Obviously, they’re kind and generous people, but the disparity between her life when she was getting ready to have Shania and their life as they’re getting ready to welcome their son is still pretty glaring. The fact that she’s consistently kind and supportive with them either means she should be made a saint or that she’s regularly going into a sound proof room and screaming it out where no one can hear her.

*I somehow got one off on the episode numbering, so I’m correcting that this week. Sorry for any confusion!

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