When Andrew Rannells, star of the new NBC show "The New Normal" joked to a journalist at press tour, "Who are you going to offend this time?" he could have posed the question to show creator Ryan Murphy. The show about a gay couple hiring a surrogate to bear them a child has become the focus of a ban by One Million Moms. "I obviously have been through this before," sighed Murphy, who also created "Glee" and "American Horror Story."
"I think every person and group has a right to protest. I think it's interesting that they take that position before they've seen it...I would think they'd be excited because they're represented. Ellen Barkin's [character] is one of them. I think the show is about... it's about tolerance and a discussion of tolerance, and the points of view are delivered with sensitivity.
"I think the show is about... it's about tolerance and a discussion of tolerance, and the points of view are delivered with sensitivity. I think if they watched it, they would like it."
As for Rannells, he had a different take on the protest. "I was very excited I was mentioned by first and last name," he said.
Co-star Georgia King added, "My parents were very proud."
Murphy, who said the show is loosely based on his life, as he and his partner are exploring surrogacy, thinks Barkin's character may be controversial, but is based in realism. "I think all the characters are lovable… I think the most controversial character will be Ellen Barkin's character. I remember Thanksgivings where my grandmother would say these jaw dropping things… so it feels very familiar to me, and hopefully will to other people."
"The Real Housewives of Atlanta" star NeNe Leakes was also on the panel, and had no problem professing her love for the gay community in Atlanta, where there are "lots of gays running around. They invented nail posh haircuts and high heeled shoes, so we love them."
Executive Producer Ali Adler summed up the real focus of the show, which isn't the gay surrogacy that bonds the main characters. "I asked my son about gay stuff. He says it doesn't matter about the private parts, the hearts are all the same.