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Two new shows about life with babies offer very different views of how things change
'Guys With Kids' is a new TV comedy about frazzled parents. Stars include Anthony Anderson, Tempestt Bledsoe. Finding an audience may be tough.
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By Rob Hedelt
NBC has gotten out of the premiere gate early with two new bundles of comedy--"The New Normal" and "Guys With Kids"--about pregnancy and babies.
"The New Normal" is the better of the two, though that's not saying much.
It tries oh-so-hard to be different. It's about two gay men turning to a needy woman as a surrogate to have their baby. But this series from "Glee" creator Ryan Murphy is best when it finds humor in the way this unique family interacts.
"Guys With Kids," from executive producer Jimmy Fallon, simply retreads recent movies about fathers angered and/or bewildered by the life changes that come with kids.
It's lowest-common-denominator humor, adding precious little to the overdone genre.
"Normal" is like "Glee" in that it throws its differences from traditional TV in the viewer's face from the get-go, beginning with gay couple Bryan (Andrew Rannells) and David (Justin Bartha).
Bryan sees a baby while shopping at Barneys, and suddenly has to have one.
Thankfully, David thinks a little more deeply. He's an OB/GYN who understands the concept of raising children.
To achieve their goal, the two procure the services of a sweet but slightly daft woman named Goldie (Georgia King), whose life is a mess and who sees the $35,000 surrogate fee as a new lease on life.
Since she already has one child--the interestingly different Shania, played by Bebe Wood--Goldie knows this is something she can do.
She just has to make sure her despicable, somewhat deranged grandmother (Ellen Barkin) doesn't interfere.
Barkin is the low point of this series, a bigot who spouts things so nasty, hateful and downright dirty that you'll want to change the channel.
Barkin is a good actress who deserves better than the stuff this series has coming out of her mouth, especially the dirty anti-gay slurs.
Things moved so quickly in the opening episodes, with so much being set up, that it was a little hard to get a sense of these characters. But already, it's clear Bryan is the comic relief. He's so outrageous and clueless that he's a constant source of goofy laughs.
WANT TO WATCH? What: "The New Normal" When: Tuesdays at 9:30 Where: NBC What: "Guys With Kids" When: Wednesdays at 8:30 (Next episode Sept. 26) Where: NBC