A look at two shows that address modern fatherhood—with varying degrees of success
Last fall, as part of its attempts to dig its way out of the ratings cellar, NBC debuted a charming comedy called Up All Night about a television executive and her husband, who decides to stay home to raise their baby daughter. The show was a modest success, and will return with some changes for a second season later this month. But it appears to have given NBC ideas. This fall, in keeping with its efforts to woo audiences with hunky firefighters, apocalypses, and Matthew Perry, the network's offering up two much broader shows about men raising children and thinking about how to build their families.
The most superficially important difference between The New Normal, which begins airing on Tuesday, and Guys With Kids, which premieres Wednesday, is that the men in the first show are a gay couple, and in the latter, they are three heterosexual buddies. Guys With Kids drably draws its humor from a retrograde vision of family in which it constitutes a wacky switch to have men instead of women caring for children. The New Normal gets more mileage by tackling a truly modern dilemma: what it's like for men who assumed that their sexual orientation would keep them from becoming fathers at all to build a family with the full participation of the surrogate who will carry their child.