‘The New Normal’ Interview: Executive Producer Ali Adler On Pushing The Envelope


“A single mother’s life as she becomes a surrogate for a gay couple.” Listed as the description for the new NBC series, that’s basically all you need to know about The New Normal. That, and the fact Ellen Barkin is hilarious to watch. The New Normal tries to show audiences from every background what the “new normals” are in society, all the while giving us hilarity and emotional ties viewers can learn from. And they succeed at doing so. Thanks to Ryan Murphy and Executive Producer Ali Adler, the new series has developed a substantial following so far, and has finally brought to light how talented actors like Andrew Rannells and Justin Bartha are.

Recently, Adler chatted with Ology about the series that she’s felt so “privileged” to make. She reveals what she thinks about guest stars, what “new normals” have been her favorite to show viewers, and what she thinks about Barkin’s character Jane Forrest. For those who have seen Jane in action, you know she has quite the unfiltered mouth. It made us wonder if the writers at any point try to tone her down.

Do you every worry with Ellen Barkin’s character that you’re pushing the envelope a bit too far? Do you find yourself toning her lines down or is anything game?
I mean I think—obviously she’s an explosive character. All of our characters I hope have a point of view that’s equally outrageous. Just maybe not to that degree. So I don’t think we do generally do tone her down and we’ve been very privileged to be supported by NBC and 20th [Century Fox] in trying to explore—I mean I think we all face television and Ryan [Murphy] and myself really want to make people laugh. We want to make people to feel too, and I think it’s a privilege in a half-hour to give people something else besides laughter. So we’re looking to push the boundaries and get away from what we usually see on television.

Gwyneth Paltrow appeared briefly in the very first episode. Are there any other guest stars you’d love to have on?
Well, that was a pretty big dream of mine to have an Academy Award winning actress, but no I think we’re just casting the people that are best for the parts. We’re not considering—I mean if we get name people on the show that would be great, but right now we are just looking at just the best person for the job.

What’s one of your favorite “new normals” that you’ve been able to present to audiences so far?
I do feel proud and privileged to be able to show a same gender couple in a loving and committed relationship, but I’m also really proud of exploring the perspective of a single mother and her very unique and special fathers. A grandmother that’s sort of reinventing her life too and seeing the NeNe Leakes character just grow and become like a super woman. I think what’s cool about this show is that there’s so many different perspectives that we can follow and are attracted to.

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