Parents' Guide to

Normal, Ohio

By Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Tepid, short-lived sitcom upends some gay stereotypes.

TV Hulu Comedy 2000
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Two years after Will & Grace burst onto the screen to rave reviews came Normal, Ohio, another comedy about a gay man, but one that takes an altogether different approach in its presentation of him and his situation. One need only look at Goodman to know that this show isn't steeped in flamboyant clichés; in fact, it strives for the opposite, casting him as a beer-drinking, sports-loving guy who doesn't really fit the stereotypical bill for a gay TV front man. Yes, some clichés do make the cut (his nephew fears homosexuality is hereditary; Butch sings show tunes now and then), but its primary focus is on how coming out affected his loved ones rather than on setting a record for double entendres.

Because of the subject matter and the lightness with which it treats some realistically weighty issues, Normal, Ohio isn't appropriate for tweens, but it raises some talking points that have value for teens and parents. Homosexuality aside, it's a story about forgiveness, rebuilding relationships, and accepting differences, and while the characters' actions aren't always great examples of how to implement these virtues, they do give viewers a lot to talk about. That said, the show's stale comedy likely accounts for its very short life span.

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