‘The New Normal’: Even out of order, ‘Para-New Normal Activity’ gives insight into current plot

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A Halloween theme might seem slightly odd seeing as it’s March but the “Para-New Normal Activity” episode, originally supposed to air on October 30 but was postponed due to Hurricane Sandy news coverage, was strong enough to stand on its own.

Because the episode was meant to be shown much earlier in the season, it’s hard to compare the characters to how they’ve developed from last week. Instead, it’s easier to examine the roles each character played in making this a successful episode, odd timing aside.

A huge part of tonight’s conflict was between Goldie and Clay as they prepared to go to court for custody. Goldie continuously insists that Clay doesn’t have what it takes to be a father and he says it’s only because she won’t let him. It’s an interesting plot line because both sides are right and wrong. Goldie has been moving Shania out of Clay’s way but only because of what past experiences have told her. The Goldie/Clay back and forth was an interesting hurdle and it was resolved by the end of the episode, with Clay making a slightly out of character decision (it seemed a little wise for how dim he is portrayed) to drop the case.

Jane’s relationship with Goldie shifts as well. It really makes the viewer like Jane  which isn’t always easy to do. Goldie is forced to spend the evening with Jane after she ruined Shania’s fake wedding previously. As she watches Jane with Shania, memories of her own childhood begin to come back. The way Jane trick-or-treated with Shania forces Goldie to recall her own Halloweens, where Jane would be the one to take her out. Goldie realizes that through absolutely everything, Jane is the one that’s been there, and thanks her for it. It might have been hidden before, or simply because it wasn’t blatantly discussed but Jane has truly done some remarkable things for Goldie. She might be cold-hearted and old-fashioned but Jane really is a world-class grandmother and maternal figure for Goldie. Whether Jane has changed these past few months or viewers’s opinions have, one thing is clear: her character is developing well and she’s becoming much more likable in the eyes of many fans.

The episode was confusing and out of place but still delivered an important message. Whether it was watching Ian dress up as a fairy to match his son or David defying Bryan’s choice of Halloween costume, it’s impossible to please everyone. But even just trying to make one important person happy is enough. And that’s what makes The New Normal special. The storyline is crooked, there are definitely some holes, but the increasingly aware plot and characters provide valuable lessons.

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