Welcome to another season of The Groove Tube, a weekly recap of the highlights (and lowlights) of some of the scripted TV shows I'm watching (in order of preference):
"Sofa's Choice" (Episode 2/September 11, 2012)
First Impression: From the creative mind of Ryan Murphy (Glee, American Horror Story) comes this new NBC sitcom about Goldie, a young single mother who decides to become a gay couple's surrogate. I enjoyed the first episode, which introduced us to the cast of characters - including a scene-stealing Ellen Barkin as Goldie's "Nana From Hell". However, last week's second episode almost had me rolling on the floor with laughter due to the hilarious impersonation of Little Edie (from the 1975 documentary, Grey Gardens) by actress Bebe Wood, who plays Goldie's eight-year-old daughter Shania. She was fabulous, and I could easily watch her play Little Edie every week. So far The New Normal is a thoroughly entertaining comedy with some excellent performances by a talented cast.
Cutest Couple of the Week: Justin Bartha and Andrew Rannells as gay couple David and Bryan.
Hottest Hunk of the Week Runner-Up: 28-year-old Jayson Blair as Goldie's cheating - and frequently shirtless - husband Clay.
Gayest Character on TV: Andrew Rannells' Bryan is giving Glee's Kurt a run for his money.
Best Bitch of the Week: Ellen Barkin, of course, whose character, Jane, said many wildly offensive things while still being amusing. And I liked that we got some insight into her homophobic behavior when she revealed that her late husband was gay.
Best Retro Music: Henry Mancini's groovy 1961 song, "Baby Elephant Walk", which seems to be the recurring theme of the show.
Best Cameo Appearance of the Week: Gwyneth Paltrow as a possible surrogate who was a dead ringer for the actress.
Best Cameo Appearance of the Week Runner-Up: Leslie Grossman (who played Mary Cherry on Ryan Murphy's Popular) as a rejected surrogate.
Hottest Hunk of the Week and Favorite New Character: 26-year-old Dean Geyer as hunky junior, Brody Weston, who has taken a shine to Rachel. My advice to the girl - forget Finn! And my advice to the writers - show Mr. Geyer in a towel every week!
Most Disappointing Guest Star of the Week: Kate Hudson as Rachel's NYADA dance instructor didn't do much for me. Her abrasive character is annoying, and her musical number wasn't that great. However, I do like her name - Cassandra July.
Best Return of the Week: Alex Newell as Wade "Unique" Adams, who transferred to McKinley.
Favorite New Character Runner-Up: Marley Rose (Melissa Benoist), who has a nice relationship with her mother, the school's lunch lady.
Favorite New Character Honorable Mention: Jake Puckerman (Jacob Artist), Puck's cute half-brother. Unfortunately, he has major anger issues instead of Puck's sense of humor, but he can sing.
Least Favorite New Character: Head cheerleader Kitty, whose bitchiness is boring. She's definitely no Quinn Fabray or Santana Lopez.
The New Carrie Bradshaw: Rachel's voiceover reminded me of Sex and the City.
Best Reunion of the Week: Kurt and Rachel together again in the Big Apple.
The only former regular whom I missed: Santana!
Best Non-Musical Scene: Kurt's emotional goodbye to his father before moving to NYC. I confess I almost cried.
Best Musical Performance Runner-Up: Tina, Brittany, Blaine and Wade's performance of "Call Me Maybe" in order to be named the "new Rachel"/lead soloist of the glee club.
Best Musical Performance: Rachel and Marley's performance of Billy Joel's "New York State of Mind".
Best Brittany Line: "That's a great haircut, Mercedes. I thought you graduated" - Brittany to Wade
SPOILERS: Sarah Jessica Parker will show up in this season's third episode as Kurt's boss when he begins an internship at Vogue.com. And in the fourth episode, one of these couples - Will & Emma, Rachel & Finn, Kurt & Blaine or Santana & Brittany - will break up. I've heard rumors that it's Kurt and Blaine, but I would rather see Rachel bid Finn goodbye forever.
Grade: B+ (it was a decent fourth season opener, and they did a good job in introducing all the new characters. But none of the musical numbers WOWED me as much as Dean Geyer stepping out of the shower)