'New Normal' Tackles Boy Scouts, Delicately Pushes for Gay Inclusion

'New Normal' Tackles Boy Scouts, Delicately Pushes for Gay Inclusion

It’s not hard to guess where the NBC dramedy The New Normal stands on the issue of gays in the Boy Scouts. The show, created by Ryan Murphy, is rooted in the notion that the show’s gay couple is now part of mainstream American culture.

This week’s episode, About a Boy Scout, isn’t nearly as inflammatory as one might expect on an issue which typically draws angry debate. In fact, the show’s writers extol the virtues of Boy Scouts repeatedly, all the while pushing for the group to alter its policy toward admitting gay members.

The show’s gay couple (Justin Bartha and Andrew Rannells) swap typical talking points early in the episode. Bartha’s David grew up with the Scouts and has nothing but fond memories from his days with the organization. Rannells’ Bryan can’t see past the group’s stance against gay members.

“They kick out more gay men than the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, don’t you read the news?” Bryan asks his partner.

David insists the group’s merits outweigh its stance on gay members. 

“I was just a confused kid when I joined the Scouts looking for something I don’t even know what,” he says. “I found role models. I found men that showed me how to be the father that I hoped to become, something my father was unable to do.”

(Episode spoilers ahead …)

David ends up inviting a group of young Scouts to their home along with several adult Scout leaders. David introduces Bryan as his partner and fiance during the meeting, and all the Scouts treat the pair warmly. Only later do we learn that someone snitched on David, and the Boy Scouts board subsequently strips him of his membership.

The episode still refuses to demonize the group, even if it tweaks the Boy Scouts’ stance on “self-abuse.”

One adult Boy Scout leader, while extolling David’s virtues as a decent person and a fine role model, simply doesn’t want his son to grow up gay.

“I want him to be … normal,” the man confesses.

The episode wraps with David refusing to sever his emotional ties to the Boys Scouts of America.

“Like the Scouts taught me, ‘Be Prepared’,” he says, “because change is coming.”