Justin Bartha Talks Boy Scouts and Tonight’s ‘The New Normal’
By Benjamin Lindsay
The Boys Scouts of America were just put through the ringer by Madonna at this year’s GLAAD Media Awards, but now it’s time they get the Ryan Murphy treatment as tonight’s episode of The New Normal, “About A Boy Scout,” tackles the group's homophobia head-on. In light of the controversy surrounding the organization’s ban on gay members, David (Justin Bartha) must decide whether or not the organization is right for he and Bryan’s (Andrew Rannells) soon-to-be son.
“David is an Eagle Scout and you’re an Eagle Scout for life,” Bartha tells Entertainment Weekly. “Since they’re having a boy, he is very much interested in looking back at his time with the Boy Scouts and kind of getting back into it because he’s very proud of his membership and what he learned. Then, that current topic of sexuality within the Boy Scouts is raised [in tonight’s episode]. But it’s not dealt with in a preachy way. It’s brought up and it’s open for a conversation as hopefully the show will be.”
Of course, “preachy” is a relative term—we all know the show can get on its liberal high horse and preach equality. But we’re not complaining.
Below, find a few highlights from Bartha’s interview with EW, and be sure to tune in to tonight’s special episode.
On The New Normal’s “preachy” nature:
Personally, I don’t think we are. I think we’ve always shown both sides of the coin. It just so happens that the main characters of the show are gay and liberal. The point of the show is how these guys evolve through their relationship with the very diverse people that are now in their lives, including a single mother from the Midwest, her very conservative grandmother, a female African-American colleague.
I think the main concept of the show is to see how we evolve through other people’s points of view and there’s no right way to do anything. Like with this Boy Scout episode, the obvious instinct is that obviously the gay couple or gay man will absolutely disagree that they are not approving of homosexuality. But then you see that he comes into contact with another gentleman and has just as different and valid point of view.
On the episode’s timeliness:
We try to do it in an intelligent, very funny, and provocative way, which is ultimately really the wheelhouse of what we’d like the show to be… We didn’t want it to be a trite telling of just a liberal point of view. We wanted it to be very thought-provoking, moving, and funny. I think this was a topic that was very much on everyone’s mind.
On letting his son join the Boy Scouts:
I’ve thought about this a lot, because one day if I’m lucky enough to have children, you have to make those choices. I would absolutely want my child to be part of an organization like the Boy Scouts. On the other hand, I can’t necessarily condone it if their values don’t promote equality.