Ryan Murphy’s latest show The New Normal starts on E4 tonight and while the man behind Glee and Nip/Tuck might not look it on the surface, he’s quickly turning into the most headline grabbing TV show creator in America.
It’s hard to imagine that in a country where murder and rape are often on primetime TV cop shows that a group of high school kids cuddling up and talking about being inclusive would kick up too much fuss. But low and behold they have done.
Glee was always a lightning rod for controversy, with the show constantly berated by right wing and conservative groups since its debut three years ago over its handling of gay and transgender relationships. Often said to promote homosexuality and teenage sex (as if it’s something that teens will watch on TV and instantly copy), Glee was dragged over the coals for its decision to have an episode in which two (one straight, one gay) couples lose their virginities on the show.
American TV has always been a little bit cagey about homosexuality (as well as sex in general), and while Murphy’s comedy appears to be as light and fluffy as a kitten wearing angora slippers, it caused an uproar in America even before its release.
Conservative group One Million Moms attacked the show’s network NBC for “Using public airwaves to continue to subject families to the decay of morals and values” before claiming that the show was “damaging to our culture” and a station in Utah refused to air the show.
His explorations in the world of horror got a lot of heat too, when American Horror Story had a storyline that involved a high school shooting shown in rather gritty detail. For a show that specialised in the more ridiculous side of horror, this was a terrifying new angle that pushed many viewers a little too far.
Ryan Murphy himself hasn’t been safe from barbs of hate out there either, having received death threats and been often criticised for being openly gay. He may sometimes not help himself, especially with his foul-mouthed rant against The Kings Of Leon in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, but Murphy himself has become nearly as controversial as his work.
His next project looks set to rattle a few cages too, with him set to take on drama Normal Heart for HBO. Set to star Julia Roberts as a doctor treating some of the first cases of HIV/AIDS in New York in the 1980s, Mark Ruffalo as the leader of a prominent advocacy group and Matt Bomer as a reporter who becomes his lover, it may just be another bee in bonnet of the American conservative when it comes out next year.
FemaleFirst Cameron Smith