Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"


Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

TV Series Review

The New Normal is the brainchild of Ryan Murphy, creator of Glee, Nip/Tuck and American Horror Story, and many of Murphy's hallmarks—crisp dialogue and outlandish scenarios among them—are represented in force. While it doesn't appear to have a character to equal Jane Lynch's maniacal Sue Sylvester in Glee (though Ellen Barkin's Jane gives it a try), the show can be quite comical at times.

It's also quite problematic—particularly for families who embrace what we'll call for now the "old normal."

For starters, the show's awfully crass. References to sex and sexual organs are frequent. We sometimes see simulated sex onscreen as well. Language can be harsh. While it's not any more extreme than, say, Two and a Half Men, The New Normal easily earns its TV-14 rating on problematic content alone.

But we can't ignore, as Jane blurts out at one point in the premiere, the "giant homosexual elephant in the room."

The New Normal, you see, is pinned to the parental hopes of gay couple David and Bryan. Oh, and the outbursts of the racist great-grandmother of their child.

This is not new territory. ABC's  Modern Family has gained quite a following by featuring gay parents Mitch and Cam and their (sometimes crazy) extended fam. So while on New Normal, Bryan's desire to be a father is fairly superficial in the early going ("I would like a skinny, blond child who doesn't cry," he says. "Is this extra?"), we can anticipate that he and David will ultimately be shown doing their level best—within a farcical context of course—to provide a good home and raise their child well.

There's a difference, though, in the ethos between Modern Family and The New Normal. While Modern Family introduces us to a gay couple and makes it hard for us not to like them, The New Normal introduces us to a gay couple and blatantly tells us that if we don't like David and Bryan's lifestyle, we must be bigots.

An example: When Great-Grandma Jane asks her granddaughter, Goldie, about what sort of example she's setting for Shania (Goldie's wise-beyond-her-years grade schooler) by carrying a baby for a pair of homosexuals, Goldie snaps back, "That you can be whatever you want to be no matter how many people tell you you're nothing."

The philosophical problems here just keep on coming, too. "A family is a family," Goldie tells us—in what might be The New Normal's mission statement—"And love is love." Thus, the show is filled with many encouraging platitudes designed to make most of us feel better about ourselves. When David worries that he might be a bad father, Goldie reassures him that he'll be great. When Goldie announces that she wants to be a lawyer, the guys support her by buying her a fancy new lawyer suit.

Love is love. A family is a family. We can be whomever and whatever we want to be.

Truth is, of course, Goldie barely knows David and has no idea as to whether he's going to be a great father (though for the new baby's sake, we all hope he will be). There's no guarantee that Goldie has the wherewithal to be a high-powered lawyer, or even make it through the 46 years of schooling required to become one. Love is love … but relationships aren't always healthy (as Goldie, victimized by a cheating boyfriend, could attest to herself). A family is a family … but not all families are equally ideal or nurturing. We can be whatever we want to be … as long as it's within the scope of our limitations, and we're willing to work hard and sacrifice much to get there. Like it or not, our world is full of limitations, physically, socially and spiritually.

Just because we want something doesn't mean we can have it. Just because we hope for something doesn't make it so. And just because it's The New Normal doesn't mean it's a good normal.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles



Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

New-Normal: 9-10-2012



Readability Age Range





Justin Bartha as David Murray; Andrew Rannells as Bryan Collins; Georgia King as Goldie Clemmons; Bebe Wood as Shania Clemmons; NeNe Leakes as Rocky; Ellen Barkin as Jane Forrest






Record Label




On Video

Year Published



Paul Asay

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!