I’ve been getting into a TV show called The New Normal.
The show follows a surrogate mother (as well as her own awkward-aged daughter and closed-minded grandmother) as she carries the baby of a gay couple. While it’s both funny and heartwarming, it is also a little too nail-on-the-head. Every chance they get, the writers are pushing forth their agendas through the mouths of their characters.
There’s nothing wrong with this, to an extent. On the one hand, these things need to be said. Homophobia is accepted for some people because they don’t think of it as discrimination, and the only way to stop that is to heighten awareness of it. On the other hand, however, is a believability factor. Most average people are not as forthright or as articulate about their beliefs outside of a prepared speech or a college classroom.
Well, the other day I found a great alternative: That’s a Wrap by Liz Borino. This book is the third in a fantastic series. I will sing this author’s praises all day long. She is a legitimately good writer, who happens to write erotica, which is difficult to find when a lot of good writers don’t want to do erotica and a lot of erotica writers are not exactly the best.
Anyway, this series follows a gay couple in the BDSM lifestyle, and the reason I am bringing them up is a great line from one of the main characters, Zack.
The couple is trying to prove to a social worker that they’re “normal,” and when it is Zack’s turn to talk to her, he prefaces by saying, “I haven’t the slightest idea how to prove I’m normal. I’m not a washing machine cycle.”
I absolutely loved this. This is how you state your beliefs within fiction. Instead of going on a rant about what normal means, and instead of merely claiming to be normal himself, Zack instead points out the flaw in our reasoning for labeling anyone “normal.” Sure, a washing machine cycle can be normal, but who are we to label people the same way?
In two seemingly flippant sentences, Borino achieved a solid argument without making her characters seem unnatural.
If you want to read this series, which I highly recommend, start with the first book of the series, Action.