I'm not complaining about this show in general. In fact it's quite good. Nor am I speaking to a problem with this show alone, but rather a terrible misconception running rampant on modern television. I cannot for the life of me understand why almost every senior on every sitcom is an angry bigot. I'm thirty-two years old. My parents are in their sixties, and like the majority of my generation, I was raised to be tolerant and embrace racial and cultural differences... in West Texas no less (I could write just as easily about Hollywood's false portrayal of the modern southerner). Granted, racism is not yet dead in America and the fight for homosexual rights is far from over, but I defy you to find an American at Ellen Barkin's age who would have the audacity and backward thought to ask a black woman if she was even supposed to be using a particular restroom. America was largely desegregated by the time Ellen Barkin was a small child. The Baby Boomer generation may not be in total agreement when it comes to issues such as gay marriage and the like, but the level of intolerance written into this character is egregiously and maliciously overstated. After all, we're talking about the generation that grew up in the era of "I have a dream" and "All you need is love".
The New Normal is not alone. Consider Chevy Chase's character on Community. How many sixty-eight-year-olds do you know who have been senile for years and constantly refer to a friend as "the Jewess" and blacks as "you people". At least Pierce Hawthorne means well most of the time (which is to say that he doesn't know any better. He's still the de facto villain in many episodes). The character of Nana, cleverly written as she is, does not mean well. She is purposely hurtful, spewing Klan-worthy hate speech freely and without shame. I imagine even the racist character of Colleen Donaghy on Thirty Rock, nearly thirty years Nana's senior would be offended. In reality, the majority of younger seniors I know would more easily identify with characters like Ed O'Neill's Jay Pritchett on Modern Family. When faced with open and proud homosexuality, a moderate level of discomfort with the subject is as close as you're going to get to outright bigotry (barring of course religious fanaticism which knows no age restrictions whatsoever), and not a one of them would ever say such disgusting things about another race.
The New Normal really is a fantastic show, well written and beautifully performed, but I have to wonder, on a show concerned with tolerance and the modern paradigm, can the "new normal" not include anyone over the age of fifty-five?