TODAY   |  September 07, 2012

Ellen Barkin: I hope new show will be controversial

After 30 years of movie roles, Ellen Barkin is tackling her first small-screen role on NBC’s “The New Normal.” She talks about her out-of-control character, and says she would be happy if the envelope-pushing comedy is “extremely controversial.”

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>>> with award winning actress ellen barkin . it seems hard to believe but her film career started 30 years ago in diner. she went on to leading roles in clarvegs like sea of love , now taking on a small screen role in a regular comedy. this is nbc 's new show called "the new normal."

>> look at that, just strutting down the middle buckeye road proud as gay peacocks.

>> why shouldn't they?

>> why shouldn't they, grandma?

>> i love the gays. i could never get my hair to look like this without them.

>> we had a hard time finding a clip. you said something after that we couldn't run.

>> god bless nbc .

>> what reaction are you getting from this?

>> i'm kind of surprised. i read a script, say to murphy, we're never going to get away with this. he says by the time you've read a script nbc has approved it already.

>> any nerves about the reaction. forget nbc , nbc will put it on the air. any worries about the reaction you'll get from viewers?

>> no. i hope it's extremely controversial. it's meant to be.

>> so is that a good thing for a show like this, even though it's controversy because controversy breeds viewership and that's always a good thing.

>> look, i think it's a nice thing and it's a very high bar . but if we can get somewhere near that "all in the family" type sitcom, then we've done a great thing.

>> i'm glad you bring that up. so compare jane , if you will, to archie bunker . is she the same? i always viewed him as being loveabley ignorant. she's not ignorant, jane .

>> no. jane is very smart. she's very well informed. in the beginning people were like what was all the work you had to do. it's so unlike you, i guess, because of the politics. i said i found it very easy. i just split myself. she's very opinionated. i'm opinionated. she has big mouth . i have a big mouth . she always thinks she's right, i always think i'm right. she's just on the other side of the aisle from me.

>> there's tough language in this. a lot of it goes after homosexuals, minorities, religious groups . the nbc affiliate in salt lake city , utah, is refusing to air this show saying, quote, the dialogue is excessively rude and crude, scenes too explicit and stereotypes are offensive on all sides. you tweeted. what would you like to say about that?

>> i'd like to say ksl, the nbc affiliate is an openly mormon church owned station. so yes, it's a private corporation and they are allowed to show whatever they want to show but it's still owned by a church. do i think it is a form of censorship, yeah. it's legal, i guess, because they are privately owned by a church, but i do think it's censorship. why not let the audience decide.

>> here is what you tweeted. shame on you not air "the new normal" law & rod, rape and murder but loving gay couple is inappropriate. i don't get the sense they are objecting to love gay couple but some of the language and characterizations on the show.

>> i would disagree with you there, matt.

>> you think this is about not wanting gay couples on the air?

>> yes. and certainly not portrayed in a kind of sitcom, jokey way. they are a serious, committed couple who want to have a baby and can't because they are two men. i think unless you have exaggerated stereotypes, it becomes unacceptable for certain extremist religious groups .

>> i will say this. obviously a lot of different opinions here. we're going to be hearing more about this show. no question about it. ellen, nice to see you.

>> nice to see you.

>> "the new norm al" airs monday.