They say you can never go home again especially when you've come out of the closet. In the half-hour comedy Normal, Ohio, creators and executive producers Bonnie and Terry Turner (That '70s Show, 3rd Rock From the Sun) and Bob Kushell (3rd Rock From the Sun, The Simpsons) NORMAL, OHIO
team with John Goodman, one of television's most gifted and respected comedic actors to examine what it means to be true to yourself and true to your family no matter how supportive and unforgiving they are.
After a four year stay in California after he came out of the closet, Butch Gamble returns to Normal, Ohio to attend a going-away party for his son, Charlie, who's going off to medical school. His sister Pamela, a lively single mother of two, welcomes him warmly, as does his mother, Joan, though she can't quite bring herself to say "gay" aloud. Charlie, on the other hand, is not quite up to lukewarm. After Butch has a heartfelt talk with Charlie about how he's happier since he came out, Charlie decides to tell the truth too -- during his send-off, Charlie reveals that he doesn't want to go to medical school.
While digging through Bill's war memorabilia for the upcoming "Normal Ohio Founder's Day Parade," Butch and Pamela find a love letter that was written to Bill by his "Korean plaything" whom he had an affair with during his stay overseas. At the urging of Butch, Bill decides to confide to his wife that he was unfaithful -- but he changes his mind when he learns that Joan had an affair too (and to boot, Pamela unknowingly named her son after the man Joan had an affair with). Meanwhile, Pamela goes to confront Robbie's teacher, Mr. Collins, over Robbie's unsatisfactory homework, but ends up inviting Mr Collins home to tutor Robbie, when she sees how handsome he is. Kimberly has plans of her own when Mr Collins arrives, to confront him with a mistake he made a few years ago when he was her teacher, which he never took the blame for.
Four years ago, Butch came out on Joan's birthday, and, to Butch's surprise, Robbie caught "The Incident" on video. It's Joan's birthday again, but all she wants to do is lay in bed, so Butch makes plans to take her out for a surprise dinner with the family. He finally gets her to agree to go somewhere, but when the car breaks down, they find themselves stranded at a biker bar.
Butch gets Pamela to host a family Thanksgiving meal, and he then leaves for a football game.
Butch buys Charlie an used car in an attempt of establishing a better father-son relationship and Elizabeth accuses him of buying Charlie's love. Butch has to do the right thing and return the car, because he realized that Charlie has to like him for who he is, not for his gifts.
Pamela is tired of having mediocre jobs and decides that she wants to do something where she can be her own boss. When she goes to her parents for money, they refuse to loan it to her, so she decides to get multiple jobs in order to put the money together. Tired of being bossed by teenagers, she quits and decides she wants to be a stripper after finding out that strippers can make tons of money. Butch then makes an intervention and tells their parents that she's turning into a stripper if they don't loan her the money, so they do.
Joan earns a pew at church, and asks Pamela to write a speech for her. Pamela and Butch decide to pull a trick on her and write about his homosexuality. After the Reverend takes the pew away from them, Joan blames Pam and Butch for it. Angry that the Minister might have taken it away because he's gay, he goes to confront him, but turns out the Minister only took it away because of his father's suspicious activities on his poker club. Butch and Charlie discover that the 70 year-olds are smoking pot and try to convince them to quit it so Joan can have her stew back. Meanwhile, Robbie decides to decorate the house with Christmas lights and gets on the paper for it.
Pamela's got a new boyfriend, someone that for once isn't a loser. He's Butch's old schoolmmate, but they never liked each other back then. Pamela asks Butch to be nice with him, and Tom eventually apologizes. When Butch reveals that he is gay, Tom says he wishes he had the courage to be as honest with his family as Butch. Worried that Tom is gay, Butch asks him to tell the truth to Pam, but Tom decides to move out of his mom's and go after an old love of his, Emily, in Seattle. Meanwhile, Charlie decides he's not doing anything but laying around all day, being a couch potato. Butch has to talk him out of it - even if he doesn't convince him to be a doctor again.
Butch gets Bill and Joan to move in to a retirement condo. At first, everything is wonderful without them around, but then Butch finds out that his mom is unhappy with the new place and misses the old house. While showing the old house to potential buyers, Butch realizes that his dad also likes the house, but won't admit it, so Butch tells him about Joan's unhappiness. Bill manages to get kicked out of the condo, and move back to the same old house they've lived for so many years. Meanwhile, Kimberly convinces Robbie that he's going bald, and gets him to put condiments on his head. Robbie and Charlie try to get back at her, but she's too smart for them.
Pamela is tired of seeing her parents preferring Butch over her, and decides to do something about it after Joan decides to turn her old room into a closet. While driving home, Butch and Pam argue and she makes him walk home. While talking to Charlie, Butch finds out he prefers his mom over him, making Butch sad. He goes to his old room at his parents to chill, and Pam drops by to apologize. When she walks into his room, she sees that his room has been preserved (painted, polished, dusted) as a "Museum of Butch". Sick of all that crap, Butch insists that they all go to a therapist. At the therapist, they all find out that Bill had the same situation with his father, and Pamela finally realizes she cares because she loves them. They all eventually drive the therapist insane and everything is back to "normal".
One of Pamela's old boyfriends escaped prison and a U.S. Marshal lands at her house thinking that's the most likable place the fugitive is going to show up. Butch teases Pam on the "good quality" of her boyfriends. Detective Frank Wozniak is totally obsessed about security and ticks everybody with his paranoia. He knows everything about everybody, and pretends being Pam's new boyfriend to Bill and Joan. Bill, for once, really likes Pam's boyfriend. Meanwhile, Bill, Joan, Robbie and Kimberly chase a pigeon that is inside the house. After being constantly disturbed by Frank, Butch decides to work at Elizabeth's, and there Danny finds out on the internet that the guy Frank is looking for has already been caught. Butch confronts Frank, who confesses that he only stuck around because he's head over heels about Butch. They sleep together, but Butch has to break up with him because it won't go anywhere. They end up sleeping together again, and during breakfast Bill and Joan drop by and discover the truth about whose boyfriend Frank really is. Frank breaks up with Butch and takes off in a helicopter.