Television maven Ryan Murphy is the name behind some pretty monumental series. Murphy is the man behind shows like Glee, American Horror Story, and modern classics Popular and Nip/Tuck. Murphy’s newest series is The New Normal, a sitcom about a gay couple and the surrogate carrying their child. The Hollywood Reporter announced that this new NBC series stars The Hangover standout Justin Bartha as one of its two leads.
Considering his past projects, Murphy has some pretty diverse tastes. So what do shows about glee clubs, plastic surgery, battling step-sisters, haunted houses and gay couples have in common? That’s simple: tall, dark and handsome leading men.
Each of Murphy’s shows boasts not just a dapper central male character, but one who fits a pretty specific aesthetic. They’re primarily dark-haired, strong-jawed and sporting a bit of a hidden edge. And for obvious reasons, no one has gotten sick of this just yet.
Clearly, the pattern will continue with Bartha in The New Normal. Earlier, it was reported that Murphy had cast The Book of Mormon star Andrew Rannells as one of the leading men. Although handsome in his own right, Rannells didn’t quite fit Murphy’s Leading Man Mold: he’s got a boyish charm and a face to match. So, naturally, Rannells’ onscreen partner would have to fill this role. And he certainly does. Bartha is, without question, befitting of the Murphy formula. But how exactly does Bartha measure up to Murphy’s stars of the past and present?
Although first and foremost a nice guy, we’ve seen Mr. Schue get pretty dark at times. The good-looking Spanish teacher has wooed a fair amount of ladies in his day, too—in fact, there might very well be no adult female character, regular or recurring, who hasn’t had a thing for Will at one point or another. If you take that hair out of the equation, Morrison actually looks a good deal like Bartha.
Dylan McDermott (Ben Harmon on American Horror Story)
If you’re into damaged men, McDermott takes the lot here. His American Horror Story character can frequently be found under some kind of psychotic spell, which, thanks to the magic of television (and our own messed up perceptions of what is attractive) just serves to make him more appealing. McDermott does thwart Bartha in the hypnotic allure factor, but you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who could measure up to ol’ Bobby Donnell in this area.
Bryce Johnson and Christopher Gorman (Josh and Harrison on Popular)
Although Popular was a primarily female-centric program, Bryce Johnson and Christopher Gorman contributed to the cast with, in no small part, their aesthetic appeal. And yes: both young men fit the Murphy Mold to a tee. Hell, they started the Murphy Mold. This was his first series, after all. Johnson and Gorman must have made a good impression—their youthful vigor lives on through The Hangover star.
Everyone on Nip/Tuck
Everyone on Nip/Tuck who happened to have had a Y-chromosome was pretty much cranked out of a factory that specialized in dreamy alpha males. To be fair, this might very well be a prerequisite for all medical dramas, but nobody can do it like Ryan Murphy. And he continues on with Bartha, a man who’d have been quite worthy of a Nip/Tuck role any day of the week.
Click the above photos to see more images of Justin Bartha and Dylan McDermott, and look out for more news on Ryan Murphy’s NBC sitcom, The New Normal.