“The Real O’Neals” is the Real Deal


Courtesy of ABC

Bonnie Praphatphong, Staff Writer

ABC has added another solid comedy to its line-up. The network has been recently putting out comedies that surround diverse and sometimes dysfunctional families.

The seemingly perfect O’Neal family is no different from the Prichets (Modern Family), the Hecks (The Middle), the Johnsons (Black-ish), the Goldbergs (The Goldbergs ), and the Huangs (Fresh Off the Boat). This time, ABC has added an Irish-American Catholic family to its melting pots of families.

ABC is again showing strong matriarch that are head of household. Eileen O’Neal, played by Martha Plimpton (“Raising Hope,” and “The Goonies”), is the “The Real O’Neals’ matriarch, and she not only commands perfection in church fundraising, but in her family as well. It comes very apparent, though, that perfection is just an illusion and there is no such thing as a perfect family.

A perfect marriage, all heterosexual children, and a family that prays together, stays together: the O’Neals’ illusion. The main protagonist of the show and Mrs. O’Neal’s youngest son, Kenny O’Neal, is about to share a closeted secret along with the rest of his family that is about to expose who the real O’Neals are.

The reality is that Eileen and her husband, Pat O’Neal, are getting a divorce. The oldest son, Jimmy O’Neal, has a eating disorder. Their angel of a daughter, Shannon O’Neal, is a thief, and Kenny O’Neal is gay.

This show takes a funny and almost off-beat approach to talking about real issues like being gay in a religious family, having a eating disorder, and dealing with divorce. The show also doesn’t stray away from showing society’s views toward these issues. The main story arch of the show is Kenny’s battle with his mom over her traditional feelings toward his sexuality.