The Real O’Neals

THE REAL O'NEALS - ABC's "The Real O'Neals" stars Martha Plimpton as Eileen, Jay R. Ferguson as Pat, Noah Galvin as Kenny, Matthew Shively as Jimmy, Bebe Wood as Shannon and Mary Hollis Inboden as Jodi. (ABC/Kevin Foley) MARTHA PLIMPTON, JAY R. FERGUSON, NOAH GALVIN, MATTHEW SHIVELY, BEBE WOOD

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The moment I saw Martha Plimpton in the cast credits I knew what type of comedy the O’Neals would be because in TV there is such a thing called typecasting. Not that that descriptor can be given to Plimpton, who has appeared in numerous productions portraying different characters. Nonetheless, every time her name appears next to comedy, I think of “Raising Hope”.  I was not that far off, in this regard. However, the O’Neals’ are a different kind of family, to begin with they are Catholic, and there is a lot they are not confessing.

The sitcom is narrated by Kenny (Noah Gavin) who loves Jimmy Kimmel Live, wears blouses and confuses them for shirts and is gay. Not something you want to confess to your Catholic family. So Kenny continues pretending and can’t find the heart to tell his girlfriend. However, by the time the first episode comes to a close, Kenny’s secret is the least of their problems.

While at a church fundraiser, Kenny’s father Pat (Jay R. Ferguson) decides that they should have a family meeting which turns into a public airing of their dirty laundry. It turns out his brother Jimmy (Matt Shively) has an eating disorder, his sister Shannon (Bebe Wood) is a thief, and his parents are getting a divorce. In the face of all these confessions, Kenny feels brave enough to admit to his parents that he is gay. While a psychiatrist might call this a truthful family discussion,  do not think it counts when the whole church is listening. And just like that, the perfect Catholic family is not so perfect after all, and the whole church knows it.

After making a deliciously funny get-away, the family is overwhelmed by the number of ham-based foods they are getting from fake well-wishers from the church. The ham based diet notwithstanding, the O’Neals’ have accepted all their confessions in stride except for Eileen (Martha Plimpton) who still hasn’t come to terms with her son being gay.

“The Real O’Neals” is the kind of comedy you watch at the end of a long day or to pass the time on Sunday after church. It doesn’t expect you to do any thinking, just mindless entertainment that will make you laugh sporadically. The best thing about it is that unlike Fuller House, it is not overwhelmingly annoying. Instead, it is enjoyable. And listening to Kenny narrate his family’s troubles week after week is fun too.

I do hope it survives the first season.

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