The Real O’Neals Season Finale: The Real Prom (Review)


“Is this really happening? ‘Cause I hallucinate sometimes,” Kenny says to the Swedish student who has just started at his school in time for prom.  The entire Real O’Neal clan are adorably awkward and quirky and, at the start of the series, devoutly Catholic.  Mom, played by Martha Plimpton, was a religious enforcer who took the joy out of every occasion. In “The Real Prom,” the entire family show how far they have moved on.

Kenny (Noah Galvin)  “comes out” at the start of the season and has had to fight his own feelings, his mother and grandmother.  It is hard not to love Kenny. A naive teen who wants to meet that special boy and whose heart is as full of romantic dreams as your Aunt Ethel’s.

For his prom he wants nothing more than to dance and kiss the boy of his dreams while ABBA plays.   Meanwhile Eileen is fighting her feelings for  vice principle Murray (Matt Oberg) and the scene where she tells Clive that there is no way on earth she will ever date him is recited like a Dr. Seuss rhyme.  After her “Green Eggs and Ham” rejection, he plays his Theremin and sings “Come On Eileen,” to Eileen O’Neal.

Pat (Jay R. Ferguson) takes his daughter Shannon (Bebe Wood) to the prom after learning that she turned down Ethan.  He explains, while they watch “Carrie” that just because he had a miserable time at his prom that not everyone does. 

The storyline has both Kenny and Jimmy (Matt Shively) struggling to get dates for the prom. Jimmy knows who he wants to ask but has not come up with a spectacular enough “prom-posal” yet.  Kenny, being the only gay in the school, who has come out, has no idea who to ask, apart from the barista at Rigby’s.

For all the comedic drama of Kenny’s coming out, this series shows what family is really all about.  Accepting one another and not judging.  This, initially, almost grass roots Catholic family move from being too judgmental to accepting and supporting each other.

Kenny tells the new gay Swedish student that he hallucinates.  He does indeed, Jesus has appeared  a few times, hysterically so in the pilot where He tells Kenny that He will let Eileen order for Him, and even Jimmy Kimmel appears in one  episode.

Most of Kenny’s flights of fancy do not include Jesus or Kimmel but allow his romantic and overactive imagination to run riot. In this final episode of the season, he imagines that the kiss he will share with the Swedish lad will be perfect.

It is not.

“Huh. Maybe I set the bar too high?”

Jimmy does not have that problem when he finally gets a kiss from Lacey (Kaylee Bryant). The two brothers mess up their prom-postals and end up having to attend the event together.  As they get ready for the prom, Jimmy insists that they are going to Hemsworth the dance.  Hysterically they both claim to be Chris, twice. 

By the end of the night, Shannon realizes she likes Ethan, Eileen has another  connection with VP Murray, Kenny gets his kiss from Lacey, Pat has  a great time at the prom and Kenny is disappointed. He has learned that reality rarely lives up to a hallucinatory version of events.

ABC have renewed this little comic gem.  Plimpton and company  rock it in this series and  this outside the box show is great fun.  Hurry up season two.

Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

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"I hold it, that a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical."

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