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.

The Real O’Neals Video Featurette’s (Video)

Stars of The Real O’Neals talk about the show and their characters in these two video featurette’s from ABC.

Stars of The Real O’Neals talk about the show and their characters in these two video featurette’s from ABC.  Martha Plimpton who plays Eileen, the mother of the O’Neal clan, and Kenny (Noah Galvin) talk about his coming out.

Meet Kenny:

Meet Eileen:

Jay R. Ferguson, who plays Pat, the father of Kenny, Jimmy (Matt Shively) and Shannon (Bebe Wood) talks about Eileen (Plimpton). She also talks about how she sees her character. Noah also chimes in.

The Real O’Neals premieres 22 March and tells the story of Kenny O’Neal who “comes out” in a family that could, until that moment, be the poster-family for the perfect all-American Irish Catholic family.

Kenny’s revelation begins the O’Neals’ move to reality, instead of the facade that the clan, especially Eileen, has been carefully cultivating. With love, an attempt at understanding, and an awful lot of humor, the family learn to deal with their new “real” family.

With some pretty impressive cameos, watch the pilot and you will see what we mean, The Real O’Neals tickles a pretty mean funny bone.

The Real O’Neals Continuing the Comedy – Preview

As the premiere date approaches for The Real O’Neals; March 2, 2016, previews of the series continue to be a comedy of terrors.


As the premiere date approaches for The Real O’Neals; March 2, 2016,  previews of the series continue to be a comedy of terrors. At least from the viewpoint of uptight uber religious “mother” O’Neal, aka Eileen O’Neal (played with comic brilliance by Martha Plimpton) whose perfect family loses its facade and becomes real.  

It is incredibly difficult to not love a show where Jesus keeps turning  up, not as a regular but just enough to be, say,  a standing cameo.  In The Real Lent, He shows up to complain that Eileen is making him work on St Paddy’s day.

While Jesus was planning to hang with Vishnu and Buddha, Kenny and the rest of clan O’Neal are getting out the St Patrick’s Day float and Mom decrees that the rainbow be taken from it.  Kenny says that this is a bit hurtful but he will never turn down a trip to the fabric store.

After picking up re-decorating supplies, Eileen and Kenny are approached by a young man asking for a petition against child labor to be signed.  The parking lot teen is Kenny’s first bona fide gay crush and Mom is not pleased.

As with the pilot, Eileen attempts to rule her family with a special emphasis on religion. Demanding that the holiday not be about celebrating St Patrick but about Lent, she tells her brood what they will be giving up.

Jimmy must give up long showers (“we all know what you;re really doing…”), Kenny; being secretive, Shannon her phone, and husband Pat must give up calling Eileen from the basement for “every little thing.”

The family get their own back when Kenny demands that Eileen give up being judgmental for Lent.

As the show progresses, Kenny goes on his first date, with a boy, Shannon grows up, Jimmy gets lots of splinters and Eileen finds out that she has managed to spoil St Patrick’s Day.

With The Real F Word, Kenny suffers through returning to a Catholic school after “coming out.”  Jimmy swears retribution upon anyone who picks on his brother and in Kenny’s nervous paranoia, he uses the “F” word and almost gets suspended.

Amidst a school election Kenny learns that Jimmy really will punish anyone who picks on his brother. Kenny also learns that being openly gay gets him special dispensation from the school principal.

There is a lot to love about The Real O’Neals. Jesus popping up as guest star, on a semi-regular basis and a family that has to live with a reality that did not exist before one of the children came out of the closet makes this one different.  Kenny’s act of declaring his true sexuality starts an avalanche of change in the O’Neal family and mother Eileen must struggle to cope, albeit in a comedic way.

The series is not all about Kenny. Granted Noah Galvin totally rocks as the middle kid who has let his true colors shine in spite of his moralistic mother. In The Real Lent, his fantasy “perfect date;” with the parking lot guy, Ricky;  who looks like a young Zac Efron with blonde hair (played with beach-boy perfection by Garrett Clayton) is brilliant. 

Despite Galvin being the main plot device that this comedy revolves around, each character brings their own “normal” neurosis and issues to the show making this an true ensemble piece.  Martha Plimpton manages to walk that fine line between annoying and amusing as Eileen, the mother whose perfect family has crumbled right before her eyes.

Jay R. Ferguson as the dad Pat, Bebe Wood as Shannon, Matt Shively as Jimmy all work together to present the family ideal gone to hell in a hand basket. In reality, the O’Neals are the “real” American family, each member having their own, previously unknown, issues.

Even Eileen had a secret. 

What makes this comedy work so brilliantly is the fact that once Kenny comes out, not one family member is awkward about it, except for Eileen of course.  In The Real F Word even the school is pretty much accepting of it, apart from the principal who over-compensates…

In fact, it is Kenny’s struggles with the reality of being gay that helps to make this such a splendid comedy.

Keep an eye out for this one on March 2.  A delightfully different comedy where not only Jesus but Jimmy Kimmel turn up to help move the story along.  The writing is tight, funny, irreverent and addictive. Do not miss this one, it is worth the visit.


The Real O’Neals: ABC Quirky Fun (March 2016)

The Real O’Neals, which premieres in March 2016 on ABC looks to be quirky fun and may actually ruffle a few feathers with more “traditionalist” viewers. The series looks at the O’Neals, family run by matriarch, and super church participant Eileen O’Neal (Martha Plimpton).


The Real O’Neals, which premieres in March 2016 on ABC looks to be quirky fun and may actually ruffle a few feathers with more “traditionalist” viewers.  The series looks at the O’Neals, a family run by matriarch and super church participant Eileen O’Neal (Martha Plimpton). The O’Neals are an immaculately turned out family, who do everything that mother tells them to.

Everything goes swimmingly until middle son Kenny (Noah Galvin) decides to “come out” and reveal to his family, and girl friend, that he is gay. His act of truth uncovers the facade that has represented the upstanding Irish Catholic family for years. Kenny’s revelation causes cracks to appear and the “real” O’Neals are spotlighted in the community, the church and in front of themselves.

One can be forgiven for thinking that this new comedy is a thinly disguised “After School Special” or some quasi religious promotional.  These misconceptions will disappear in literally just under two minutes after the pilot begins.  The opening scene takes place in an eatery.

In the restaurant  other families are misbehaving, the O’Neals however are all acting properly with  mother Eileen ruling the ship and ordering for everyone.  Kenny, who provides the voice-over narration, tells of “mom’s” adage that each family member should act as though “Jesus” is there watching them.

The first gag of the pilot appears; Jesus is sitting next to Kenny:

Kenny:  “What you going to get?”

Jesus: “I’ll let your mom order for me too, but then change it to whatever I want…”

All of the jokes in the first two episodes of The Real O’Neals are of this calibre, surprising, irreverent and oh so funny.  There is at least one other “surprise” guest on the second episode, but that will remain a secret for now to keep ABC from sending goons round to punish us for spoilers…

Of course the main thing going for the new series, besides a deliciously wicked sense of humor, is that once that “gay” dam is opened, all sorts of things come tumbling out. The “good” family are replaced with the “real” one, full of dysfunctional truths that were hidden until Kenny dared to tell his reality.

There are funny moments throughout the show’s first two episodes. Eileen urging Kenny to try girlfriend Mimi’s (played brilliantly by Hannah Marks) “papaya” and there is yet another, similar to Uncle Buck, reference to Selena Gomez… 

The Real O’Neals proves that it only takes one crack (in this instance it is Kenny’s revelation that he is gay) to bring down the entire false front that makes up the family O’Neals squeaky clean image.  The show’s comedy comes from this underlying truth and Eileen’s handling of it.

Mom reacts with Lists, plans and, in Kenny’s circumstance, outright denial.  Plimpton handles her beleaguered church mom well and her comedic skills are perfect for the role of former “Supermom.” Newcomer Galvin works well in the role of middle son Kenny who finally realizes that he needs to tell his family the truth about his sexuality.

The show is funny; it delivers chuckles, guffaws and giggles on a regular basis with no sign of a laugh track or studio audience anywhere.  The writing is clever, witty and irreverent.  The subject matter may offend a few, after all there are those who do not find poking fun at these everyday realities funny at all.

However, for those with a healthy sense of humor and an appreciation for great comic writing, this show will be a delight. There are some things that annoy, the daughter played by Bebe Wood has been made to resemble Abigail Breslin, which is a distraction. That said, the actress does well in her role as the youngest O’Neal.

Once Kenny comes out, each family member discloses a truth that shocks Eileen to the core. Anorexia, felonious intent and  a man who cannot plan to save his life all through “mom” for  a loop.  Kenny’s issue will, obviously, be a long running comedic point, to a degree, but it appears that the family’s “real” lives will provide the laughs for the series as well.

The Real O’Neals will premiere March 2016 on ABC. Tune in and prepare to laugh and to enjoy the lives of Kenny and his family. This show could almost be the “Malcolm in the Middle” for a new generation  just without the “genius” quotient or the low income level. Good fun.



%d bloggers like this: