The network that brought on a plethora of TV shows embracing diversity (Fresh Off The Boat, Blackish, and The Goldbergs) adds on a brand new sitcom about a very religious Irish-American family whose lives seem perfect until one night, where the entire family decides to confess their secrets. The parents (Plimpton and Ferguson) are getting divorced, the oldest child is an anorexic jock, the youngest child is a thief and the middle child (Noah Galvin) is gay. That last piece of news comes as a blow towards the obsessive mother who is determined to have a perfectly normal catholic family.
While it is fantastic that ABC decided to put a spin on the story of a gay child in a very Christian family, The Real O’Neals somehow feels outdated. From the get go, the show gives off a feeling that it would have had a better impact a couple of decades ago. With numerous shows (Glee, Modern Family) having excelled at the portrayal of homosexuality and the struggles, the bar was set pretty high. Given the fact that there still exists a number of teenagers whose very religious parents haven’t a clue about their identity, the show does get a bit difficult to laugh at.
Funny scenes were scarce in the first two episodes; most jokes were stale from being overdone by everyone else. The stereotypes failed to be hilarious because the writing translated to “trying to hard to be funny”, resulting in everything falling flat. That being said, there were a few promising scenes. It seems like the show will have to grow and find its own voice. It is, however, doubtful that the network will be patient enough to allow the cast and the show to settle in. Right now, it feels like someone unleashed a bunch of petty anti-catholic jokes and expect people to laugh about it just because they are textbook stereotypes.
As expected when you touch anything involving religion, a petition was set up to not let the show air but ABC/Disney did not cave. Other than the lows, The Real O’Neals should be given credit for at least tackling (though not quite realistically) some deep-rooted family issues. Unfortunately, it brings nothing new to the table.
♠ The actors carry the show.
♠ Very few funny parts.
♠ The show feels recycled and outdated.
♠ The humor does not quite stick.
♠ It’s difficult to laugh at because the stereotypes are not funny.
Rating: 5/10 ¢