‘The Real O’Neals’: A Catholic Family’s Comedic Ways of Supporting a Son Coming Out of the Closet

The Real O'Neals - Martha Plimpton, Bebe Wood, Noah Galvin, Matt Shively

At first glance, the family at the center of ABC’s new comedy The Real O’Neals seem almost saintly. Mom Eileen (Martha Plimpton) and dad Pat (Jay R. Ferguson) have a wonderful marriage and are raising three All-American teens. Eldest son Jimmy (Matt Shively) is a star athlete, middle child Kenny (Noah Galvin) is holding off on sleeping with his girlfriend and youngest Shannon (Bebe Wood) enjoys charity work. But when a series of events leads Kenny to come out of the closet, “it prompts the rest of the family to reveal the real versions of themselves,” says cocreator David Windsor.

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But living authentically isn’t as great as Oprah claims. “This family is falling apart,” says Windsor, who notes that the damage from the revelations will unfold—to hilarious effect—throughout the season. And how will the Catholic O’Neals handle all the dysfunction? They’ll turn to religion, Windsor says. “We’re not shying away from that. It brings them even more comfort now that they’re going through all this stuff.” Can we get an amen?

The Real O’Neals, Series premiere, Tuesday, March 8, 8:30/7:30c, ABC