ABC’s The Real O’Neals is one of the few new sitcoms that actually made me laugh out loud.
It’s the story of the perfect Irish-Catholic family – from the point at which everything begins to go horribly wrong.
The O’Neals are, when we meet them, the perfect Irish-Catholic family – reverent, well-behaved, well regarded and probably the family in their diocese that is simultaneously most envied and most loathed.
The series is narrated by youngest son Noah (Noah Galvin), who is being pressured by his girlfriend to have sex, and is composed of perky, charity fundraising daughter Shannon (Bebe Wood); high school wrestling team son Jimmy (Matthew Shively); laid back cop father Pat (Jay R. Ferguson) and perfectionist mom Eileen (Martha Plimpton).
Over the course of the premiere, the O’Neals go from the seemingly perfect family to a dysfunctional mess as more and more secrets come out of the woodwork (Surprise! Noah’s gay!).
If every happy family is the same but each unhappy family is unhappy in its own, unique way, then the O’Neals – the real O’Neals – are unhappy in so many unique ways that there are probably a host of disorders that could be named for them.
It’s hard to make a definitive statement of a show based on one ep but The Real O’Neals doesn’t merely deconstruct sitcom tropes, it kinda eviscerates them. If the series can be as sharp as the pilot, it could be a real hit.
Final Grade: A-