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SilverStormm

The Real O'Neals

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A place to discuss particular episodes, arcs and moments from the show's run. Please remember this isn't a complete catch-all topic -- check out the forum for character topics and other places for show-related talk.

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I haven't watched yet (DVRed), but Martha Plimpton is the only entertainment industry people I follow on Twitter, and she tweeted to Dan Savage a pic of the response from Bill Donohue of the Catholic League (I would never link to him directly). Click on the pic to see the whole thing, including the part where Donohue says Savage creating a show about a Catholic family is like David Duke of the KKK producing a show about an African-American family, and then favorably compares Duke to Savage because the former doesn't use profanity.   I've been watching Donohue impotently sputter for years (as a marriage equality activist) and this is a highlight. Martha loves the piece, and I love Martha, and I really hope I can love the show. 

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Bill Donohue isn't "of" the Catholic League.  He is the entirety of the Catholic League.  He's like a YouTube commenter that somehow gets to be on TV now and then.

 

The thing is, I wasn't planning on watching this show, but once he did that, I decided I would just to spite him.

Edited by starri
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Bill Donohue isn't "of" the Catholic League.  He is the entirety of the Catholic League.  He's like a YouTube commenter that somehow gets to be on TV now and then.

 

The thing is, I wasn't planning on watching this show, but once he did that, I decided I would just to spite him.

 

.  Yep, that's a spot on assessment of Bill. He used to be so tangled up with NOM that I wasn't sure it was just him now. I used to find him less amusing when he and NOM actually had some power (he really did, once upon a time).  Now, pfft. 

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A telling comment that there are no new comments, not even a category for the latest episode ("The Real Lent"). I keep hoping for over-the-top humor or biting satire, but despite some sweet moments, it's still pretty much forgettable weak tea. A "Modern Family" it's not. I have a sense of low production values, reflective of no support from the network, a vote of no confidence from the top. I wonder what Dan Savage thinks.

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I watched the St Patrick's Day episode. I liked that the dad is actually competent as a dad, and the mom actually does care about something other than appearances, once she finally came down to earth enough to realize what effect her social panic was having on everyone else.

 

I like that all the kids get along with each other and are not so completely alienated from the parents that they actually do appreciate it when the parents do stuff right, and come around and compromise. Actually, the teens seem more reasonable than the adults, which is a turn from the usual teens-are-nightmarish-people trope, though I hope they dial back the theme of kids-vs-adults and come up with something better going forward. I just don't like watching families roll their eyes at each other all episode.

 

Did not like the jock brother's peeping on the neighbor's slumber party or the show's implication that it really was the way heterosexual teenage-boy-friendly porn says it would be, and the whole plot about him giving up jerking off for Lent was more than unpleasant to watch. I like the character otherwise, so I really hope that storyline was an anomaly.

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Jock brother's Lent assignment just seemed like such an easy out to me. Just go masturbate in your room! What you were giving up were long showers. I know that Mother meant masturbation, but technically he only promised to stop doing it in the shower.

Perhaps it's because of Martha Plimpton (who's great) but I just don't buy Mother as a devout Christian. I know it's a comedy, but still. Does the dad even give a shit about religion?

Edited by joelene

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A telling comment that there are no new comments, not even a category for the latest episode ("The Real Lent"). I keep hoping for over-the-top humor or biting satire, but despite some sweet moments, it's still pretty much forgettable weak tea. A "Modern Family" it's not. I have a sense of low production values, reflective of no support from the network, a vote of no confidence from the top. I wonder what Dan Savage thinks.

Personally, I think "all-episode" threads work better for sitcoms.

Good that it's not "Modern Family." I think that show is terribly overrated.

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I like this show well enough but I can't see it lasting past its initial 13 episode order (if in fact they make that many). It's just too milquetoast to merit any kind of attention and the premise isn't going to appeal to mainstream network audiences IMO. I enjoyed poor Kenny's awkward attempts at getting the parking lot guy to notice him, and trying to exit gracefully from the breakup in the restaurant.

 

This is the second sitcom Bebe Wood has been featured in a show that revolves around gay storyline, and is destined to be cancelled after one season. I read an article about her and she was apparently offered the role of one of the daughters in Life in Pieces, which is doing comparatively well and is sure to be renewed. I think she made the wrong choice to go with this show.

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We watched the third episode live and then watched the previous two On Demand. I thought the first two episodes were funnier than the third. I'm still getting a handle on Martha Plimpton's character, on how much she's like Dan Savage's mom and how much she's been Disneyfied. I have a hard time thinking a very religious Irish Catholic family would Lentify St. Patrick's Day (there are Archidioceses in the Northeast which wave obligation when March 17th falls on Friday -- Corned Beef FTW!)

 

Depending how much input Dan has in the show, it'll be interesting to see how they continue Kenny's coming-out.

 

Two final words: Poor Mimi.

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I actually did get some genuine laughs out of the third episode.  Although I don't know who wouldn't laugh at "Who's to say Satan wasn't Irish?"

 

Perhaps the reason I'm digging it is because Kenny is the rare sitcom character that I can actually identify with.

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I laughed out loud several times during this episode; I like the show. I liked seeing Garrett Clayton play Kenny's first date -- he was in Disney's Teen Beach Movie, where he played his character Tanner about as gay as you could without actually saying the character was gay, because he was supposed to be a straight teenager.

 

I really thought their whole second date was wonderfully played, with Ricky letting Kenny down as easily as he could by saying he was in a different place from Ricky. I hope that maybe they can be friends, and Ricky can maybe be a mentor. 

 

All the situations worked for me here: dad and daughter; eldest son frustrated at not being able to masturbate. Actually, I think he was the only one who really followed through on his Lenten "give-ups."

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I like all the kids. So far they don't annoy me like the kids on The Middle or Modern Family which are the only only other sitcoms I watch that have teenagers. I like how the siblings get along and not every line is a smart mouth quip or put down. It would have been easy to make the older brother the typical cliche sitcom jock snot who rags on his little brother so I'm glad they didn't go there.

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I have to begrudgingly give a tiny bit of credit to the publicity-seeking crusading watchdogs One Million Moms, the group that proudly ignores reality beginning with their name. The group is demonstrating that they are capable of learning from past mistakes by cutting back on attacking more popular targets and focusing on lower-hanging fruit. It's telling that their campaign against The Real O’Neals began after the large second-week drop in ratings - it boosts the chance that they'll have a "successful" campaign to promote if/when the show gets pulled/cancelled.

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I actually liked the third episode. It gave me some laughs and some awwwws. My only issue with this show is that I dont see how long they can keep up this premise, and if every single episode will be about the mother not understanding her sons and her husband doing better at it, itll become grating. also, what happened to the divorce plans? nothing?

 

if Kenny is 16, how old is his older brother? 18? Why is he living at home?

 

This show reminds me of the Goldbergs, especially the "Smother" of the house. The only difference is that the goldbergs left their show widely open-ended for any type of episode while this show has written itself into a corner. also, the best part of the Goldbergs, which this show doesnt have?? Grandpa!

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if Kenny is 16, how old is his older brother? 18? Why is he living at home?

 

Well he may be a year older. Or he may have been held back a grade what with his apparently low IQ. 

 

I found the hallucination/ dream sequence/ imagination of the gay dance off during the date quite amusing. 

 

I am kind of curious if they have some kind of direction for the show. I liked the second gay date, it was realistic for the older guy to not want to deal with such an intense noob. 

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Yeah there's only so long they can drag out the premise of the mother being in denial about her son's orientation - in fact she seemed to be giving in at the end of this episode and we're only three episodes in.

 

Also, from my admittedly anecdotal experience, Catholics (Irish or otherwise) are about the least religious of all the denominations. Church to them is more of a community thing than a spiritual or biblical thing. I don't see them being overly horrified at the thought of a gay son versus, say, Southern Baptists or Evangelicals. 

Edited by iMonrey
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if Kenny is 16, how old is his older brother? 18? Why is he living at home?

High school seniors are usually 17/18 with most turning 18 sometime during the middle of the school year. Also, most kids live at home if they go to community college or if they live close enough to university to save money.

Edited by Snow Apple
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The family observe Lent to appease Eileen, but it's not easy. Meanwhile, Kenny has a chance meeting with his first gay crush; and Pat realizes that Shannon isn't a little girl anymore.

I thought this episode was much better than the first couple. The cast is gelling a bit. I liked the Pat/Shannon story line a lot mainly because they didn't play the stereotypical "periods-are-gross" trope.

 

Also, the dance between Kenny and his date was so funny. It was sad it was all over so quick, but he's growing and that's good.

 

From the lack of interest here, I don't think this show will be long for the world.

Edited by xander874
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I quite enjoyed this episode, from Kenny bullying and victimizing himself, to Shannon's duplicitousness, to Jimmy's misguided attempts to fight for the honor of House O'Neal.

Is this the first time they identified the other adult woman as "Aunt Jody?" Also liked the vice principal.

The show does have a retro feel, so for a moment I was confused when Kenny and Jimmy said they were going to binge watch "Game of Thrones," because "binge watching" wasn't a thing in the 1990s. Then I remembered the show is set today.

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The show does have a retro feel, so for a moment I was confused when Kenny and Jimmy said they were going to binge watch "Game of Thrones," because "binge watching" wasn't a thing in the 1990s. Then I remembered the show is set today.

 

Between "The Goldbergs" and "Fresh Off the Boat", combined that it's based on Dan Savage's autobiography, I have to keep reminding myself it's set in the 21st Century.

 

(Although, I'm now pseudomonologing the show with "Back in the mid-2010s....")

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I enjoyed the episode even though it exceeded my cringe tolerance threshold due to second-hand embarrassment on Kenny's behalf. Stop talking, Kenny!

 

And Jimmy? Bless your heart. I hope you enjoy community college.

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You know what this show kind of reminds me of? Suburgatory. It has a similar flavor to it. It's a show that's populated by "quirky" characters played by very compelling actors, but at its heart, it's just not all that funny. It's clever and amusing but it's not a belly-laugh kind of show. And although I don't currently watch any other ABC sitcoms, from what I've seen of them this seems to be the basic formula for all of them. Quirky over funny. The mom, the dad, the brother, the sister, the girlfriend, the aunt - they're all "quirky" and then there's our point of view character, Kenny, who is seemingly the only sane one in the bunch. Which is very similar to the premise used in Suburgatory where another teen, Tessa, was the POV character surrounded by a bunch of "quirky" people. 

 

And maybe that's why there doesn't seem to be a lot of enthusiasm for the show - it feels kind of stale and formulaic. For a show where the lead character and narrator is a gay teen, it's whitewashed in order to be mainstream-acceptable. 

 

For some reason, Zap2it has this show listed as a likely renewal. 

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It's currently marked as a likely renewing because it's getting about the same ratings as the already-renewed Fresh Off the Boat.

 

I don't know, this isn't the best show that I've ever seen, but it hits more than it misses for me.

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Not sure why the Vice Principal's stand with various country flags contained the gay pride flag. Sight gag?

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The Vice Principal was hilarious as the straight man.

 

Kenny's hallucinations/daydreams? get funnier every episode for me. 

 

So much second hand embarrassment. 

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Not sure why the Vice Principal's stand with various country flags contained the gay pride flag. Sight gag?

 

I don't think it did. That prop caught my eye too and at first I thought the same thing but on second glance it appeared to be a legitimate country flag. I think seeing all the different stripes together in a row like that created a momentary illusion there was a rainbow flag in there. 

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Oddly enough, the plotline I'm having the hardest time with is the parents getting divorced. They're getting along okay, and aren't disagreeing more than a typical married-for-20-years couple, so I'm confused why they're splitting up. if they're really so religious, then splitting up after 20 years just because you don't feel 'in love' anymore is a little bit strange.

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I don't think it did. That prop caught my eye too and at first I thought the same thing but on second glance it appeared to be a legitimate country flag. I think seeing all the different stripes together in a row like that created a momentary illusion there was a rainbow flag in there.

I challenge you to pick the country that that flag represented. Colors from top to bottom: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. And no emblem. 

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It was definitely a Pride Flag.  It certainly seemed out of place at a private Catholic school.  Maybe things have gotten more progressive in the 33 years since I left all-male Catholic High School, even though at least a dozen of my graduating class of 120 are now openly gay.  

Edited by SanDiegoInExile
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The actor playing Kenny sells this for me. He's a little over-the-top but his comedic timing is so good and he seems to be having a good time with this.

 

Agreed that it's odd about the parents divorcing because they seem to get along. I figure they will reunite at some point.

 

 

Is this the first time they identified the other adult woman as "Aunt Jody?"

 

I think in the first or second episode, one of the parents said "your sister" when referring to her. I think she's Pat's sister.

 

Oh, and a random complaint about after Kenny attached other Kenny. I hate it on shows when the characters are watching "footage" from a previous event and it's supposed to be something like security camera footage but it's got the multiple angles and high quality (basically just the previous scene). I know it's a cost thing, but I still felt like bitching a little. :o)

Edited by xander874

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It was definitely a Pride Flag.  It certainly seemed out of place at a private Catholic school.  Maybe things have gotten more progressive in the 33 years since I left all-male Catholic High School, even though at least a dozen of my graduating class of 120 are now openly gay.  

 

I think the joke was that the vice principal was going so far to avoid the appearance of homophobia that he added a pride flag.

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Or he has a little secret himself. Or someone else thinks he does. Or neither he nor the school has a clue what this flag is (my favorite guess).

 

It's a nice touch.

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This latest episode was hilarious. A Porn Bomb Emergency.

 

Jimmy is both super supportive and delightfully weird. I approve.

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This show definitely has made me laugh every episode (after the pilot, which made me smile, but not emit sound). I like that both siblings are supportive of Kenny, and their relationships with one another are sweet. I also really like how the dad is portrayed as competent and loving, and that the kids feel comfortable telling him about the "Porn Bomb Emergency". I was fully expecting them to also try keeping that from him and more hijinks ensuing in typical fashion, I like the left turn in them telling him and not making a huge thing out of him finding out about the "date" at the cafe. His subtle comment about caring a gun, and it not being a threat, but a fact was hilarious. I know there are some negative Irish stereotypes, and I like that they're not present here, as far as I can tell.

Also, always nice to see Ian Gomez, him and his mention of Florida reminded me how much I miss Cougar Town.

Edited by Check Sanity
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This latest episode was hilarious. A Porn Bomb Emergency.

 

Jimmy is both super supportive and delightfully weird. I approve.

 

Jimmy of the House of O'Neals, first of his name, is my favorite. I love how much he wants to support his brother. He's just so nice.

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Hello Andy from Cougar Town! And not for nothing but I thought he might be gay too. I mean . . . Baskets and Biscotti? C'mon. (BTW - spellcheck doesn't know what Biscotti is.)

 

Where is this family supposed to be living again? Chicago? I was under the impression it's such a small town there's no one for Kenny to date and yet he's already been flirted with by the parking lot activist and now the Biscotti barista. 

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I think they live in the Chicago suburbs.

 

I liked that the two teenage boys in this episode actually knew how to deal with a computer that froze up with a porn virus but the mom happened to grab it before they got the chance, unlike the recent Modern Family where Manny and Luke had no idea that they could just turn the computer off and took it to the Apple Store with porn still playing on it.

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Fireman are so smug. "You know who else could do your job, pal? Water."

 

I am enjoying this show, I must say. Goes down easy and makes me smile. The acting is sweetly competent and the characters relatable in their own ways. Even Shannon, that precociously snarky sitcom construct.

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Yeah there's only so long they can drag out the premise of the mother being in denial about her son's orientation - in fact she seemed to be giving in at the end of this episode and we're only three episodes in.

 

Also, from my admittedly anecdotal experience, Catholics (Irish or otherwise) are about the least religious of all the denominations. Church to them is more of a community thing than a spiritual or biblical thing. I don't see them being overly horrified at the thought of a gay son versus, say, Southern Baptists or Evangelicals. 

I'd say you're wrong about that.  

And that's coming from my experience as a half-Irish catholic from Chicago, with a gay brother.   My Irish mother was in denial for decades.  AND -she forbad any of us to ever tell anyone that our brother was gay.("he's going through a phase")    This, even after he was with the same partner for 20 years and adopted kids.  

The mom's reaction seemed legit to me.

We're all going to hell. 

Edited by backformore
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Hello Andy from Cougar Town! And not for nothing but I thought he might be gay too. I mean . . . Baskets and Biscotti? C'mon. (BTW - spellcheck doesn't know what Biscotti is.)

Where is this family supposed to be living again? Chicago? I was under the impression it's such a small town there's no one for Kenny to date and yet he's already been flirted with by the parking lot activist and now the Biscotti barista.

I think it's more that the Catholic high school population doesn't have (known) guys to date and Kenny is so socially awkward he doesn't know how to meet people elsewhere.

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given that the dad is a Chicago cop, and that Dan Savage lived in Chicago, the show is set in a north side neighborhood in Chicago, not the suburbs.  

(cop have to live within the city limits)   There are some neighborhoods in Chicago that look like this.  

Edited by backformore
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Yeah, I lived in Chicago in the 1980s and there were lots and lots of places to meet LGBorT people even then. I lived in a neighborhood where it was practically Greenwich Village. There were also entire newspapers you could pick up for free, specifically reporting events and giving contact information for groups in the gay community.

 

I was not a teenager when I lived in Chicago, so I didn't look into it at the time, but I'm sure there are multiple youth groups these days, whether or not they existed back when I lived there. Kenny having no clue where to meet gay kids his age is a totally TV convenience.

 

I don't know what neighborhood in Chicago the O'Neals supposedly live in (and the show really doesn't look anything like anywhere in Chicago that I remember), but if they wanted Kenny to be isolated, they should have set the show in an entirely different location. 

 

Of course, as has been said, he's already been on a date with one guy and been hit on by another, so I guess they know.

 

Kenny was just having a self-pitying moment.

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Did we know Pat was a cop before this episode? It was fun to see Phil LaMarr as his partner and I hope we get more of that. I'm glad they are branching out a bit and giving the other characters lives.

 

I have such a little crush on Kenny (the actor is legal so I only feel slightly gross). And I love that Jimmy is not at all weirded out by the gay thing. He didn't even seem hesitant to look at gay porn (pornado!)

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(cop have to live within the city limits)

 

 

I wondered if that was still the case.  I haven't lived in Chicago for >20 years now.

 

They really don't seem to be caring too much about hiding the non-Chicagoness of their locations.  I mean, I know there are some ground level CTA stations, but that's certainly not what you think of when you think of the L, so why show the cops at that particular spot?  (And that's aside from the fact that I could see a "East Los Angeles" directional sign pretty clearly without even looking for it or pausing the video.)  And I suppose there are parts of Chicago that look somewhat like the neighborhood they were in, but I don't think there's anything like that three blocks from Rush & Division.

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Did we know Pat was a cop before this episode?

 

Yes, because in the pilot he was supposed to auction off a ride-along but the department nixed it because of a previous bad experience with a ride-along they showed in a flashback.

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