By: Brian Thornsburg
[dropcap]I[/dropcap]t’s understandable that a dysfunctional family can be a very funny plot device for a sitcom, but when you overload that sitcom with a stereotypical gay son, an atheist daughter, an anorexic airhead for another son and a neurotic overly religious mother, you’re trying way too hard to please too many audiences. Not to mention creating too many storylines for fans of the show to follow.
Not only does the plot of The Real O’Neal’s—which mainly focuses on the mom Eileen O’Neal coming to grips with her family’s shocking revelations—beg for more in depth characters that have the maturity to deal with the moral, spiritual and sometimes societal problems that this show tries so desperately to tackle, it also comes across as too preachy in the process of it all.
Sure, the show is able to offer a few laughs here and there and entertain the audience with a ridiculously forced storyline, but at the end of the day, the show just turns up the sappy Full-House-type music and tries to preach a lesson. A lesson that comes about 22 minutes too late and most of the time just centers on the subject of accepting your family for who they are.
That’s a great lesson and all to teach the viewing audience, but it becomes less and less meaningful when you spend the entirety of the episode berating your son for being gay and trying to get him to see things from your religious viewpoint. It becomes even less meaningful when that same character, Kenny, is still the punchline of the story even after the teachable moment.
Why do we even need this show in The ABC lineup anyway? We already have shows like, Fresh Off the Boat for laughs about being out of place in a new country, Modern Family to show the dysfunction and heartfelt moments of a typical American family in the 21st century and The Middle already in place to give us conservative based comedy centered around a family with good intentions. This just seems like an attempt to throw all of those storylines together and its honestly very disappointing to watch.
Brian Thornsburg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org