“The Real O’Neals,” Disney-ABC’s portrayal of an Irish-Catholic family that was inspired by anti-Catholic bigot Dan Savage, kicked off with two previews last night; it officially debuts March 8. While more sophomoric than in-your-face offensive, the episodes were, predictably, filled with anti-Catholic stereotypes. Seemingly the “perfect” Catholic family, the O’Neals’ dysfunctions were revealed over these two episodes:
- An overzealous mother who abuses statues of the Virgin Mary: one is used to stop her son from having sex; another is placed above the toilet as a reminder to put down the seat
- The hypocrisy and destructiveness of her religious zealotry, which is pushing her and her husband into divorce and “screwing up our kids”
- A middle son who comes out as gay and flushes his girlfriend’s unused condoms down the toilet under the watchful eye of one of those Virgin Mary statues; a daughter who is stealing the money she is supposed to be collecting for charity, and who uses her Catholic school science project to deny the existence of God; and an older son who is anorexic—until Mom makes him pancakes shaped like the face of Jesus
We also meet a parish priest who owns a Lexus but invokes his “vow of poverty” when asked to make a charitable donation; “judging nuns” who cast “dirty looks” at the O’Neals once the family’s dysfunctions have been discovered; and a woman parishioner who, competing with Mrs. O’Neal for standing in the parish, delights at the downfall of the family’s reputation.
In short, “The Real O’Neals” is an artistic and moral flop. Just like Dan Savage and the show’s writers.