Ratings for ABC’s The Real O’Neals dropped sharply by a third Tuesday after the show’s decent start on Wednesday, March 2.
The premise of The Real O’Neals is a typical Catholic family that looks sweet and normal on the outside but is really “just your typical all-American, Catholic, divorcing, disgraced, law-breaking, gay family.”
No one is really that holy, in other words, is the message of the mediocre show, making it an obvious dig at the Catholic Church and Catholic families.
Producer and gay sex advice columnist Dan Savage based the show loosely on his own upbringing.
Tuesday night’s episode, "The Real Lent" encouraged eye-rolling at how religion makes everything more boring. Mrs. O’Neal annoyingly tries to insert religion into every holiday.
The episode also featured two sixteen-year-olds on an endearing, gay first date. An insecure Kenny tells his date that his mom doesn’t approve of him being gay.
Even critics have already come down hard on the show’s entertainment quality.
“There is nothing ‘real’ about The Real O’Neals,” remarked New York Post writer Robert Rorke. “Or anything funny.”
He added that the show is a “witless collection of offensive anti-Catholic cliches.”
“One wonders how network programmers would react if the offensive jokes heard here were used against another religious group,” he mused.
“O’Neals is hitting a few too many false notes, and hitting them far too strongly.” commented USA TODAY TV critic Robert Bianco.
The Real O’Neals chose to bash a particular religious demographic and failed to attempt to justify the enterprise even by making it funny.
If the show continues to have neither cultural value nor entertainment quality there is no reason ABC should keep it on the air except perhaps the network’s bias against Catholics and conservatives.