In a move that should bode well for the series currently in development, ABC and ABC Studios have applied for a trademark for ‘The Real O’Neals,’ a half-hour single-camera comedy that’s being executive produced by activist Dan Savage, creator of the ‘It Gets Better’ project. The series was formerly known under the working title of ‘Family of the Year.’ The official description for the series pilot is as follows:
Everyone admires the O’Neal Family. Eileen O’Neal (Martha Plimpton) is the quintessential wife and mother. She is always impeccably dressed, runs an idyllic household and spearheads church events with ease and flair. Her husband, Pat O’Neal (Jay R. Ferguson) is a local cop and hero in their Chicago community. Though he doesn’t quite have Eileen’s passion for perfection, he tries his best to keep her happy. Each of the O’Neal children excels in their own way. The eldest, 17-year-old Jimmy (Matthew Shively), is a handsome varsity wrestler and 14-year-old Shannon (Bebe Wood) is known for her charity work and ceaseless fundraising efforts. And then there’s 16-year-old Kenny who is clearly Mom’s favorite, even though he doesn’t have the athleticism or altruism of his siblings. (Let’s just say that neither of them will watch The Bachelor with her every week!)
As the picture perfect O’Neal family prepares for Eileen’s highly anticipated annual church fundraiser, a blemish appears on the façade of perfection when Kenny’s girlfriend, Mimi, tries to convince him they should have sex. This privately awkward moment immediately becomes public when Kenny tries to flush Mimi’s condoms down the toilet and accidentally floods the house while Father Phil and women from the church are making baskets for bingo night. Eileen is horrified and embarrassed.
The increasing pressure from Mimi, and a very unorthodox sex talk orchestrated by his father, forces Kenny to face the fact that he’s gay and he simply can’t keep it to himself any longer. Just before the church bingo game begins, he finally finds the courage to tell his family the truth. But before Kenny can share his news, his dad shares a confession of his own: he and Eileen are secretly in therapy and contemplating divorce. Desperate to get his kids to open up for the first time, he pushes them to share as well. Jimmy reluctantly admits he’s anorexic. Then Shannon reveals she’s been stealing from her charitable collections to buy herself a car. And Kenny finally tells his family that he’s gay.
This contagious bout of confessions shatters Eileen’s myth of their perfect family. It’s clear that it will take time for her to adjust, but instead of destroying her family, it’s actually the beginning of a new, messier, family where everyone stops pretending to be perfect and actually starts being real.
Written by David Windsor and Casey Johnson (Galavant) and produced by best-selling author Dan Savage (It Gets Better), Stacy Traub (Trophy Wife, Glee), Brian Pines (Hypomania Content), Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Dan McDermott (DiBonaventura Pictures Television). Todd Holland (Malcolm in the Middle) also produces and directs.
The pilot also stars Noah Galvin and Mary Hollis Inboden.