Disclosure- I was invited by Disney to attend this all expense paid press trip but all opinions are 100% my own.
The Real O’Neals- “The Real Retreat” airs Tuesday May 3rd (8:30-9:00 p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network
Tonight’s episode of The Real O’Neals is another funny one, probably because they’re all hysterical. We had the opportunity to screen it a few weeks ago when we were in Los Angeles for the #CaptainAmericaEvent and the #ABCTVEvent as well as interview The Real O’Neals Executive Producers Casey Johnson (@trocaseyjohnson), David Windsor (@dwindsor789) & Stacy Traub (@stoocytroob). You can read the first part of our The Real O’Neals cast interviews here.
Here’s a little synopsis of the episode:
When Jimmy is unexpectedly named Faith Leader for the weekend at the Catholic Youth Retreat, a jealous Kenny decides to take on his older brother’s role as ring leader of the bad kids. Home alone without the kids, Pat invites a new lady friend over, and Eileen can’t help but enlist Jodi to spy on them, with surprising results.
All 3 kids attend a Catholic Youth Retreat in this episode but have very different experiences.
Kenny enjoys being the rebel while Jimmy takes on the role of Faith Leader.
Pat and Eileen fight over their new friend which includes a funny karaoke sing-off. I LOVED THIS PART! I dare you not to sing along!
We had the opportunity to chat with the Executive Producers Casey Johnson, David Windsor & Stacy Traub and here are some things we learned:
Originally the idea came was based on Dan Savage’s life–
The original spark of the idea was based on Dan Savage’s life- Jacob’s Ladder and Savage Love. So he grew up in Chicago in an Irish Catholic family and was gay so we took that idea and expanded it into this show. And then started folding in all of our experiences.We had an amazing staff of writers, a lot of whom were gay. We just wanted to make an impact. We wanted to be as authentic as we could, so we were very careful at putting that stuff together.There are many things- Stacy was divorced, David grew up with two gay dads. So this issue has always been really important to him and to us. We kind of fold in our own personal experience. ~Casey Johnson
Most of the feedback the show has received has been positive-
We feel like most of the negative has been from people who haven’t really watched the show but just know what it’s about or have gone in wanting to hate it. But if you believe tweets, which I do and I’ve been watching the live tweeting every week, the response has been so positive and lovely. Kids seeing themselves in the Kenny character, Moms seeing themselves like oh I had that. I think a lot of moms have like a daughter like Shannon. That smart girl and I know I had that. So they’ll respond ‘oh man I just had a conversation like that with my daughter’ and I’ll be like yeah me too. I feel like people who are open minded and like willing to see it for what it is have been really enjoying it. ~Stacey Traub
They are winning over even the skeptics.
There’s been a lot of people on Twitter especially, saying I wasn’t I wasn’t excited about the show but I recognized someone in my family. Or that’s me. Or it’s making me laugh. It’s been happening more and more. ~David Windsor
There was a review just last week where the guy said, “I went into this skeptical, with skepticism, but after watching a couple episodes, I fell for it.” I think we did have to win a few people over. We’ve also gotten some tweets from some kids who have said I’ve just watched the show and decided to come out to my parents. Which is really gratifying for us, because that was kind of beyond what we saw as the opportunity for story and comedy. We thought this is a show that could help some people. Anything kids that aren’t that far along or aren’t in a safe place where they can do that, at least watching the show I think will help them feel like I’m not alone, you know, I recognize myself in that character. And that’s been so gratifying for us to feel like we’re giving people that. ~Casey Johnson
Also there was a show a few years ago called The McCarthy’s where they also were Irish and the lead was gay and it was about their family. And I think they were like oh it’s just that show again. So some people went in a little skewed. We had certain people that were Catholic and told us that they came to it a little bit wary but then once they saw it, were laughing because they saw themselves in the characters or the priest reminded them of their priest or things like that. So it’s been positive, you know. ~Stacey Traub
The characters and Catholic family portrayed in the show are relatable and not polarizing.
I also really love the Jimmy character. There’s been lots of tweets like ‘I wish I had a brother like that’- underneath it they are difficult subjects, but underneath this his family loves each other, supports each other, and in every episode that’s reinforced.That’s also great, I think for people to see. It’s difficult, it’s not easy but in the end we support each other. ~Casey Johnson
I’m Jewish and I relate, a controlling mother is a controlling mother, it doesn’t matter what religion you are. So what I think is interesting about them being Catholic is it does make it more difficult, what’s happening to all of them. My daughter who’s eleven loves the show, she’s not a boy, you know, maybe she’s gay, I don’t know. But I think kids can also watch this show and see themselves in this character because he’s just a kid who’s trying to figure himself out, figure out who he is in the world. So I think the specificity actually makes it universal. Its what gives it the comedy but I think everyone- any big family or anyone with that kind of mom can see themselves. So no it’s not polarizing. ~Stacey Traub