I was invited as media to cover this press event. All opinions are my own.
A new comedy is on ABC Primetime! Have you caught an episode of The Real O’Neals yet? This funny comedy will have you laughing out loud as you relate to the mishaps of being a part of a family.
About The Real O’Neals:
“To people in their Chicago community, the O’Neals appear to be your all-American perfect family, and if it were up to Eileen (Martha Plimpton), she’d prefer to keep it that way. Eileen is a mom who prides herself on her unparalleled organizational skills and also strives to put on the best charity event at her church every year. Early in the season, a crack in family armor forces Eileen to admit that her marriage is on the rocks and that her family may be a bit of a mess. Eventually being not-so-perfect is something that Eileen finds very liberating and humiliating at the same time.”
Executive Producer Interviews – Casey Johnson, David Windsor, and Stacy Traub
The three shared that they’ve known each other for years and were happy to team up for what Stacy describes, “an amazing collaboration.” When asked if any of the storylines are about their real lives, Casey mentioned that Stacy and David both have a part in that. David opened up about growing up with two gay dads, adding, “My family was Catholic and I think between us and our writing staff, I think like five or six gay writers with several Catholic writers – we try to bring everyone’s experiences that they don’t mind exploiting for television into the show.”
Casey adds, “That was really important to us and none of us are gay and we’re telling the story, a coming-of-age story about a gay teenager. So we wanted to bring a lot of gay writers onto the show. Our in-house director Todd Holland is gay. He brought a lot of his own personal experience to the show. We just wanted it to feel very, very authentic and real. So we would have a lot of conversations in the writers room.”
Stacy shares, “The Twitter support has been amazing. I’m always trying to live tweet during the show and so many kids are watching [and say] “Oh my God, I’m Kenny.” Or “Yes, that has happened to me.” You know? Like if there’s one kid out there who can see themselves in this character. Or a mom who could see herself in the Eileen character and go “Yes, this is difficult but I’ll be able to, we can deal with it.” You know? “We’ll figure out a way through it.” That’s so rewarding.”
Prior to interviewing the cast, we had the opportunity to watch two upcoming episodes of The Real O’Neals at ABC Studios – with surprise guest Matt Shively! He was so kind and even mentioned something about being in a room with 25 beautiful ladies. Smooth Matt! 🙂 Afterwards we sat down with Matt, who plays Jimmy on the show, and Mary, who plays Aunt Jodi.
Interviews with Matt Shively and Mary Hollis Inboden
Our first question was Matt, what’s up with slicked back hair on the show? (We really like his “regular” look). Matt laughed and took full responsiblity for the hair, mentioning that when he auditioned he was going through a “quarter life crisis” and thought he looked hip with slicked back hair. Adding, “watching it back I’m was like, no it’s terrible. And I spent the whole first season trying to get them to change it, but they were like no, that’s one of the main reasons why we loved you…”
The chemistry between the two was really fun to see. Mary is so friendly and upbeat, it’s contagious really. She bantered him about his hair too – jumping on our bandwagon. Haha.
On tonight’s episode we find out Aunt Jodi likes to sing karaoke, so we asked Mary if that’s something she enjoys. She whipped out her phone and says, like this picture? Recently her and some of the cast, which she calls family, went to sing karaoke. The fun picture is of Mary singing while Matt and co-star Noah are holding her up in a chair. Mary adds, “I’d had a couple of drinks.”
Matt pipes up sharing, “I haven’t done a lot of stuff but I’ve done enough to where I’ve worked with plenty of people, and this is the first time where there’s not one weak link in the cast. Usually you have one person you work with where you’re like, “Hmm, they’re hard to work with,” or something. I’ve never worked with such easy people. We hang out every Tuesday and we live tweet but then we really are a family.”
Mary adds, “We’re all different, just like the family on the show. We all kind of bring each other different things. You know, Kenny feels like my little brother and [Matt} feels like my older brother.”
When asked what attracted them to the show, Matt said, “I didn’t think I was gonna get it. So when I went into it I just kind of like, “Ah, whatever. I’ll just audition and like do whatever I want and see what happens.” And it somehow worked. The thing I love the most about my character is that he’s not the stereotypical jock who has an ego and is a bully. He’s the exact opposite. And I don’t think that’s really ever been focused on, especially on network television. He’s fully supportive and he has his brother’s back and that’s the one thing I’ve gotten the biggest reply on is people being like, “I wish I had a brother like Jimmy.” I think that that’s the coolest thing, to be kind of that person for people.”
Mary shares, “I thought the script was so hilarious and I really, really loved the message of it being more about the family.” She added that her original character was written as a 45 year old woman with this whole back story, but when she auditioned, she reminded one of the creators of an old college friend and that was it.
Since they seem like such a fun cast, we asked if they like to play pranks on set. Matt and Mary both shared that Jay (who plays the Dad, Pat) likes to scare people, whether their filming or just having a conversation, he loves to mess with them.
Tonight’s episode is titled: “The Real Book Club” where Eileen faces her book club for the first time after her family’s “outing,” but things take a surprising turn when instead of shunning her the ladies begin opening up – way too much – about their own problems.
In 2 weeks, I’m returning with more Q&A with Noah Galvin & Jay R. Ferguson – plus a new episode, so stay tuned! Chat along with the cast on Tuesday nights with hashtag #TheRealOneals.
Watch The Real O’Neals Tuesdays at 8:30 pm EST.
Photos courtesy of Coralie Seright.