The Real O’Neals: Interviews

ABC has become the network for relatable family comedy shows. An equal opportunity to find the funny in all families with shows like Modern Family, The Middle, Black-ish, Fresh Off The Boat and now The Real O’Neals. Last week during the Captian America Event, we had the opportunity to join some of the cast and producers at the ABC cafeteria to chat all about The Real O’Neals with Noah Galvin (“Kenny”), Jay R. Ferguson (“Pat”), Matt Shively (“Jimmy”) and Mary Hollis Inboden (“Jodi”), and Executive Producers Casey Johnson, David Windsor, and Stacy Traub.

Hilariously Genuine Look at Family: The Real O'Neals on ABC {+ Cast Q&A}
(l-r) Mary Hollis Inboden (“Jodi”), Jay R. Ferguson (“Pat”), Executive Producers David Windsor, Casey Johnson, Stacy Traub, Noah Galvin (“Kenny”), Matt Shively (“Jimmy”) Phot Credit: Lovebugs and Postcards

We were broken up into small groups of 6 and it felt more like catching up with old friends than new ones that happen to be starring on a television show. You can bet there were as many laughs during the Q&A as there are during each episode of The Real O’Neals.

Hilariously Genuine Look at Family: The Real O'Neals on ABC {+ Cast Q&A}
Photo Credit: Lovebugs and Postcards

The Real O’Neals

If you are just finding out about The Real O’Neals, let’s start with, they are a Catholic family with a gay son, another son who was an anorexic wrestling star, a klepto daughter who is quite a bit wiser than her age, and the parents are getting divorced but dad still resides in the same house downstairs in the basement. To some, this is a pretty normal family in this day and age, but where did the idea of The Real O’Neals come from?

David Windsor – The first approach was two years ago from the network and studio, who had tried to develop an idea with Dan Savage. So it’s sort of very loosely based on his life being a gay kid, growing up in a Catholic family. We thought it’s kind of interesting, we liked the idea of a family show for ABC, who has all these really good family shows. That was the gem of it from upstairs in this building, and then I sort of took it and ran after that. 

Every episode of The Real O’Neals covers a real topic with a perfect comedic timing that brings up topics families face daily. With Kenny, their child coming out, to the painful topic of telling friends and family their marriage is over, to father and son bonding while camping (hilarious by the way!). The Real O’Neals is relevant and entertaining, without being offensive.

David –  I think we always come out with what is real; what’s happening in people’s lives; the kid’s lives at that age; the grownups that are going through this heavy thing. You know, it’s kind of a fine line we’re walking because we’re dealing with a lot of sort of serious, heavy issues, but at the same time, we’re making a comedy, and so the authenticity of all of their problems, I think, makes the show more relatable to everybody. It also, in some weird way, makes it easier to write comedy for, because those awkward moments like divorce, and coming out, and all these things that are so uncomfortable often times are mined for a lot of comedy. Our goal is really just to make it as real as we can, and it’s part of the reason we made it the title. We didn’t wanna shy away from any of that stuff. 

Stacy – Because our staff is made up of lesbians and gay guys, and Catholics – we’re always checking. Like when you came out, what was your experience, and everyone’s got a different experience. Some people are like, oh, it was super easy; some people didn’t come out until they were thirty, and we’re just constantly checking in – does this feel real? If you were going on a date for the first time, we want it to be funny, but we don’t. We don’t wanna just guess, and what’s so lovely is that we have all these people with us who can tell us what the real thing is.

Hilariously Genuine Look at Family: The Real O'Neals on ABC {+ Cast Q&A}
Photo Credit: Lovebugs and Postcards

Casey – I have a 14 year old daughter and at least once every episode I think “that is totally a situation I have been in with my daughter!” I’m sure when my 10 year old son gets a few years older, I will be able to relate some of the Kenny and Jimmy stories to him. After all, some of these stories are coming straight from the crews lives.

Stacy – Yeah, my daughter’s eleven, but she might as well be twenty. She’s very much like Shannon, and the episode, ‘The Real Man’ where Shannon’s sneaking off to go work at Wetzel’s Pretzels, that last scene with the two of them – it just really makes me feel like conversations I’ve had with my daughter where she’s kind of- maybe a little bit too smart for her age, and maybe too smart for me. We had a conversation the other day where she said something, and I said, you know, that wasn’t very nice. And she goes, well, I’m supposed to be not nice to you now, Mom. No, no, you don’t have to be. We get into these conversations, and we definitely, we all share. We have writers who are from Chicago; we have writers who are Catholic; we have writers who are gay; and everyon in the writer’s room is so lovely because it’s this safe place where everyone shares all these stories, and then we try and figure out if this experience works for this story. We want it to feel as real and honest as possible. 

If you’ve been watching The Real O’Neals, you probably remember ‘The Real Man’ episode the Stacy mentioned above. It is one of the funniest episodes, right after the gay toilet cake scene, and became even funnier when I heard the story behind the boy battle that opens the episode.

David – Jay and Matt do a boy battle; that’s something my son and I do. I’m just in the room, like, ‘oh, and we do this silly thing. We wrestle and we have this elaborate introduction.’ but it’s so stupid. It’s fun and so we ended up doing that. But there’s always stuff from our lives that we like putting in, it just feels more authentic, you know? The stuff feels more real.

Hilariously Genuine Look at Family: The Real O'Neals on ABC {+ Cast Q&A}

Now you know we couldn’t talk to Matt Shively without talking about Jimmy’s hair helmet head. Matt Shively is one seriously hilarious human!

Matt Shively – That was my mistake. Ask about the hair. That was the biggest mistake I’ve ever made. That is how I was doing my hair for awhile. It was shorter on the sides but, all my friends were doing it, so I was like, you know what? I’m gonna try this out. I thought it was cool to do that, and I did that, and then I realized that it was not cool, and they were like, but that’s one of the main reasons why we love you guys. 

Mary – Dang, your hair’s a thing. 

Matt – I thought, all the entire first season, he’s just came out and he’s gay, and in the tag of the pilot, they say, what’s the worse thing, and he’s like, your hair. So I’m like, okay, they’re gonna change it, and they refused to change it. Give me a makeover episode where Kenny gives Jimmy a makeover. Low-key, if and when we come back for a second season, if they don’t change it, I’m gonna buzz my head. I’m dead serious. I can’t – that thing is a helmet. If you were to try and go against the grain, you’ll cut your hand, I swear to god. There’s so much product in that hair, I could leave it, it was really a helmet. 

Mary – I’ll never forget, there’s an episode where Matt’s, taking a shower; gotten out of the shower, and I came to set, and his hair was not his Jimmy helmet. And I was like, ‘you look good today, Matt.’ and he was like, ‘oh, just one scene.’ 

Matt – They made it worse. We’ll fix you up, but you can’t have a shirt on, and I’m like, ‘I don’t like not having a shirt on.’ I have boobs on my back. I’m sitting there messing with my hair, and I watch the episode back, and it looks like I have a “B” cup. Guys, no, listen, they’ll change your hair, but you’re gonna show off that body. 

Mary – We’re so glad you did, too.

Matt – There’s a whole episode coming up where I pretend to be a cop, and they changed my hair. It’s crazy how different I look with different hair. We did it to resemble Jay’s hair because he’s the cop. I watched that episode a while ago, and I was like, can we do this every episode? Stop- I’m going bald because they put so much product in my hair. 

Hilariously Genuine Look at Family: The Real O'Neals on ABC {+ Cast Q&A}
Photo Credit: Lovebugs and Postcards

While the Executive Producers were at our table, we talked about a storyline that involved a new hairstyle!

Casey – That’s funny. 

Stacy – That would be really funny.

David – But then he realizes he likes it back more, so he goes back to the old way.

Stacy – That’d be a funny table read.

Casey – We should definitely do that, yeah.

Hilariously Genuine Look at Family: The Real O'Neals on ABC {+ Cast Q&A}
Photo Credit: Lovebugs and Postcards

So, does the hilarious Matt Shively adlib on the show?

Matt – The scene where I come in and I tell Kenny I love him, even though he’s gay, in front of the whole auditorium, I had this whole thing that they were like, okay, we got it, so just go have fun. So I was like, .”…and by the way I’m not gay still. Madison, remember that time we were at Catholic school, and we were under Sister Margaret’s desk making out, you said I looked…”, and I went on this whole two minute rant about it, and they ended up keeping the whole thing.

Mary – And, they had to keep Madison because…[laughs] 

Matt – Because I was flirting with her, and it was funny; but it was really cool because they were like, ‘let’s do it again’, and they did that a few times. But there’s a lot of times where I’ll do it the way they’ve written it a few times, and then they’ll just tell us to have fun, and I go out and say one or two things.

Mary – It’s respectful to start with what they’ve given you, and we were all raised well by moms like you guys, so we do what they say first. Then we start to really party, you know, and sometimes – especially with me, they’re like, well we can’t use any of that.

Hilariously Genuine Look at Family: The Real O'Neals on ABC {+ Cast Q&A}
Photo Credit: Lovebugs and Postcards

The “The Real Grandma” episode of The Real O’Neals, was SO funny, wonder what that cake was like?

Noah – The cake. I was excited to eat that cake all week, I was so stoked, and then of course, me and Martha didn’t film the tag, which was us on the porch eating the cake, until 3:00am on Friday. It was after three meals, they brought in pizza for the first time ever, and I was like, YES. I went a little too hard on the pizza; but at 3:00am, they’re like, ‘now eat three slices of rainbow cake.’

Hilariously Genuine Look at Family: The Real O'Neals on ABC {+ Cast Q&A}

In that same episode “The Real Grandma”, there is a pickle scene, one that is just insanely funny. Yes they went there –  it’s also a favorite of Jay R. Ferguson.

Jay – The grandmother’s line of the pickles having to be long, thick, and hard…

Noah – Oh, yes, that was fantastic.

Jay – Oh, oh, and when she says ‘I’ll just borrow your panties’. [laughs]

Hilariously Genuine Look at Family: The Real O'Neals on ABC {+ Cast Q&A}
Photo Credit: Lovebugs and Postcards

Noah – Remember the end of that scene, Jay, you used to have to go in and give her a kiss on the face? 

Jay – Yeah, they cut a lot out of that scene.

Noah – That was a really, really hard call.

Jay – I had a reflex when she says the line about the panties. I do a gag reflex, and that they cut out, and then at the end, I had to go in and kiss her. 

Noah – It was really good. 

Jay – I think they felt like they had pushed the envelope enough with that episode at that point. They didn’t need anymore. I mean, after long, thick, and hard, I mean, it is 8:30 on ABC….how much more can you push it? 

Hilariously Genuine Look at Family: The Real O'Neals on ABC {+ Cast Q&A}

If you like comedies, The Real O’Neals on ABC at 8:30 PM ET on Tuesdays will give you some great laughs! I had the opportunity to screen tonight’s episode while in LA.

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. Kenny’s first trip to the “gayborhood” coffee shop is everything he’d hoped for, until Pat tags along with him to a gay dodge ball match.

Hilariously Genuine Look at Family: The Real O'Neals on ABC {+ Cast Q&A}

Tune into “The Real Book Club” episode of The Real O’Neals tonight on ABC tonight at 8:30 PM ET!

Hilariously Genuine Look at Family: The Real O'Neals on ABC {+ Cast Q&A}



| Facebook |Twitter | Instagram | Website |


 *I was invited by Disney to attended the Captain America Event to share my experience with my readers. All opinions are my own.


Trippin with Tara
Latest posts by Trippin with Tara (see all)

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.