Celebrating the sacrament of confirmation in Catholicism illustrates one’s understanding of commitment. For the O’Neals it appears to show their fear of it. As the family prepares for Shannon’s confirmation, Kenny fearfully projects an unflattering future with Brett full of velour tracksuits, balding bangs, and a doggie haven while Eileen refuses to acknowledge VP Murray’s impact on her family. Shannon doesn’t see God as male and Jimmy and Pat dispute over their ex- babysitter’s return. In the end, however, “The Real Confirmation” does illustrate one family’s understanding of commitment to each other and that has kept The Real O’Neals a winner.
For better or worse, the O’Neals are vowed to be an honest family unit and we admire that about the show. Kenny’s coming out in his religious family forced each member to get introspective and start living a more honest and authentic life. Eileen and Pat divorced, Shannon embraced her entrepreneurial spirit and Jimmy, well, Jimmy just embraced who he is—a simple, kind-hearted and innocent young man who happens to be one of the funniest characters. Despite these external and unconventional changes, the O’Neals emerge stronger and happier than ever as result of committing themselves to honesty. Each episode has highlighted ways they support, care and show up for one another and “The Real Confirmation” doesn’t disappoint.
The O’Neals show us how actions speak louder than words. This is why we keep tuning in; for the laughs, of course, but for the real lessons we learn from The O’Neals. Too often the presentation of a family is more important than acting like one. Well, ABC’s The Real O’Neals shows what acting like a family entails while hitting some hilarious moments. Before getting to those more serious family moments, can we give it up for Jimmy? Truly, Jimmy continues to hit humorous homeruns in each episode. This one just happens to give him a lot more of the spotlight. He finds such joy in the simple things in life like grapes cut in half, a retractable dart board and discovering glue is invisible tape that we can’t help but love his endearing and innocent way of living. Granted his character is the comedic relief in many already comedic situations, but Jimmy delivers time and time again constant laughs with a bit of viewer envy. Meaning, don’t we all wish we could find some ignorant bliss in our own lives? Don’t go changing Jimmy, we like you just as you are.
At first, Kenny wants to bring Brett to the confirmation party as his date but Eileen objects saying that isn’t how she wants the family seen by the church. Then when Brett says “I love you” to Kenny for the first time it sends him into a tailspin.
Unable to avoid Brett and finally confronted with him in the kitchen, Kenny says “I love you” too despite the voices in his head telling him not to. After some sage advice from his mom, Kenny knows he needs to be honest with Brett. When he does it backfires and Brett decides to put their relationship on pause. Feeling alone, Kenny reflects on his family and realizes he isn’t alone at all. His mother will always support and love him not matter what. Her motherly actions prove that and that is how a family acts like a family. When sons or daughters need support a parent shows up and provides unconditional love even when it may contradict their own belief.
Shannon asks VP Murray to become her godparent which opens the show up to some “god parenting” play on word jokes (that were rather witty) and shifts VP Murray’s role in the O’Neal family. Like Jimmy, VP Murray’s character continues to make us laugh harder than some others because he is so specific with his neuroses and relationships. Kudos, Clive! When Shannon’s essay on God doesn’t make it into the program due to her argument that God could be female, VP Murray steps up his new role and prints inserts so Shannon’s voice can be heard. Plus, he also imaged God as Bea Arthur. Touched by the act of her new godparent, Shannon kisses VP Murray on the cheek and Eileen comes to the conclusion that her boyfriend is improving their lives. Her fear of VP Murray becoming apart of this family forever begins to fade.
There’s also the return of a hot babysitter who keeps kissing Pat when Jimmy wants to pursue her, but that was more for laughs than lessons. See, The Real O’Neals delivers it all! Underneath the imperfect image of the O’Neal family is the perfect family dynamic—that they’re committed to. Shannon’s confirmation may put the O’Neals face-to-face with their individual commitment issues, but it also proves to be an opportunity to reinforce their allegiance to their family.
(Photo: ABC/John Fleenor)
ABC’s The Real O’Neals Tuesdays 9:30/8:30C.