New ABC sitcom 'The Real O'Neal's praised for positive portrayal of gay youth
A new US sitcom loosely inspired by the younger years of writer and LGBT acitvist Dan Savage has earned positive reviews after it premiered in the States last night.
The Real O'Neals is an ABC show based on an idea by Savage, who also serves as Executive Producer on the show. He took inspiration from his upbringing in an Irish Catholic family in Chicago, where he struggled growing up gay, but also commented that "it wouldn't be accurate to describe it as autobiographical."
The show depicts the family dropping multiple bombshells on each other at once, including the parents divorcing.
The show will suit fans of shows like Modern Family and Glee, with fantasy elements similar to those in Ally McBeal, but with its main character being a young teenage boy, it is also geared to be friendly to younger viewers.
Savage, a popular blogger, author and media pundit in the US, is a vocal, sometimes controversial advocate for LGBT rights, and naturally has enemies on the right. US conservatives attempted to get the show banned before it had even been made, but were unsuccessful.
The Catholic League also took out an advert in The New York Times on Monday, calling shame on ABC and parent company Disney, citing Savage's "cruel record of bigotry."
Objecting to Dan's depiction of their religion, they added that, "his maniacal hatred of Catholicism is so strong that it would be as though David Duke were hired to produce a show about African Americans," referencing one of the most notorious white supremacists in the US.
However, reviews were fairly positive following its premiere last night. The Atlantic wrote: "This is a show dealing with darker issues than its network brethren, but presented in the same bouncy, upbeat style. It’s a weird clash of tone that shouldn’t really work, but somehow does."
Entertainment Weekly admitted it might not be for everyone, but called it "a sometimes sentimental, sometimes silly half-hour about a family trying out honesty — and, as a result, acceptance — for the first time."
More stories:U.S. conservatives trying to ban Dan Savage inspired sitcomDan Savage: Leelah Alcorn's parents should be prosecuted over suicide