The (almost) Real O'Neals

The (almost) Real O'Neals

Emotional honesty is finally invading our TVs.

It would be marvelous if the world could be like most TV shows. It would be great if families could have moments of honesty with each other and seemingly resolve a major relationship conflict just through talking. It would be really nice if any person, regardless of gender, age, sexual orientation, race or religion could walk down the street without fear of being targeted by someone because of these traits. It would be a wonderful world if an LGBT teenager's life were made easier by coming out to his or her parents, instead of being made more complicated, as is often the case.

Television comedies usually fall into two categories. The first is with traditional, single-race family units that make jokes in a non-provocative way and rarely touch on controversial topics. The second usually involves several different controversial issues, but is not necessarily a good representation of real people's actual lives.

This second type of comedy show attempts to show a society in which voices are heard and people can coexist in the workplace or even the home, but the main problem is that we aren't there yet. Does anyone remember on Glee how Kurt Hummel's dad dealt with his son's coming out in roughly 3.6 seconds? It's nice for a show with such a young audience to show examples of tolerance, but how do people with a different story feel? How would a homeless trans-woman of color react to this story-line?

The problem is that we're not there yet.

This is why I love the new ABC series, The Real O'Neals. The format of the show looks pretty basic and "white-privelegy" at first glance, but for the following reasons, among others, I believe that this show is a different kind of comedy that television desperately needs.

1. Kenny's sexuality is more than a list of sexless stereotypes.

I don't know about you, but I have seen a lot of "gay" characters on comedy shows that don't seem to be very gay. The typical life of this kind of character usually includes a certain style of dress, talking with his hands and some form of Histrionic Personality Disorder.

While for a while it was necessary to show these types of characters for the sake of exposing the public to any aspect of the gay community, these characters now do more harm than good. They cut out the only real qualifier of a gay man: his homosexuality.

These characters on popular TV shows are seen working, interacting with friends and all the other things that Malibu Barbie does, but their romantic lives are often left out of the picture.

In the case of this show, however, Kenny's love life is laid out on the line. He goes on dates, develops a crush, deals with his first rejection, and does all the things that teenagers go through. If society wants to be more open-minded and accepting of the LGBT community, they need to see the fact that the members of that community are nothing more than regular people with a lot of the same problems that everyone else faces.

2. This show depicts the struggle on both sides of the coming-out process.

When dealing with a gay character's coming-out in a typical sitcom, the parents usually have a struggle that lasts one or two episodes, sometimes less. For so many LGBT youths, this is far from the truth. The coming-out process is difficult for many families and can take a long time.

Kenny's coming-out on this show is still a bit hurried when compared to a real-life scenario, but what I appreciate about this show is that it shows the struggle and the difficulty that families face as well. In this series, we see his siblings ask uncomfortable questions, his father try to relate to him, and his mother dealing with a crisis between her faith and the love she has for her son.

Eileen's viewpoint is one that is not portrayed with enough sympathy. It is important that we support those in the LGBT community during their coming-out, but it is also crucial that people be sensitive and empathetic to those on the other side of a coming-out. It can be an enormous challenge for one to reevaluate his or her faith, and I appreciate getting to see Eileen O'Neal's journey.

3. The show draws attention to emotional dishonesty within Christianity.

I have seen quite a few people disgruntled with the show's handling of the topic of religion. They claim that the characters' lives are based too much in stereotypes about Irish-Catholic families.

I am not Catholic, so I can't fully understand this viewpoint, but I am a Christian so I understand the desperate need for increased levels of emotional honesty within the church.

Conversations between parishioners and other church-goers are far too often loaded with subtext and passive-aggression. People feel that they must always be experiencing "the Joy of the Lord," or else they are not "good Christians." Just like Pat points out in the pilot, it is time that Christian families started talking about their issues and being emotionally honest with one another.

It is this type of emotional honesty that makes this show refreshing. As time goes by, Millennials have increasing levels of disdain for organized religion. I believe that part of this is due to many people within the church paying far too much attention to appearances.

"The Real O'Neals" is not exactly like a real family. It is a bit stereotypical and is by no means a perfect show, but I have found something in this show that I have been missing in television. I have found a voice telling people that it is OK not to be perfect; it is OK not to have it all together. We can appreciate ourselves and our loved ones, flaws and all, and hopefully all become a little more "real" in the process.

Cover Image Credit: Zolo Media

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.


To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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The Football World Loses One Of Its Finest Players

Bart Starr passed away and NFL players, coaches, and fans all mourn the loss of the Packer legend, but his life and career will live on in hearts of Packer nation forever.


Bart Starr passed away at the age of 85 in Birmingham, Alabama. The NFL lost a great player. The Green Bay Packers lost a hero. And, the world lost a true gentleman. Starr's legacy has surpassed his accomplishments on the gridiron. He inspired not only his peers but the generations that have come after him. He is — and always — will be remembered as a Hall of Famer, a champion, and a Packer.

Bart Starr was a Packers legend. Starr led Green Bay to six division titles and five world championships. As the quarterback of Vince Lombardi's offense, he kept the machine going and executed the plays like no other. His mastery of the position was a large part of the Packers success in the 1960s. Starr was also the perfect teammate for the perfect team. His leadership put him in command of the Packers. Starr's time in Green Bay will not be forgotten by former players, coaches, and the fans.

Bart Starr's resume is rivaled by few in NFL history. He played in 10 postseason games and won 9 of them. He led the Packers to victory in Super Bowls I and II and won the MVP award in both games. He was the MVP of the league in 1966 and was named to the NFL All-Decade Team of the 1960s. The Packers retired his number 15 and Starr has been inducted into the Packers and Pro Football Hall of Fame.

After his playing days, Starr would become the head coach of the Packers. He could not repeat the success he had on the field from the 1960s teams. His coaching years do not take away from his legacy as one of the all-time great Packers. Starr was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977.

One of Starr's last visits to Lambeau field was on a cold November night in 2015. Starr and his wife attended a ceremony in which the Packers retired Brett Favre's jersey number. Starr was the perfect personification of what it meant to be a Packer. His most heroic moment came in the 1967 NFL Championship Game. The Ice Bowl came down to a third and goal in Lambeau Field's south endzone against the Dallas Cowboys. Starr came to the sidelines and bravely told Vince Lombardi that he can sneak it in for a game-winning touchdown. Lombardi then replied, "Run it, and let's get the hell out of here." Starr ran a quarterback sneak for the game-winner and the Packers were off to Super Bowl II. Without Starr, Green Bay would not have won a second straight Super Bowl. His leadership in big game moments will live with Packers fans for a lifetime.

Vince Lombardi: A Football Life - The Ice Bowl

Starr leaves behind his wife Cherry, his son, and three granddaughters. Packers fans will have a tight grip on the memories Bart Starr and the 60s teams created. Starr left behind a template for being a Green Bay Packer. He also left a template for being a good man and a gentleman of the game of football. He was a competitor and a leader. Packer nation mourns for the loss of one of the finest human beings the game has seen.

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