ABC has yet to announce if The Real O'Neals will have a third season — and a social media campaign demonstrates why it should.
#TheRealReason, a hashtag promoted by the series and its gay star, Noah Galvin, reveals how LGBT visibility has helped its viewers.
The Real O'Neals, a family comedy inspired by the life of It Gets Better founder Dan Savage, centers on a gay teen and his Catholic family. It addresses issues not widely seen on network television like bullying and coming out.
Fans took to Twitter to express how this representation of queer characters and issues impacted their lives.
— AC (@corderor84) March 2, 2017
— Mikey (@mikey_ragusa) March 2, 2017
— Allen Priest (@allenpriest) March 1, 2017
@Noahegalvin The whole damn fam watched The Real O'Neals tonight So nice to see characters on mainstream tv that LGBT youth can relate to
— Seth (@Arenclelle) March 1, 2017
Stacy Traub, an executive producer of The Real O'Neals, drove home how the series makes a difference to families with LGBT kids in a statement to The Advocate.
"For kids, Kenny is a beacon of hope to realize that things do indeed get better. And for parents, they can witness how Pat and Eileen deal with their son and come to terms with the fact that he is different from them," Traub said.
"In this political climate it has never been more important to teach people about marginalized communities and show them that the 'other' is not scary," Traub added. "Being different can be celebrated. Being different can be funny. Being different can help people learn to be different and think differently themselves."
Since the election, bullying in schools has spiked, as has hate crimes against members of vulnerable communities. In addition, suicide lifelines for LGBT youth have been overwhelmed with calls.
#TheRealReason shows that when it comes to LGBT TV, more than ratings matter. Visibility has the power to change hearts and minds, and it fights pernicious myths about queer people in a time when their lives and rights are in danger.
Last week, CBS's Doubt and USA's Eyewitness, which both featured LGBT storylines and characteres, were canceled due to low ratings. TV by the Numbers, a website that analyzes ratings data, says The Real O'Neals' numbers, when compared with other ABC comedies, make it a "likely cancellation."
"The second-year comedy has simply fallen too far behind the other shows on Tuesday and Wednesday to survive into 2017-18," the website predicted. "The show is averaging a 0.93 rating this season. The next lowest-rated Tuesday or Wednesday comedy, Fresh Off the Boat, is at 1.26 — a jump of 35 percent."
See a message from Galvin about #TheRealReason below — and share videos, images, and messages of support on Twitter. And to help keep LGBT representation on network TV, tune in to The Real O'Neals on Tuesday, 9:30 p.m. Eastern on ABC.
— Noah Galvin (@Noahegalvin) January 14, 2017