PTC Finds PG-rated The Real O’Neals Filled with Sex and Profanity

Written by PTC | Published March 17, 2016

ABC’s so-called “family comedy” is totally inappropriate for families.
PTC research has found that the first three episodes of ABC’s new show, The Real O’Neals were saturated with adult content. Children watching were exposed to either sexual dialogue or bleeped profanities on an average of once every 43 seconds – in spite of the fact that the show is rated TV-PG and airs as early as 7:30 p.m. in half the country. Of the adult-themed content, 83% was sexual (including sexual references and innuendo); 16% was bleeped profanities (f- and s-words). Most of the sexual dialogue involved the 16-year-old minor, Kenny, his older high-school-aged brother Jimmy, and their parents. “ABC has essentially inserted explicit and adult-themed humor into a PG-rated, prime-time program that is about a family, created for families, and aired at a time when children are likely to be watching. Even worse, much of the sexual and expletive-laced dialogue is delivered by characters who are children. Simply put, the network is defrauding parents by rating this show as appropriate for young children,” said PTC President Tim Winter. Is sexual dialogue among minors really appropriate for a TV-PG show? Are the standards for Disney-owned TV-PG content that dramatically different than Disney-released PG films, such as Cinderella, Inside Out, and The Good Dinosaur? I’d argue that most parents would not agree that the kind of content found in The Real O’Neals is anywhere near acceptable for family audiences. The PTC is calling on the ABC network to reconsider its content rating for this program, and on all corporate sponsors to consider whether their brands should be associated with a show that spews such explicit content without any real consideration for family viewers. RESEARCH BACKGROUND: The Parents Television Council’s Research Department reviewed the first three episodes of The Real O’Neals for the 2016 Spring season and examined them for adult-themed content and messaging. Violence on the program was not included in the analysis. However, bleeped extreme profanity (the f-and s-words) was counted in the data. The episodes included in the study aired on 3/02/16 (2 episodes) and 3/08/16 (1 episode). MAJOR FINDINGS:
  • In just three 20-minute episodes, there were a total of 30 instances of adult-themed content. That is equivalent to 1.4 instances of adult-themed content airing every minute, or one instance every 43 seconds.
  • Most of the adult-themed content within the show consisted of sexual references and innuendo.
  • Eighty-three percent of all the adult-themed content was sexual (83.3%).
  • Sixteen percent of all the adult-themed content consisted of bleeped profanities (f- and s-words). (16.7%).
  • Most of the sexual dialogue involved the character of Kenny, a 16 year old child. Other content involved his older brother Jimmy (also still a high-school student), and their parents.
  • The number of instances doesn’t tell the full story of how much adult-themed content a child watching would consume. Screen time (the amount of time allotted for a scene, actor, or continuous dialogue) is also important to consider. In this report, one scene is counted as one instance; but each scene might contain multiple references to sex.
CONTENT EXAMPLES: Bleeped profanity

Jimmy: “Mom, where the hell is the [bleeped f***ing] car?” (March 2, 2016, 8:30 p.m. ET)

Jodi: “People were talking about Kenny and Mimi. Guess who was yammering on the most?”

Eileen: “Marcia [bleeped f***ing] Worthman.” (March 2, 2016, 8:30 p.m. ET)

Kenny: “That is some crazy Old Testament [bleeped s***], Mom.” (March 2, 2016, 9:30 p.m. ET)

Sexual content

Mimi: “We've been dating for six months and you've never once pressured me to have sex. Which is why I want to have sex.”

Mimi hands Kenny a large box of condoms.

Kenny: “Wow. 48 condoms!”

Mimi: “Twelve didn't seem like enough.” (March 2, 2016, 8:30 p.m. ET)


Jimmy: “What did Mimi do to you?”

Kenny: “Oh. Just -- you know, just...all that sex stuff that drives us wild.”

Jimmy: “No matter what she [Mom] tells you, you're not going to Hell. Trust me. If everything she said was true, I would be so blind by now.” (March 2, 2016, 8:30 p.m. ET)

Kenny: “My dad's way of handling parenting stuff was bring us to work. He doesn't want me to have premarital sex, he takes me to Crystal. She was in the middle of telling me her sex worker origin story…” (March 2, 2016, 8:30 p.m. ET)


Kenny grabs Mimi's chest and immediately pulls his hand away.

Kenny: “Your boobs feel squishy.”

Mimi: “Do you really want to go your whole life without knowing what it's like? Shouldn't you have something to compare everything else to?...Just try Mimi's papaya. I know you'll like it.” (March 2, 2016, 9:30 p.m. ET)

Nor has the program’s content improved over the first three episodes. The most recent episode, airing Tuesday, March 15th at 8:30 p.m. PT/ET, 7:30 p.m. Central/Mountain, included the following dialogue:

Vice Principal Murray: “Well my ex-wife performed several love crimes on me during our marriage, which is why we always had a safe word.”

Vice Principal Murray: “Well, you did use one of the banned words, which include but are not limited to ass, bitch, butt head, douche, slut, slut shamer, slut bag, slut basket...”

Kenny: “V. P. Murray, this policy is the [bleeped unknown] [bleeped unknown] lamest, [bleeped unknown] ass tickling, [bleeped unknown] sucking thing I've ever heard.”

Take Action. Stay Informed.