So ABC created a one joke wonder, the unlaughable “Real O’Neals,” to let everyone yuck it up about those crazy Catholics. Except the show is anything but Catholic, and even more sinful, it’s not funny. Family life and the foibles of trying to live a faith are ripe for humor, or would be in the hands of someone who wanted to laugh with, rather than at the people depicted in this tiresome, tacky charm free show. Serving these microwaved leftover stereotypes as entertainment, I have to wonder, have they ever met any practicing Catholics or any real families for that matter?
But, in the spirit of fraternal love, and in this year of Mercy, I have a solution for ABC. Yes, I’ve taken it upon myself to write up twelve episodes of That Darn Domestic Church. The incidents described in these 10 episodes in no way are reflective of anything that has ever taken place in my own personal life ever.
Episode 1: Friday Lenten Nights. After Cheese Pizza, Homemade Mac and Cheese, and Pancakes, Mom and Dad opt for the local K of C Fish Fry…but they arrive too late and so it’s drive thru Fish Filet for everyone. Commentary on whether fasting or eating is more penance ensues.
Episode 2: Grade School Uniform Free day. The terror of the children coming down the stairs in their own creations…and the mom who must keep her mouth shut. Even better, it’s picture day.
Episode 3: Modestly Promposals Finding a dress for prom that Mom and daughter won’t hate is harder than either thought. When the daughter sets herself on a gown that isn’t appropriate and won’t listen to Mom’s reasons, Mom puts on the gown herself to prove the point. It isn’t pretty.
Episode 4: The Quest for Advent Candles. Finding three purple and one pink is harder than you think. When the local place she always gets them from, closed, Mom resorts to temper paint and white candles to get the job done. Meanwhile, Dad is in charge of the Christmas pageant. Navigating the ins and outs of adolescents angry over being cast as the sheep and the angels may require a miracle.
Episode 5: Volunteeritis. When the kids start their service projects, it’s the parents that wind up being stretched too thin. When Dad finds himself needing to gain the grace of bilocation to manage everyone, it’s time for a family meeting and a change of plans.
Episode 6: Lock Out. Mom goes on a scrupulosity spree, changing the wi-fi, cable, iphone and kindle code words in an attempt to get her family to communicate with each other. She wrote the passwords down and mailed them to their house. The weekend will be spent actually with each other, but it starts out rough, because everyone is mad at Mom.
Episode 7: Petitions. The kids learn a new way to pray the rosary, with petitions, which after initial promising and well intentioned attempts degrades in some cases into lobbying God and the family via public prayer. “Can we get milkshakes?” “Can I go to this movie on Friday?” “Can we get a puppy?” When the kids invoke the intercession of Saint Francis of Assisi and a stray dog shows up on the doorstep, the parents have to decide, will the answer to this prayer, be yes?
Episode 8: Saint Anthony on Speed dial. A series of near disasters averted by the timely finding of key things…like shoes, purse, keys…a paper…lead the kids to suspect, either Mom has a super power (finding stuff) or Mom’s hiding things on purpose. It’s neither, and the kids learn, the Saints are real, and they’re friends worth knowing.
Episode 9: You Must Be Catholic. Expecting a sixth child, mom and dad must endure the slew of “You must not know how this works…” and work on coming up with the right response in such circumstances while the kids argue over who will have to share more room in their rooms.
Episode 10: Get me to the Church on Time. A series of mishaps over the course of weeks with respect to making it leads to the family devising all sorts of methods to get everyone into the car and to Saint Joseph’s on time for mass including a bet with the neighbors who also attend the same parish.
I’ll be waiting by the phone for a call from my agent.
(This post was written by the great Sherry Antonetti who blogs at Chocolate for Your Brain.)