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Series / The McCarthys

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Gerard: There is no way you can be that clueless about sports.
Arthur: Trust me, if anyone can be that clueless about sports it's Ronny.
Ronny: Thanks for believing in me dad!
— "Pilot"

The McCarthys was a CBS sitcom that ran for one season from 2014-2015.

The McCarthys are a close-knit family of proud Boston natives with a passion for basketball. Youngest son Ronny, however, feels left out because he feels his family, while accepting, doesn't really understand his struggles as a gay man or his lack of interest in sports. Complicating matters is the fact that his mother refuses to cut the apron strings and is passive-aggressively trying to keep him and his siblings close by even as Ronny tries to move away from his family and forge his own identity.

Ronny is convinced to stay in Boston when his emotionally-distant father reaches out and asks him to be the new assistant coach to his father's high school basketball team even though he knows nothing about the sport.

Tropes included in The McCarthys:

  • American Accents: The main characters, particularly Sean, Gerard, and Jackie, speak with strong Boston accents. Joey McIntyre and Jimmy Dunn just use their natural accents, although McIntyre notes that he uses a toned down version of his.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Marjorie and Arthur, after watching a manipulated video of them gushing about each other (when in reality they were talking about The Good Wife and the Red Sox' 2004 World Series win) refer to each other as their own Red Soxnote  and Good Wife at the end of the episode.
  • Awesome by Analysis: Marjorie can tell that Ronny accidentally convinced Gerard to propose to Katrina just by reading Ronny's changing expressions.
    Ronny: "How do you do that?"
    Marjorie: "A mother knows!"
    Ronny: A witch knows!"
  • Berserk Button: Ronny makes the stuffing. No one better encroach on his territory.
    Ronny: (Applies lotion to his hands like a villain) I make the stuffing.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Ronny is normally the one trying to convince the rest of his family to be nicer to others, but even he has a temper.
    Ronny: "You stuffing stealing HARLOT!"
  • Big Eater: Whenever the McCarthys are seen sharing a meal, there is inevitably heaping piles of food with everyone heartily digging in. Of course, Sean is the biggest eater of them all.
  • Camp Gay: Ronny has his moments, but the crown goes to Philip, the singer at the McCarthy's church, who is extremely theatrical and prone to inappropriately interjecting himself into McCarthy family drama.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: The McCarthys are emotionally closed off from each other and can't bring themselves to say how they feel to one another, even if it means saying trite platitudes to a dying relative. The only way the titular family can say "I love you" to one another is by turning it into a drinking game where they first person to crack up has to chug a bottle of beer.
    Great Aunt Alice: "I love you, Arthur."
    Arthur: "You betcha."
    Great Aunt Alice: "And I love you, Marjorie."
    Marjorie: "Warmest wishes."
    Great Aunt Alice: "And the children! I love you all!"
    Jackie: "Fond regards."
    Sean: "Take it easy."
    Gerard: "To you and yours."
    Ronny: "Great Aunt Alice...I love yo...your slippers. Snazzy!"
    • Ronny attempts to put together an anniversary video of Marjorie and Arthur talking about their marriage only to discover that his parents see their relationship as a matter of fact and don't have much to say about it. He has to resort to manipulatively editing footage of his mother and father speaking of The Good Wife and the Boston Red Sox' 2004 World Series win, respectively, to show the two smiling and being moved to tears.
    • Marjorie thinks Arthur touching her shoulder in view of the children is much too intimate.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: Marjorie is like this towards most characters, but particularly Katrina. She actively encourages the younger woman to engage in risky behavior in the hopes that Katrina will somehow die in the process.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Arthur's been keeping a spare owl statue since 1996 in the event that Marjorie somehow doesn't get her preferred choice during the annual McCarthy family gift swap.
  • Do Not Do This Cool Thing: In universe. Jackie receives a list of things she can't do while pregnant and the rest of the family say that they'll join her in solidarity. Unfortunately, the family realizes that most of the things on the list sound fun and proceed to indulge. Jackie eventually catches them, although Arthur wants to make clear that at no point did any of them ever handle any kitty litter.
  • Fantastic Racism: Ronny dating a referee is treated as if he were in an interracial relationship his family didn't approve of. The discovery of Gerard's moonlighting as a referee is later treated like a coming out story.
  • The "Fun" in "Funeral": The family is more concerned with dealing with their own issues than paying their respects while at Fatty McFadden's funeral. Arthur even interrupts the priest to announce that a star player has chosen to join his team and that he wants Ronny to be his new assistant coach.
  • Funny Foreigner: Sean sets Ronny up with a handsome French bassoonist whose grasp of English comes and goes as the plot demands.
  • Genius Ditz: Sean is clueless about almost everything, but is sometimes able to pull out highly academic references to the confusion of his family.
    Ronny: "My parents are incapable of talking about how much they love each other. Of course if you ask them about baseball or The Good Wife they turn into Pablo Freakin' Neruda!"
    Sean: "Chilean poet."
    Gerard: "How do you know that?"
    Sean: "How do you not know that?"
  • Happily Married: On Thanksgiving, Arthur is at first eager when Marjorie gives him permission to vent about how their marriage frustrates him, but he realizes that he only has a few minor grumbles and spends the rest of the episode being lovey-dovey towards Marjorie.
  • Insistent Terminology: It's not "Good Wife". It's "The Good Wife".
  • Lethal Chef: Jackie can't cook and her attempts at making pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving don't end well.
    Marjorie: "See Jackie helping out in the kitchen?"
    Arthur: "Is the fire extinguisher still underneath the sink?"
    Marjorie: "Yeah, and I brought the upstairs one down too."
    Arthur: "Smart."
  • Malaproper: Both Marjorie and Arthur flub words and phrases.
  • Mundane Utility: Sean books former Celtic Rick Fox to make an appearance at his and Gerard's birthday. The twins quickly run out of things to talk about with Fox so Marjorie uses him to do chores around the house.
  • My Beloved Smother: Marjorie is very possessive of Ronny because he's the only one of her children who shares her interests beyond sports.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Ronny is sent to try and convince Gerard to break up with Katrina, but Ronny's attempts to be delicate about the issue accidentally convinces Gerard to propose to Katrina instead.
    • Arthur is assigned to vent to Gerard about what he dislikes about marriage but realizes that aside from a few minor grumbles, he loves being married to Marjorie and makes Gerard want to pursue married life even more.
    • The entire family gets one when Katrina rejects Gerard's proposal and they indignantly stand up for Gerard. Katrina is just about to walk out the door and out of their lives forever, but the family's ranting makes her rethink her decision and accept the proposal.
  • No-Sell: Sean gobbles down a ball of wasabi and only comments that it has a bit of a kick to it. He orders several more of them. He later says that his throat started bleeding because of the wasabi, but doesn't show any outward signs of discomfort.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Gerard refuses to smile in photos, claiming that it's a sign of weakness and prefers to scowl at the camera instead. A quick montage shows that he's been like this since birth.
  • Polar Opposite Twins: Sean and Gerard are very different twins. Sean towers over the entire family, is fairly laid back, and slightly dimwitted. Gerard, on the other hand, is the smarter of the two and is much smaller and a hothead.
  • Psycho Ex: Gerard is madly in love with Katrina, his histrionic on-and-off girlfriend, but the rest of the family think she's the devil and do all they can to keep her away from Gerard.
    • Katrina checks Gerard's pockets and odometer to figure where he goes when she's not around. She even considers Cape Fear to be a comedy!
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: Some critics were unfavorable of Marjorie asking Ronny if he was still gay in the pilot, claiming that it smacked of cheap sitcom writing. Series creator Brian Gallivan really was asked that question, but by his brother and not his mother.
    Marjorie: "Ronny, you're still gay?"
    Ronny: "What? Yes! I came out two years ago!"
    Marjorie: "But it's been a while since you've dated anybody so I didn't know if you were still pursuing it."
    Ronny "Yup! Still giving it a go!"
    • Also, Brian Gallivan's family really do trade barbs with each other although Gallivan had to tone it down for TV because he was afraid that audiences would be turned off by just how severe some of the vitriol really is.
  • Running Gag:
    • The Good Wife and it's popularity with Ronny and Marjorie.
    • Sean was a two-time Boston Globe All-star.
    • Jackie's inability to keep her pregnancy a secret.
  • Serious Business: The McCarthys are proud fans of Boston-area sports teams. Merely mentioning a team from New York (especially the Yankees) is a good way to get the entire family to gang up on you.
  • Shout-Out: The Good Wife is constantly being referenced by Ronnie and Marjorie.
    • On Christmas Eve, the three McCarthy brothers each present their pregnant sister with a gift.
  • Someone to Remember Him By: Jackie's baby is also Fatty McFadden's, whose funeral they attend in the pilot.
  • Southies: Being a comedy this is actually one of the more positive portrayals of the trope despite their dysfunction.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Demonstrating the developments in prenatal care, Marjorie and Gerard have the following exchange:
    Marjorie: "Arthur. Remember all the rules I followed when I was pregnant?"
    Marjorie and Arthur start laughing
    Gerard: In a worried tone "Mom, what did you do?"
    Marjorie: "Nothing that would cause your twin brother to be born twice your size. Nature is a mystery, Gerard."
  • Synchronization: Sean feels a sharp pain in his shoulder whenever Gerard is upset or hurt. It's yet to be seen if Gerard has a similar reaction when Sean is hurt.
  • Three Cameras: The first pilot was originally shot as a single-camera sitcom but the production team realized that the barbs the family traded with each other came across as too dark so they retooled the show to be a traditional multi-cam sitcom with a studio audience so that the insults would be undercut with some audible laughter.
  • Twin Banter: Sean and Gerard have their own twin language, although Gerard claims that Sean butchers the pronunciation.
  • The Unfavorite: In the pilot episode, Marjorie sends each of her sons home with a plate of leftovers and telling him that he's her favorite. She sends Jackie home with leftovers and a reminder that she wants the plate back.
    • Marjorie will also blatantly play her children off one another by announcing who's doing the "best" at a certain task so that they'll all compete for her affection.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: The McCarthy siblings care about each other, but they show it by constantly bickering and putting each other down. Ronny tries to get everyone to be more overtly friendly, but realizes that it's just the way his family is going to be. Plus, Ronny can dish it out just as well as his siblings when it suits him.