OnlyOnAOL: Martha Plimpton is living on a prayer with 'Real O'Neals'

Martha Plimpton On "The Real O'Neals"
BY DONNA FREYDKIN

"I tend to speak my mind and shoot from the hip. I'm not a shrinking violet," says Martha Plimpton.

No kidding. And that's only been to her benefit. Plimpton surmises that that's one of the reasons she was cast as Eileen O'Neal, in ABC's Tuesday sitcom "The Real O'Neals," about a devout Catholic family dealing with some inconvenient truths. One kid is gay. Another is a thief. And the parents are breaking up, with dad living in the basement.

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Suffice to say, superficially at least, she has nothing in common with her character, matriarch Eileen, a woman whose love is as fierce as is her sense of right and wrong.

"We may be opposite in external ways. I do believe that there is a common humanity in all of us, which is easily accessed if we just quiet down for a minute and listen. For that reason, I really wanted to play this part. I have no objection to playing someone who thinks the way Eileen does. And I have no interest in mocking her. That was a concern that many people had, that perhaps we'd be making fun of people of faith. That's not the case," says Plimpton.

The actress has been doing lauded stage and screen work since breaking out in 1985's "The Goonies," following that up with her turn as a surly, rebellious daughter in 1989's "Parenthood" and most recently, earning an Emmy nomination for playing a grandma (yes, really) on the series "Raising Hope." And when she's not working, Plimpton is a vocal advocate for abortion rights, co-founding the organization A Is For....

Her goal is to connect with people in the center. "They may not believe abortion is right or good, but they're still not comfortable with women being prevented from making their own choices. They're still uncomfortable with the state getting involved with people's personal medical decisions," she says.

The comments she gets on social media are about what you'd expect: "It's the standard feedback. It's either total haters or total supporters."

Plimpton is well-informed, fluently discussing the complex and emotional issues involved in abortion rights. "Education is a huge part of it. Having frank discussions about it is critical. The silencing and the shame that's inflicted on people who want to talk openly about it is completely inappropriate," she says.

And here's a look at our other beloved ABC series, "Modern Family."

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OnlyOnAOL: Martha Plimpton is living on a prayer with 'Real O'Neals'
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 20: Actor Eric Stonestreet attends the 67th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 20, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
MODERN FAMILY - 'Halloween 3: AwesomeLand' - Even though Halloween is Claire's holiday, she allows Phil to take over this year so instead of her usual fright-fest theme, he decides to turn the house into AwesomeLand! Gloria picks out Princess Fiona and Shrek costumes for her and Jay but Jay decides he wants to be Prince Charming complete with a full head of gorgeous hair, and with the hair comes a new sense of confidence. Elsewhere, Cameron gets overwhelmed by the day's activities and Mitchell has closing arguments for a huge case, and it doesn't help that the stenographer is dressed like a spider, WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 29 (9:00-9:31 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network. Guest stars Steve Zahn ('Treme') and Andrea Anders ('Better Off Ted') return as the Dunphy's neighbors. (Photo by Eric McCandless/ABC via Getty Images)
Wednesday night, we finally got to feast our eyes on that highly anticipated 'Modern Family' episode that was shot mostly on iPhone and iPad cameras.
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 19: Sarah Hyland is seen on the set of 'Modern Family' on September 19, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by TSM/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
MODERN FAMILY - 'Halloween 3: AwesomeLand' - Even though Halloween is Claire's holiday, she allows Phil to take over this year so instead of her usual fright-fest theme, he decides to turn the house into AwesomeLand! Gloria picks out Princess Fiona and Shrek costumes for her and Jay but Jay decides he wants to be Prince Charming complete with a full head of gorgeous hair, and with the hair comes a new sense of confidence. Elsewhere, Cameron gets overwhelmed by the day's activities and Mitchell has closing arguments for a huge case, and it doesn't help that the stenographer is dressed like a spider, WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 29 (9:00-9:31 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network. Guest stars Steve Zahn ('Treme') and Andrea Anders ('Better Off Ted') return as the Dunphy's neighbors. (Photo by John Fleenor/ABC via Getty Images)
MODERN FAMILY - 'Halloween 3: AwesomeLand' - Even though Halloween is Claire's holiday, she allows Phil to take over this year so instead of her usual fright-fest theme, he decides to turn the house into AwesomeLand! Gloria picks out Princess Fiona and Shrek costumes for her and Jay but Jay decides he wants to be Prince Charming complete with a full head of gorgeous hair, and with the hair comes a new sense of confidence. Elsewhere, Cameron gets overwhelmed by the day's activities and Mitchell has closing arguments for a huge case, and it doesn't help that the stenographer is dressed like a spider, WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 29 (9:00-9:31 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network. Guest stars Steve Zahn ('Treme') and Andrea Anders ('Better Off Ted') return as the Dunphy's neighbors. (Photo by John Fleenor/ABC via Getty Images)
MODERN FAMILY - 'Halloween 3: AwesomeLand' - Even though Halloween is Claire's holiday, she allows Phil to take over this year so instead of her usual fright-fest theme, he decides to turn the house into AwesomeLand! Gloria picks out Princess Fiona and Shrek costumes for her and Jay but Jay decides he wants to be Prince Charming complete with a full head of gorgeous hair, and with the hair comes a new sense of confidence. Elsewhere, Cameron gets overwhelmed by the day's activities and Mitchell has closing arguments for a huge case, and it doesn't help that the stenographer is dressed like a spider, WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 29 (9:00-9:31 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network. Guest stars Steve Zahn ('Treme') and Andrea Anders ('Better Off Ted') return as the Dunphy's neighbors. (Photo by John Fleenor/ABC via Getty Images)
MODERN FAMILY - 'Halloween 3: AwesomeLand' - Even though Halloween is Claire's holiday, she allows Phil to take over this year so instead of her usual fright-fest theme, he decides to turn the house into AwesomeLand! Gloria picks out Princess Fiona and Shrek costumes for her and Jay but Jay decides he wants to be Prince Charming complete with a full head of gorgeous hair, and with the hair comes a new sense of confidence. Elsewhere, Cameron gets overwhelmed by the day's activities and Mitchell has closing arguments for a huge case, and it doesn't help that the stenographer is dressed like a spider, WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 29 (9:00-9:31 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network. Guest stars Steve Zahn ('Treme') and Andrea Anders ('Better Off Ted') return as the Dunphy's neighbors. (Photo by Eric McCandless/ABC via Getty Images)
MODERN FAMILY - 'Halloween 3: AwesomeLand' - Even though Halloween is Claire's holiday, she allows Phil to take over this year so instead of her usual fright-fest theme, he decides to turn the house into AwesomeLand! Gloria picks out Princess Fiona and Shrek costumes for her and Jay but Jay decides he wants to be Prince Charming complete with a full head of gorgeous hair, and with the hair comes a new sense of confidence. Elsewhere, Cameron gets overwhelmed by the day's activities and Mitchell has closing arguments for a huge case, and it doesn't help that the stenographer is dressed like a spider, WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 29 (9:00-9:31 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network. Guest stars Steve Zahn ('Treme') and Andrea Anders ('Better Off Ted') return as the Dunphy's neighbors. (Photo by Eric McCandless/ABC via Getty Images)
MODERN FAMILY - 'Halloween 3: AwesomeLand' - Even though Halloween is Claire's holiday, she allows Phil to take over this year so instead of her usual fright-fest theme, he decides to turn the house into AwesomeLand! Gloria picks out Princess Fiona and Shrek costumes for her and Jay but Jay decides he wants to be Prince Charming complete with a full head of gorgeous hair, and with the hair comes a new sense of confidence. Elsewhere, Cameron gets overwhelmed by the day's activities and Mitchell has closing arguments for a huge case, and it doesn't help that the stenographer is dressed like a spider, WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 29 (9:00-9:31 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network. Guest stars Steve Zahn ('Treme') and Andrea Anders ('Better Off Ted') return as the Dunphy's neighbors. (Photo by Eric McCandless/ABC via Getty Images)
MODERN FAMILY - 'Marco Polo' - The Dunphys move into a cramped hotel room while their house is getting treated for mold and Phil sees this as an opportunity to spend some quality time together but Claire and the kids are less than enthused. Gloria becomes over protective when Manny starts dating an older, popular girl, and Cameron is under a lot of pressure to maintain his team's winning streak but when he realizes Mitchell may be a jinx, emotions run high, on 'Modern Family,' WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 15 (9:00-9:31 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Kelsey McNeal/ABC via Getty Images)
MODERN FAMILY - 'Marco Polo' - The Dunphys move into a cramped hotel room while their house is getting treated for mold and Phil sees this as an opportunity to spend some quality time together but Claire and the kids are less than enthused. Gloria becomes over protective when Manny starts dating an older, popular girl, and Cameron is under a lot of pressure to maintain his team's winning streak but when he realizes Mitchell may be a jinx, emotions run high, on 'Modern Family,' WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 15 (9:00-9:31 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Kelsey McNeal/ABC via Getty Images)
MODERN FAMILY - 'Marco Polo' - The Dunphys move into a cramped hotel room while their house is getting treated for mold and Phil sees this as an opportunity to spend some quality time together but Claire and the kids are less than enthused. Gloria becomes over protective when Manny starts dating an older, popular girl, and Cameron is under a lot of pressure to maintain his team's winning streak but when he realizes Mitchell may be a jinx, emotions run high, on 'Modern Family,' WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 15 (9:00-9:31 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Kelsey McNeal/ABC via Getty Images)
MODERN FAMILY - 'Marco Polo' - The Dunphys move into a cramped hotel room while their house is getting treated for mold and Phil sees this as an opportunity to spend some quality time together but Claire and the kids are less than enthused. Gloria becomes over protective when Manny starts dating an older, popular girl, and Cameron is under a lot of pressure to maintain his team's winning streak but when he realizes Mitchell may be a jinx, emotions run high, on 'Modern Family,' WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 15 (9:00-9:31 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Kelsey McNeal/ABC via Getty Images)
GOOD MORNING AMERICA - (9.22.14) Actress Kerry Washington, costume designer Lyn Paolo and VP of design Elliot Staples discuss the new 'The Scandal Collection' at The Limited; actress Sofia Vergara ('Modern Family'); actor Ioan Gruffudd ('Forever'); GMA's 'Upgrade Your Morning' series kicks off. 'Good Morning America' airs Monday-Friday (7:00a.m. - 9:00a.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Heidi Gutman/ABC via Getty Images) GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, SOFIA VERGARA
GOOD MORNING AMERICA - (9.22.14) Actress Kerry Washington, costume designer Lyn Paolo and VP of design Elliot Staples discuss the new 'The Scandal Collection' at The Limited; actress Sofia Vergara ('Modern Family'); actor Ioan Gruffudd ('Forever'); GMA's 'Upgrade Your Morning' series kicks off. 'Good Morning America' airs Monday-Friday (7:00a.m. - 9:00a.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Heidi Gutman/ABC via Getty Images) SOFIA VERGARA
GOOD MORNING AMERICA - (9.22.14) Actress Kerry Washington, costume designer Lyn Paolo and VP of design Elliot Staples discuss the new 'The Scandal Collection' at The Limited; actress Sofia Vergara ('Modern Family'); actor Ioan Gruffudd ('Forever'); GMA's 'Upgrade Your Morning' series kicks off. 'Good Morning America' airs Monday-Friday (7:00a.m. - 9:00a.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Heidi Gutman/ABC via Getty Images) SOFIA VERGARA
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 25: Actresses Sarah Hyland, Sofía Vergara, Aubrey Anderson-Emmons, Julie Bowen and Ariel Winter, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Nolan Gould, Rico Rodriguez, Eric Stonestreet and Ed O'Neill, winners of the Outstanding Comedy Series Award for 'Modern Family' pose in the press room during the 66th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards held at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on August 25, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 25: 66th ANNUAL PRIMETIME EMMY AWARDS -- Pictured: (l-r) Actors Ariel Winter, Nolan Gould, Rico Rodriguez and Ed O'Neill, winners of the award for Outstanding Comedy Series for 'Modern Family', pose backstage during the 66th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards held at the Nokia Theater on August 25, 2014. (Photo by Christopher Polk/NBC/NBC via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 19: (Back row L-R) Moderator Will Marfuggi of E! News, actor Ed O'Neill, creator/writer Steven Levitan, actors Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet, Sarah Hyland, (front row L-R) Executive producer Megan Ganz, actors Nolan Gould, Aubrey Anderson-Emmons and writer Abraham Higginbotham attend a 'Modern Family' Wedding episode screening at Zanuck Theater at 20th Century Fox Lot on May 19, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 19: (Back row L-R) Moderator Will Marfuggi of E! News, actor Ed O'Neill, creator/writer Steven Levitan, actors Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet, Sarah Hyland, (front row L-R) Executive producer Megan Ganz, actors Nolan Gould, Aubrey Anderson-Emmons and writer Abraham Higginbotham attend a 'Modern Family' Wedding episode screening at Zanuck Theater at 20th Century Fox Lot on May 19, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 19: Creator/writer Steven Levitan, writer Abraham Higginbotham and actors Nolan Gould, Ed O'Neill, Aubrey Anderson-Emmons, Julie Bowen, Sarah Hyland, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonetreet and Ty Burrell attend a 'Modern Family' Wedding episode screening at Zanuck Theater at 20th Century Fox Lot on May 19, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 19: Actors Ed O'Neill, Aubrey Anderson-Emmons, Julie Bowen, Sarah Hyland, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonetreet and Ty Burrell attend a 'Modern Family' Wedding episode screening at Zanuck Theater at 20th Century Fox Lot on May 19, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
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