In Defense of The Neighbors


So last week, I happened upon ABC’s newest “wacky” family-centered sitcom. Considering how I feel about this particular genre, I thought I would hate it. It went… beyond my expectations. And because of this blog, I compile everything I hate for future research and analysis.

My life is pretty sad.

But in this case, I figured I’d let it sit for a few weeks, to age a bit before I considered it worthy of a blog entry. I would hate to betray my incredibly high standards of writing about Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. So, like the patient parent of an amateur violinist, I gritted my teeth and smiled.

Then I watched the second episode earlier this week. After some serious contemplation, I concluded it was better to defend it sooner rather than later. After all, if I don’t defend it now, I may lose my chance. So proverbial violin, meet garbage disposal.The Neighbors is is possibly the most inane show of the season. And I’ve seen an episode of Animal Practice, so yeah.Here’s my review in succinct pictorial format:

My feelings exactly.

My feelings exactly.

Do you want episode summaries? I can do that, but they read like a boiled-down nutshell of the similar (but wildly better) 90’s sitcom 3rd Rock From the Sun. If you know what I’m talking about… congratulations, you earn my respect.

Here goes. A large group of aliens buy a housing subdivision while awaiting home world communication. Two aliens get frustrated and leave, which leaves one house open. Marty and Debbie Weaver buy that house. Aaaaandd…. CUE HIJINKS!

This is the cue for a slime bath, because 90's Nickelodeon gags are so in.

This is the cue for a slime bath, because 90’s Nickelodeon gags are so in.

But if the show was just hijinks, I might be able to call it fluff and move on. But no. There is so much more lame where that came from.

Hijinks make up 40% of any given episode. The remaining 60% consists of weepy, moral narrative, like “Mom’s are always going to worry” and “Wives deserve respect from their husbands” and “Love can blossom between emo girls and interstellar monsters.”

I realize that last point sounds awesome, but no. They even make that lame.

The Neighbors wheezes through these plotlines like a fat man on a rowing machine, labored and full of cheese dust. It’s so twee and neatly cut that it belongs in the 1950’s, when women were decorations and everyone dressed snazzily.

Here I am covering all the lame, and I haven’t even brought up the aliens.

The Zarbrovnians (dumb dumb dumb name) are simply not funny. They just do slightly odd things, like throw dishes out the window and shake thumbs and raise llamas. I’ve met hipsters with more quirks. Apparently they’re all named after famous athletes, so there’s that I suppose. I don’t know sports, so the only funny one is one Dick Butkus.

Tee hee.

Tee hee.

In the end, The Neighbors is a silly slapstick fest that lingers on gaping reaction shots. It attempts heartfelt comparisons between the families, but it can only survive as a show parents watch with grubby youngsters.

And that is all right, surprisingly.

Frankly, there are not many shows like this anymore. I mentioned the 1950’s earlier, and that comparison is surprisingly apt. There are not many Leave It To Beaver’s anymore, and that is not entirely a good thing.

It’s 85% a good thing, but I digress.

I can appreciate a show parents can watch with impressionable youths, and there is absolutely nothing controversial about The Neighbors. It is lame and dumb, but sometimes that is just what television needs to be.

For the sake of the children, I’ll grit my teeth and bear the inanity.

The violins, on the other hand...

The violins, on the other hand…


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