Thursday, October 4, 2012

REVIEW: The Neighbors

ABC - Wednesday 8:30/7:30c

A New Jersey family packs up and leaves Jersey and moves into a small gated community with a golf course.  The bit they didn't tell you about, right, is that all their neighbors are aliens.  I don't know if the well was running dry developmentally at ABC, but at least we have Modern Family from them, right?

1.  Does it entertain me?
I feel like somewhere in this show there is a funny sitcom.  Somewhere in the premise is an idea that works and there are jokes that are funny.  But I honestly don't know how you would make it funny or if all the right players are there.

It seems easy to make a sitcom with aliens as your main characters.  They would find hilarious things that we don't, and they would do things that we as humans would find astoundingly hilarious.  You put them in awkward situations and the sparks will fly and wackiness will ensue!

The problem is that this idea is easy.  The jokes are easy, the laughs that are to be had are not because something is actually funny, but more properly because the situation is different to us.  If you look at the top comedies on television, Modern Family, Parks and Recreation, Community and possibly some of the ones on CBS that aren't named 2 1/2 Men, then you will see first and foremost funny characters.  Second, you will see them getting into situations that we the viewing audience can relate to.

Sure, everyone's had weird neighbors.  But I guarantee that most people could tell funnier stories about their neighbors than the ones that we are being told on this show.

The real issue is that the show devolves quickly into a typical every day show.  The wives have problems with their husbands and can't understand why they won't do things that seem ordinary to them (even the aliens have this problem, which I suppose is supposed to be the joke.  Ha ha, now I get it).  The husbands, in turn, don't understand why their wives don't understand them.  And so we have a show about suburban America that is just like every other show about suburban America, and no one cares there are aliens.

2.  Is it realistic?
Probably, I've never lived next to an alien before (although we did have a cast of characters in my neighborhood growing up, including The Goat, Snail Man, Artie D, Dylan C., Busted Kneecaps.  It was a very colorful neighborhood).

3.  Are traditional family values upheld?
  Yes, no aliens have started cheating on their spouses with the humans yet, and vice versa.  The alien husband got kicked out of his pod, but that's hardly un-family like.

4.  Are immoral actions defended?
The aliens seem to be peaceful, so that's good news.  We don't want warmongering aliens in our premises, that would just create chaos.
The Neighbors has 6 episodes written all over it, which is fine, because there really isn't enough reason to come back each week.

Grade: D


  1. I'd have to admit the first episode was not all the great, but the second episode "Journey to the center of the mall" was hilarious. I loved the part when the Weavers told the alien parents to dress their kids up in different outfits other then the golf uniforms, because the kids looked like nerds. I love to watch prime time shows that I can watch with my family like this one and that’s why I recently bought a Hopper. Working for DISH I learned that the Hopper has a Primetime Anytime feature that automatically records all of my prime time shows that come on CBS, NBC, FOX and ABC everyday in HD.

  2. Wow, I did not know that DISH had so many wonderful features! Thanks for updating me about them on your own time and through no association or mandation from your employer.

    Thanks for reading!