There Goes the Neighborhood - Review of "The Neighbors"

CLARA MAMET star in the new ABC comedy, "The Neighbors."


Some TV shows have all the right ingredients, but also a lousy recipe to work from. Such is the case for ABC’s latest comedy disaster, The Neighbors. The show is created by Dan Fogelman who worked on Disney/Pixar’s Cars and Disney’s Tangled and Jeff Morton, two great family flicks. Also behind this project are Jeff Morton and Chris Koch, two guys in connection with the Emmy-winning Modern Family. What could go wrong?  A lot.

The Neighbors is sort of a modern take on The Munsters in reverse. Instead of family of monsters living in a regular neighborhood, Neighbors is about a normal family living in a gated community full of aliens. Marty Weaver (Lenny Veneto) only wants the best for his wife Debbie (Jami Geertz) and their three kids. This includes moving them to Hidden Hills, New Jersey at an exclusive neighborhood with its own golf course. The neighborhood is beautiful - the neighbors, not so much.

Upon moving in, the Weavers meet the neighbors – all of them – at the same time. One named Larry Bird (Simon Templeman), claims to be the group’s leader. His wife is Jackie Joyner-Kersee (Toks Olagundove) and their two sons are Dick Butkus and Reggie Jackson. It turns out that all of them are actually aliens from the planet Zabyron. They have been inhabiting the Hidden Hills homes for 10 years and the Weavers are their first real human contact. At first the Weavers want to leave (as will you), but in time they get a little more comfortable with their surroundings and stay. Together, they learn from each other on how to be better husbands, wives and families. Cue the group hug.

The problems with Neighbors are many. First and foremost, it isn’t funny. The aliens have taken the names of famous sports celebrities – ha ha. How long can that joke go on before it runs stale? Secondly, the cast is unlikable except for Gertz’s Debbie and Olagundoye’s Jackie. These two women deserve better. The show only has a couple of gimmicks and uses them up in the first episode.

ABC has scheduled the show to run on Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. The family-friendly pilot might actually have a chance if it were on earlier when children are awake. ABC must feel pretty good about this show as they have it scheduled for 9:30 p.m. after The Middle and Modern Family, two successful shows that will only emphasize how much better they are in comparison

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