Aliens are funny.
If you agree with the above statement, you will probably like The Neighbors. If you don’t, well… Let’s just say that some people aren’t into shows about alien life forms sharing suburbia with a standard sitcom family.
I personally think aliens are quite funny. Thus, I kind of loved The Neighbors.
The concept of The Neighbors is your standard (more or less) fish-out-of-water story. In this case, the fish are a large group of other-worldly Zabvronians, sent to Earth to found a colony or investigate our way of life or something like that.
That’s not important. Whatever their reason for coming, the Zabvronians, led by the randomly English-accented Larry Bird (Simon Templeman) and his wife, Jackie Joyner-Kersee (Toks Olagundoye), end up buying out a gated subdivision named Hidden Hills.
Unfortunately, after years of polo shirt-wearing and golf cart-driving bliss, a human family moves in to Hidden Hills. This would be the Weavers (Jami Gertz, Lenny Venito, Clara Mamet, Max Charles and Isabella Cramp). You have met these people before. They exist in every mediocre sitcom that has ever existed since the dawn of time.
That’s not important. What matters is that the Weavers quickly find out that their neighbors are secretly green-slime creatures from another world. And hijinks ensue.
Here is the important part: If you do not find this basic premise for a TV show amusing, it’s a safe bet that you will not be a fan of The Neighbors. That’s OK. The Neighbors is, after all, a very silly show. We are talking about clueless creatures named after sports figures like Reggie Jackson (Tim Jo) and Dick Butkus (Ian Patrick). The aliens do weird things like deliver pies in perfect formation and cry colored fluid from their ears.
It’s not everybody’s idea of high culture.
But The Neighbors is kind of brilliant, in its own special way. Simon Templeman and Toks Olagundoye as Larry Bird and Jackie Joyner-Kersee are particularly delightful. Both actors play their roles with a fake seriousness that would make the boys of Monty Python proud. Nothing about these aliens makes much sense, but that’s why the concept works.
I will admit that the sitcom shenanigans of Jami Gertz and Lenny Venito as the Typical Suburban Couple were a little hard to take at times. That’s why I mostly ignored them. Humans in The Neighbors are just sounding boards for alien weirdness anyway.
Is The Neighbors the greatest show ever made? Nope. But if you can giggle at alien absurdity, this just might be a bizarre, occasionally slimy source of pleasure for you this fall.
The Neighbors premieres on Wednesday, September 26 at 9:30pm on ABC. Future episodes will air Wednesdays at 8:30pm.
(Images courtesy of ABC)