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The Neighbors

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TV Series Review

The Bible tells us to "love your neighbor as yourself." But when those neighbors are extraterrestrial aliens, well, that verse can present a special set of challenges.

Not that the Weavers spend a lot of family time reading the Bible, mind you. Marty, Debbie and their three kids are a fairly dysfunctional lot—a nuclear unit powered by the occasional good intention and some seriously bad family dynamics. What the Weavers need, perhaps, is a nice change of scenery—a new townhome in a clean, gated New Jersey community. Just being surrounded by nice, manicured suburban normalcy might rub off on them. Or so the theory goes.

Alas, "Hidden Hills" isn't normal at all.

Its residents seem friendly enough. And just because they're all named after sports celebrities and they dress aggressively preppy, that doesn't make them bad people, does it? No, not bad people at all. And not even people at all. Because the entire community is populated by Zabrvonians—beings from a distant planet who've been in Jersey for the last decade, waiting to be called back home. As for those odd names and fashions, they seem to have learned everything they know about earthbound culture from the rigorous study of ESPN and out-of-date Izod catalogs.

The Neighbors, like the standard Twinkie (another earthbound entity that seems, in its own way, rather alien), has a certain sweetness at its center. Strip away the Weavers' dysfunction and the aliens' extraterrestrial oddities, and you're left with folks just trying to fit in and make better lives for themselves and their families. The Weavers' neighbors—Larry Bird and Jackie Joyner-Kersee (along with sons Reggie Jackson and Dick Butkus)—can learn a thing or two from Marty, Debbie and their kids. And the Weavers? Well, they're not too proud to take note of what their out-of-this-world friends do well. The Neighbors, in its own off-kilter way, tells us that families are precious, friendships are priceless and that we can all grow by paying attention to what others are doing—even if they're crying green goo out their ears.

But like the previously mentioned Twinkie, that tasty center can't make up for the utter lack of any real nutritional value. Sure, a lot of the less-than-ideal parenting we see here isn't meant to be aspirational: It's more Simpsonsand  The Middle than Leave It to Beaver. But satire aside, there are still other cheap chemicals to be concerned about, including crass language, bad behavior and frank sexual subjects.

See? Special challenges. I'm just not sure we should all love this Neighbor.

Positive Elements

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Episode Reviews

Neighbors: 11-14-2012
Neighbors: 11-7-2012



Readability Age Range


Comedy, Sci-Fi/Fantasy



Lenny Venito as Marty Weaver; Jami Gertz as Debbie Weaver; Max Charles as Max Weaver; Isabella Cramp as Abby Weaver; Clara Mamet as Amber Weaver; Simon Templeman as Larry Bird; Toks Olagundoye as Jackie Joyner-Kersee; Tim Jo as Reggie Jackson; Ian Patrick as Dick Butkus






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Year Published



Paul Asay

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