ABC’s The Neighbors has been given the green light to continue the rest of season one. I know, I had to read it twice myself and I wrote the damn thing. As Tim Goodman of the Hollywood reporter said about it, “Aliens live in the suburbs. People find out about them. No humor ensues.” Anyone who has had to sit through this example of why network TV is on life-support most likely agrees (I hope). That being said, below is a list of shows that were cancelled after their first season:

THE GREEN HORNET (with Bruce Lee)

FREAKS & GEEKS

MY SO CALLED LIFE

FIREFLY

 

I think we can agree that the above mentioned are all pretty good shows that should have, at the very least, been given a second season. So does the Neighbors deserve the same chance?

Really? If the answer is anything other than a gigantic NO!, then you’ve probably already stopped reading. For those of you with functioning minds and decent taste, join me in a “What the hell is going on here?”

Now I realize that most shows don’t hit their stride until season 3. This is a fact. If you don’t believe me try comparing Seinfeld season 1 to season 3. Or The Simpsons. Or pretty much any television series that has had more than five seasons. It is true. However, every once in a while, there comes along a show that is so bad that most thinking folks would rather watch a live electric chair execution, than any episodes from said series.

Okay, so why is this terrible, walking abortion of a show on still on the air?

1) The shows creator Dan Fogleman wrote Tangled, Cars and Bolt. All very good films, all Disney (and thus ABC) produced and so when one of your ace writers wants to pitch a sit-com, as an executive, you listen.

2) Once said show gets past the pilot stage if you don’t get behind it, you probably loose your job. ABC will make this atrocity a hit if they have to rub it into our eyes like a psychopath with a box of rock salt. And putting it on during a block that includes an actually decent show like Modern Family, well, there you go.

3) I tried to come up with a 3rd reason and I couldn’t do it. I honestly have no idea why The Neighbors is still in production. So instead, I shall point out what is inherently wrong with this program. If you do nothing else with my article, forward it to someone you love to save them from having to watch this televised bowel movement.

The show has a great premise, so why does it suck?

Your neighbors are aliens? And you’re the only one’s who know this, and you accept it! Wow! Time for some awesome episodes full of conflict and fish out of water comedic situations, which is where the term sit-com derived from, right?

Nope. Forget that. Every chance they get, the “writers” use situations like Halloween or the first day of school to throw in some product placement for their parent company. This is by far the least offensive writing trick they use.

The aliens have all donned the physical forms of humans, and have taken names based after famous sports stars. This mildly amusing joke sadly makes sense. The aliens know nothing about our society so they misunderstand how we name our children… wait NO! That doesn’t make ANY SENSE! That line of humor would be passed over as unremarkable in a Saturday Night Live Skit! And once again, the writers take every opportunity to point out this hilarious, comedy changing gag they have come up with. “Wait, the little red haired boy/girl is named Dick, Butkis? Hilarity!” Seriously, there are better puns in your average Family Circus strip.

Speaking of which, I haven’t even mentioned the fact that the producers of The Neighbors blatantly ripped off EERIE INDIANA & THE CONEHEADS! Granted, the first show was barley a blip on the 90′s FOX schedule radar and the Coneheads only contribution to the art world was a few forgettable sketches in the early days of SNL and a cool song from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but what does that say about the show that stole from them?

Well, it’s clear this show is bad from the get-go. What else is wrong with it?

Plot points are only important when a show is good. Thankfully the Neighbors  doesn’t seem to care about this. I had mentioned Seinfeld earlier. Why were Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer all friends? Because George and Jerry went to high school together, Elaine and Jerry used to date and Kramer lived across the hall. Easy, simple, logical set up.

Why does the family move into the neighborhood that was previously occupied by only aliens from planet Who Gives A Crap? One of the families left because after ten years (remember that fact for later). Oh, that leaves an opening for the average Americans to move in. And they do! Oh boy!

This begs several other questions. When we enter the world of the Neighbors, the aliens (who are supposedly vastly more intelligent than us) act as if they have no idea about anything that goes on in human society, and it’s up to the new human neighbors to teach them.

wait…

THEY HAVE BEEN HERE FOR TEN YEARS!

You heard me! TEN YEARS! Jesus Christ, that’s like saying Jane Goodall would have no idea about any behaviors of the apes she studied ten years after she headed off into the jungle! Are you kidding me? You are, ABC/Disney, you must be, and you’re laughing at us all the way to the bank.

Is that why they are still on the air? Because if they have enough episodes to put out a Blue-Ray/DVD set Disney will make more money?

Yes.

Is there no laugh track because no one watching this show would believe that even a studio audience would find this funny enough to pretend to laugh at?

Yes.

Am I out of reasons why this show should never have made it past the pilot stage and the fact that ABC stills airs it is a slap in the face to their all of their viewers, pretty much ABC saying, “Hey, you folks watched FULL HOUSE for 8 seasons, so you’ll swallow just about anything?”

Emphatically, yes.

***

Ian Murphy has left the names of the actors out of this show because it is not their fault that they are on a terrible program. It is just a job and does not merit ridicule anymore so than the poor people who have to work making sandwiches for Chick-Fil-A. 

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